Tuesday, December 27, 2005

BEST OF 2005

Before we get to that moment of the year that you have all been waiting for, Mark's picks for the Best of 2005, I wanted to wrap up a few previous threads.

You may have noticed that Picture #4 won the Mark facial hair contest. This will be "columnist" picture from now on. Thanks for all your votes!

Many of my conservative friends have stated repeatedly on the posts and in conversations with me that I "hate" George Bush. It may sound like that and I will be the first to admit that I get carried away from time to time but I don't hate him. I hate his actions or inactions of the last five years.

If President Bush had not lost a spy plane over China, all of our allies, our budget surplus, ignored warning after warning (just as Clinton did) about Al Qaeda, continued to ignore warning after warning about Al Qaeda, ignored Iran, completely ignored the 9/11 commission's most important recommendations, and failed miserably in assisting the City of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina then I would have to admit that he was a damn fine president.

I find that my anger is directed more towards the conservatives these days that defend President Bush much in the same way that liberals defend rapists and murderers. The same old tired line about it not being his fault, someone else made him do it all sounds the same to me. In looking ahead to 2006, I promise you that I will be taking these fuckers to the mat a lot more than our president.

And now on to the awards!

This year in television has never been better. Loads of creepy new shows like Surface and Invasion and a re-vamped Battlestar Galactica with chicks so hot that I have actually been aroused to the point of erection on more than once occasion. Who would have thought that I would ever want to fuck Starbuck? And the blond Cylon chick when she was bent over the table in the lab? Daddy's home......

It isn't all about sex, though. It's about humor and that's why the best show on TV is Arrested Development. Hands down. Oh my god this show is absolutely the funniest fucking thing I have seen in long time. The Bluths are the most dysfunctional family in the history of families. Love them!! The show pushes the limits of "appropiate" primetime viewing. They are currently in Season 3. Season 1 and 2 are available as DVD boxsets. I highly recommend this show.

Perhaps more great than the year in television was the year in music. I could list dozens of bands that just kicked ass up and down the calendar with great music but for now I am going to focus on two. The best song of 2005 is "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" by The Arctic Monkeys. These young lads from Sheffield have taken the UK by storm with this single. They play pounding mega Brit Pop that will blow you away. Full length is due in out in the UK on Jan 30, 2006. You can get it through Amazon UK.

But the year 2005 belonged to the biggest band in the world. Coldplay's new album, "X and Y" is absolutely the most wonderful thing I have heard in years. Every track is gorgeous but the one that really stands out is "Fix You" which will go down in history as one of the greatest pop songs of all time. The first time I heard it I quite literally welled up. These guys continue to amaze me and I hope they do for years to come.

This was a tough call for me this year. There were some really bad films and big disappointments this year. Star Wars III sucked, FF was horrible, and who really gives a shit about King Kong? I have seen this movie made over and over again. I know it is Peter Jackson (The Hobbitt now, please!) but if I want cool special effects, I'll just play the video game. Oh, wait. That's right. I am over the age of 12 and video games are FUCKING LAME!!!

So this year I decided that I would give my Best Film award to a person rather than a film because both of his 2005 offerings have been stellar. George Clooney has used his "hunkability" to bankroll intelligent, thought provoking films that would otherwise be unmade. He wrote and directed "Good Night and Good Luck," a film about the McCarthy era which has hauntingly parallel themes to the current political climate. And he stars in "Syriana," a film about oil and politics directed by Stephen Gaghan (Traffic). Gosh, I wonder where they got the idea to make this film? Some conservatives ignorantly dismiss it as liberal propaganda, but I thought it was more about how corporations control everything and politicians really don't control anything. I highly recommend both of these films.

What are your picks for 2005?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yet Another War

It is that time of year again. Hearts are filled with the warmth of the holidays and people around the world are sharing love and peace......

Except my pals on the right. Again.

They always have to be bunged up about something and this year, it's Christmas. Apparently, Mike Gallagher, Laura Ingraham and many members of the religious right feel that the evil kook liberals and their pals in the ACLU (Asshole Commies Leftly United) are HIJACKING THE HOLIDAYS. And, by gum, they want to put the Christ back in Christmas.

John Gibson, talk show host on Fox News, has even written a book about it entitled, "The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday is Worse than You Thought."

John, Laura, Mike and company want to make sure that, this holiday season, the only celebrating to be done is by Christians. After all, who are more important than Christians? They are the only ones going to heaven, y'know.

How dare the companies and retail operations in these blessed United States meekly wish people a Happy Holidays when they should just come out say Merry Christmas! Thinking of actually acknowledging another person's cultural beliefs is outrageous, egregious and downright un-American.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., wants the "Capitol Holiday Tree" in Washington renamed the "Capitol Christmas Tree." Bishop Phillip Davis is urging his congregation at Nations Ford Community Church in Carolina to boycott stores that leave Christmas out of employee greetings, ads and holiday displays -- or ban Salvation Army bell-ringers. People like these and others have warned us of the coming onslaught of leftist commies that will destroy us all in the end.

They have even gotten to Wal Mart. Wal Mart! The great bastion of conservatism. To our left we see a warrior of Christ trying to defend himself in the face of the Luciferian onslaught.
"'Happy Holidays' and 'Season's Greetings' are not a substitute for 'Merry Christmas,"' said Manuel Zamorano, head of the Sacramento, California-based Committee to Save Merry Christmas, which organizes store boycotts over holiday advertising."Christmas is the holiday and 'Merry Christmas' is what we want to hear," he said. "It's political correctness gone amok."

That's right, Manuel. And it's all the ACLU's fault. They have gone crazy with that trying to protect all that Bill of Rights baloney. I am shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED that they even exist. All this talk of equality is making me sick. What happened to the good old days of making fun of the Jewish kid because he didn't believe in Santa?

"Every time you say 'Happy Holidays,' an angel gets AIDS," warned Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show. And it's true. God is angry with all of us for not believing in him anymore. We have even done the unthinkable: held Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and others currently under indictment accountable to the law. How dare us!

So, this year, as you settle in to your favorite chair wearing you red sweater and drinking egg nog, remember that your pals on the right will be there to shove their version of the holidays down your throat and make you believe in Christmas the way Jesus did: spending large quantities of money on material things

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Well well well. I guess someone else thinks the way I do. Actually, 5 Republican and 5 Democrat someone elses.

For months I have been writing and yelling about how inept the Bush Administration has been at fighting the War On Terror. I have stated repeatedly that there are other problems in the world that need our attention, not Iraq, and that he has made a mockery of our nation's defenses. I have pulled out what little hairs I have left on the top of my head when people who support Bush say that our country is safer because of him.

So, you think we are safer, huh? You think everything is just dandy that we have a "MAN" in the White House and not weenie liberal like Gore or Kerry? Bush is tough as nails and taking the fight to them, right?

(Loud buzzer sound) WRONG! Would you like to try your hand at Double Jepoardy where the stakes are really high?

The 9/11 commission released their report card last week and the grades were so bad that if the White House and the Republican controlled Congress were sons bringing home these notes they'd be on their way out to the fucking shed to get whupped. I can't begin to express to you the outrage I felt when the government received on "F" in the following categories:

Improve airline passenger pre-screening
Provide adequate radio spectrum for first repsonders
Allocate Home Security Funds based on risk
Declassify overall intelligence budget
Coalition standards for terrorist detention

Are you fucking kidding me? 4 years have gone by and we still haven't improved our airline screening? Great. Just great. And the first repsonders thing? Well, after New Orleans, I guess we all know how well federal first responders communicated.

And all this talk about how we have to beat the shit out of terrorists to save lives? Well, this commission said that that tactic has done more harm than good. It has actually given pause to countries that would've shared important intelligence with us. Super! Way to go, Don!

Hey, you think they F's are bad? How about the D's?

Maximum Effort by US to secure WMD
Support Reform in Saudi Arabia
Critical infastructure risks and vulnerabilities assessment
Checked Bag and Cargo screening
International collaboration on borders and document security
Incentives for Information sharing
Government wide information sharing
Privacy and Civil Liberties oversight
Guidelines for sharing personal information
Scholarship Exchange and library programs
Support secular education in Muslim countries
Intelligence oversight reform

You know what? Let's forget about everything but the first two. There are so many fuck-ups here that we should probably just focus on two of them.

The effort by the United States to secure WMDs has been a "D" level effort. Read that last sentence again, please, because I think you need to fully understand it. OK? According to the 9/11 commission, countering the greatest threat to America's national security is still not the top security priority of the President and Congress.

Help me out, conservatives. This is a bi-partisan group and they are saying that our leadership is not focusing on the most dangerous threat to us in our nation's history. Something is seriously not right here folks. Thomas Kean, the REPUBLICAN chair of the commission said that he is "frustrated by the lack of a sense of urgency in addressing these concerns."

He goes on to say, "While the terrorists are learning and adopting, our government is still moving at a crawl. Many obvious steps that the American people assume have been completed have not been. Our leadership is distracted."

