Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why is Halloween So Damn Lame?

I humbly request the reader play the accomanying videos while they are reading the text.

A long time ago, All Hallows Eve was a scary night. It was the time of impending darkness, a time when your deepest fears were closer to reality. Children, out at night in costumes, unrecognizable could fall victim to an unknown terror. The Boogeyman. The Darkness. The doubt inside of what’s real and unreal. That was before Wal-Mart and Target. Before the bad time. Stripped of its inherent creepiness, Halloween now stands as a deranged version of Christmas. Just as saccharine and simplified to the lowest of humanoids.

In Charlie Brown terms, Halloween has gone too commercial. Horror films are being shown on the Family Channel, dammit! Cut-up, sliced and diced and robbed of their creators’ vision. It’s a product sold as good, clean, family fun. Nothing evil about that. Just a fun time to be had at your local church. People who could only be described as imbeciles are buying Beanie Baby versions of vampires, zombies and ghosts. If you think Jesus would be upset about our interpretation of Christmas, imagine what the Great Pumpkin is thinking! No wonder he never shows up. I’m going to channel my inner Linus and explain to those lame idiots who put up inflatable, cute vampires in their lawn what Halloween is all about.

Vampires are not cute. They are blood-sucking, pale, undead creatures of the night who feast on the weary and kidnap helpless virgins. Real vampires tend to be sexy, diabolical and difficult to kill. Possessing super-human strength and the curse of immortality, they have simultaneous desire to kill and love.

Zombies are not cuddly. They are rotting corpses come to life to eat the living, preferably their brains. Smarter than you think, funnier than Dane Cook. They should eat Dane Cook.

To me, Halloween has always been the darkest of nights. A time where you would visit old cemeteries with a group of friends, put an Ouija Board on a grave and try to contact the dead. Playing tricks and not just eating treats. Visiting abandoned houses in the middle of a cornfield and wonder if you hear just the wind…or something else? Samhain. The feast of the dead. The end of summer and the beginning of the wilting. A coldness inside, one you can’t shake off.

As a child, I watched “The Shining”, “Carrie” and “Halloween.” The stuff nightmares are made of. Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Stephen King, Clive Barker, David Cronenberg and Sam Raimi could find their way into your psyche. Find the fear passed through generations. Fear you had before you were born. Fear that exists when you’re still in the womb. Fear which exists because it’s always been there. Fear, like love is unexplainable. These emotions embrace much closer than that of hate. One can be full of love and possessed with fear. One can be full of hate and controlled by fear. This is in contrast to coloring books sold by Wal-Mart. Or is it…Could cute Halloween books be used to control our children?

Halloween III – The Night No-One Comes Home:

That’s what Halloween is all about, Charlie Brown.
Why So Serious?
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Defense of Old-School Journalism

A Defense of Old-School Journalism

(The Curious Case of Ashley Todd)

About a week ago, I was watching my local ten o’clock news (WCCO, KARE, KSTP, KMSP) looking for coverage of doomed congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. I was shocked to see the leading story of graffiti tagged on six prominent Minnesota politicians. This was a bi-partisan tagging which included Bachman, Republican Senator Norm Coleman, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison. There was an additional account of a Barack Obama campaign sign vandalized in Annandale, Minnesota. There was a reference to Psalm 2 on the congressional tags. The Annandale defacement featured KKK on the sign and a dead raccoon beneath it. Appalled and shocked with awe, I grabbed by wife, thrust her by the TV and recanted my outrage for about an hour. I then contacted several news organizations as I believed this garbage needed to get out. This was horrible! It needed to be a national story. CNN did give some coverage to the congressional vandalism, but none on the Obama sign from Annandale. I was initially perplexed by this decision but came to understand its logic a few days ago.

Enter Ashley Todd. Todd, a 20 year-old activist working for the McCain campaign in Pittsburgh, was arrested last Friday for faking an attack by a large, black Obama supporter. Todd had previously been involved with Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in Texas and was asked to leave after using similar sensationalist tactics. Todd’s yet undiscovered Obama hoax was the chatter of the internet and several TV stations for the short period of October 23 and 24; most prominently on Matt Drudge’s website “The Drudge Report.” Drudge has been known to break several factual stories, most notably the “Hillary in Bosnia” fiasco. The difference with the Bosnia scoop and the Todd story is obvious: One was vetted by reporters and video, the other was a complete moronic hoax.

