In Kerry, Bush War of Words, We're All LosersIt's the first of November and we have the 3,867th tempest in a teapot of the election cycle. It erupted when John Kerry told college students in Los Angeles, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."
Almost as soon as the sound of his voice died away, everyone breathing and capable of speech within the Bush camp was apoplectically calling for an apology for the great affront Kerry had hurled at "their" valiant boys in the field.
Kerry, in a stunning display of what made him a crappy Presidential candidate, answered not only, "no", but "hell no" to an apology. He said his statement was the product of a bad joke and he railed, quite rightfully, about how the calls for an apology were nothing more than a diversionary tactic to change the subject away from Team Ineptitude's record and toward his misstatement. Clearly, much of his ire, deservedly so, bubbled from the heinous treatment he got from the Swiftboaters during his time on the electoral hot seat. But as far as it went, it was a good speech that showed some of the fire democrats must display in order to shed their well-deserved title as the wimps of the political world.
As usual, however, a tiny peek under the hood of this particular kerfluffle is in order.
I heard recordings of the statement and personally found it a tad difficult to square the statement with Kerry's explanation of it being a failed joke. At the same time, I find it even more difficult to understand why a man who is generally well-disposed toward veterans and our troops would say such a stupid thing, especially since he should have known it would create exactly the type of issue it has. All things considered, I'm somewhat favorably disposed to take his explanation at face value because of those inconsistencies. However, I can't deny he was a colossal boob for saying it.
Whether it was a mistake or an actual attack on the troops doesn't much matter. A reasonable person can see how the statement could be misconstrued and Kerry and his party would have been much better served by simply saying, "Oops, I'm sorry I misspoke." But he didn't and now the damage is done.
Having said that, the republicans aren't off the hook either.
Given Bush's reputation as a walking malaprop who misstates more than he gets right, it's a little disingenuous to attack Kerry for a potentially similar offense. It shows a shocking lack of statesmanship (and there's no shortage of that disease on either side lately) and class. Even if Kerry had delivered an attack on the troops, I'm confident that his record of supporting the troops compares more than favorably to the administration's ineptitude in dealing with them.
Kerry may be a clumsy boob who may owe people an apology, but I don't think anyone - including fair-minded republicans - can deny the demands for an apology are anything more than a bait and switch to change the subject from the War of Error to something more palatable for the republicans to talk about (although for the life of me, I can't think of a subject where they can run on their record).
So here's the score:
Kerry: A clumsy orator who should be much more careful than this incident demonstrates. His reply to calls for an apology was eloquent in the things it got right, but at the end of the day, should have contained an apology. If you are one of the fence-sitters who previously leaned left, but now swings back to the republicans based solely on this incident, I believe you may be a fool. Or as George so ineloquently puts it, "...fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."
Bush, et al: A gaggle of misanthropes who have bungled nearly everything they've touched. Bungled so badly, in fact, they're in real danger of losing control not only of the electorate, but the stupid situations they've lead us into. Their grasping at this event, instead of running on their record, is symbolic of why we find ourselves in the decrepit state we do today. For a party that carps so much about personal accountability and great leadership, they have the unerring ability to ignore those noble goals in search of the next tarpit for some fresh ammunition to attack anyone who dares believe differently.
In other words, it's the American people who are the losers in this sad mudslinging match. And the greatest losers among us are the troops who sit in the sand a thousand miles away, being picked off like flies while the administration looks for a new tactic to remove a giant thumb from their asses.
Compared to that, it seems to me both sides owe us an apology.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, October 31, 2006
As We See It: Halloween Edition
I Always Wondered Where I'd Seen Him Before
Karl "Leaks" His October Surprise
Dave Reevaluates Bill O's IQ
Dick Tries Out His New Halloween Costume
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, October 30, 2006
Halloween RandomnessOmnipotent Note: Omnipotent though we may be, we aren't completely free of the secular, earthbound tribulations of sinus headaches. Apologies for the hiatus of our usual blogging, but it took two days to get rid of the damned thing and I still feel a tad groggy. Hence, "easy posting day".
It Changes the Whole Dynamic of the Election - Ahnold is breathing a sigh of relief that his arch rival for California governor - no, not the charismatically-challenged Phil Angelides - has dropped out of the race. Perhaps Gary Coleman will reconsider a run.
Perfect for Your Little Suicide Bomber - Have an absolutely explosive time this Halloween!
I'd Buy It - If only these things were narrow enough to fit down a grocery store isle, I'd buy one.
Scary Movie - Flash is a wonderful thing.
Lords of Logistics - Third World people taking the concept of "multi-tasking" one step too far.
