Thursday, May 12, 2005

Making my Skin Crawl...
Just a minor beef about that ubiquitous, scrolling text at the bottom of your television screen that let's you know everything else that's happening the world while the little newsbunny with fantastic hair regales you with nonsense concerning the Michael Jackson trial.

Three things about it:

1. It's annyoing. Despite my best efforts to often ignore it, I am compelled to read that crap and often miss what's being talked about on the rest of the screen. I have an excellent attention span (I hope) but sometimes, it doesn't fare well when I'm forced to split it.

2. I've noticed an awful lot of spelling and grammatical errors in the crawl in recent weeks. I hate to say it, but Fox News is the worst offender. You would assume that a news network would a) edit what it was putting on screen and b) that the means of putting that nonsense on the screen has a spell-checker.

3. This phenomenon started in the direct aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. For me, that day was incredibly painful and I hate to be constantly reminded about it. I associate the crawl with a terrorist attack (and it is an assault upon the senses, if you ask me).

Get rid of it, please. If you're not going to let the crawl go, then at least make an effort to spell everything properly.
For Your OWN Good...
What would you say if your employer came to you and presented you with the following proposition: as a term of employment I get to tell you how to live your life after working hours.

I know what I would say, and it has a whole string of four letter words attached to it.

There's a CEO out there, and I don't care what company he runs or where it's located, etc., these facts are not germaine to the argument, who has instituted a policy whereby if you smoke, you will lose your job. The policy makes no distinction between smoking in or around the workplace or whether said smoking takes place during or after working hours. Smokers will be terminated, period. This CEO defends his policy by throwing up a bromide that smokers cost the company more to ensure and that cost is passed on to non-smoking employees and that if the company cts it's healthcare costs, it benefits stockholders. On a strictly logical basis, the man might have a point.

But we live in a constitutional republic and logic doesn't often apply. People have the right to engage in behavior which does no harm to society and which has not been deemed illegal.

Spare me the arguments about second-hand smoke. All the "studies" of the effects of second hand smoke are rigged to begin with, having been slanted by a political or social agenda way before the first subjects were ever tested.

However, smoking (and Christianity too) are the last acceptible targets for social scorn. This is extortion -- do as I say or else something bad will happen. In this case, you'll lose you job.

Yes, we know that smoking contributes to heart disease and that heart disease is the biggest killer in the country. However, no is putting guns to people's head and forcing them to smoke, it's a choice they make. The CEO does not go after the obese, who tend to die from heart disease and siabetes, too. He does not make an effort to regulate the behavior of people who skydive, bungee jump or ride motorcycles. If he tried to do that, every court in the land would be lining up to defend personal rights. The smoker is a legitimate target.

However, let's trun the tables a bit and choose a politically correct target: let's say, for example, that an employee was a homosexual. According to some experts, homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, too. Homosexuals, of course, are prime candidates for AIDS, which is every bit as fatal (eventually) as a heart attack. If you can demand that employees not engage in a legal behavior because of it's health risks, then you have to apply the policy equally across the board. No hang gliding, no cliffdiving, no smoking, no anal penetration of memebers of the same sex.

If this CEO were to make that kind of pronouncement, I guarentee he'd be pilloried in the public square.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Testing Your Knowledge of History...
Let's take a little quiz, okay? I'm going to give you several clues about a famous person and you try to guess who it is. Here goes. This famous person:

1. Subsisted on a vitamin-enriched vegetarian diet.
2. Disdained the use of alcohol, sex, tobacco, caffiene and sugar.
3. Advocated a return to mankind's natural state of living in harmony with nature.
4. Believed that humanity could be improved through the use of selective abortion, sterilization and selective breeding.
5. Was elected by the democratic process.
6. Believed that capitalism was an evil that could only be brought to heel by strict government intervention and regulation of free markets.

I'll give you three guesses.

No, it is not Michael Moore. Try again.

John Kerry? Sorry, you're incorrect.

Hillary Clinton? Close, but no cigar.