Have we really come this far? Has the concept of an “October surprise” evolved into a kitchen-sink journalistic method? Or is this approach indicative of declining newspaper circulation in favor of the instant information obtained on the internet? This devolution cannot be attributed to just interest in the presidential election, but is a sad general trend. It is easy to attempt the “October surprise” via connecting Senator Obama to a bazillion different left-wing activists or insinuating that the U.S. Navy covered up a 45 year-old car accident involving presidential candidate John McCain. This methodology is much deeper than the simplistic term “Gotcha journalism.”

Two types seem to be evident in this sad erosion. First, the Dan Rather type. Rather put his entire journalistic career on the line delivering a report discrediting George W. Bush’s service in the National Guard. Rather, a respected journalist and CBS Evening News anchor, put faith in fake memos and questionable sources. Rather’s political leanings were exposed and he was forced to resign from CBS. However, Rather did at least possess sources as opposed to a completely unvetted claim. Rather did believe he was getting the truth out as opposed to promoting himself.

Second, the just plain-old “Gotcha” type most recently used by Matt Drudge regarding Ashley Todd but also Orlando TV anchor Barbara West. Drudge chose to run a completely false story, unvetted by any journalist in the Pittsburgh area or nationally. Drudge did this solely to combat his online war with Arianna Huffington’s “The Huffington Post”, which had surpassed his website in viewership. This was the first leading header on Drudge’s site that was completely false. Accustomed to looking at Drudge for breaking news, several news stations piggybacked on this falsehood. It took less than one newsday for the story to be discredited and Todd labeled a basket case. News stations quickly backed off while Drudge posted the lame line “She Made It Up!” which is much different than the bold “SHOCK” he used to break the story. Facing condemnation from his right-wing contacts, Drudge’s site appears complacent – even chastened. His credibility makes the National Enquirer look like the Economist.

Barbara West, the Orlando anchor who questioned Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden on Barack Obama’s supposed Marxism, is a more simplistic version of the “gotcha.” By trapping an interviewee into answering questions that are completely absurd, West hoped to make a name for herself (which she has) but also become the “October surprise” herself. If she conned Biden into one of his famous gaffes, West would have made history (albeit in a Katherine Harris sort of way). Had she achieved her goal, West undoubtedly would have been able to push herself into a national station or at least a GOP advocate. This isn’t the type of “gotcha journalism” that serves the public’s interest. It’s not Gotcha – you. It’s gotcha-you for me.

These trends in journalism should not be surprising. Print newspaper revenue is declining rapidly. Classified ads have been eradicated by free websites such as “Craig’s List.” Over the same period, websites like “Drudge Report” and “Huffington Post” have generated massive followings, accompanied by the advertising dollars that come with it. There is an increasing impetus to make a name for yourself – sources be damned. If you land the right number on the slander roulette wheel, you’ve got it made. However, if your bets are wrong, those 15 minutes of fame will take about 2 seconds to forget.

In the case of the vandalisms in Minnesota, I understand the abstention of national coverage about the Obama sign. It was an isolated incident with no solid leads of perpetrator or motive. Reputable sources are needed to run a headline and there’s no point in pushing a story that invites more questions than answers. Sure the defacement makes me mad. But who are the perpetrators? Racists making a statement? Lefties stirring up controversy? Aliens? Without valid information, a story needs to be shelved. The congressional tagging story has also been quieted. A news organization’s priority should be to fairness; pushing this story the wrong direction could lead to a distortion by either affected party even though both were targeted. Sometimes it’s better to let the police do their job than channel your inner Nancy Grace. However, my inside source, the Great Gazoo, has told me one of three organizations are responsible: Anarchists (the ones that organize but still believe in anarchy), the People’s Front of Judea, or the Judean People’s Front. Either way, I’m positive John Cleese is involved.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Will the Real Driver of the Straight Talk Express Please Stand Up?

Will The Real Driver of the Straight Talk Bus Please Stand Up?

With little more than a week to go in the 2008 Presidential election and a little less than a week until the 2012 Presidential campaign begins (an electoral circle of hell); numerous reports of infighting within the McCain camp have begun. The website Politico not only describes a campaign whose “cake is baked”, but of senior staffers sending their resumes to top Republicans in the private sector. I wonder if they’re going to include their last employer? Further, there is mounting evidence that VP candidate Sarah Palin has “gone rogue” and has started to ignore the Gestapo-esque aides McCain assigned to handle her. The question on everyone’s mind must surely be “Who’s in charge of this mess? Who the hell is driving the Straight Talk Bus?”

