Thursday, March 31, 2005

Mr. President, I believe it is pronounced NU-KLE-ER

Did you hear about the report released by a Presidential Intelligence Commission (just the sound of that makes me giggle) that indicates that not only were we wrong about the presence or likelihood of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but that presently, our intelligence community knows relatively little about the status of nuclear threats around the world? Of course you didn't hear about it. Why? Because all the major media outlets are competing to report the least surprising news of the decade: Remember that Terri Schaivo lady? The one that they stopped feeding almost two weeks ago? She died today.

Behind the media circus, an important issue that could affect the lives of millions of Americans, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is being largely cast aside by the media, in favor of round the clock coverage of the decomposition of Schaivo's body.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons has been a serious issue since I took my first breath on this earth. Back during the Reagan administration, the general consensus was that a strong offensive nuclear weapons program would act as a deterrent against Soviet nuclear attacks. We all remember hearing about mutually assured destruction. Unfortunately, that was back when we were fighting an evil empire, a country with a government, national borders, and cities. We knew exactly where to aim our missiles.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of terrorism, attacking our enemies has become considerably more difficult. Terrorism existed in the past, but not in the organized and widespread manner that we see today. Our largest enemy has no national borders, no single country of origin, and even resides among us. The same nuclear deterrent that we had during the 1980s is our largest enemy today, since the availability of weapons materials that resulted from that strategy is widespread. The shortsightedness of nuclear deterrence through escalation of arms production has never been more apparent.

Perhaps this is why a recent poll indicated that most Americans oppose the development and use of nuclear weapons, even by our own military. The American people understand the nuclear weapons are not a deterrent or even an effective weapon in the type of wars that we are fighting in now and will be fighting in the future. President Bush should do everything in his power to encourage the phasing out of nuclear weapons, starting here at home. We're just as vulnerable to nuclear attack with nuclear weapons that can't be used to retaliate against a nuclear attack as we are without any nuclear weapons at all. If you believe that nuclear deterrence applies when we're talking about Iran and North Korea, I would love to hear your evidence supporting that issue.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Congress Acts to Save People in Persistent Vegetative States (like Wyoming)

I'm sure many of you continue to follow the cable news feeding frenzy that is the Terri Schaivo Deathwatch 2005. I've heard a lot of criticism leveled against the cable news networks for their coverage of the issue, but as I have said before, the media only provides us with what they know we will consume and what will keep us from changing the channel. If the general public didn't have such a morbid interest in Terri's every reflexive movement, we would be subjected to countless hours of Johnny Cochran footage and speculation on Michael Jackson's "That isn't my penis in that little boy's mouth" defense.

As if multiple court rulings in support of Schaivo's right to die aren't enough, Congress has jumped into motion to ensure that people in persistent vegetative medical conditions can remain well fed, while in their permanent, terminal state. I have a major problem with the federal or state government getting involved in medical care. The vast majority of lawmakers, regardless of their party affiliation, are not physicians or even former healthcare workers.

The few that are physicians are not obviously practicing, which raises a whole other issue entirely. Bill Frist (R-TN), for example, is a physician, but when questioned by George Stephanopolous recently about the transmission of HIV, Frist was unclear about whether or not HIV can be transmitted through sweat or tears, despite a long standing medical research base to suggest that HIV is not transmitted through these routes. His lack of medical knowledge and lack of expertise in neurology hasn't kept Frist from sharing his opinions regarding a diagnosis for Terri Schaivo. Frist believes, based on videotapes of Schaivo, that she is not in a vegetative state at all. Forget, for a moment, that Frist has never actually seen Schaivo and that he is not a neurologist by training. You might remember that an entire panel of neurologists appointed by the state of Florida, in addition to actual neurologists that have cared for Schaivo throughout the years, believe that Schaivo is in a persistent vegetative state.

This is a prime example of putting your own political agenda before common sense and knowledge, which is nothing new for Frist. I don't believe for a minute that Frist actually thinks you can get HIV through sweat and tears or that he feels he understands enough about Schaivo from watching video tapes from two years ago that he can actually make a diagnosis. Bill Frist may be a complete ass, but he's not stupid. Bill Frist has an agenda, and the result of that political crusade is an abuse of medical opinion, misleading the public into thinking that Schaivo has a chance for recovery.