The answer is....Adolf Hitler. Very much the New-age-Metrosexual type that we now see slithering around Starbucks in hemp clothing, or arriving at Enviornmental gatherings in SUV's and then leaving behind massive piles of water bottles, human waste, paper, debris, cigarette butts and used condoms.

Yes, Adolf Hitler. The veggan abstainer, whose Nazi party was elected to a majority in the Reichstag in 1936, the human monster who indulged his vision of world conquest, extermination and a completely planned and controlled economy, all to the "benefit" of his "chosen" people, the German people.

Two days ago the world celebrated the end of Uncle Adolf's demented vision of the world, but while the old boy ate his pistol in Berlin in 1945, his vision has lived on. People carry on his vision in different ways: some still call for the purification of the human race by advocating the deaths of people they don't even know, but still dislike passionately. Driven on in their madness by ignorance, fear, and propaganda that has been with us for centuries, they advocate a world in which only they and their kind have a right to exist.

And what's amazing is that it isn't just blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan types who hold to this belief. Muslims hold it vis-a-vis Jews and non-Muslims. The French hold it in that they believe that they are the only race that holds title to anything resembling culture. The Chinese still believe themselves to be at the center of the world. Fading communists like Castro and Kim still believe that they hold the keys to political bliss and mankind's salvation through "scientific socialism" while surrounding themselves with a police state.

Others adopt the less greusome aspects of Adolf's Nazi religion in terms of what's best for mankind: planned and regulated economies, regulation of personal behavior, subordination of the individual to the state. We call these people Democrats, Labourites, Social Democrats, Socialists, and College Professors (okay, maybe not all college professors).

These people try to regulate free societies by clamping down on free speech, by burdening individuals and businesses with exhorbitant taxes, by forcing people to engage in behavior they really don't want to on everything from integration of the races to mainstreaming obscene personal bveliefs and practices. Of course, the extermination of human beings continued, but now instead of massive industrial complexes, it's been reduced to the level of a simple medical procedure. The only difference is now you can volunteer for it; an abortion is voluntary. And in some countries in Europe, you can have an infirm or ailing relative put to death by medical professionals just beacuse, or you could merely tire of life and ask for a chemical cocktail to expedite your shuffling off of this mortal coil.

Hitler is dead but his legacy carries on.

Now, what gets lost in a lot of this "celebrating" is that, quite simply, somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 million human beings died in the Second World War through direct combat, privation, indescriminate bombing, the breakdown of medical and sanitary systems, infectious diseases (both naturally occurring and helped along by humans), radiation poisoning, being buried alive, random and aribitrary executions or plain-old-run-of-the-muck assembly-line murder. The ensuing Cold War cost an additional 100 million lives as Communism imposed it's rigid dcotrine by feeding the people a steady diet of terror and murder. Without a doubt, the 20th Century was the bloodiest in human history. Adolf certainly didn't start the process by which human life was considered cheap or dependant on the requirements and paranoia of the politically powerful, he merely helped it along and made it seem "normal" to others so inclined.

One tyrant died in a bunker in Berlin, but his ideas, even the bad ones, continue to thrive.
So yes, let's all celebrate the fact that the bloodiest single conflict in human history was but half over on May 8, 1945 (there was still more bloody fighting and much suffering before Japan finally surrendered), but let's give consideration to what really happened at that time. Young men from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas gave their lives either defeating or supporting brutal regimes. Millions of children grew up without parents. Millions of women never had husbands or had their husbands killed in the most violent ways. Six million or so people were herded up like cattle and sent to their deaths for their religion and heritage. Fledgling democracies were killed in the cradle, and made to suffer the repression and torment of systems just as brutal as National Socialism. The devestation and dislocation which stymied economic and material progress from half the globe.

Hitler was followed by others: Stalin, already in the major leagues of murders, merely sent his thugs into overdrive. Chairman Mao merely put a patriotic face on systematic murder. Pol Pot simply gave free reign to his delusions. The Kims, the Castros, the Khaddaffis are still with us. The Ayhotollahs merely put an Islamic face on fascism. Saddam Hussein may be behind bars and facing and all-but-certian death sentece, but many more of his ilk still skulk in the sewers of Baghdad just waiting for their opportunities.

