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Sunday, April 30, 2006

An apology...

I'm sorry I haven't posted in two weeks. Real life has been crazy, and as a result, I've been exhausted most of the time. Also, frankly, I haven't had all that much to say. I have lurked at some of your websites, even pitched in a comment or two, but I've basically put myself on light blog duty. If I haven't commented on your sites recently, that's in no way any indication of a lessening of my opinion of you; I just haven't had anything new, interesting, or bizarre to add. This brings to mind the question of what I have thought as I've been looking at the goings on of the world lately, so I'll share a few thoughts.

President Bush: Although he was more than a bit late, I was glad to hear him talking so seriously about alternative fuels and flex-fuel vehicles, though I wish he would've at least mentioned biodiesel and basic research into batteries to extend the range of hybrid vehicles. Furthermore, I applaud his decision to stop adding to the strategic petroleum reserves, as that measure only served to further inflate the already extreme gas prices. He's even called for an investigation of the oil companies' prices and their profits. Perhaps if he'd've said something similar, oh, say five years ago and actually listen to his generals and admirals about Iraq and hire a Secretary of Defense who would listen to his generals and admirals, his approval rating wouldn't be quite so far in the crapper.

Congress: What. The. Fuck!!! A $100 credit to help defray energy costs is the latest proposal, but is tied to a bill that would authorize drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. I'll ignore the second issue for just a moment, and tackle the $100 credit proposal. Nevermind the fact that this would just add to our extreme national debt, a debt that must get under control for our nation's present and future, and that of our descendants, this is just stupid. Assuming gas prices of $3.00 a gallon, and a fuel tank of 11 gallons, that $100 would be three tanks of gas, not even a month's worth, for a good number of people. Going into the ANWR aspect of the debate, that would be akin to putting a bandage on a leg with a compound fracture. Not only would it take years to accomplish, it would also reduce the sense of urgency among some movers and shakers about switching to alternative fuels, thereby hindering the aim of achieving energy independence. At least the starting point for much of the basic research that will be necessary is here, but more must be done.

Iran: Iran is a net exporter of gasoline, but they're talking about enriching their own uranium. For over a generation, Iran has been a rogue nation and a sponsor of terrorism worldwide, and that was even true (though to a lesser extent) with their former, more moderate government. Their current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, scares the everlasting hell out of me, and I have absolutely no doubts about the accuracy of acting Israeli Prime Minister Ohlmert's comments about Mr. Ahmadinejad's character. What an ugly mess...

In summary, if things don't change very soon, I may vote majority Democrat for the first time ever this coming November, though it's always been a bit of a close thing. It will all depend on the ideas presented by the candidates for the various offices and their character. To the Democrats who occasionally visit, this does not mean I'm becoming one of you. The strictures of membership in any political party really chafe, and I do not want to find myself tied to any leader out of a sense of loyalty to the party or the individual. Ultimately, our elected leaders are our employees, and as such, we should view their performance, their intentions once in office, and integrity as being of paramount importance, and if a leader in any party is a shit and proves himself or herself unfit to lead, get him or her out. I've seen party loyalists support candidates even they admitted were fairly detestable, and that's disgusting. All that said, enjoy the new name I've given my blog.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld, it's time to call it a night and go home.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've already heard about the six retired generals who have called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Some may say seven, but I'm not counting General Wesley Clark, since frankly, he doesn't matter, having run for the opposition party's candidacy and has at least the perception of taint or opportunism. Furthermore, it's been a long time since he was a general. No, of far more interest is the three former field commanders who have called for Secretary Rumsfeld to step down. His inability to effectively fulfill the duties of his position have been obvious for quite some time now, but these six retired generals cast a different light on the problems in the United States Department of Defense. I know I'm still somewhat young, but I have never seen the like in my lifetime, and after speaking with others, I doubt this has precedent in the history of the United States. President Bush has, predictably, shown his support for someone who has only brought him grief and embarassment. In the instances where he has given sound advice, he has executed his ideas in a manner more suitable for a business than a military, to the grief of soldiers and their families. The time has come for Secretary Rumsfeld to step aside and allow someone far more qualified to take his place. He has more than overstayed his welcome.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Alabama state law is weird.

