Saturday, August 29, 2009

Oh, Governor Huckabee! You’ve just been gonged!!

From Washington Monthly

Conservative media figures are blasting Democrats for trying to draw political gain from the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. But on Thursday, it was one of their own -- former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- who went there.

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate suggested during his radio show, "The Huckabee Report," on Thursday that, under President Obama's health care plan, Kennedy would have been told to "go home to take pain pills and die" during his last year of life.

"[]It was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to consider just taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them," said Huckabee. "Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments. He saw his work as vitally important and so he fought for every minute he could stay on this earth doing it. He would be a very fortunate man if his heroic last few months were what future generations remember him most for."

You know, I also believe that President Obama said that when the flying saucer people land (and they will, make no mistake about that), then they will let us use their death ray guns to vaporize anyone that didn’t vote for him for president. Yes, I am fairly positive he said that.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I am extremely depressed to discover that we have so many Neanderthals living in the U.S. today.

I imagine Neanderthals to be very short tempered, brutish, extremely territorial, suspicious of anything new or novel to the nth degree, and when they react negatively to something, they go all-out. They have little use for the basics of social decorum. No, when they want someone to know they are unhappy or upset, nothing else than a full-fledged episode of rock throwing and club bashing will do.

Neanderthals also can’t read and their skills at logical reasoning stops with figuring out how to bring down a woolly mammoth with a bunch of spears. They are easily goaded into fits of anger and righteous indignation by tribal leaders who also offer no sense of rationality or common sense.

The tendancy for Neanderthals to totally wig out and lose all semblance of rationality leads them to take the following actions:

• Declare that attempting to ensure that all Americans have adequate health care coverage is JUST LIKE what the Nazis did during WWII when over six million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other "undesirables" were systematically murdered.

• Carry loaded guns to meeting places where President Obama is speaking. (Remember that people were arrested just for carrying protest signs within a block of where President Bush was.)

• Declare that Obama and the Democrats are just chomping at the bit to be able to set up death panels where they can declare that your elderly grandmother should be denied any more care and be left to die, to declare a phamplet written under under the Clinton Adminstration and updated under the Bush Administration for vets about end of life issues is now Obama’s Death Book which encourages veteran to kill themselves.

• Believe that breaking all sorts of laws and treaties to torture people who might be suspected of having any sort of ties to terrorism is fine, but looking into those crimes is a terrible idea.

• Oppose any sort of action that is proposed by President Obama or the Democrats, just because those people have been identified as “The Enemy”, even for those actions that would provide many benefits to the Neanderthals themselves.

Etc. etc. I just don’t have the heart to keep going. It’s all very, very depressing to live in a country whose population seems to include a large majority of Neanderthals. I just didn’t realize the situation we were all in. I had thought that Neanderthals had gone extinct long ago. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that I was very wrong.

Photo from here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"I have given up hope for a loyal opposition. I'd settle for a sane one."

That is a line from a blog post from Michelle Cottle, via Washington Monthly.

My thoughts exactly. I apologize for having a difficult time getting off this particular subject, but this is really one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. One of our two major political parties seems to have lost its collective mind and has given itself completely into public displays of hysteria on a daily basis. They turn around and accuse Democrats of doing everything that they, themselves, are doing. They contradict themselves with ease, apparently not remembering that these days everything is captured on video or print and readily available on the web. They elevate the “common man or woman”, such as Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and put them on a pedestal while their senior, experienced politicians are put out to pasture, either voluntarily or forcibly. Intelligence, rational discourse and calmness are regarded with suspicion. The gut rules all, and its edicts must be followed.

The one unwritten/unspoken rule, as far as I can tell, that guides the actions of the Republican Party these days is if the Democrats are for/against something, then the Republicans are absolutely required to go ballistic and be against/for that same thing, every single time. Facts do not matter, common sense does not matter. There is no small issue. Everything must be fought to the death. Given that rule, then cooperation between the parties becomes absolutely impossible. The fact that the Democrats convincingly won the last two national elections has not made an impression at all. They still believe that they should be running the show, regardless of the election results, and are in the process of holding their breath until they turn blue until they get their way.

In addition to all of this, the country seems to have elected a black man as President. Many in this country view this as a positive step. However, for a great percentage of the Republican Party, this is nothing short of a catastrophe. All the racism that bubbled just underneath the surface of the Republican Party is now in full eruption. If we aren’t careful, this eruption, just like Mt. Vesuvius, threatens to bury everything in its path. This could very easily get out of hand and we could end up reliving the 1960’s.