And in the West, the cradle of democratic ideals and the pedestal upon which the individual is placed, many who abhor the violent and vile actions of the Nazis still cling to some of their ideas in a hypocritical belief thatthey are saving mankind from itself.

That war that they say ended on May 8, 1945 didn't really end --- the shooting merely stopped.
In the end, the war against Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini was merely the first act in a long, drawn out play in which ideas that had fermented for ages finally spilled over into action and in which progress had merely made it easier to kill people in the thousands, tens of thousands, millions, a much more practical exercise. It didn't begin with one man, it began with a thought.
We cannot stop individuals from thinking, nor can we keep them from thinking bad thoughts, but we can evaluate the potential effects of those thoughts, and when confronted by really bad ideas, we must continue the fight against them.

For the 80 million dead, my prayers. For the men and women who willingly gave up their freedom (and many their lives) to go and fight to save the rest of us, my thanks. To the people who continue to fight the good fight against the barbaric ideas of self-appointed saviors, my encouragement.

The Little Hitlers, practicing soft-Nazism, are visible to us every night on out TV screens:
Howard Dean - who castigates republicans and the religious and talks about them in the same way that the Nazis used to talk about the Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and the infirm. This is a play right out of Hitler's book: when you have no real gripes, no real ideas, invent enemies and portray them as the embodiment of evil. Attempting to portray himself as the protector of the meek, defending his wards against the intrinsic evil of capitalism, rampant pollution, and promising them a worldly vision of free viagra and abortions, Dean merely plays to an extremem fringe of tie-dyed hippies who can't believe the 60's ended, in much the same way Hitler appealed to a bunch of extremists who believed Germany won the First World War. Dean is a continuation of the "Summer of Love" as Hitler was a continuation of the March To Paris.

John Kerry - who would have you believe that while he considers himself to be a good Catholic, wrestles daily with the problem of maintining his own perceived morality and imposing that morality upon the rest of us, vis-a-vis abortion. This is HItlerian as well; it's called "do as I say, not as I do". The fortunate part when it comes to Kerry is that the man takes himself so seriously that he doesn't notice his contradictions, his obvious falsehoods, his false modesty -- were merely expected to believe his heart is in the right place. However, you can't fake concern when you're afraid your mask might crack. As far as the new Hitlers are concerned, this is the least dangerous because he's so plastic.

Hillary Clinton - who continues to "re-invent" herself every day, becoming more and more conservative in her "positions" in a transparent effort to achieve the goal of President of the United States. As Adolf would say "the bigger the lie, the more easily the people will swallow it". Radically altering her appearance to be "all things to all people" in much the same way that Hilter declared himself to "be Germany", Hillary (or shall we say Hit-lery) would have you believe that she actually cares what happens to Americans. That she and only she, can fulfill the destiny of America, and that in order to do so she may have to lie to you, she may have to appear to change her mind, but we're expected to accept such things as markers on the road to our Highway to Utopia. That staged "Nuremburg"-style rally in Minnesota eight years ago (which was supposed to be amemorial service for a dead man) merely whetted her appetite for adoration which she believes she can transform into absolute power.

Usama Bin Laden - Self-proclaimed savior of Islam, protecting the Islamic people from the ravages of modernity and the dangers of Western Civilization, much as Hitler saw himself as the Savior of the West from the menace of Communism. The ultimate advocate of advancing ideology beyond the means to actually do so, all in the name of a phantom world in which he is the center of the universe. Septmber 11, 2001 is to Usama, and his legions of followers, what Stalingrad was to Hitler; he has bitten off far more than he could chew.

Al Gore - the staged speeches with the phony paroxisms of rage, the sweat flying, the fist pumping, the carefully-incubated air of the Lonely Sentinel on the Ramparts, the Singular Voice of Reason in the Desert of Humanity. The style and the desired effect remind one that Hitler routinely practiced his speeches and gesticulation in a mirror for years on end until he believed he could transform himself from screaming lunatic to religious icon.

