Friday, January 23, 2009

Who would Jesus torture?

George W. Bush's favorite political philosopher is reported to have once said, "The meek shall inherit the Earth." You know, the Democrats.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Usual Suspects

Meine Frau was recycling the kids' homework from 2008 and found my 3rd grade daughter's illustrations of the powers that be. I especially like the expressions on all the honourable gentlemen.

Super Expenditures

I've read a few emails by Fox News viewers outraged by the estimated $160 million cost of Tuesday's inauguration. Look here for an article in last week's NY Times that put the cost of security and government expenditures of the 2005 inaugural at $115.5 million, in addition to the $42.3 million raised by the Bush campaign.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Uncivil wars

Why did the US invade Iraq? To find WMDs? To fight terrorism? To protect vital American interests? To spread Truth Justice and the American Way? There's more than one reason, and you'll get different answers from different people.
Why did the US fight a civil war? I've had heated arguments about this as well. The Confederacy withdrawing from the Union was what started it, but I believe slavery was the real cause of the Civil War. Last fall I spoke with a children's librarian from the South that told me that it was the south that freed the slaves, not the North (if the slaves agreed to fight with the confederacy). Others have told me that it was a war of Northern aggression, of the industrialized states trying to bully the gentle agricultural South. The North won the war, but the Southern apologists won History.
Back in the 80s when I was a college "peer minister" at a United Methodist church, two Southern Methodists visited the Swords into Plowshares Peace Center I managed. They dismissed the center as "leftist." Apparently Jesus would have opposed the Nuclear Freeze movement. These were two gentlemen from a state that celebrated Robert E. Lee day instead of Martin Luther King day back when King day was first started, and they were proud of it.
On Tuesday, the tide of the battle may change. The Civil War may finally be over.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

It is currently -2 below 0 in Chicago.

Righteous, God-fearing Conservatives Attack!

"Libs (perhaps you) can’t handle the truth."
"Fact: where libs are in charge with their gun restrictions and social engineering tax and spend welfare handouts, deaths from crime go up, taxes go up, quality of education goes down, business seeks greener pastures taking jobs with ‘em, and political/union corruption is rife. "

“Masked Liberal Evangelist (I'd be embarrassed, too, and wear a mask), I'd settle for the MSM treating Wright with the same level of disdain they treat Robertson, Falwell, et al.Perhaps you can point out examples of the MSM giving such treatment to Wright or anyone of his like? Pending that, I assuming you're full of sh*t.”

“Boy is it obvious why some are masked. Project much? When will the Left put down their "handful of mud"? (I'm guessing it's never. It's okay when Lefties say nasty things about Republicans.)… I mean, seriously, why don't you pick up and bag the Jolt Cola cans, the old Domino's boxes, back away from the keyboard, leave Mom's basement and get a real job?”

“Masked idiot, I abhor and detest the things any leader may say that is absurd or unproven in the name of God.You should do the same with racist false teacher Jeremiah Wright who teaches a false gospel of hatred based upon Black Values...…Obama has no integrity. He is a liar bordering on the pathological. He worked with unrepentent terrorist, slum lords, the diry Chi-town machine and in this election He TURNED OFF security checks ONLINE for his Donations so they could not be REJECTED for false ID. That is SCUMBAG material. Crooks and Criminals do that Masked Idiot.”

Saturday, January 10, 2009


So far we've had three kids get the stomach flu this week. My youngest daughter threw up in my cupped hands in the middle of the night, then my #1 son threw up in the school auditorium, hallway, office and basement. Later that evening he told me he threw up again. When asked where, he told me "you just walked threw it." He insisted on going to school the next day, since he had computer class and had compiled a list of 4 websites he wanted to visit. Upon his return, I asked him how his day went. He said, "Great, I only threw up once."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Year in Rebuke: Science fictions

Ben Stein, while promoting his film Expelled back in February, appeared on a Christian chat show and blamed scientists for the Holocaust.
"When we just saw that man- I think it was Mr. Myers- talking about how great scientists were, I was thinking to myself the last time any of my relatives saw scientists telling them what to do they were telling them to go to the showers to get gassed … that was horrifying beyond words, and that’s where science — in my opinion, this is just an opinion — that’s where science leads you."
Of course it's also possible that religion, not science, influenced the Nazis. Martin Luther wrote a tract entitled The Jews and their Lies, which may have set the stage for Hitler's anti-semitism. Any glance at history shows you that Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Islamists have been torturing and slaughtering one another for hundreds of years.

Year in Rebuke: Major Awards

The National Council of English Teachers gave President Bush its annual Doublespeak award again in 2008. The award recognizes "language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered."
President Bush's use of the term "aspirational goal" in place of setting a deadline for withdrawal of troops in Iraq impressed the NCTE. Likewise, Bush and others have set "aspirational goals" for reducing carbon emissions and slowing global warming. The NCTE Public Language Award Committee said, “As textbook Doublespeak, ‘aspirational goal’ is both a tautology and a paradox... Aspirations and goals are the same thing; and yet when the terms are combined, the effect is to undermine them both, producing a phrase that means, in effect, ‘a goal to which one does not aspire all that much.'”
President Bush surpassed his father, who only received the award twice, and President Clinton, who only received one Doublespeak award (which he had to share with Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott.) Check out the previous doublespeak winners at:

The NCTE's George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language went to Charlie Savage for his book Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Year in rebuke: econocataclysm

In the spring, the cost of rice increased by 30 percent, and food riots broke out in 30 countries. Prices fell later in the year, but the UN warned of another crisis looming due to the credit crunch.
In March, the Vatican identified seven social sins, including polluting the environment, contributing to the widening divide between rich and poor, excessive wealth, and creating poverty.