In fact, some of the harshest critics are Republicans. James R. Thompson, former Illinois governor, said, "The American people ought to demand answers. Why aren't our tax dollars being spent to protect our lives? What's the rationale? What's the excuse? There is no excuse."

And what about reform in Saudi Arabia? Nah. Can't be that we are dropping the ball there. We all know what buddies we are with the Saudis. Just like at our beloved president holding hands with the Crown Prince Abdullah. You don't think that he would soft pedal the country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers do you? What possible reason could he have to keep the kid gloves on? Hmm. Let me think about that one for awhile.......

To be fair, we did get one A. It was for disrupting the terrorist financial network. Well, our leadership does know a lot about money, that's for sure!

You know, people ask me all the time what I would do differently. They say that instead of bitching I should come up with a list of things I would do differently. Well, look no further than the items above. Let's start with those things, at least, for crying out loud. Can't we do better than a "D" or a "F" when it comes our nation's security?

Look at these people to the left. Look at their faces. These are the families of the victims of 9/11. This is going to be you or your family someday because we have a group of people running our country that are more concerned with protecting and growing corporate wealth than protecting and nuturing our children. These families of the victims of 9/11 can't believe that 4 years and a lot of bullshit later we are still right back where we were on Sept 10th. They can't believe that our government has failed to act on many of the commissions most important recommendations.

They can't believe that our leadership got 18 F's or D's in such an important undertaking!!

Do you know what I can't believe?

I can't believe that there are people out there defending the leaders of this country and their policies. I have never been more embarrassed and mortified in my life. What a fucking travesty!

And people are mad at Bush for waiting 7 minutes on Sept 11th to move from his chair? How about 4 years and counting!!??

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Blame Canada

Once again those pesky neighbors to our north have gone and done it again. It seems that Canada has done the unthinkable. They have recognized evil, sinful criminals as equal human beings. They have (Gasp!) legalized gay marriage. And no one is more afraid of this than our very own Katherine Kersten.

For those of you who don't know who Katherine Kersten is, she writes a new column in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. We all know that the Strib is part of that insidious liberal indoctrination machine that is out to destroy our children and so they felt, I guess, they needed a conservative columnist to round out its image.

I was shocked to read Ms. Kersten's column entitled "North of border, gay marriage spurs social revolution" to find out that I am in dire jeopardy should gay marriage be legalized here. Here is the link to the column. Please read.

According to Ms. Kersten, if gay marriage were to be legalized in the US, I would then be a racist. Because of the way the law is written, marriage as defined as "man and a woman" would then be bigoted. Thousands of documents would have to be changed due to the onslaught of political correctness that would ensue. People who believe in marriage between a man and woman would be in legal trouble.

And then, of course, the children would suffer. The end of the article mentions that sex ed classes would have to be changed to include same sex discussions. One can only conclude that after all of this, Ms. Kersten believes that all of us will then fall into hell as the world becomes a giant, boiling pit of sewage.

Once again we see the right using the only tactic they really have to get through to people: fear. It's the same old story with everything they talk about. Fight the terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here. Liberal activist judges are running amok (never mind the right activist judges that are) and must be stopped before they destroy our way of life. And gay people? Well, if they get their way, your life as you know it is over.

Am I the only one out here who can see this?

Ms. Kersten is so incredibly myopic that she doesn't realize the solution to all of this is simple: write a law that makes sense so all people are looked upon as equal. C'mon, folks, we are a smart country. Don't you think we can come up with a law that circumvents these PC snafus?

As far as sex ed in schools are concerned, I think most kids when they reach puberty know what straight and gay mean and they should, if their parents have had frank discussions with them about sex. Most sex ed classes in schools are designed to lay out the basics of reproduction. I think that purient examples of the different types of sex can easily be left out of such a basic discussion of biology. At that point, the parents must take up the mantle of education and answer their children's questions and encourage them to have good sexual health.

Consider this a warning to Ms. Kersten and all like her: I know what you are trying to do, it won't work, and I will stop you. You are using your power as a columnist to drum fear into people who don't have enough exposure to or knowledge of gay people.

I will do everything in my power to educate people and let them know that people of different races, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation are all equal in the eyes of God. If you truly believe in the teachings of Jesus, then you should love and respect all people. You might not believe this but "they" already love and respect you.

Gay people are not any different than anyone else. The American public should know, Ms. Kersten, that they shouldn't be afraid of anyone except maybe a little wary of someone like you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Uptight States of America

I woke up last Thursday morning a little more tired than usual. It always takes me a long time to be fully coherent in the AM (I am not a morning person). Since I had spent the evening (and parts of the morning actually) celebrating my friend Eric's birthday in a way that can best be described as delirious insanity, I was a little grey around the edges. Thankfully I have the Minneapolis Star and Tribune to read in the morning and, last week, I read an article that not only woke me up immediately but absolutely fucking pissed me off. It was about sex.

It's high time that I wrote a column on my favorite subject. People , who know me well, are downright astonished and even offended that I haven't written a column on this subject. I have thought for awhile that I should write about sex somehow but I couldn't quite find a good focal point. Thanks to the good folks at the Strib, I have now found one.

Last Thursday, on the front page of the Strib, was an article entitled "Some Hot and Some Bothered." The story began with an anecdote which sums up perfectly how fucking uptight Americans are about sex and why I am irritated beyond belief about this. Here is the quote.

Jane Brenny isn't just appalled that something called the "Sex and So Much More Show" is promoting itself on a billboard two blocks from an elementary school. She's appalled that it has come to Minneapolis at all. Brenny, who lives in Edina, was heading to church recently when she stopped at a red light and looked up. She said, "Ye gods," jotted down the event's website and went home to check it out. "That website is erotic and disgusting," she said.

Erotic and disgusting. Great. Just great. Tell you what, Jane, and all the rest of you assholes who's butts are so tight that if I shoved a lump of coal up there I could open up my own jewelry store: WHY DON'T YOU FUCKING RELAX ABOUT SEX!!!???

This country is so damn uptight about sex and I have had it. What is the matter with us? This was a trade show, for God's sake, whose central theme was to enhance couple's sex lives and build healthy sexual attitudes. But no. Oh no. The insane puritanical roots of our culture make it "bad" to have a sex trade show and "good" to have...say...a gun trade show.

I wonder if Ms. Brenny would complain if a gun show billboard was put up two blocks from an elementary school. Someone out there please explain this dichotomy to me: Hey kids, guns are cool and fun. Sometimes they are used to kill people but that's only by people who live in the ghetto. So have fun with your guns but don't you dare talk about people making love and giving each other pleasure. That's wrong! Pleasure bad! Instruments of Death Good!!

Here's a thought to all you social conservatives/evangelicals out there. God created man and woman in his image. He/She gave us this extraordinary ability to have a ton of fun with our bodies and I think she/he meant it to be that way. Why would the Lord want us to torture ourselves? It's just not sinful, folks. Sorry!

If you look back at the history of Christianity, many of the early followers were not ashamed of sex. Women were view as being sacred beings of sensual power and men respected this and even learned how to use their own sexuality in intensely spiritual ways. These beliefs were all too short lived when violent, ignorant men began to dominate the thinking behind organizing the Church. Women became viewed as evil, sinful beings and the trend continued throughout time. Some say it still goes on. Somewhere along the line sex became viewed as being wicked and that is just not true.

I am not advocating that wanton orgies occur in the streets (if there is one that you know about, however, let me know.) I am simply saying that if we all talked about sex more with each other and our children, then we would become more comfortable in dealing with sex based issues.

Sex is wonderful way to share love with someone. And loving someone is the key ingredient to making love. I have always believed what my parents told me and what I will tell my kids. If you love and respect someone, then sex is great. My folks also happened to be forward thinking people and told me that if I liked dudes better than chicks then that was cool too. I have always felt comfortable talking about sex and laugh at people who crinkle their faces at me when I make suggestive comments.

People in other countries laugh at us and how uptight we are about sex. They can't understand why the Janet Jackson Super Bowl thing was such a big deal. I also don't understand why more focus was put on the sex part of the Vikings boat party as opposed to the threatening behavior. Well, actually, when you think about it, it makes sense. Sex is bad. Violent behavior is kinda bad but not as bad as SEX. That's our culture!

This article is just another example of sounding the drumbeat of fear. A billboard about a sex show near a SCHOOL! GASP! You know what? There's a gun store five blocks away from a school in Hopkins. Which is worse? Oh wait, that's right. I forgot again. I'm in America. This is the place where grown men and women faint at the site of a nipple but think it's OK for junior to watch someone being riddled with automatic weapon fire.

I am just so tired of all of this and I hope that all of you will join me in reminding people like Ms. Brenny that sex is a mysterious, wonderful thing. It is not disgusting. And if people like her don't like sex, then why in the fuck did she go to the sex show web site in the first place?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States!

