Wednesday, December 29, 2004

ALERT: Spammer Viruses On The Rise!

This is a heads-up to all online users out there: watch out for a rash of new viruses being sent via email!

It seems that this commentator's inbox is getting hit with more and more Spam messages with virus attachments in them. I have received no less than five virus-laden messages in my inbox every day since December 26th. (Normally I get maybe five per week.) Most of them have been caught in my ISP's Spam filter, but some do manage to get through, where they are purged of the virus either by my ISP's anti-virus filter or through my computer's protection programs.

Coincidence? No. In fact in one of the new columns I'll be submitting in January, I point out the reason why there is a rash of new virus messages. (Here's a hint: it has something to do with what people do around the holidays.) But if you can't wait, check out Wired's article on the subject. I'm not the only one noticing this!

And don't be lulled by the news that AOL is getting less Spam than before. It's good news, but not great. Just because AOL is reporting less Spam doesn't mean that there really is less of it out there.

In the meantime, though, be careful about the messages you get, and make sure that your computer is up to snuff with anti-virus and anti-spyware programs!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Who will be missed the most from 2004?

2004 had its share of losses, and one of the topics that I failed to include in the 2004 Brutally Honest Awards is a category of "Biggest Loss".

Now some people would like to think that the death of former president Ronald Reagan was the biggest loss for the year, but I really disagree with it. Yes, Reagan was a great president. He appealed to the public in a way that not even Bill Clinton ever could. That's why he was known as "The Great Communicator".

But here's the thing: Reagan had been in seclusion for almost a whole decade after it was revealed he suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. While it was still sad that he would eventually die, his passing was more or less expected.

The biggest real loss, though, is someone whom you wouldn't expect to die either from age, disease, or sheer recklessness. And there's only one person who really fit the bill for that in 2004: Christopher Reeve.

Although seriously paralized, Reeve still remained active, not only in the TV series "Smallville" playing the mysterious mentor to the future-Superman, but also on stage. (Of course, it should be mentioned that Reeve is best known for playing Superman in the four movies in the late 1970's and 1980's.) How he died, as well as the fact that he DID die, came as a complete shock and surprise to everyone who saw him as a man who continued to fight the paralisys that kept him in his chair for the past decade, as well as serve as an inspiration to others like him.

So that's my pick for the biggest loss in 2004.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Quick DVD review: I, Robot

One of the gifts I got for Christmas was Will Smith's new Sci-Fi movie "I, Robot", which is remotely based on the series of legendary stories by Isaac Asimov.

The basic story is this: in the near future, a Chicago cop (Smith) with something of a grudge against robots is personally called to investigate the apparent suicide of the chief inventor of robots. But he thinks that this wasn't a suicide. Instead, he thinks that one of these brand-new robots killed the man. Which, of course, is impossible, because these robots are governed by the "three laws", and the first one prevents a robot from harming anyone much less kill them. That's just the first of many strange things that happen in this movie.

In terms of science fiction, the movie comes across as somewhat realistic. It's a little hard to believe that in the span of thirty years the automobile would become this automatic wonder that can drive forward, backward, diagonal or sideways, much less one that is automatic enough for people to expect the computers to do the driving for them. It's also a little unrealistic to see crowded busy highways in Chicago being replaced by smooth underground highways. But I like their idea of valet parking!

The development of robots in thirty years time is somewhat realistic given the current development of computers and in artificial limbs. The overall acceptance of robots handling menial jobs, though, is pushing things a bit.

Smith's character as Detective Spooner is questionable. He's not a luddite, although the movie tried to convey that impression. Being paranoid to the point of sleeping with a gun and showering without a curtain is not something that was explained. And wearing "vintage" 2004 Converse high-top sneakers is not being a luddite - that's called deliberate product placement.