Roadside R.I.P. - Bob Fuller has perfected the dicey marriage of drunk driving victims and consumerism while demonstrating once again that there's a niche for everyone and everything on "the Internets".
Dear God, Stop the Madness! - Cartoon splooge to star in animation festival. Medical units told to be ready for nausea outbreak. Film, er, cartoons at 11.
Chef Boy-ar-Dee Speaks Out - You might expect the Flying Spaghetti Monster to engender some ruffled feathers, but the language! Does Jesus know what comes out of those Christian mouths? Hand me that communion wafer made of soap.
The Big Book of Venom - Author, attorney, and general gadabout, Gerry Spence takes on the Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power. After reading all that crap, I can't see how the man sleeps at night.
How Come This Never Happens at Check E. Cheese? - One of the things I most hated about parenting a young child was the occasional trip to Chuck E. Cheese. They had these things, but I never struck upon this idea. If more grandparents had turned the kids loose with tokens, maybe more of them would have ended up in these fine sound-proof chambers.
Shouldn't You Be Out Burning CDs Someplace? - Christians + Rock = Unlistenable Crap. There's a reason Christian rock never really caught on with the mainstream. Clearly, these boys aren't Stryper. And, they're gay to boot.
Apparently Real Estate Hasn't Gone Bust Everywhere - You're going to hell.com - and it'll only cost you a cool mil - a "hell" of a bargain at any price.
Are Those Things Real? - Katherine Harris and the joys of a Brazilian. It must be the Character Counts calendar.
Sreeeeeeeeeeam! - That wax Jerry Falwell scared the hell out of me. And did you see the Pat Robertson ghoul? He looked so pasty and lifelike.
Dream Ticket? - Another actor decides to throw his hat into the political ring. Are we one constitutional amendment away from an Ahnold/Alec 2008 ticket? Slogan: Vote Arnold and Alec, Talent Clearly Doesn't Matter!
MyNword - Apparently you're just a nobody unless you have a MySpace place to call home. Introducing Niggaspace.
Float Like a Democan, Sting Like a Republicrat - US Elections have gotten increasingly venomous lately, but at least no one came to blows - until now.
Rules? Rules? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Rules - You've heard about them, now read them from the um...horse's....um...horse's ass.
Like Ten Cats Being Raped, You Say That Like It's a Bad Thing - Let's have a Divalicious sing-along! Just follow the bouncing boobs, er, ball.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, October 28, 2006
Does Rush Have a Shoe Fetish?They say that when you can see a politician's lips moving, he must be lying. The conservative talk radio corollary is, "If you see Rush Limbaugh's lips moving, he must be saying something stupid."
Rush's latest bloviation is a dig at Parkinson's sufferer Michael J. Fox. When a visibly shaking Fox cut a campaign commercial in support of stem cell research, Rush took to his EIB (Excellence in Bacon) Network to accuse Fox of chicanery.
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," the drug-addled Doughboy solemnly intoned. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
Given his own history, Rush should know a thing or two about the effects of medications on the human body. But, it's a long way from OxyContin and falsely labeled Viagra to Parkinson's meds.
Rush even professed inside information about his allegations. The Corpulent Carbuncle said he knew they were true because Fox claimed in an E! True Hollywood Story segment that he'd not taken them before his recent testimony before Congress on Parkinson's and stem cell research.
E! True Hollywood Story? Rush, have you been hittin' the OxyC again?
Drawing on his voluminous knowledge of the legal principle that you are innocent until proven guilty, Dillhole Dan ranted on, "Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial. All right then, I stand corrected. So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act."
Yo! Dittohead Dickhead! Get a clue.
Several sources, including doctors familiar with Parkinson's and the medications effects on victims, have said publicly that Fox was exaggerating nothing. In fact, some pointed out that the meds can actually increase tremors.
Is that the sound of crickets I hear over at The Rush Limbaugh Pain Clinic and Erectile Dysfunction Lab?
Here's the point you're missing you sanctimonious, drug-abusing prig. It doesn't matter if he did stop his meds to appear sympathetic. Even without the tremors, he has a deadly disease that might be cured through stem cell research. Even you, in your overbearing ignorance admit that. He is also a United States citizen who is free to exercise his rights to campaign for his candidate of choice. And, he is willing to conduct that campaign with considerably more grace and class than that crazed cabal you run with.
It takes a mighty cynical, disingenuous, and hypocritical asshat to accuse Fox of, "allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process...shilling for a Democratic politician."
Rush, get real.
You have never met a crackpot politician, raving lunatic fundamentalist, or Constitution-abusing President you didn't pander to like a man with a foot fetish in a shoe store.
So Rush, step right this way. I think I have a nice little pair of open-toed pumps in size unbelievably huge you'll just adore.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Let Us Count the Ways of RandomBecause I Hate Bill O and I Can - Special holiday? Upcoming birthday? Just want to piss off a Bill O'Reilly fan? Here's your chance.
