Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Public Interest

Let’s talk about something important! I have right here in front of me a 44-page decision by Judge Anna Diggs that says that Bush’s unwarranted wiretapping of Americans’ calls out of the country violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the Separation of Powers Doctrine, the First Amendment to the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, and “the statutory law.” I need to read this thing and do all the other important analysis that an analysizer guy like me needs to do in order to talk about this judge’s momentous decision to grant a permanent injunction against this violation of your and my civil rights.

But first, how about that John Mark Karr freak? Did you hear how he got prawns and champagne on his flight from Bangkok to the U.S., even though all he deserves is dog food? He is a reprehensible pedophile who may or may not have killed a 6-year-old beauty queen, but regardless, he is a sick reprehensible pedophile who only deserves dog food. Did I just write the words “6-year-old beauty queen”? Well, be that as it may, it could not possibly be that the public’s interest in this case has anything to do with the fact that JonBenet Ramsey is the only 6-year-old girl most of us have ever seen competently wearing bright red lipstick, eye makeup, earrings, rouge, and high-heels, while showing off her thighs. We’re not the pedophiles, John Mark Karr is. And he only deserves dog food until proven guilty, at which point we’ll think of something worse to feed him.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, violation of civil rights, separation of powers, statutory something something.…

“This just in: Ernesto has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm! More details at the top of the hour!” The downgrading of Ernesto Saturday threatened to destroy the entire hurricane reporting industry. Fortunately for the public interest, several experts were quickly found to remind us that the weakened hurricane could re-strengthen and become news again, if we get lucky.

By the way, I’ve been wondering what we should call the movie version of Ernesto’s potential devastation of one or more as-yet-undetermined Southern or East Coast U.S. cities. Ernesto Blows Again? Ernesto Goes to Cuba? Ernesto Saves Bush from Bad Press? Ernesto Scares Us Stupid?

Back to Judge Diggs. She’s a federal district judge, whatever that means. I guess I’ll have to do some work and look that up. She says that the public interest in compelling the Bush Administration’s unwarranted wiretapping to end is clear. She says the public interest is.…

Stop the presses! Tom Cruise and Paramount have ended their relationship! They won’t be making truckloads of money hand-in-hand any more! They’ll be blocks away from each other, making completely separate mountains of change!

Fortunately for the public interest, Tom Cruise is not retiring. It’s not that we care about his acting, but we need him, like I say, for the public interest. If it weren’t for Tom Cruise, what public figure would we have to criticize or condemn? I’m sure I couldn’t think of one.

So let’s see. Judge Diggs spends about 12 pages discussing and ruling upon the Attorney General’s claim of a state secrets privilege, then about nine pages discussing and ruling upon the standing of the plaintiffs that had sued the government. I’m sure those discussions are extremely important, for the public interest, so that’s why I should be reading them carefully and discussing those discussions here.

But first, I’ll talk about whether Pluto is a planet or not. It is of the utmost importance to find out whether scientists in some dumb conference somewhere want to call a big rock six billion kilometers away a planet or not. It’s even more important to find out that the scientists don’t all agree in the matter, so their “agreement” to agree to say Pluto is not a planet isn’t worth anything.

We have a public interest in knowing that!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Down With The Lifeless*

[* Lifeless = Dead, NOT Tired.]

More and more laws now target the homeless. There’s the Las Vegas ordinance that prohibits feeding anyone who even looks homeless in public parks. There’s also a Sarasota law that lets non-homeless people sleep on public land if they’re neat and tidy and don’t dig holes, but makes it a crime for homeless people to do the same, no matter how good their behavior.

These laws are based on the governing principle that even if we can’t get rid of the homeless people we have, we can at least make them miserable in order to make examples of them and so discourage others from joining them.

As always, the organization behind this gutless, bleeding-heart, liberal rag is so opposed to such laws that I wouldn’t dare support them in this column. That’s why I want to change the subject and talk about another class of wastrels out to get a free ride at the public expense: the lifeless.

