Independence Doesn’t Spring From Ignorance

It’s no secret that many young Americans graduate from school with little more than the knowledge of where to find the cheat codes for the  Call of Duty electronic game. Only a small number know how to use a globe or know you have to pay interest on credit card debt. They expect to start jobs with $100,000 salaries…at McDonalds. And enough math skills to balance a checkbook? Fugetaboutit!

Every holiday a plethora of polls expose the latest statistics for American Dumbassness. This year it’s a July 4th Marist poll pointing out that only 26% percent of Americans (4o% of 18-29 year olds) don’t know which country we fought in the American revolution.

Clearly, we’ve done a bad job of educating our children and parenting them in such a way that they’re ready to learn basic skills. But then, it’s hard for a parent or teacher raised in a dysfunctional  href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education">educational system to teach subjects for which they’re only moderately better prepared than their students. Think of a copy machine. As you make copies of copies of copies, each new copy progressively degrades more.

Of course, there are many reasons for the collapse and just as many ideas of how to put the wheels back on the school bus. The Every Child Left Behind Act, school voucher programs, the abandonment of tried and true teaching methods and curricula, and cataclysmic budget cuts all do their part. Members of the ignorati, like Rick Santorum, simply believe only liberals are responsible.

It’s appalling that kids don’t know who we bested (geography lesson: not England – they aren’t the same thing) at Yorktown (crib note: it’s in Virginia along the York River). It’s even more appalling that parents, teachers, and politicians trying to win seats in the very heart of American democracy know just as little as the kids they’ve helped intellectually cripple.

American education policy is in a shambles. It seems all we can do about it is spew dogma at each other. Since dogma is a “big word”, here’s a little vocabulary help. One definition of dogma is, “a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds“. Do you know how I know that definition? I learned how to use a dictionary.

Study up kids. You should know what your soon-to-be adult screeds mean before you end up being incapable of delivering them.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Prongs and Sockets: Donohue Has a Short Between the Ears

Catholic League president Bill Donohue is outraged. Outraged because those damn gays are getting married. Bill says that if you open the door, a Rick Santorumesque world holds sway – threesomes and moresomes will suck all the life out of the Catholic church and bring the human race to ruination.

Bill’s outraged that nature disqualified homosexuals from parenting because they don’t have matching equipment. Yet, they insist on marrying to raise children within the framework of stable 2-parent couplings. Or as Bill more electrifyingly puts it, “I mean, let’s face it. If you want electricity, if you want juice, you can’t have two sockets touch each other or two prongs. The prong has to penetrate the socket.”

Make sure you have a good solid ground too.

Methinks Bill should think more about that whole, “the prong has to penetrate the socket” analogy though. Clearly, there are lots of gay prongs penetrating lots of gay sockets as we speak. Presumably lesbians would need to make other arrangements. Perhaps a turkey baster plug for their procreative sockets.

He’s afraid of dysfunctional Hallmark moments too. “We just had father’s day,” he explained. “What do you say to these kids when you have two mothers?”

How about, “excuse me Johnny you have two Daddies. We know that makes picking out a Father’s Day card a little tricky, but suck it up. Life’s hard kid.”

It seems this whole gay marriage thing is a bigger issue than holding Latin-only mass. What would happen if Fridays went fish-free? What if that papal infallibility thing turned out to be wrong? What would happen if Ratzie suddenly said, “Oops, it turns out that pedophiliac priests really aren’t very wholesome after all. Phew, glad I can make infallible corrections.”

Bill, priests are hard to come by these days and your congregations are shrinking. Isn’t it time you and Ratzie drag the church into the 16th century? A time when the Earth is round and the planets revolve around the sun? Americans are running from this medieval nonsense and that can’t be a good thing. Your Big Boss upstairs can’t be happy about your results and you know it’s not nice to fool with your Superior Being.