I wish I had something insightful to say about all this. However, by training, I am an engineer, not a psychologist or sociologist. Engineers are trained to deal with facts and to solve problems based on those facts. We tend to have a hard time trying to solve problems based on emotion and a distortion of facts. In fact, that seems like the definition of insanity. To me, this country seems to be on something of a death spiral and I have no idea how we are going to get out of this.

Picture from Dependable Renegade.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

“T’was Beauty that killed the Beast.”

"Hi! What's your sign? "Yield"? Haha. Yep, I'm a little tired from fighting that T. Rex last night. He called me a "big ape" and I whupped him good. I don't take that from no one. Um. Would you like to come back to my cave and see my etchings? They're really big."

I’ll give it to Kong, he had very nice taste in blondes. I think this is a knockout photo of Fay Wray. But really, I always found Kong’s leering response, even as an 11 year old, pretty damn embarrassing. That whole concept of Kong and Ann Darrow, well, it was all rather disturbing.

I’ve been on a business trip for the last week. I’ll try to think of something interesting here sometime this weekend.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, lets loose on today’s Republican Party.

Man, this is wonderful, especially coming from a veteran Republican with some chops. This is part of what Mr. Bartlett had to say to Steve Benen, via e-mail. Go read the entire thing at Washington Monthly. What a fantastic summary of the entire situation, from both Steve and Mr. Bartlett.

I believe that political parties should do penance for their mistakes and just losing power is not enough. Part of that involves understanding why those mistakes were made and how to prevent them from happening again. Republicans, however, have done no penance. They just pretend that they did nothing wrong. But until they do penance they don't deserve any credibility and should be ignored until they do. That's what my attacks on Bush are all about. I want Republicans to admit they were wrong about him, accept blame for his mistakes, and take some meaningful action to keep them from happening again. Bush should be treated as a pariah, as Richard Nixon was for many years until he rebuilt his credibility by more or less coming clean about Watergate with David Frost and writing a number of thoughtful books.

One reason this isn't happening is because the media don't treat Republicans as if they are discredited. On the contrary, they often seem to be treated as if they have more credibility than the administration. Just look at the silly issue of death panels. The media should have laughed it out the window, ridiculed it or at least ignored it once it was determined that there was no basis to the charge. Instead, those making the most outlandish charges are treated with deference and respect, while those that actually have credibility on the subject are treated as equals at best and often with deep skepticism, as if they are the ones with an ax to grind.

I am truly baffled by this situation, as I'm sure you are.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Valiant Republicans protect America from the Forces of Evil (a.k.a. Barack Obama)!!

One of these days, something is going to happen to introduce a large enough perturbation into the system (such as Michelle Bachmann opening her yap one too many times in a single day) that will cause critical mass to be reached and this entire country is going to disappear into a gigantic black hole of stupidity. Poof. Gone. France will be left wondering, “Where the hell did the United States get to? Merde. We would like to be insulted more.” Canada will wonder why there is a huge hole on their southern border but will secretly feel relieved.

I haven’t been blogging much, as I am just dumbstruck about how idiotic this country has become. People are going insane, right there on nightly television, and almost no one seems to notice. It’s like a zombie attack is ongoing and most of the media is reporting on it like zombies are some of the most reasonable beings on the earth, so their side of the story must be presented as well. "Witnesses report that zombies are eating human brains! The zombies disagree, responding that such attacks are absolutely untrue and un-American. Stay tuned for our next story, where neighbors rescue a kitty from a tree."

I suppose one good thing about all of this is that we are seeing what has been buried in the collective psyche of the American conservatives. It’s just being laid out there, for the entire world to see. In this alternative reality, Glenn Beck isn’t the racist, Barack Obama is. Karl Rove isn’t the one who had his party in the “perpetual campaign mode”, Barack Obama is. No one is comparing Rush Limbaugh to Hitler, but he gets all upset that some unspecified people are and vows not to stand for it, and then goes and compares President Obama and the Democratic proposals for healthcare reform to Nazis. Many people believe, without a shred of evidence, FEMA is setting up interment camps out in the wilds of Colorado and Nevada and that end-of-life counseling to be paid for under the healthcare system is somehow equal to euthanasia for the elderly and infirm. People now feel free to bring loaded handguns to town hall meetings, but yet during the Bush years, people were arrested for holding signs that protested the war in Iraq. Many people are scared shitless that the government will come in and sort of take over their lives and President Obama has no intention of honoring the Constitution, yet that is exactly what happened under President Bush and conservatives hardly said “boo!”

