Friday, July 29, 2005

Guns 'N Ammo

Congress, you read this, is considering legislation that would prevent victims of gun violence from sueing gun manufacturers by granting the gun manufacturing industry liability protection. Surprisingly, this has become a bipartisan effort in the Senate, where even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is supporting the measure.

Let me make very clear that I am not a proponent of gun control. I have yet to come across a single suggested gun control policy that I feel would curb gun violence. Gun control advocates, in my opinion, have an incredibly simplistic view of the factors that lead to gun violence. Licensing guns, trigger locks, banning certain models of guns don't really solve the problem. Many guns are obtained through theft or illegal means, making any legislation difficult. If we've learned anything in our country's history, please let it be that banning things is never a good idea be it pornography, drugs, alcohol, or guns.

However, there is no safe middle ground in this debate. For on the other side of the issue, you have the National Rifle Association, probably the craziest of the powerful political lobbyists outside of the Right to Life folks who kill abortion doctors. With statements like "From my cold, dead hand" the NRA has managed to eliminate any hope of support from reasonable people.

The NRA views every legislative issue as a slippery slope, which is the "See Dick Run" of logical discourse. If you support the NRA, you seriously should consider steralization or at least surrendering your right to vote because you're either a complete moron or so incredibly self-absorbed that your political agenda continues to paint regular gun owners as a bunch a hillbilly mental ward patients.

The most depressing thing about S. 397 is that it creates a precedent where a manufacturer has no liability for the product they produce. Big tobacco tried this too. Because gun manufacturers are the origin of all these weapons, they are our only hope for progressive solutions to this problem. Giving them a free pass to avoid lawsuits, also provides no motivation or incentive for the gun manufacturers to self-regulate the products that they produce. Write your state Senator using the link in the right column, and share your opinion on this issue.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm PROUD to be in Nebraska!

That big building right over there is where pedophiles hang out.
If this story isn't national news by tomorrow, it will be the best thing ever to happen to Nebraska. It's hard enough living in the Cornhusker state. It's not THAT bad of a place to live. It's definitely not as bad as Utah, and so much better than either of the Dakotas.
And yet, some hillbilly has to go down to Kansas and marry a 13 year-old (whom he got pregnant). We're never going to live it down. EVER. We'll always be remembered as that state where 12 year-olds who got married in Kansas go after the fact to mate.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A thought for the day.....

No Oprah is Harpoon spelled backwards.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Scientology is a Cult

A few weeks ago, Tom Cruise sparked an instantaneous controversy while being interviewed by Matt Lauer. We've all known for a long time that Tom Cruise is about Scientology like Fiddler on the Roof is about Jews. In that interview with Lauer, Cruise made some controversial comments about post-partum depression, psychiatry, which he is assuredly quite familiar with, and the use of medication to treat chemical imbalances that lead to mental illness.

As far as Cruise's comments go, I can't say I give half a crap what the guy who starred in Top Gun thinks about the treatment of mental health problems. It's like asking Carrot Top for a neurology consultation. If people take him seriously, they're morons for not recognizing that having your ex-wife play a doctor in a NASCAR movie doesn't qualify you to provide medical advice.

Which brings me to this weekend. I was having a discussion with a group of people about Tom Cruise, some of whom were very upset at his comments, but one in particular was defending him. So, I made essentially the same statement of indifference that I did above, without the clever Carrot Top analogy. What followed was one of the most troubling discussions about religion that I have ever had.

The person who defended Tom Cruise, it turns out, was actually a Scientologist. I didn't know there were Scientologists in Omaha, NE. They must be meeting in someone's basement, because if you use the Church of Scientology Cult Locator on their website, there isn't one within 100 miles of Omaha, NE. Omaha is looking pretty good now isn't it?

In general, I try to keep an open mind about other people's religions, because generally, I learn something new as a result of that strategy. For example, I learned that Mormons believe that Jews, Africans and other people with dark skin are "bad souls", and thus, received a darker coloration from God. The Scientologist refused to have a civilized discussion, and hence, I learned very little.

I don't have a problem with anybody's religious beliefs. There are some religions that believe that people can rise from the dead, Jesus in particular, which I don't think is any more contentious than what Scientologists believe. If you're actually interested in what Scientologists believe and you don't want to buy the book you can get more info here.

My problem with Scientology is that it's essentially a racket. In order to be a good little Scientologist, you have to go to special Scientology psychotherapy, which they call auditing. Cost estimates vary considerably, but in order to get beyond peon status, you must spent between $300,000 and $500,000 on this auditing stuff. It makes it a great religion for Hollywood-types, since they can buy salvation, while still making statements like women who suffer from post-partum depression "need to get out and exercise."

I haven't seen War of the Worlds, but the last movie that I saw where Tom Cruise was worth a shit was Minority Report. Since then, regardless of his religious beliefs, he's really started to go downhill as an actor, but that's just my opinion. This latest case of verbal diarrhea was brilliant self-promotion and idiotic all at the same time.

Any religion that requires it's participants to pay for services connected with salvation, whether it's Scientology or Christianity, should be questioned. Support your church in any way and to whatever degree you wish, but if there are fees that are required for your participation, you're being had.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Back to the Ice

Patrick Roy, unfortunately, will not be joining the Colorado Avalanche this Fall when the NHL returns to the ice. The Owners and the NHLPA agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Owners got their salary cap, just as they had wanted all along, and the players get to play hockey in the NHL again. An intense amount of the media coverage of the agreement, including this piece from Fox Sports, paints the picture that hockey fans are angry.

As a fan of the NHL, in general, and the Colorado Avalanche, in particular, I can tell you that I am never thrilled when economics and greed force a sport to miss all or part of a season. Some blame the owners and some the players, but they're all greedy bastards doing exactly what you and I would be doing if we had millions of dollars at stake. Anyone who denies that is so completely full of shit, that I would request that they come roll around on my lawn to fertilize it.

