Saturday, April 09, 2005

Bonfire of the Absurdities...
The two ugliest people in Britain just got married today. Fortunately, to each other.

I cannot pretend to know much, nor care much, about the soap opera that revolves around Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles (by the way, does her name now become Parker-Bowles-Windsor?). I'm not at all eager to get caught up in the Diana-vs.-Camilla debate, only because I'd have taken Diana to the woodshed and made a proper woman out of her, if you get my drift. Besides, the whole thing seems rather stupid. Diana is dead, unfortunately, and whatever you might think about how sad and tragic the whole episode was, you have to remember that the woman worked her way up to potential-Queen-of-England and lived a life of royal luxury. The most tragic part of Diana's story is that she managed to get killed in France. If given the choice, I'd rather die in a filthy back alley in Khartoum of blood poisoning brought on by an infected flea bite.

Be that as it may, somehow, a Royal Wedding still holds fascination for the American public 230 years after we broke away from the Monarchy. The closest thing we have to the Royal Family here is the Kennedy Clan, and other than one tragic and one well-deserved death (you decide which was which) , we only keep watching because the Kennedy's keep finding strage ways to die. We must be interested since the wedding took up the majority of the morning airtime on all the major 24-hr cable networks.

Which leads to an interesting (to me, anyway) psychological question: despite the fact that we are a pluralistic, democratic, non-monarchial republic, populated by people who can trace their ancestry back to every shithole on the planet, why is it that we will stop dead in our tracks to watch a Royal Wedding, and dissect every moment of it as if it were the Super Bowl? Why this continued fascination with Royalty?

The closest explanation I can come up with would have me laughed out of any reputible bar within 200 miles, but here it goes. It has to do with the differences between men and women. Mind you, I'm not a doctor and I have a few screws loose, so I could be talking out of my ass for all I know. But like I've said before, this is my blog and I'll let my mental flotsam and jetsom out whenever I want to.

If you're a man, you watch a Royal Wedding because here's a future King, one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet, and he's marrying something that looks like it was dragged out of the swamp by your labrador retriever. You watched him marry Diana because yo lusted after her and envy compelled you to try to figure out how a beuatiful girl like that hooked up with such a dweeb. She would have been much better of with you, you know.You watched because you were compelled to engage in that mental monologue about how even the ugliest people on the planet can get the finest babes, if they have money and fame. Envy is a perfectly normal human emotion, after all. Now, you watch and try to figure out how one of the most powerful and richest men on the planet managed to marry his high school lunch lady.

If you're a woman, then the whole Royal Wedding reinforces your fictions and fantasies about fairy princesses and Cinderella, with a smattering of romance-novel pomp and majesty added for good measure. Women watch and fantasize that, one day, although they may not be marrying an honest-to-God-heir-to-the-throne, that their own wedding day will be just like that;
Horsemen in livery, silver trumpets, red carpets, living in a palace, millions of eyes focused on HER, and to top it off, a man who can provide her with her every whim, and have it delivered on a silver platter by servants, no less.

Men watch to drool over the bride (not this one, of course), women watch to retreat into the world their mother told them existed (and that they deserved), but which really doesn't.

I just wish my choice of TV this morning wasn't between the Royal Nuptuals and Women's Curling on ESPN.
The Papal Peanut Gallery...
The fallout from the death of John Paul II is still settling, or should I say, beginning to get very unsettling.

From what I read today, the Germans, those stalwart catholics who brought us the Second Crusade, Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler, are beginning to make loud, obnoxious noises about wanting a more 'liberal' Pope. I'm sure this isn't the desire of all German Catholics, merely the ones that got to the media with a snazzy press release first, and which, thanks to the miracle of mass media, will now be presented as the collective will of all German Catholics.

