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Saturday, November 20, 2004
The week ahead
Thanksgiving is almost at hand here in the US, and I believe I will be celebrating it in Las Vegas this year. Vegas is a swell place, even if you don't gamble much, because it's open all the time. You can get a steak at 4am if you want, and things like that are important to me. They make me thankful.
I'm sure if I had applied myself, I could have written a better column on the topic of giving thanks, but I'm not motivated. Perhaps later in the week.
But you can count on this: I will be going to see the Spongebob Squarepants movie. I don't know why that little bastard makes me laugh, but he does.
posted at 11:13 PM
Well, the Attorney General has stepped down, and there is muted rejoicing. After all, if the re-election of this corrupt and deliberately ignorant administration has you down, you must take your small pleasures where you can.
So why am I not happier? Ashcroft was easily the most frightening figure appointed by Bush, and that's truly an accomplishment. This man has called dissent of the President's policies treasonous. He has tried to set back women's rights 80 years. And there is still that disturbing issue with needing to cover the statue at the Department of Justice building. The guy is a nut job, nearly without parallel.
Alberto Gonzales will be named, and will face token questioning from the Senate. I don't know too much about him, but I don't think he's a zealot like Ashcroft. His past record indicates that his actions on controversial laws tend to uphold them whether he agrees with them or not. That will be quite refreshing from the nation's top lawman.
There is, however, his odd memo dealing with the President's criminality if charged with war crimes. In regard to the Geneva Conventions, Gonzales referred to their notions of torture being "quaint" and "outdated." Call me old-fashioned, but I'm just not sure that we really have any right to outrage at the mistreatment of our soldiers when we so cavalierly toss aside everyone else's right to not have their balls hooked up to a car battery.
Gonzales will be confirmed, and he may be a very good attorney general. I honestly believe that, whereas with Ashcroft, I knew the opposite to be true. Will Gonzales have the wherewithal to say to the President, "Uh, there is a great deal of illegal stuff in the Patriot Act, if we are going to use the Constitution of The United States as a guide. We need to fix this problem immediately."
I doubt it. Al has been friends with Bush long enough to know that dissent is not a virtue. My guess is we're going to be saddled with the illegalities for a long while yet. Meanwhile, Gonzales will likely serve his post quite well for the most part. I'll try to keep a good thought for his wanting to protect the Constitution. It's really all I can do.
posted at 1:10 AM
I don't believe I've devoted any time to the Lacey & Scott Peterson fiasco. The main reason is because I'm sick of the media circus that follows around any case that involves the unsolved disappearance or murder of an attractive young white woman. People go missing in this country every day, but if you are a bit homely, or a bit brown, the media doesn't care. Sorry to be blunt about it, but it's true.
I didn't sit down to even talk about the case, to be honest, but I'll just tell you my opinion. Before the trial even started, there were constant leaks in regard to evidence and lines of questioning, etc. Months ago, I was of this thought process:
Statistically, and logically, Scott killed his wife. When a spouse is murdered, it is almost always the beloved that did it. No one else loves you or hates you as much as your own family. People get killed at random once in awhile, but not normally.
However, I don't think they can prove he did it. His actions make him look guilty as hell, but I don't think they can pin the murder on him, aside from circumstantially.
But that's not why I'm writing now. I turned on the news tonight, and saw another cliche' that I am thoroughly sick of. In the California town where the trial is taking place, some jackass dumped a boat similar to Scott Peterson's in the middle of the sidewalk, and within minutes, it's being filled up by ghouls toting flowers, stuffed animals, hand-drawn signs and candles. A shrine is born. It was disgusting.
Anytime someone famous dies, or in Lacey's case, dies and becomes famous, we have now taken to ridiculous mass displays of public grief. Princess Diana's death was the first time I remember seeing something like this. People dropping off flowers, teddy bears, and all manner of crap. I mean, it was a shame when it happened, but I was pretty shocked to see normally reserved Brits behaving this way.
But now, it's just a never-ending thing in America. We see them every day, too. Somebody dies on the road in an accident, and for months, we get to drive by a makeshift cross, little signs, flowers, and whatever else. I'm sure you may feel that this is the deceased's loved ones paying tribute, but you are wrong. This is littering. Assuming that the person is not buried by the side of the road, they probably have a nice grave somewhere. Pay tribute there. Stop imposing your grief on me. It's not that I don't care, but I have enough on my plate without having to add your tragedy to my daily commute. I'm not telling you to internalize the grief and get an ulcer, but there is a word, decorum. Please look it up.
A quick aside: As long as I have been alive, I have never seen anyone erect a crappy little Star of David by the side of the road where some poor Jewish person has met his or her fate. I'm quite sure that Jews die in cars at a similar rate to the rest of the population, but unlike Christians, they don't pester you with proselytizing, and that carries into how their dead are honored, apparently. I guess it's a matter of confidence.
To me, it's a sign of insecurity to constantly talk and recruit the way Christians do. If you're so sure of yourself, why must you yell so loud and so long? I know that when I'm in an argument, and I begin to sense that I'm wrong, I tend to get louder. It obscures the fact that I'm off track. Most people act that way. I'm very comfortable in my relationship to things spiritual, and I really don't discuss it much, even when asked. I don't need validation from anyone else.
But as for these massive, public displays, just admit it: They are not about the dead, they are about you.
"Look! I'm broken up about this awful thing! See! I'm sad! I'll go on somehow, but look at me grieve!"
I'm just sick of it. Even the dead must be an excuse for you to be a victim. More reasons for you to confirm how hard your life is, and how truly wonderful you are to be carrying on. The problem with life is, you get up each day, go to work, deal with your responsibilities, and for some reason, no one hands you a medal. It's so unfair. So you go on Jerry Springer, or some shit reality show, so you can show the world how wonderful and special you are. I find it pathetic.