Ward Churchill - who despite the unfortunate last name (unfortunate for Winston, that is) considers capitalism a poison that wrecks the very soul of humanity, but who has no problem making a living from the very system he despises. All that matters to Ward is his ideas, which are the only correct ideas, and which he believes, religiously, entitles anyone he feels affinity with the knock down office buildings with airliners in a show of pure symbolism. If they happen to kil a few thousand capitalists and their lackeys, all the better. Churchill, and lot of people like him in the university systems across the West, are the new Stromtroopers who do everything from rioting at world trade meetings to disrupting the free exchange of ideas and rationality in the very place where it's supposed to be sacrosanct: the university. Hypocrisy in the name of achieving his goals was also a Hitlerian trait: The Munich Agreement, The Tripartite Act, the Non-Agression Pact with Russia, were all merely expedients in Hitler's march to war. Much like a university chair and it's accompanying paycheck is an expediency to Churchill's idea of socialist utopia, where he is the center of the universe and the only realistic spokesman.

Hitler is dead. The war is over. Guess again.
There was a quick report during Brit Hume's show last night that made reference to the fact that scientists have discovered that air cleanliness and quality is improving on a world-wide scale. I did not get the names of the enviro-whackos and scientists mentioned simply because a) you've never heard of them and b) you wouldn't really care (neither did I, truth to tell).

Now, clean air is a nifty thing, if you ask me, and i have no problem with the report of cleaner air planet-wide. I think that's a testiment to mankind's (and the free market's) ability to respond to a major problem in a pro-active way. After all, thanks to technology, reformulated fuels, and mroe efficient uses of existing energy sources, we're managing to roll back the tide of dirt that was threatening to one day choke us all to death. Of course, the greenie meanies will take credit for all of this development, but I will give them credit, at the very least, for bringing it to everyone's attention. After they did that, buisness, governments and private citizens did the rest.

What was even more surprising is that he report cited amazing increases in air quality over China and the former Soviet Union, despite the fact that the Russians are two-steps-removed from coal burning stoves and that China is the fastest-growing user of fossil fuels in the world. Both of these facts fly in the face of propaganda perpetuated by the tree huggers that you could not increase usage of fossil fuels and still maintain a clean enviornment or get cleaner emissions from facilities and equipment that were the most modern of their type in 1965 or 75, but which still operate today.

Now normally I would expect a dyed-in-the-wool enviornmentalist to be happy with such signals of progress. However, that would be wishful thinking on my part. Of course, no matter how much better things get, the eviornmentalist is never happy. I give you three examples:
One of these idiots actually claimed that the cleaner Chinese air must (must, mind you) be the result of the Chinese utilizing some unknown, new technology. It has to be that way because there's scenario known to him in which you could burn that much coal and oil and still maintain a healthier enviornment. Because the fact that the increased Chinese use of fossil fuels and the cleaner air fly in the face of the Green agenda, there must be some super-secret-scrubbing-bubbles-whiz-bang technology that the Chinese have developed and haven't shared with the rest of us. This leads us to the first premise of enviornmental "science": When facts contradict, make up a conspiracy theory. The guy who came up with this one should be taken away to a rubber room and taught to knit potholders with his feet.

Another interesting tidbit came fromt he mouth of another moron, who postulated that all of this cleaner air presents yet another dilemma: cleaner air lets in more sunlight which triggers gloabal warming. I'm sorry, but I don't get it on several levels;

1. Part of the Greenhouse Theory postulates that it's dirty air (full of soot, lead, extra ozone and fluorocarbons) that causes the phenomenon in the first place. Now we're expected to believe that if we clean the air up, we'll only increase the scope and depth of the problem. In other words, we want clean air, but now the question of how clean can it be before clean air becomes as dangerous as dirty air? So now we're expected to figure out how to balance the amount of clean and dirty air in order to keep them in proper proportions like we would check the Ph rating in a swimming pool. Does this mean if someone decided the air was too damn clean that it's my civic duty to go outside and go nuts with an aerosol can?

