A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Return of the Liberal Media Anonymous Therapy Group*

Counselor: Hello, everyone! Welcome back to our therapy session here at the Bonzo Memorial Institute for Right Wing Media! It’s so nice to see many familiar faces here again after all these years. And so many new faces too, especially you, Mr. Olbermann! Let’s start with a proposal being circulated now among the leading lame stream, oops, I main stream media personalities to have a moratorium on writing about Sarah Palin for one month, beginning next week. Now, who would like to start our discussion today? How about, you, Mr. Gunther? Come on, don’t be shy!

Me: Hi, my name is Todd and I have a Sarah Palin problem!

Counselor, Liberal Column Writers, Producers, and Bloggers: Hi, Todd!

Me: I didn’t realize I had a problem until recently. My blog is usually a satirical commentary about the world at large, and, well, Sarah has been such an easy target! I don’t know what it is about her that makes her ripe for abuse in my writings. Is it the silly things she says? Or is it the stupid political moves, like resigning from her governorship halfway through her term? Or is it her naïve, golly-gee-whiz personality? Or her whacko, conservative views...

Counselor: Mr. Gunther, let me remind you that conservative views are not whacko here! Please continue.

Me: I can’t even remember how I started writing about her and her antics...

Counselor: Antics? Are you sure that’s the word you want to use? Remember, there is a movement afoot in this country to tone down the rhetoric in our commentaries.

Me: Does that include liberals? I don’t know about that. All I know is whenever I wrote about her I felt great! I was on top of the world! Writing about her was fun! There, I admit it! I abused her in print and I enjoyed it! But...but...

Counselor: But now...?

Me: Well, now, I’ve written so much about her recently that it’s gotten dull. Boring, even! It got to the point that I thought about changing the name of my blog to Stupid Sarah Palin Tricks! That’s when I knew I was in a rut!

Counselor: Would you consider participating in the moratorium?

Me: What? Me not writing about her...for a full month? Eight blog entries? Seriously? I don’t know if I could do that! Maybe I could ease myself into it like say something nice about her...

Counselor: You? A liberal saying something nice about Sarah Palin?

Me: You’re right! That’s absurd! I couldn’t do it. Although…I could talk about her legs.

Counselor: What?

Me: Yes, I could talk about her legs! She’s got a nice set of legs! I can’t deny it. She is a beautiful woman! Even Barbara Bush said so!

Counselor: Yes, but we don’t want to degrade ourselves by thinking of our influential political leaders in such base terms.

Me: Oh, yeah! I could just see her now! Stretched out on her back in a tight dress suit and skirt, one leg dangling over the knee, with one of her black spiked heel shoes balanced on her toes...and she’s reading the Constitution! That would make a great centerfold spread in the Weekly Standard!

Counselor: The Weekly Standard doesn’t have centerfolds!

Me: Well, maybe it should! Just a stuffy old conservative rag anyway!

Counselor: Surely, Mr. Gunther, you can find other subjects about which to write. You know like how small government can solve all of our problems?

Me: Small government solve all of our problems? Are you kidding?

Counselor: No! You could write about this idea that Palin talks about constantly without mentioning her. You could write about, as an example, how the very rich in this country should not be penalized for their success and act out their roles as, oh, how does Sarah put it...job creators!

Group Members: (snorts, sniggers, and titters).

Me: Job creators? Oh God! I haven’t heard anything so ridiculous since Bush Junior talked about evil-doers!

Group: (loud, lusty, liberal laughter).

Me: Look, the super rich have had lower tax rates for eight years!

Counselor: So?

Me: So when the hell are they gonna create jobs?

Counselor: Um,, that’s not what we’re talking about today! We’re discussing an idea to not write, talk, comment or mention Sarah Palin in any column, blog, on-air discussion on talk radio or television. Why don’t you liberals talk about someone else. Someone like...oh, Michele Bachmann.

Me: Hmmm! Interesting idea!

Counselor: She’s a rising star in the Tea Party...

Me: Yes, and some of her ideas are just as loopy as Palin’s.

Counselor: Umm, that’s not the point I was making.

Me: And she’s also attractive. Yeah, I can see Michele Bachmann now...stretched out on a copy of the Constitution...