All in all, though, it's not too bad for a science fiction video. The extra features are okay, although there wasn't much more on Asimov's classic in the special features other than the continual reference of the "Three Laws". (They'll probably come up with a super-duper "upgraded" version of the DVD in six months with a whole lot more detail.) Still, it's something worth watching.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Quick thoughts about Xmas

How did Rudolph become "the most famous reindeer of all" if all he's mentioned in is that silly song? What else did he do to get that distinction? Did he lead a commando strike against Iraq or something?


Crusading Conservatives hell-bent of forcing people to say "CHRISTMAS" instead of "Xmas" need to get a clue! The "X" on "Xmas" is the Greek letter "Chi", which is the start of the word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, which is Greek for Christ. People began using the abbreviated version because it was easier to write. You remember writing, don't you? It was that thing that people did before keyboards, and typewriters were just a bit too bulky to lug around all of the time.

Oh, BTW, just because you have a cross up your butt, it doesn't mean that you're handicapped, so stop acting like you are!


"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" may seem like a comedy to some families, and a sick joke to others, but for some it's a documentary.


The jewelry stores have apparently picked up that annoying habit from the car dealers about running LOUD COMMERCIALS during the holiday season. Another brutal voice on the airwaves has a very simply rule regarding this tactic: the louder the voice, the dumber the target audience.


"I'll Be Home For Christmas" is really a very cruel song if you think about it. I'll be home, you can count on it, have all of the trimmings and decorations up, I'll be there... but only in our dreams! That's cruel!

What's even crueler is that there are plenty of servicemen and women who have to go through the real thing. Hang in there guys!


Thankfully, once again we are not besieged with a "gimme" gift. There is no "absolutely, positively, gotta risk life and limb to get" gift this year. No riots in the stores, no black market, no hysteria.... The closest thing to a "gimme" gift are those new iPod players, but they're still pretty expensive and there is still that battery issue to deal with.


Shopping at Target is a whole lot easier now that we don't have to worry about bell-ringers! And it hasn't stopped people from showing up either. (Are you listening AFA? Oh, that's right, I forgot, you don't listen, you DICTATE and then expect everyone else to listen and obey.)

By the way, I went shopping recently (for groceries) and I came across one of those bell-ringers. So after I did my required grocery shopping, I pulled out a dollar to give to the kettle (as I try to do every time), but by then, the guy packed up shop and moved the kettle indoors. So, you see, I DO give when it's possible! I have nothing against the charities, but I don't think that one charity should be given a special exemption from a company policy just because of intimidation tactics from the anti-American Family Association!


In the screwed-up department: did you ever notice that when we're kids, we want toys, but then end up with socks and underwear? But then when we become adults, we want socks and underwear and end up getting toys! Why can't we get that right?


Does anyone REALLY give a brand new car away as a gift for Christmas? I mean, it's a little hard to hide that sucker!

Update: Apparently some folks DO give new cars away for Christmas... but they're all people who can afford rich luxury vehicles. Must be nice to have that much money to burn.


If NORAD can track Santa, can't the terrorists track him as well? Maybe Donny Rumsfeld should ship some armor up to the North Pole!


Who came up with the asinine belief that Santa only goes to rich people's homes? Growing up, my family was FAR from rich, but Santa always made an appearance. Santa shows up at my sister's home every year, much to the delight of her two little girls, and they're also struggling to make ends meet. Both of my parents didn't come from "rich" homes, but Santa still showed up at those places each and every year. So all you class warfare liberals knock off your BS!


You know the song "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"? They suggest that we spend our time telling scary ghost stories... now aside from "A Christmas Carol", does ANYONE really tell ghost stories during Christmas? Again, another one of those PAGAN Yuletide traditions!


How did fruitcake get a bad rap? Did you ever EAT fruitcake? (Yes, with your mouth, not use it as a sopository as the Christian Conservatives seem to do.) Let me tell you, as a college graduate that spent many a night with the 2am munchies before finals, fruitcake is very filling!


Did you know it takes a lot of effort to be a Scrooge or a Grinch? You have to have a real PASSION to despise Christmas, and it's the same passion one would have to LOVE Christmas. It takes almost zero effort to be apathetic. So the real enemy of Christmas isn't the one who HATES the season... it's the one that just doesn't give a damn.