Germany, for those of you who haven't been, is one of the weirdest places on the planet. It's a place where 40 year-old men with back hair slip into leather pants three sizes too small and wiggle as if they were the sexiest objects in the universe. It's a place where illicit sexual encounters in cemetaries are considered the proper way to cap a night out on the town. Germany is the place where prostitutes (steered onto this career path by Government Employment offices) are forced to join a union, whether they want to or not. The Germans are probably, as a whole, the most permissive society on the entire European continent as well as the second most disgusting (the French still hold that title).

What's really at work here, and not only in Germany, is that those who wish to live in a more secular, permissive society are always looking for other ways (besides crying and complaining a lot) to prop up their view of how things should be. Having a Pope that was more 'liberal' (i.e. a rubber stamp to behavior pooh-poohed by JP II) is just another way of making it happen.

Imagine, if you will, an inebriated man, dressed as a clown, caught in the act of screwing a daschund. In Germany, you have the right to do that, even if there is still a segment of the population that considers it wrong on moral grounds. If a 'liberal' Pope should suddenly decide that bestiality was not a sin, that freak could point to Papal acceptance of his deviance and avoid universal scorn. There would be less of a stigma attached to his disgusting behavior if one of the moral regulators of his society were to decide his perversion was not, in fact, a perversion.

And that is the whole idea behind a secular society to begin with: to remove stigmas.

Stigmas are nasty things to a liberal, interfering with the human imperative to engage in complete chaos because you felt like it. It's easy to be a liberal; you merely need to feel and react, rather than think about your actions and their consequences.

That's why the stigmas attached to homosexuality, abortion, birth control, euthanasia, and bestiality must be removed, by any means possible. It absolves one from having to deal with guilt, fear of being found out, censure by the community as a whole, and allows you to simply do as you please. Remember that phrase, "Do as YOU Please".

Once you begin to deconstruct the very carefully crafted 'unwritten laws' of society, you invite the unintended consequences. Once you remove the stigma from poverty, it's okay to be poor. Remove it from crime and suddenly no one is a criminal. Do as you please: rob a bank, kill Grand Ma before her cancer treatments ruin you financially, shoot heroin, engage in a 'lifestyle choice' that exposes you to AIDS, and finally, screw a pooch in a cemetary. It's okay because it will no longer be illegal, nor will we even look down upon you or even giggle anymore. The Pope said you could do it, so that makes it right.

These are the kinds of people who want to live in a world where there are no absolutes, except one --- the absolute that the individual is the Alpha and Omega, and screw the rest of you. It never occurs to them, however, that the rest of us, if we thought that way, would be individuals with the same agenda and that what goes around, comes around. They'd also be the first to kick, cry and complain when they are victimized by the very behavior they excuse or condone.

Never mind your 'liberal' Pope. I'd like another one just like the one we had.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Goodbye to A Great Man...
Watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II this morning, I was struck by an intense sadness, both at the passing of the man and at the apparent passing of tradition.

In the week prior to my main man shuffling off this mortal coil, the talking heads were all a-buzz about the possibility of the catholic Church changing it's doctrine and dogma to more easily conform to our ever-increasing secular society. To hear it, one would think that the biggest obstacle to changing an institution long in need of an overhaul was JPII Himself. You could almost see the salivation around the mouths of ex-hippy nuns, sort-of-but-not-quite-disgraced ex-priests, the usual crowd of loonies representing euthanasia, abortion and gay rights, as they plotted the new assault against the one institution that has, thus far, resisted their efforts.

A lot of chatter about married priests. More balloon juice about women priests. A slew of verbal diarrhea about the Church softening it's stand on brith control. Lot's of talk about a church that is expanding in the Third World electing a third-world Pope for the sake of diversity. It was disgusting to watch. The man wasn't even dead yet and they were already circling like vultures. When he finally died, then the nasty stuff came out. John Paul II, to these idiots, was the biggest impediment to true human utopia since Josef Stalin.

