Thursday, December 22, 2005
It only costs about $10 for each phone call.
Why don't we all have Santa call the White House to tell little Georgie that he's on the naughty list? It might sound something like this:
"Hello? Is little Georgie Bush there? Oh, hi Georgie. This is Santa. No, this is not Karl Rove doing a phony phone call. I'd like to talk to you about your behavior this past year. You haven't been a very good boy, have you?"
"For one thing, you don't play well with others, do you? There's that whole illegal war thing in that desert place. Why did you pick on those innocent people? You wanna fight a war, how about the war on poverty?"
"And we have trouble telling the truth, don't we? WMDs? Uranium from Africa? Intelligent Design? Embryonic stem cells are people? FEMA did a great job? Jenna and Barbara are not alcoholics? You're still searching for Osama Bin Laden? You weren't AWOL?"
"So Georgie, I'm afraid you're going to be put on the naughty list and get nothing but coal in your stocking. But you won't be alone. You'll be joined by all your play buddies like Rove, DeLay, Rumsfeld, Frist, Ashcroft, Rice, Cheney and well, just about everyone you play with."
A Circuit Court judge has been accused of having pornographic images on his work computer and using improper conduct toward two female lawyers.
Brandt Downey, 60, habitually viewed pornography on his court-issued computer and had inappropriate contact and communications with female attorneys, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission said Tuesday.
I bet he's naked under that robe. I wonder if any of the ladies walked in on him while he was "pounding his gavel".
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said.
Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.
Said the judge: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."
Text of the school's statement
Text of the statement on "intelligent design" that Dover Area High School administrators have been reading to students at the start of biology lessons on evolution:
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The theory is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, "Of Pandas and People," is available in the library along with other resources for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves.
With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments.
When will the religious right cease their lies and hypocritical machinations in the name of the lord? They should hang their heads in shame.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
It's 1985. I'm driving home from my new job at 5:00 pm. While surfing down the dial I land on 92.3 FM K-Rock from New York City. Little did I know this was the beginning of a 20 year relationship with a nutty, neurotic and hilarious character named Howard Stern. My sense of humor has always been known to be off the wall and less than appropriate. Now I hear this guy saying everything I think is truly funny for four hours a day.
Howard quickly moved to morning drive time and I looked forward to the daily commute and put a radio in my office so I could hear the entire show.
Six years later, I came down with a life threatening illness where I was confined to a hospital bed for almost two months. It seriously affected my ability to walk, talk or feed myself. My wonderful wife-to-be asked if I needed anything. Without hesitation, I muttered "walkman". For four hours a day, Howard Stern took me away from my hospital bed and transported me to a wild world of wacky bits, strippers, the Wack Pack, celebrities, contests, and song parodies. I have very little family and what got me through was Howard, Robin, Fred, Jackie and Bababooey (Gary).
Now, 14 years later, I hear Howard's routines destroyed by edits and bleeps that I used to enjoy uncut years ago. Has the definition of obscenity changed? Not possible, since obscenity has never been defined in the first place. It's the result of pressure applied by the religious right on George Bush and the FCC. Specifically, the FCC previously run by Michael Powell, who was appointed by Bush because he was the son of Colin Powell.
If only one radio station had fought the FCC fines in the courts, the challenges to free speech would most certainly be found unconstitutional. But it never happened because of the gestapo tactics of Mr. Powell. Since the FCC controls the granting and renewal of station licenses, radio stations were told that all new license acquisitions would have to be suspended until the trials were over. Thus, it became more cost effective to pay the fines.
As of 12/16/05, Howard Stern will no longer be heard on terrestrial radio. This is sad because the religious right-wing wackos have won and "free" radio moves another step closer to homogenized, republican claptrap such as Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly, that is truly obscene.
Fortunately, Sirius satellite radio has guaranteed us at least five more years of Howard restored to his former glory beginning 1/9/06. Is this to be considered a defeat for free speech? I think it's more like a draw. Unfortunately, more and more progressive, intelligent, free thinkers are being forced to join the exodus from terrestrial radio.
But since Mr. Bush can't think.........of anything better to spend the money on, let's see if we can provide him with some ideas. Not too many though, we all know how confused he can get.
