Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, November 28, 2008

Indian Navy Sinks Wrong “Pirate Ship”

Everyone’s having a field day with the Indian Navy’s little blooper. They thought they were sinking a Somali pirate ship, but it turned out they had actually just sunk a Thai fishing boat that the pirates had seized. Heeheeheeheehee.

Now, as long as we’re having fun with military bloopers and blunders committed by third world governments, here’s a real kneeslapper:

(Technically, the following unnamed country isn’t part of the Third World. They have the largest, most advanced and most omnipresent military force in the world. But in terms of infrastructure, education, competence level among government leaders — we’re talking Third World all the way.)

Anyway, on September 11th, 2001 this country suffered an unprovoked brutal attack by a gang of terrorists. The country planned its retaliation very carefully and deliberately. The government spent a year and a half collecting intelligence, analyzing data, finding out which country most of the attackers were from and which country was the most closely aligned with the attackers’ organization. And then — they attacked the wrong country!

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

“The Shield” Series Finale segues into Thanksgiving

You won’t find a more wacky juxtaposition than this. The most white-knuckled nail-biting edge-of-your-seat TV series ever (IMHO) goes out with a Bang! — just as everybody’s making their Thanksgiving preparations.

I wonder if there were millions of kitchen conversations today that went something like:

“God, can you believe Shane poisoned his wife and son and then shot himself mmmm, need a little more nutmeg in the pumpkin pie.”

“Damn, talk about irony — Vic sold Gardocki down the river so he could protect Corinne and the kids, only it turned out they didn’t need any protection because Corinne helped the police nab Vic so she could get herself into the witness protection program, little more sage in the turkey dressing, here I’ll get these pecans chopped up.”

“How about that “Dutch Boy” — he went from being the precinct nerd six years ago, the butt of everyone’s jokes and pranks, to being the smartest shrewdest detective on the force, and at the end of the series he was practically the only cast member who wasn’t jailed, dead, terminally ill or tainted by scandal, how much bourbon goes into that sweet potato casserole?”


Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Are You Smarter Than Your Congressman?

Ready to test yourself? Go ahead and answer these True-False questions:

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by George Washington during the Revolutionary War;

The Electoral College is part of the Ivy League;

Asia is west of Africa and three other countries.

If you answered “True” to all of the above questions and now you’re all worried that you’re too dimwitted to get a job anywhere — cheer up. You can always run for public office.

When it comes to ignorance of American history, government and economics, our elected officials are even worse off than the rest of us.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) has compiled 33 questions for their exam. The average score was a dismal 49% correct. Elected officials averaged an even more pathetic 44%. Anybody in charge here?

Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI, said: “It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned. How can political leaders make informed decisions if they don't understand the American experience?”

About 2,500 people were randomly selected to take this test. One of the questions was: “name two countries that were our enemies during World War II.” 69% correctly identified Germany and Japan. Incorrect answers included Canada, Mexico and England.

20% thought the Electoral College was established to “supervise the first televised presidential debates.”

Activities that improve civic knowledge include discussing issues, taking part in civic activities and reading about history and current events.

Civic knowledge is dulled by talking on the phone, and by watching TV shows and movies — even if you’re watching a news program or documentary.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Join the “When Will George W. Bush Get Assassinated” Pool

Personally I think this is a terrible idea for a pool. There are some things that just shouldn’t be joked about. It’s true that Bush is the Worst President Ever, but come on people. Certainly nobody wishes that for him.

Some psycho in Maine is actually running this pool from his store. He’s inviting everybody to guess President Bush’s assassination date. The owner of the Oak Hill General Store in Standish, Maine has a sign asking customers to place a $1 bet on the date that Bush will be assassinated. The sign also says “Let’s home someone wins.”

And this is legal. Who’da thunk?

We’re all familiar with that expression “I may not agree with what you’re saying but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” And sometimes when you least expect it, that really is the guiding principle.

Is this a great country or what? I would’ve sworn that Homeland Security, the FBI, BATF — and every other alphabet soup agency you’ve ever heard of — would be breaking this guy’s door down and dragging him off to Gitmo. And taking into custody every family member, friend and acquaintance for a little, uh, “questioning.”

But he really isn’t being arrested on any charges, or even harassed. Let’s hear it for the First Amendment! So much for all that liberal nonsense about protesters and dissidents being spied on and intimidated. We really do have free speech. You really can make jokes (or worse) about assassinating the President of the United States — with no fear of retribution from the government.

I’m just gonna proofread this linked article one last time before I — Oh. That explains it. Seems I was wrong about one certain detail.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Jackson Browne Voted For John McCain!

Actually — No. Here’s how it went. Just see if you can find a shred of logic or consistency in these two stories (you won’t).

Just pretend for a minute that you wrote and recorded a song about thirty years ago. It was a huge hit. You’ve had other hits too, but that one song is by far your most famous. Your name and that song title are practically synonymous in the public eye.

Now imagine this one scenario: Somebody has illegally downloaded your song onto his/her computer. Maybe this person didn’t even download it him/herself. It could’ve been a child, grandchild, niece, nephew who downloaded this song without the computer owner’s permission. In any case, the owner of this computer could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars — driven into bankruptcy, homelessness — because his/her computer was used for the commission of this heinous act.