I'm not a theologian, and granted, I'm not even a practicing Catholic. But, I was brought up in the Church, educated in it's schools, and from where I sit, there's nothing wrong with it from the standpoint of what the Church preaches. Sure, there is a mess to be cleaned up in several areas: priests molesting children, the lack of parish priests, getting the laity more involved. These are issues of management, not doctrine.

Why should priests be married? Catholic doctrine states that a married priest has divided loyalties and thus, cannot serve God to his fullest potential. Becoming a priest is voluntary; there are no Shanghai gangs sitting in front of seminaries waiting for hapless victims to impress into service. If the argument is that a married priest is far less likely to turn to children for sexual gratification, then guess again. Pedophiles come in all colors -- even married. If the argument is that allowing priests to marry increases the likelihood that more young men will turn to the church as a career, because they will not have to sacrifice their personal happiness, then that cuts no ice, either. The main thrust of Catholic theology is sacrifice for the benefit of others in the name of love. What greater and more meaningful sacrifice could one make then to forego the happiness of marriage and family for the sake of serving others?

Female priests? You have a better chance of catching Jesus at the craps tables in Vegas. Two thousand years of precedent says no. But, the naysayers will point out, there are too few priests to administer to the faithful, why not allow women in to expand the available pool of labor? Considering that there are getting be just as few nuns as there are priests, I don't see the logic in the argument. In the last 40 years, between feminism, the sexual revolution, improving western economies, the "Me" generation of the 60's and 70's, women nowadays are more likely to take a career as a stripper (excuse me, exotic dancer, for the politically correct) than they are to join a convent. Modern, western women, in case no one noticed, sacrifice nothing for the benefit of others, unless they find themsleves in the unfortuante situation where they made the "wrong" choice to keep that bundle of cells until it was born. The last two crops of women have been brought up to believe they can have everything handed to them if the scream loud enough or withhold sex. Not exactly promising material for a future priesthood.

Gay priests? I don't have a problem with gay priests, per se. The problem is a gay priest unable to control himself. That's a human failing, not a structural one within the church.

At the end of the day, all these complaints about the sorry state of the church and JP II's role in creating them are merely extensions of the selfishness prevalent in modern society. The church made overtures to the wishes of society in Vatican II, and you can see where we wound up. The issue is not that he chucrh needs to change, but that society needs to. Crying that because ti won't ruins it for all the faithful on the planet is a massive case of sour grapes.

From where I sit, this church is in awesomely good shape, as far as what it offers to people. When 4 million-plus people show up for the funeral of man who's now being dragged through the mud by those who do so with no fear of retribution, that tells me more than their diatribes do. The amazing thing was the incredible number of younger people present. Despite what secular society tells them they're supposed to do, these young kids connected with this older man, this so-called dinosaur of tradition.

The Church was here long before John Paul II, and will survive his passing, lessened in leadership, I think, but still having more to offer than Survivor and American Idol. JP II, after all, is a hard act to follow. But what has been lost is merely a great leader, not the mission. This is not the time to tear down what the man built, but perhaps to sit back and appreciate it all the more.

God rest his soul and keep him in peace.
Tracking Felons...
From the "long-overdue" category we now see a popular groundswell of support for tagging convicted sex offenders with GPS locators, the better to locate such animals after they have been released back into the wild to rape and kill again. In an amazing display of closing the barn door long after the horse has defecated and run away, some lawmakers are now seriously considering offering legislation to actually start keeping track of these monsters.

A series of highly-televised child abuductions and murders, I guess, spurs lawmakers and law enforcement higher-up's into action, huh?