While no expert on bus driving itself, I do know a few good bus drivers, any of whom would be an improvement on the current person behind the wheel. I will submit three notable candidates; briefly describe their qualifications and how they would improve the environment infecting the Straight Talk Express.

Ralph Kramden. A volatile, hot-tempered, blustery public transit driver with a heart of gold, Kramden continually aspired to become more than he was. He often devised half-baked schemes to get rich quick only to have the aspirations usurped by his own hubris. Kramden seemed to have a new scheme every week, something Senator McCain should be able to identify with. Although politically incorrect, Kramden threatened his long-suffering wife, Alice: “One of these days, one of these days... POW! RIGHT IN THE KISSER!” This technique should never be practiced but would have been useful in reigning in surrogates Carly Fiorina and Nancy Pfotenhauer long before they managed to do it to themselves. It should be noted Kramden never did punch his wife; he loved her dearly. Kramden’s humanity, an attribute the McCain campaign abundantly lacks, was his saving grace. He put it best with the following: “I'm a dope. Not a run-of-the-mill dope, the world's champ. For years I've been taking for granted the most wonderful thing that's ever happened to me - you. I've never shown you the appreciation you deserve, Alice. You could walk outta that door right now and I wouldn't blame you. You deserve something better than me. There are a million guys who'd give you anything if they could have a girl like you.” Kramden would have provided balance to McCain’s continual agitation. Coincidentally, his best friend, Ed Norton, is a sewer worker; a real-life “Ed the Plumber.”

Otto Mann. A school bus driver from Springfield, Otto is a stoned-out, heavy metal-loving dude who wishes he was still in the 1980’s. His desire to go back to the past would be especially appealing to disciples of the Reagan Revolution. Despite having only four fingers on each hand, Otto would have provided a much steadier path for the “Straight Talk Express” than its current pilot. Taking a page from the Bill Clinton handbook, Otto would handle the day to day stress of campaigning by packing a bong and passing it along. “Just calm down dudes! John-dude, you’re giving off some bad vibes. Chill out! Tucker-dude, Rick-dude, take a break and start inhalin’ with Palin.” Otto would give the McCain camp much needed calm and introspection, not to mention a better selection of rally music.

Freddy Krueger. A sociopath who drives school bus part-time, Krueger is unbalanced and possesses more scars than Senator McCain. Krueger could make millions of people terrified, which would have been effective in McCain’s attacks on Senator Barack Obama. Krueger would also keep passengers of the “Straight Talk Express” in line. He is, after all, a quite intimidating fellow. Despite his methods, he undeniably knew what he was doing. Wayward surrogates and discontents would sit tight on Freddy’s bus. He would also be a spectacular influence on operatives participating in voter intimidation. Most notably, Krueger would be able to seal the deal on the “3AM question.” There is no doubt the next president would be ready if the phone rang. They’ll know what to do. For if you fall asleep, Freddy’s coming for you.

The current driver of the “Straight Talk Express”, Senator John McCain, has not only driven off the road but also managed to lose most of its passengers along the way. By losing his map and refusing to ask for directions, McCain has succeeded only in providing oodles of materials for future books written by Bob Woodward and other pundits. His vision is so crossed that to look through it must resemble gazing into a kaleidoscope after a long night with Otto. He is in danger of seriously damaging the Republican Party and the reputation of true conservatives. His own staff looks at each other with mistrust. To quote the Firesign Theatre, “I think we’re all bozos on this bus.”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Old McCain's Animal Farm

Old McCain’s “Animal Farm”

Welcome to John’s Animal Farm!
Come on in, it won’t take long.
Let’s ride a bus across the plains,
A porous infection inside the brain.
Through a great invention called e-mail,
Take a second and read my tale.

Old Major was a great, cool cat,
Admired, popular, possessed with great tact.
Deceased for some time,
The animals had a choice:
Face the future or channel the past
Voices echoing of ideologies whacked.

Napoleon, an ambitious cuss,
Hopped aboard his straight talk bus.
A hero, a soldier liked by all,
Victory in fall should be easy,
Especially if he acts just a little bit sleazy.

The target set for the fourth of November,
Napoleon had an opponent to dismember.
Snowball was a popular figure.
Animals believed in him – he’ll deliver
Change that’s needed – an end to the rigor
Of partisan grumbling, fat cat money-grubbing.