I wonder how the Christian Conservatives would respond if I started wishing people a "Merry Ho-Ho"? Well those kinds of people are in desperate need of a "Merry Ho-Ho" to begin with! Have you ever tried to be merry and festive with a whole fruitcake rammed up your butt?


Okay folks, that's going to be it for quick thoughts. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, and Merry Ho-Ho... and if you take offense to my words, then go seek a proctologist, because you probably have some fruitcake with holly leaves and mistletoe crammed up your butt!

Monday, December 20, 2004

It's weird to be on break...

Well the last show and the last column for 2004 are done... the last transcripts for the year are out... and now it feels weird.

I've been doing online commenatary since 1996... that's a long time, folks. And with the exception of the first year or so, I took a month-long break right before Christmas. It's weird, because I spend most of the year just busting my butt getting a new columan and a new rant out every week, and then for that month, there's none of that stress.

It's also pretty dangerous because quite often I get used to having the time off and I try to kick-start some other program, which then gets compounded with all of the usual hassles that get started in January. So hopefully I can keep from doing that, and spend the time off to actually relax and work on updating the website for next year.

Is Rumsfeld Next?

There is apparently incredible pressure in Washington for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to join the mass exodus of Bush Junior's first term cabinet. However, unlike some other cabinet members like AG Ashcroft and Homeland Czar Ridge, this would be more of a firing than a resignation.

Members of Congress want Rumsfeld to resign so he could take the fall for some of the screw-ups going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. There have been several times when Osama bin Pig Bastard was reportedly spotted but then the search would be called off... leaving things to local tribes that promsied to bring him in, but then were also loyal to Pig Bastard. Then there's the big talk about the soldiers not having "armor", and getting killed because their vehicles weren't properly equipped for heavy combat.

Hey, you want to fire the people responsible for that? It's not Rumsfeld... it's the Pentagon! That five-sided monestary of endless government spending and needless paperwork is the source of most of the problems with our military. Somewhere in that demented paper-pushing Twilight Zone are the specs for military vehicles, and, in order to cut business costs so that some contractor can afford an executive bonus, they were given the standard equipment instead of the heavy combat toys that were required.

Sure "Rummy" has screwed up a few times. He got caught rubber-stamping letters home to the families of dead soldiers... but that probably wasn't the first time that was done. Who in Washington DOESN'T do that? I've gotten a few letters from the White House that were clearly signed by a laser printer instead of a human hand. I wouldn't even be surprised if my father's official commendation for serving during the Cold War was signed the same way.

Hey, I'm no big fan of Rumsfeld either... but this should be his call and the President's to make. If Congress wants to make the call, they can have an impeachment hearing and make it official.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

quick thoughts for 12/14

Couple of quick thoughts for today...

First, the jury in the Laci Peterson murder trial voted to have Scott Peterson go on death row. As I pointed out in my column, the kind of punishment that he's deserving cannot be given, either on earth or elsewhere. But he does deserve to die. He's a self-centered bastard that needs to depart from this world at the first opportunity.

What pisses me off is that he still has his legions of female fans, willing to "save" him from his fate! What kind of demented lives are these women living? This isn't "General Hospital" or "Days of Our Lives"! This is the real world!

Unfortunately, California is one of those states that has a piss-poor record with people on Death Row. There are over 600 people waiting to be executed there. Looks like "the Governator" needs to do some serious housecleaning there!


So Thug Guliani's right-hand man had to back out of the Homeland Security job because of a nanny problem, huh? Well it seems the New York Times (not a big Bush Fan to begin with) is claiming that this was just the tip of the iceberg with Chief Bernard Kerik. Apparently there's a link to organized crime that the White House supposedly "skipped".

Thug Guliani, the patron saint of 9/11, was not considered to be a thug without reason. His heavy-handed dealing with city affairs earned him that title. But as he just found out, that "sainthood" doesn't extend to his people.