I don’t know what is going to come of this country. I am truly beginning to get rather scared that something not very nice is going to happen. Some lunatic is going to take a shot (gun, not verbal) at a prominent Democrat. I truly thought one older gent was going to take a swing at Arlen Specter the other day at his town meeting… Some Timothy McVeigh wannabe is going to do something incredibly stupid and harm a lot of innocent people. And many on the right that have been egging on these scared and easily manipulated idiots will go “tut tut, that’s terrible, but the Democrats have only themselves to blame” or just look the other way and pretend that they didn’t have anything to do with it.

I am just truly amazed that these people can have such a warped view of their fellow Americans. Democrats and liberals are inhuman monsters, apparently, so anything that conservatives can imagine that we might want to do is apparently, in reality, what we want to do. And they must fight with all their might against anything that they believe they President Obama is trying to do, even if it is for their own good, even if there is not a shred of evidence to support their fantasies!!

This country is insane. And somehow, everyone seems to believe that America is somehow exceptional in this world. Yeah, exceptionally insane.

(Note: I’ll be on a business trip for the next week. Check back later, or else go click on some of the links over to the right.)

Sarah Palin's Death Panels exist!

This one happens to be for older people who like to watch roller derby on television.

Photo of Queen of Outer Space from B Movie Graveyards.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sarah Palin goes from merely ridiculous to outright delusional.

I have always wondered how Sarah Palin sees herself. No doubt, she really sees herself exactly as she describes herself to the rest of us. And she wants as much power as she can gain, which she probably admits to herself, and she will pander to and use almost anyone in order to achieve that goal. However, it would see that most intelligent people would even set limits on what you might say. But in Palin’s case, no. She’s off and going after that 10% of the country who really believes that President Obama intends to kill people with his “Obamacare.” From Washington Monthly:

As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we're saying not just no, but hell no!

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

I cannot comprehend how someone can possibly look at what the Democrats are proposing and come up with a “death panel” that decides who lives and dies. If she actually believes this, then she has to be one of the stupidest and most easily manipulated people I have ever seen. On the other hand, if she knows this is a fabrication or even if she doesn’t care, one way or the other, if it is true, then she epitomizes the absolute worst of human nature.

And, as a follow on, what do these people think that insurance companies do now when they decide not to approve a liver or lung transplant, or refuse to pay healthcare costs that they should rightfully be covering? That, right there, is your bureaucratic panel that decides who lives and dies! Many people would rather imagine horrible things that might come to pass because of their hatred and distrust of those they have decided are their enemies, but they refuse to see the exact same things going on right here and now!

I just cannot imagine how bad this is going to get in the coming years.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Liveblogging the confirmation hearings of Dr. Benton Quest

The following is a portion of my liveblogging this very contentious confirmation hearing for Really Knowledgeable Scientific Person in the Obama administration. I was very lucky that I was able to get a press pass for this occasion. Marcy Wheeler apparently had something other to do.

Undetermined Democratic Senator: I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Dr. Quest to this confirmation hearing. I am sure we all want to treat this hearing, and Dr. Quest, with respect and due diligence that…

Undetermined Republican Senator: *inaudible* Can we just get on with it? I have an appointment at the Club in two hours!

Undetermined Democratic Senator: Yes, well then, we shall begin with these preceedings. Dr. Quest, do you have an opening statement to make?

Dr. Benton Quest: Yes, senator. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Benton Quest and I…

(Sorry, I missed this part. I think I fell asleep. Man, these chairs are uncomfortable. I wonder if there is a vending machine around? I need some caffeine.)

Undetermined Republican Senator: Dr. Quest, if I may be so blunt. You say you are an”expert.” Just what kind of expert are you.