C’mon Bill, let’s plug Prong A into Slot B and catch up with the times.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Taxes: If They Do the Crime, Make Them Do the Time

Americans like to trumpet the belief that we’re a “nation of laws”. Unfortunately, our laws are unevenly enforced when enforced at all. Congress churns out dozens of laws every year, while at the same time, guaranteeing they’ll fail by not budgeting for enforcement. Tea partiers like to say that most corporate laws constitute “over-regulation”. However, one could make a reasonable case that we don’t over-regulate, we under-enforce – and a law unenforced is no law at all.

You could easily say the same for failing to pay personal taxes. There’s a burgeoning industry devoted to helping scofflaws avoid penalties for “cents on the dollar”. Apparently, assisting tax deadbeats is more profitable than chasing ambulances. Some might argue tax issues wouldn’t be a problem if the taxes were lower, but these negotiated settlements allow defendants to avoid punishment. “If you do the crime, you have to do the time (except as negotiated by Nasty, Rude, Brutish, and Short, LLP).”

America is also stuck in a swamp of economic gelatinous goo. Just to spite each other we’re cutting off everything with a nose to pass a budget that takes regular taxpayers back to government circa 1865 and pumping up the wealthy’s wealth to a tax-free 2082. Yet, here are two almost untouched revenue streams. We could take a bite out of crime and the budget by simply enforcing the laws we have.

If BP befouls the Gulf of Mexico or Exxon paints Prudhoe Bay a wonderful, multicolored rainbow sheen, let’s not negotiate a settlement for pennies on the dollar while they reap some mighty fine profits. Profits at least partly derived from the other 98 cents on the dollar you and I paid to clean up the flaming dog poop they left on our porch. And bonus – maybe they’d think twice before doing the same stupid, illegal things they did to cause the accident in the first place – a twofer that helps modify bad behavior and raise revenue at the same time.

SWEET!

And since corporations have equal to (or greater than) the rights of flesh and blood, private citizens it’s only fair we stop negotiating sweetheart deals for the proletariat too. Paying taxes is a legal obligation, not an optional thing you do only when it pays for school vouchers or Muslim extermination programs. Saying you cheated or didn’t pay your taxes because “everyone does it” is no excuse. Remember Momma’s rule, “If everyone jumped off a bridge into a Chevron-managed tar pit, would you do it too?”

Of course, these actions won’t make all the bad economics go away, but it will make the sharing of pain fairer, without taxing the rich one more penny. It’s time to stop whining about what we owe and pay up.

If they do the crime, make them do the time.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Christian College Bans National Anthem

In a bit of a twist, a Christian school has banned the National Anthem. “As a result of a thoughtful, thorough, prayerful period of listening, learning and discerning,” the Goshen College Board of Directors said, “it is the board’s judgment that continuing to play the national anthem compromises our ability to advance the vision (of Goshen College) together.”

What? None of the usual insistence that not wearing a flag pin makes you a traitor and not placing your hand over your heart is tantamount of crappingon Old Glory? Nope, because Goshen is a Mennonite college, a religion that is vehemently pacifistic and probably more devout than your run of the mill spaghetti dinner fund-raising crowd.

Many Americans conflate flag waving and God-fearing so I suspect many of them will look at Goshen’s decision as “politically correct” or an attempt to inflame the delicate sensibilities of the “true Christian” majority of conservative Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al.

(In fairness, that hasn’t happened on a wide scale yet even though one Catholic athelete seems a put off by it as are several of Goshen’s city council members. However, I suspect the story will gain traction soon.)

This is as a legitimate decision based on strong Mennonite religious beliefs, applied to their religion’s school, and in line with the belief that not singing about rockets glaring and flags still being there is a choice. In this case, a choice that doesn’t impinge on anyone else, secular or non-secular. The school even supports the ball player’s right to speak his mind.

It’s also in line with another important American value: Freedom. Being forced to sing the national ditty doesn’t perfectly symbolize respect for the country, nor does it diss the sacrifices of others. It exercises the free speech to say no and celebrates that freedom.