2. Global warming is a fallacy. According to these people, if it's too hot outside, global warming is blame. If it's too cold outside, global warming is to blame for that too. People wh believe in global warming as athreat are sorta like your paranoid, suspicious ex-wife, who never believed you went out bowling with the boys even when you come home with a trophy and your picture appears in the local newspaper because you bowled a perfect game All because you were five minutes late. IN her psycho eyes her illusion becomes the truth and your truth becomes an illusion. You can never convince her, and you can never reassure her. I remind these folks that science has reliably figured out that the Earth has gone through several epochs of severe weather changes. In fact, New York City has been proven to have been under a mile of ice as little as 10-12,000 years ago. Something had to happen to remove all that ice from Donald Trump's real estate, and that had to be some form of warming. Since there were no automobiles, factories, smelting plants, aerosol cans, garbage incinerators or toxic waste to cause the warming, it had to be something else. A natural process. And there's no reason to believe that a) the process has stopped dead in it's tracks or b) that the cycle does not repeat itself every several million years. The planet was here for 4-billion-plus years before we showed up and it will be here long after we are all long gone. Nature does what nature does, despite human intervention.

3. What drugs are these people taking and where can I get some?

Which brings us to the final points of this little screed; first point --- enviornmentalism is not so much concern for the planet as it is a cult of conservatism. In this case, the conservatism revolves around creating the best possible enviornment we can and then freezing that moment in time forever. Which is impossible when you consider all of the changes the Earth has undergone in it's development. It's nonsense to believe that one can stop the natural process of an evolving planet. yes, human beings can and do affect certain aspects of nature, but they cannot fundamentally alter it. "You can drive nature out with a pitchfork, but she will always return". That maxim is as valid today as it was when it was uttered at the height of the Roman Empire. The second point is that enviornmentalists really just have a problem with human beings --- they hate them. According to them, human beings were wrecking the planet and now that a positive sign of reversal has been recorded, now we're going way too far in the other direction. They're issue is not clean air or water it's that human beings utilize them. Better to let the grizzly bears, the fire ants and the tilefish have the planet to themselves and human beings with their progress and their engines go to blazes. The thrid, and final point; it seems that no matter what we do these people can never be satisfied.

I'll bet all of the idiots who got quoted still believe that Kyoto was a good idea.

This is not reasoned discourse, nor is it fanatical devotion to a point of principle. It hypocrisy and it's an illness elevated to the status of a religion. But of course, the goal was never a clean eviornment or protecting the planet from an imminent disaster; it was always about controlling people and regulating progress in an extreme manner. It still is.

So, let's all enjoy our clean air, for now. Ket's all go outside and run around like little kids, breathing in all that fresher air, until some Green moron comes along to tell us that fresh air will kill us. Or perhaps it'll be that the common use of water filters and bottled water puts us at risk for cancer or kills some obscure insect who really needs rice-patty-quality filth to thrive in. I guranetee you that day is coming real soon.
More Runaway Bride Shyte...
I really didn't want to delve any further into this stuff than I had to last week, but it just keeps getting weirder.

We're talking Dennis Rodman weird. The Outer Limits weird. Hillary Clinton taking a Conservative position weird.

Thanks to the Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, I now know that I can have my virginity restored by God. I kid you not...

It seems that Jennifer and her fiance (we'll call him Doofus from now on) are possessed of the belief that not only can God forgive sins (which is an underpinnning of my own Catholic faith), he can now totally erase our pasts, if we only ask him to and make the proper devotions, no matter how egregious.

Apparently, the branch of Christianity Jennifer and Doofus are aligned with advances as an article of faith that someone can completely and permanently erase sin due to the healing power of prayer. Now granted, God's a pretty powerful guy, but where I come from the sin always exists, you merely just owned up to it. God may forgive, but it is never forgotten.