Then again, Kerik would have been in good company with the GOP, given Senator Brownback's generous housing gift from religious groups and Tom DeLay's new "get out of impeachment free" card while waiting to see if he gets indicted in his home state for gross abuse of power. Yup, nothing like good old-fashioned Republican VALUES!


CBS is dragging their heels on the results of the "Memogate" report. Again, not surprised by this. They're waiting until all of the furor goes down... either that or they'll release it after Dan Rather leaves the anchor desk in April and then claim that it's too late to do anything about it because Rather has already left. Either way, they're going to cover this embarrassment up.


MSNBC is claiming that "bloggers" (which includes me) are not considered to be "people".


Well, reading more into it, I learned that the Democratic Party now consider "bloggers" to be the new media. In other words, they're "journalists", not just your casual spectator.

Well it's nice to see that we get some props for our work. Although I'll stick with my original title of "columnist". I've been a reporter, and I know what it takes to crank out a good journalistic article, but I'd rather give you my take on things as a columnist than to try to claim it to be the "absolute and unbiased truth".

Monday, December 13, 2004

Bye-bye NASA paper-pusher!

So the bureaucrat who has kept NASA grounded has finally announced his departure!

Well I hope the door smacks him on his way out and knocks him on his ass!

This is the guy who mothballed the space shuttle fleet after Columbia burned up on re-entry. He had no plans to replace the aging fleet and was more than willing to let vital projects like repairing the Hubble space telescope die because it "wasn't worth the risk". He thinks that the space program should just send robotic probes into the great beyond.

Now if we want to send stuff up to the International Space Station, we have to call up RUSSIA! RUSSIA! We've been to the moon and back over and over again, but we have to call on a space agency that has never left Earth orbit to rotate our crew and send up supplies.

And speaking of supplies, there was word this past weekend that NASA was telling the ISS crew to cut back on the food because they were running out. If they run out of food, they may actually have to ABANDON the station!

Listen, we have a private shuttle now. SpaceShipOne has proven itself capable to be launched into space and return a whole lot safer than the old shuttles. I say call them up, have them bring up some take-out to the ISS, and then hang a big banner in front of the cameras that says "Goodbye and good riddance Sean O'Keefe!" That's more than fitting for a man who turned NASA's symbol from an eagle to an ostrich.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Face Of The Enemy

You want to know who's been making the biggest bitch about content on TV? You want to know who's responsible for all of these complaints the FCC get about your favorite TV program?

According to the folks at Mediaweek, the enemy has a name: The Parents Television Council.

Sound familliar? It should. Couple of years ago, the PTC went after professional wrestling, declaring it to be "anti-family".

Wrestling promoted Vince McMahon used his legal troubles with the PTC to come up with a new wrestling group called the "Right To Censor" (RTC), which decried all of the antics of professional wrestling.

Well according to the folks at Mediaweek, 99.8% of ALL complaints sent to them are from the PTC!

And remember Jeff Jarvis? He's the blogger who discovered the discrepency in complaints about a Fox TV program, reducing 159 "official" complaints to actually coming from 23 people (and if you cut out the form letters, it goes down to THREE people). Guess which group sent those letters? You guessed it! The PTC! Not only that, but they're wondering what happened to the other "4000"!

Cripes! These people are the original spammers!

Anyway, Fox is now appealing the fine imposed on them, and they're using this information as part of their case to contest the process.

Oh, and Mediaweek gave Jeff some credit for his discovery. Good going Jeff! Keep up the fight!

Monday, December 06, 2004

So which way does YOUR tree lean?

Well I'm sure most people realize that America has become politically polarized of late. "Red" states versus "blue" ones, "metro" versus "retro", "progressives" versus "traditionalists", cognitive thinkers versus fundamentalist...

But did you know that this polarization has affected the holiday season as well? Well why not? It's affected everything else!

For instance, how many conservatives have discovered that their Christmas trees have a distinct lean towards the left? And no matter what you do, that lean is always there? No, you're not imagining things, Dittoheads, you ended up with a "liberal" tree!