Napoleon knew this faith must be expelled.
“Yes, we can!” must go away.
Snowball’s not like us, an other, a lout.
Drive him out, he’s dangerous,
Untested, even vile.
Hope must descend into forced exile.

I can’t do this myself, Napoleon thought to himself.
Other pigs must speak for me
So I can smile, shake hands, pretend to be clean.
My surrogates will lie, become the queen of mean.
I’ll look into their eyes like a kindly old mother,
Make’em believe some animals are not equal to others.

Snowball won’t see it coming,
He’s too busy smiling.
When he’s running to the hills,
I’ll be wining and dining
The CEO swine paying my bills.

I’ll get another one to support me
A Squealer – a mainstream appealer
She’ll wink, dance, maybe do a jig,
I think I’ll put lipstick on that pig.
Nobody will realize she’s a dope,
If I put her in a pimpin’ wardrobe.
She’ll spew venom to the folks,
Terrorist jokes and turn on the fathers
Even though her brain is just fodder.

If the animals don’t believe in me yet,
I’ll use them against themselves.
I am – but don’t fret.
I don’t know what I’m doing
But I’ll win – just see.
They’ll become so angry, feel so afraid
They’ll scream in unison:

Animals will sing my fake song of hope:
With a little lie here, a little lie there.
Here a hate, there a lie,
Everywhere hate and lies!

But something happened on the road to the palace.
Napoleon, erratic and unbalanced,
Drove his bus off the road, hands off the wheel.
He looked for a bailout, another chance, an appeal.
Trying in vain to get out of the ditch,
Waving his desperate hands,
Napoleon realized he didn’t know his own land.
Friends and enemies watched as he reached out from the drift
Napoleon, dazed and confused,
Couldn’t decide which was which.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The View Inside Michelle Bachman's District

A Defense of the Sixth Congressional District of Minnesota

(Why a crazy person got elected and gets TV time)

Honestly, there’s no defense for Congresswoman Michelle Bachman’s ill-conceived appearances on major cable networks where she irrefutably stated views that are easily seen as McCarthyist or even xenophobic. No plausible explanation could possibly be sufficient to correct her verbiage. None. Nada. As a constituent of her district, I find it necessary to defend the baseless assaults on those who live here.

I’ve lived in Waverly, MN and Howard Lake, MN, Michelle Bachman’s dictrict, for most of my life. I grew up in a farming family that welcomed Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey into their home. Humphrey lived in a home on Waverly Lake. People admired him. Several schools and monuments in these cities are dedicated in his name. Since the advent of Humphrey, this was considered “safe” territory for Democrats. Candidates didn’t think they had to campaign here because they thought the vote was a no-brainer. After all, who votes against an icon?

This complacency led, over the last two decades, to a rebellion. Not on ideology, but on individuals. In the ‘90s, it started to become obvious that Democrats expected victories with a minimal amount of effort. In 1992, the first election where I was able to vote, I chose Cal Ludemann, the Republican, over David Minge, the Democrat. My parents were royally pissed. I defended my choice by Ludemann’s desire to campaign in my town where Minge just expected victory. I did not think anyone deserved my vote without actually trying to earn it. Minge won, but the seeds had been sown.

David Minge, in his attempt for a fifth term, was defeated by Republican Mark Kennedy, in 2000. Kennedy accoplishished this victory with the simple effort of campaigning. He went door-to-door, attended all the local festivals, and was generally accessible. In short, he earned it. Kennedy epitomized a trend in Minnesota politics that disassociated itself from the past ideologies of Humphrey. Citizens wanted a connection, not just reminders of a past long gone.

Kennedy chose to abdicate his seat to pursue an ill-fated run against Democrat Amy Klobuchar. His Republican successor, Michelle Bachman, defeated Patty Wetterling in 2006. Bachman did this not just by smearing her opponent, but also by showing up. Bachmann campaigned hard in every city of her district. Her campaign realized every vote mattered. Accessibility equals victory.

Bachman championed 2nd Amendment rights and the pro-life platform. I have many friends that voted for her just for these issues. Her constituents are largely rural and religious. The Democratic candidate Wetterling never showed up; relying on the “Not Bush” demographic to persuade voters. It just doesn’t work. Not on a state level.

