Friday, September 15, 2006

California Bans Cell Phone Use While Driving

It seems every time someone in a car comes close to slamming into me they are clutching a cell phone and chatting away instead of watching the road. For a long time he statistics backed the premise that cell phones contribute to accidents on the road, and finally California is doing something about it.

Hands-free systems are not covered so for those who absolutely must spend every minute on a phone babbling, there is hope. Now if only we could get the same law for supermarkets, restaurants, theatres and churches.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Is That A Pump In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Seems screeners at Chicago's O'Hare Airport are a little hard of hearing. When one passenger, shy in front of his mother, whispered to screeners that the device in his carry-on luggage was a penis pump, they thought he said penis BOMB and promptly arrested him.

The authorities decided to drop the case today, much to the passengers relief. He was facing 3 years in prison for disorderly conduct. So remember kids, don't carry your penis pumps on airplanes, the guards are pretty stupid, and they might charge you with carrying a deadly sex toy!

Goodbye Ann Richards, You Will Be Missed

My late mother once paid Ann Richards her highest compliment by calling her an SOB. To my mom, that meant "Salty Old Broad", and it was a title she gave out sparingly. Ann Richards was indeed salty, and God bless her for that. She opened Texas politics to everyone and may have been one of the best Governors Texas ever had. Sadly she is dead at age 73.

Richards once said that she didn’t want her tombstone to read "She kept a really clean house", but rather, "she opened government to everyone". That she did and this Texan will fondly remember her.

My favorite memory of her was watching a CBS new report with Mike Wallace outside the Governors mansion in Austin. In the middle of his report I heard, "Mike…Mike, come on in and have a glass of iced tea." Richards had seen the crew and instead of sending a press liaison, she just walked out and invited Mike in for a chat. Such was here sincerity and hospitality.

I cannot imagine the current governor, Rick Perry meeting with anyone without an appointment or a well-scripted agenda. He comes from the Karl Rove school of politics. Everything is a photo-op.

Speaking of Karl Rove, he is the reason Ann did not win her second term. His malicious use of a whispering campaign designed to spread rumors that the Governor was a lesbian cost her the election. These were literally whispers too; I even heard it from a conservative friend. Sickening tactic, and one that will surface again in a few weeks as the November elections get into full swing.

Don’t believe whispers. Beside, Ann Richards rarely whispered, even about her personal problems. She was open and honest about her battle and recovery from Alcoholism in the 1980’s and her health problems recently that led to her death. She was a Texas icon and she will be missed. On behalf of my late mother, I raise a glass of iced tea to her memory.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bush Fortells Third Great Awakening - Prophecy?

Speaking more like someone with a prophet complex than a president, Bush harkened a Third Awakening of faith in the country. The first "awakenings" happened in the 18th century and brought with them waves of fanatic zealots including Jonathon Edwards, who preached the infamous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Hell-fire and brimstone, in other words.

The second Great Awakening happened in the 1820’s and it saw the advent of the camp meeting and Restorationist movements.

Unfortunately for Bush, he is about 100 years too late; the Third Great Awakening was in he late 1800’s and has also been dubbed the Social Gospel or Missionary Movement.

Many scholars even note a Fourth Great Awakening with the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Bush is clearly preaching to his base, frantically campaigning in the Full Armor of God trying to save the November election for the Republicans. As a Christian, I find him a cheap imitation of a real prophet. He is the power that prophets speak truth to. Instead he seeks to create a false reality with lies and deceit.

Washington Post Columnist Slams "The Path to 9/11"

Ruth Marcus, columnist at the Washington Post gives the ABC Fraud-u-mentary the treatment it deserves, the raspberries. The mini-series was so full of fiction and half truths that it is impossible to catalog them all in this space. Unfortunately, she notes that 1.5 million copies of the 9/11 Report were sold, but 13 million viewers saw this crap.