I’m an atheist and a veteran who does sing the anthem and put my hand over my heart, but I’m with these Christians on this one.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Michele Bachmann: Bikini or Nude?

It seems Michele Bachmann made a big splash at the Republican debates when she formally threw her hat into the ring. But, many of her supporters may have wished she’d thrown her panties in instead.

Within minutes of the debates ending, I noticed a large and growing spike in searches leading to my blog, The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! I didn’t think much about it, but when I checked more closely on Tuesday morning, I found almost 400 people had already ended up at Speaks! before 5 am by searching for “michele bachmann bikini”. As of noon today, we’re up to 950 hits with no end in sight.

That people search for the Minnesota beach babe isn’t particularly unusual. I’ve gotten steady traffic off her since I posted Michele Bachmann Thinks Obama Has a God Problem. That post contained a Photoshopped photo of Bachmann’s head atop a well-endowed body. She even holding a large automatic weapon just to tempt her Second Amendment followers.

What is unusual is that not once in the thousands of searches since that post debuted has anyone searched for photos of her nude. Considering another of my site’s top search terms is “marge simpson porn”, that  factoid sticks out. Even more surprising when learning the folks looking for Marge and Homer in flagranti are overwhelmingly from the most repressive Muslim countries.

In other words, Bachmaniacs are looking for relatively demure photos of a semi-real, trim, Minnesota soccer mom is a swimsuit, but people in even more repressed societies are going for full-on cartoon on cartoon sex (apologies to Rick Santorum).

I think it’s safe to say that most Bachmann followers are a little to the right … well, maybe far right … oh, who the hell are we kidding? They’ve gone so far right they’ve almost completed the circle and are closing in on Obama’s left. They’re pretty straight-laced. It’s an uber-evangelical crowd. Pat Robertson is a liberal to the Michelicans. They’re the core anti-gay marriage, have sex only for procreation, Planned Parenthood funding stripper cabal.

Could it be they’re so repressed they can’t allow themselves the pleasure of seeing an admittedly handsome MILF in her all together? Do they get a thrill when switching fantasies from  Michele in June Cleaver pearls and Republican cloth coat to a senior member of the Swedish Bikini Team? Is that just enough, but not too much temptation? Do they fear they’ll have to join Weiner’s wiener in therapy if they choose God-endowed skin over a Minnesota overcoat?

What does the gay-fearing Missus think about it? Does she see Michele as the Devil‘s Temptress come to steal her man or tempt him into a wide stance in the wrong public toilet? Are Daddy’s impure thoughts the same as a disgusting Congressoconstituent tete a tete with her church deacon hubby?

And when you compare these sex-addled, but demure searchers for skin to their Muslim counterparts, why is one repressed Devil’s spawn so much less repressed given the opportunity to gaze on the Minnesota Mom anonymously and privately? Could it be those evil 72 Virgins at work? Vile harpies!

There is a final solution to this unholy masturbation fantasy though, “Lock ‘em all up in FEMA concentration camps.”

Well helloooo new search phrase!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Paul Broun: The Sugar Plum Tea Bagger

The average American’s concept of government workers is that they lounge all day on comfy divans while being fanned by servants who peel grapes in return for fabulous riches and a retirement plan bigger than Bill Gates’. Oh, and they have guaranteed lifetime employment and don’t have to pay taxes either.

In other words, with the taxpayers all snug in their beds, visions of fairy tales dance in their heads.

Government Slackers
Where do the fairy tales come from? Why, from people like Tea Bagging, “Stupidest Member of Congress” nominee Rep. Paul Broun. In his words:

“We’ve got to stop the outrageous spending that’s going on. We hear the CBO says, well if we don’t raise the debt limit, it’s going to put so many people out of work. I don’t remember the number, I think it’s 250,000 or something, are gonna be put out of work. Well, those are gonna be government employees that are put out of work.