Counselor: Mr. Gunther, please! Remember, we’re not using our writings to satisfy our sexual fantasies...

Me: Says you! Hey, I could write about a three-way with Michelle, Sarah and Ann Coulter...

Counselor: Okay, Mr. Gunther, I warned you! Orderlies, take Mr. Gunther to the Karl Rove clinic in the Cal Thomas Wing immediately!

Me: No, no, not the Cal Thomas Wing! Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!

*The first session was recounted in a blog entry dated 2/21/2006.

(Thank you for reading! Enjoy your break from liberal abuse, Ms. Palin! We’ll miss you! Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahaha...!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Countdown to Worst, Worster, Worstest...

Friends, liberals, countrymen, please lend me your eyes! We gather here today to mourn the loss of Keith Olbermann from the nation’s airwaves. We will also question the intelligence of executives at a certain network who are more than willing to cut loose their most talented commentator. We will frame these questions in such a way that is both humorous and, yes, I’ll admit, demeaning to them.

Question One: What do you call a person who has lost ninety-five percent of their intelligence?

Answer: An MSNBC executive!*

Sorry if that first question was a bit cruel, but I have a lot of emotions to work through. Olbermann was, after all, the leading liberal voice in what the opposition deridingly refers to as the “lame stream media”. These opponents believe that the media lean to the left, but let’s think about this.

Seriously, who are the most influential political and social commentators in the (non-print) media today? Answer: Limbaugh, Beck, O’Reilly, Palin, et al. None of these people leans to the left! Ironically, they criticize the media for being left of center, when actually they are far and away the most successful stars of the “lame stream media”.

I realize Olbermann wasn’t the only liberal working the cable channels, but many times it seemed like he was the lone voice of the liberal point of view. Maybe it was just an illusion, but he was certainly outnumbered at least four to one. Or maybe he just seemed all alone because he co-opted Edward R. Murrow’s legendary sign-off, “Good night and good luck”, that he invited comparisons between himself and the broadcasting pioneers of yore.

Question Two: How do you sink a submarine full of MSNBC executives?

Answer: Knock on the hatch!*

Seriously, how dumb are the suits at MSNBC that they would release/fire/show the door to the guy who propelled their ratings past CNN and second only to Fox News? Granted there was that violation of network rules regarding political contributions last November, but I thought all concerned parties had put that regrettable incident behind them. It’s one thing to strive for journalistic integrity, but the ending of Olbermann’s program is corporate suicide!

Question Three: How many MSNBC executives does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Answer: Two. One to screw in the light bulb while the second bends over with their pants down around their ankles, and pleads, “Thank you, Comcast! May I have another?”

Okay, I think I finally have it out of my system.

Olbermann’s fans are taking some consolation that the separation was a mutual decision that had nothing to do with MSNBC’s parent company being taken over by Comcast earlier in the week. Comcast, a media conglomerate that is a heavy contributor to Republican candidates might have seen Olbermann’s commentary as a conflict of interest. The network has vigorously — perhaps over vigorously — denied that the merger with Comcast had anything to do with Olbermann’s termination.

In any event, it’s still too early to tell what really happened behind the scenes. For now, Edward R. Murrow’s heir apparent has been silenced, but hopefully he won’t be on hiatus for very long. Many liberals are likely waiting for — nay, eagerly anticipating - a message heralding his return. It could come in the form of an announcement similar to those found at the end of the James Bond films: Olbermann will be back! With that thought in mind, we say “Good day and good luck!”

Okay, one more. A brunette, a redhead, and an MSNBC executive walk into a bar...

*With apologies to Playboy magazine.

(Thank you for reading! Never underestimate the power of mass stupidity in the media!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dictators and the Former Kings That Love Them

Anne Marie and I went to the movies for the first time in over a year last weekend to see The King’s Speech. It’s received much acclaim since its release, and it should do well when the Oscar nominations are announced next week. The acting is wonderful; Colin Firth’s performance as King George VI richly deserved the Golden Globe award he won. Hopefully Oscar will smile upon him too. Likewise, Geoffrey Rush’s role as the speech therapist Lionel Logue also deserves an Oscar nod in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The film piqued our interest in Great Britain’s royal history in the 1930s, which was heavily influenced by the abdication of King Edward VIII enabling him to marry the woman he loved, American divorcee and commoner Wallis Warfield Simpson. The royal family tolerated her until it looked very likely that she would marry George Vs eldest son, who was first in line for the ascension to the throne. The brewing scandal threatened to tear the country apart, and so with great reluctance King Edward announced his resignation and passed the throne down to his younger brother. So, boo Wallis Simpson!