After her congressional win, Bachman expanded her reach to citizens. She spoke at a Memorial Day service at Waverly, stating she had spent summers there. I have no recollection of Bachman despite spending pretty much my whole life in Waverly. Guess I was at the wrong place at the wrong time in a city of 600 people. It was still better than the Democrat that never showed up. To her credit, Bachman also created a mobile office which allowed constituents to voice their concerns on a regular basis. She has attempted to make politics local, which is something more politicians should aspire to do.

Her populist pretensions aside, Bachman is obviously nuts. Her views are best suited to those who like the cover of a book but never choose to read it. Whether she is overly-patriotic or just outright hateful depends solely on your ability to understand American history. We are all American citizens, wanting nothing but the best for our country and our children. By questioning our patriotism, Bachman indicts herself. She does not speak for the people, but against them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Fox and the ACORN

The Fox and the Acorn
(or, A Corny Problem)

All respect and homages to “Rocky and Bullwinkle

The place: Frostbite Falls, Minnesota

The time: About 4:30

Boris Badenov has a new dastardly plan: to raise money for Fearless Leader by convincing people to fill out phony voter registration cards and funnel his bonus money through his conniving cohort, Natasha Fatale into a general operating fund which pays Boris Badenov.

Confused yet?

So was Bullwinkle J. Moose. On a wispy, transparent morning in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, Bullwinkle suddenly found his post office box empty. This being the second Tuesday, on the even month of an odd year, Bullwinkle expected his magazine subscription for “Poetry Corner” to arrive without fail. But on this moisty, morning day it had not. Bullwinkle was distraught, put hats on his antlers and pretended to be a coat hanger.

“Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle!” Shouted his best friend, conscience and cohort, Rocket J. Squirrell. “You’ve got to get out from under your antlers and find that magazine!”

Bullwinkle put his hats under his head and went looking for his missing magazine. He rushed with lightning speed to his local street corner, where a diminutive man in a black suit was shouting: “Magazines! Magazines! Get your subscriptions here!” Bullwinkle dropped the hats that he was still carrying and asked: “Would you, kind sir, have a copy of the latest “Poetry Corner?”

The minute merchant smiled: “But of course! We have many “Poetry Corners.” We have Poetry Corner, Corners to Poetry and even Cornering the Poetry Market and Escaping Federal Charges of Fraud.”

“Gee whiz!” shouted Bullwinkle. “I guess I gotta buy them all!”

“Ohhh. Then you need a subscriptions to buy all of these.” Boris gestured to the side of the newsstand and a tall lady emerged with a stack of paper. “Sign these, and all these magazines will be yours! In fact, sign them twice! You can get them even too many times! You can even send them to people you love.”

Bullwinkle though for just the splittest of seconds. “OK! I always need a bathroom copy and a copy for the bathroom copy I just lost. And besides, Mom just loves “Poetry Corner.”

The lanky, lavicious Natasha handed Bullwinkle the papers. “Just sign here, Dahling…over and over.”

Just as Bullwinkle was about to put a pen to too many pieces of paper, his faithful friend Rocky flew in and grabbed them. “Bullwinkle! You can’t sign these! Bullwinkle, you can’t ever write your name right!”

Intermission. So it goes. And so does ACORN. It is a non-profit with a large budget in an election year. Bereft with money, it is going to spend it. ACORN advertises for activists with interest in getting out the vote. Registering citizens to vote is a noble cause but employing part-time people at a low wage, coupled with a signing goal is not the way to do this. Utilizing volunteers is the accepted, honorable and transparent process usually used to get out the vote. Volunteers tend to be young people looking to make a difference. There is no reason to deceive anybody; there’s nothing to gain.

By employing people to perform an activist’s job, ACORN set itself up to fail. Week to week, day to day employees have no interest but their own wallets. If people sign up Mickey Mouse or Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to vote leads to another day of work, I guess that must be indicative to the relative crappiness of our economy. It’s too bad no-one focuses on this.

I’ve voted a few times, just a handful, but every polling precinct I’ve voted at has been the same. People called “election judges” sit at the ready to identify you. These judges tend to be respected, honorable residents of their community. They are the safeguards for the electoral process. Judges make a voter sign on their registry, just in case someone pretends to be you. Election judges have a tough, honorable and respected position. There is absolutely no evidence these judges would allow, attempt or even have the coincidence to deal with a fraudulent voter.

Anyone who attempts to belittle the good intentions of many and also tries to scorn them for the misdeeds of a few must have a good need for a soundbite.