Advocacy groups, like the triumphantly and optimistically named Not Dead Yet, have taken the national media focus and turned it into instant awareness for their campaign against assisted suicide. Aren't advocacy groups supposed to choose names that empower people? I'm going to start an advocacy group for the disabled called Can't Wipe My Own Ass, and see how people respond. The problem for Not Dead Yet, aside from their inspiring name, is the Schaivo's case doesn't really come down to assisted suicide or euthanasia. Terri Schaivo is not asking a physician to help her end her suffering, and euthanasia implies that you are killing someone who has a chance for recovery.

The media's coverage of Schaivo's demise is disgusting, but politicians, like Bill Frist and Tom DeLay, and advocacy groups who wish to use Terri Schaivo and her family's difficult personal decision are far worse. I used to use cynicism as a last resort, but it's hard not to be cynical about the media, government, and advocacy with the way we've all handled this unfortunate situation.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tom DeLay: King of Hypocrites

For those who have been following the political circus surrounding Terri Schaivo and her right to die, Tom DeLay, House Majority Leader, has been one of the most vocal and critical Congressional Leaders making statements calling Terri's husband, Michael, a murderer and barbarian. Like so many prominent Republicans before him, Newt Gingrich and Phil Graham are two of my favorites, DeLay talks a lot about family values and is often critical of others, but his past actions reveal what a gigantic hypocrite he is for criticizing Michael Schaivo.

In 1988, DeLay's father was involved in a serious accident and the DeLay family, including Terri's Advocate Tom, made a decision not to continue medical care for their father because as one physician described it "Charles DeLay would have been a vegetable." Like Schaivo, this decision was not based on a living will, but on previously disclosed wishes of DeLay's father to his family. The irony is that if DeLay would have felt the same way in 1988 that he did today, he would have fought for legislation to allow his father's medical case to be heard in federal court, but I guess the situation with DeLay's father is totally different.

I commend the DeLay family for making a difficult decision, and in my opinion, the right decision given the circumstances, to discontinue care for their terminally injured father. To turn around 17 years later and call another person a murderer for making the same difficult decision is inconsistent, insensitive and hypocritical.

DeLay's spokesperson feels the two situations are completely different because Schaivo would continue to survive if nutrition were provided, and DeLay's father was being supported by a respirator. In either case, the decision is not what degree of care or support is needed to sustain life, but rather the core issue, whether or not to allow a terminally injured person to persist against their wishes, is quite the same. DeLay and his spokespersons can say whatever they like, but this furthers the case for those who have claimed that DeLay is attempting to divert attention away from his impending indictment for illegal campaign fundraising and spending in Texas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Religious Right had better hope like hell that Jesus has a sense of humor

Religion, in general, and the actions of the religious right in particular have drawn my ire lately, as you can probably tell from my last few posts. If there's one thing that drives me up a wall, it's people who are hypocritical, and the religious right has been the human incarnation of hypocrisy in the past few years. The conventional wisdom has been that the religious right is increasing in power, both socially and politically, but any increase in influence or political power is being mitigated by good, old-fashioned common sense. The fact remains that, thankfully, most Americans are not Bible-beating, fag-hating, self-righteous creeps.

From the media's portrayal of the Terri Schaivo controversy, you would think that the entire country is reading the Left Behind books and tuning in to watch Pat Robertson be racially insensitive on the 700 Club. Fortunately, one look at poll numbers from a variety of different opinion polls (link here) makes it apparent that the majority of Americans do not feel Schaivo should be kept alive. If you examine how the media portrays the public's reaction to removal of Schaivo's feeding tube, you get the wrong idea: that the religious right is a political force to be reckoned with. The majority of Americans may be less vocal, but they're certainly not less important.

People often cite President Bush's recent triumph in November's Presidential Election as proof that the religious right has a place at the political table. While conservative Christians in this country undoubtedly favor the President, despite the discordant relationship between his actions and their dogma, their support of the President has done little to nothing to move their agenda to the forefront. Political power is defined as the ability of a group of people to use politicians to promote a political agenda. Politicians using your political agenda to garner political support, and then only applying it when it's politically advantageous, as President Bush has done repeatedly, is the very definition of gullible.

The Religious Right Wing in this country have become political whores. Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage? Nada. Abortion ban? Not even on the agenda. They haven't even been able to put Creationism in public school classrooms. Religious conservatives voted for President Bush to represent their views, and fortunately for those of us who prefer church and state to remain separate enterprises, the one good thing the President has done during his time in office despite a lot of talk about God, is to keep the secular status quo intact.