Where is Your Evil Twin? - Of course, there are zero Omnipotent Poobahs in the database, but we're a Diety so we don't have a name twin. Take the test and find that long lost, rich relative you never knew about.
They Make My Orange Crate and Cardboard Box Look a Little Drab - As you sit in your cubicle, manacled to the chair and suffering from Vitamin C deficiencies from lack of sunlight, you can take a gander at these babies. You'll feel sooo much better if you do.
And Now on the Home Shopping Network! - You knew it had to happen, and it has.
Sex Toy or Baby Toy, You Be the Judge - I know I mix them up sometimes. They're both brightly colored, they're soft and squishy...hey, come on, don't say you don't!
How Come Our Librarian Didn't Look Like That? - Sure, it's another search engine, but it's notjust another search engine. Just to try her out, ask, "Are you a lesbian?" and repeat the question several times.
How Many Sailors Does It Take to Fire on a Cruise Ship - In a brilliant display of military might, Poland, one of the core members of the Coalition of the Inept, brought a German (oddly enough, yet another member) cruise ship to heel by firing a shot across der Deutsche ship's bow. I hate it when a coalition falls apart like that.
Can It Pay for the Insurance Too? - One can never stop the march of technology, especially when it marches straight to the dumbest places. Behold the next must-have automotive gadget!
Can't We All Get Along? - You've heard the legends. You've seen the movies. Now, see the real story of the Fightin' 101st Keyboarders.
Hey! It Could Happen - You never know what can happen. I understand the Boy Scouts now offer a merit badge for this.
Steve Irwin Was Only the First Victim - Beware the stingray.
Does Pat Robertson Know About This? - If only we could all be just like Norman.
Watch Out! You'll Poke Someone's Eye Out - This woman is clearly a staunch feminist...in much the same way Katherine "Tits To You" Harris is a feminist.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, October 24, 2006
What Did He Not Say Now?The Bush administration receives more than a little public scrutiny for how poorly they communicate. As a result, pundits have wondered aloud whether he's "an idiot", major media have pondered the "bubble" in which he seems to be hermetically sealed, and bloggers...well, let's not even go there. To say he is aloof and poor-spoken is charitable in the extreme.
You'd think that by year six, he'd have learned a thing or two about communicating and its impact on the public's perception of him.
You'd think, but you'd be wrong.
Our Malaprop-in-Chief is forever trying to change the definition of words, parse them with the penchant of Bill Clinton defining is, or just deny he ever said them - despite voluminous videotape footage to the contrary.
After three years of repeating the mantra, "stay the course", he's now denying he ever said it. He followed a similar course with connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda and a host of other topics. Other members of his administration - most notably The Big Dick, who still claims a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, and Donald Rumsfeld who is a veritable Noah Webster when it comes to redefining words and phrases - do the same.
The man obviously thinks the American public is as dim-witted as he - a proposition I'd say has some merit actually. Or, he's simply so arrogant that he believes, "if the President says it, it must be true." Either way, he Quixotically pursues his revision of English in the same single-minded fashion as an idiot savant with a language obsession. "Terror...t...e...r...r...o...r, terror" he mumbles like a real-life Rainman with a mouthful of cud.
His legacy will be less than impressive in most every way. Future generations will remember him as they pay off the debt he foisted on them. Aggrieved military families will reflect on the empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table. And, Constitutional scholars will marvel at his corrosive influence on the Bill of Rights - "what were those people thinking when they let him get away with that?"
At best, he'll have a reputation commensurate with Dan "Mr. Potatoe-Head" Quayle, another of history's walking malaprops. But there will be a difference between George and Dan. Quayle was simply a none-to-bright Veep, who despite his idiocy was in no position to do real and lasting harm. George, on the other hand, is in the preeminent position to muck up the works on a grand scale - a man gifted with the talent and vision to be one of history's leading dunderheads.
Our only hope is that one day soon, he'll amend his title from President to ex-President. I, for one, could get behind a revision like that and it can come none too soon.
It certainly would be nice to believe that a simple misspoken word could change the course of history for the better. Lord knows, plenty of other misspoken words have changed the world just as much - for the worse.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, October 23, 2006
Drawing the War Closer
Gary Trudeau is a truly great cartoonist. He's able to transmute the horror of war into an extraordinary, yet essentially human (and sometimes humorous) act. His cartoons are by turns funny, horrible, sad, poignant, or outrageous. He has the ability to get under the skin of the rich and powerful in ways that journalists can't. He wears his heart and opinions on his sleeve, where they do a public service each time he manages to anger the elite.