Our research about King Edward/The Duke of Windsor reminded us of a small fact about which we had forgotten: he was widely believed to be a Nazi sympathizer. At the time, it appeared that the young King had given up his throne for all the wrong reasons. In retrospect, if he had remained as the head of the British monarchy, then there is a very good chance that Hitler would have prevailed upon Great Britain to join his side against the Allies.

Imagine England on the side of the fascists! It was a very real possibility (with much support within Britain’s high society) in the 1930s. Yet, because the king had fallen in love with this American woman, Hitler was robbed of his chance to include England as another Axis partner. So, three cheers for Wallis Simpson!

This leads me to another point of historical theory: how much of the Duke’s fascist sympathies were known at the time. What if His Majesty had been ambushed a la 60 Minutes during an interview in which the world learned once and for all where he stood. I propose this idea for its thought-provoking possibilities, and I need a break from picking on poor Sarah Palin. Since this blog is too cheap to hire Dan Rather or Mike Wallace, and we don’t have the wherewithal to raise the spirit of either Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite, we’ll call in our very own Rhett Crit to do the deed. I think the interview might have happened something like this.

Rhett Crit - Your Royal Highness, many people are questioning your attitudes about the Third Reich.

Duke of Windsor – I’ve already explained this. I do admire Hitler, but I am not pro-Nazi.

Crit – Really? Well, I have some photos here that might raise some doubts.

Duke – Photos?

Crit – For example, here’s one where you and Hitler are shaking hands rather vigorously.

Duke – I was on a state visit and it’s considered normal to act friendly when you’re visiting another head of state.

Crit – Well, what about this one? You’re reviewing a group of German soldiers and returning their Nazi salute.

Duke – Um, well, you see...oh, now I remember! I had injured my shoulder and my doctor recommended that I stretch my arm in that position for long periods of time as therapy.

Crit – Therapy? Okay, how about this picture. You and Hitler are standing on a stage.

Duke – (Sighs) Yes, alright! So Adolf and I did a cameo appearance at the Oberammergau Passion Play! So what?

Crit – Adolf?

Duke – Did I say Adolf? I meant to say the Fuhrer.

Crit – And this looks like you and Hitler are doing a...cabaret? he in drag?

Duke – Yes, that was the summer we toured in La Cage Aux Folles. The Fuhrer stopped the show every night with his tribute to Marlene Dietrich.

Crit – I...I don’t recall a Marlene Dietrich tribute in La Cage Aux Folles.

Duke – It was his idea! And back then, no one dared say no to the Fuhrer!

And so on and so on. This might be a good point to end this episode of historical theory before this entry is interrupted by...

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This has gotten silly, not to mention grossly inaccurate! We’re stopping here and hoping that Sarah Palin says something really stupid by Monday.)

(Thank you for reading! Come back, Sarah! All is forgiven!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Conservatives Strike Back

In the hours immediately following the Tucson massacre on January 8, the media and pundits pounced on a few high profile examples of questionable political rhetoric, which the critics claimed could have prodded the killer to do his deed. The critics were, by and large, liberals and Democrats. The target — no pun intended - of their criticisms were, by and large, conservatives and Republicans. In the ensuing week, the conservative right rose in righteous indignation stating that their rhetoric did not in any way encourage any violent acts anywhere.

The end result of their protest — lenient treatment of the killer - may not be what the conservatives had in mind.

The most prominent voices protesting came, as expected, from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin. Limbaugh, who has made millions over the years ascribing to the old saying “If you can’t say anything nice, then say it on talk radio”, stated that there was no evidence that talk radio prompted the killer to do his deed. While he may be correct about no evidence found (yet), Limbaugh is too quick to dismiss the power of his medium. Perhaps he is being modest if he believes that his words don’t encourage his listeners to action. He cannot deny that his program has not influenced many Americans to vote a certain way in the voting booth, or voice their mutual right-wing conservative views at political meetings.

