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

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three Women (of Questionable Intelligence and Judgement)

The comments and escapades of three women have percolated up into my sights and I feel compelled to throw my two cents at them. No, I won’t throw each of them two cents. Two cents is all they get; they’ll have to fight over who gets short-changed. 

First: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has expressed buyer’s remorse about the Court accepting the Gore vs. Bush case in 2000. Their decision propelled Bush the Younger into the White House even though there were (and are) questionable doubts of whether he had attained a true vote majority from the American electorate. O’Connor has recently commented that they should have refused the case, and not compound the problems brought on by Florida election officials who handled the election badly.

Now she tells us!

Thank you, Ms. O’Connor, for your entry in this year’s “Golden Duh” award. We can forgive your actions once we get over the fact that the resulting Bush terms represent eight years of our lives we’ll never get back; if we overlook the failed economic policies of the Bush administration that exacerbated the Great Recession; or the war in Iraq when we should have focused our total military operations on Afghanistan; or… On second thought, it might be a while before we can find it in our hearts to forgive your transgressions.

Second: Tila Tequila, who’s had more than enough time in the “Fifteen Minutes of Fame” than she deserves, has posted an Internet video showing her ability to make electricity out of thin air. Tequila's initial brush with celebrity fame happened when she shed her clothes and posed nude in men’s magazines. Okay, so there’s not much talent to do that, but later she had a reality show in which both men and women performed the most unusual stunts (example: eating bull testicles) just to get into her pants. Now that I think about it, she did not wear pants very often, so it may not have been such a hard task to sleep with her after all.

The video has a clunky title: Super Human Abilities: Tila Tequila Creating Energy Balls and Electricity Out of Thin Air. The video lasts seven minutes, 30 seconds in which she demonstrates how she is able to create smoke, green and purple lights, and sparkles from her fingertips as she holds her hands as if she were holding a ball. She describes what the viewer is seeing as it happens, which is a good thing, because there is no smoke (and no mirrors for that matter), no lights of any color, and certainly no sparkles.

Another seven minutes and 30 seconds of my life frittered away on nothing. For those playing along at home, that makes eight years (thanks again, W.), seven minutes and 30 seconds of my life that I’ll never get back.

As I watched the video, all I could think of was snake oil and the fraudulent medicine men who plied such products from the backs of wagons in our country’s history. I realize that Ms. Tequila has had her share of tragedy in recent years — several rehab stays, the death of her fiancé — but does she have to compound her difficulties by showing herself as delusional as Karl Rove about the Bush legacy? I hope she gets help again, soon.

So, hey, we’re talking about women, delusional and possibly stupid, which of course brings us to arteejee blog sex symbol Sarah Palin!!!!!!

The Divine Ms. P has embarrassed herself on several fronts recently. As a mama grizzly cultural critic, she rebuked President Obama for speaking out on his support of women’s reproductive rights at a Planned Parenthood convention. She regurgitated the small, old, tired, conservative mantra that Planned Parenthood accepts billions in government funding and that most of this organization's activities involve abortions.
The media have taken pains to point out the problems with this argument. Abortions represent only a miniscule amount of the women’s health activities Planned Parenthood undertakes. The majority of their services involve performing mammograms and cancer screenings. Also, a law called the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding from financing abortions.

Conservatives: what part of the Hyde Amendment don’t you understand?

Next, Ms. Palin expanded her resume as dinner critic when she tweeted that the White House Correspondents Dinner was “pathetic”.  (I’m guessing she also saw the Tila Tequila video.) At a time when many Americans are struggling, she criticized the annual event to honor the Washington Press Corps.

Oh sure, when there’s a Republican in the White House, it’s okay to attend this event which can only foster understanding between the media and politicians, and, for that matter, politicians and other politicians. It’s this type of outreach which is sorely needed in our federal government right now. Anyone who criticizes it can only enjoy wallowing in the status quo stagnation of divisive government.

Delusional…stupid…Sarah Palin! A good fit!

(Thank you for reading. Belated happy birthday to my little brother, Don! Hope you had a good 51st!)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Snort Bites – April 2013


This is one comedian I’ve followed since the mid-60s. I remember him more for his variety show from that time period, and his syndicated show, The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters, than from his later work on Mork and Mindy. He would be joined by Charley Weaver on a regular basis in his variety show.  In Wacky World he would be let loose in a room full of props arranged like someone’s attic, pick up a relic from the past and just build an entire routine around it. In another segment, he was interviewed portraying the character Fagan from Oliver Twist. The question was asked, “Whatever happened to the Artful Dodger?” His answer, with a wide grin: “We traded him to the Phillies!”

His humor spilled over into his hobby: abstract painting. My favorite: The New Member, which depicts a Klan meeting with a black cross, a parade of white hoods, followed by a black hood. It’s a testament to his status as an iconic comic that Norman Rockwell included him in an illustration for a magazine story (Saturday's People Magazine). It’s not hard to pick out Winters’ face from a crowded sidewalk; he’s even easier to spot as Rockwell depicts the comic dressed as a nun!