You can love or hate his cartoons, but you can't ignore them. His humanity and gift for giving our soldiers - our good people caught in awful situations - life is an essential part of our national political debate and debate about the human condition.
He is a national treasure.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Sunday, October 22, 2006
As We See It: Honor Pat Tillman Edition
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, October 21, 2006
RandomiliciousNow There's a Headline You Don't See Every Day - "Watchdog critic frets about Fox's leftward slant".
Is That a Trend in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad to See Me? - Nuclear war. Rampant scandal. The Redskins. It's good to see the WaPo has their priorities in order.
Now We Know the Secret Behind Al Roker's Weight - It seems Al has a taste for the "man candy". Does the House Page Board know about this?
It's Not What It Looks Like - A pole, a scantily clad woman, a sweaty bald man, and a thick stack of Washingtons. Stick with it for a few seconds. It's not what it appears.
The Hummers Get All the Action - Random acts of Humm(er)ing.
I See Serious Therapy in This Kid's Future - Just when we thought everyone in the world loathed Dick Cheney, one small girl restores faith to the...um...SHE'S INSANE!
We Didn't Know There Were so Many Turkeys in Ft. Meyers - Not your usual county festival. City Councilman says, "We do have youngsters here. We're trying to uplift their thinking."
I Could Have Saved Them Lots of Money - How do they think you feel after 17.5 hours in voicemail hell?
Not a New Idea, But a Good One - It seems this whole "stupid Congressperson" thing is really taking off. But wait! There's more!
Kiddies, This Page Brought to You by Mark Foley - We've only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the House of Representatives interacts with kids. Presenting...KIDS IN THE HOUSE!
Why Plasma Screen TVs Cost So Much - Sure, it's pointless and expensive, but it's cool dammit!
Not Just for Women Anymore - Ladies, we share your pain!
Eat Your Heart Out Gill Grissom! - We give you Weegee, unrivaled master of the crime scene photograph.
The Miracle Would Be If He Didn't Show Up - From burnt toast to stained underpass walls, the Big Guy like loves his reputation for being omnipresent. Strike up another new vision media...tree limbs!
Post Script: The Poobah has now become a feature columnist to Less People Less Idiots. Stop by and join our quest for worldwide media domination.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, October 20, 2006
Licking Their Lips Over VictoryThe Dems are already licking their lips over possibly winning one or both houses of Congress in November. Much of that lip polishing is justified. They've been marginalized as the minority party and haven't been able to do much except cluck about Republican shenanigans. Their impact on legislation has been virtually nill. They now look forward to the day when they can rake the other side over the coals like a circus fat man looks forward to a Thanksgiving dinner.
They'd be well advised to think about what they're contemplating though.
Temptation is high to launch a tsunami of probes into Republican behavior, start impeachment proceedings, and generally whomp their sudden inferiors as hard as possible. If the partisan vitriol is bad now, it's sure to get worse if the most extreme Democratic measures go ahead. There is much they can do to harm not only their party but also the nation.
First, their majority may be fragile. They'd do well to remember Bush's proclamation about spending the "political capital" from his "mandate". Of course he didn't have a mandate, but only the slimmest of majorities. And, what little capital he did have disappeared like fish down the maw of a whale. To affect true change, Dems will need to stifle their baser impulses and learn to craft coalitions and compromises. We've all see what happens when one side dictates debate and the other is left out in the cold - just watch the evening news.
There's also their own unpopularity to consider. As each new scandal erupts, the public's opinion of both parties drops a few points. Both houses of Congress have turned into adult day care centers where the kids run the joint and delight in poking each other in the eye. Their preoccupation with playing gotcha with anyone not of their political persuasion is one reason The Great Decider has gotten such legislative swill passed. He understands the power of divide and conquer, but as with many things he does, takes it a step too far. For him, it isn't enough to just cleave the Democrats asunder, he's more than happy to cut a swath through his own party too. The result leaves no one strong enough to resist his consistent idiocy.
It would also behoove the Dems to remember that they've had their share of scandals too. Republicans don't have a corner on the crapweasel market and dredging up every Republican indiscretion, no matter how small, will bring the DA to their doors too. We'd all be better served if they spend some of that stone throwing time in putting their own glass house in order.
It's easy to see why Dems want to beat the Republicans senseless. The Republicans visited a host of awful things on this country, things that will take us years to recover from. So the Dems are quick to point out that someone should be held accountable for those awful things - and they'd be right. However, not every indiscretion is worthy of a lynch mob. Just ask Bill Clinton about blowjobs and I'm sure you'll get a lecture on the politics of personal destruction.