So I'm sure some of you diehard crusaders are saying "So what? We survived eight years of Clinton, we'll survive through Christmas with a liberal tree!"

Well don't be surprised if you notice that your tree becomes a little stubborn when it comes time to put up the decorations.

For starters, it'll reject that traditional angel you put on the top of it. It'll constantly try to topple that thing off its crown. It'll welcome a star... as long as it comes from Hollywood. You'll also notice that your lights will burn out a little faster if they're on a liberal tree. You see, the tree will do everything to try to get you to cut down on electricity, so the fewer lights that get power, the less electricity that is needed, and the less pollution that gets cranked out by those electrical companies. It'll also shed that tinsel and those plastic ornaments faster than a goose during molting season. And forget putting a manger scene under that tree... because it'll be covered with pine needles from day one.

Oh, and I'm sorry, conservatives, but you cannot "Hannitize" these liberal trees. They're pissed off already by the sheer volume of books that were created from the slaughter of their brothers and sisters in the forrest.

Meanwhile, of course, many liberals end up making the mistake of getting a "conservative" tree to serve as their "seasonal celebration" tree. It's not hard to spot them... after all, they will always have a lean to the right, no matter how much wire you string up and how much you pad the base. And forget trying to put up ribbons and popcorn strings. These trees won't look good at all unless it has some electrical lights on them. And it will WANT an angel on it. Not a star, but an actual Christian angel.

Oh, and a good conservative tree will drink a lot of water... and none of that purified and filtered bottled water either! It'll need straight tap water or else it will shrivel up and DIE on you! And you don't want to be responsible for the death on an innocent tree, do you?

But don't worry, I haven't forgotten the rest of America... much like humans, there are some Christmas trees that are "libertarian"... in that they always have that forward lean to it. These are usually great trees to have. They give great pine scents to them, they have full branches and healthy needles, and you can put any kind of decoration on it and it will look great. And to keep the tree from completely falling over, you have to tie things to the right and to the left of it.

Of course there are also "tyrannical" trees as well... constantly leaning towards the back. But for some reason Americans don't want to do anything about those trees. They just demand a lot of attention, drink water like a sponge, get dry real quickly, their trunk is loaded with sap so you can't even get near it without getting all sticky, and you usually find at least one dead animal in its branches, which eventually will stink up the place even after you remove it. They are prone to falling over, but because they usually hit the back wall, most folks don't give a crap about them... they're instead concerned about the damage they cause to the ornaments and lights when they do tip.

So you see, my friends, how important it is to get a tree that matches your political affiliation. After all, your choice of a tree can affect how you celebrate the season!

But in all seriousness... have you noticed that people don't like how a tree leans, no matter what direction it leans towards? They prefer a tree that stands straight in middle, and they will do everything possible to make sure it stays right in the middle. Can you imagine how our trees would look if we REALLY set them up and decorated them according to our political affiliations? Cripes, the White House tree would be horizontal, with an ongoing debate over which SIDE the tree it should be horizontal on!

Something to think about, folks.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Holiday/Year End Schedule

Wow! It's December already! It's scary to know just how fast the year flies.

Well I suppose I should be making the announcements as to when I'll be shutting down the Brutally Honest Command Center for the year... if I don't do it now, I'll probably just arbitrarily shut things down, and then people will complain about it.

So here goes...

The last Brutally Honest Audio Rant for 2004 will be on December 15th. I don't know what I'll have in mind for it yet, but it will probably be short and sweet to tide things over until January.

The final column for 2004 will be out on December 20th. As has been tradition, this will be the 2004 Brutally Honest Awards.

Tenative restart for the website will either be January 17th or 24th of 2005.

However, I WILL keep this blog website active, providing updates and quick thoughts on whatever happens.

So what happens during the downtime? Well besides enjoy the holiday season and take care of the utter insanity that goes on every year at this time in my bill-paying job, I spend the downtime retooling the website and my audio broadcasts. New graphics, new layout, new music... Lots of fun stuff to do. Anyway, it should be real interesting.