Wan't to keep track of sexual offenders, cheaply, efficiently and with no possibility that they might find another innocent victim? Here's four, sensical suggestions:

1. Mandatory life sentence, where such deviants are forced to service their fellow prisoners.
2. Branding on the face, hands, forehead and buttocks. A great, big "R" for rapist, "SO" for sexual offender, "P" for pedophile. The authorities could also save time and money this way because they wouldn't have to take the time to maintain websites or make door-to-door visits to notify a community that a sex offender has just moved in next door; it would be obvious to anyone.
3. Multiple gunshot wounds, delivered as quickly as possible after conviction.
4. Return Fidel Castro's favor and our human garbage to Cuba in a reverse Mariel Boat Lift. They'd be shot at the waterline before they got to do any damage in the Worker's Paradise.
Tempest in a Teacup, Part II...
The by-now infamous memo that reportedly caused such consternation in the Senate has been thoroughly investigated to death by the office of Senator Mel Martinez (Idiot- Florida). The good senator's verdict? "We have met the enemy, it is us."

Apparently, there was a memo and it was handed, by Martinez himself, to Sen. Tom Harkin (Jerkoff-Iowa). Martinez says that he handed the memo to Harkin without having read it first, and I believe him --- anyone who hands things out non-chalantly without checking to see what it is has a serious defect. You couldn;t do something that stupid and be aware. I'd like to be around the next time the good senator accidentally hands out c-notes without looking at them.

The memo itself originated in Martinez's office, was prepared by one of his advisors, and was certainly not for distributon, especially to the other side.

The flap over this whole thing is, of course, that the demidiots got to throw the dreaded p-word (politics!) around and got some unneeded ammunition to fuel conspiracy theories for generations to come. Martinez and his boy merely got caught: the democratic memo floating around on how to score political points over Terri Schiavo just hasn't been found yet, but I'm sure one exists. We're dealing with politicians and their hangers-on, of course. It would be too much to expect that any of them actually had any decency or class and restrained their constant need to "game" every conceivable issue they could. If I had to guess, the democrat's memo is safely hidden within John F. Kerry's manpurse, where it will never see the light of day.

Once again, Republicans show an incredible propensity to shoot themselves in the foot whenever they actually gain some sort of advantage. Once again, democrats show how petty, catty and immature they are, the pot calling the kettle black, only on this rare occasion, they happen to be right.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Sandy Berger is a Big, Fat Liar...
Once again we see that association with the Clintons is the kiss of death. In this case, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger has admitted that he stole copies of classified documents from the National Archives (documents that were supposed to go to the 9/11 Commission), and that he then shredded the documents, and further compunded his crimes by lying to the FBI about the whole thing.

Mr. Berger then went before the 9/11 Commission, and God-only-knows-what was real, truthful testimony and what was ass-covering bullshit.

The defense of Mr. Berger goes something like this:

Sandy Berger: I took them accidentally. I cut them up in little pieces with a scissors accidentally, and not just one document, but three. It was really naughty of me and I'm quite sorry. It won't happen again, I swear! This is the standard, "But your honor, he fell on the knife 62 times" defense.

Bill Clinton: (Chuckle, chuckle) That's our Sandy: he's forgetful and sloppy. None of us are surprised (or words to that effect).

Bob Beckel: (Democratic talking rectum on Fox): So what? The guy made a mistake, it's not like he sold arms to the Ayahtollah or something. I don't see why he should go to jail for breaking federal law when federal law gets broken all the time. Besides, there's two other copies of that document in the archives.(Or an argument to that effect).

Ah, but Bob, those two other copies did not have handwritten notes on them in Berger's hand. Or Richard Clarkes. Or Bill Clinton's, for all we know. How do we know that the documents Berger shredded were the full report itself and not, say, drafts of the report, that show an effort to sanitize it before it got to anyone important? How do we know, Bobby, for example, that someone didn't write: "Mr. President, you have to take action on this today" on one of those copies? The point is, we the public, don't know what was in those documents, and we should. We own them, we paid for them to be printed, produced and stored. We have the right to know what was in them, what was on them, and why Mr. Berger risked serious jail time to make sure they never saw the light of day.