If the Dems are smart, they'll start by cleaning up their own act and becoming truly fit to call themselves the Party of Morals. Only then, should they take on Republican indiscretions. When they run across an issue, they should bring it out in the open, but try to keep it in perspective. Most of the smaller issues could easily be dealt with by a truly non-partisan Ethics Committee that issues admonishments, censures, and other more civilized punishments. However, if there's a big issue, spare no expense in bringing the offender to heel. Just make sure to do it in a reasonable and balanced way. If the indiscretion is important enough, it will show through without a lot of partisan embellishment.
The big prize, however, is impeachment. On a personal level, I'd like nothing better than to see George run out of town on a rail, but doing so carries a hefty price I don't want the country to pay. One need look no farther than Monicagate to see how impeachment can divide the country. The last one left a welt on our national consciousness that it still glows red six years later. Much of the bickering now took root in that sorry episode and for the good of the nation, someone has to be the first to stand up and stop it. I think the Dems are more capable of that than the Republicans. I only hope I'm right.
The country craves and deserves a return to the days of civil debate and fair compromises in the halls of Congress. The public, regardless or their party affiliation, is fed up with the endless catcalls and attacks. We face huge problems and now is not the time to engage our vengeful fantasies at the expense of the common good. Honest disagreements are fine, but at the end of the day we need to reach a consensus to get anything done. I hope the Dems are mindful of that should they take over power.
And if they aren't, I may find myself shopping for a new party.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Poobah Files: Korea is a Pain in the Ass
To me, the Korean peninsula is more than just a place where crazy guys dressed in nuclear-powered leisure suits and bad hairpieces live. It's a place where I spent a month during the winter of 1979.
And I have a scar to prove it.
During my Air Force days, I traveled in my lumbering C-130 from North Carolina to Pusan, Korea via Albuquerque, Spokane, Anchorage, Midway Island, Wake Island, and Tokyo. After the four day jaunt, I peeled myself from the airplane, made a mental note to look into getting a new travel agent, and joined an annual military exercise called Team Spirit. Team Spirit entailed neither teams nor spirit so far as I could tell. In fact, I never saw a cheerleader or football team anywhere near Pusan.
The exercise was what they called a "field conditions" exercise in the Air Force. Aircrews of that era flew around the world and usually stayed in hotels even as the grunts we carried rolled out of the airplane and lived in tents...if they were lucky. These were the conditions that convinced me we'd never go to war unless there was a nice Ramada Inn nearby.
Field conditions at Pusan meant living in 6-man tents, not unlike the ones in M*A*S*H. The tents were arranged in a "city" of 2000. It had aluminum streets, a post office, movie theatre, fire department, police department, jail, mess hall, church, base exchange, liquor store, and the obligatory NCO and Officers Clubs. We got two hot meals a day in the giant mess hall, but field conditions meant a lunch of C-Rations (inedible forerunners of today's MREs). However, if you weren't up for them you could go to the snack bar at the base exchange and grab a hot dog and a beer.
Obviously, living conditions were rough. Imagine, existing on beer and hot dogs for lunch. It was quite uncivilized.
Despite hauling a complete city - including 10 kitchen sinks (I know, my airplane carried them) - 5000 miles across an ocean, the Air Force decided that gang showers were all they could muster for personal hygiene.
Apparently there was a problem with shortening the fairways at the portable golf course to make room for anything bigger.
The shower tent accommodated about 50 men and was divided into chilly, unheated shower and shaving rooms. The only heat was a third small, slippery, and excessively crowded room made unbearably hot by wet bodies and an oil-fired heater made from an old oil drum.
Designed by a defense contractor with a sick sense of humor, the towel room was as practical as the four-day, six-stop flight it took to get there. The 8X8 foot room was perpetually crammed with as many as 20 people struggling to dry off and pull on heavy winter uniforms. The wet, plywood floor was slipperier than a hockey rink, the shower steam reduced visibility to three feet, and the red-hot furnace was strategically placed directly in the middle. A recipe for disaster.
The snapping towels and people standing on a single mukluk-clad leg as they struggled to put on pants was more dangerous than any of us would ever face "in the field". More than once, someone fell out of the tent flap with their pants around their ankles and landed ass-first in the snowy mud outside.
And, of course, the contractor put the shower tent directly across the street from the mess tent door, providing a prime viewing area for all the mishaps. Sort of a crude dinner and entertainment complex.
One morning as I was stooped over drying my ankles, a large naked airmen tried to squeeze by me. At the moment of my maximum imbalance, his naked ass swung around, hit me in the head, and caused me to back pedal to keep my balance. Because of the slick floor, my back pedal turned into a back skate, ending with my naked ass smashing into the red hot furnace. I let out a howl, grabbed my backside and leapt forward - directly into the stomach of another airman close to the tent flap. As he tumbled backward, he grabbed my head for support and we both ended up in a tangled, naked heap in a huge, semi-frozen mud pit outside.