Religious conservatives and the mainstream media perceive that there has been a shift in political power. Reality shows us that the Republicans have done a fabulous job of saying their prayers, making spirited arguments on issues popular among Christians, and doing it often enough to hide the fact that they haven't acted on a single item of the Christian Conservative Agenda. Such pomp and circumstance is not real political power. It's selling your soul to the devil for notoriety and attention, regardless of the outcome. I'm sure Jesus is quite proud. How many times do you have to be born again to make up for this?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri Schaivo: Tortured Pro Life Poster Girl

Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a cave, you've undoubtedly been beat over the head with the latest attempt by the religious right to politicize a medical issue. If you're not familiar with Schaivo and the events that led up to this morning's ruling by a federal judge to deny an injunction that would allow Shaivo's parents to re-insert a feeding tube removed on Friday, then click here for a timeline.

As always seems to be the case, the Right to Life movement in this country has chosen quantity over quality. Nevermind that the President supported and elected by this hypocritical sect of bible-thumping control freaks has killed thousands of innocent women and children in Iraq and executed half of the minorities in Texas while Governor. Instead of listening to medical opinion, Schaivo's parents and Republicans want to save Terri's life.

Listening to conservatives tell the story, you would think that Terri's has a chance for recovery from her condition, if only given the chance to restore nutrition. If you listen to the conservative hive noise, Terri's husband Michael is a murderer. Terri must obviously be saved.

The problem with such thinking is that it's not based in reality. Medical experts agree unanimously that Terri's condition is permanent and terminal. In a sense, Terri is already dead. The only question that remains is whether that will be this week or after several more years of expensive hospice care.

When one examines the situation from a grieving standpoint, Terri's parents have obviously not accepted their daughter's condition. To be certain, no one in documented medical history has recovered from a persistent vegetative state. The permanent nature of her condition is one of the criteria that defines it.

In all their sensitivity to the complexity of this medical issue, Republicans and the media continue to paint a picture that Schaivo is being starved to death by her medical providers. The irony is thick here.

Recall that Schaivo is in this condition because of a heart attack related to a potassium deficiency from starving herself. The only thing more ironic would be if Terri's condition resulted from a suicide attempt. Right to Life is holding prayer vigils around the country, hoping that God will save Terri, but if we had left it up to God in the first place, Terri would have died in 1990 from a heart attack. The outpouring of prayers and support has been unbelievable, if only these self-righteous morons said a prayer for the thousands of American's who are in Schaivo's shoes every year.

Regardless of your feelings on the issue, get a living will. The way things are going, we'll all be hooked up to life support indefinitely unless you make arrangements to have someone pull the plug.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Catholic Church Prepares to Celebrate Holy Week with Outpouring of Hypocrisy

Those of you who have knowledge of my personal history know that I was raised Catholic. I was married in the Catholic church, although I don't go to church anymore. Over the years, I have become increasingly disgusted with Christian religious organizations, in general, and the Catholic church, specifically, because of what I feel is a long-standing history of hypocrisy and intolerance. Jesus was all about intolerance.

Don't just take my word for it. In San Diego, a Catholic man was denied burial rites by the Catholic church because he owned and operated two gay bars. The church released as statement saying that the church is not against burying gay people, but that John McCusker's business practices were not in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Maybe if the guy's business had been child molestation or bombing innocent women and children, that would be more in line with their teachings.

Increasingly, churches and religious groups have increased their political influence. It reached a point during the election, where during a church service that I attended, the priest came out and told people to vote for President Bush in the Presidential Election. I assumed that this was because of Bush's stand on abortion, nevermind that Bush has never actually done a single thing to prevent abortion or killing living human beings, for that matter.

Conservatives have also made a nasty habit of aligning themselves with Christian values. The problem here is not the values, since if people actually followed the beliefs supported by their religions, we would have peace and a world where violence was not acceptable. Discrimination, war-mongering, greed, and failing to meet your obligations to your country are not values promoted by any religion I've ever heard of. In practice, however, the messages coming from the religious right are becoming more and more hypocritical and along those lines.