Dr. Benton Quest: I am very glad you asked that question. I hold a Ph.D. in archeology from Princeton, a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from Embry Riddle University, a Ph.D. in computer science from Cal Tech, a Ph.D. in South American native cultures from the Florida State University, a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from the University of Arizona, a…

Undetermined Republican Senator: Yes, thank you very much. It would appear that you are rather fond of "science". There's "good" science and there's "bad" science. Everyone understands that. That just goes without saying. Now, Dr. Quest, you appear to have spent quite a bit of time in college. Is that because you couldn’t find a job, or just because you couldn't cut it?

Dr. Benton Quest: Pardon me?

Undetermined Republican Senator: Come now, Dr. Quest. It isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. Lots of people couldn’t get a job when they got out of college. Take me, for instance. If it weren’t for the Young Republicans, I wouldn’t have had gainful employment at all! My first job was going down to Florida in 2000 and yelling at some people in an office. Something about a recount. I wasn’t quite sure what we were doing there, but it was really important!

Dr. Benton Quest: I just found I was better suited to independent research and consulting.

Undetermined Republican Senator: So, you live on an island, don’t you? Out in the Azores or something really esoteric and un-American, if I have that correct.

Dr. Benton Quest: No, sir. It’s off the coast of Florida. Part of the United States.

Undetermined Republican Senator: Humph. And you live there alone?

Dr. Benton Quest: No, sir. I live there with another gentleman, Race Bannon, my son Johnny and his friend Hadji.

Undetermined Republican Senator: We’ll get to “companion” in a minute. Your son’s friend. He’s a furriener, isn’t he?

Dr. Benton Quest: Excuse me?

Undetermined Republican Senator: Furriener! What’s the matter, can’t you speak English? If I am correct, your son’s friend, this “Hadji”, he’s from Eye-raq, isn’t he?

Dr. Benton Quest: India.

Undetermined Republican Senator: Whatever. He's a Mooslum.

Dr. Benton Quest: Actually, Hadji's Hindu.

Undetermined Republican Senator: Whatever. I have proof that he is here illegally. An illegal immigrant! Undocumented!

Dr. Benton Quest: But he’s my adopted son!

Undetermined Republican Senator: How do you know he’s not a terrorist!?!

Dr. Benton Quest: He’s 11 years old!

Undetermined Republican Senator: That don’t make no never mind to them terrorists! They blow themselves up and you with ‘em as soon as look at you! Just look at his name! “Hadji”! Ain’t that what our soldiers call terrorists? That, or “raghead.”

Dr. Benton Quest: Hadji has never caused me to lose a night’s sleep in all the time he’s been with us! Except, of course, for the time that he and Johnny were kidnapped by a hostile Indian tribe in the jungles of South America..

Undetermined Republican Senator: Leave your family reminiscing to some other time, if you would, sir. I would like you to be aware that I have dispatched the INS to your island. They should be there within the hour.

Dr. Benton Quest: But…

Undetermined Republican Senator: I would also like to ask you about your “companion.” This “Race” person. What kind of name is Race, anyway? I’ll bet he’s from San Francisco.

Dr. Benton Quest: His real name is Roger. He’s not my companion. The government provided his services as protection for my son!

Undetermined Republican Senator: At great expense to the taxpayers, I might add! Two unmarried men, living by themselves on an island. Running around on the beach, half naked... All that sun... Rubbing lotion on each other’s bodies… Um, yes, well. That’s beside the point. Yours is hardly what I would call a typical American family. I find this profoundly disturbing. It’s an unhealthy environment for such an impressionable young boy. I must say that I find your values distinctly un-American.

Dr. Benton Quest: I am as American as you are!

Undetermined Republican Senator: Are you, now? Need I remind you that I am a senator and you are not? You can’t get much more American than a senator, now can you? If you are so American, how come you are out of the country so often? But I will save that question for later on. I would like to ask you about your association with one Dr. Zin.

Dr. Benton Quest: Dr. Zin? He’s a madman. What has he got to do with anything?

Undetermined Republican Senator: Well, you and he seem to have an established… relationship. You and he have been seen "palling around" together in several instances, have you not?

Dr. Benton Quest: No, that's not…

Undetermined Republican Senator: And isn't it true that this Dr. Zin is an international criminal and terrorist? He is contantly inflitrating this country’s military installations, with… let me make certain I have this correct, a giant metal spider. Is that not the case?

Dr. Benton Quest: Yes, but…

Undetermined Republican Senator: So, even though you indicated you and he do not have a relationship, how is it that you know about this event?