And now the second scenario: A presidential candidate — with whom you disagree on practically everything — has used this same song of yours for a campaign commercial. Without Your Permission. This candidate is a multi-millionaire with tens of millions of dollars being poured into his presidential campaign by the Powers That Be. Millions of TV viewers probably saw this commercial and associated your song (and hence, You) with the candidate you didn’t want.

And there ain’t a fuckin’ thing you can do about it.

And that’s not all! This asswipe is countersuing you, because you “chilled his free speech” when you sued him for copyright infringement.

John McCain used Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty” in a TV commercial last summer. Browne sued McCain, but the general consensus was pretty much “riiight, let me know how that works out for you.”

And now McCain is countersuing Browne for damages and court costs. That was a nice humble concession speech McCain gave on November 4th. Now, how can we miss him if he won’t go away?

Told you there was no sense or logic to be found here. If our traffic laws were this lopsided and skewed, you’d get a $500,000 fine for driving one mph over the speed limit. But if you were so drunk you could barely walk, and you got behind the wheel and caused a 40-car pileup, you’d get a $1 fine.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Somali Pirates Living in Luxury

You probably don’t visualize a pirate as being anywhere else except on a pirate ship. But some of those infamous Somali pirates are using their stolen loot to build mansions, hire servants and buy luxury cars.

Now of course nobody is condoning what these pirates are doing, or making any sort of apologies for them. But these Somali pirates — unlike some other pirates we could name — are actually giving something back to their communities. Somalia is one of the world’s poorest countries. And now, because of the money being spent by these pirates, some of the local economies are booming.

And unlike still another gang of pirates, the Somali pirates are not groveling and sobbing to the government for a handout.

Just like all political dynasties, pirates come and go. There’s always a gang of Young Turks ready to come along and kick out the Old Guard. In order to make room for these upstart Somali pirates, some old pirates have to fade away.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Lawsuit Against the Recording Industry Association of America

Finally. After spending five years extorting millions of dollars from music listeners, the RIAA is being taken to court. The RIAA has been using the court system as their own personal bludgeon (with deafening silence from the same conservatives who are always blathering about “too much litigation” and “activist judges”), and now they’re about to get clubbed with their own weapon.

The recording industry has been using the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 as the legal basis for their shakedowns. And now a Harvard law professor, Charles Nesson, has filed suit saying that law is unconstitutional.

His reasoning is that this law allows a private organization — in this case the RIAA — to carry out enforcement of a criminal law. He also says the recording industry abuses the legal process by extorting huge out-of-court payments from their victims, under the threat of an even larger fine and/or prison sentence.

In my own non-expert un-lawyerly opinion, the RIAA has been violating the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution — unless you know of somebody who got a $500,000 fine for stealing a CD from Wal-Mart.

Charles Nesson is the founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He says his goal is to “turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency.”

Nesson’s résumé is pretty impressive. He defended Daniel Ellsberg against the Nixon Administration in the Pentagon Papers case. He was also a consultant in a major case against chemical companies, which was portrayed in the movie “A Civil Action.”

His upcoming battle with the RIAA thugs might be his biggest challenge yet. Godspeed.

cross-posted at Bring It On

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Get Those Icky Bush Stains Out NOW

Don’t you just hate when this happens? You think you’ve got a Constitutional right that’s been clearly spelled out, and then Dumbya shits on it. Well, now you have a remedy. Just dab on a little Bush-Stain Remover™ and — Presto! You have your Constitution back, good as new.

Or maybe the environment has been ruined because that spoiled fratboy puked all over it. Wipe off those second-hand bourbon stains NOW, with Bush-Stain Remover™. It’s never been so easy.

Bush-Stain Remover™ was invented twelve years ago and it’s only been used once. But experts are predicting that starting early next year, this exciting new product will be everywhere.

Restrictions apply. Bush-Stain Remover™ cannot be used before January 20, 2009. Product will only remove stains that were deposited after May 2008.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Eighth Century Church in Syria

Archaeologists are all excited about finding an 8th century church in Syria.

What’s the big deal about an 8th century church? The United States is full of them.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Should We Bail Out the Auto Industry?

Yet another too-big-to-fail corporate behemoth is begging for a handout. If a scruffy-looking person stands on a street corner with a “Will Work For Food” sign, lots of people think “why doesn’t that F$#%! &^%#!%#$ get a job?!?!”

But a lot of those same hardnosed free-enterprisers are moved to tears when a multi-millionaire goes “Waaaahhhhh!!!! I’m falling behind on my yacht payments and I might not be able to keep my weekend getaway in the Swiss Alps! Help meeee!!!!”

Is anybody else getting tired of this shit?

I don’t have much knowledge of economics or the far-reaching unintended consequences of certain government actions (then again, our “leaders” don’t either). What terrible things would happen if a banking conglomerate or a Detroit automaker went under? Tens of thousands of jobs (maybe a lot more) would be lost, right?