I mention this because of something I didn't know until earlier today. The coastal counties of Alabama are minus one elected sheriff after former Mobile County Sheriff Jack Tillman pled guilty to misdemeanor counts of perjury and an ethics violation as part of a plea agreement that kept him out of prison and removed him from office mere months before he would have lost his seat anyway. I think in this sort of instance, the most important thing is to get such an individual out of office, so I don't begrudge him his short suspended sentence and $13,000 fine. The important thing is that he's out, and the people of Mobile County can move forward. This is unfortunate, but far from abnormal except insofar as he's but one of many elected officals to be removed from office or, in one instance, be in the process of being impeached (for buying over $9,000 in Mardi Gras beads using school vending machine money) in Mobile and Baldwin Counties in the last year or two. That said, I won't bore you with those details. No, what is weird is the legal selection process for an interim sheriff.

According to Alabama state law, should the sheriff be unable to complete his or her full elected term, his responsibilities are delegated to the county coroner. Should there be a vacancy in the office of county coroner, the County Probate Judge may appoint a "special coroner" to fulfill the duties of the county coroner until the next election. In 1987, the voters of Mobile County, AL, decided to replace the county coroner with an appointed medical examiner, hence, creating an automatic vacancy in that position, a vacancy that was unnoticed and unlamented until now. At 1 PM Central Daylight Time, that's exactly what occurred when Dale Evans, Sr., a former agent with the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Customs Service, was sworn in as the "special coroner" of Mobile County, thereby becoming the interim sheriff.

I wonder what odd laws and rules of succession are lurking on the books in other states, just waiting for the wrong person to fuck up...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Congresswoman McKinney gets the rare, ahem, "honor" of a double-post.

She joins such notables as Roy Moore, Ann Coulter, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (yeah, right, as if PeTA even knows the meaning of "ethics, let alone exercises any), President Bush, former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, and France. She becomes only the second individual Democrat to achieve the distinction of annoying me enough to get me to rant about her twice or more, though I'm surprised I haven't double-ranted Tom Cruise. That may simply be a result of my knowledge of his insanity and the fact that even thinking about the rat-bastard gets my blood pressure up dangerously high.

I would like to thank Sheryl for inspiring me to visit the, ahem, esteemed Congresswoman's website to see what she thinks, if anything. Since I wasn't expecting much more than bullshit, I wasn't disappointed. You may notice her quote of Article I, Section 6, Clause 1 (I'll ignore Clause 2 since it only precludes members of Congress from holding another government office simultaneously) of the Constitution of the United States of America. I find it particularly odd in light of what happened, but I'll get to that later. First, I'll join her in quoting that particular section of the highest law of the land, and since I'm feeling particularly frisky, I think I'll do something poetic, such as linking to the Constitution of the United States of America by way of the website of the body to which she belongs, the United States House of Representatives.

" The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (See Note 6) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

Not that it matters, the text of Note 6 is as follows: "This Clause has been affected by amendment XXVII."

Let's dissect this rather shabby defense of her actions, the latest in a string of desperate measures undertaken by Congresswoman McKinney. The only sentence that really matters here is the second one. "And for any speech or debate in either HOuse, they shall not be questioned in any other place." Utterly irrelevant, since, while she said plenty on the House floor, she also said plenty in the news media, and the heart of this issue has very little to do with words and everything to do with chucking a cell phone at a cop.

Now for the main event, the first half of the second sentence: "They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same..." First, the incident did not occur as she was actually on the House floor, but rather as she was entering an office building, so the subclause about "during their attendance at the session of their respective houses" is of questionable relevance and frankly doesn't pass the smell test. Second, and more importantly, they shall in all cases be priviledged from arrest, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Of the three, the last is the most certain, and the first does not apply in this case. The Constitution of the United States of America clearly outlines the definition of treason, and being an ass isn't even close. However, assaulting a police officer is certainly a breach of the peace and may qualify as a felony at some point in the future; however, that decision is in the hands of the Department of Justice. She was attempting to gain entry into one of the most important buildings in our nation's government without wearing the proper identification; in this case, a pin. Three times she attempted to get around the magnetometer, and on the third attempt, she hit a police officer in the chest with a cell phone. I'm more than certain that there are many guests of the state who are in their prison cells because they hit a cop, or that such a charge led to an extension of their stay.