It’s time we decent, hard-working, voting, living people stood up to bone-headed, do-nothing liberals who always want us to mollycoddle lifeless people and who constantly apologize for their good-for-nothing behaviors. Or, I should say, non-behaviors. That’s the trouble with the lifeless: they’ve taken non-behavior and turned it into high art. You could call them “ne’er-do-e’er-agains.”

Come on, people, do you really buy the liberal line that lifelessness is almost always involuntary? These lifeless people may not enjoy being lifeless now that they’re all up in it and they’ve found out it means they can’t watch Survivor anymore, or eat pâté de foie gras, but I guarantee you, every last one of them got that way by means of their own bad lifestyle choices.

Even if a lifeless person is housed underground and out of sight, it still sickens me to know that I’m living in a city that lets them lie about in padded boxes every day and all night too, never lifting a finger to help themselves or to contribute to society. They may not be watching TV, shooting heroin in front of my kids, or taking up space on my sidewalk, but they’re sure as hell also not taking baths, working, paying taxes, or making America great, like the rest of us do.

Oh, wait; they do pay taxes, don’t they? For now they do, but they won’t be paying taxes when those liberal do-gooders, George Bush & Company, get their way. Here’s a population that pays not one cent of income tax or sales tax, and George Bush and his buddies want to relieve them of the one significant tax they do pay. Why? You know perfectly well they’re not going to use the break we give them to pull themselves up out of the holes they got themselves into. They’re not even going to use it to fly themselves to France and get out of our lives.

I first realized what a drag on society the lifeless could be a few years ago when comedian Bob Hope became lifeless. Instead of presenting him to our children and our feeble-minded as an example of how far a once-good man can fall, our liberal media spent an entire week praising the man and giving his current condition a complete pass. Sure, he was a great comedian years ago, but now he’s lifeless, and whose fault is that? It sure isn’t mine. I didn’t tell him to get 100 and die.

What we need is a law like Sarasota has, for the lifeless instead of the homeless. Say a person who isn’t dead lies in a box and decomposes. That should be legal. But if a person lies in a box and decomposes because he’s incapable of doing anything else, we should fine that person $500 and/or jail them for 60 days.

That may not end lifelessness, but it would show our impressionable children, and our feeble-minded, that being lifeless isn’t “cool” and it isn’t going to be tolerated. And that’s worth doing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cartoon Mice On A Plane

Let’s engage in some Vergangenheitsbewältigung!

I’m not sure what that means, but I think it describes what Danzig/Gdan’sk-born Nobel Prize–winning German writer and artist Günter Grass, best known for novels evoking Germany’s Nazi years, was about when he announced to the world that he’d been in the military branch of the SS during late WWII.

I too know what it means to overcome the past. I grew up in a military state within the United States: I was an Army brat. As a child in the Fabulous ’50s, I regularly lived on army bases, surrounded by machines of war, and talk of war, and by soldiers, and I loved it.

That’s right! I admit it! I loved it! I loved waking up before dawn to the sound of machine gun fire from a practice range. I loved watching troops forcibly marched past me singing their songs of loose women, Lieutenants’ tails, and birdies in the sky doing that in their eye. I loved having real Army junk to help play war, like real helmets, and mess kits, and ammunition belts. The roads were paved with spent shells.

My favorite thing was when, each May, on a Saturday, the army would roll everything out of storage and put on a kick-ass Armed Forces Day show, with mock helicopter and tank assaults, mock bombing runs, and mock commando attacks on mock enemies, mock enemy cities, and mock commando attack recipients, respectively. There were tanks, cannon, and aircraft to play in. We kids got to use real radar and practice aiming real anti-aircraft guns.

There were also army tent after army tent of exhibitions of cool army paraphernalia, like small arms and mortars and bazookas, cool gross stuff like surgical equipment for fixing soldiers up and sending them back to get shot again, and even information on how to survive a nearby tactical nuclear attack. (Step 1: When you see a massive fireball, you will know that the tactical nuclear weapon did not kill you instantly. Congratulations! You have completed Step 1!)