So, the Runaway Bride and Doofus were engaged (no pun intended) on a quest to restore themselves to a totally pristine state, in all areas of their lives, and one of the bedrock foundations of this agenda is a process called "re-virgination". In re-virgination, as far as I can follow it, the Almighty returns you to that pristine state when you pray enough for it. (I'm still waiting to find out how much this costs, btw. Where there's a church involved, the...ahem...contibution, is not far behind). Extending this line of thought a little further, I wonder, if I prayed enough, would God not only restore my virginity, but also perform the following laundry list of things I'd like to have a do-over on:

- Could God erase my credit card debt?
- Could God perhaps see his way clear to stopping me from buying that Chevy Chevette in 1987 and allow me to go back for the Camaro Z28?
- Will God correct all those punchcards that showed me as being late for work all those times?
- Can I have another chance at deciding whether to go straight to work or to college after leaving High School?
- Can I have September 11, 2001 back, without the crashing airliners and the 3,000 deaths? Or the subsequent mental trauma and years of medication and professional help?
- Can he give me back all the money I spent in topless bars in my youth?
- May I please have the opportunity to remake every decision I've ever had to make?
- Can I ask for a better physique?
- Might I ask for a world in which my hockey team always wins the Stanley Cup?
- Is it possible for God to eliminate the Designated Hitter rule?
- I have a few ex-girlfriends I can't believe I dated. Could I have some hotter girls?

And I'm not being facetious...

The idea that God is all-powerful, that he can defy time, space and all the physical laws that we know of, is  not a new idea. What is a new idea, as far as I can see, is that if we can merely wish something hadn't happened, and then have some minster tell us God said it didn't after enough hours are spent in prayer and repentance, then, well, it hasn't happened.

Chalk up one more point for the pussy-fication of religion. This is not a religious doctrine as I understand the meaning, but seems more like an attempt to make an individual feel better about him or herself. One more way in which pap psychology, in which how you feel trumps how you behave, or maybe even excuses it, has invaded every nook and cranny of our daily lives. Now religions are concerned with the psychological and not the spiritual well-being of the flock. And yes, I do believe the spiritual and the psychological can be separated.

We've now gone from Separation of Church and State to Separation of Church from Reality.

It's also been revealed that Jennifer has a minor criminal record and may have had a psychotic episode at one point in time. Yep, Doofus was getting a quality filly here, wasn't he? Then again, God would have erased the past, so it wouldn't matter much to him that Jenny was a few fries short of a Happy Meal and had a rap sheet, would it? After all, we're erasing the past here.

Now I'm not the most religious person on the block, for sure. But, I have seen enough people who walk into churches simply because they have no place else to go, and they walk out as fanatics. Usually it's because finally someone has listened to them. More often, the regimentation involved in the following of a specific faith appeals to people who lack any discipline at all. In either case, it's a crutch.

I'm going to go out on a limb here: Jennifer and Doofus probably had very sad lives in one way or another. He's just too high on life to have been born that way and she's too nuts to have been normal before she signed on to this thing. Judging from my own imperfect experience, I'd say they both gravitated towards this nonsense because it provided something they never had before in one way or another, probably psychologically. Perhaps it was the lack of judgment (on behalf of the church) towards them. Maybe it was the idea of perfection that appealed to them. Perhaps, like most Born-Again folks, they were tremendous fuck-ups in their previous lives and are wracked by guilt that cannot be assuaged. I don't know. I really don't care. It all seems too fucking weird to be real to me. I still can't figure out why Doofus can't seem to take a whiz on his own without his pastor by his side.

I smell cult...

So, the more I hear, the more I understand why she ran off. If I was marrying a man who was apparently surgically attached to his pastor, who told me I could become a virgin again by simply praying, and who somehow convinced me that everything I ever did could be magically erased from the Great Celestial Ledger of Bad Deeds, and who obvioulsy believed that to the point where he became a non-sexual, always-smiling-but-on-the-verge-of-drooling idiot, then I'd run like hell too.

I just wonder if God will erase the whole episode for the rest us so that it never happened. Oh, and can I do that without wearing out my knees?