Ever since I can remember, I have always imagined being President. A Mark Campbell Presidency would be filled with many wondrous things. Sadly, I know it will never happen. I am too blunt and have this pesky personal habit of telling people exactly what is on my mind i.e. I have no filter between my brain and mouth. Consequently, I get into much trouble.

But it's fun to dream isn't it? I found myself thinking yesterday about who I would hire to help me run our beloved country and why that person would be perfect for the job. One of FDR's greatest strengths was that his cabinet was comprised of Democrats AND Republicans. He liked to hear the opposing point of view quite often. It helped him to see the full picture.

In keeping with that tradition, here is my Cabinet. I have used "post names" for some of you who post on this blog while real names for others. I realize some of you might be hurt that I have not selected you. Just know that there was much thought that was put into this and there will always be a job for you at the State Department.

Vice President-John Waxy. John has been my friend since we were both 12 years old. If something should happen to me, there is no one I would trust more to be true to my vision than him.

Secretary of State-PL. Always the diplomat on the posts, PL would bring some common sense to the State Department.

Chief of Staff-Shayna Nienow. Her experience in training and managing people as well as her bluntness makes her the best candidate for this job.

Secretary of Defense-just Dave. It would be important to me to have my SecDef be a man with military experience. Dave is also a hawk and that is who our country needs now in our War on Terror.

National Security Advisor-Annalie Nienow. For those of you that know Annie, she is perfect for this job for two reasons: She keeps secrets and doesn't take any shit from anyone. That is just what the NSA needs to do.

Attorney General-Paul Bolin. A great legal mind. Harvard Educated. And a flaming liberal. Perfect.

Director of Secret Service-Mark Peterson. Very serious, very intense. Perfect to protect me.

Sec of Treasury-Brad Hall. There isn't anyone I know that is better with money. Our government is in desperate need of this.

Sec of Education-Tina Graham. Tina's ongoing pursuit of true knowledge makes her perfect for the job. She is the only person I know who could truly implement the President Campbell Sex Education program effectively and carry the vision I have for it forward. For those of you ladies who are interested in learning more about this, please email me privately.

Homeland Security Director-Stephen Perkins. His first hand knowledge of terrorism will be a huge benefit here. In addition, his compassion and attention to detail will protect our country.

Sec of Transportation-Missy Boucher. This job will be a piece of cake for the gal who tour manages rock stars. Her tenacity and organization could get the airline industry in shape.

Sec of Labor-Dennis Ward. My father in law's years in the Union will bring a focused look at the working man's issues.

Secretary of HUD- Chuck Woodsy. Chuck is an architect. His vision for city layouts and planning makes him perfect for this job.

Sec of Agriculture- Susan Ferris. My aunt Suba has lived on a farm her whole life. She knows how people there think. Someone who understands this needs to challenge our nation's farmers to look past the 21st century.

Sec of Commerce-William Blumberg. My uncle's entrepreneurial spirit will defend the right of small business here and focus on them as the backbone of our nation.

Sec of Veteran Services- Ken Parsely. A Gulf War I veteran, Ken would bring some compassion to caring for the people that bring our lives safety everyday.

Sec of Energy- Gail Mooney. Her experience with one of the largest energy companies in our country as well as her common sense will be a huge asset in making the United States energy independent.

Sec of Interior-Cory Campbell. Another screaming liberal, my uncle Cory would bring his knowledge of the land to this post.

Sec of Health- Dr. Diane Schuck. I can't think of a better person to run this post than the woman that brought both of my children into this world.

Well, there you have it. What do you think?

Again, I apologize if you don't see your name here. See PL for a job.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Evolution of Mark

Some of you have emailed me recently or repsonded in the "Comments" section and wondered how I went from supporting the Iraq War to being against it. Many of you on the conservative side have wondered what happened to me as I spent much time arguing for some of the things the president was doing after 9-11.

I remember when Notes From the Front was an email list back then and I recall being called a fascist, a racist, and a right wing zealot. Scanning some of the recent emails and posts recently I see that now I am communist, feminist, and kook left wing zealot. My oh my how I have grown.

What made me grow and change? Well let's take a look at a timeline of events...something I am going to call the Evolution of Mark.

Nov 2000. The election debacle. I remember saying to myself at Thanksgiving that they should just give it to Bush. Even though I loathed his stance on social issues, I really wasn't involved in politics much at the time so I didn't care. I feel ashamed for feeling this way five years later.

Summer 2001. Bush gives a speech on stem cell research. I remember thinking when I saw him on TV that he looked like he had no idea what he was doing. He then goes on vacation for the entire month of August. I recall saying to some friends, "Is he really working down there?"

Sept 11. This was a day that I will never forget. It was just horrible. I really felt at the time that I should rally around the president....that we all should. Having first hand experience with Muslim extremism, I knew that the only way to deal with those people was force. There is no reasoning with them. I remember being proud of President Bush when he said that he would get bin Laden dead or alive. We attacked Afghanistan. Bush talked of nations being terrorist havens (Iran and North Korea) and they would pay for that in kind. I thought, finally, we were taking the fight to them.

Summer 2002. I was watching a press conferance with Bush. He was asked where Osama bin Laden was and was he still a threat. He had been asked that time and again. Over the last few months, he had dodged answering that question and instead chose to talk about Iraq. I thought this odd. Sure, Iraq was a problem. But did they really have WMDs? We already knew Iran and North Korea did. And most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, a hotbed of anti American sentiment. Why was he talking about Iraq? Something just seemed wrong. Osama and Zawahari were still out there. They attacked us. Not Saddam.

Then he answered and I couldn't fucking believe it. He said the bin Laden was insignificant and didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Here was a man who was responsible for the worst attack on our country's soil and he didn't matter anymore to our president? If you don't believe me, look it up. He said it. I have a copy of the news conference.

March 2003 The Iraq War unfolded and I felt that maybe we could take care of matters quickly and then move to the real enemies at hand. Maybe Bush had a reason for going there that I did not know about it. What did I know, anyway? I remember the famous "Mission Accomplished" speech and was actually thinking that the war might be over. Wow. I was so wrong. Looking back on "Mission Accomplished," I just have to laugh. What have we accomplished? The war is NOT over.

Summer 2004. Farenheit 9-11 comes out. I know that Michael Moore is the devil incarnate but if you go to his web site, he presents a ton of facts to back his claims. Here are all those pesky facts y'all have been asking about:

It is very hard as a man of good conscience to ignore this stuff. George Bush has pursued a policy that is extremly detremental to the United States and you'll have to pardon me if I get infuriated when people don't see this. Or even want to see a part of it.

Since that time we have seen that the Iraq policy has largely failed because the initail plan was flawed. High ranking generals fired, realities ignored, countless lives lost, and a president (and supporters) who refuse to look at bad news. And all the while, Al Qaeda is still out there with both of its leaders. The Iraq War could have been a good idea. At the time, I felt like we needed to take the fight to them. In retrospect, I was wrong. Iraq was the wrong choice.

So, why did we invade Iraq? Well, I think based upon the fact that US corporations are making a ton of money over there the reason why is self evident. In the end, all you have to do is follow the money. Haliburton is the number one contractor in Iraq. Cheney used to work there. I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying that the owners of that company are sympathetic to Bush. And he to them. The big money guys who helped elect Bush got their war. It has been going like that since President Eisenhower gave his farewell address in which he warned of the military industrial complex running (or ruining) or country.

The organizing force for any society is war. And in this particular situation we had a war that we NEEDED to fight and didn't and sill aren't. We, instead, fought one that we didn't have to fight. Supporters of the war claim that we are democratizing the Middle East and Iraq is the first step. I say fighting Al Qaeda is the first step.

Now I know that most of you on the right would like me to present an alternate plan to what the president has done. Here it is step by step.

1. Find bin Laden
2. Kill him
3. Find Zawahari
4. Kill him
5. Take the billions of dollars Bush was going to use in Iraq and develop an alternative source to oil.
6. Tell the Saudis to fuck off.
7. Tell Iran and North Korea that if we get credible intelligence that they sell a candy bar to any Muslim extemist group that has a beef with us that they will be able to live in their respective countries again in oh...about 90 years.

Maybe steps 5-7 are tough to do but 1-4? C'mon people. It's two guys for crying out loud. It's embarassing that our Secretary of Defense says things like, "Well, we don't do manhunts."

Yes, Don. We do manhunts when the people we are hunting want to destroy our entire way of life. Yes, President Bush, Osama bin Laden is significant because he is the leader of the group that WANTS TO KILL US!!!

I want the conservative people who read this to imagine a Gore or Kerry presidency. Close your eyes and really think about it. Now imagine if, on their watch, we lost the following: a spy plane over China, our budget surplus, most of our allies, four airplanes, the World Trade Center, a chunk of the Pentagon, 5000+ American lives and the City Of New Orleans.