Even with poor ratings ABC has colored the reality of millions with its lies, and the producers, tied to fundamentalist Christian groups, have achieved their goal. They have distorted the truth and reframed reality to fit their vision of the way things should have been. Never mind that Bush was asleep at the wheel, never mind that Bin Laden was never "in the sights" of CIA operative awaiting word to kill from Clinton, never mind that American Airlines didn't knowingly let a flagged passenger aboard their flight. Truth be damned, when you are waging a holy war.

The Christian Jihadists rarely deal with truth, and this show is another piece of evidence of that sad fact.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Michigan College Republicans Stage Mock Assassinations - Fun With Guns Day

"So wonder what we could do to get young people interested in the Republican Party," said Melman. "How about mock assassinations?" chimed in Morgan Wilkins an eager intern.

Though this dialogue is fictitious, the resulting stunts to attract young voters at The University of Michigan are not. Fun With Guns, a Republican Party event lets young people use BB Guns and Paintball Guns to assassinate leading Democratic figures. Not funny? I didn’t think so either.

Additionally, in another brainstorm worthy of the Bush administration they held a "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" day at the school. Great fun? Yea, really separates the mean spirited kids from the rest, exactly the kind of voter the Republicans want.

This kind of crap makes me cringe. It exemplifies the spirit of much of the GOP platform. Calling it mean spirited is mild, it falls more into the realm of sadistic, and I mean that in a bad way. Needless to say, Democrats are not happy.

McCain Calls Americans Who Disagree Schizophrenics

Further proof that McCain has cut a deal with Bush and Company. McCain made the comments at a fund-raising lunch for Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican of California.

Seems nowadays if you disagree with anything Bush does, you are labeled as crazy, a traitor, and appeaser, or worse. Mix that with the toxic atmosphere that already exists around the Administration and it's a recipe for failure in Novermber for Republicans. Americans like their freedom to dissent and get pretty upset when you tell them they can't disagree with you.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ted Koppel On DIscovery - Great Journalism And Great Television

ABC Nightline is but a shadow of what it once was, now that Ted Koppel has moved to the Discovery Channel. Last night he proved what good journalism is capable of in a special entitled, "The Price of Security". It was part documentary and part town hall meeting and it was all great television.

The show asks the question that is the real elephant in the room, "How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for the sake of security?" The answers were not bumper sticker slogans or pap, but thoughtful stories on both the security issue and the abuses of power it has produced, including the saga of a Canadian citizen, who was illegally detained by the FBI, spirited away to Syria to a CIA "Black Site" and tortured for months before being released. He had done nothing, was guilty of nothing and his life was forever altered by our countries actions. Maher Arar, was the man, and his family had no idea where he was for 10 months. The Canadian government finally managed to have him released and his story was sobering. Contrary to Bush’s assertions, he was tortured and detained in inhumane conditions in a cell the size of a grave for 24 hours a day. How he managed to retain his sanity is a testament to human endurance.

Beyond that story the town hall meeting form featured people from both the administration and other officials including ACUL representatives, and members of the 9/11 victims families. There was no shouting or interruptions, only civil discourse. The answers given by the government people were evasive as usual, but the comments of Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Chief were less veiled. He stated that we had gone beyond the limits of what could be expected to insure our safety and must reexamine what we are doing in this regard. All but the Bush appointees had grave reservations about the wiretaps and other illegal activities going on in the name of safety.

Overall it was unbiased, and a stunningly good program. I sincerely hope more people watched it than the ABC Fake-u-drama Political Ad "The Path to 9/11". Good job Ted, keep it up!

Dick Cheney Attacks All Dissent - Expressing Opinions = Treason?

Cheney insults patriotic Americans by his attack on dissent. Dissent is what our Forefathers fought for and what America has always been about. The liberty to speak opinions contrary to the government in power. It is what makes our country great.

It would seem Cheney would prefer a Soviet Union styled country where any dissent is treason and the press is an official channel for government propaganda. We are headed down that path, and unless we change the course, speaking your mind will be a dangerous as it was in Soviet Russia in the 1970’s.

Enough is enough, time to turn these criminals out into the street and out of the seats of power. We can start in November with changing the Senate and House. VOTE!