Monday, April 30, 2007

Lord, grant me patience

Tomorrow I will be putting my first stub up in my series of profiles on the 2008 Presidential Candidates. I will be ranking them each with a letter grade, starting with the worst candidate and ending with the best one. I have to admit that all of them, Republican and Democrat alike, are a full letter grade or more above President Bush, who stands at a F. So, regardless of who wins, our long national nightmare will finally be over.

And you know what? It really can't come too soon. I didn't think it was possible to be MORE nauseated by Bush Co and their chin-high level of bullshit but last week drove me even further over the edge. Last Tuesday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform heard testimony from Jessica Lynch and Kevin Tillman. Remember Jessica Lynch? She was the young, Brittney Spears type who fought off the evil hoards of the enemy only to be captured, tortured, and raped. She was the "little girl Rambo" whose bravery was sung in praises over all the major media networks. And, in an intense firefight, she was rescued by the thinnest of margins by our freckled face kids at the front.

The entire story was a complete fabrication.

According to Lynch, "I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary." Lynch never fired a shot the day she was captured, she was never tortured or raped, and her "rescue" was more like an orderly transfer from hospital to another which met with no resistance whatsoever.

An even bigger lie is the story of Pat Tillman. Pat was an all star safety for the Arizona Cardinals when the September 11 attacks occurred. He and his brother, Kevin, joined the military to fight in Afghanistan. On April 22, 2004 Pat was killed in what the army described as an intense firefight with the enemy. This was a lie.

Pat was actually killed by friendly fire under circumstances that are still a mystery. Spc. Bryan O'Neal, the last man to see Tillman alive, says he was ordered by the Pentagon (Donald Rumsfeld) not to divulge how Pat died. Pat's body armour was burned so there would be no evidence that he was killed by friendly fire. According to his brother, Kevin and his mother, Mary, they believed the cover up occurred because the army wanted to deflect attention away from the Abu Gharib prison scandal. They needed a hero and they propped up Tillman as their poster boy for the War on Terror.

But was Pat really the hero they wanted? I mean, c'mon, the guy was extremely well read, supported John Kerry and urged others to do so, was friendly with Noam Chomsky, and (gasp!) was an atheist...clearly not someone who could be easily brainwashed. When questioned by the Tillman family in regards to Pat's death, Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich, Tillman's cross commander in Afghanistan (in a show of tremendous Christian empathy) told Mary Tillman that Pat "got what he deserved." He suggested that the reason they’d found no closure was that infidels such as themselves (the Tillmans do not belong to a church), when they die, are only “worm dirt.” Apparently Tillman told his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan that Iraq was "fucking illegal war" that was distracting America from the real enemy, Al Qaeda. did Pat really die? Was it accidental or did some of his fellow troops, their brains short-circuiting from not being able to process the truth, shoot Pat in a rage of jingoistic fervor? Nah, that couldn't be possible. I mean, c'mon, people aren't that far gone around the bend to believe everything that Bush Co spews at them, right? RIGHT? Well, actually, they are.

Last Monday, President George W Bush, in between his tribal dance lesson and sticking pins in his Harry Reid doll, received a purple heart. How did our commander in chief receive an award which is reserved for troops who are wounded in combat? Bill Thomas, a decorated Vietnam vet from Copperas Cove, Texas, came up with idea of presenting President Bush with HIS purple heart to the president because he felt that Bush had endured "unprecedented verbal attacks, both foreign and domestic, during his time in office. We felt like emotional wounds and scars are as hard to carry as physical wounds," Thomas said.

"I just threw up in my mouth," Markadelphia said as he heard this story of unfathomable zombiesm. As one of my co-workers, also decorated with a Purple Heart from Vietnam, told me when I relayed this story to him, "That a man who made that sacrifice for our country can be so deluded as to give his Purple Heart (like it was a used car) to rich man's son whose daddy got him out of action (or could even bring it upon himself to serve with his Texas unit) is obscene beyond words."

More obscene is the fact that there are still around 90 million people (29 percent) in this country that believe that we are fighting for freedom in Iraq in order to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks and that oil has got nothing to do with it. These same 90 million people also believe that Jesus Christ is coming back this year, we are in the final days, and if we don't do exactly what they tell us to do, all of us will be "left behind." So, as I kick off my presidential profiles series, ask yourselves this question:

Isn't it time to stop letting the loonies run the asylum?