Dr. Benton Quest: I was the one who stopped him!!

Undetermined Republican Senator: Are you saying that the Army could not stop Dr. Zin and his toys? Dr. Quest, if you really are a doctor, I would like you to know that nothing can stop our military, not even giant metal spiders. And you believe that you could accomplish something that the mightiest military force on the face of this planet could not accomplish? Isn't that an insult to our brave men and women in uniform?

Dr. Benton Quest: You have this all wrong!

Undetermined Republican Senator: Now, Dr. Quest, I have another question I would like to ask you. In your written answers to our questions, you constantly refer to someone with the name of “Bandit.” At this point, I would like to ask you if you commonly consort with known criminals?

Unfortunately, I believe I once again fell asleep at this point. I woke up and the room was completely empty except for a janitor.

(This post has been updated to greatly increase the humoresness of the original.)

There’s really just too much insanity going on to single anything out to write a post about.

Insane, the amount of insanity. It makes my head all Oweee and stuff. Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The bussed in morons paid for by lobbying firms to disrupt town hall meetings. I can’t get over the fact that over 70% of the people in this country are worried about our healthcare system and would like to see it fixed but yet our government (including a President, a Speaker of the House, and majorities in both the Senate and the House who all support healthcare reform), but it looks like we aren’t going to get anything done, yet again.

There was one bit of good news this week, when President Clinton made a trip to North Korea and managed to secure the release of two imprisoned reporters who had been sentenced to 12 years hard labor. That’s great. However, it’s terrible in the eyes of Josh Bolton and a whole bunch of other wingers. We’re rewarding “bad behavior.” Yeah, NK definitely does have an attitude problem and exhibits all sorts of bad behavior. The U.S. really hasn’t been a model citizen the last 10 years, however. But listening to these guys makes me a little ill. I guess we should have sent a few nuclear tipped cruise missiles their way. I am sure that would have worked. Nothing bad could possibly come from that.

These morons will never be happy. They are somehow required to stomp and pout and hold their collective breaths until they turn blue when President Obama and the Democrats do ANYTHING. It wouldn’t matter if they put out an informational bulletin that said something to the effect of “tying your shoes in the morning before you go out their door is a good idea and will likely prevent future mishaps.” Republicans would find a way to complain about it.

I mean, really. I would like to write a more cogent and purposeful post. But I am just so sick of everything that is going on these days. I wish conservatives would just sit down and STFU for a change. We had to put up with Bush, Cheney and all their “lawyers” who would write them secret memos that gave them legal cover for anything they felt like doing. The Dems might not succeed, but at least they are attempting to fix everything that Bush and his minions have damaged while they were in power. Just shut up, for God’s sake.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Never, EVER threaten a Triceratops, unless you really mean it.

Or if you have a pocket knife. That will help.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Some thoughts so far regarding, "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free"

That’s the name of the book I am reading. The author is Charles P. Pierce. I ran across the title somewhere during my trek through the liberal blogosphere. It sounded right up my alley, since this topic is one that I have been rather upset about for years and has been, directly or indirectly, the subject of many of the posts I have made here.

I am still working on the book, so I can’t give the complete review at this point. It starts out with a few observations about the Creationism Museum, which depicts friendly dinosaurs with saddles on them and proudly asserts that Noah took all these dinosaurs on the ark with him. (So, are dinosaurs “clean” or “unclean” animals? Because Genesis states that God commanded Noah to take two of every unclean animal, but seven of all the clean animals. That’s just one of the many contradictions in the Bible.)

Here are a few more points that have been made in the first few chapters.

• There are no experts anymore in America. Or that everyone is an expert, which is the same thing as having no experts.

• There are two valid sides to every discussion, each of which must be given serious attention, especially when it comes to the mainstream media, regardless of how idiotic one side might actually be.

• Strong belief in something makes it true. The more believers something has, the more true it becomes. Facts have little to do with anything.

• The mainstream press does not exist to report on facts and truths. They see their job as throwing stuff out there that they have been told and letting the audience decide.

• Our society has always had, and will always have, its cranks. However, where cranks used to be sort of marginalized with a very small audience, they are immeidately given credence by major book deals and being interviewed on television news shows.

• People in the U.S. today don’t really want to be informed. They want to be entertained. And, in search of higher and higher ratings, television continues to entertain us in exactly the method they believe we want to be entertained.