If you really are a Christian and you are as pro-life as you claim to be, why are you supporting a guy who launched an unprovoked military attack on a sovereign nation, killing thousands of innocent people? How in the hell do you justify supporting someone who, historically, has been this country's greatest practitioner of the death penalty while Governor of Texas? Because he says that he supports a culture of life, yet has not taken a single step to address abortion.

I have no problem with religious groups and churches saying that they will not support and condone certain behavior. Condemning a man who was obviously a highly regarded member of the business community for his sins, while supporting another man who has repeatedly violated Thou Shalt Not Kill with his actions is inconsistent and hypocritical. One man ran a club frequented by gay people. The other man has killed thousands of innocent people. Regardless of your beliefs about God, an all-powerful and all-knowing benevolent creator would not rely on this sort of logic as the theological foundation for his followers.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Top O' The Morning to Ya

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If there's one day of the year when it's great to be a midget, aside from when they're casting for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it's today. It doesn't hurt that aside from a horny wandering Scotsman 16 generations ago, I'm nearly full-blooded Irish. Furthermore, how can you not enjoy a day where drinking excessively is a requirement. We need more holidays where drinking is part of the tradition, not just something we'll cry about years later in therapy. If I didn't have to work today and tomorrow, it might be the best day of the year. Regardless, I fully intend to be drunk at work tomorrow morning.

One discussion that I'm tired of already, that inevitably happens this time of year, is that people who haven't inherited their short stature and alcoholism from a long line of Irish Rogues say things like "I'm German. I'm not supposed to celebrate St. Patrick's Day." or "It's a holiday where Irish people get drunk, not Swedes."

Let me make one thing entirely clear. You don't have to be Irish to get drunk and sleep with an unsavory skank on St. Patty's Day. I'm not Mexican, but I eat more Mexican food than Pancho Villa ever did. I still celebrate Cinco De Mayo, and drink Negro Modelo and Pacifico. People who make ethnic excuses to avoid having a good time need to get half of their teeth knocked out, while some fat drunk guy sings "Whiskey, You're the Devil" and plays the fiddle.

Last time I went to Clancy's Pub, they weren't doing DNA bloodline evaluations to determine if you were really Irish. Irish people don't care. We just want to drink, get into a fist fight, and drink some more. Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you every day of the year!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Halliburton Contracts in Iraq: Welcome to the Twilight Zone

As we've all come to realize, some things are debatable. Social Security, while obviously a contentious issue, is something that could be discussed from a variety of viewpoints. We've all seen a debate on Social Security on World Debate. While I may not always agree with conservative supporters of President Bush when it comes to Social Security, I can look at what they say and think "If I were a callous, uncaring, and self-righteous person, I too might support private investment accounts, regardless of how flawed they truly are." Halliburton Corporation's no bid contracts to transport fuel and other supplies in Iraq seems a bit less defensible to me.

What I fail to understand is how ANY conservative could look at the issue, and not be completely disgusted. First of all, the whole issue goes against what conservatives often hold up as the keystone of the conservative domestic dogma: fiscal conservativism. No bid contracts, regardless of who is benefiting, would seem to go against their self-proclaimed fiscal discipline. The Bush Administration has shown time and time again that they don't care about saving money, deficits, or record government spending. With all the back-patting and recent fervor over the "explosion" of conservative blogs and the extraordinary role they are playing in reforming the MSM, this issue, which seems to contradict the very nature of conservatives everywhere, has gone largely ignored.

How can this be? Who is going to save us from BIG government, if the Republicans in Congress won't even question a giant no bid contract, that is currently being investigated by the Pentagon and has previously been investigated for price gouging by the FBI for charging the government for costs that Halliburton couldn't even document? The reality is conservatives, and conservative bloggers in particular, are proving that defending the Administration is more important than producing real dialogue on the issues. The term fiscal conservative as it applies to Republicans has gone from doctrine to punchline.

Another issue where conservatives' collective outrage is missing is abortion. If you look at single issues, Bush pulled in 70% of votes by people who believe abortion should be illegal. He's often commented on the "Culture of Life", which I find interesting when one considers his death penalty batting average as governor of Texas, but I've beat that horse to death. Despite Bush significant "political capital", one of the most conservative Supreme Courts in modern times, the necessary votes in Congress, the President has, thankfully, done nothing to make abortions even more difficult to get. A representative of his administration recently dropped the issue completely at the UN Conference on Women's Issues.

