Tim Russert This, Tim Russert That

June 16, 2008

As another year was ending a few years back, a chemistry professor once wrote me an email noting the great and somewhat astonishingly fortunate news that, yet again, not one scientist of any kind, be it astronomer, physicist, chemist, or whatever, had passed from this Earthly life in that particular year of Our Lord A.D. I mean, he said he watched the TV news and read the newspapers and could find nary a word on the passing of notables in those fields. Yet, anyone who’d had some measure of fame as a talking head on TV always seemed to get wide coverage.

I don’t watch TV much, so when practically everybody last week expressed their shock to me that Tim Russert, the NBC news/talk show host, had died, I had to really probe the recesses of my memory to try and figure out who that was. I thought I knew who they were talking about, but I had to go on the internet and check and make sure my recollection was correct. It was, and I have to admit, perhaps shamefully, to being underwhelmed by the information.

For people who watch a lot of TV, it was cataclysmic news. Which is perhaps an indication that we need to be watching less TV and get some perspective.

Frankly, I’m far more concerned about the mole that I’m going to have to kill that’s been digging up my tomato garden. When the time comes that I have to decapitate it with a shovel, I will grieve greatly that I had to resort to such an action. The poor thing just wants to live, but at the same time my family and I have to eat and no animal is going to ruin all the effort I’ve put into this thing.

It’s too bad Tim Russert died, and died too young. He did seem to be a talented man. But it’s kind of funny to watch the media overdo things when one of their own dies.

A lot more people died in Iraq last week, but that’s old news.


Ethanol Madness: Shove a Corncob You Know Where

June 12, 2008

I’m not a religious man, but I’m pretty sure that if there is a God he never intended corn to be burned for fuel, and to pollute the atmosphere on top of that.

The resulting squeeze on foodstocks and price rises that result in a time when so many are hungry has got to be a sin. (Not to mention the senselessness that producing corn in order to burn it wastes more energy than is ultimately produced). Surely, there must be a limit to the free market when it inflicts this much pain on so many. Those who really deserve the pain for letting this happen—the farmers who sell food to burn, the Archer Daniels Midland-type executives profiting from this insanity, and the politicians like Bush who allow it to continue—should all have big fat corncobs shoved up their asses.


Sheer Genius! That’s What it Is!

March 13, 2008

coyotegenius.gifLet’s see. I’ll sell them all on unhealthy lifestyles, then overprescribe massive amounts of drugs upon which they will all become dependent. Then, when they shit and piss all that drug residue into the water system and the water companies are unable to filter it all out, it will go back into the drinking water system and make the healthy ones sick and the sick ones sicker—thus necessitating the issuance of even more drugs upon which they will become dependent.



Is Alex Jones Under Attack?

March 4, 2008

No matter what you think of master internet radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (I agree with him and disagree with him roughly 70/30), you have to honor his right to articulate his message.

Today, right now, in the afternoon of March 4, 2008, Jones’ show has been sensational, featuring guest Russell Means of the Lakota Republic, the torture of people and animals in Iraq, the fact that trained killers sent to Iraq are enrolling to become our future policemen, and much more.

Several times today, the show mysteriously cut out (including during Means’ interview from a phone line in South Dakota).

The question is: Is the show under censorious technical assault by the Bush fascist government?

Go to the show now and listen and see if it happens again.


What the Library Means To Me; or Let the Heads Roll; or For Once, I Told Ya So

November 7, 2007

Yesterday, the voters of Louisville staged a tax revolt, and despite what all the opinion surveys were saying prior to the election, I went on record last week predicting the Library tax would go down to defeat. And it did. That’s because, unlike all the privileged and well-appointed elites in the Library Yes TV ads (Mayor Abramson, David Jones, Denny Crum and the like) who urged all of us paycheck-to-paycheck working schlubs to give up yet more of our shrinking salaries, the rest of us at ground level were listening to our neighbors. The neighors who, like me, are paying too much for health insurance, gasoline, milk, home heating and all the other things that somehow the inflation statistics never seem to realistically indicate. As I said before, I consider myself on the left of the political spectrum, but on this issue I bonded with my conservative friends. Based on the responses to the vote by the library PR folks, I’m still wondering if they really got the message of what happened yesterday. They had a freeze-dried ready response to make it sound like they won, even though the tax was shot down handily. “It’s a win, because at least we got people talking about the library.” Well, maybe so. But at the same time the library keepers were still fast to shoot down Rep. Hal Heiner’s bond plan. Like the opposers of the 86/64 plan, such people have their views set down in dogmatic stone. Heiner’s plan might be all you get, so don’t be so arrogantly rigid. It’s best to go for it while the interest in the libraries is high, or the momentum will be lost as people become preoccupied with the other ongoing realities of their lives. The message of the voters yesterday was clear, and it is this: “We want better libraries, but we don’t want a tax increase to do it.” That can be done. But to do it, some stubborn people will have to let go of their coveted plan A, and stop dismissing all other plans as unworkable. They are not unworkable. So grow up and get to work.


In the Queue; Reads and Such

November 6, 2007

Finally finished reading the lengthy historical tome, Mao, The Unknown Story, a few weeks ago and recommend it highly to all, even though the writing was pedestrian. vietnam-karnow.jpgMy latest read, Vietnam, A History, by Stanley Karnow dovetails nicely as a sort of continuation of the theme of 20th century Asian history. And Karnow’s book is better written; the improvement in reading flow comes as a relief, and as a result my page-turning speed has increased. I should be finished with this one quite soon, probably in half the time it took me to get through the Mao book, which quite frankly was a page turner mainly for containing a morbidly fascinating fresh Hell on every page. I’ve had the nearly 800-page Karnow/Vietnam book in my collection for at least 20 years, but always saw it as something daunting and taunting. Riding the bus for an hour in the morning and evening in the commute, though, lends itself nicely to tackling ambitious books like these. If I can thank GW Bush for one thing, it would be an increased interest on my part on how wars get started and how they’re waged. Reading the Vietnam book is like reading a book about Iraq. The reasons and the slogans for entering the conflicts are eerily the same. And I’m not even talking about America’s involvement, but the French colonial incursion into Indochina back in the 1800s. Politicians and warriors have not changed their rhetorical tactics one bit. The same thing keeps happening over and over. Next in the queue is Thomas Ricks’ Fiasco: The American Adventure in Iraq and Bob Woodward’s State of Denial: Bush at War Part III.

Next, a whole big list of films I’ve been into lately…


Waterboard a Neo-con Today

November 1, 2007

waterboard.jpg (Interrogator straps Neocon to table, places cloth or cellophane over his face and begins to pour water over his head.)

Interrogator: “Admit that waterboarding is torture!”

Neocon: (moans, body squirms, head violently shakes in rebellious defiance.)

Interrogator: “Admit it! Waterboarding is torture! You can stop this now. Just admit it!”

(Hours pass and the neocon is exhausted, choking, almost dead from lack of oxygen. He finally makes a passive gesture of the head and fingers. He groans a barely audible “yes.” The cloak is removed.)

Neocon: “Yes, it is torture. I admit it. Please let me go.”

(The neocon is released. Later, he renounces his confession under duress.)

Neocon: “They were killing me. What the hell else was I gonna say? I was in pain. I had to do whatever I had to do to stop it.”

(On his way to work that day, the neocon–who so vocally supports the Iraq War–drives by an Army recruiting office. He declines to enlist.)