That's a lousy track record and if it were a Democrat, conservatives and I would be very upset. As it stands, just I guess it's just me that's angry.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Language of Love

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently. For the sake of this column, we'll call her Mary.

Mary was brought up in rural Minnesota and was taught from a very early age about morality. There was only one God: a Christian God. There was only one true political party of faith and that was the Republican Party. She attended Oral Roberts Unversity and was told who were God's chosen ones and who were not. She lived in the conservative culture. She knows it well. A few years ago, thankfully, she came to her senses, stopped drinking the Kool Aid and has a more well rounded view of the world.

I have spent much time and many words on trying to figure out why the Republicans get away with everything. How can a party so corrupt and inherently evil get so many people of good faith to vote for them? How have they won the House, the Senate, the Judiciary and Executive Branch? How in, the face of so many facts to the contrary, have the become know as the party of "morality" and "strength."

I was expressing this frustration to Mary one day on the phone about how the Republicans always seem to entice people into voting for them when it is nowhere near in the interest to do so, she said something very interesting to me. It made me understand why they do such a good job at getting people to listen to them. She said that the answer lies in the one last thing that America is still number one at doing. The one thing you can always rely on us for doing right. The one thing no one can resist. Marketing. The Right is really good at marketing. And they know how to use language to get people to believe in them. Mary said that it's all in the language they use and how they market it.

They say things like "Support Our Troops" which means that if you don't agree with the war then......well.......I guess you don't support our troops. The Republicans spent the Clinton era lambasting the Democrats for being corrupt, lying to special prosecutors, and generally being evil. Now, suddenly, when the tables are turned perjury isn't that bad of a crime. It's the "criminalization of politics." They say they are "Pro Life" which means if you aren't Pro Life, then you are.....what? Pro Death? Pro Baby Killin? It's simple messages for simple minded people.

Many citizens in our country have the attention span of a two year old. If you were on TV and someone asked you, are you pro-life and you say yes, well, that's a clear cut, easy answer. If you answer, as I would, that you are against unwanted pregnancy and that you believe that we should try to educate people more in the use of birth control, then more than likely the people watching the show will have tuned out when they heard the first three syllable word. They will think you are to wishy washy and hard to understand. They will think that the first person had a clear cut opinion and stood up for themselves and the second one, well, what were they talking about again?

And that's why the left hasn't figured it out yet. They have complicated answers to complicated problems. The right has simple answers to complicated problems. And the latter is all that people have time for these days. The right makes people feel better with simple language and that is how they get their support even though the problems are still there.

So, here it is! The answer for the Democrats. The left needs to come up with some catchy, quick phrases to win back the government. Here are some suggestions....

*Oil Comes from Terrorists, the Sun Comes from God.

*Like Sex? Wear A Condom!

*Like Uzis? Buy a pair of boots and join the Army!

*Think! It will help you figure out stuff.

*Where is Osama Bin Laden?

Help the Democrats with their language. What other phrases could they use?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Grab Bag Of irritation Volume 2

Time for another grab bag. There was such a great response to the last one that I thought I would do another.

Things that are irritating Mark this week.....

*Fox News....this poor excuse for an "unbiased" news station is an embarrassment. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were watching Hurricane Katrina coverage. We were mainly watching CNN. I flipped over to MSNBC and they had hurricane coverage on as well. Then I turned to Fox News where they were covering the MOST important story of the day: a black man who robbed a convenient store in Ohio. He was still loose and people were scared. Hurry, everyone, lock up the white women. They's a black man loose! I bet an activist judge let him out of prison....

*People who have ridiculous spellings for their names that should otherwise be normal. Example: people named "Amy" who spell their name "Ammee" or people named "Katie" who spell their name "Catee." God, this irritates the shit out of me! Look, I realize it's hard to be looked upon as unique in today's society and maybe having a cool spelling of your name might make you think you are being an individual but couldn't you find a better way? Like, maybe, letting your personality make people remember you? Hey, it works for me!

*Guys who were dress shirts, dress shoes and THE MOST DISGUSTING PAIR OF JEANS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!! You know these idiots. They all look the same with their dork gel haircuts and really bad aftershave. What the fuck is the matter with you, dude? Are you going to a rodeo? Put on some slacks, for crying out loud, and stop looking like a douchebag.

*Fantasty Football. The other day I was watching a Vikings game at a bar. I saw someone there with a laptop. What the fuck? Can't people just go out with friends, have a beer and watch the game anymore?

*People who drive in the left lane very slowly. The left lane is FOR PASSING ONLY, FUCKERS! If you aren't going fast, then move the fuck over. I can't tell you how many times I have gotten dirty looks from people in the left fucking lane when I pass them. Or the times when there is a phalanx of cars in the left and right lanes. I have asked people about this and, while some express their frustration as well, others say, "Well, we all like to ride together here in Minnesota." I am not a violent man but this statement makes me want to go all Chow Yun Fat with two guns on motherfuckers that think this way.

*And while we are on the subject of transportation...the road construction projects in the West Metro have really gotten out of hand. I expect a normal level of suckage every year but when you literally can't go North (494 and Hopkins Crossroads closed) or East (494 and 62 closed), then why even leave your house?

What is irritating you this week? Thanks as always folks!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

Well, well, well. It seems my ol buddy Tom DeLay has finally gotten hisself in trouble. What a shame! Two for conspiracy and one for money laundering. Could it be true or is it a left wing conspiracy that is politically motivated? Remember back in 1994 when the Republicans where all ticked off (and rightfully so) at the corrupt Democrats that were in office? Well, now the tables have turned and...oh, wait. These charges can't be true. It's all political! It's all an evil plot by the left! The laws that apply to Democrats don't apply to Republicans.

Let's take a look at some facts. Texas law prohibits the use of corporate money for campaigns. Tom DeLay used corporate money for his campaign. And then he lied about it. He broke the law. So, what's all the hububb about and why isn't our boy Tommy on his way to prison?

It's because Ronnie Earle, the Travis country DA that is bringing the charges against DeLay, is actually the devil in disguise. He and all of his left wing communist pedophile buddies are conspiring against the good Reverend DeLay. It's all slander, I tell you, slander! There is no way any Republican could ever be crooked, right? They are, after all, God's chosen people. And we all know that the Democrats are hell bent on letting rapists run free in our schools teaching kids about how we evolved from monkeys and how the War in Iraq is about empire building.

All (semi) kidding aside, Republicans like to be the ones to stand on the high ground and say that you must follow these laws....only when it is convenient for them. They talk very highly of morals and values and following the letter of the law but when it applys to them...well, they seem to think they are above it. Maybe because God told them it was OK to wriggle out any kind of legality. After all, they know everything that God really wants. They do select his suits for Him, after all.

Republicans talk loud and often about states rights and the federal government staying out of people's lives and yet what happened with Teri Schiavo? They ignored Florida law, which gives the spouse power of attorney, and tried to pass a federal law to save her which, btw, is also against the law.

Another great example of this is Karl Rove. How ridiculous has this whole thing has gotten? Let's see. He broke federal law by revealing the identity of a CIA informant because he didn't like the fact that her husband had some not-so-nice things to say about President Bush and the War in Iraq. Karl Rove is essentially a traitor. Karl Rove should go to jail. He probably won't. Why?

Because once again the Republican PR machine has shifted into high gear and the American people, at least 60 million of them, will believe anything they are told by this administration. You can damn well believe that if anyone in the Clinton administration had done this, the right wingers would be calling for death by firing squad.

I guess Bill Frist is in trouble too for some Martha Stewart type convenient sale of stock. I don't know much about this one but if anyone else want to get into it, feel free.

Tommy, Karl, Bill, and all the rest of your pals need to get one simple message: THE LAW APPLYS TO EVERYONE. I know it has been a pretty sweet deal for you guys these last years but it had to end sometime. And what better place for it to end then prison. Think of it. You can confess all your sins and be born yet again. Hey, it worked for Charles Colson.

Charles Colson was the first man to be arrested in relation to the Watergate conspiracy. Colson's more notorious ideas, according to some reports, included spreading false information about Dan Ellsberg, author of the Pentagon Papers and firebombing the Brookings Institution. When he was found guilty of obstruction of justice he declared himself a born again Christian. He served seven months of a one to three year sentence in Alabama.

He has since become an outspoken member of the religious right and in October 2002, Colson, along with several other prominent American evangelical leaders, was a co-signer of the Land letter to President Bush which outlined a "just war" endorsement of the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. How very Christian of him!

See guys, it all work out for you. Just have faith. Remember, if you are a Republican or vote Republican, the law doesn't apply to you!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Taking The Pledge

Well, it seems the Right is all bunged up again up the Pledge of Allegiance. Apparently those wacky judges are up to it again. They are letting the devil into our schools! How? A recent Ninth US District Appeals Court ruling that reciting the pledge in schools is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune focused on what students thought about saying the pledge. As you can imagine, there were a variety of answers but this one was my favorite.

