10-23-2005 Virtuous psychotics, religious zealots and me

Cindy Sheehan, the so-called "peace mom" on a crusade to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war, is publicly blasting Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., for her continued support of the ongoing conflict.

"I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys," Sheehan writes in an open letter posted on anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore's website. "I would love to support Hillary for president if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it. I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican."--From Newsmax.com

Cindy who?

That's interesting. When Cindy is skewering Bush day after day, she's all over the news channels and newspapers. But, when she dares to pummel the Commie Queen, well, she's suddenly off of the radar screen. Funny how that works.

Be the first one on your block to send a bicyclist home in a box.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

In response to that letter you scanned you may be a responsible bike rider but I doubt you'd be silly enough to deny that there are lots of reckless cyclers roaming all over the streets on a daily basis. I seen plenty of near misses and the bikers are usually at fault. I agree that something needs to be done.

W-B 4 wheeler

Let's re-visit that letter, shall we? First, the incident in question involved a juvenile riding a bike after dark without any lighting on it at all. There's our first error. Second, where's Mom and Dad in all of this? Dad, it's dark out and I'm going for a bike ride. Okay, son? Have fun? Bad move.

Now, consider the motivation of the letter writer. Holy flying monkeys, Batman. Something annoyed me today and I demand that it be outlawed. And the letter's introductory platitude was that we should do this for the sake of the children. Ah, it's for the children. Who could be against saving the children? How utterly virtuous on the letter writer's part. The only problem being that the remainder of the letter was more of a rant against bike riders in general, and not saving those poor children.

Basically, he or she, wrapped themselves in their virtue and then quickly proceeded to demand that someone elses constitutional rights be immediately suspended. In these here lands of the still somewhat free, you're jumping into bed with one of the virtuous psychotics. Do you really want to be on the wet side of that particular bed?

Are bicycles really a problem, while the folks operating the four-wheelers are usually ignoring yield signs, stop signs, and red lights, all the while playing with their cell phones, their Mickey-Ds, their lipstick, or their personal data thingie? Get real, man.

During every hour of every single day I witness numerous motor vehicle violations being committed no matter where I happen to be. No one obeys the posted speed limits. No one wants to stop for anything. No one seems to have any qualms about running over whatever it was that was stupid enough to get in anyone's way. Road rage seems to happen more frequently than us "rational" folks would care to admit. Green means go faster than what would be considered smart. Yellow means go even faster yet. And red means going a bit faster yet might still be a good idea.

No, you see, the problem with sharing the roads with bicycles amounts to having to slow down and being courteous on occasion, and therein lies the crux of the real problem. Once you people turn that ignition key, it's balls-to-the-wall, flat-out, hair on fire aggressiveness until y'all get to where you're going to.

Someone once said that civility is the lubricant of society, and if that's truly the case, then the lot of you folks had better line up at the local Jiffy Lube for a petroleum-based enema.

Civility? Courtesy? Nah, not on these freakin' streets. Let's just ban those slower moving vehicles and bump-draft ourselves into the emergency room. Sooner or later, the virtuous psychotics will need an assist from Rescue 7.

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Take a gander at the following news bit and tell me if anything in it offends your sensibilities?

The Citizens Voice

Business, house of worship get city clearance

By:Denise Allabaugh 10/20/2005

The Islamic Education and Information Center and the Mystical Tattoo Emporium will remain on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board granted special approval for both locations to remain in a commercial zone Wednesday, despite a few complaints about clientele the tattoo parlor draws.

Abdullah Abdurruzzoq, Dorel Chesson and William Jackson addressed the zoning board about the need for the worship place for Muslims in Wilkes-Barre. A mosque is open in Mineral Springs, but only for limited hours, they said.

The center at 225 S. Main St. is open from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., since Muslims pray five times a day, beginning with an early morning prayer, they said.

Services are held Fridays. People pray and leave, and nobody congregates in front of the building, they said.

"In America, we shouldn't have to compromise our religion," said Jackson, who moved to Wilkes-Barre six years ago from New York. Jackson also stressed the need to educate people in the Wyoming Valley about their religion and lifestyle.