In the fall, as the Bush Administration lead the way into giving hundreds of billions of dollars to financial businesses too big to fail, McCain supporters fretted that Barack Hussein Obama would promote socialism.
News reports in the Spring said Zimbabwe's inflation rate was 23 million percent. An economist at the Cato institute estimated in November 2008 that Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate had grown to 89.7 Sextillion percent.

Iceland, a country influenced by the neoconservative philosophy of economist Milton Friedman, has a flat income tax of 22.75 percent and a flat corporate tax rate of 18 percent. Iceland went bankrupt in October.

The Year in Rebuked: Part 3

In 2008 we lost Paul Newman, George Carlin and Bozo the Clown. The Right lost one of its cooler members, William F. Buckley Jr., who at least would engage his ideological opponents in civil debate on his PBS show Firing Line, unlike Rush Limbaugh who usually takes calls from fawning dittoheads.
Then there was the death of former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, the last of the Foghorn Leghorn style politicians who successfully exploited race and other fears still festering in the South. It was Senator Helms who boasted of his 16-day filibuster to stop the U.S. Senate from approving a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr., and a majority of North Carolina voters responded by returning him to office. While other Old South politicians admitted their mistakes in opposing civil rights, Helms never apologized for his segregationist stance on issues. Jesse Helms died on July 4th 2008, too early to see North Carolina and the nation elect Barack Obama president. While liberals may have been tempted to give into the tasteless urge to dance on Senator Helms' grave, all we needed to do was wait a few months. As late as January, sources tell me that the late senator is still spinning in it.

The year in Rebuked: Stat Attack

A few years ago I remember reading several letters to the editor in the Chicago Tribune comparing the number of US soldier's deaths to the number of murders in Chicago. I wondered why the celebrating conservatives didn't include the number of Iraqi civilians who also died. You'll probably see more such letters and blogs this year, since Chicago has topped over 500 murders this year, while the reported number of US soldiers who died is considerably less.

So is Chicago a more dangerous place than Iraq? Over a million Iraqis have died since the war began over five years ago, most of them violently.

The UN warned that the number of Iraqis who have become refugees is approaching 5 million.

The cost of the Iraq war is over $12 billion a month. If you include Afghanistan it's over $16 million. The total cost of the war is expected to rise to $3 trillion over the next five years.

Although Chicago corruption is bad, we don't have the kidnappings, bombings, and problems with electricity and other government services that persist in Baghdad. I think I can manage at least one more year in Chicago.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Year's Resolutions

1. Eat healthy and exercise...starting around Martin Luther king Day...or maybe Ground Hog's Day. Pulaski Day at the latest.
2. Send out the Christmas cards I meant to send out last month by Thanksgiving this year.
3. Pay off my 2005 Ford Focus. Then trade it in and go deeper in debt to buy a real car.
4. Spend more quality time with my family.
5. Spend less time with my family.
6. Remember to keep interesting reading material in the bathroom cabinet.
7. Stop drinking so much Miller Lite Beer. Switch to Miller Genuine Draft 68 calorie Ultra Lite Beer.
8.Stop coveting my neighbour's wife, neighbour's house, his field, his man-servant, his maid-servant, his ox, and his ass.
יז וְלֹא תַחְמֹד, אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ; {ס} וְלֹא תִתְאַוֶּה בֵּית רֵעֶךָ, שָׂדֵהוּ וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ שׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ, וְכֹל, אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ. {ס}
9. STOP the WAR in IRAQ. Or is it an occupation? Maybe a police action?
10. Promote my plan to spread Democracy in the Middle East by sending Michigan's laid off social studies teachers and re-educated former auto workers to teach high school civics and current events in Iraq and the West Bank.
11. Floss.
12. Learn how to do the Cupid Shuffle to impress my high school age students.
13. Send in my 2008 dues to the ACLU and the American Friends Service Committee.
14. Make the time to watch more TV.
15. Start picking WINNING lottery numbers.
16. Blog less. Or maybe more.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Year in Rebuked: Part 1

We began 2008 at a waterpark across from Starved Rock state park. One of the kids didn't shut the sliding door to our 1992 Ford Aerostar, so when I returned for more luggage, I found some critter had sprayed the interior. I tried to wash the minivan out with shaving cream, then bought skunk scent remover when we returned, but the odor never completely went away.
This year, the youngest twins finally began speaking almost entirely in English, but in January they were still making statements like "I love this not, this piece like I" when selecting pizza slices or "Can you this in my bowl make" when asking for cereal.

In February I switched parties and voted for Ron Paul in the Illinois primary.

My children's library job ended on Friday June 13th. I didn't work again until October 6th- for a third less pay, an extra hour each workday , an extra 2 hours of commuting time, and a health care deduction costing twice as much as my previous one.

In the fall, all five of our kids began attending the same school, thanks to a new public pre-school program thqat accepted three year olds. Although Governor Blagovitch is a corrupt Chicago style politician, he did support public preschools and supported the All Kids health care plan that briefly insured my kids while I was unemployed.

While I was a stay at home dud, the kids shared a lot of useful information with me. My youngest son admonished me for leaving a corkscrew out, handing it to me gravely and saying "this could KILL somebody!" He also told me confidentially that "if you put someone in the oven it will kill them."
When I asked my 8 year old daughter Becca, who was quietly sitting in the kitchen, where mom was, she said "Oh, she's upstairs telling us what to do."

The last week of school before break, my son proudly announced at dinner that he had learned a new dirty word. "May I share one?" he asked.