To the sound of cheers, I gathered my tattered dignity and went back to shower off the mud. The second time around, I dressed in the shaving room, gingerly pulling my pants on over my red-welted ass.
It was a long, painful walk to the field hospital where a giggling medical technician from the south applied lotion and bandages to my scalded butt. My treatment ended with her observation that, "I think that's gonna leave a scar. Ya'll have a nice day!"
So today when I see the silly little man with the WMD and bad hair, I think to myself, "That guy is a huge pain in the ass" and mean it quite literally.
Believe me, it throbs every time I see him.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Cold War, Hot TemperI recently learned I'm eligible for a Cold War service medal for my late 70s-early 80s stint in the Air Force. Not being the sort who delights in wearing my old uniform bedecked with medals every Fourth of July, I probably won't take the time to find all the missing paperwork to prove I'm entitled to it.
Besides, the Cold War was a pretty sweet deal for me. I flew around the world in my own semi-private airplane, visiting 24 countries on every continent save Antarctica and Australia. Most of my missions were logistical trips to deliver dependent household goods here or a planeload of live goats there (that's a story for another day though). And despite my training, I never seriously believed the Cold War would turn hot. The Soviets and the Chinese understood that nukes equaled death, proving that the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) wasn't so mad after all.
Besides, if they'd invaded, we could have easily co-opted them by meeting the Commie hoards on the beach and offering free McDonald's franchises to lay down their arms.
The other reason I won't go for the medal is that I believe I personally had little or nothing to do with thawing out the war. I know this is political heresy, but I'd like to point out that - contrary to popular belief - Ronald Reagan had little to do with it either.
No doubt he was in office when the wheels came off the tatty Commie bus, but it wasn't because of some diabolically clever plan he cooked up. Reagan simply applied the greatest capitalist tool of all - spending like a drunken sailor. He spent two dollars for every dollar the Soviets did and finally the strain became too great and they went bust.
But today is different. The Soviets never quite got the hang of the whole capitalism thing and now find themselves in poorer shape than a failed Five Year plan. The Chinese caught the money bug and now whip our capitalist asses with some weird, voodoo mix of human rights repression and unrepentant deal making. The proof of their success is that all the cheap crap that used to say Made in Japan now says Made in China. The Japanese are now making all the expensive stuff and we're reduced to relying on outsourced Indian accountants to sign the checks that pay our obscenely compensated CEOs their bonuses and finance moving our last manufacturing jobs offshore.
It's different in other ways too.
While we giddily ship everything of value off to China, including apparently our foreign policy regarding North Korea, we forget that they're merely humoring us. They're simply buying everything we'll willingly sell before turning on us and stomping us like protesters out for a stroll on Tiananmen Square.
Meanwhile the ex-Soviets are acting up, finally tired of the failed hope of capitalism and ready to return to the days of block-long bread lines that at least provided bread when you waited your day-long turn.
The more I look at the situation, the more I think that things are sliding rather rapidly to a new and different kind of Cold War. This time around, the MAD principle isn't going to work. Someone who's willing to fly the 6:45 flight to Chicago into a high rise won't give much thought to lobbing a nuke at their neighbors. The high-minded ideal that nukes are a danger of the past andthat we'd passed the need for all that destructive power is dead too. Now, we'll find all manner of crackpot Amadenamacallits and Kim (You Make Me) Il Jungs ready to redecorate half a hemisphere with a well placed nuke.
Yet here we sit, unwilling and unable to stop a war we started. We're too tied down to face up to the crackpots who actually have nukes and ask the Chinese to, "please sir, make those evil axis Koreans stop." We're not staying the course. We're sitting in the road and the sound of a semi is coming upon us quickly.
Our problem is not Iraq. Our problem is not the War on Terror. Our problem is we have incompetent asshats who couldn't run the Texas Rangers baseball team in charge of the country.
So before the few civil liberties I still have evaporate like water on a hot, Texas sidewalk, I'm going to say this...
Mr. President, get off your cowpie chompin' ass and do something right for a change. As of today, we have 300 million people in this country. Surely you can find a person amongst them who isn't dumb as a stump to advise you on what to do next, because you obviously don't know what the hell you're doing.
So now I've vented. Now I've proclaimed - yet again - what a fine pickle we're in. I wish I could say it helped, but it didn't. I'm left with nothing but an address to claim a medal commemorating a war that wasn't a war and worry whether this country will still be around for my daughter to enjoy as I have.
It's a big worry indeed and I don't think it's going to stop any time soon.