And yet this is happening anyway, even with the $700 billion the robber barons have already extorted from us. Maybe if we just hand over a few hundred more billion, everything will be all right. And if not, we’ll just keep handing another 12-figure check to every industry titan who holds out his tin cup. Eventually we’ll get our economy back. Right???

Maybe I’m just one of those well-intentioned-but-fuzzy-headed idealists, but it seems to me that for a tiny fraction of the money we’ve already given to Wall Street — and soon Detroit, the airline industry, the insurance industry — we could bail out the people who really need it.

What if we provided job training to employees who’ve been downsized, instead of lavishing billions on the CEOs whose greed and ineptitude caused these employees to lose their jobs in the first place. We could help strapped homeowners with their mortgage payments instead of showering money on the predatory lenders who got them into this jam.

Oh that’s right, it’s socialism if taxpayer money goes to a person who actually needs it.

We’ve spent 28 years (since Reagan’s inauguration in 1981) listening to one bullshit theory after another. Supply Side economics. The Laffer Curve. Trickledown…….Time’s up!

How about TrickleUp instead? Maybe it’s just a theory that won’t pan out, but there’s only one way to find out. For 28 years — with these past eight years being the Worst Ever — our government has taken a completely schizoid approach to helping the needy. If an individual gets laid off or goes bankrupt, it’s “Tough shit. Get a grip. Deal.” If a corporate Brontosaurus is about to collapse under its own weight, it’s “oooohhhh, nee nee the baby, here’s a big glob of money for you, now dry your eyes, there there.”

How’s this been working out for us?

There are millions of Americans who might actually go out and spend money and buy things (i.e. help the economy) if they weren’t forced to choose between the mortgage payment, food and medical expenses. TrickleUp, anyone?

Or we can keep on throwing bushels of tax money at irresponsible CEOs, so they can stash it in an offshore bank account and then beg for more.

Which approach is better?

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Salem Witch Hunters — Down But Not Out

Continuing with the same analogy from my previous post (yes, it’s getting a little old now), the patient is slowly recovering after an 8-year infection that was almost fatal. Now it’s been discovered that there were several strains of bacteria that were wracking the body with these unspeakable symptoms. Four days ago a one-time massive superdose of antibiotics was administered, which killed all of the infections that had gone systemic.

But now, the most putrid and most resistant of these strains — bacterius biblehumpus — is already trying to worm its way out of the patient’s intestinal tract and get back into the bloodstream.

These powerful antibiotics will lose their effect if we over-use them. The patient needs to develop a much stronger natural immunity.

Even though Spanish Inquisition 2.0 got stomped and kidneypunched four days ago at the polls, the Grand Wizards are encouraged because gay marriage was banned by voters in three states — California, Arizona and Florida.

One of James Dobson’s pilotfish, Tom Minnery, said: “Conservative politicians lost. Traditional values succeeded. It ought to tell them to get a clue about the importance of marriage. We were frustrated that Sen. McCain would not speak out about marriage strongly and repeatedly.”

That’s right! Millions of voters were scared shitless of losing their jobs and their homes, and McCain had this wacky idea that they wanted to hear about the economy. God told him to concentrate exclusively on the Homosexual Agenda and those ignorant sluts who want Abortion-On-Demand™.

Like the flu, there’s no cure for bacterius biblehumpus. All we can do is try to control it.

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

America’s Prognosis: Guarded

The patient has been suffering from a severe uncontrollable infection for the past eight years. This particularly virulent strain of bacteria had been living in the patient’s intestines for decades, where it remained relatively harmless.

But in early 2001, the bacteria went systemic. This is often fatal. All of the organism’s natural defense mechanisms were overpowered and disabled by this devastating infection. It’s a miracle the patient even survived.

While in the throes of this debilitating sickness, the patient’s symptoms included excruciating pain, spastic movements, nausea, vomiting and explosive diarrhea. To all innocent bystanders who got shat on: Please understand and forgive. Remember, the patient was being attacked by perhaps the most resistant, putrid, pestilent bacteria ever discovered. This abortional behavior could not be controlled.

We’re not out of the woods yet. Some new medication has been prescribed, but it won’t start taking effect until two and a half months from now. We’re looking at a long slow recovery process that will take years; decades even. But I think the patient is going to make it.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Is Intrade Really Accurate?

I had the most bloodcurdling nightmare several days ago. I dreamed I was reading an article that said Intrade was no longer reliable. The website used to be accurate but now it’s deteriorated and become totally useless. NOOO!!!

In case you’re not familiar with this website, Intrade makes political predictions based on financial/market data instead of opinion polls. I don’t have enough financial interest or knowledge to understand how or why these predictions work. But supposedly in the 2004 election they correctly predicted the outcome in all fifty states.

And a Hat Tip to Prague Twin who did a post about Intrade last Spring. That was how I found out about it.

The one strike against Intrade that I know of: They predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic nomination. OOPS. Let’s hope their current predictions are more accurate.

If I’m understanding them correctly, Intrade (as of this writing) gives Barack Obama an 89.1% chance of being our next president. There’s an 11.9% chance that John McCain will be the next president.

Works for me.

cross-posted at Bring It On!