Rest in Peace, Mr. Winters.


What an unexpected and pleasantly progressive surprise! It caught me off guard because I’ve always thought of France as being…you know, so butch!
I know, cheap shot! Sorry, couldn’t resist!


Isn’t Mitch McConnell wonderful? He proves once again why Will Rogers believed that the best comedy writers in the country are serving in Congress!

Soooo, let’s get this straight, once and for all. Congress proposes the idea of sequester as a way to force themselves to negotiate a balance budget. It is reasoned that the cuts built into the sequester are so severe that any reasonable lawmaker would surely make any sort of deal to avoid the cuts from becoming reality. Well, we all know what happened: Congress outsmarted (or if you prefer out-fooled) themselves and failed to reach a deal with the Obama administration, and the sequester went into effect.

McConnell’s remarks make it sound like he was taken by surprise that the air traffic controller furloughs would adversely affect so many Americans. Perhaps if he had taken his head out of the sand long enough, he would have heard the dire warnings about airport delays, which the Obama administration issued in the month before the sequester took effect. The whole episode proves that the honorable gentleman from Kentucky has more balls than brains!

On the other hand, McConnell’s actions can’t match the massive delusions harbored by American President #43….


In the days leading up to the opening of the George W. Bush Library, the media focused its attention on the 43rd President and dared to ask him how he felt about his legacy. 
(Editor’s Note: Arteejee hereby lifts and rescinds its self-imposed five year moratorium on poking satirical jabs at George W. Bush.)

The problem is that President Bush took the question seriously, actually answered the question as if anyone cared what he thought, and thereby stuck his cowboy boots into his mouth.

Soooo, let’s get this straight, once and for all. He has no regrets about giving tax breaks to the wealthy while doing virtually nothing to cut spending; started two wars with no way to pay for them; and oversaw the worst recession in our country’s history? No regrets, huh?

To paraphrase Paul Simon, “Still delusional after all these years!”

(Thank you for reading. In memory of Maude Frickert and Chester Honey Hugger.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Applying Prohibitions Lessons to Today

Anne Marie and I recently ventured down to the National Constitution Center to view a temporary exhibit, “The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”, being that time period in American history between 1920 and 1933 when America was “dry”. Actually, America never went totally dry during this time, which is why the “noble experiment” of Prohibition is usually seen as being a dismal failure. The exhibit went beyond the romanticism of Al Capone’s Chicago and speakeasies; it demonstrated that it was not a total failure and is a cautionary tale for us today nearly 100 years later.

Prohibition happened because late 19th century America had a drinking problem. At that time, Americans consumed an average of 7 gallons of alcohol per year for every man, woman, and child in the country. Believe it or not, this is more than is being consumed today, which may come as a shock to those of us who attended college in the last 40 years where binge drinking nearly became a major all its own. Reformers and Progressives rallied state-by-state, gathering support from a wide variety of Americans who normally would never have given each other the time of day, until finally the 18th Amendment (prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating beverages within US borders) was ratified.
Sound familiar? No? Let’s press on.

Prohibition has become noteworthy for giving birth to modern organized crime and spurring a rise in government corruption. The exhibit didn’t gloss over these details, but it did bring to light facts that are not as well known, such as:

1. The need to get the law passed nationwide led to a key group supporting the temperance movement gaining their right to vote, namely women. Women’s suffrage was accelerated because reformers needed their support for prohibition.

2. The 18th Amendment did not outlaw the consumption of intoxicating beverages; the logic here was based on the idea that prosecuting consumers would not lead authorities to the hooch suppliers, who it was felt were the real criminals.

3. Once Prohibition was enacted, the federal government couldn’t bring itself to adequately fund enforcement of the law. The disparity between thousands of government agents trying to stop booze from being delivered to millions of decidedly thirsty Americans was one reason that the law was set up for failure.

4. The law did not stop Americans from drinking, but it did slow us down. Alcohol consumption per capita decreased during Prohibition and has never returned to its late 19th century levels.

5. The idea of outlawing liquor presented governing authorities with a funding dilemma; booze sales were heavily taxed and taking this away could lead to financial hard times for local, state, and federal governments. Passage of the 16th Amendment giving the federal government the right to levy an income tax on all Americans solved this problem. One hundred years later we still haven’t decided if this was good thing or not.

6. Just as the 16th Amendment removed the economic barrier for prohibition, the dire economic conditions of the Great Depression sealed Prohibition's doom. It was reasoned that repealing the 18th Amendment would bring jobs to thousands of Americans in the brewing and transportation industries. And so it was written, and so it was done!

Why should we bother to be mindful of the lessons which Prohibition taught us?  Because we - and this is where this lesson turns very dark - are about to do it again. This time the target will be women’s reproductive rights.

We are already seeing legislative movements in various states restricting a woman’s access to abortion. Critics of these new laws warn that many clinics will be forced to shut down, taking not only a woman’s right to choose, but also taking away the only affordable venue in many areas to detect breast cancer and other diseases. The state legislators appear to be indifferent to these arguments.