Needless to say, I avoided the Army later in life. It’s one thing to play soldier and pretend-die in your backyard. It’s another, I thought, to die submerged face-down in a rice paddy. Have you ever smelled a rice paddy, while face-down in one? OK, try this: Have you ever smelled a water buffalo? Now, have you ever smelled what comes out of a water buffalo? That’s what a rice paddy smells like from a distance.

Still, even as an adult, I confess loving war shows. One of my fondest memories as an adult, while dressed, was witnessing a Swiss Armed Forces Day event in 1979 in Zürich that included a mock tank and aerial assault on the café and surroundings in which Thomas Mann and James Joyce used to hang together. Take that one for Tonio Kröger, this one for Ulysses! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

And how I also have loved to see how the Seafair Torchlight Parade has been almost half taken over by military troops. What a thrill.

But, seriously, I’m not only overreacting to Günter Grass’ belated revelation. I’m also overreacting to the news, last week, that a theme park company that used to try to compete with Disney World in Orlando, Fla., now wants to build an “Army World” near Fort Belvoir, Va. The proposal talks about how visitors would be able to “command the latest M-1 tank, feel the rush of a paratrooper freefall, fly a Cobra Gunship, or defend your B-17 as a waist gunner.” In other words, Armed Forces Day, every day of the year, for the price of admission.

I don’t know how America can do better than that! It combines everything that is great about our military/industrial empire. We should have military theme parks in every state to celebrate our superior military might, which the whole world must tremble before.

If only Disney itself could do them! Imagine being able to throw Mickey out of a plane!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Comedy of Terrors

I’m writing this the morning of Aug. 7, 61 years and more than a day after the dropping of “Little Boy” on Hiroshima. That event, in juxtaposition with recent history, no longer has the power to surprise me.

Consider this stupid quote from Osama bin Laden: “As I watched [in the eighties] the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me [to] punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.” So the destruction of towers of Lebanon inspired him to want to destroy the World Trade Towers... to start killing... so that we will be inspired to... STOP killing? Why does he think we are so different from him?

Oh, right. He thinks we’re different from him because he hears us telling ourselves so. He’s a terrorist. He targets civilians cheaply using our own overgrown commercial airlines against us. We are not terrorists. We are noble soldiers who have earnestly invested some of our unique vast hoards to amass expensive precision war machines so that we can kill only combatants, except of course when civilians accidentally get in the way, which of course they always do, saddening us always.

CNN says this morning that so far, on this 27th day of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, there have been 95 Israeli deaths, including 35 civilians, and 716 Lebanese deaths, mostly civilians. We are saddened by every one of those deaths, just as we are saddened by the non-terrorist unfortunate deaths of Hiroshima victims who got in the way of our non-terrorist justified war weapon which we dropped on them. Collateral damage is a bitch.

Some of you are probably thinking right now that I’m anti-Israel in all this mess and I want Israel to roll over and let Hezbollah annihilate it. I don’t want that at all. But before I discuss that, I want to talk about my favorite Shakespearean tragedy.

My favorite Shakespearean tragedy is the play I call Mercutio, a Tragedy of About Six Scenes Cobbled Together from Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. I call the whole play, Romeo and Juliet, A Comedy. What else can you call it when the so-called hero and hero-whine are candidates for the top Darwin Awards of their century?

How is “melancholy” Romeo, “Montague’s only son,” a tragic hero? What heroic stature does he have at the outset of the conflict? He is heroically melancholy? He is heroically hard up? He is heroically able to ponce around with a sword and pretend he knows how to use it? He is, heroically, a stupid fish? How do we pin down this guy’s tragic flaw? The same way we pin down Juliet’s tragic flaw — we lock them both together in a crypt without any air holes and wave generally in the direction of it. Oh, look now! We don’t have to; they’ve killed themselves with their mutual shared stupidity, saving us the trouble. There are your tragic flaws; they’re both perfectly dead, thus imperfectly alive.

