Tag Archive for 'politics'

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Virginia Is For Douchebags, part deux.

An unexpected second in my now multi-part series, Virginia is for Douchebags. For the first part, see right meow. Virginia hits a (perhaps unsurprising) new low:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20  In a letter sent to hundreds of voters this month, Representative Virgil H. Goode Jr., Republican of Virginia, warned that the recent election of the first Muslim to Congress posed a serious threat to the nation’s traditional values.

Mr. Goode was referring to Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Democrat and criminal defense lawyer who converted to Islam as a college student and was elected to the House in November. Mr. Ellison’s plan to use the Koran during his private swearing-in ceremony in January had outraged some Virginia voters, prompting Mr. Goode to issue a written response to them, a spokesman for Mr. Goode said.

In his letter, which was dated Dec. 5, Mr. Goode said that Americans needed to “wake up” or else there would “likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.”

“I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped,” said Mr. Goode, who vowed to use the Bible when taking his own oath of office.

21koran.jpgHere is a link to the article. Wow. Seriously? Here is a pic. One guess as to who is Virgil H. Goode, Junior, and who is Keith Ellison. Anyway, after the George Allen incident, I would have thought that Virginia had learned its lesson about opening its fat piehole. You see, this tells the rest of America that people from Virginia are stupid and bigoted. “But one bigot doesn’t represent the whole state of Virginia! Waaaah!”

Oh, but he does. You see, Goode is not some hobo wearing feathers and screaming at your pet on the street. He is Virginia’s representative. In case you don’t know what that means, say hello to my little friend, Merriam Webster:

Main Entry: 2representative
Function: noun
1 : one that represents another or others: as a (1) : one that represents a constituency as a member of a legislative body (2) : a member of the house of representatives of the United States Congress or a state legislature b : one that represents another as agent, deputy, substitute, or delegate usually being invested with the authority of the principal c : one that represents a business organization d : one that represents another as successor or heir.

This man represents Virginia! Therefore, I shall continue to impute his actions to the majority of Virginians, until (1) Merriam or Webster (I don’t care which) changes the definition of representative, or (2) Virginia votes for the other guy. Until then, George Allen, Virgil Goode, and all Virginians win my Douchebag award. Here you go!

Douchebag

Virginia Is For Douchebags

….because the Allen/Webb race is even close! This should have been a landslide. That it is a close race is a testament to the fact that Virginia must be a state full of slack-jawed, back-ass-wards hicks. Allen is a man who yells racial epithets at his rallies. A man who is obsessed with the Confederate flag (don’t give me that bullshit about it being part of your “heritage”). A man who put the severed head of a deer in the mailbox of the nearest black family he could find. A man who is not afraid to use the N-word. How could you vote for this guy? Virginia’s shame is all of our shame.

In the Name of the Father, Redux

The following is an excerpt from the script of In the Name of the Father, an excellent movie if you haven’t seen it. It resonated with me not only because of the Father-son relationship, it also seemed eerily timely. Anyway, I started playing with the idea of hyperlinking the similarities to Guantanamo, the PATRIOT Act, and the curtailment of our liberties here in the US. I probably could have done more linking, and maybe you can suggest some for me to update this post with.

Defense Attorney: Inspector, these people were arrested two days…after the Prevention of Terrorism Act was introduced.

Inspector Dixon: That’s correct.

Defense Attorney: Can you explain, please, the powers that this gives to the police?

Inspector Dixon: It permits us to hold suspected terrorists for a period of up to seven days.

Defense Attorney: Quite extraordinary powers in a democracy. Difficult I would’ve thought for the police to resist the temptation…to deal forcibly with people.

Prosecutor: Objection.

Defense Attorney: People they suspect are the biggest bombing campaign on the British mainland…since the Second World War.

Prosecutor: Objection. My lord, I really must…

Judge: Get to the point!

Defense Attorney: Now, this bombing campaign…struck deep into the British people’s sense of security. The people looked to you to find those responsible.