"This was nation was founded on the belief and trust in God, and if we throw out 'under God', we might as well throw out all the other moral laws this nation was founded on." (Ryan Douvier, 16, Melrose, MN.)

Gee, I wonder what side of the aisle he and his parents are on? This quote is pretty much what everyone else on the right is saying. Think of it. Gasp! Horror! Oh, the humanity! We change the pledge the way it used to be before 1954 and...oh lordy...lordy...they's gonna be chaos in the street. People will be fornicating in public and saying the word "gay" at the dinner table. Yeah, if we change the pledge we might as well just open up all the jails and let the criminals run free. After all, that is what these liberals really want, isn't it?

Let's start with a fact. Are you listening, Mr and Mrs Conservative America? That's right, a fact. I know it's tough to look at these pesky things because they generally point out how totally fucked and hypocritical your point of view is but here it is: The phrase "Under God" was added into the Pledge of Allegiance by President Eisenhower in 1954. Before that time, no one said it. Hence, there wasn't any debate about saying the fucking pledge in the first place.

I also think that before that time most people were more comfortable with their Christianity. These days it seems that the evangelicals don't feel comfortable at all with themselves. They need to tell the world of their glorious faith. They want...sorry, require....the rest of the country to feel that way. Have you ever noticed that many fundamentalists don't even go to church? Odd as this may seem, most of my friends were are evangelicals can't find a church that suits them. Maybe it's because they are so far off from Christ's original message that they can't see the forest for the trees..

Just so we are all clear on this point: our founding fathers didn't have it in the original Pledge and, as a matter of fact, if you knew anything about history (which you don't because that would involve doing something "liberal" called "reading a book" and "learning."), the people that founded this country were trying to ESCAPE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION!!! They wanted any reference to God as far out of government as possible. Stop trying to rewrite history and save that for 50 years from now when you can explain to future generations why our country took a vacation from intelligence from 2000-2008.

When I said the pledge in school (1973-1985), we never said "under God." And you know what? Somehow..someway (I know this is sooooo tough to understand, conservatives) I still felt patriotic. Yep. That's right. I can love America and keep my religion to myself. I don't need God to interfere with my patriotism. In my mind, the two things have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH EACH OTHER! Can we please stop with all the founding fathers bullshit and just regain our sanity here, folks?

I have always thought that out of the mouths of babes comes pearls of wisdom and I will leave you all with this final quote from the same article.

"I believe 'under God' should be changed to a second of silence when everyone can think about what they believe in. Some people, Americans or people who come from other countries, don't believe in God. Also, maybe more schools would use it."

"A lot of little kids don't know what liberty and and justice mean. I think it should be changed to freedom and fairness. As a country, I think we should try harder to achieve these goals. "

I believe the Pledge of Allegiance is a tradition and it shouldn't be changed too much. It needs be more true to our changing country as well." (Luke Knoska,12, Wyoming, MN)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Judging Harriet

Well, Bush has made his second choice for the Supreme Court. And you know what? I am kinda happy about it. Now don't worry. I haven't gone crazy. I am not suddenly changing my mind and becoming a Bushite. Don't fret, dear reader, I will not be following a bizarre code of ethics in which the pursuit of wealth through needless death is viewed as being Christian. I will not be ignoring poor people in their time of need and in general ignoring reality.

No, folks I am actually happy with the nomination of Harriet E Miers to the Supreme Court. Do you know why? Because the Christian Conservative voting block is nervous and some are downright pissed off. And anytime that happens, well, it's time to break out the kettle of boiling oil and have ourselves a clam bake!

Apparently conservatives feel betrayed that Bush did not pick someone in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Anthony Scalia (as if even the two of them would overturn Roe V Wade.) They are dismayed that Miers (gasp!) contributed money to the Al Gore campaign and the Lloyd Bentsen campaign. And (oh no no no) Harry Reid recommended her to the president. And, sin of sins, she was the head of the Texas lottery and we all know what a work of the devil gambling has become. Satan himself must be somehow involved.

I know that all of you evangelical Christians out there are dying to force your monochromatic God on all of us but it will not happen this time. The court, while flawed in many ways, is going to stay exactly the same it always has. Your dreams of a world, which bears NOTHING IN COMMON WHATSOEVER WITH JESUS CHRIST, that treats half of our population like criminals will not come to fruition.

The president has made a choice based on the fact that he does not want any kind of fight. With approval ratings in the low 40s, Bush knows if he has any hope of retaining a majority in the mid-terms, he needs a down the middle choice for Justice. And that means, for the time being anyway, ejecting the Fundies from the capsule.

And that makes me a happy man.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Grab Bag of Irritation Volume 1

I decided that since I did not have one thing that pissed me off this week to do a whole column on, I would instead write about a number of small things, both current and ongoing, that piss me off on a daily basis.

*Let's start with people running government. The governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is proof positive that people in this country are getting dumber and dumber. It took him how many hours to open the southbound lane so that traffic conditions would ease the gridlock from the Hurricane Rita exodus? Folks, this is something that me, PL and Crabby could have done in 20 minutes and a few orange cones.

*And speaking of moronic, Mike Brown has resigned from FEMA and is still receiving a paycheck as consultant? Huh? This is the guy who resigned in disgrace after fucking up royally and he is still being paid taxpayer money! Where is all the talk of government waste now?

*Can we please get rid all TV ads which have a cool, techno theme with quiet xylophone being played in the background? You know the ones that show how technology is improving our lives everywhere. I am not up nights worried about how many Bank of America ATMs are located near my house!

*People that are over the age of 18 that play video games are LAME!! Dude (it's mostly guys) take your girl out for a fucking steak and dancing. Show her a good time instead of figuring out how to take your proton blaster tablet to go to level 4 and ignoring her. Getting excited about the fact that a bar has Golden Tee or Big Buck Hunter instead of getting excited about your girlfriend on all fours with her butt up in the air means you have a serious problem.

*People under the age of 55 that like to go to casinos. Are you dead? Go out to a club and see a band. Or see a movie. Better yet, get together with your friends and play cards instead of being a zombie and playing the electronic one armed bandit (See above)

*People who watch poker on TV. I don't think I need to say anything else here.

*People who have the little yellow wristbands for Livestrong. Y'know I am all for cancer research support but how many of these people (mostly guys again) are doing this to look cool at a bar. Show your support for cancer treatments by volunteering your time at a cancer ward for kids or giving your time away with people that are sick.

*Closely related to people who wear yellow wristbands are people who obsessively train for triatholons. They are often the same person. Has anyone heard about his latest craze? Suddenly everyone is really INTO IT. People, you are not going to live the olympic dream at the age of 40. Are you doing it because it is fun or because it is trendy?

Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for further Grab Bags of Irritation in the future!!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Our Father Who Art In Where?

A couple of weeks back, a friend of mine sent me this article.

This one will make you think In light of the many perversions and jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke, it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding the attacks on Sept. 11). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they WILL think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in!!

After reading this note from my friend I was reminded once again why there are so many problems in the world: it is because of myopic views like this one.

The reason why prayer is not allowed in schools is because if we allowed such activity there would be daily fights as to which God to worship and which religion is right. Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian...which would it be? Of course this note was sent by people who believe there is only true God and that is the Christian God. Just for the record, I am a Presbyterian but embrace all faith as necessary in any path to true enlightenment. As long as you believe in some kind of spirituality, you are on the right track. I am not speaking here of people that pervert any religion as an excuse for violence. I am simply stating that a spiritual person is more well rounded and engaging.

I find it interesting that people like Anne Graham think that people have turned their back on God. I think she should come to my church sometime and ask people that question. Our church has a congregation of 1500 strong and is growing. There are activities in our church every day and every night that our children and anybody else's children can be involved in if they desire. Not just on Sunday. So my question to all of you (and Anne Graham) is does your church offer the same programs? And if so, why do you feel the need to have more religion in schools when you can get plenty at church? The answer is that these people have an agenda and they want to shove it down our throats. They want power and control not salvation, peace, and love. They want to dictate what they perceive as God's will to people.

Funny how the will they want to force on us is all Old Testemant stuff and not anything from the New Testament. The 10 Commandments should be in goverment buildings but how about a picture of Jesus? How about some quotes from Jesus? "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Blessed are the poor and the sick..." In fact, how about we fill up our government buildings with quotes from Jesus, espousing peace, respect for life, and equality for all people. Of course, that is not the God they want people to understand and love.

I think Anne Graham's viewpoint once again sadly illustrates that people like her feel the need to portray themselves as victims when in actuality they are trying to manipulate people in to believing that their way is the Right Way. These people are so stuck in a belief system that encourages ignorance and intolerance that they can't see that the original message of Christ.

And how about religious education starting and ending at home? Our children have several books about the Bible and our daughter always reminds us to pray before every meal. I have recently become fascinated by the life of Christ and how his teachings really apply today. I have also become interested in learning more about what he did between the ages of 12 and area of history absent from the Bible. So, basically my children and my extended family for that matter have much of these basic values in our lives without getting that at school. Schools have enough things to teach our children like basic reading and writing skills, how to do simple math, and history.