Tuesday: John McCain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Credit Where It's Due

The original idea for my post this week came from my pal Bill. I have to give him credit for inspiring me to write what I wrote as well as check out the facts he laid out in this diatribe.

I hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bye Bye 'Berto

One more housekeeping item before I begin my series on presidential candidates. I think it is time for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Why? The first reason is this incredibly dorky picture, at left, that is his "official" photo. Second, Mr. Gonzales seems to be operating under the assumption that he is still President Bush's personal attorney. He is not. He is my attorney, your attorney, and the rest of the population of the United States' attorney. There are plenty of bad guys out there for him to catch and he has proven that he would rather spend his days making sure which of the 93 US Attorneys are "loyal Bushies" than try to....say...prevent another terrorist attack.

Now, Attorney General Gonzales did not break the law...technically....when he, Karl Rove, and multiple staff members of the Justice Department fired eight US Attorneys a few months back. Administrations can hire and fire as they please. The problem that I see with all of this is that the fired attorneys, while loyal conservatives, weren't loyal to President Bush. They were loyal to the law. So when pressure was placed on them to act in more political issues than issues of the law, they balked. In other words, they wanted to uphold the law of the land, not go on snipe hunts for W.

Most people that I talk with about this "scandal" say that no one cares, really, unless they live in Washington DC. Your average Joe or Jane doesn't really think about it because it's all just "politics as usual." Well, if I were you, I would care about it because this whole mess has exposed the depth of President Bush's bullshit. And brother is it hip deep!

He has purposefully surrounded himself with mindless sycophants who are in their j0bs because they know how to say "yes" and they have no idea how to say "no." In other words, they are in their jobs to protect the president while he bends and breaks the law. They are not serving us. They are mindlessly serving their master who selected them based on their loyalty, not on their ability to do their jobs.

Take Monica Goodling for example. Until March 26 of this year, she was the Director of Public Affairs for the Justice Department. That's the third highest member of that department. Any idea where she got her law degree? Harvard? No. Yale? Nope. She got her law degree from Regent University. What school is that you say? Well, it happens to be the one run by this man to the left: Pat Robertson. Yes, that's right. Ms. Goodling got her degree from a TV evangelist's school which, by the way, is ranked among the lowest, academically speaking, in our entire country. Care to take a guess at how many other Bush administration appointees hale from Regent University?


One hundred and fifty! It says so on their web site. Check it out here! Are you fucking kidding me? Is it any wonder that disaster after catastrophe has occurred during the last six years? These people are not smart, completely lack intellectual curiosity, and are perfect fodder for brainwashing into "loyal Bushies." Ms. Goodling is no exception.

When the fired attorneys scandal fully broke, she resigned her position at the Department of Justice and refused to testify, citing the fifth amendment. In its history, no Department of Justice employee has ever exercised their fifth amendment rights with respect to their official conduct, and remained an employee.

What will come of all of this? Who knows? But support for Attorney General Gonzales is fading, even with Republicans, and I think it's time he was replaced. President Bush needs to understand that the business of government should not be run by his personal pals and cronies. Can we please just fast forward to January of 2009 when our next president, from either side of the aisle, can appoint qualified, intelligent people that are not mindless zombies?


Friday, April 20, 2007

The Most Tears

I think the most tears I have shed this week have been about this man. I know there were people much younger than him that died but Liviu Librescu's story really got to me. A Holocaust survivor, Librescu held the door shut as his students jumped out the window. He brought them precious seconds as Cho shot through the door ultimately killing him.

The story of his life was the subject of an article on the Christian Science Monitor today. You can read it here.

What a man. What a person. What a hero. I can't help but wonder if the reason he survived all the hardships in his life was to save his student's lives in the year 2007. Simply amazing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Drugs, Mental Health....and Guns?

I was reading the New York Times' coverage today of the Virginia Tech massacre. As I turned to the back pages, I found this article. Click here. It was right next to the last part of a story about how they found prescription drugs in Cho's (the VT shooter) dorm room. Apparently Cho had also visited a mental health facility for suicidal feelings and violent thoughts.

And then I remembered hearing that Eric Harris and Dylan Kleibold, the Columbine shooters, were also on anti-depressant medication. I just double checked this and they were. For the last hour or so, I have looked up all of the major rampage killings in the last few years and guess what? There was mention of anti-depressant use in every case.


