Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Adios George Carlin

George Carlin died this week. He was to be the recipient of the Mark Twain award for comedy, it's sad that he will not be here to enjoy the recognition of his comedy peers.

The news media showed clips of some of his comedy sketches. Of course, they alluded to his most famous sketch, the seven words you cannot say on television - not surprisingly, they didn't actually play THAT sketch. But what was ignored by ALL the media stories about Carlin was that he was an avowed atheist.

The subject of atheism is completely taboo in our culture; the news media will always play it safe and never mention the issue of non-religion ever. You see, in this country, although it is never OK to discriminate against others because of their race, gender or sexual orientation, it is perfectly fine to discriminate against Godless Heathens (aka: Atheists). After all, regardless of race, color or creed, everyone believe in God... don't they!?!

Actually, No -- A whole lot of us don't. And even though we may admire the man for his fame, we will overlook his shortcoming of being a non-believer. We will just pretend that we didn't know.

But I knew; and I admired him for it. Below is Carlin's "Religion is Bullshit" routine. There is nothing I can say here that isn't said more adroitly by Carlin himself. I'll shut up for now and let the man himself tell it like it is.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Let's play Pick-a-Terrorist

Look at these two photographs. One of these individuals is a wanted terror suspect; the other, a character from a children’s television show. Concentrate – think carefully before making your decision. A year ago, the Boston Police department was faced with this terrible choice - they got it wrong. And now an innocent cartoon character’s career is ruined.

This is just how stupid our country has become. It really isn’t that funny; thousands of man-hours and law enforcement resources were diverted to run down this alleged terrorist threat. If our law enforcement apparatus is this stupid, how difficult would it be for a REAL terrorist threat to be executed on this country?

But I believe there is something much more sinister at play here. It is my belief that our military and security forces know where Osama bin Laden is located. In fact, I believe that they are intentionally allowing him to remain at large.

This is an outlandish accusation, I know. Why! Because, were bin Laden to be captured, American public opinion would conclude that the “War on Terror” is over. Bin Laden is the poster child for our nation’s continued drive for economic (petroleum) and military presence throughout the globe. This singular focus funnels billions of our taxpayer dollars into private and military contractor’s pockets. And it diverts the public attention from focusing their support away from this foolish cause. Osama bin Laden’s capture would bring this all to a halt.

Municipalities are receiving funding from the Federal Government under the guise of Homeland Security. Why would they want that to end? Halliburton, Boeing, and hundreds of other corporations are receiving lucrative, often no-bid, contracts. Why would they want that to end? Politicians are planking their platforms and staking their public image on their stands on national defense. Why would they want that to end?

Worst of all, bin Laden’s war against the US has essentially won. His action has plunged this country into an expensive war, caused thousands MORE of our citizens lives to be lost or ruined, further limited our civil liberties and diverted our national assets away from those who need them most. At it’s worst, they have us chasing our tails - running down threats posed by a cartoon character advertising campaign.

One of the terrorist suspects in the picture above was eventually brought down. Can you guess which one?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The "forgotten" war

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks now. Not for lack of topics… no, they keep me awake at night, in fact. No, it’s laziness; or perhaps that my computer is loaned out. Excuses; merely excuses.

I find a frightening reality in the nightly news. Not in what is reported, but what is not reported. The war in Iraq is still raging. Men and women are being killed and even more being maimed. What is sad, frightening, to me is that it is no longer news. It has dropped off the radar of the public consciousness. It is no longer interesting to the viewing public. The “sheep” of this great nation now regard the war in Iraq with a resounding “whaaaa”?

Polls show that “the economy” is most on the minds of American voters. The Economy…as if it was something divorced from the war. It costs $390,000 to deploy one soldier for one year in Iraq. The war is sopping up billions of dollars from the US treasury. That’s an expense you and I pay for. That is money that doesn’t go to improving medical care or job training or any other useful function that ordinary Americans need daily.

And now the war in Afghanistan is ramping up. Donald Rumsfeld stopped bombing there years ago after we had bombed their “rubble into rubble”. Currently 91% of the world opium (Heroin) traffic comes from Afghanistan, which feeds the Taliban and keeps them supplied with arms. A nation that is on the brink of lapsing into the dark ages… with horrible horrible weapons.

Meanwhile the American consciousness is focused on gas prices. We don’t want to trade in our SUV’s, we want to obtain more oil and cheaper, no less. Which is what got us into this mess to begin with… our lust for oil, intoxicating us into making bad decisions about the Middle East.

During the Viet Nam war, American households felt the pain. Kids were pulled out of there homes; drafted into the Army and were being killed in Viet Nam. It hit Americans where they lived… and it was an outrage. But now, there is no draft. If your kid or husband or loved-one doesn’t die in Iraq, and now Afghanistan, it is like it isn’t happening.

And thanks to the news media… it truly isn’t happening. These wars - these drains on the national wealth, on the humanity of American citizens, is now “old news”… it’s boring, it kills viewer ratings.
The most important thing on the minds of most American citizens today is who will be the next winner on “American Idol”.

It is a disgrace that the news media doesn't show, every night, in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, the human and financial cost of these two wars. It should remain there during the entire broadcast, every night. A jog to the national mindlessness that is serving to suck the strength from this once great nation.

I fear our nation is lost.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What goes around, keeps going around.

Several years back, my in-laws were driving their 1975 Pontiac Astre through the Southwest visiting relatives in the area. That is was how people vacationed back in those days. And the tradition of traveling long distances by car remained for that generation even when air travel became affordable to most American families.

In any event, they were driving through Arizona when somewhere just a few miles outside of Flagstaff on Interstate 40, they lost a hub cap off the old Astre. By the time the loss was discovered they were already settled into their motel for the evening; the patriarch, Melvin, would have to deal with it when they returned back home to Oregon.

Once back home, Melvin found that the local Pontiac dealer no longer stocked parts for such an old vehicle and so suggested he try the local wrecking yard. The auto wrecking staff, made up mostly of teen-agers, was more than eager to help. The one young kid explained to Melvin that, although they didn’t have a used 1975 Pontiac Astre hub cap right there in stock, they were connected to a “computer network” linking auto wrecking yards all across the country. Somebody somewhere would likely have the hub cap and it would show up on the network.

A few days went by and Melvin received a call that his Astre hub cap was in and he could come down to the yard and pick it up. As he paid for his used hubcap, Melvin expressed surprise that the wreckers were able to find a replacement hub cap so quickly. As he paid for the replacement hub cap he thanked the young clerk. “It wasn’t a problem, sir”, the young man responded. “It was shipped to us from a wrecking yard down in Arizona… Someone picked it up off Interstate 40 just a few miles outside of Flagstaff”.