Inspector Dixon: Yes.

Defense Attorney: You must have been under the most intense pressure.

Inspector Dixon: That’s my job.

Defense Attorney: Now, all of the defendants claim, including young Patrick Maguire, aged just�Patrick, would you stand up, please?

Thank you. All of the defendants claim…that they were subjected to physical and mental abuse while under police custody.

Inspector Dixon: They were never harmed in any way.

Gerry Conlon: He’s fuckin’ lyin’! They beat the shit out of us!

Paul Hill: Fuckin’ liar!

[Gavel Pounding]

Judge: Silence. Sit them down!

[ Crowd Yelling]

Paul Hill: Please believe us! They beat us!

Judge: Just be quiet.

[Gavel Pounding]

Sit them down!

Silence in the court!

Defense Attorney: Mr. Conlon says…that you pulled him by the hair and squeezed his testicles.

Inspector Dixon: I never even spoke to Mr. Conlon.

Gerry Conlon: I hope you burn in hell, Dixon!

Judge: Silence!

Defense Attorney: Mr. Hill says the police sat astride him and put a gun in his mouth.

Inspector Dixon: There was no pressure of any kind.

Paul Hill: You can go and fuck yourself, you lyin’ fuckin’ bastard!

Judge: Silence! Order!

Defense Attorney: Inspector, in the case of the four main defendants, you have no corroborating evidence.

Inspector Dixon: I have the confessions of four obvious terrorists. What more do you want?

Net Neutrality or “video choice” (whatever that is): Why can’t we have both?

Two days ago, the Senate Commerce Committee (headed by, you guessed it, Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens) announced (and I quote) that “A new bipartisan poll released today finds that an overwhelming majority of American voters favor video choice over onerous ‘Net Neutrality’ regulations.” There are at least 3 reasons why this is a big load that you shouldn’t stand for:

1. As this site points out, there are many flaws with the poll:

i) only 5% of the total of 800 respondents had even heard of “Net Neutrality.”
ii) Do you think that 800 respondents can speak for all of America? I don’t.
iii) the survey is a push poll, which is a political campaign technique in which the question is really a disguise to influence or alter the view of the respondent. Example: Bush formed a push poll asking South Carolina voters: “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for
president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”, an
allegation that had no substance, but planted the idea of undisclosed
allegations in the minds of thousands of primary voters. (true story, by the way).

2. The poll was funded by Verizon. Ridiculous. It’s like having Big Tobacco survey Americans on the health risks of cigarettes. Companies like Verizon want to torpedo Net Neutrality because they

want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all”
want to charge YOU “to guarantee speedy delivery of their data.”
want “to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video �while
slowing down or blocking their competitors,” and
want “to reserve express lanes for their own content and services.”

Source – savetheinternet.com.

3. Finally, “video choice” vs. Net Neutrality is a false dichotomy. There is no conflict between having “video choice” and having Net Neutrality and in fact we should advocate both. In point of fact, I am all for the break-up of the oligopoly of the telecom industry. However, having more competition in the telecom industry has absolutely nothing to do with our right not to be censored. If anything, degradation of our Net Neutrality rights will only lead to more consolidation, since the repeal of Net Neutrality is anti-competitive. It is anti-competitive because it allows Big Telco to muscle out Small Telco by taxing them and slowing/restricting the data of Small Telco’s customers.

So, what can you do? The following Senators are on the Commerce Committee:

Republicans

Democrats

Chairman Ted Stevens (AK)

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI)

John McCain (AZ)

John D. Rockefeller (WV)

Conrad Burns (MT)

John F. Kerry (MA)

Trent Lott (MS)

Byron L. Dorgan (ND)

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)

Barbara Boxer (CA)

Olympia J. Snowe (ME)

Bill Nelson (FL)

Gordon H. Smith (OR)

Maria Cantwell (WA)

John Ensign (NV)

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ)

George Allen (VA)

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE)

John E. Sununu (NH)

Mark Pryor (AR)

Jim DeMint (SC)

David Vitter (LA)

If one of them is in your state, you should write them and convey your displeasure at this flagrant attempt to manipulate public opinion, and demand your Net Neutrality rights be protected. Raise hell. Pass this information to your friends. And support EFF.

