Well, I've been hearing a lot about how certain people are "screwing up America", and of course the lists are full of Democrats, because apparently John McCain is the only Republican capable of doing wrong. I, of course, was not invited to offer my opinion, but through the miracle of MonkeyPower, I will share it anyway. In no particular order, a sampling of groups who are screwing up America:
1. The two major parties. To quote an article in the most recent issue of The Atlantic, "the Democrats can't win, and the Republicans can't govern." There has not been a year in my lifetime that the Republicans have shown themselves to be the party of smaller government by their actions. And for the last 6 years, they've been consistently trying to "out-Socialist" the Democrats, which has succeeded in driving the Dems into irrelevance, but not in re-establishing Constitutional government. (Okay, the quote was a non sequitur. But I'm leaving it in because I like it, and because the article is great.)
2. The minor parties. Hey, I love a good spoiler as much as the next guy, but unless and until one of the majors actually self-destructs, the minor parties only make themselves look like fringe wackos. Take a cue from Ron Paul, and combine principled candidacy with actually winning elections.
3. Americans. We've all figured out how to "vote ourselves largesse from the public treasury." And we do it exceptionally well. I've quoted P. J. O'Rourke here before, "Every government is a parliament of whores. The only trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us." So we keep electing people who promise to make us "safe" and "secure" but who in fact just take away more and more of our rights, along with our money.
4. Public schools. Government does not and cannot produce a well-informed, reasonable, and dynamic electorate. They produce minions. Whatever else you do in life, if you have children, DO NOT LET THE GOVERNMENT HAVE THEIR MINDS! Take them out of the government schools, and make whatever sacrifice you have to make to keep them out.
5. Wolves in sheep's clothing. Whether it's celebrities like Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, "religious leaders" like James Dobson and Pat Robertson, or race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, political wolves manipulate the public and the government by using their high profiles to give themselves artificial authority. As a Christian, I'm particularly incensed by the way many popular evangelicals beg their congregations/listeners/etc. for money that could be spent on missions, church-building, or mercy ministries, and instead use it to work the political machines.
Part Two, which given my track record I may never actually write, will contain some individuals I'd like to single out for abuse.
Mitch discovers the New Diet Coke. Welcome aboard, Mitch.
In other Splenda news, we made Kool-Aid using the boxed Splenda instead of sugar this weekend, and it worked perfectly. The little Monkeys didn't even notice, and I quite enjoyed it myself. I've gone about a month since having ANY NutraSweet-flavored products, and it's been great.
At press time: Mrs. Monkey just brought home a bottle of the new 7-Up, sweetened with you-know-what. Monkey Brad had just got through telling me that it was coming out, and she ran across it at the store today. Delicious. The Missus is excited because this probably means Dr. Pepper with Splenda is just around the corner.
Here's a frightening claim that's sure to hit all of the MSM outlets very soon. I have no idea if it's true.
Three safe bets:
Bonus prediction: Once again, Michael Medved will be the most annoying of the bunch, because you KNOW he's smart enough to do better but he'll take the cheap shots anyway.
At press time: Little Green Footballs has already proven me right. Not only does he refer to Reynolds as a "Moonbat" [ding ding ding!] and a "full-time member of the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade," but he applies these labels SOLELY because Reynolds makes the claim, not because his argument lacks merit or because he has a history of saying crazy shit.
Reason has one.
I'm sure that I am not the first person to mention this, but I think it's time for more talk radio folks to see the writing on the wall, and embrace the change that is Podcasting. In particular, those hosts who have been praising weblogs as "new media" and criticizing "old media" outlets such as newspapers should put their money where their mouth is.
Of course, my primary motive for this post is selfish: It is very difficult for me to listen to, for example, the Hugh Hewitt show in its entirety because I have a job that is not conducive to listening at the time the show airs. So far, all of his streaming Internet feeds are live-only (no archives last time I checked), so I get, at best, a couple of hours per week of listening time.
Ditto the Northern Alliance Radio Network. Living in Arizona, my only access to the show is via the Internet feed. However, the last time I attempted to listen to the show, they had switched to a streaming provider that didn't support streaming to a Mac. Boo, streaming provider. Boo.
If I had access to podcasts by these folks, I could listen to them at my convenience. On an airplane, for example. I have two iPods, and I'm almost never without one of them. If the goal is to increase the number of listener-hours consumed in a single week, I can't imagine how podcasting could reduce that number.
Now, you might suggest that I buy a RadioShark and/or a copy of Audio Hijack. Done and done. But it's still enough of a hassle that it's not worth my time unless I KNOW there's an episode that I want to listen to. And did I mention that the NARN feed doesn't support Mac? The RSS component of Podcasts enables me to "subscribe" to the show (just like TiVo!) and download it at the speed of my Internet connection.