Intermission: Join us next time for “A Roll in the Polls” or…McCain in Wonderland.”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Land of 1,000 Lakevilles

It was just a short time ago, eons for elections, I guess, that Minnesota was a Democratic stronghold. The party of Hubert Humphrey rarely saw a TV ad during the latest episode of Diff'rent Strokes. I kinda thought elections were boring. Reagan never came here (well, maybe once), Walter Mondale was from here. We knew he was boring before the rest of the country did. I was ten years old when Reagan ran for re-election. The impressions I had of his presidency were companies leaving the state like Tonka Toys and factory layoffs that sent my mom to the graveyard shift. I was also a little scared of getting nuked from the Soviet Union after watching The Day After.

I wondered why Reagan did not come here on a regular basis. He was my president. Why wasn't he here? What are we, chopped lutefisk? I wished Minnesota would have the attention during elections like Florida had. As I got older and lived through Dukakis and Clinton, I realized Minnesota was considered a Democratic no-brainer and there was no point for a Republican president to hang around here and wizz into the wind. Turns out, eventually I got my wish. George Bush hung out here while John Kerry considered the state "safe". Although he would eventually lose Minnesota in 2004, Bush mobilized his base here. A base that should have stayed in their mobile homes.

Like many current battleground states, Minnesota is a diverse state. Possessing five professional sports teams and a revered theater culture, it is easy to dismiss the state as an urban entity. However, the majority of citizens live in rural, agricultural communities or in the northern iron range. Many do not have time to surf the infinite modern media and still rely on local papers and am radio for information. Many are religious and have gone to church on Sunday ever since the AWA went bankrupt.

There is a very quick geological transition from suburb to small town in the metro area in Minnesota. Like ten miles or less in some parts. When John McCain chose to hold a rally in Lakeville, a city that calls itself "the southern gateway to the Twin Cities", his campaign completely ignored the location of the city, which was 23 miles from Minneapolis but real close in bullet time from the airport. Like several Minnesota suburbs, Lakeville is a city with no similar neighbors. A town whose size has grown due to its close location to a major freeway enabling people with a quick commute to Minneapolis. Every town next to Lakeville is agricultural and small. All small towns (including my own) have a smattering of crazy people. They are people you live next to, go to church with and sit next to at high school football games. Good people, but their political views are a little screwy. People who think Barack Obama is "an Arab", a socialist or worse. People that should have been screened out of a town hall meeting.

The debacle from the Lakeville McCain town hall is an embarrassment not only for the city of Lakeville and the state of Minnesota, but for the McCain campaign and our entire country. By tapping into and promoting a "fear of the other", McCain not only highlighted the disparity of media communications but also the transparity of George Bush's "base". It's easy to rile people in defense of their country after the tragedy of 9/11 but it is despicable to convince these same people that a man who is running for the presidency is somehow in league with terrorists. To convince people that they should be called to arms against a decent American citizen, deliberately misinforming them to a point where they are comfortable shouting this garbage in a public setting being recorded my every major media outlet in the whole damn country.

The United States of America provides its citizens with the freedom to speak what they think and be protected by our constitution. However, there will always be disagreements. Arguments over the Cubs winning the pennant (not happening), fast cars (Granddad’s Buick) and who makes the best pumpkin pie (partial to Mom). However, there is absolutely no place in this country to abuse the freedom of speech to spout hatred. During the Lakeville rally, McCain reminded us that this part of our country will always exist. It is our right, but it is also our shame. The Lakeview rally should serve as a mirror to us all. We live in the greatest country in the world, but we should act like it. Not with hatred, but love. Not with anger, but hope. Never with fear, always with faith.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

John Cleese on Sean Hannity

Ode to Sean Hannity by John Cleese:

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Fundamentals Of Our Country's Ideology Will Change

At this point in the election, probably the most shape-shifting since Hoover/FDR, there is obviously a significant difference in the American public’s perception of where are country is presently, and where it should be going. On the big issues, both Senators Obama and McCain agree on the main issue: We need change and we need it fast.

The hit new reality show “Politics 101” is playing in every bedroom to high ratings. Apparently information not only sells, but it’s something the public really wants to buy. Whoever is elected, they’ll be subject to intense, continual scrutiny. It’s highly unlikely we’ll go back to OJ’s trial tribulations after this election is over. This change will be permanent, whether Flavor Flav likes it or not. Honestly, I bet he doesn’t care. Or maybe he just doesn’t know.