True hockey fans may have been disappointed or frustrated, but if you're a true hockey fan, and not just some bitchboy who plays NHL '96 for the Sega with the offsides turned off, you've been too busy preparing for the upcoming season to be angry at all.

The same Fox Sports article that I cited above also talks about one of my favorite things that non-hockey fans love to complain about with every last breath they can muster: how complicated the rules of hockey are. The reality of the situation is, however, that hockey rules are no more or less complicated than Golf, Baseball, or Football. Not every sport can be as fiendishly simplistic as NASCAR, and some of the best sports have some incredibly complicated rules. If you don't understand them, maybe you should just stick with WWE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Karl Rove is in Big BIG Trouble

With the revelation over the weekend that Karl Rove, one of President Bush's key advisors, was the government official that leaked to the media the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the blogs are alive with the sound of music and people calling for Rove's head on a stick. I could join the fray, but I would really just be echoing the sentiments of those who have said it better. Check out America Blog or Daily Kos. Both offer particularly well-written accounts.

In the meantime, Move On PAC has yet another online petition to the Bush Administration, demanding that Rove be fired, if that's your opinion on the matter.

The situation with the Bush Administration gets more and more like Alice in Wonderland every day. The administration has someone publicly survived despite the realization that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, despite that assertion being the entire justification behind an immediate invasion of that country. They're managed to blur the line between the War in Iraq and the War on Terror, despite the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still at large and the fact that we've provided motivation for Al Quida by attacking and occupying a sovereign Arab nation.

Despite this most recent revelation that one of the President's top advisors was to blame for the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, Republicans are predictably blaming the Democrats for playing politics. Do these people understand what Rove did? He jeopardized the life of a CIA agent and potentially destroyed any leads in the war on terror that she may have been working on, simply because her husband was one of the first people to reveal publicly that despite Bush's statements in the 2003 State of the Union address, Iraq never attempted to purchase enriched Uranium from Niger.

If I found out tomorrow that President Bush invaded North Korea because of links with Al Quida, I can't say that I would be surprised. Or Syria. Or Iran. Or {insert name of country here}. I need a beer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Great Article on the State of US Homeland Security

We've been discussing since the inception of this blog just before the 2004 Presidential Elections about how woefully inadequate and unresponsive US Homeland Security truly is. This article lays out how we can beef up our public transit systems to avoid an event like the one in London. It's a great article because it's offering solutions, rather than just bitching about the piss poor job the administration is doing with Homeland Secuirty.

Complaining about President Bush, as I have a tendency to do, does not make us safer against terrorist attacks. The sort of constructive dialogue presented in that article, on the other hand, absolutely does. Check it out, and then craft a letter to your Congressman to let him or her know that this is what we want, and that we shouldn't simply react to terrorist events as we have thus far.

If you're not interested in promoting actual Homeland Security, then perhaps this website is where you should be spending your time.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terror in London

Terrorists struck again today, this time in London. Click here for the latest news. It's another sad day for the world, but the reaction to this really got me thinking. Bombings like this by insurgents against US troops and law-abiding Iraqi citizens has become commonplace, and yet we're ten times more horrified when it happens somewhere we don't expect, as if people in London's lives are somehow more valuable than those of our troops or the Iraqis.

The turn of events in London is beyond horrific. An interesting sidenote to the entire situation has been President Bush's statement. He's obviously remorseful and saddened, as we all are. Based on his statements, however, he obviously thinks that there is some aspect of homeland security that would prevent the same thing from happening in Miami or Houston or Los Angeles or Seattle. And in reality, there is not.

I challenge anyone to come up with a policy or mechanism currently in place or even theoretical that could be used to prevent this sort of thing from happening. I think it would make for an interesting discussion, since this whole issue of Homeland Security is once again being thrust to the forefront, as the President continues to contend that we are safe, when we are obviously not. Bush's hubris in his own policies will certainly guarantee that this sort of tragedy could happen in any American city with mass transit. I'd be interested to hear your comments on the state of "Homeland Security".

Monday, July 04, 2005

Interesting Comments

If you read the comments below the Letter to the Red States post below, you see an interesting example of why the Democrats are not the dominant political force that they once were. If you talk to Republicans, there exists a party loyalty that you just don't get from Democrats. You definitely don't get this "Puppy who lost his way" "Why did we put Dean in charge" "Woe is me" sort of response. Democrats are definitely in need of some direction, and this midget and his website accept no responsibility in giving the party that direction. The last time I led a group of people anywhere, we ended up at a Riverboat Casino in Iowa drinking Bud heavy and playing nickel slots.

When people ask what happened to the Democrats, I think the answer is that we were so sure of ourselves and our party going into the 2004 Elections that when we lost, we were dumbfounded. When you believe deeply that the majority of Americans are levelheaded and intelligent consumers of information, and then you have them turn out in record numbers to prove you wrong, it takes time to get your breath back.

Happy 4th of July, just by the way. It's always a little bittersweet for me on the 4th. I love my country, but I am disgusted with all these psuedo-patriotic numbnuts that sing along with Lee "I've never served a day in my life for this country" Greenwood every year. If raping your cousin were popular, Lee Greenwood would write a song "And I'd gladly put my dick in her mouth, and pee on her today. 'Cause there ain't no doubt, I love this bitch. God Bless my cousin Mae."

In order to really have pride in what it means to be American, you have to have a full understanding of the rights and wrongs of our country. We've said many times before that this child-like infantuation with our country is useless, and not really that patriotic. Patriotism is loving your country, while realizing that it ain't perfect. True patriots are people who question the governments actions, instead of blindly saluting every time someone stands in front of a flag.