Sarah Palin released her rebuttal to criticisms about the map on her blog — complete with cross-hair targets — on the day of a public memorial service in Tucson. Palin’s camp denied that the intention of the map was to incite violence, but rather to highlight the Democratic House races in the country most vulnerable to Tea Party victories. The cross-hair symbols were not targets — obviously shooting victim Representative Gabrielle Gifford was wrong when she used this term in a televised interview about the map — but rather surveyor’s symbols.

Of course! Why would I and millions of other Americans not recognize the designations as surveyor’s symbols? Probably because I and millions of other Americans are not surveyors!

Palin’s video statement raised another controversy, and frankly her ability to put her foot in her own mouth is one reason why we liberals love her so much. She described the criticisms of venomous political rhetoric as “blood libel”, resurrecting the widely condemned and disputed ancient belief that Jews killed Christian children to use their blood for religious purposes. Yayyy, Sarah! Way to pour gasoline on the fire!

Palin and other commentators (Charles Krauthammer, for example) dismissed the idea that the overheated political rhetoric caused this “deranged” individual to kill the people in Tucson. Now all of a sudden the conservatives are rushing to pronounce the sanity of the killer before he has his day in court! This is such a wonderful gift for the killer’s defense team. They should have no problem now convincing a jury that he should not get the death penalty! In another rant, Limbaugh voiced the notion that the killer was confident he would get off easy because he had the full support of the Democratic (read: liberal) Party. Hey, Rush, listen to Palin and Krauthammer. With friends like these, the killer doesn’t need the Democrats!

On the other side of the aisle, two prominent voices chose to err on the side of caution. Keith Olbermann was one of the original critics of the hypercharged political rhetorical environment, but he went a step further: he apologized for any statements he may have ever made on his program that could be construed as leading to acts of violence. Now there is a class act! Similarly, Fox News President Roger Ailes — a highly revered figure within the conservative right media — actually instructed his people to tone down their rhetoric! Imagine that!

No such class can be found with Limbaugh and Palin, who are obviously getting a better night’s rest now that they relieved their consciences of any possible guilt with their defensive strategy. Instead of acknowledging the possibility — however remote — that their words and actions might have encouraged the killer, they act like they are the victims. Actions may speak louder than words, but words do matter!

Words like “a day which will live in infamy” encouraged many young Americans to go forth from their comfortable homes to fight against fascism and protect global democracy. Words like “ask not what your country can do for you” likewise prodded the next generation of Americans to promote the wonderful ideals of democracy. A few years later, the words “I have a dream” comforted many Americans that justice within our democracy would thrive and triumph. If words can have such a positive effect, then the possibility certainly exists that they can also have an adverse effect on all of us.

We could not take the killer's gun away before it was too late thanks to the Second Amendment. We could not prevent him from raising hell in the community college from which he was expelled thanks to the First Amendment. None of us has the advanced intelligence to determine which one of the millions of mentally ill Americans will be the next one to pick up a gun for violent purposes. The most viable solution to preventing future tragedies as transpired in Tucson is something we can all do: watch what we say and cool our tempers. Yet we can’t even agree on this simple solution.

Ponder these words Rush, Sarah, and Charles. And, oh yes, sleep tight!

(Thank you for reading. Please remember the wise words found in the TV series Hill Street Blues “Hey! Let’s be careful out there!”)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snort Notes – January 2011


The sponsorship deal was announced earlier this week, and immediately raised some eyebrows. Although the baking company’s name is pronounced Beembo, it is spelled Bimbo. This realization has caused much speculation and snickering among residents of the Delaware Valley. People have wondered how many people – mainly female people — will dare wear a team shirt with the word “bimbo” emblazoned on it.

This could make the Philadelphia Union the laughing stock of North American soccer. Now might be a good time to unload any unsold Chevy Novas on Mexico, which was a marketing disaster for the American automobile industry. No one in that Spanish speaking country wanted a car that was called “no go” in their language. Yet we’re suppose to accept a term denoting a dumb, loose woman on the uniforms of our macho soccer players?