Zoning board member John Yencha voted in favor of granting a permit to the center, but he was the only one to vote against one for the tattoo parlor at 221 S. Main St. He said he believes people only get tattoos when they are drunk.

Deborah Hodgins, owner of the Mystical Tattoo Emporium, said they refuse to tattoo people or do body piercings when they are drunk. "If people come in intoxicated, we tell them to come back when they're sober," Hodgins said. "In today's society, tattooing is more accepted than it was. It's not just tattoos. It's art. Our clientele buy art for their bodies."

Yet, neighbor Jackie Smith and Lucille Loyack, owner of Rokay Flowers and Gift Shop at 217 S. Main St., said the tattoo parlor is bad for the neighborhood.

Loyack said she had to carry flowers out to the cars of some customers who were "actually afraid to come in." "That block is a shame. It's a disgrace to Wilkes-Barre," Loyack said. "We're supposed to believe? Give us a break."

Sam Wolfe, who owns the building where the tattoo parlor and worship place are located, said the problem with the block is prostitutes. "I wish we could get rid of the hookers," he said.

The Islamic Education and Information Center was located at 225 S. Main St. for about a year. The Mystical Tattoo Emporium was located at 221 S. Main St. for the last two years.

The code enforcement department alerted the planning and zoning office that neither place had zoning permits, said William Harris, director of planning.

Using the commercial zone for a place of worship and religious education needed special approval from the city, said Zoning Officer Leon Schuster. The tattoo parlor also needed special approval since it is not addressed in a city ordinance, Schuster said. In other business, the board also approved the opening of a new tattoo parlor at 57 N. Main St. Again, Yencha was the only board member to vote against it.

Geena and Ron Russo plan to open a tattoo parlor called 570 Tattooing Co., where body piercings also will be done. The Russos also said they will not tattoo or pierce people when they are drunk.

In America, we shouldn't have to compromise our religion," said Jackson, who moved to Wilkes-Barre six years ago from New York. Jackson also stressed the need to educate people in the Wyoming Valley about their religion and lifestyle.

There was some sort of zoning snag and that somehow translates into my being ignorant? I need to be educated whereas Islam is concerned? Why might that be? What in the f>ck did I do to Islam? Why not some Hindu and Buddhist education while we're at it. I'm a white guy. What more proof do we need that I'm not up to speed on the very latest that Victimology 101 has to offer?

Should I sign up for the Islam classes before or after I take the Spanish classes? Somebody help me to get my priorities straight here. I'm so confused. The very last thing I want is to be labeled as being insensitive by the smallish religious sect, or the loons that feel the need to sport a Grim Reaper tattoo on their asses.

Honestly, I think I learned all that I need to know about Islam on September, 11, 2001. Sorry, but killing in the name of religion is something that I just can't feature no matter which side is doing it.

How did Zappa put it?

You can't run a country
By a book of religion
Not by a heap
Or a lump or a smidgeon
Of foolish rules
Of ancient date
Designed to make
You all feel great
While you fold, spindle
And mutilate
Those unbelievers
From a neighboring state

Trust me, he was not targeting one religion, he was targeting all of them.

The Good Book says:
("It gotta be that way!")
But their book says:
With whips 'n chains
'N hand grenades..."
Have another and another
Our God says:
"There ain't no other!"
Our God says
"It's all okay!"
Our God says
"This is the way!"

It says in the book:
"Burn 'n destroy...
'N repent, 'n redeem
'N revenge, 'n deploy
'N rumble thee forth
To the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side
'Cause they don't go for what's in the book
'N that makes 'em BAD
So verily we must choppeth them up
And stompeth them down
Or rent a nice French bomb
To poof them out of existance
While leaving their real estate just where we need it
To use again
For temples in which to praise OUR GOD

Yeah, The Good Book says. Yeah! The Good Book says whatever the f>ck it is that the religious right wants to impose on other free people in this country, so who's brazen enough to try to deny that all religions cause undo strife wherever they're tried?