Where's the outrage? Where are the people with giant posters of aborted fetae? Where is the fire and brimstone? Where are all the conservatives who consider abortion an important issue, and why are they letting their President miss a key opportunity to make abortion illegal?

Much like the issue of fiscal conservativism, conservatives are showing that party unity and loyalty to the President is more important than their morals and principles. During the Clinton Administration, I was not the only Democrat questioning why Clinton didn't raise fuel standard requirements for vehicles manufactured in the US, after calling himself an environmental President. Similar outrage has not been forthcoming on the Halliburton contracts or the issue of abortion.

I've known for a long time that conservatives tend to be whores for political power, but to give up abortion and fiscal conservativism in the same 6-month period, simply to show unity behind the President, shows how willing the Republicans really are to sell their values down the river to maintain political power.

New Feature for Comments

In the last two weeks, I have received a ton of email complaining about difficulties with posting comments, viewing comments, leaving flames. Some people have even been accusing me of censorship, particularly for views that don't jive with my overall sentiments.

To solve this problem, I have changed my comments from Blogger to Haloscan and added Trackback. Hopefully, we'll have no more problems posting comments, but give me feedback and let me know how it goes. I'm a midget, not a mindreader.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Bush's Media Machine

The ever-present worship of the Bush Administration in the media is a new topic on this website or any other. A stellar NY Times article this weekend is essential reading for anyone curious about the Administration's obvious and deliberate manipulation of the American public through the media. I think the article does a fine job of explaining things, so I won't make you sit through my lackluster reiteration.

The most aggravating thing about an article like this is it shows what stupid, thoughtless shits we Americans can be. The rest of the world doesn't hate us because our foreign policy is like incredibly bad parenting. Although sometimes, I feel like I'm watching one of the nanny reality shows when I read about our foreign policy. The Bush administration is like the incredibly horrible parents that you see every week on those shows, that makes you say, with my or whenever I have kids, I would never do that. What are these people, NASCAR fans?

What makes the whole thing terribly sad is not the fact that the Bush Administration has figured out how to use the media to their benefit. When it comes right down to it, they are lying, which I've been told is wrong, but the sickest part is how much of their recycled donkey shit we eat up like Mongolian BBQ. I actually think the Bush Administration, in all their ineptitude, is doing something quite well, even if it involves lying and creating the news.

Anytime I hear people complains about the media, violence on TV, the quality of the news, or anything along that thread, it pisses me off. The media doesn't just pick things out of a hat to present to us. The media is a reflection of what they know we will watch, and what will keep us tuned in and coming back for more. It's not the media's fault that you can't use the high school education that we all chipped in on to figure out that an Iraqi guy who works at a taco stand in Cleveland is probably not a direct reflection of the sentiment of the Iraqi people.

How much thought does it take to actually figure out that our efforts to thwart terrorism have been myopically focused on airline security, and have completely ignored our borders, funding first-responders, power plants, our water supply, ports, ferry boats, small aircraft, availability of weapons and bomb materials to terrorists, and many other potential risks?

People have accused me of hating our country, because I don't jerk off to a picture of John Ashcroft wrapped in an American flag. I would like to reiterate that I don't hate our country. I sincerely appreciate the ability to write on this blog without being arrested and the availability of sports and plasma televisions. What would make me even prouder, is if Americans weren't so dense that they believed everything they see on the news, read in the paper or on some midget's blog. What does this say about our ability to analyze facts and think critically about issues that have a significant impact in our lives?

As I write this, people are spending hours and millions of dollars analyzing the recently-released brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but they still voted for a guy who says he's pro-life but has launched a war where thousands or innocent people were killed and has done nothing, thankfully, to affect the availability of abortion, something he has the "political capital" to change. If anyone has an explanation, aside from the fact that our President is a liar and master manipulator, I would love to discuss it. Until then, I've got Kansas going all the way. Go Jayhawks.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Tom Delay: Liar, Money Launderer, and Cheat

Before I start in on the not so honorable financial practices of Tom Delay, I wanted to point out another blog that I really think you will enjoy. Opinions You Should Have is one of the funniest political blogs I have ever read. Let me know if you agree.

From the Washington desk of the NY Times, House Majority Leader and Patron Saint of Evil Causes, Tom DeLay (R-Texas) looks to be in hot water for some illegal campaign fundraising in that occurred in Texas in and around 2002. The legal issue here is quite simple: Texas law prohibits corporate donations to political campaigns unless the money is to be used to administrative costs. The law in Texas is very specific about what constitutes administrative costs. It includes things like rent for your office, utilities, and things of that nature.