Cross Posted at Less People Less Idiots
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, October 17, 2006
RandomographyOh Come On, I Can Name More Than 10 - Just who are the 10 biggest fools on Capitol Hill?
Having a Wail of a Good Time - Apparently there's no longer any need to actually pray to God, you know, in person. Just type a few words in your email client, hit send, and you're golden.
Hugs? I Thought They Said Slugs - If this spot got any more touchy-feely we'd all start practicing acts of random kindness.
Can't I Just Drink a Glass of Water? - Desperate conditions call for desperate cures. Still, I think I'll just count to five or maybe have someone scare me.
Those Damn Mullahs Don't Want Anyone to Have Fun - The Iranians are a quirky bunch. They're always calling a fatwah on someone or doing some other similarly draconian thing, but this just takes the cake!
Recess! - All I have to say is, "I'm glad I didn't have this dude for my 8 am English class."
Mom! They Beat Me Up Again - Justine Timberlake is one lean, mean, marketing machine. I just feel sorry for the poor little buggers who actually get one of these. No confirmation yet on whether they'll come with their own "Kick my ass" signs pinned to them or if Mom will have to sew one into the lining.
Imagine There's No Heaven - We always thought that John Lennon's infatuation with Yoko Ono was a bit off. Now we see why.
Carpets Cheap - That old joke about matching carpet and drapes has taken on a whole new meaning. You just have to respect a woman who can give Jack Black a purple nurple on camera though.
I Think, Therefore I'm Plastic - First there was GI Joe, then a whole host of Star Wars figures. It was only a matter of time until someone thought of this. Now with Existential Grip!
Make Love, Not War - Here's our public service ad for this edition.
Who Ya Gonna Call? - Have a question? This guy has the answers. Hiiii-YAAAA!
Hope Spring Eternal - Word on the street is that this guy was so frightened by the Donald's toupe he decided on a different approach. He should have spoken to these guys first.
Oh Heavens! Lesbians! - Leave to the Republicans to ruin the fun for everyone.
Let's Get an Order of Sushi and Call It a Party - The Japanese prove once again that there's room for everyone's little niche in this great big world of ours. I go for the flight attendants myself. I love a seat with no room.
Oh, Fiddlesticks Mr. President! - Secret Service agents succeeded in wrestling the 14-year old to the ground before there was any violence.
Dog is My Co-Pilot - Just a little canine break.
Funny, I Thought He WAS Satan - Iranian President Mahmoud Amawhatchamacallit sure has Shrub's number.
Now Showing in the Jeffrey Dahmer Gallery - We only have one word - eeeewwwww!
Madonna is SUCH a Ripoff Artist (NSFW) - Finally, evidence of where Madonna stole the idea for huge cone-shaped bras.
And Inconvenient, Slow Moving Truth - Al Gore's out there beating the global warming drum while the real problem is elsewhere. Hurry people! We only have 200,000 years to figure this out!
Just Give Me a La-Z-Boy - Although it does match the decor of my house - sort of an early Gomez Addams, I think I'll pass.
Oh...The...Humanity! - I suppose this proves the idea that everyone is dysfunctional in some way.
M...I...C...K...E...Y - Those crazy French at at it again. Vive l'amor.
And For My Next Trick... - Sometimes it seems the White House is more confused than anyone else about who said what and when. And they called Kerry a flip-flopper.
It's the American Way - Please. Ladies. Don't go there.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, October 16, 2006
As We See It: Shrub Don't Need No Plan Edition
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, October 14, 2006
Let's All Play the Blame GameYesterday, Dear Leader blamed an unsophisticated vocabulary for his characterization of the Democrats' Iraq policy as "cut and run". He contends a policy that advocates leaving Iraq "before the job is done sounds like cut and run as far as (he's) concerned" and, "That's cut and run as far as most Americans are concerned. So yeah, (he's) going to continue reminding them (the Democrats) of their words and their votes." One could quibble that his math is a little unsophisticated too, considering only slightly more than a third of Americans still support staying - but hey, maybe he was one of the children left behind at Yale.
Instead, let's remind Baby Doc Bush about the Republicans' use of two of their favorite words - "Blame Game".
Coined by ex-White House spokesman and ace prevaricator Scott McClellan, the Republicans used to pull the phrase out every time anyone dare suggest some small thing might not have gone so splendidly. For example, the response to Katrina. And like a galloping herd of one trick ponies, the Republicans are pulling it out again - in bulk.
Over the past few weeks we've learned that the entire Foley affair was someone else's fault. Depending on who's playing the Blame Game, one or all of these people or groups is to blame:
- Foley's addiction to demon rum and having been molested by a clergyman as a child.
- The House pages, who played an ugly prank on poor old butt-pinching Mark.
- Homosexuals, because, after all, Tom was gay and they are all child predators, aren't they?