The next version of iTunes is going to include built-in Podcast subscription and synchronization. This means that the "average user" of an iPod can easily subscribe to Podcasts and listen at their leisure.
Additional hint: Podcasting your show means more listener-hours. But not if you charge $50 a year like Rush and Laura. Boo, Rush. Boo, Laura. Podcasts want to be free! [tongue in cheek on that last line]
After reading this, I STILL don't know what that dumb song is about. But I'm definitely amused.
A little weekend fun:
Monsters are fun, but Monkeys are better:
Ah, what the heck. Robots!
Via Reason's Hit and Run blog:
People for the American Way have compiled a list of JRB quotes that are supposed to show how awful and extreme and nuts she is. They tend to make me think she sorta kicks ass.
Hal Lindsey is an idiot. He's the Paul Ehrlich of Dispensational Evangelicalism.
In his WorldNetDaily column today, he goes on and on about how President Bush's statements after his meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, "totally scuttled all the hard-fought, blood-bought gains Israel has made in the three wars forced upon her."
But never mind the ridiculous exaggeration and mischaracterization that fill the article. Skip down to the last paragraph, and see what lurks under the tinfoil hat:
But there is an even graver consequence for the USA. I have believed for decades that God has protected America despite our growing sin. He has done so because the USA has been a base for world evangelism and we have supported Israel's right to exist in the land God promised them. This betrayal, if followed through, will effectively remove God's protective shield. May God help us.
Read that again, and let it soak in, because this is one reason so many Evangelicals think it is CRITICAL that we continue to support Israel come hell or high water. All those folks lapping up the "Left Behind" books? Same ones that bought a gazillion copies of LIndsey's clueless piece of false prophecy "The Late, Great Planet Earth" back in the seventies. One more time, with some focus:
"He has [protected America] because the USA has...supported Israel's right to exist in the land God promised them."
May God help us, indeed. May he help us not to twist his words so perversely as Hal Lindsey.
Kerry smirked at Oliphant. Oliphant smirked back. Kerry went on: "A lot of the mainstream media were very responsible during the campaign. They tried to put out a balanced view, and they did show what they thought to be the truth in certain situations of attack. . . . But it never penetrated. And when you look at the statistics and understand that about 80 percent of America gets 100 percent of its news from television, and a great deal of that news comes from either MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, David Letterman, you begin to see the size of the challenge." (Those were all Kerry supporters or, at any rate, Bush opponents, but this thought--if any thinking occurred--didn't slow Kerry.) "And so I don't have the total answer. I just know it's something that we've really got to grapple with."
So, the "problem" is too many people get their news from television personalities that constantly criticize President Bush? THAT is why Kerry didn't get elected?
I don't know why I found this to be so funny. But I did. Does that make me a bad person?
Yeah, I thought so.
Big news from capitol hill: The Republicans are spineless.
I have two words for those who are surprised at the Republicans' ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory: Well, duh.
(apologies to James Taranto for the post title)
Hey, don't blame me. I voted for Cthulhu.
Update 2: Here's a really nice round-up of blogger reaction from Myopic Zeal. I know it's excellent because it includes us. ;-)
You know what? I didn't like Pepsi anyway. Coke all the way. If I'm at a restaurant that serves Pepsi products, I order iced tea.
Speaking of which, the Splenda-sweetened Diet Coke is now available in 2-Litre bottles at grocery stores all over Phoenix (at least). AND, Coke is now promoting the product on the Diet Coke website. Yeeeeehaw!
| You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.|
Yeah, I don't know about this one. If nothing else, I would have expected a lower score for "Modernist" and at least slightly higher for "Existentialist" - but I don't know about this "Culture Creative" title. Anybody heard that one before?
Okay, a little analysis:
>You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably
>the newest group to enter this realm.
Say what now?
>You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized
>religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves.
Bzzzzt. I'm a Presbyterian (PCA). Go to church pretty much every week, and I have all my life. I expect organized religion to be flawed and corrupt because it's run by sinners like me, but I still believe the Church is an institution established by the One True God.
>You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious.
Actually, more the opposite. I think contemporary warm-and-fuzzy "spirituality" is a blanket people wear to try to keep from feeling the deep-down cold in the center of their being. Yes, I put the blanket on sometimes, too. But it doesn't keep me warm.
>Life has a meaning outside of the rational.
Eh. I sure wouldn't put it that way. I'd rather quote old Bill, "There is more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy."
Huzzah! The Supreme Court has recognized our Constitutional right to drink quality wine in Arizona (and any other state) without having to sneak it across the border. A toast to the Supreme Court!!!
(Hat tip: Hit and Run. Visit there for links to the complete ruling.