The documents highlighted in the article, including e-mails between DeLay, his officials, and the PAC at the center of the controversy, Texans for a Republican Majority, reveal that Tom DeLay may have received direct payments from corporations, including Reliant Energy in August 2002.

Republicans in Congress and throughout the Blogosphere are whining about a political witch hunt and that much of what DeLay is being accused of is common practice in Congress. The only problem with that incredibly simplistic logic is that the practice that DeLay is being accused of is illegal in his home state. It doesn't matter if other people are doing this, if it's against the law where the act took place. It's like getting caught for selling marijuana in Michigan and saying "But in Amsterdam, everyone is selling marijuana, so that makes it Ok." in your defense.

The fact is that DeLay is in hot water, and I personally enjoy watching him squirm, particularly after many years having to listen to his attitude of moral superiority. I guess Tom better start praying. The good news for Democrats is that the D.A. in Austin, Ronnie Earle, is a mean son of a bitch, and won't let DeLay use his political clout to sweep this under the rug.

A proud day for Republicans, no doubt.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Photo courtesy of none other than Mister Bling. Appropriate this time of year, and as news about the Irish Republican Army comes to the media forefront for the first time in a long time. has a reminder about the 3rd Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA day on March 15th. I have never been one to hide my disgust for PETA, and the celebration of this event is a great warm-up for St. Patty's day. For the record, I have nothing against vegans, vegetarians, or even raw vegans. You eat what you want, however you want to eat it, and I'll do the same. The world would be so much a better place if people took this attitude about everything. If you're looking for reasons why I dislike PETA, this website is a great place to start.

The current topic over at World Debate is Bush's budget deficit. I'm laying down the law and have become the recipient of much conservative ire. Feel free to join in the fun.

Mister Bling also points us to, a classic website, that reveals the true nature of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. It makes Behind the Music look like Little House on the Prairie.

Aside from the usual "Why do you suck so much?", "You're a fucking commie!", "Eat shit and die, pinko scumbag!" and other things you would expect someone like Mike Tyson to say during a televised interview, I haven't received much in the way of interesting hate mail in a few weeks. I did, however, receive a message from someone who obviously must think they're my Mom:

"Ryan: Your website is incredibly offensive. You can't write a single entry without the use of foul language. The funny title of your website probably means that children are curious to see what is on this page. Clean up your act, if you're such an educated person! Intelligent people don't need to use foul language, as you do on a regular basis."

I really have no idea what the fuck this person is talking about. I'm completely fucking ashamed of myself. Next thing you know, I'm going to get an email telling me to stop drinking and beating up the elderly, too. For the record, I have never beat up an elderly person, aside from that lady at Target, and she totally swung at me first. Crazy old hag.

Finally, for those of you who live in Omaha, The First Annual Benson Pub Crawl is being planned for late April or early May. Details, including a map of the crawl route, will be posted soon. All are welcome on what is sure to be a fantastic, albeit drunken, voyage.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hold on to the Night

Occasionally, I stumble across something on the internet that is more disturbing than anything I could possibly concoct to put on this site. Something sinister, that represents all that is evil in the world. Today, it was The Richard Marx Fan Club Website. On one hand, it makes me feel better to know that there are webpages out there that suck worse than mine. On the other hand, it seriously gives me chills to think that someone thinks highly enough of this guy's music to create a webpage in homage to it.

At first, I thought it had to be a joke. I was pretty sure that President Reagan ordered all people with Richard Marx haircuts, albums or strong physical likenesses to be rounded up and set free in Utah. Obviously, the dark day is upon us, and Utah finally has access to the internet. Watch for a flurry of Mormon and anti-alcohol/pro-polygamy websites coming soon.

One of many frightening pieces of information you can access on this tribute to the gayest musician of all time is that he's still on tour! Currently, Richard Marx is subjecting the people of Germany to a live Repeat Offender (Marx's 1989 smash hit album, in that, I would like to smash and hit every copy) medley which includes Right Here Waiting, Children of the Night, and Too Late to Say Goodbye. The make matters worse, the Richard Marx "Can you believe this guy hasn't been stoned by an angry mob yet" Tour 2005 is coming to California.