True enough, the Bible says Thou Shall Not Kill and Thou Shall Not Steal and yet we are essentially doing that in Iraq. But that's Ok because we are Americans. By my understanding of the Bible, only God can give life and take life and regardless of whether or not it is in self-defense, it is still a sin. If my family were killed and I killed the murdered in return, which I would want to do of course, I would still sin. And Jesus would weep for all the killing.

I think one should question what the Bible says and what the newspapers say. I am not saying the Bible is wrong or bad but should I really sell my daughter into slavery? Or is that particular part a sign of the times in which the Bible was written? I think being interested, being engaged and learning all sides will make you a survivor in this grey world or ours. In the end it will make you a more complete person who can deal with the complexities that our life offer us every day.

I copied my response to my mother's Minister and this is what he wrote back. It really sums it up perfectly.

Thanks for passing on your comments and remarks responding to the Anne Graham "chain letter" e-mail. I receive a fair share of similar messages each week. What strikes me is that religious "simplicity" is presented as neglected clarity in our fallen world, when in truth, simplistic theological answers (as in the Graham e-mail) only impede grasping spiritual truths. God thrives on the complexity and richness of life and having diverse people of faith asking probing questions about what's most important. If that were not so, why do we have four gospels? Why do we have two testaments of material containing everything from history to poetry to legalistic nitpicking? Why must the God of quantam physics and eternity and rainbows and a thousand human cultures be put in a spiritual Cuisinart and condensed to one, tepid, monochromatic broth? It does neither God nor humanity any justice to oversimplify faith in this way.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Invisible Buck

Everyone one who reads this knows how fond I am of one of our former Presidents, Harry S. Truman. I was born in Missouri and always felt a certain kinship with President Truman and in particular the sign he had on his desk which read: The Buck Stops Here.

Every president we have had since then, with the exception of John F Kennedy, has seemed to forgotten that they are the leader of this great land of ours and that they bear the ultimate responsibility for our country's direction or lack thereof. When government policy goes wrong, the president is to blame. When a national crisis occurs, the president is the person who the nation should turn to for leadership.

When the 9-11 attacks occurred our country seemed completly taken by surprise. This was odd, of course, because as recently as one month before the attacks our president was told that terrorists were planning to attack our country using airplanes as missles. After the attacks, it wasn't until days had passed that I felt that George Bush was leading at all. In fact, in the hours after the attack the person who seemed to dive right in to the crisis and work the problem was the mayor of New York, Rudy Guilliani. I guess I felt better knowing that at least someone with some authority was trying to create solutions.

Here we are four years later and a national crisis has occurred, worse than 9-11, and the government response has been abominable. People were literally dying while our government, supposedly preapred for national disasters, did ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING. And once again, the spin doctors are out blaming FEMA and the Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff for not responding quickly enough. Or my favorite excuse, that the folks down there were just too stupid and poor to leave their homes. This coming from people that are supposed to have restored morality in our government. Once again, I have to ask, do any of these people actually read the Bible and know what Jesus was all about?

You can point the finger at all the governmental departments you want but in the end I know what my friend Harry would say: the president is the one in charge. And our president's reaction was excatly the same as 9-11 and the Tsunami disaster: indifference followed by paralysis followed by PR spin followed by a call to his daddy and President Clinton to bail him out once again.

I guess PL and Crab will be all over me being a Bush hater with too much bias so I guess my opinion will be invalidated once again but the image of President Bush playing a guitar on vacation (just as he was before 9-11) while people in the city of New Orleans were wondering when help would come absolutley sickened me. It proves all along what I have been saying: Bush doesn't really care about common people or is just so out of touch with reality that it's scary.

I feel once again like I am describing a crime that is painfully obvious what has occurred but will be diluted into PR spin until all is forgotten. The "liberal" media is saying the same thing I am but already the "conservative" media is criticizing them for armchair quarterbacking. Armchair quaterbacking?

Our governement as been warned for years about the dangers of flooding in New Orleans. As recently as 2002 a report was filed detailing EXACTLY what has happened over the last few days. Just as we failed to heed the warnings of 9-11, we have utterly failed to prevent the magnitude of this crisis. And, given the complete ineffectiveness of our current leader, we will fail again to prevent any kind of future disaster or attack on our country. And why?
I only point to the inevitable responses that will come after this post: Bush isn't responsible for this or that or I am too biased other words, the 60 million dumb fuckers that voted for this man will once again defend his ability to lead.

And once again, because reality is so fucking subjectively out of whack, we will all just accept it until something else happens. Then the debate will start all over again. I am curious how many more American bodies, because we are looking at around 20, 000 in New Orleans, 1700 in Iraq, and 2000 on 9-11, it will take before we all realize how important it is to elect a leader that actually knows what he is doing. This doesn't even include the countless thousands of people from other countries who have lost their lives because of a completly useless leader.

Obviously, acts of nature are not George Bush's fault. But preparedness and protection are his responsibility. Even he admitted this week that they did a poor job. He is going to have to go a lot farther than that. The War in Iraq has long been a distraction from what our real focus should be and that is protecting our own borders against the next terrorist attack. And natural disasters tie in to this sort of emergency management.

What the fuck have we been doing for the last four years, people!!??

Take a look at the City of New Oreleans (a city which I know Crab loves and is now gone forever) and watch what unfolds over the next few days and weeks and you tell me if you think our current administration was being responsible. You tell me if you think they were effective in managing this crisis after they pull body after body out of the water.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The frustration of Hate

I finally figured out what is wrong with me. Apparently, I am a “Bush hater.” After reading the latest posts and some previous ones over again, it is all clear to me now: the only reason why I am questioning our current government and its policies is because I just hate Bush.

When it comes to politics, the person that bears the ultimate responsibility is the President. Being the Harry Truman fan that I am, I believe firmly in the sign that he used to have on this desk. I see some absolutely horrible things that are happening right now as a result of country’s actions or inactions. When I question my friends who support Bush about these things, they accuse me of being a Bush hater and being partisan.

I get frustrated and well, downright angry when someone accuses me of my opinion being biased just because I hate Bush or I hate Republicans. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many Republicans that I admire and even respect a great deal. There are Democrats that I don’t like at all.

But I guess in this age of simplicity (See: The United States, current population 250 million, attention span of 3 seconds, books+learning=the devil’s work) I have been labeled as a Democrat who is just being partisan and hates Bush. It is a simple answer from simple minded people.

I confront many Bush supporters with pesky questions like why are we not at war with Saudi Arabia when most of the 9-11 hijackers came from there? Why are we letting Europe, a group of countries most Bush supporters loathe, handle the continued defiance of Iran against the international community? Does it have anything to do with the fact that they supply us with oil?

When I ask these questions and back them up with facts I get accused of being “overly educated” and part of the liberal indoctrination machine. I have spent much time thinking about what this means and why this is occurring and I have come to the following conclusions.

We live in a very complex time that has many complex issues. This frightens the hell out of people who yearn for a time that was simpler. (See: NEVER) These yearning people are generally considered conservatives and want simple answers where none are forthcoming. They tend to get angry and frustrated at this hard reality and lash out at non-existant threats. These simple anwers don’t exist anymore and we need a leader who understands these issues and can handle a myriad of complex situations. We do not have that leader now.

I want to be clear about something before I continue. I don’t care what side of the aisle the next leader comes from as long as they can handle these problems in a more efficient way. An example of this would be really trying to understand the root of Islamic radicalism so we could not do a half ass…no wait a quarter ass job….of finding the leadership of Al Qaeda .

Speaking of energy, another issue of great complexity, what we don’t need is an administration who thinks the solution to this is to drill for more oil in Alaska. This is simple, short term answer to very intricate problem. Whenever I try to bring up some of the various fine points involved in improving our country’s energy consumption, my friends on the right once again give me the song and dance about how I just an overeducated liberal who is demeaning them.

It seems like that is the classic knee jerk response these days when I try to present facts that are contrary to the wonderful tale of fiction that is currently being woven right now in our country. What’s that? You don’t like high gas prices and you think that our President and his friends are profiting from this? Do you hate America, Mark, or just freedom in general?

China and India are going to be running our world? Why don’t you go live there then if you don’t like it here? You think our President is too busy making sure that he and his partners are wealthy and powerful to notice that our future is being squandered? Mark….Mark….Mark….that’s just liberal propaganda and don’t bother me with any of those so called facts you are presenting because we all know that you are just a Bush Hater!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The University of Propaganda and Ignorance

Well, I guess having control over the Executive, Judicial, Legislative Branches and the press isn’t enough. Being the paranoid always-a-victim bunch that they are I guess the Right felt it was high time they started getting their message out in yet another area of our life: the education system.