It as an almost assured guarantee America will stop importing oil from the middle east and develop energy alternatives produced in our own country. I don’t see anyone spewing rhetoric of “our friends in Saudi Arabia” or any lobbysist-centered garbage from the presidential ticket all the way down to residential. Outcome: something’s going to happen. Not because politicians proposed it, but because the American people willed it.

Laissez faire economics will end. Permanently. I know this is a high school test question but the fundamental failures of its concept remain strong. Throughout the history of the world, the continual result has always been short term prosperity followed by long term consequences. In other words: 2+2 =4, but 4 – 6 = -2. If you don’t understand this, please return to 7th grade; do not pass GO and you definitely don’t collect $200 dollars.

America’s expectations of our politicians is permanently raised. No longer will there be uncharismatic stick figures such as John Kerry, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis and George H.W. Bush. The American (if not the world) audience demands that our leaders be stars! Politicians will expected to be accessible, quotable and even entertaining. This shift will eventually “trickle-down” to the state and local levels, forcing those who bought elections with signs and ads in the local papers to face off against people posting daily positions on their website or Youtube. To quote Rob Van Dam, they have to be “the whole F’n show”.

We are also witnessing a permanent downgrading of previous “game-changing” issues like gun control, Roe v. Wade and the war on drugs. Evidently, the sole aspect of laissez faire that works is the social application. If economics are not a prevailing influence, (i.e. “what’s in it for me?!”), our society tends to regulate its own great self. These issues were never wars, but about personal decisions. The modern world has enabled us to understand and sympathize with one another in ways which could never be thought of 10 tears ago.

Bob Dylan stated it perfectly 40 or so years ago, as he saw a world evolving quicker than people perceived it. It is this quote I end with: not a statement, but a call to arms for citizenship:

If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Peace out!


My Take on the Bailout

Adam Koeppe's Fantasy Business World:

I like comic books. No...I love comics! From the old EC "Tales From the Crypt" and "Mad Magazine" to Spiderman, Batman and Joss Whedon's sensational run on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

In the world of Imaginationland, I open up my business. I sell comics, posters and remains of cremated Anakin Skywalker. I stage events bringing authors like Alan Moore, Frank Miller and Bruce Campbell to my store. I pay for their transportation, for their hotels. I buy them food. I kiss their butt in usual fanboy fashion.

10 people show up. Oops. Guess that sucks. Didn't realize people wouldn't turn out in a town of 2000 people, 50 miles from Minneapolis, to see these authors. I can't pay these guys except buy getting a loan and putting my shop as collateral.

Bear in mind I also have $200 statues of the Submariner, the Six Million Dollar Man, and Howard the Duck for sale and I can't figure out why I can't move them.I also have to pay the anti-social, potentially drug-addled employees just so they can afford comic books. I also take home comics I want to read and don't pay for them. I'm the owner, dammit! I should get to read the 10 comics Wolverine is in!

My sales stink. Bought too many Archie Comics. Overestimated the "Archie demographic".

I guess I need a bailout. A "rescue plan", if you will.

Help me Henry Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!

McCain did not do enough

He needed to hit it out...didn't. He did not blow his top, like I predicted, but he needed to do better. He did not take off the gloves...much. Unfortunately it is very diifficult for John and Sarah "Whatevah" to hang out in 7 states that they need to win All of them at once. At the same time.

For 4 weeks.

Live on fox - Frank Luntz has his poll peeps all in favor of Obama.

Obama acted presidential, in a time where we really need a fucking real president.

Or at least the best we can get.

And sometimes, we have to hope that is enough.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

McCain will pull out of Minnesota this week!

McCain will pull out of Minnesota this week!!

A new Minneapolis Star Tribune poll has Obama up by about 17 points compared with a virtual tie a month ago. McCain has poured almost a million dollars of advertising into the state, most of which were negative ads. The ads, coupled with his weebly wobbly views on the economy have caused this drastic shift. I have had my TV on all day and have yet to see a single McCain ad. If internal polling bears similar results to the Strib numbers, McCain will be 2 for 2 in giving up; the best political number he has ever seen.

This is not the age of Willie Horton nor land of the Swift Boat Waters. Negative ads/charges are fact-checked and responded to instantly, not in 2 days or 2 weeks. Sarah Palin, are you reading this? Sarah, are you reading anything at all? Really?