Sandy Berger covered something up. You can't deny it. You cannot hide the fact that something stinks. The worstpart is that the people who could testify truthfully as to what was in those documents, what was written on them and what the implications of them are, have every reason to keep quiet about it. That's dangerous because the public needs to be informed --- lives are literally at stake.
Tempest in a Teacup...
Another reason why people who run for office should be surgically sterilized before they enter politics. I give you the following article from the Washington Times:

Here's the really important stuff the American public needs to know about how Washington works:

1. the press has nothing else to do and very often creates a story where none exists. It's not as if there isn't a war going on in the Middle East or that a Pope hasn't recently died, and therefore, there isn't anything to report. No, our guardians of truth are so bored that they have to start a schoolyard fight between the political parties by asking if someone passed a memo to someone else. Gee, I'm sure two million memos and a bunch of diry pictures get passed between members of the Senate on a daily basis, and no one looks into them.

2. Democrats are still clueless. I love this quote:

"Those who would attempt to influence debate in the United States Senate should not hide behind anonymous pieces of paper," he said in his March 23 letter asking for the inquiry.

Those immortal words were uttered by Sen. Frank Lautenburg (Communist- New Jersey). Let's deconstruct that quote for a second, before we deconstruct the august Senator from the ToxicWaste State.

The people of the United States influence the debate in the United States Senate every day. They do so with pieces of paper, with phone calls, with money, and ultimately, with votes. That's one of the beauties of republican government: the electors, rather than the elected, get to influence the behavior of the elected. Democrats, of course, would like to see that work in reverse, but that's another essay. Second point, since the purpose of debate is, in fact, to influence others so that they see your point of view, I don't understand what the Senator is complaining about. That's what the Senate is supposed to be for --- a place where debate on important issues takes place, and where a consensus on what the right course of action is, is reached. Why the Senator has a problem with this is beyond me. It's his, and every other Senator's job.

If his objection is that the initial (if it even exists) memo came from a republican, then his argument gets even more lame by the minute. Contrary to popular democrat belief, republicans can read and write and make logical arguments.

If his objection is that someone dared to interject themselves into the business of the Senate by presenting a point of view that he does not agree with, then let's be fair. I wonder what the Senator would say if I told him that I don't want the affirmative action lobby, the gay rights lobby or the pro-abortion lobby to have their chance to circulate memos in the Senate either. Why do we only have to blackball the right-to-life lobby? Or do we only have to exclude lobies the Senator doesn't receive payola from?

Senator Lautenburg is one to talk about people using undue influence for dubious purposes; He owes his Senate seat to it since the loser the dems originally tapped for it was such a bad candidate, they had to sue to get Lautenburg on the ballot way after they had actually been printed, forcing a special Senate election in New Jersey. I wonder if there were mysterious memos circulating around then, Frank?

The good Senator then goes on to say, through his staff, that he never saw the memo, but they did lift a copy off the Internet. He never saw it, so what's his beef? Could it be that if said memo is still in circulation it might actually change someone's mind about the whole Schiavo case? To a democrat, independant thinking is a disease.

3. And if there was a memo floating around, and if it was given to a democrat or two, what's the big freakin' deal? Someone was trying to make his/her point with it, and I doubt rather much that the memo in question said "You must agree with me and believe everything in this memo or your family will die a gruesome death." If a mind or two was changed, no problem, the system of reasoned argument worked. If no one changed their vote because of it, what's so bad about that?

4. The article then intimates that the republicans spread the memo in order to pressure democrats to change a vote or vote in their favor, in order to avoid looking bad in the eyes of the public. Naw, would never happen -- I mean, the very notion of someone using an issue to make their political opponents look bad would never, EVER happen, right? Perhaps in this case, the democrats just didn't like the smell of fait accompli that accompanied this issue. Still, somehow the Senate voted 100-0 for the Schiavo bill, and I have grave reservations that a simple memo made that happen. More like a display of enlightened self-interest by 44 democratic senators who did not want to have their names associated with a no-win situation and took the easy way out. God forbid politics gets played by anyone in Washington, right?