A Scotsman who first rose to musical fame as half of Stealers Wheel in the early 1970’s, Rafferty had his biggest success with the 1978 solo album City to City, and its monster single Baker Street. It’s one of my all time favorite albums (a very close tie with my other favorite Modern Sounds in Country and Western, Part 2 by Ray Charles). There isn’t a single song I strongly dislike on it.

In particular the song Island has lyrics that resonate with a realization I came upon years ago about my life. I’m not an island that can stand alone, as much as I would like to believe that I’m stronger than that. Rafferty’s performance helped me understand that it is okay to admit that solitude isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Then there was the hopelessness of his biggest Stealers Wheel hit, Stuck in the Middle with You. Everyone is encouraged to take a stand on every issue in the world, but there are many of us who don’t want to adopt either extreme. We are content to stay at center, hoping to pull the clowns on the left and the jokers on the right closer together to find common ground. Instead they continue to swirl around within their own self-centered, narrow-minded realms of madness. The result is discouraging for those of us stuck in the middle.

Speaking of jokers on the right...



Okay, I believe this is the same Rush Limbaugh who denounced the initial criticisms of talk radio earlier in the week. At that time, he lashed out against those who — he claimed - were seeking to profit politically from the tragedy. Now he seems to be doing the same thing against which he ranted.

I have bad news for Mr. Limbaugh: I have not received any phone calls from the Democratic Party or appeals in the mail from any committee connected with the Democratic Party asking for money to support the Tucson shooter. (I refuse to name him in my blog, as I want to cheat him out of his fifteen minutes of fame.) The assertion that I, as a registered Democrat, would support a lenient sentence for this domestic terrorist is grossly offensive and absurd.

I consider myself a slightly left of center Democrat, but I reject the notion that I am a stereotypical bleeding heart liberal. I guess, being a Democrat, I am obligated (in Limbaugh’s view) to blame society, rather than the shooter himself for his actions. WRONG! I sincerely hope that the shooter is punished appropriately for his actions, but at the same time we must ask ourselves if there isn’t something each one of us in American society can do to prevent another re-occurrence of the Tucson massacre. This is a point of introspection, and not a point to fix blame.

Oh, that’s right. Introspection is boring! Blame elevates ratings! What the hell was I thinking?

(Thank you for reading. Rest in Peace, Mr. Rafferty.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yelling Fire in the Arena of Political Discourse

This week, America is reeling from the attempted assassination of US House Representative Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson, Arizona on January 8. It appears that, fortunately, she will survive. Six others who were in attendance at one of Gifford’s public meetings weren’t so lucky. One of the dead was a 9 year old girl with political aspirations.

The shooter was immediately taken into custody. He has been described as a “pot-smoking loner” who distrusts the government. Other reports have linked him to a white supremacist group. To many, he appears to be another damn fool who should never have had access to a gun in the first place, but it’s too late now. The damage has been done and it is permanent.

A number of other commentators see this event as a result of the divisive nature in political debate that has dominated the country’s airwaves for the last 25 years. At one time the rules were different. Politicians working inside the Beltway could use the nastiest and most scurrilous language to abuse and disabuse their foes in the halls of Congress. Whatever was said was entered in the Congressional Record of course, but there was an understanding that none of the rhetoric was personal. Hell, there have been reports down through the years that political adversaries on both sides of the aisle would meet over a brew, and slap each other on the back as they joked at Capital Hill watering holes.

That’s inside the Beltway. The voters, constituents and citizens living outside the Beltway have no such understanding of bygones being bygones. A few desperate, disillusioned individuals are easily influenced by the toxic rhetoric heard in Congress and later repeated in the media. These individuals obviously feel that the system doesn’t work for them, doesn’t apply to them, and that they should take matters into their hands. Obviously, the shooter in Arizona is one such individual.

There’s no way to fully understand what sets these people off, but we can speculate all we want, and we will. In the last few years, one group has shown itself to be aggressive in making their political feelings known. The media have been full of images of these people shouting down perceived enemies at public meetings, marching with signs printed with slogans in questionable taste, and generally creating for themselves a stereotype that they are a bunch of stubborn, narrow-minded zealots who will not give an inch to their opponents. Of course, I am referring to the Tea Party extremists who have taken the lead of the Republican Party.