It seems that conservatives see bias in the school systems in our country and have decided to get their message into the classrooms. We all know that college campuses have seen many a battle go back and forth regarding alternating viewpoints.

But now K-12 is being targeted by the Right…..that’s correct folks….I am not making this up: K-12!!! A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor discusses how they are stopping this liberal indoctrination process.

Currently there are 14 states that have bills under consideration that would allow students to file grievances if they perceive political bias in the classroom. This is an important battle, according to proponents, because younger students are more impressionable. They are concerned about multicultural studies, particularly those that deal with the Muslim faith.

The article goes on to detail how some right thinking students would like to offer an opposing viewpoint when their instructor says that the Iraq War is about empire building and oil. Another student would like to be able to share his web site, which shows beheadings, with his school to prove that the Muslim faith is evil. The article ends with a vision of the future of schools: liberally leaning schools and conservative leaning schools that each teaches their own version of history.

Each time I write one of these I always think I have seen it all. I guess I never will see it all because there is no end in sight to the extreme level of bullshit that the right is heaping on people. It makes the manure scene in the Back to the Future movies look like a sudsy bath. Isn’t a 7 year old supposed to be learning the basics of Math and English? Does s/he really have to hear that Democrats hate America and freedom in general?

They are questioning the WRONG people. They are basically saying that we shouldn’t question our leaders but question the people that are providing us with an education thus removing any sense of intelligence from our culture leaving only autonomatons who blindly listen and never question our government.

Does anyone else out there see where we are heading? Sure the folks on the right will say that they will FINALLY get their say now. But are they really getting their say or just disseminating propaganda? We live in an age now where nothing can be questioned without being accused of being a criminal, a communist, a pedophile, a spy, or an anti-American hater of democracy.

And yet all vestiges of our democracy are being slowly removed from us and no one seems to care. Actually, many of them are cheering for it! I guess when I send my daughter to kindergarten this September I better make sure she is carrying all the appropriate literature with her. You know, the magazines and newspapers that tell say that all is well with US in the world.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

G.O.P. R.I.P.

When I was in high school, I used to engage in many rousing and spirited debates with kids who were on the right side of aisle. I remember fondly the lengthy discussions about less government, less taxes, welfare, communism, and the corruption of the Democratic Party. All of the discussions were mostly friendly and seemed to always be held within a realm of sanity. I actually learned quite a bit from them.

For the last few weeks, I have been riding up to my weekly volleyball match with a guy who is very similar to those folks who I debated in high school. “Bob” is a card carrying member of the GOP and has been for 30 years. He has always felt that government could work more efficiently and has cited the Democrats as being the chief cause behind the bureaucracy….something that has been true until the last five years.

The first time we rode together and he told me he was a Republican I cringed. This was going to be a fun carpool! But after our first trip I was surprised to find out that he did not vote for George Bush in 2000 or 2004 and he positively loathes what is happening to our country.

Bob has always believed in less government and he believes, quite accurately, that the current administration has lost sight of this credo. I only have to point to the Terri Schiavo affiair to illustrate how the GOP has wandered off in to a land of lunacy. My pals on the left will have you believe that it is the Jesus freaks fault but I contend that Jesus has nothing to do with these folks are doing. Bob sums it up best.

Our current government is run by oil men. Their number one goal is to make more money in that industry and its related areas. Bob works in the technology sector and is fond of pointing out how the tech crash really occurred right after Bush took office. All of the money came out of tech because investors saw what was on the horizon. Bob has seen many of the advances our country has made be put on hold or reversed because our current government's lust for material wealth and supposed commitment to the culture of life.

Bob also feels that the whole idea of Bush being a man of principle and morality is a crock. They are more or less pretending to be “men of faith” to scam people into voting for them just as carnies scam folks into playing the same rigged game over and over again. They are about as far from Christianity as one can be seeing that they regularly break the 6th and 10th Commandments. They use people’s fear, insecurity, and uncertainty, combined with an excellent PR campaign, to drive them to the polls. With a victory in hand and the blind belief of the people, they are free to do whatever they want.

When I asked him if others of his ilk feel the same he points to past GOP heroes such as Arnie Carlson and Dave Durenberger who have thrown up their hands in disgust at what is happening in Washington right now. I point to Christine Todd Whitman, an excellent candidate for President btw, who is despondent over the turn her party has taken.

Yesterday I got into yet another discussion about how I am not patriotic because I question the war in Iraq. And apparently, because it was Memorial Day, I was not honoring the troops. I was also told that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and we are just defending ourselves by invading them.

Leaving the sheer idiocy of the last comment aside, I contend that it honors our troops if we NEVER send them into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary. Since WWII, this has happened one time and that was Afghanistan, a job which has been left unfinished.

In fact, my friend Bob has an interesting theory about the future of our army. The armed forces are poised for the largest base closings since 1995, which is ironic since I thought that was the GOP’s main gripe about Clinton. Now they are doing the same thing!!

The idea is that our army will be streamlined and specialized. Bob thinks it is because eventually our army will be run by private corporations and left out of the government chain of command. This way the “contractors” you hear about on the news will soon be referred to as soldiers, answerable only to the CEO of whatever company’s interest they are representing. I wonder if we will feel the same amount of patriotism in that future on Memorial Day as we do now.

I thought about all these things yesterday and wondered what happened to the GOP that I used to know and with which I used to politely disagree. Since when I am not patriotic or too partisan because I question something that has nothing to do with either? And as the Bush zombies driveled on yesterday about how I either hate America or freedom in general, my GOP buddy Bob was there too and he just shook his head and smiled at me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The culture of life?

Lately we have all heard the phrase “the culture of life” come out of our President’s mouth. During the entire Teri Schiavo affair, it was mentioned quite frequently. And we all know that folks on the right are against abortion. Ironically they are all against birth control and the very mention of sexual activities seems to raise the cockles on their skin. (Yes, I used the word cockles on purpose.) If someone could explain this dichotomy to me, I would be eternally grateful.

The phrase “the culture of life” originates from Pope John Paul II actually. It is very interesting that it does come from him because he was an example of a man who actually lived by it. Sure, there are beliefs that John Paul had that I did not agree with but at least he was a principled man who was pro life across the board. He was against abortion, war, the death penalty and even sat down and forgave the man who tried to kill him. I don’t think any of us could do that.

But what really puzzles me is how people in this country believe that George Bush is for the culture of life because he really doesn’t live by it at all. It amazes me that people believe his absolute bullshit when he mouths off about how life is sacred after there are innocent people that have died in Iraq.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for ass kicking when it comes to the part of the world. Clearly there is a threat there and some innocent lives may be lost as a result of us trying to stop another 9/11. But when a war is waged for oil and pals, well…..

What I want to hear in the comments is defending this position. What I do not want to hear is how the Democrats are hypocrites too and the liberals this and blah blah blah….if you voted for Bush, defend his position and explain how he can kill people and still be looked as a moral compass.

Explain to me how he can talk about the culture of life and yet be for the death penalty. After all, doesn’t it say in the Bible that only God can give life and take life? Is there an asterisk after “Thou shall not kill?” I don’t think so.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Moral Needle

This week I was going to write a nice column on how the Republican Party has changed so much over the last 30 years. I was all set to frame it with a story of a friend of mine, who used to be a Republican, and has since switched sides. Maybe I will next week.

But I changed my mind when I woke up this morning and saw two articles in my morning papers that made me physically ill. The first one was in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and it was about pharmacists in our fair state that are refusing to give out birth control pills for “moral reasons.” The second one was about the Kansas State Educational Board mulling the idea of removing evolution theory from school’s curriculum.

The first article made me think of just how far right we have really gone. Last time I checked it was not up to a pharmacist to decide what was right for me or anyone. I give him money and he gives me my drugs. Period. I wonder if he is not giving out the pill to married people or just young women who he knows to be single. How can he tell?

This is the classic conundrum that the religious right perpetuates. They quite simply don’t want people fucking. They feel that it is wrong and no matter what they want us, if we are not married, to stop. They are against abortion and they are against birth control which makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s completely unrealistic to push a moral code that most of the country is not going follow.

The second article just continues on the same “keep the people dumb so we can scam them” mentality. I want to go on record as saying that I think Darwin’s evolution theory is full of holes. I don’t agree with it. But it should be taught in our schools along with other scientific theories about the origins of life. Do you know where creationism should be taught? IN CHURCH!!! That’s why my family and I go there. Again I will ask, why does the right need to have religion in our public institutions? At my church, you can go everyday if you want. There are all sorts of activities every day and night of the week. Heck, you could spend more time in church than in school if you really wanted.

You know what folks? I would like to live in a country where I don’t see government interference in my life, injecting a moral code into me like a needle, and filling me full of bullshit that they don’t even follow themselves!!

I want to wake up in the United States again where my child can go to school and learn about all science and all studies and decide for herself what she believes. I want my child to go to a Presbyterian church and not be looked upon with derision because she is not an evangelical Christian. Yes, this has happened three times in the last year!!