Meanwhile, Mercutio has three things going for him. 1) He actually can use the sword, although nobody’s perfect, especially when Romeo’s on the team. 2) He actually has a brain and sense. 3) He knows they’re all ludicrous, and he has a heroic gift for saying so.

We have no trouble finding Mercutio’s fatal tragic flaw. In spite of knowing what I know, namely that Romeo is a fish (“... flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!” —Mercutio to Romeo), in spite of correctly deducing that Romeo is a madman, Mercutio remains faithful to his crazy stupid friend until his very end when he is stuck, thanks to help from the very same stupid friend he is faithful to.

So where was I? I was going to say I can’t turn my back on stupid humans either. But I can still call down a pox on all their houses anyway.

I hope that makes sense to someone.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

On the basis of Race or breed

Recently I leapt out of bed with a brilliant flash of insight. It followed months of rumination about letters to the editor we had gotten. They were letters prompted by stories Real Change had run featuring non-White People. The letters’ writers said they wouldn’t buy the paper anymore, because we were always putting down the White Race.

Reading those letters through the tears of laughter it occurred to me that hidden deep beneath the expressed froths of the letter writers there may be this sediment of truth: We have NOT been glorifying White People in the manner to which they have been accustomed, during, oh, recorded Western history, or so.

But then, last Wednesday morning, it hit me: we ALSO haven’t glorified heterosexuals, or the breeding they do for all of us.

I mean I know you don’t have to be heterosexual to breed. We’ve all heard of the occasional gay guy who steels up his courage, closes his eyes, charges into the breach, and does one for the Pope. But heteros (like me!) do it (not sex, we’re talking about procreation here) with a grace and style that can come only from native-born talent.

Anyway, so I had that brilliant flash of insight Wednesday morning, and then I read the news. And there was Washington Supreme Court Assistant Associate Chief Jester Barbara Madsen stating that the Washington Defense of Marriage Act “is constitutional because the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation essential to survival of the human race,” blah blah, blah, “furthers the well-being of children,” BS, blah, BS, blah, “biological parents,” harumph, harumph, BS, blah.

Madsen’s words finally got through to me. What a huge disservice we have done, not only to the heterosexual community, but also to the entire human race, which depends so essentially, as she says, on that community for our vicarious continued existence on this planet (through descendants of that community, who shall represent those lessers of us who never step up to the procreative plate.)

Here’s what I see Chief Breeder Steward Madsen really saying: She’s saying human breeders are like pandas. Pandas are cute and sexy, to each other, sure, but skittish. Zoo keepers spend years, decades, coaxing nervous, sensitive, pandas into the sack, using imported Chinese bamboo leaves, playing imported soft flute music, and above all, insuring that there are no distractions.

Think of Genghis Khan, perhaps the greatest heterosexual breeder of all time. Genghis Khan’s people respected his needs. They provided him with plenty of women, quiet tents, and pillows. Had they not, there might not be a Mongolia today. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world without a Mongolia.

Look. When there’s all this hoopla and raucous going on of gays same-sex marrying here and civil-unioning there (have you seen those people dance at their weddings?) our beautiful, valuable, but emotionally fragile breeders can’t mate to the degree that the survival of our species requires. “I’m sorry dear, two men just married in Skamania; I can’t focus tonight.”

Real Change has made matters so much worse by never once helping the delicate breeders of Washington State feel good about their selves so that they could settle down in the warm glow of constant emotional strokes, and get it on for Humankind.

So, belatedly, I want to say what great people heterosexuals are, and to tell you all that we at Real Change promise in the future to glorify our state’s prized heterosexual breeders the way we should have been doing all along. The same way, in fact, that we should have been extolling the greatness of White People all along.

Therefore, beginning next week and each week after look for our new Real Change Pro-Creator feature, replacing the current Real Change Agent stories on Page 3.

With all of us, including Real Change, working in solidarity with the breeding community, our great state may yet be the Mongolia of the fourth millennium!