None of this comes as any surprise to me or should to you. I have either concluded the same things myself or have read the same points made in many of the liberals blog sites I read. But it is interesting to see the whole case put together in a single place.

I think this is the aspect of the United States that I am most upset about. Yeah, I am pretty pissed off that we have somehow normalized torture, where torturing prisoners who have yet to be proven guilty of anything is not only acceptable but required, even if those prisoners die or can’t ever be released because they would cause us a lot of trouble after being tortured. But it’s this “dumbing down” of our society that has me the most upset. I degrees in engineering and science, so it is very painful to me to somehow see unsupported, nonsensical beliefs having the same measure of validity as those conclusions reached after decades, and sometimes centuries, of scientific inquiry. It is as if many people in this country really desire to go back to the 16th century. We should toss aside all our gains that we have made as a species, just so we can satisify these crackpots.

The points made above seem to explain something that has really puzzled me in the last few years. I was completely flummoxed by the fact that Republicans and conservatives seem to celebrate ignorance. Oh, that’s not the way they put it, of course. They are more for “the common man.” Who, in my mind, just happens to be rather ignorant and usually rather proud of his or her ignorance. George Bush is a great example. Sure, many people said that he would be the person running for president that they would “most like to have a beer with.” That’s a fine conclusion as far as it goes, but I don’t need to point out that it has very little to do with that person’s qualification for the highest office in the land. Sarah Palin is another fine example of proud ignorance being elevated. “Joe the Plumber”, who is neither Joe nor a plumber, is another. How someone can be plucked from obscurity like that and, all of a sudden, become an iconic figure within the Republican Party dumfounds me to the extreme. I want my leaders and experts to actually have proven experience to show that they can be effective leaders and are knowledgable experts.

I have nothing against the so-called “American Dream”, the Horatio Alger story of the common person overcoming overwhelming odds to hit it big. But in my world, that “common man” overcomes these obstacles with hard work and wisdom. That’s what enables them to overcome everything and ultimately find success. My big example of how I think this should work is Barack Obama. I don’t know how much more of a shining example of a success story we have in today’s world. Well, Sonya Sotomayor is another pretty good example. Both of those people overcame significant societial obstacles, made it into elite schools, produced great grades and worked their way through the system to ultimately reach the highest pinnacle. That’s my concept for how the American success story should work.

On the other hand, Republicans and conservatives seem to think that all that is required is that someone hands success to you. George W. Bush was born with the greatest advantages this country can offer, like being white, rich and the son of a very famous person. He was essentially given several companies by his dad’s rich friends, which he promptly ran into the ground. If he hadn’t started where he did, there would be no way this person should ever become President of the United States. Stuff has been handed to Bush on a silver platter his entire life.

Sarah Palin is another fine example of what the Right worships these days, and this is what bothers me the most about Sarah. Like President Obama, she also came from humble beginnings. I have nothing against that. However, her achievements, such as they are, can only be described as mediocre. She stumbled through four colleges before finally getting a degree. She has bounced around every job she has had, and has, to this point, quit on every single elected position she has held. Every time she opens her mouth in an unscripted moment, and even many scripted ones, she induces cringes and embarrassment in those of us that have the slightest bit of self-awareness and who can make somewhat unbiased assessments that are not solely based on ideology. But a significantly large percentage of the people in this country still love Sarah. I am just amazed that this can be so. There are probably a few people that support her because she pisses off liberals. However, in my mind, that is not a very intelligent rationale for wanting someone to be President. There has to be something more, and I guess it is because she is seen as “one of them.” The common folk. Someone who they can relate to. Someone who they would want to have a beer with. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt she is pretty.

Before the election last year, I heard one person (who just absolutely leaked certitude so that it made small little puddles around his feet if he stood still for more than a few moments) say that he wished he could vote for Palin for president, because “she is obviously the most qualifed of the four (i.e., Obama, Biden, McCain and Palin)”. I am just absolutely astounded that any rational person who listened to Palin speak for more than about three minutes could possibly arrive at this conclusion. That is complete nonsense. But this guy was obviously somewhat successful at what he does for a living, so he can’t be an imbecile. He just obviously has very different standards than I do when judging someone. I just can’t figure out how someone can actually have those standards.