There aren’t many people who’d argue cuts are unneeded. Private sector workers – who apparently have “real jobs” -  are losing them, unlike their company’s top executives. It’s only fair that true inefficiencies in government be rooted out and with it, unfortunately, their jobs. Sharing the pain at moments like this can’t be helped.

However, choosing the “250,000 or something” candidates based on the assumption they’re goldbrickers is arrogant as hell. Who exactly are these people and does Broun know one damn thing about them or their jobs? Well, if he can’t remember whether there are 2 or 250,000 lazy government sponges it seems he’s maybe a little fuzzy on the details.

Broun apparently thinks cutting government is easy – as easy as pulling out his trusty chainsaw and going all Paul Bunyan on it. He could come up with the whole deal by simply cutting the military. They have 3 million troops, what could be easier? Hey, needlessly getting your ass shot off to protect some crapulent Afghan thieves and Congressional goobers is about as cushy a federal job there is. Just ask the troops. But, make sure they’re unarmed first.

DIY Flowbeeing
What about the personal Congressional staffers and Capitol police? We can do without them. I don’t have a staff and still have enough time to watch Broun embarrass himself on C-SPAN. Hey, just for good measure lets can the Capitol barbers and lazy ass Congressional Dining Room staff too. I’m sure Broun’s hoi polloi would be more than agreeable to Flowbeeing their own hair, bussing their own tables, and washing their own dishes. They might even have enough time to take calls from lobbyists when they’re done with their effortless tasks.

But perhaps the greatest savings would be to cut just one supremely indolent government employee. I believe his name is Paul Broun. The savings on his perks, free healthcare, and better than private sector pension could finance the Global War of Error for about 6 minutes. His free franking privileges are probably worth a couple thousand, easy. Besides, he and his cronies have control of the purse strings and are clearly honest enough to make these mandatory cuts. I trust ‘em, don’t you?

I know it’s a lot to ask of politicians these days, particularly one bagging so much tea the Lipton Tea Taster would get a hard-on, but could they please understand what they’re saying before they say it? I imagine government employees would really appreciate it.

And, so would the rest of us.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Weiner: He’s Not Stupid, He Just Likes Showing His Hot Links

Anthony Weiner was stupid. Anthony Weiner displayed the critical thinking skills of your average tree stump. Anthony Weiner embarrassed himself, his wife, and Congress – at least to the extent you can embarrass a den of thieves and charlatans. Heck, Mom and Daddy Big Weiner probably should’ve thought seriously about aname change to save their son a lifetime of tedious jokes too. But then, the millions of people who dingle their dangly bits in front of any convenient cell phone camera are stupid too.

Absent violating the law,what a person does in the privacy of their own photo booth is no concern of mine, or yours either. The famous and powerful may not put their pants on one leg at a time, but they still share some of the same foibles as the rest of the Great Unwashed. For example, extreme pride of your junk and wanting the world to see just how wonderful it truly is.

Americans expect their rich and famous to be clay-footed. We take delight – or sometimes faux sanctimonious objection – to their self-destructive behavior. It’s what keeps NASCAR growing – a car crash is an awful thing, but it’s damn sure interesting.

When a Dick is Really a Weiner
But mixed into those America’s Funniest Home Video-style crotch shots we harbor a mixed standard for celebrity behavior. The only difference between how the Honorable Mr. Weiner behaved and how “actor” Andy Dick behaves is occupation. When Dick shows his dick it’s sort of funny in that, “Look, that lunatic goob is at it again” way. When Weiner waves his Weiner, it’s a travesty of the first order, demanding resignation, eternal ridicule, and the opportunity to return to private life where he can waggle his Weiner or patronize Heidi Fleiss and no one would be the wiser.

That’s not to say I always give them a free pass. If the amateur photo enthusiast loudly preaches the opposite of what he doth practice, I assume he’s fair game for charges of hypocrisy and an extra spoonful of castor oil for his trouble. But that doesn’t mean I’m for firing them. Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, I’m talkin’ to you!