First of all, live your life. If you have to work, try and find something that you like to do. At the very least, find something that you can tolerate. Stop complaining about your fucking job, no one cares. Everyone is annoyed that they have to work for a living; it's a flawed system we live in. There may be little joy in your work, but it is an honorable thing to do what's necessary to survive. No one is going to give you anything, but I will give you respect for honoring your commitments.
When you aren't at work, enjoy yourself. Get some rest. Do what you like. Life is short, and you need to have fun with it. However, if fun for you is going to the Peterson trial, I hope your inbred relatives put up a nice cross by the side of the road for you very soon.
posted at 11:25 PM
Actual letter to Arlen Specter
I sent a note to the Pennsylvania senator today in regard to this:
This is the complete text of my letter:
I wanted to congratulate you on your re-election win this week. For awhile there, it looked like it was going to be very close, but your constituents must have remembered what type of man you are, and stepped up.
That being said, you had a bit of a rough time following your victory, because of those comments you made about potential Supreme Court nominees. I am not writing to blast you, as I'm sure so many others have. I feel that what you said was sensible, and prudent. I would like you to consider something, though.
My understanding of your voting record in regard to abortion issues is that you have been remarkably consistent. That being the case, I would like you to never forget what happened this week. You made ONE remark that seemed even slightly centrist in regard to this issue, and the people whom you have supported, and who financially have undoubtedly supported you, turned on you like jackals. They called for your ouster as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They called you unspeakable names. Be warned, Senator, that when you lay down with people of this ilk, you never get back up smelling good.
I certainly don't expect you to change the way you vote on matters of this nature, but do remember what your "friends" tried to do to you this week. Your willingness to backpedal and kowtow to this type of fanaticism is unworthy of your office. Look to your colleague John McCain if you need inspiration. He's easy to find; he's the principled person in the Senate chambers.
Good luck, I believe you'll need it.
(My REAL name. Call Arlen if you want it.)
posted at 2:45 PM
That's how I feel, but I've been slacking on the blog, so I wanted to let you know I hadn't killed myself. I've been working a lot of hours, and let this thing fall by the wayside. But I'll try to do better.
As for the election, it's finally over, and that's good. Having hope for change was kind of wearing me out, and now that Bush has his "mandate" (according to Dick Cheney), and has earned "political capital, which I intend to spend" (according to himself), I can pretty much officially give up. The brain tells me that things are going to get even worse, and yet...
Karl Rove is a genius. He knew that by appealing to the worst instincts of the Republican base, he could get even poor white trash to vote contrary to their own economic interests. That's actually quite an accomplishment, if you think about it. This administration has spent four years demonstrating, with no hemming or hawing, that it is only interested in making things simpler for corporations and the wealthy who own them. And we all understand why people who have to work too hard to stay even ended up voting the way they did. It's been examined to death, and I won't rehash it now. Yeah, the lowest common denominator thing again...
But now that the suckers, ah, the people have spoken, what happens next? I'm no optimist, as regular readers may have divined. But the part of me that still has hope (for some reason) wonders about the following scenario:
George W. Bush was appointed to office by the Supreme Court in 2000, after losing the popular vote. He spends four years, assisted in his quest, if we are to be blunt, by Islamic terrorists, scaring the hell out of Americans, and gutting the civil liberties of those of us too stupid to be moved by fear. He appeals to bigotry and ignorance in many forms, and Real Americans turn out in record numbers on November 2 to save our land from towel-heads and damned liberals.
George has no more elections ahead of him. He has no reason to pander to anyone. I'm sure Ralph Reed feels he is owed something, but in reality, has no way to collect it. So, what if...
What if George decides to appoint moderate judges for the inevitable vacancies that the Supreme Court will have open before 2008? He can always tell his base that he is being statesman-like by compromising, and they believe everything their told, anyway. So, maybe?
What if George decides to go back to the UN and make a pitch for a multilateral effort at ridding the world of terrorists? Would they listen? I just don't know. The problem is, that the world is a big set of scales, and America is the largest thing on them. And as scales wish to stay balanced, the further America moves away from balance, the rest of the world lines itself up in a manner to counterbalance our position. If everyone looks to be moving away from us, well, we're moving away from them, too.
My optimism has limits, of course. Will George start trying to help Americans get good jobs and improved health care? I doubt it. Why should he? This administration has been quite clear in it's disdain for the working man, and they ran out in droves to re-elect him. So, I can't even hope for improvement in an economic sense. The stock market is more important than the supermarket, and ultimately, I can't really afford to dabble in either.
In the meantime, I will take solace in the pending resignation of John Ashcroft, who as Bill Maher speculated, wanted to get back to his first love, "standing on a street corner, ranting about the coming end of the world." I'll be glad to see him go, although we look to be burdened with the so-called Patriot Act for the foreseeable future. Small victories, I guess I should take them where I find them.
So, I probably won't watch too much TV for awhile, and that's likely a good thing. I'll try to discuss other things in this forum, although I probably won't. I'm still pretty irritable, but I am working hard at becoming resigned. And I'm told that I can always find peace in Jesus, and for better or worse, I don't have to even look for him. Apparently, the FBI has already given him my address.
posted at 11:59 AM
So, here we are
The cynic wants to cry out, "Let the voter fraud begin!" But, I still want to think the best of America, that we will get a fair and representative vote count, and that people who signed up will be able to vote. I just hope we get a clear winner by tomorrow morning, but we shall see...
posted at 3:05 PM
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