Look, I am not saying that this is THE REASON why Cho killed everyone but the Times article says that one additional child out of 100 experienced worsening suicidal feelings but that would've happened anyway? Excuse me? Cho was that child! Clearly, these psychotropic drugs fuck with your brain and no one is talking about them because who wants to take on a billion dollar industry?

Final Question: How on earth did someone who was on medication AND spent time at a mental health facility buy a gun so easily? Good Lord...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This Week: Reflection

I have decided, in light of the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday, to postpone my series on presidential candidates. It just doesn't seem appropriate.

I am still trying to get my head around what happened yesterday and how horrible it was. I am going to try to post some thoughts everyday and let's start a discussion in comments and see what happens.

My initial thoughts: this was a failure on just about every level you can think of in education. It was a failure of this university's culture to identify the young man who committed these crimes as needing help. It was a failure of security. It was a failure in response on the part of law enforcement authorities.

And now the reaction comes and that is a failure, too. The gun debate, of course, comes up again with all the typical cast of characters. No one wants to explore the real issue: why is our country so violent?

Your comments?

Monday, April 16, 2007

What Time Is It?

Time to get Wild and Loose with Morris Day and the Mother Fuckin' Time.

OK. Well, not really. Although all of you need to go out to your nearest CD store and purchase every CD released by The Time. They are:

The Time (1981)
What Time Is It? (1982)
Ice Cream Castle (1984)
Pandemonium (1990)

Anyway, the reason why I am asking myself, What Time Is It?, is because I am curious as to the calender year. It may say 2007 but it feels a heckuva lot like 2008. Why?

The 2008 Presidential Race has begun. And, sweet merciful crap, is it starting early!

Why it is starting so early is anyone's guess but my feeling is that most of our country is sick to death of George W Bush, his bullshit lies, and the rapid decay of our country that he and President Cheney are responsible for. We want to look to the future and have some hope, for crying out loud, by pretending that we can somehow kick our ignorant, child emperor out of office early.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to post yours truly's opinions on all of the candidates that have thrown their hat into the ring. I am very interested in your opinions, positive and negative alike. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting short, three or four paragraph takes on each candidate, beginning with the ones I like the least and ending with the ones I like the most. Each will receive a letter grade score. The last two, one from each party, will be the candidates that I feel would be great presidents and could really turn this country around.

I don't know how many I will put up each week, probably no more than three, so scroll down and leave comments on any post you want. Let's start multiple threads on each profile and see what everyone thinks.

Tuesday: John McCain.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Your Tax Dollars

Check out this video from YouTube. Nice picture of the palettes of money that came from YOUR tax dollars to Halliburton directly to....where exactly? This video says it was 12 billion but I have read that it was more like 9 billion dollars that basically vanished.

Let's hear it, conservatives. Since you like to bitch about tax dollars being wasted on all those lazy poor people, how do you feel about it being wasted on lazy rich people?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Gap

Take a look at this graphic to the left. I pulled this from a Christian Science Monitor article which was reporting on our new Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson. In his first major speech last year, he declared what most of us already know to be true: the poor and middle class of our country are getting screwed while the nation's elite are prospering.

"Amid this country's strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren't feeling the benefits," Paulson said during his first major speech as Treasury secretary, at Columbia University's business school in New York on Monday. "Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others."
And the median wage hasn't really gone up at all. Between 2001 and 2004, the median income of Americans with college degrees rose from $72,300 to $73,000 (after adjusting for inflation), according to a Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances.

So, what does the graph mean? Well, even though we are a wealthy nation, we rank below all these other countries in the fair distribution of that wealth. I don't know about you but....Denmark? Fucking Denmark? Good Lord.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tim Gets The Sack

It's been awhile. Time to haul out the Shitsack.

A couple of weeks ago, my old pal Merrill, staunch neocon who works out at the same gym I do, cornered me by the elipticals. "Hey, Mark. You liberals are trying to raise my taxes again. What gives? It's just sour grapes because Governor Pawlenty did something they could never do: balance the budget without raising taxes," she decried with the usual conservative fervor.

Not being too well versed on economics, I just nodded and listened as she droned on about how poor people, schools, and the elderly are stealing money from ordinary citizens like herself. This wasn't the first time I have heard a conservative trumpet the fact that our governor turned a 4.5 billion dollar deficit into a surplus. I think this is one of the few things neocons have left, which, incidentally, can be found on page 29 of the Conservative Talking Points Manual. Knowing neocon's "facts" the way I do, I decided to take a look into the current budget battle and see if I could make sense of it all.