- Any member of the Republican House leadership other than the one currently playing the game.
- Democrats, who timed the scandal to coincide with the mid-term elections.
- Any convenient senior staff member for any convenient House leader.
- Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
- The media, because, after all, they're part of the vast left-wing conspiracy, aren't they?
- Jon Stewart (or maybe Stephen Colbert, I always get them confused).
- The page program itself.
- The Page Board.
- Ted Kennedy because he "got away" with Chappaquiddick.
- Bill Clinton.
Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list. Denny and Co. reveal new perpetrators every time they speak - and you know what they say about politician's lips when they're moving. The "Blame Game" isn't just played with Foleygate game pieces. There's a commemorative set for Condi and the 9/11 attacks, a special edition with a talking Donald Rumsfeld game piece for Iraq, and a complementary game for every grandchild who will be paying off the burgeoning national debt.
I'm sure Czar George would argue - as he has in the past - that he's never made a mistake, but all that finger-pointing sure sounds like a "Blame Game" to me. And statistically speaking, that's the Blame Game, "as far as most Americans are concerned" too.
This game sure looks like fun to watch, I bet it would be just peachy to play. Maybe I'll get one for Christmas, or perhaps, stock in Milton Bradley to profit handsomely from it. But when I get caught for insider training on the MB stock, I'll just blame everyone else.
After all, that's how you play the game, isn't it?
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Thursday, October 12, 2006
An Atheist Defense of FaithUnlike many atheists, I don't believe someone is brain-damaged solely because they choose to believe in a God. However, I'm also acutely aware that religious charlatans like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson abound. Many people of faith don't believe these nattering zealots speak for God any more than I, an avowed atheist, might. They rightly believe that the egregious things the religiously insane do in the name of God have nothing to do with the spirit to whom they pray. We usually agree the best thing God could do is have a talk with the right-wing crapweasels about the ways they abuse His name - a sort of theistic trademark suit if you will.
But for every James Dobson, there's a truly good person who follows their beliefs and works hard to make the world a better place. I'm privileged to know some of these religious people - Blue Gal and Quaker Dave for example. They're unfailingly fair and evenhanded with everyone, including the Godless infidels like me. Despite the abuse that sometimes gets heaped on them, they are credits not only to their religions, but also to the human race. If the ranks of the world's major denominations were filled with more Blue Gals and Quaker Daves we'd all be the better for it and God could call off the trademark suit.
In the wake of the recent spate of school shootings, it's obvious that some religious people observe their faith with an almost superhuman will. Take the Amish school shootings in Pennsylvania.
When the twisted gunman inside the school threatened to shoot the young female students, one girl stood up. She implored her tormenter to shoot her first, hoping her desperate action would buy time for her younger classmates. Her belief in her God and her sacrifice on behalf of others is truly a selfless act - certainly one that many secular people would be unable to make. In that brief moment, she glimpsed her God and believed enough to follow the teachings she'd been given. In my book, that's something to be proud of.
Or, consider the larger Amish community's reaction. As their official mourning period came to an end, community elders announced two other incredible acts. First, they announced they would tear down the cursed school rather than force their children to return to a place they found horrific. This was no small decision for a community of limited means and shows their compassion for their children.
But the second act was the most astounding of all - they forgave the killer.
My daughter was caught up in a school lockdown this week when authorities feared a gun may have been taken into her school. Thankfully, the three-hour lockdown turned up no gun, but I did imagine what would happen if a gunman took my daughter hostage, molested her, and killed her. Let's just say forgiveness wouldn't be part of my vocabulary. The fact that people would forgive someone who'd done the same to their child is an act of moral will that I find nearly unbelievable.
Many would say it's not only unbelievable, but crazy. Those who mock religion would see it as just another example of religious lunacy practiced by a weird sect in funny hats driving black buggies. However, they would be wrong.
I don't see the weird clothing or the seemingly insane idea of forgiveness as a weakness to be ridiculed. I find it an admirable trait demonstrating that humans can rise above the awful things that happen to them in tragedies - or for the matter, every day. I see a strength of conviction I can only aspire to and I'm not ashamed to admit that. True, I'm an atheist and many of the more empty-headed Christians might say that if I believed I could be just as strong. However, I'd say they would be just as wrong as those who criticize the forgivers.
A non-religious person could, and sometimes does, exhibit that sort of commitment to an ideal and in that makes them basically no different than the Amish elders. The only difference is that the atheist does on their own while the Amish take direction from God. Either way, both would be doing some miraculous. And that is the truly astonishing thing.
It's nice to be surprised sometimes.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, October 11, 2006
As We See It: Denny's Grand Slam Edition
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Sunday, October 08, 2006