But if a little hanky panky is grounds for a Sharia-style stoning, we wouldn’t be able to raise a quorum in Congress or scrape enough tattooed thugs together for a pickup game in any NBA arena or NFL stadium in the country.

An assessment of their critical thinking skills is in order too. Getting a BJ under the Oval Office desk while fantasizing an S&M session with Angela Merkel and simultaneously negotiating a nuclear treaty probably is critical thinking gone intolerably awry. Getting a BJ under the desk while on a coffee break and there are no wars breaking out or financial collapses du jour, not so much.

And that stupidity thing?

They Got Elected Didn’t They?
Most of these pervs are nothing if not smart in their own way. They managed to get elected didn’t they? They know the consequences and carry on anyway. I don’t agree with the conventional analyst couch wisdom that they secretly want to be caught either. I think they do it because they spend all day with dozens of people telling them how wonderful and powerful they are and that anything is possible with only a Caesar’s slight thumbs down toward the losing gladiator.

They do it because of hubris. Their already significant egos become more grotesque the longer they listen to their own puffery. A few years of that and most of us would develop the mistaken impression we could will Tweets invisible, erase video tape, or lie ourselves out of a pinch like some new X-Man.

Remember, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones – but breaking some glass will be the least of your worries.

Especially, if the stone bounces off some high and mighty’s head and smacks you square between the eyes.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Rep. Joe Walsh, What About You?

Frosh Republican Rep. Joe Walsh – thankfully not related to the musician who’s 100 times more intelligent, even accounting for his heavy recreational pharmaceutical use -  thinks President Care Bear was elected because, “he pushed that magical button: a black man who was articulate, liberal, the whole white guilt, all of that.”

I’ll concede Obama’s articulate, but if Bush the Lesser had been more articulate maybe we might have understood what he was mumbling before it was too late to stop the moron. Trivially, but as for being black, his census block is marked “mixed”.

But, the guilt?


Is the Race Glass Half Guilty?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m white. I voted for him. In fact, I’ve voted exclusively for white men in every election I’ve cast a vote, despite women and blacks running in all of them. I didn’t guiltily (or half-guiltily) vote for him because he’s (half) black, nor articulate, nor particularly liberal. And, my current dislike of him isn’t for any of those reasons either.I’m not happy because I don’t think his policies are very good – but I knew that going in. I also knew that compared to the other jackwads running, he was golden.

I reluctantly voted for him because John McCain showed the critical thinking skills of a ham sandwich in picking his running mate, has a skin thinner than a condom, and panders to anyone whose zipper his arthritic fingers can pull down.

In other words, if Obama won on who he is, McTheusela lost on who he is.

Neither do I think that every person who voted against him is racist, an idiot, or a Nazi (sanity I can’t vouch for). And, I don’t know that he got any more of a free ride from the media than McTheusela either. Media attention waxes and wanes on what pulls in the numbers and that unfortunately changes based on no formula in any textbook I know of (even the ones that tout Creationism).

Never Count on Great Legs to Save the Day
Early on, in fact, the talking heads had Johnny elected before anyone even knew who Obama was. Later, I think you could also make a pretty good argument that the media fawned over Gov. Mosselini based on her inarticulateness and great legs. No one made her speak stupidly. The legs are genetic.

Joe, even if all your charges are true … even if there was white guilt … even if there were black racists and whites as pure as, well, the driven (white) snow … even if there were people who inexplicably liked a person who could talk, there is one immutable fact: you, a white, inarticulate, non-racist, thin-skinned, whining Republican Tea Bagger managed to get elected.

How do you explain that?

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Pissing on an Imaginary Tree

It’s de rigueur for small government advocates to carp about government intrusion, over-regulation, or the wisdom of forcing laws down to local levels, sometimes at the risk of being inconsistent.

Inconsistency is bipartisan and a product of trying to solve difficult problems without context or tainted by personal economic preferences or moral beliefs that others don’t share.