First of all, Governor Pawlenty is completely full of shit when he says that he balanced the budget through spending cuts. They didn't even make a dent. What did make a dent is the $1 billion dollar increase in state licenses and fees as well as the $1.4 billion dollars in property tax increases (that's $866 per household) since T-Paw took office. How the spending did make a dent was in the level of service the state offers. Schools are in financial disarray, the roads have gone to hell, and cities have been laying off policemen and firemen left and right.

Second, the current budget battle is not over raising taxes. It's about returning the tax percentages to what they were before the poster child for rich people welfare took office. According to the Minnesota Revenue Service, households earning between $45,000 and $105,000 pay 12.3 percent in state and local taxes, while households earning above $105,000 pay 10.9 percent. The very wealthiest Minnesotans, who earn above $355,000, pay 9 percent.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I am paying a third more, percentage wise, in taxes than someone making three times as much money as our family does? And people are defending this? What cracks me up about fiscal conservatives is the don't just tell the simple truth. It's not that they distrust governments spending habits. It's that rich people want to keep their grubby hands on their sweaty money. They are greedy. Pick up any history book about any country and you will see the same story. People who have wealth essentially steal money from the people who don't to maintain their power and control over them. The fact that we think America is somehow "different" and is a magical place filled with freedom shows how wonderully vain and shortsighted we truly are.

Anyway, the plans that are currently being proposed in the Democratic controlled state congress return the percentages back to what they were five years ago. And it wants to add higher taxes to gas, liquor and cigarette purchases. Gee, what a shock that ol T-Paw would be against this as well....y'know, cutting into the purse of the gas, alcohol, and tobacco lobby which pretty much owns conservatives across the country including him.

So, Tim, my old friend, I have been too busy of late trying to spread the word about the dangerous psychotics in DC destroying my children's future. Up until now, you have slipped under the radar but now? Now, I am going to be up your ass with a tweezer when you start flapping your gums about taxes and liberals because you are a liar. Your only mission in life is to make sure that the wealthy of this state continue to bleed poor people dry.

And, thus, you get the Shitsack.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Worth 1000 Words

Take a look at this picture taken by Stephen Crowley of the New York Times. In the foreground is President Bush giving a speech yesterday at the White House. The figure to the left is Vice President Cheney.

Aside from the obvious hunting jokes ("Look Out! He has a gun!" or "Oh great, another shooter on the the grassy knoll..."), doesn't this image sum up the entire Bush presidency?

Bush, the figurehead, with Cheney hiding in the bushes, the one really pulling the strings?


Monday, April 02, 2007

I See Dead People

This week, I thought a break from politics was in order. There is so much going on in Washington DC that I think I have hit overload. So, I thought I would focus on a problem that has been chawing on my ass for...well...let's see...for all of the 22 years I have lived here in the beautiful state of Minnesota

Over the last couple of years, I have taken several trips to Chicago. I enjoy dropping my kids off at my mom's and having a nice weekend alone with my wife, who used to live in Chicago and loves visiting her old hometown. In addition, one of my best friends moved there in 2005 and I like to go visit her on occasion. To the left is a picture of her and me at a reggae club on Clark, a couple of blocks away from Wrigley Field. Isn't she cute?

Anyway, most of you who know me know that I am a social animal of the highest order. Given a choice, the most fun I can possibly have (sans kids) involves bullshiting with my friends at a pub or seeing a band play live. In other words, I like going out on the town, man....hitting and sticking my way through the rapture that is the club scene. The smell of Vodka red bulls, cigarettes (when they aren't banned), sweat, love, and loud music is a mega tonic for me and I really NEED to immerse myself in the pool of bar sensuality at least 3 or 4 times a month to remain sane.

Therefore you can only imagine how someone, like myself, who enjoys these things feels about a city like Chicago. Basically, it's like a steak lover devouring a Silver Butter Knife at Murray's. Chicago is the Big Mother Fuckin' Daddy of the bar and club scene. Every trip I have taken there over the last few years (on average three times a year) has been nothing short of spectacular and a large part of that is due to the night life there and the wonderfully friendly people. So, it comes with great disappointment and sadness that I must inform all of you that live in Minneapolis:

Our city is fucking lame.