Dude, where’s my country?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Lovers 4 Ever

Isn’t it special when two people are in love? It’s so wonderful to see that level of commitment to one another. I saw that today when I opened up my copy of the New York Times and saw our President holding hands with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. I know that my heart turns all warm and fuzzy when I see grown men hold hands. For those of you that would like to see the picture in all its glory, go here.

Isn’t it great to see two people who care for one another that much?

President Bush, yesterday, welcomed the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to the “Western White House.” First of all, am I the only one who is offended by the fact that George Bush’s house in Crawf0rd, Texas is now also known as the White House? I’m sorry but this just typifies our country’s mentality now. (I.e. guests of the Jerry Springer show) Hee Haw, folks! We done got ourselves a White House now! Now all that bih-ness of governing can be done white…I mean right.

Anyway, let’s get back to the meeting between our President and the leader of the country where most of the 9/11 Terrorists originated. Apparently, the discussions centered on how the President has been concerned about high oil prices. He wanted to make sure that Prince Abdullah understood that Americans are upset about this and he…..he..uh…..bwaah-ha-ha…..hee hee hee…..

Is any one else having trouble keeping a straight face at this point? Um, Ok, for those of you who don’t know (60 million of you btw), our President and his family are in business with the Saudi Royal Family and they make billions of dollars from oil together. The exact details of this relationship can be read in the book, “House of Bush, House of Saud” by Craig Unger.

Today on CNN, Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia weighed in on his assessment of the meeting and the rising cost of oil. When asked about the Saudi relationship with the Bush family, Jordan simply smiled and said that it was all discredited by the 9/11 report, a section that I must have missed in my reading of the book. Maybe that part was in invisible ink. Mr. Jordan, incidentally, at one time was the personal attorney for George Bush.

Well, I for one am happy that all is still well in Dream Land, where any sort of behavior can be spun to look grand for the folks governing our fine country. I have a great deal of patriotism when I go to the filling station and get gas that comes from a country that encourages anti-American sentiment in their churches. I know that when I plunk down my 2.25 per gallon (and rising) that it is going towards the physical, mental, and emotional abuse of women all across Saudi Arabia.

I especially feel all tingly inside when I know that my President is best pals with the people from that country. It’s a relationship that has no end in sight from which we all get to benefit by paying out of our noses and living under threat of further terrorism.

Of course, my buddies on the right have a solution. Let’s go drill in Alaska. Great. Yeah, that’s real forward thinking there, Red. After you have finished reading this column (and moving your lips while doing it), why don’t you come up with a solution that doesn’t effectively give the drug addict more heroin?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Reverend Bill Frist

Last Sunday. I got up in the morning, put on my suit and went to the early church service at Faith Presbyterian Church. While I was there, I noticed several quiet and peaceful people worshipping the Lord and enjoying a fine spring day. Funny, though, I did NOT notice throngs of “liberal, communist pedophiles” trying to prevent me or anyone else going to church. I also did not see any activist judges telling me that I could not go to church or worship Jesus. This Sunday I plan on going back to church for another enjoyable service.

This Sunday Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees. According to news reports, the telecast, put on by the Family Research Council will have many speakers charging that there is a Judicial War on Faith being waged.

"As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group's Web site. "For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms."

I am trying to get my head around this statement as I think it is very reflective of the absolute garbage that is coming out of our government these days. Its called fear based management, folks and it just isn’t close to reality. Here are some talking points…

First of all, our founding fathers fled Europe to ESCAPE religious prosecution. The very thing that Frist is proposing is the exact opposite of what our government should be based upon. And while we are on the subject of our Founding Fathers, let’s remember that their descendants live in the Northeast and are the very “elite, liberal scum” that are supposedly ruining our country. They are the ones that voted for Kerry while the South are once again mucking things up for everyone with their bizarre psychosis.

Second, no one is being blocked from worshipping whatever God they choose based on some decisions made by judges. People are still going to church, worshipping, and having fun WITHIN THEIR CHURCH. Why is there such a need to go beyond that and into public life? Is the Church not enough for these people anymore?

Third, why is the right still angry and yelling about everything? They won. They are running this country. So, now they want to change the law so they can run the one area of the country that is supposed to be outside of governmental control? It just proves my point that the right will never, ever be happy and constantly have to invent new enemies and devils to perpetuate their control over people.

What really strikes me the most about this is how many of my conservative family members and friends have told me that because I am Democrat I cannot be a Christian. I find this perplexing and would like some help on this one. Equally perplexing is that when I pray and talk to God, generally he/she doesn’t talk back to me and tell me what is right or wrong. He/She might give me a sign to help me with my particular problem but never once have I heard the Almighty say, “Go forth and stop judges from ruining this great land of ours.”

I can’t help but think that when this Sundays telecast wraps that the people watching and participating in all the fear and anger will have completely missed the true message of Jesus. This reminds me of a quote from a book I recently read by Maraget Starbird called The Woman with the Alabaster Jar. “The Jesus described in the Gospels is an anti-establishment hero, and incarnation of the spirit of wisdom, gentle and compassionate toward the poor and a champion of justice. It is this Jesus who is the role model for the life of any true Christian.”

Hmm. Sounds pretty good to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Five Ways Democrats Can Grow Balls

I have spent much of the time when I rant on here criticizing the right. I think it is high time we took a hard look at how the once proud and strong Democratic Party became weak and pathetic.

In a recent interview, Gore Vidal said the Democrats biggest problem is that they want to be the party who doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. They want to be nice, happy and politically correct. This reminds me of a movie called “Stripes.” I have always enjoyed the montage of magazine covers at the end of the film which clue in the viewer as to the destiny of each character. Russell Zisky, played by Harold Ramis, ended up on the cover of Urban Warfare Magazine with the byline, Zisky Rates the Russians: “They’re Pussies!”

Well, ol’ Markie here is rating the Democrats and I pretty much feel the same way. So this time around I thought I would give five action items to Howard Dean, the new Chairman of the DNC, on how to return to glory. Here they are:

1. Iraq. Most people in this country are against this war. Most people, and they are right, think that the goal of this war was to pad the pockets of big business. When the midterm elections roll around, I suggest the Democrats show images of all the people we have killed over there. Let’s start with the women and children and let’s see some real gore. I don’t want to see the pantywaist bullshit they show on the news or the 3-5 second shots Michael Moore showed in Fahrenheit 911. Let’s see some dead children. And then let’s see some executives from Haliburton golfing. The American people are coddled every day with their video games and lazy boy sofas. Most folks aren’t use to seeing that kind of horror up close and they need to see it. This war is a complete waste of resources and an insult to the men and women that serve our country in the armed forces. And while we are on the subject of war….

2. Where the hell is Osama Bin Laden? You remember, him, right? He is the guy responsible for killing 3000 people on our soil in the worst attack in our country’s history. And how about Zawahari? What is going with Al Qaeda and am I the only one left who wants to find these people and kick their ass ten different ways from Cleveland? The Democrats could start getting out into the media and saying this stuff so when the next attack comes (and it will) they can be on record questioning Bush on what he has been doing. I think Bush would be pretty hard pressed to get ANOTHER free pass if there was another major attack and he was busy counting his oil money.

3. How about some tough talk on the real nutters of the world? Folks, let’s face it. Saddam Hussein looked like Jerry Garcia after a bender when they pulled him out his hole. He was no threat to anyone. Iran and North Korea, however, ARE a threat and actually have WMDs. And aren’t we, at this very moment, doing the one thing that right wingers accuse the left of doing? Negotiating? The Dems should be all over this like white on rice. We are letting Europe handle the negotiations with Iran? Huh? And China handle North Korea? What is going on here? Shouldn’t the United States handle negotiations with the second and third dangers (the first being Al Qaeda) to our National security? The Dems used to be the party of great presidents (FDR, Truman, JFK) standing tall in the face of evil. Time to start doing that again, folks!

4. I recently watched the movie Hotel Rwanda and I hate to be the one to break this to the Democrats but people of all nationalities, races, and religions are evil. White people are not the only ones responsible for the world’s ills and they need to stop giving free passes out and/or feeling sorry for people based on the color of their skin. The Democrats could go a long way with Middle America if they judged people based on their actions alone.

5. Domestically speaking, the Democrats need to be the party of Health Care for everyone. If there is one thing, in addition to video games, that Americans love, it's money. Blaming lawyers and mal practice suits for the rising cost of health care is very one dimensional and myopic. The problem is that the industry as a whole is very greedy and needs to be stopped. The words health and money should not be uttered in the same sentence. I am not saying that I have an overall solution but it seems to me that the Democrats should stick a bunch of smart people in a room somewhere and come up with a solution that makes Joe America not have to pay through the arse when he goes to the doctor and gets his pain medications.

Well, Howard, these are my suggestions. The ball is in your court. It’s time to make like Andre and hit a cross court forehand with some wang on it and bury them!