Oh, quick link: if you want to get some of the audio clips you hear in my shows, including some holiday stuff, check out the Daily Wav. They put at least 2 clips up per weekday and only ask for a modest voluntary PayPal donation to help keep things running.

FCC Powell defends himself... badly.

So the grand poobah of the Federalist Christian Censors, Michael Powell, has cobbled out an editorial in the New York Times (all the news that's fit to spin) defending his precious power over the broadcast medium.

Here's the condensed version: Powell claims that he's a "big supporter" of the First Amendment, but that Congress wrote this law that says that his office has to enforce decency rules, so that's what his people are trying to do. So all of these complaints about fines is nothing more than the grumblings of big corporations who pander to the lowest common denominator simply to make money.

But not so fast Mikey... remember the blogger that exposed a previous FCC claim of being nothing more than three moralists? Well Jeff's got his own take on this, and I would seriously hope you check it out, because he uses the FCC's rules and past actions to counter Powell's claims.

My take on this is really very simple... the FCC is enforcing dinosaur rules that must be made extinct, and WILL be made extinct once the digital medium becomes the norm. And as long as Powell lays off the censorship crusade, he comes off as a pretty decent techno-savvy guy. The problem is that he's having to listen to the FCC's "Indecency Czar" Michael Copps and Senator Sam "I Hate Stern" Brownback (who still gets free housing from religious groups) telling him what he has to go after.

You know, of all of the people leaving government in the next few months, why can't Copps and Brownback go as well?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Update... And an absurd request from Fox

You know that little caveat that was tossed into the omnibus spending bill that I mentioned in the previous blog? You know which one... the one that allows the chairman of the House or Senate Finance committee (or any member of their staff or anyone they designate) to be able to peer into anyone's tax returns for any reason. Well, it seems Congress will have it removed before it reaches the president's desk.

Still, the buck-passing continues as people try to find out who specifically was responsible for this little Gestapo bugger and how it bypassed the committee process in the first place. The current excuse is that it came from some no-name advisory committee in the Internal Revenue Service, but that still doesn't explain how it got included just before it would be voted upon by the House and Senate.

The truth is, of course, that nobody WANTS to take the blame for this because it confirms what us freedom-lovers have feared all this time... the whole legislative process is corrupt to the core.

So now here comes the absurd request from both Fox News and Congressman Brian Baird from the state of Washington: Congress should READ the bills before voting on them.

What? Actually READ these bills? Are you NUTS??

Have you ever tried to READ one of these things? I did! They make "War and Peace" look like a pamphlet!

Ronald Reagan once tried to get Congress to clean up their act by having one copy of the budget brought in by a wheelbarrow. He told Congress in no uncertain terms "if I can't read it, I won't sign it." Well either he became a speed reader, or his Alzheimer's kicked in because Congress never trimmed their bills or budgets.

Members of Congress NEVER read bills. They just don't have the time! They're out campaigning or on "fact-finding missions" (a.k.a. vacation) or stuck in committee meetings.

Here's how it works, boys and girls...
  1. Members of Congress let the lobbyists write the bills, because they presumably know what the language of the bill should be.
  2. Members of Congress then get their staff to summarize the bill into key bullet-points. That way, if they have to explain things to either the media or to their constituents, they will at least make it look like they know what's going on.
  3. When the time comes to vote, these members of Congress will not vote based on the merits of the bill presented, but whether or not it's politically expedient for them to do so. They will vote because the party's majority whip tells them to vote a certain way, or because their chief lobbyist/financier tells them to vote this way.

THAT is how Congress runs things! And you expect them to actually take the time to READ these stupid things before voting on them? Even if they're given the time to do so, they're not going to do it. They might actually develop a conscience!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey folks,

Well Thanksgiving is just about upon us. I've been enjoying a much-needed vacation from my bill-paying job, and it's sort of good that I got some time to relax and chill out, especially with the holidays here. Cripes! The holiday shopping traffic is ALREADY here! It's insane!