What would Jesus do? Got me. But iffin' we're really going to be judged when we eventually pass on, I say live and let live and allow the post-mortem chips to fall where they may. Stop thumpin' on that well-worn bible, and we'll see ya in the afterlife. Conversely, don't come bitchin' to me if God ends up being really, really pissed at you for all of your worldly misadventures.

Do unto others? Sounds like a doable plan to me. The thing is, your faith should not become my shackles just because you say it should. Or my undoing, either. If I treat my blow-up doll well, who's to say I should be divorced from her? Some priest who turned a blind eye to altar boys being sodomized in the rectory basement?

Repent and redeem yourselves silly, but keep me out of it. Life's too short for all of this religion muckity-muck. Ease up a tad. Crack a friggin' beer and watch some football. Chill out every once in a while. It won't hurt.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Rick Santorum's moralistic mindset, was it?

Whatever. All of this in response to a zoning board hearing?

I'm mental.

In the message, which was broadcast Aug. 8, al-Zawahiri said: "What you have seen, O Americans, in New York and Washington and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of the blackouts by your media, are only the losses of the initial clashes. ... You will soon experience horrors that will make you forget the horrors you have encountered in Vietnam."

The al-Qaida No. 2 man went on to say: "Jihadist forces have been established in all of Western Europe to defend the powerless within the nation. For the crimes that the Crusaders have committed against the Muslims will be reaped by Christians and Jews throughout the Western world."--WorldNetDaily.com, 10-22-2005

I'm mental?

Bob Casey

Rick Santorum

Well, so much for our fearless leaders rolling up their sleeves and fixing that, them, those problems which ail this country the most. It seems that the country--the populace--will continue to take a back seat to partisan infighting. Wonderful. Just what we needed (?).

From NewsMax.com:

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2005 11:40 p.m. EDT

Dems Tap Patrick Fitzgerald for Impeachment Probe

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are so pleased with reports that Leakgate prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is about to indict senior White House officials that they want him to lead an impeachment investigation into whether President Bush lied to Congress about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

"The CIA leak issue is only the tip of the iceberg, House Judiciary Democrat Jerrold Nadler complains in a message posted to his web site.

In a letter asking the Justice Department to expand the scope of Fitzgerald's investigation, Nadler says: "We now have reason to believe that high crimes may have been committed at the highest level [and] wrongdoing that may have led us to war and imperiled our national security.

If there is evidence that Bush or Cheney authorized aides to deliberately mislead lawmakers, Nadler told Congressional Quarterly: "That would be an impeachable offense.'"

The Manhattan Democrat is asking Acting Deputy Attorney General Robert McCallum to direct Fitzgerald to probe efforts by the White House to discredit critics of the Iraq war like former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Nadler wants Fitzgerald to determine whether attacks on Wilson were part of a "broader conspiracy knowingly to mislead Congress into authorizing a war."

Even before leaks from Fitzgerald's investigation indicated he planned indictments, Rep. Maurice Hinchey let slip the Democrats' plan to impeach Bush for alleged Iraq war lies.

In quotes picked up by the Ithaca Journal, Hinchey said in August: "My greatest hope is that all of these things will be revealed, they will be revealed in a very direct and legal context, and that in 2006 a Democratic majority will be elected to the House of Representatives, and in February of [2007] impeachment proceedings will begin."

Great! One party pulls an investigative end run on the other, while I'm doing everything I can to prevent my furnace from kicking on. Sound like a plan?

Lemme get this straight. Those evil Republicans skirt the rules and have questionable ethics, but the Democrats are as pure as the wind-driven soft money converted into hard money and then back again? Are we stupid?

If the Dems use every trick in their dirty bag of tricks to oust the filthy Republicans, sans an election, how long will it be before the Republicans start looking for a bit of investigative payback? This is nuts.

Meanwhile, kerosene, which was $1.49 a gallon at this time last year is currently going for $2.79 at the Kashmir Mart on Hazle Street. Tom Delay is in some serious hot water? Great. Wonderful. That'll keep my household budget on the black ink side of the ledger (?).