Ms. McKinney, your defense is weak, and your ignorance and contempt for the rule of law is encyclopedic. Even after this incident, a few mea culpas, and this incident dies a quick death, but much like Martha Stewart, you weren't that clever. This was never an issue of race, your shrill protestations notwithstanding. This was an issue of one person thinking the rules did not apply to themselves and hitting a cop when she found those beliefs were mistaken. In short, this was about hubris.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My contemplative mood is over. It is time once again for me to get ugly.

Do you, my few fans, love my polemics with as much hellfire and brimstone as a revival preacher but without the annoying preaching? Do you love it when I tear into someone? Then you'll be sorely disappointed. I'm feeling a bit snarkier today. :P Just kidding. Let the games begin!

Two weeks ago, I had no clue who Cynthia McKinney was. Now, over the last few days, I've learned from her own words and actions that she's a racist bitch who refuses to take responsibility for her actions. I watched her interview on CNN, and frankly, I pity the people she so inadequately represents. The Capitol Police's version is thus: She wasn't wearing her pin designating her as a member of Congress, she went around the metal detector, she refused three times to identify herself, then hit the officer in the chest with her cell phone. Her version is that she was being picked on because she was black. Bullshit. Complete, utter, and irrefutable bullshit. I've worked in jobs where I had to show some form of identification to get in the building unchallenged, and they were a damned site less important and in less important locations than an office building for the United States House of Representatives. Had she turned around any of those times and said to the officer something to the effect of (but more professional than) "Sorry, man, here's my badge," the situation is over. What she did after that would've been on her, but she wouldn't be under investigation for assaulting an officer. However, she chose to strike the man in the chest with a foreign object. Congresswoman McKinney, just remember, you can't spell "assault" without the word "ass", and you were being one. Personally, I hope that, whatever the outcome, all Congresspersons and all Senators, hell, all elected officials be required to go through those metal detectors and be screened just like the rest of us schlubs, and I hope that regulation is named the Cynthia McKinney rule in appreciation. Even should your career survive this ZsaZsa Gabor moment, I bet that would make you tremendously popular in the cafeteria. I bet all the cool Congresspersons will want to hang out with you and ask your opinion on important manners after you cost them even more and persistent headaches. Oh, and Congresswoman McKinney, one last thing: I love your new hair. It makes you look like a new woman.

Next, I would like to tear into Roy Moore... Just kidding. CBS has selected a new anchor for their nightly news show. They could've gone with Soledad O'Brien or any of literally hundreds of qualified people to take the reins of one of the most prestigious jobs in journalism to repair the damage left in Dan Rather's wake. So who did they choose? Someone who gets a flexible camera jammed up her ass every year on national television. Of course, I'm talking about none other than one of my least-favorite on-air personalities, Katie Couric. She has about as much cred as a real journalist as Vanilla Ice had as a rapper, and she's twice as annoying as Carrot Top. Talk about See B.S. But that's okay. I'm sure their dozen or so remaining loyal viewers will be happy to see that aging harpy drone on about the news, and the issues that matter to her, like herself, or Katie Couric, or Couric, Katie, or proper colon health. This just begs the question: Is Les Moonves trying to kill the news arm of CBS? If so, he did a bang-up job by signing that crone.

I'm not watching Fox News, as I find my blood pressure benefits from eliminating nighttime exposure to that network from the programming, so I have no clue what Bill O'Reilly has to say about either of these issues, and frankly, I don't care. I don't like Bill O'Reilly. While he is undoubtably intelligent, he masks this extraordinarily well by bullying guests with whom he disagrees and generally making an ass out of himself. Furthermore, he harps on about mistakes and indiscretions others have committed while refusing to discuss his own, though on the last point, I admit to being more than a bit relieved. After all, who really wants to hear the tapes of him poorly attempting to have phone sex with one of his female producers, a mistake for which he paid very dearly if the rumors are true? I'm glad she sued him for what was a very clear case of sexual harrassment, and I'm even gladder I didn't hear those tapes. His voice trying to be sexy... Can I safely assume that the rest of you are as disgusted by that mental imagery as I am? Ugh. But the issue is closed since it's about him; just ask him. Fucking useless hypocrite.

And on that note, I bid you all a good evening.