If you need a good laugh, check out some classic quotes from the man himself under the Discography section. Under section for Repeat Offender, Richard explains how he avoided the sophomore jinx experienced by many musicians by holding out good material from his first album, something I have suspected for quite some time. His 2004 album, My Own Best Enemy, is still listed as forthcoming, which gives me hope that maybe it wasn't released.

A frenzied search of indicates that like one of my ex-girlfriend's from college, My Own Best Enemy was released last year, although not from jail. The top selling result under Richard Marx for is something far more sinister than even Richard Marx by himself: an album with a duet between Kenny G and Richard Marx. Unfortunately, the song is not called "Gay Musicians with Equally Disgusting hair styles Sing about a Turd Sandwich". That would be cool and appropriate.

The moral of this story is that like spending a day in Utah, you can always run into someone or something that will make you feel good about yourself (or your lousy blog) on the internet.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Faith-Based Fiasco

If you don't keep up with the comic, The Boondocks, you really ought to check it out. As you can see, it is quite funny. Thanks to ER for sending me this one.

About a month ago, I was having a seemingly innocent discussion with a conservative friend of mine about government support for faith-based programs. The fact that I think faith-based organizations provide important services in our communities may surprise you. The perception that liberals do not support faith-based initiatives and government funding for religious organizations was challenged earlier this year with comments by Senator Hillary Clinton, which supported faith-based initiatives.

We know that President Bush supports faith-based initiatives, as well. In a recent news conference, the President explains how finding Jesus helped him to quit getting drunk and running businesses into the ground:

"There's all kinds of ways to quit drinking, but one of the most effective ways to quit drinking is for a person to make a choice to go to a place that changes your heart," said Bush, who stopped drinking alcohol over a decade ago.

Obviously, the President has personal reasons for his support of faith-based intervention.

Recent events, however, have highlighted the dangers of providing government funding for religious organizations. The President has stated his support for removing equal employment opportunity for employment requirements for faith-based organizations. Essentially, the President wants to allow faith-based organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion in their hiring practices, while still accepting federal funding.

Additionally, the Justice Department recently supported the Salvation Army, when the organization, which has received millions in public dollars, refused to hire individuals who did not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. This is only one example of how faith-based organizations and the services they provide, may not be accessible to those with divergent or non-existent religious beliefs.

I completely defend the right of any organization to set their own standards for employment. If religious discrimination is an integral part of the hiring process, however, I feel strongly that the organization should not take public funds. If an organization takes federal dollars, their services should be available to everyone, and not just people of certain religious groups.

If faith-based organizations can't agree to follow these practices to ensure that discrimination is not occurring within their organizations, they shouldn't spend my tax dollars. We're learning as we drift deeper into the hole of the Bush Presidency, that the increasing influence that religion, and Christianity, in particular, is having on our government becomes more and more clear.

Additionally, the surge in funding for faith-based initiatives and services has limited the availability of AIDS prevention, womens' reproductive health, and medically-based drug and alcohol intervention in many areas throughout the county. The fact is that the Bush Administration spends a very small portion of the federal budget on human services to begin with, and to further divide that segment of funding, and limit its use to only those organizations who promote religion, is incredibly scary.

Some would argue that our country was founded on religious principles. The most frightening reality about that statement is the way the current regime has distorted religious values to promote discrimination, exclusion, and favoritism for one religious sect over another, principles that our founding mothers and fathers were undoubtedly trying to avoid when they established this country. Religion has always been a source for discrimination, but with the government's funding and compliance, faith-based initiatives can make fighting discrimination even more difficult.

Unless we can guarantee that faith-based organizations will not use tax dollars to practice discrimination and limit the availability of important services such as AIDS prevention and womens' contraceptive care, we should not be funding them with public tax dollars. Faith-based organizations should be held to the same standards as other government organizations. Unfortunately, it appears that for the time being, the American people are funding discriminatory programs and agendas.

Friday, March 04, 2005

New York Felon Released from Incarceration, Plans to make Quiche

FYI - The current topic at World Debate is Social Security Reform. Feel free to stop by and watch me bring the pain to the right.

Over the past 5 months, things haven't been the same. My dinner guests seem bored with my entree choices, my floral arrangements seem dull and colorless, even my centerpieces have lost their flare. The reason, however, is not because Martha Stewart has been incarcerated. It's because I have no style, I can't cook, and I don't decorate a damned thing, unless you count hanging neon beer signs as a decoration. Martha has had remarkably little influence on my life, even less so since she's been in jail.