$500 billion can provide:
Salaries for 50,000 Head Start teachers for 232 years.
Fund Meals on Wheels for 8,000,000 of our elderly for 35 years.
$500 worth of clothes for 2,000,000 homeless people for the next 500 years.
$5,000 worth of health care for 10,000,000 people for 10 years.
Then there's the reinstatement of all the money George Bush has stolen from programs that deal with the environment, job programs, medicare, medicaid, social security, health care, health insurance, education, and more.
Wrapping up more than three years of investigations and hearings, the former commission issued what members said was their final assessment of the government's counterterror performance as a report card. It gave failing grades in five areas, and issued only one "A" — actually an A-minus — for the Bush administration's efforts to curb terrorist financing.
A case in point - Mr. Bush's crack team placed a miniature golf course on a federal list of the most attractive terrorist targets. They were probably worried that some kids playing with a radio controlled airplance would make a suicide run into that windmill thing.
The five "F"s were for:
Failing to provide a radio system to allow first responders from different agencies communicate with each other during emergencies.
Distributing federal homeland security funding to states on a "pork-barrel" basis instead of risk.
Failing to consolidate names of suspicious airline travelers on a single terror watch screening list.
Hindering congressional oversight by retaining intelligence budget information as classified materials.
Failing to engage in an alliance to develop international standards for the treatment and prosecution of detained terror suspects.
My 10 year old son gets better grades than this. Does that mean my son should be president? No, of course not. But with grades like five "F"s, it seems that one child was left behind.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I remember the first time I saw Richard Pryor. It was on the Merv Griffin Show in the 1960s. At the time, Bill Cosby was the funniest comedian around and this new guy was a very funny approximation of Cos. But you couldn't see the same conviction in the material.
Flash forward to 1974. I'm in grad school and one of my roomates, Morris, a six foot three soft spoken black man going for his Masters Degree in Labor Relations, brings home this record for us to hear. It was "That Nigger's Crazy" by Richard Pryor.
I had never heard anything like that before. We laughed so hard we almost threw up. After it was over, several questions came to me. Is it acceptable for a white man to laugh so hard at black humor? Would it be any funnier if I was black?
In my opinion, there are only three comedians that are not only extremely funny but were brave enough to challenge the status quo and bring humor to the level that presently we all take for granted.
First, there was Lenny Bruce. He literally gave his life for free speech. So Howard Stern can say "penis" on the radio.
Next came George Carlin. He stretches the envelope so far we can no longer see the edge.
Finally, there was Richard Pryor. He not only thought white people were funny but that black people were just as funny.
The next keeper of the flame would have been Bill Hicks had he survived pancreatic cancer.
So is it acceptable for a white man to laugh at black humor?
I think Richard would say "fuck yeah".
Would it be any funnier if I was black?
It couldn't possibly be.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I posted this at the exact date and time John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman. Being a child of the 60s, I experienced the life and death of many musical legends - Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Jones, Moon, Bonham - they touched me for a time and then I moved on.
So why is it so different when I think of John Lennon? Why can I still listen to Jimi and Janis without a tear at my heart? It is impossible for me to hear a Lennon song or look at a photograph of John or watch "A Hard Day's Night" or "Help" without a chill, a lump, a tear. Anyone who can listen to "Imagine" without some kind of an emotional response must either have a heart of stone or be a republican. (I guess "republican" is redundant in this case).
I think of how much more Bob Geldof and Bono could have accomplished with one of the greatest political activists of our time at their side. I know that John would have spoken to today's youth with the same conviction and relevance as he had in the 1970s.
I am well beyond the "John was the words and Paul was the music" argument. One simple song like "In My Life" destroys that myth. Or the nonsense that Yoko destroyed the Beatles. In order for John to become the political force that he was, the Beatles had to be jettisoned. Yoko inspired John to speak out for peace as passionately as he did. It's only right that the Beatles started and ended with John.
John was always known as the "funny Beatle". Yes, he was. His life and his music shared the same sense of humor, irony, pathos, and most of all, warmth. We will never know his like again.
For more remembrances visit this blog.