Fair-Weather Libertarians
For example, gay marriage. Many fair-weather libertarians, Tea Partiers, and conservatives support the federal Defense of Marriage Act, despite its codifying government meddling in personal lives. The position creates a conflict between a personal moral decision and a fear of Big Brotherism. One can’t make a black and white argument for both. You either have to sacrifice a little personal morality or soften some iron-clad objections to government meddling.

So, let’s look at a new issue within the paradigm of small government, regulation, and personal freedom – the state of California requiring porn actors use condoms to cut STDs for professional pud-wielders and, by extension, the rest of us.

The decision’s already at a state level, so one point for the local decision crowd.

But, it should be a regulation bother for the strict, anti-regulation folks. More unsheathed boffing, more big bonuses for horny porny CEOs. Almost nothing is more profitable than porn in a free-market.

Schtuping for Hire
Yet, many with a pantload of self-proclaimed piety wouldn’t object if Big Brother and the Choking Company moved in and outlawed porn altogether, not withstanding government’s interference in schtuping for hire.

Most people would prefer a sharply delineated world where decisions are a binary yes or no. But, they also want exclusive moral notions of right or wrong, despite what that means to everyone else.

When they catch others in their inconsistency trap, they’re powerful anti-inconsistency wolverines scarfing up the carrion. When they catch their leg in the trap they’ll chew it off to explain their own inconsistencies with arguments as weak as an elementary school debate team’s.

News flash. The world is complex. The world is capricious. Big, small, or medium government isn’t the answer on its own. Neither is keeping everything we’re already swimming in. Sometimes yes is no and sometimes no is yes. Anyone who thinks the world should always be totally fair or consistent or based solely on their morals or ideology is a dog pissing on an imaginary tree.

And, it gets the rest of our shoes smelly and wet.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

Eric Cantor: Whatever Happened to ‘Compassionate Conservatives’?

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wise words. Words that set the US apart from all other nations when written, but teetering dangerously close to losing their meaning today. The idea of shared beliefs that translate into shared pain and generosity do little to “promote the general Welfare” today. We’ve become a nation of skinflints and screamers whose idea of sharing is limited to how to get a 110% refund on our taxes while using services those taxes are designed to build and “promote (for) the general welfare”. We’ve become 311 million independent nationettes that use the few remaining examples of “the Blessings of Liberty” to ruin any trace of importance in the words, “we”, “common”, “ourselves”, or “our”.

My opponents often remind me that, in their opinion, I’m not one of “the people”. But since I escaped Michele Bachmann’s FEMA-run concentration camps and allowed myself to be counted – I like to think I’m citizen 311,382,611, with a valid long-form birth certificate and everything  – I believe I’m entitled to join the exclusive club of US citizens whether I believe health care, religious freedom, or speaking to your Muslim neighbors is the thing to do or not. So here’s my two cents worth:

I’m appalled at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Obstructistan) demand that aid for families lashed by two of the worst tornado outbreaks on record must wait while Congress goes argues over whether oil company aid or health care should be cut to balance the budget.

This is not how a nation supposedly “ordained and established” as a “perfect union” behaves. It’s how a despot owned and operated country in the throes of the Arab Spring acts. And it is disgraceful.

Yes, we are a nation with big problems – problems partially caused by many of the same people who spent us into the hole and now trumpet no taxes uber alles I might add. We do need some government reorganization with more transparent accountability and proper authority. We do need to set spending priorities more in line with our “shared” needs. We do need to cut spending. All of that is inarguable. But should these victims of acts of nature be forced to sit in their heavily mortgaged piles of rubble” without the help of their 311 million neighbors, regardless if they live in the heartland of Tea Party fever and Cantorian nonsense?

I think not. Let’s come together to make this the American Spring before zealotry, hyper-partisanship, and incompetence violates our”established and ordained” prescription to “insure domestic tranquility”, before we become de facto members of the Arab Spring.

That is what “we the people” were “ordained” to do.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

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