In our area, the horrors of the Kermit Gosnell trial - a physician who operated a women’s clinic in West Philadelphia - has been followed closely here, but is getting scant attention (or so the conservative right would have us believe) elsewhere. Dr. Gosnell is accused of killing a woman while performing an abortion, and murdering seven babies who had survived the late term procedure which his unlicensed facility offered. The clinic had not been inspected in 17 years, a fact that the conservative right has been more than happy to lay on the door step of the last few (coincidentally pro–choice) governor administrations in Pennsylvania. Granted, the inspections should never have lapsed and now the laissez-faire attitude is coming back to haunt the pro-choice movement.

The pro-life movement at the state levels could snowball until we see a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion actually considered for ratification. It would appear that the current crop of reformers is ignorant of history’s lessons. Many may dismiss humans as stupid animals when it comes to learning lessons from its past mistakes, but this a pessimistic oversimplification. Rather, man’s arrogance that mistakes won’t be repeated leads to the mistakes happening anyway.

So what could a constitutional amendment banning abortion bring? The closing of many facilities devoted to diagnosing women’s health; watch for cancer rates to skyrocket in poor and rural communities. Also watch for more unregulated clinics like Gosnell’s to flourish and prosper as the procedure will be driven underground and exploited by those less scrupulous members of our society. Undoubtedly, this may lead to hundreds of thousands of more deaths as happened at the Gosnell Clinic. There could also be an attendant rise in violent crime as those less scrupulous individuals protect their business ventures from hostile take-over or law enforcement closures; more mayhem, more death.

A new amendment would demand more resources for enforcement. This funding is unlikely to happen, particularly in the current legislative mood to cut programs. It would not surprise me if the conservatives adopted a naïve notion that abortion doesn’t exist because it is illegal, therefore why do we need to fund enforcement?

Now does this sound familiar?

We need to learn the lessons from Prohibition quickly, or we will repeat our mistakes at the cost of thousands of lives.

(Thank you for reading. What can I say: sometimes history is dark.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Strange Week of Disappointments

We are fast approaching the end of a strange, hectic week. Work as usual leaves me psychologically drained at the end of the each day. Then there is an extra added attraction to keep me otherwise distracted from my already too full life: my uncle fell out of bed on Monday night and fractured his hip. He has been transported to a hospital and as I write this rough draft (Wednesday PM) he is in the OR.

Then beyond my life, the world at large had some strange things happen. For example:

Several months ago the Southern Poverty Law Center issued its annual report on hatred in America. The report is usually an eye-opening accounting of all the hate groups in the country. This year, there were more hate groups than ever, over 1300 hate, survivalist, and patriot groups, some vowing to take back the government by force if they see fit to do so. Their proliferation has been pinned on Obama’s re-election and his subsequent push for gun control. The report, most startlingly this year, noted a comparison in the overall mood among hate groups this year with the same time period in 1993 when Oklahoma City was bombed.

At the time the report was issued, MSNBC spent a few hours analyzing the current year in hate, and wondered aloud if our government was adequately monitoring these groups. Then, the strange part happened: a bombing in Boston on Monday killed three and injured over 170.  It seems that the SPLC prediction came true.

So, who did it? While the wheels of justice roll slowly forward, the rest of us can speculate who did it and why. The SPLC has given us a wide number of the usual suspects to choose. Then again, any group bent on terror and eager to heighten their street cred would have claimed responsibility by now. This hasn’t happened. This may boil down to some type of lone wolf Timothy McVeigh character who felt he/she had to make a point in a dramatic fashion.

Meanwhile in Washington…

Two days later, the long anticipated vote on expanded background checks on gun sales was held in the Senate. The vote promised to be a nail-biter, but in the end the majority of our elected officials chose to give aid and comfort to the criminal element by voting down the bi-partisan proposal. It’s as if they didn’t hear about the Boston attack at all. Once again, wild-eyed Wayne-LaPierre-inspired insanity triumphed over common sense.

It was voted down! Unflippingbelievable! I guess it did not have enough support from the people to get it passed. Oh, wait, polls showed that 90% of Americans supported the stronger background checks on gun sales. Gee, that’s 9 out of every 10 Americans were in favor of this idea. In other words, nearly everyone wanted this bill to pass! Again, unflippingbelievable!

Opponents of the bill have argued that it would do little good since criminals don’t obey laws. Well, duh, I guess that’s what makes them criminals. Yet this “logic” could be extended to the extreme that maybe we shouldn’t have any laws at all. Why have any guidelines at all if the “criminal element” refuses to obey them? Indeed, why do we go through this charade of electing officials and charge them with the tasks of defining rules that are suppose to ensure that all of us live long, productive, and happy lives?

This country could save billions if we just eliminated Congress, for all the good they’ve done the American people this year.

And, oh yeah, the Phillies dropped three straight to the Cincinnati Reds.

Overall, it’s been a deeply disappointing and dissatisfying week. It is enough to make the sanest of liberals throw their hands in the air and ask, “What’s the point?”

(Thank you for reading. Sorry if I’m coming off as a bit Grouchy today, and not at all Harpo-ish.)