However, as a married man, Martha's indirect influence on me through my wife and subsequently, my wallet, makes her Public Enemy #1 in my book. Why is this woman, who is a threat to investors, the stock market, securities regulations, her assistants, and my hard-earned money allowed to walk free?

The media has even softened the terms that they are using to describe her parole. Instead of being under house arrest, Martha is under home confinement. Instead of jail, the big house, prison, or that place where I was anally raped at 3:00 pm sharp every day, the media refers to Martha's stay at a federal women's Camp in West Virginia.

If I can tell you one thing, Martha didn't just go to camp. Camping involves a tent, 10 cases of beer, and a fire. I've never been on a camping trip where people couldn't go home, someone brought a shiv, or there was a large dyke named Steve eyeing me all the time, but maybe I'm camping with the wrong people. Martha was in jail. I'm sure her publicist came up with that clever diversion, like people don't know the difference. Publicists are apparently a bunch of assholes, who think the general public is too stupid to know the difference between Women's Day Camp and Ass Rape Prison.

Here is a money quote from the article cited above (my comments, as always in parentheses):

During her time at the federal women's camp (JAIL) in Alderson (The backwoods of West Virginia), Stewart (white collar criminal) foraged for dandelions and other wild greens (marijuana), concocted recipes in a microwave (Little Juan Burritos- Extra Cheese) and even ate from a vending machine (That's what they call the big bitches in jail). She also participated in nightly yoga classes (getting beat down by "vending machines"), spent time on crafts (making license plates) and writing (hate mail to her attorney) and lost weight (from using Methamphetamines).

Now that Martha has been released, she's going to attempt to save her business empire, hopefully without repeatedly violating securities regulations and then lying about it to a federal grand jury. If Martha learned anything during her short run in the slammer, she's certainly learned it's time to hire a different stock broker, perhaps even a former Enron employee.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

You'll NEVER believe this one!

This morning, I was looking through the news to see what atrocities our President and Congress have committed in the past 24 hours, and I stumbled on to this article. Talk about shocking news. Lindsey Tanner, author of this astounding piece of journalistic research, is trying to say that obsesity in the NFL is an epidemic! What's next? An article about NBA players suffering from dark skin color?

Lindsey Tanner, AP journalistic dynamo, claims that "56% of NFL players would be considered obese by some medical standards." What she fails to mention is that the most recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health suggest that almost 130 million Americans or 2/3 (~64%) of adults over 20 years old are overweight. Maybe the athletes of the National Football League aren't in such bad shape after all.

The methods of the study cited in the article destroy its credibility. For the study, researchers calculated the number of obese football players by taking the height and weight listed on the NFL team websites and calculated the Body Mass Index (BMI) based on that information. This approach makes two assumptions both of which are incredibly flawed:
1) NFL team's sports information directors are providing accurate information about their players' height and weight.
2) Body Mass Index is an effective way to measure obesity in athletes and other individuals with significantly greater than normal muscle mass.

The practice of exaggerating a player's size is well-documented. Teams often report players as being significantly larger than they really are. An actual scientific study would have actually weighed the players and measured their height to assure accuracy. The study should be disregarded on this basis alone.

As you can see from the National Institutes of Health website on obesity using BMI to calculate obesity, particularly for athletes, can be incredibly misleading:

" Calculating BMI is simple, quick, and inexpensive but it does have limitations. One problem with using BMI as a measurement tool is that very muscular people may fall into the overweight category when they are actually healthy and fit."

In a nutshell, this story was barely worth the time it took me to read it, let alone how long it took me to write this posting, and all of you who are wasting your time reading this. The person that wrote this article is a Medical Writer for the Associated Press. This is a sad example of how the media picks and chooses medical research, and there not even capable of evaluating the difference between good scientific research and what we in the medical profession refer to as "stool".

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Meanwhile over at World Debate

In addition to my recent posts on Ryan the Angry Midget, I have been engaged in an outrageous debate, where a group of conservatives is trying to gang up on me. You see, they believe that the recent events in Lebanon, where people are protesting and have forced the current government out of power, is related to the Bush Administration's Foreign Policy. I have posted several responses, but I need some support. It's a pretty hostile environment, and we're not exactly talking about the International Brain Trust. Click here to join in the discussion, and leave comments.