Yee-haw! The mailman brought me a care package from Amazon that included this delightful DVD.
Normally, Monkey Brad would be responsible for all Splenda-related Monkey Business. However, as Brad has taken up a Forrest Gump-esque quest on his bicycle, it is my duty to inform the blogosphere of a major event in the life of Splenda:
The Coca-Cola Company is currently testing a new Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda in the Phoenix market. A friend of mine tipped me off. Right now, you can get them in the small refrigerators next to the check out lines at Fry's grocery stores. I haven't checked any other grocers out. Also, the 20 oz. plastic bottles are only $0.50 with your Fry's card, so definitely bring that one along.
I'm drinking my first bottle right now. While it doesn't taste like I'm used to Diet Coke tasting, it does taste good. I'm guessing that people who are used to "regular" Coke will find the taste a bit more familiar.
If you see a bottle in your grocery or convenience store, add a comment reporting the location and any other relevant information. Also, please post your feedback on the taste.
Okay, so I'm not going to let this one go. I picked up the "Remix Tools" Jam Pack for Garage Band and found some great drum loops that sounded like old New Order. So I re-mixed my original "Feces and Fecundity (First Impression)" with the new loops, added a bunch of samples from 24 Hour Party People, and the result is right here.
(warning - not "work- or family-friendly")
My girls have some TV show going in the other room, and the people on the show are singing a song with cutesy lyrics, but an unmistakable melody:
[Garret Morris singing]:
"I'm gonna get me a shotgun and shoot all the whiteys I see..."
Boy, did Sandy Berger learn from the best, or what? Only Bill Clinton would time an admission of guilt so deftly: on a Friday, sandwiched between the deaths of Terry Schiavo and the Pope.
Yes, I'm a cynical bastard. But you know I'm right.
Eek: Papa, do you know what I like best about Pete's Fish and Chips?
RobbL: What's that, sweetie?
Eek: That it's always you that takes me here.
This one amused me for some reason:
| You scored as Christianity. Your views are most similar to those of Christianity. Do more research on Christianity and possibly consider being baptized and accepting Jesus, if you aren't already Christian.
Christianity is the second of the Abrahamic faiths; it follows Judaism and is followed by Islam. It differs in its belief of Jesus, as not a prophet nor historical figure, but as God in human form. The Holy Trinity is the concept that God takes three forms: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Ghost (sometimes called Holy Spirit). Jesus taught the idea of instead of seeking revenge, one should love his or her neighbors and enemies. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross to save humankind and forgive people's sins.
One of the things I found amusing was the affirmative assertion that Jesus, being God, was NOT a prophet nor a historical figure. This completely misrepresents Christianity, of course. Jesus Christ, in orthodox (little "o") Christian doctrine is all three - God in human form, a prophet, and a historical figure.
Happy Easter, everyone.
My heart goes out to Terry Schiavo and her family. What is happening in Florida is horrible. Despicable.
Because of this, I hesitated to write this post, because it's not about right and wrong, it's about politics. What the "judges" in Florida have done is wrong (both morally and legally), but what the federal politicians have done is plain stupid.
Congress and the President both have options at their disposal to intervene in this case, if they actually had the will to do so. Some may say it's none of the Federal government's business. I might actually agree with those people. But if you're going to get involved, then for Pete's sake be prepared to actually accomplish something. Instead, the (primarily Conservative/Republican) folks who are "in charge" simply engage in symbolic gestures and hand-wringing, pretending to "try" to stop the killing, but stopping short of actually saving this woman.
Why is that stupid? Because the collective histrionics of the right, coupled with ineffective intervention, cause this issue to become more than a legal "hole" that Terry has unfortunately and tragically fallen through. It becomes, instead, a massive symbolic loss for the pro-life movement. So we get the worst of both worlds: Terry Schiavo dies horribly, and the political failure sets a precedent which will allow others to be killed elsewhere with less resistance.
Seriously, one of my co-workers is (believe it or not) in Kyrgyzstan right now. Hopefully, this will be a vacation he will remember for many years to come.
Get home safe, Mike!
PepsiCo, whose 36-pack of Mountain Dew claims, "36 Pack! 50% more than 24 Pack!"
I haven't watched a single episode of the ESPN series Tilt, but Phil over at TeeVee reminded me of something that occurred to me when I happened to see the previews for it:
Michael Madsen is the poor man's Mickey Rourke.
Yes, just as Mark Harmon was the poor man's Kevin Costner, and Don Johnson was the even poorer man's Mark Harmon, Michael is the low-rent Mickey. If you need someone to play a filthy drug-addled scumbag for your movie, and Rourke can't make the gig because, well, he IS a filthy drug-addled scumbag, then Madsen's your guy.
Over and out.