Yes, it’s true that not all Tea Partiers act like they were never taught any manners. It’s also true that they, like the rest of America, have a right to making their views known. Still, the classic example of free speech is you can say whatever you want, but just don’t yell Fire! in a crowded theater. Unfortunately, many Tea Party people have been doing the equivalent of such a reckless act: yelling Fire! in the arena of political discourse.

There are a few good examples already noted in the case of Representative Gifford. Her opponent in the latest election offered supporters the chance to shoot off M-16s at a campaign event to defeat Gifford. What the hell this was meant to prove is beyond my liberal comprehension.

Then there is Tea Party diva Sarah Palin. In her campaign against Democratic politicians in the last election, she enumerated which ones were the most vulnerable to Tea Party conquest by using graphics on her Facebook page that are — in retrospect and in light of recent events — disgusting. In Gifford’s case, Ms. Palin overlaid the crosshairs of a gun onto a map depicting the representative’s district. As Gifford herself said in a televised interview, she was “targeted” for defeat by Palin. Couple this with the former governor’s use of the word “reload” to rile up the Tea Party base, and many people can easily draw a direct, logical line between her words and the shooter’s actions.

Perhaps this is unfair to Palin, but like it or not, this is the perception she and her Tea Party ilk has cultivated. Perception is the key word here. It may not be true, and it may not be factual, but it can be a bitch. Palin and company are feeling the backlash now. Now that the lives of the innocent have been sacrificed on the altar of extremism, it is time for both sides to stop shouting Fire!

(Thank you for reading on this, the 5th anniversary of arteejee!)

Friday, January 07, 2011

House of Tears

It is now official. The House of Representatives is back in Republican hands, and the new majority is vowing to turn back many of President Obama’s progressive achievements. The 112th Congress started with all of the usual pomp and circumstance, joy and tears. Speaking of tears, we’ll get to newly elected Speaker of the House John Boehner later.

The new majority brings with it a group of fresh faces to the halls of Congress. Naturally, we can’t expect the rookie Congress people to get everything right from the start. We’ll have to cut them some slack and grade their efforts on a learning curve. Sure, they’ll stumble for awhile, but eventually they’ll get used to the way things work inside the Beltway. The day they learn the whys and wherefores of legislating is the day they will stop legislating, because by then it will be time to start campaigning for another term.

Having said that, we should point out that there is a proper way to get laws passed. Oh, it’s way too complicated to detail it here in a nine paragraph blog entry. Suffice to say it involves debating an idea in a bipartisan committee, sending it to the floor of the House, debate it some more, vote on if the idea should be voted on, debate some more, vote on when it will be a good time to vote on the idea, debate some more, then...go home and campaign for the next election cycle.

This process should be reviewed by all of the incoming novice lawmakers, especially former NFL stand out John Runyan, newly elected representative from the Garden State, New Jersey. Please remember, Mr. Runyan, you must follow House rules if you want to get anything done. You can’t just roll a bill up into a ball, hoist it over your head and shout, “Yo, Boehner! Go long!”

We realize that this is another landmark moment in our nation’s history and like other great moments, it will be attended to with great displays of emotion. This is understandable, but come on, let’s restrain our feelings a little bit. Yes, I’m referring to Speaker of the House John Boehner.

The media has noted that Boehner has had a few “sad” episodes since the last election. I don’t know why he’s so sad. Somebody should tell him that his party won.

Boehner even shed a few tears upon his election as Speaker. Outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi was losing her job, but she handled the transition with grace and dignity. She didn’t cry! She didn’t lose control of her emotions! No, she kept a stiff upper lip while she handed the gavel to sissy man Boehner, who let the tears roll.

Do you know who should’ve cried, who earned the right to cry, but didn’t? Edward Kennedy! Let’s look at the facts: he served something like a gajillion terms in the Senate, all the while working to get universal health care for all Americans. Yet, no matter how hard he worked, his endeavors were ultimately in vain. Just think of the frustration he felt year after year, term after term! Yet, did he cry? Hell, no! Congress finally passed health care reform...after Teddy Kennedy died!