Actually, lame is not harsh enough. The bar/club scene in Minneapolis is terribly appalling, terrifically tedious, and just outright awful. Why?

The people who live here are fucking lame.

Actually lame is not harsh enough. I hope I don't make too many enemies here but, citizens of the seven county Metro area, you bore me to tears. You have no energy, nothing interesting to talk about except your fucking cabin and golf. You are getting fatter by the day from sitting in front of the television watching NASCAR and eating Cheetos. The dumb ass little cliques that you all cling needfully to are sub human. In other words, you NEVER GO OUT!! What is the matter with all of you?

I think you need me to illustrate the difference between going out in Minneapolis and Chicago. It is my sincere hope that you will then understand my frustration.


Mark calls up several of his friends for a night out on the town. None of them call him back because they are dicks. Mark then elects to go to a bar by himself. The first bar he goes into has three guys in fucking baseball caps talking about their lawn mowers. One guy discusses the lamentable chore of mowing both his lawn here in town and his lawn at the cabin. Super! An attempt to engage them in a conversation elicits a series of grunts and crooked looks from the three men. One of them then says to Mark, "You talk like a fag." Mark leaves.

He then goes into another bar which has no guys present at all but does have a couple of groups of girls in them. He tries to engage each of them in conversation only to have most of them bring up, rather quickly, the fact that they have boyfriends . Others look at him like he just shit his pants and the stink is wafting around him.

Finally, he tries a bar with a band playing. The room is large and could probably handle 300 people. Mark sees four people there, probably friends of the band, dancing in the empty darkness.

It is 10pm on a Friday night.


Mark calls up his friends in Chicago. All of them call him back and either agree to join him or say they have other plans. Mark stops at one of the eight thousand bars on Clark to have a quiet beer by himself before meeting with his friends. He sits at the bar. A basketball game is on TV and the other guys at the bar engage Mark in a hoops related conversation. I learn their names and hear about their lives. They play 16 inch softball in Grant Park. They work at various jobs around town, all of which are interesting, and have girlfriends except Chad who has a boyfriend.

Throughout the course of his stay at this bar, women come up to him. They ask him his name, inquire about his marital status, bullshit about bands, love, orgasms and life. Mark says his goodbyes and meets his friends at another bar on Clark. More drinking, laughing, goofing around, ass grabbing, and meeting new people are had at this bar. Everyone is outgoing and extremely friendly. We then go to another club to see a band where we pick up more people. They are all interested in what I have to say. I am interested in their stories.

It is 10pm on a Friday night.

Now can you see the difference?

People of Minneapolis (speaking specifically to the guys here): Put down your video game controller, go out to a bar and cut loose with your pals. Talk about life, sports, music...actually have a conversation with someone. Going out to a bar with your laptop and mulling over fantasy football picks is not what I am talking about. Do you have to go to your cabin every weekend? There is a whole city out there to enjoy, people to meet, and a culture to suck. Do you really want to spend your time in a fucking golf cart with man tits bouncing around through your stupid looking polo shirt?

And ladies, don't think you are immune to criticism either. I would humbly suggest to you that when you do go out to a bar or a club, please remove the giant pole that you have up your ass and separate yourself from your herd. I realize that our culture here in the Northwoods frowns upon people being friendly to one another but, good God, woman! The unhappiness you feel in your life can be directly traced to the fact that you don't take any risks and maybe...say...starting a conversation with a cool looking dude at a club might make you enjoy life a little more. Better yet, open up your little sewing circle and let some more chicks in. Check that catty bullshit at the is too short.

I say all of these things out of tough love because, in the end, I really do love all of you but you are really letting me down. It's so obvious to me that most of your unhappiness stems from the fact that you have filled your life with meaningless bullcrap that takes you away from the social contact you need as a human being. You have so much potential to be much happier people than you are but you are squandering it by refusing to cut loose once a week and kick out the jams. Stop being so fucking insular and realize that your experience on this planet is a human one and there are scores of people out there waiting to help you revel in it. There are scores of empty places in our fair city that are willing and anxiously waiting for you to decorate their establishments with the wonder that is you.

They are called bars. They are called clubs. And people go there to have fun.

So, enough with the staying-at-home-non-phone call-returning-when-I-call-you-up-to-go-out-bullshit! I know you have it in you. Get out, talk loud, and be proud.

And let me know where you will be at so we can hook up later.