Big Jerks: A Series. First up, Senator Ted Stevens!

Ah! Back from Costa Rica! More on that later though. In addition to my series on Things for Suckers, I feel it is necessary to let you all know my list of Big Jerks. It is a long list, so we better get started.

First on my list is Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK)! Come on down!

Quite possibly the biggest douche in all of douchedom, Stevens made my list shortly after he declared that the “Internet is a series of tubes.

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially…

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.

It’s a series of tubes.

Tubes! The esteemed Senator was talking about our beloved interweb, of course. Specifically, he wanted to torpedo the Net Neutrality Bill, a bill endorsed by all sane people but stymied by Senators in the pockets of Big Telecom. Here is a primer on net neutrality in case you haven’t heard. While the Senator’s forays into technology are comedic, do not forget that this man makes the law. Funny, not so much.

He is also famous for profligate pork barrel spending, most notably the $223 million “Bridge to Nowhere,” which even the Heritage Foundation found obscene.

Anyway, Sen. Stevens was in the news again today, this time for delaying the progression of a bill that would require the government to publish online a database of federal spending, by placing a secret hold.

This Senator’s record is so abominable that the most prominently displayed issue on EFF‘s front page is an article and request of all citizens to Stop Senator Stevens From Monkeying with Your Freedoms! You can easily send a predrafted message to your senator through EFF’s page, but you should personalize it a bit.

Unfortunately, due to unconscionable incumbency levels in our American Congress, Stevens has been in the Senate for 37 YEARS. That means he has been re-elected SIX times. Thanks Alaska! Perhaps Alaskans are taking the Fidel approach to ousting the octogenarian Senator.

Even more alarming – Stevens is third in the line of succession for the Presidency, after the VP and the Speaker!

What you can do: Write your Senator. If you are in Alaska, for the love of God, please vote for the other guy!

Evolution, Revolution

September 11. War in Iraq and Afghanistan, spilled over now to Israel and Lebanon. Guantanamo. Confirmed global warming. Darfur. North Korean long range missle tests. Pakistani sanctioned and/or supported large-scale terrorist attacks in India over Kashmir. More recently, North and South Korea exchanging gunfire. Transfer of power in Cuba. Mobilization of the Syrian military.

Make no mistake. We are participating in a pivotal moment in history.

I was thinking about the fact (not theory) of evolution. Many scientists concur that evolution takes place in rapid bursts rather than gradually. This concept is known as punctuated equilibrium. I am starting to believe that this evolutionary model can be applied to humanity and its history.

The rise and fall of Greece and Rome. The advent of Christianity. The development of movable type and the printing press. The Enlightenment. The invention of gunpowder and the atom bomb. The airplane. The computer. The First and Second World Wars. The moon landing. And soon, the culmination of genetic research.

I think that people who lived during the Second World War recognized at that moment that history was being made and that they wanted to be part of that. So too did those in the 1960’s witnessing the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the assasinations of Kennedy and King realize that they were participants in a rapid burst of history. And they did participate.

And I think we are either in such a period right now, or fast approaching one. And if it is not already here, it will approach faster than ever before, because ideas travel faster now than ever before in human history.

You’ve also heard that history repeats itself or that history is cyclical. You find this concept touted by economists as well as political scientists. I think its telling that the secondary definition of revolution is “a sudden, radical, or complete change.” What is the primary definiton? “a progressive motion of a body around an axis so that any line of the body parallel to the axis returns to its initial position.” In other words, a cycle.

We are in a moment in time that will one day get its own chapter in history books. So what are you doing to be at the right place at the right time when history strikes?