Someone should arrange for Tom Hanks to march down the aisle of the House, approach the Speakers chair, grab Boehner by the shoulders and yell at him, “There’s no crying in the House!!!!” Okay, Boehner, I’ll give you something to cry about. The politicians on your side of the aisle want to: repeal health care reform which will lead to millions more uninsured Americans and increase the deficit (according to a report released today by the Congressional Budget Office); repeal Wall Street reform which will bring on more bank abuses like we saw in 2008; and threaten to repeat the government shutdowns experienced during the Clinton administration with their hard-line stance against raising the debt ceiling.

Now there’s something to cry about.

Oh, I could go on how it is really okay for men to show some emotions that are considered less than manly and undignified, but our time grows short. It’s nearly time to start campaigning for 2012...

(Thank you for reading, and stop sniffling!)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Tucker Carlson Inquisition

The Philadelphia Eagles have been making headlines lately for a variety of reasons. One reason is their stumbling into the playoffs when the New York Giants lost a few weeks ago. Oh, it’s nice to in the playoffs, but it would have been nicer if we had gained this opportunity by actually winning a crucial game instead of depending on the misfortunes of another team.

Then there was another announcement made by Eagles management that made everyone take notice. Team owner Jeffrey Lurie announced that the Eagles home, Lincoln Financial Field, would be outfitted with wind turbines so that the stadium could produce its own energy. Any electrical power left over could be sold to the local utility for use elsewhere. This production would bring the stadium in line with team colors (i.e., green)!

The announcement caught the attention of President Obama, who interrupted his family vacation in Hawaii (the state where he was born, and incidentally a legal entity of the United States of America on the day he was born) to call Lurie and congratulate the team on this energy innovation. Then the President commended Lurie for signing Michael Vick, thereby giving him a second chance after his felony conviction for killing dogs. Once news of this conversation was leaked (Wikileaks leader Julian Assange was, surprisingly, not involved), all hell broke loose.

Of course as the old saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like Fox News”. It was here that one of their commentators, Tucker Carlson, condemned the President’s remarks and took the opportunity to pass judgment on Michael Vick. Carlson prefaced his comments by saying that he is a Christian who has made mistakes, but then went on to make statements as if he were perfect and above all reproach. He complained that Vick should have been executed for his crimes.

Whoa! Capital punishment for killing man’s best friend? Whatever would he recommend for jaywalking? Life in prison without parole? Note to self: never nominate, elect, appoint, or elevate Tucker Carlson to the position of God Almighty. Clearly, the man would take the job too seriously.

Other Fox commentators wondered aloud why the President would weigh in on the Michael Vick controversy. There are two reasons that Obama felt comfortable talking about Vick. One, as a Christian, he knows that Christianity not only allows for redemption and salvation — once the sinner has acknowledged that he/she has sinned — but it also allows for those who felt sinned against to forgive the sinner. Michael Vick did time and expressed remorse for his crimes; he fulfilled the first part of Christian atonement. Carlson and many animal rights activists have been unwilling to exercise the Christian act of forgiveness.

Damn this Christian ethos! It ruins all of our fun!

The second reason why the President spoke up about Michael Vick can be found in the Constitution. Now, let’s see, I know it’s in there somewhere...Preamble, Article One, Article Two...oh, yes, here it is...the First Amendment! Gee, it’s real close to the top of the document! However could you good, conscientious reporters at Fox News miss the part about freedom of speech?

No one will doubt that Michael Vick’s actions were despicable and reprehensible, and many will quibble that the law does not allow for a longer sentence for his offense. This aspect of justice may not seem fair, but for now that is the law as it is written and currently interpreted. Society at large has to accept it no matter what the Tucker Carlson inquisition decrees.

Let’s put it another way. Let’s see a show of hands of everyone who believes Michael Vick’s actions were repulsive and worthy of whatever punishment the law of the land meted out. Now let’s see a show of hands of everyone who believes that — God forbid if they themselves were found to have committed the same crimes — they deserve to have another chance to prove themselves worthy of living in a free society? Funny...I didn’t see anyone’s hands go down.

(Thank you for reading. Okay, it may not be the sport I follow faithfully, but what the hell: Go Iggles!)