5. There's a maturity problem in the hallowed halls of the Senate, and an even bigger one at the Washington Post. This whole thing smells of schoolboys, hopping up and down on one leg like they're bursting for a pee, pointing fingers in order to implicate their rivals in the eyes of the Headmaster. Grow up, all of you.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Terrorism that Doesn't Go "Boom!"
Vis-a-vis the mess surrounding Sandy "have scissors will shred documents" Berger, I was reminded of a recurring thought I often have and which I haven't seen written about anywhere. Mind you, this is just a kooky idea I have, and I don't want to start anything like a conspiracy theory --- I'm just clearing space in my brain.

After 9/11, we've been on the lookout for the nastier and more immediately deadly forms of terrorist activity: hijacked airliners, shoe bombs, tanker trucks full of caustic chemicals. But, there are other forms of terrorism that don't seem to be getting a lot of attention, in my view, assuming that anyone actually considers them to be terrorism in the first place.

About four years ago, all we heard about was massive rash of forest fires out west. It seemed the entire Western porton of the continent was due to incinerate and fall off like a cigarette ash. I can't recall, recently, having heard of any major fires. One could make the argument that the Forest Service has gotten much more efficient and perhaps more pragmatic about clearing underbrush and removing the initial contributing factor to those fires, i.e. having all that kindling around. But I doubt it. I doubt because we're talking about the fedral gubmint here and no gubmint agency could be that efficient. I'm beginning to think many of those fires were deliberately set, and possibly set by terrorists, who had three motives in mind.

First, with half the country on fire, rescue and fire resources would be spread thin across the West. Second, it would cause the government to devote resources to fight the fires and clean up the forests, which would be less money and resources available to fight terrorists. And finally, as a distraction to keep attention focused somewhere else on a nuisance issue. Now, three years and two wars later, I have heard nary a whisper about massive forest fires. Just a thought.

The next item on the agenda is the spate of Mad Cow outbreaks in recent years. Why is it that we never heard of Mad Cow before the late 1990's? I'm sure it existed before then, but I'm thinking it was such a rare occurance before then that no one bothered to think about it, except those that were familiar with it. All of a sudden, Mad Cow outbreaks hit Europe (especially England), then the United States and Canada and finally Japan. Why is it that you never hear of a Mad Cow outbreak in, say, India, which probably has more cows running around than anyplace on the planet? How come there is no Mad Cow in Argentina that we know about?

It's my considered, and totally uninformed (I'd like to point out) opinion that the epidemic of mad cow outbreaks in recent years was someone testing an attack on the food supply. Again, I do not wish to alarm anyone or make a mountain out of a molehill, but I find it strange that Mad Cow, and now the Bird Flu, are making the news on a daily basis, but I'd never heard of either before in my life.

And could it be that the forest fires and the lightning strikes of Mad Cow petered out because someone figured it wasn't so effective after all, and all that's left is the residual aftershocks?

Just something to think about, like I do. Mainly because I have too much free time on my hands.
All Good Popes Must Come to an End...
I feel incredibly sad at the passing of Pope JP II. I wil admit to not being the most sincere or ardent Catholic (12 years of Catholic school will take all religion out of you), but it doesn't take a religious frame of mind to recognize a wonderful human being when you see one.

When the history of his papacy is finally written, JP II will most definately have earned the title of "the Great". Here's a man, who stood firm in his beliefs without rancor, without resorting to violence and without the haughty pretense which is supposed to substitute for enlightened discourse these days. He felt himself, simply, as a servant of God and his Church and he did his best to carry out his duty with honor, dignity and grace.

John Paul II was a working Pope. One that made the effort to go to the faithful and preach the Gospel, but who also took the time to listen to what the faithful had to say. He revelled in the war glow of his people and in return, he showered them with love and gave them strength to continue in a world gone mad.

We will not see his like again in our lifetimes. He will be sorely missed.

Requiesat en Pacem....