So far, the book seems to be describing this in something of a past tense, in that the country is finally recognizing its folly and is slowly pulling back from the brink. However, given what has been going on this year since Barack Obama was sworn in as President, I am not so sure. It seems like the insanity has been ratcheted up a few notches. Public figures are making some absolutely insane statements (such as Glenn Beck asserting that President Obama hates white people and is a racist), and hardly anyone besides the liberal blogs is pointing out how absolutely insane this all is. Maybe it’s the fact of a black man as President that has sent many over the edge. I don’t know. But I do know that it doesn’t appear that the insanity that drives the dialog in this country is going to subside any time soon. I find that prospect very depressing.

UPDATE: I finally finished reading this book. I had put it down for a week or so, and it quickly stretched into a month and a half. Once I picked it back up, I finished it that night.

The second half of the book definitely picks up the pace. The first half of the book is more about generalities. The second part really gets into some specific topics. It has individual chapters on the unfortunate Terri Schiavo media circus. I hadn't realized how bad that was. It certainly had some incredibly negative impacts on other people than just the Schiavo family, such as the people who worked at the hospice where Terri Schiavo was, the judge who was involved in the case, and even the elementary school down the block, which eventually had to close their doors and abandon the school because THEY were getting death threats. Insanity. There's a chapter on global climate change and the very, very real consequences one town on an island in northern Alaska. There's a chapter on the court case involving a small town in New Hampshire, the takeover of the school board there by religious zealots who tried to force the school system to teach "Intelligent Design." I had no idea about the details of that "incident" either. And, of course, no book on the stupidity of the American country would be complete without a chapter on how we got stampeded into a war in Iraq by a bunch of people who had always thought invading Iraq is a great idea, and the terrible events of 9/11 just gave them an excuse.

Unfortunately, this book just has further cemented my belief that this country is on its way down from our lofty perch we held during most of the 20th Century. We are becoming a nation of stupid. We cannot have intelligent debates. Everything is being played to the lowest common denominator. Where we once had visionaries such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, we now have George Bush, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. I guess I can only consider myself lucky to have seen the best this country has had and will not be around to see the final product. Whether that final result is a total and rapid collapse, or a long, slow slide into total irrelevance, I don't know. I don't really care. I just don't want to see what results out of decades of lunatics running the asylum.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Wherein I take my turn as Sarah Palin’s speechwriter.

Today, I am proud to stand before you and all great Americans, knowing that America is a free country full of democracy and other things, to tell you that about the great things I did as governor of the great state of Alaska, where eagles and bears and elk and salmon all live and play and enjoy freedom of speech and can own guns. By stepping down as I did one and a half years before the end of my first term, I showed all the naysayers and people who actually like “gloom and doom” all the time, including the press and David Letterman, that I can govern effectively and accomplish things that are good, not only for Alaskans, but for all Americans, including our brave troops, who put their lives on the line every single day for people who want to tear this country down. Some people say that America is no good. But I have news for them! The salmon are swimming upstream, and the mountains are really tall and beautiful, with snow on them. So, you see, by stepping down as governor, I didn't put Alaskans through all that stuff where I would have to go on junkets and waste all their time and money and be that dead fish that I spoke about so eloquently before. So, now that I am not governor anymore, I can accomplish much greater and wonderful things for not only Alaska, which, by the way, did I tell you has eagles and bears?, but for all Americans! I am now in a much better position to accomplish these great things, without the burden of having an actual job in politics, where politics as usual leads to all sorts of bad things that liberals and President Obama support, like terrorism and a failing economy. I'll be that point guard, keeping my head up, so I can give the ball up and leave the game at the best possible time and let the rest of my team play the game so they can win the game by themselves. So, you people in the press? You know, you guys with the cameras and microphones? How about you just stop making stuff up? Our brave soldiers died in Iraq so that I could run for Vice President and have all those nice clothes, which you made into such a big deal that I had to give back some of them. And it is not nice at all to go after my family like that. My family is the very model of a good, clean American family, even though Todd did belong to the Alaskan Separatist Party for seven years, he had no idea that they really don’t like America, because Todd and my family all love America, so you should leave my family alone. My daughter Bristol, who is an unmarried single mother, is a daughter every mom in America would be proud of and is representative of everything the Republican Party stands for like abstinence and virtue! So, take that, David Letterman! But enough about me. It’s our great country I want to talk about, and our brave soldiers.

Thanks very much. No questions, please.