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.--Robert Anton Wilson

Zappa again:

Mr. America, walk on by your schools that do not teach
Mr. America, walk on by the minds that won't be reached
Mr. America try to hide the emptiness that's you inside
But once you find that the way you lied
And all the corny tricks you tried
Will not forestall the rising tide of

Whoopee! My side seems to be winning! Meanwhile, the country as a whole loses.

Isn't this great?

From the e-mail inbox Saving Face

A way out of the Miers mess

Oct 21, 2005 by Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- It's no secret that I think the Harriet Miers nomination was a mistake. Nonetheless, when asked how she will do in the hearings, my answer is, I hope she does well. I have no desire to see her humiliated. Nor would I take any joy in seeing her rejected, though I continue to believe it would be best for the country that she not be confirmed for the Supreme Court.

And while I remain as exercised as anyone by the lack of wisdom of this choice, I part company from those who see the Miers nomination as a betrayal of conservative principles. The idea that Bush is looking to appoint some kind of closet liberal David Souter or even some rudderless Sandra Day O'Connor clone is wildly off the mark. The president's mistake was thinking he could sneak a reliable conservative past the liberal litmus tests (on abortion, above all) by nominating a candidate at once exceptionally obscure and yet exceptionally well known to him.

The problem is that this strategy blew up in his face. Her obscurity is the result of her lack of constitutional history, which, in turn, robs her of the minimum qualifications for service on the Supreme Court. And while, post-Bork, stealth seems to be the most precious asset a conservative Supreme Court nominee can have, how stealthy is a candidate who has come out publicly for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion?

So, imagine the hearings. At first she will have to pass an implicit competency test. As case upon case is thrown at her on national television, she dare not respond, as she apparently did to Sen. Chuck Schumer while making the rounds, that she will have to ``bone up on this a little more.'' Then there will be the withering fire of conservatives such as Sen. Sam Brownback who will try to establish some grounds to believe that (a) she has a judicial philosophy, and (b) it is conservative.

And then there will be the Democrats who, in their first act of political wisdom in this millennium, have held their fire on Miers, under the old political axiom that when your opponent is committing suicide, you get out of the way. But now that Miers is so exposed on abortion, the Democrats will be poised like a reserve cavalry to come over the hills to attack her from the left -- assuming she has survived the attack from the right.

The pre-hearing omens are not good. When the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee express bipartisan exasperation, annoyance and almost indignation at her answers to the committee's simple questionnaire, she's got trouble. This after she confused Chairman Specter about her position on Griswold, the second most famous ``right to privacy'' case ever, and seemed confused when answering ranking Democrat Leahy's question about her favorite justice.

But it gets worse. There's the off-stage stuff. John Fund reports that in a conference call of conservative leaders, two confidantes of Miers explicitly said that she would overturn Roe. The subsequent denials by one of these judges that he ever said that, and the subsequent affirmation by two of the people who had heard the call that in fact he did say so, create the nightmare scenario of subpoenaed witnesses contradicting each other under oath over Miers.

We need an exit strategy from this debacle. I have it.

Lindsey Graham has been a staunch and public supporter of this nominee. Yet on Wednesday he joined Brownback in demanding privileged documents from Miers' White House tenure.

Finally, light at the end of this tunnel. A way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.

For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no previous record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- ``policy documents'' and ``legal analysis'' -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.

Which creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.

Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers' putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.

Faces saved. And we start again

Wow! Something to look forward to. No? After we dump the Texas lotto chickie, we can pick a new bible-thumpin' high court nominee and argue about Roe vs. Wade some more, while the utility companies have the state's expressed permission to cut off the heat sources of our frightened senior citizens getting by on fixed incomes as they are staring down the lubed barrel of record-setting heating bills.

There ya go!

So long as the tiresome Roe vs. Wade battle rages on, nothing else seems to matter.

Grandma went and turned popsicle on us? Oh, well. Collateral damage was inevitable, wasn't it? Give her a good Christian burial, and get on with things no matter how convoluted, or how completely off-course they seem to be.

Conservatives vs. Liberals?

Screw that log-jam bilge. I no longer have the time nor the patience for that which ails us the most. I'm gonna crack me a few sudsies and watch some NFL football.

Maybe I do have my priorities straight afterall.