So while I have a few minutes in between working on stuff for this week's very vocal rant, I want to cover a few things...


Well Dan Rather is stepping down from his comfy anchor desk over at CBS News. I'm sure some of you are saying "There! Happy? He's gone!" No, I'm sorry, but I'm not happy that he's leaving, because it is still ON HIS OWN TERMS!

Dan Rather needed to either resign IMMEDIATELY after the fraudulent memos were announced. Either that or he needed to be FIRED, along with the producer who provided the memos. Both of them still have their jobs! Rather isn't leaving CBS News, he's just leaving the anchor desk. He's still going to draw a paycheck from them.

Meanwhile, a night-shift network producer was FIRED from CBS because he DARED to interrupt the last five minutes of CSI with the official news of Yasir Arafat's death! CBS apologized for interrupting five minutes of airtime with an ACTUAL NEWS STORY!

And Dan Rather kept his job, and so did the producer of that forged memo story. Now THAT is social injustice for you! Yeah, that's sticking up for journalism. Heaven help us if a nuke goes off during the finale of "Survivor"! You won't get the late-breaking news from CBS, that much is certain!


NBA riot: that's the subject for this week's audio rant, so I won't cover it here.


Spending my off-time playing "Dead or Alive Ultimate" on the Xbox. That is a KICK-ASS game! Great graphics and audio. That and a nice classic tune from Aerosmith in the intro.


So the Congress managed to FINALLY get the budget passed! Hey, it only took them almost two months this time. Last year it took them SIX MONTHS! Six months of operating without a budget for the year.

It finally occurred to me why members of Congress drag their asses on this time and time again... because it's due in October, and if they pass it with all of the pork and unconstitutional laws that they want before the elections in November, it would end their careers!

Oh, and there's one little bit added in this "omnibus spending bill" that should piss you off. It seems that the Chairman of the House Finance Committee penned in a little law that would give him and any member of his staff the right to look at ANYONE'S tax returns! Anyone! Not just Congress... not just members of the military... EVERY TAX RECORD FOR ANY CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

Congress is calling this either a "mistake" or a "misunderstanding", depending on which apologist describes it.

Well if it's a mistake, then why don't they ask Bush Junior to exercise his line-item veto power? Bush Junior hasn't vetoed a single bill in his four years in office! What's wrong with this guy? Why hasn't he carried out some of that fiscal responsibility that he claims to possess?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Moralists strike again!

Anyone see the Fox TV realitiy show "Married by America"? Apparently some folks did... enough for them to generate protests.

The Federalist Christian Censors reported that over 150 complaints came in about the content of a certain episode. But when a freedom-loving individual filed a request through the Freedom Of Information Act to see these compalints, it turns out that MOST of the complaints were copies and form letters, which the FCC supposedly ignore.

The ACTUAL number of original complaints? Three! THREE!

Check it out if you don't believe me!

THREE MORALISTS are supposedly enough to get the FCC to go after Fox!

And you folks wonder why I call moralism the biggest threat to freedom?

(Actually I was surprised that this guy could even GET a response from the FCC using a FOIA request. Ashcroft supposedly declared FOIA null and void after 9/11.)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Category 6: What A Waste!

Okay brutally honest supporters, I made a mistake...

I made a mistake and decided to watch part 1 of the CBS miniseries "Category 6: Day of Destruction". This was Viacom's version of a big-budget "sweeps week" disaster special, and believe me, it WAS a disaster.

We start with a "supercell" storm sweeping through Las Vegas, decimating the city of neon. The folks at the National Weather Service get upset about it because "they didn't detect it in time". Yeah, right. I'm sorry folks, but I get warnings all of the time from them. And they couldn't tell one "supercell" storm was sweeping across the desert?

By the way, does this sound familiar? Sure it does! Remember "10.5" on NBC? The first thing you see is Seattle being destroyed. I guess it's supposed to be an ominous warning of things to come, but you know that this isn't it.

We have a hurricane-type storm (but not a hurricane) that magically forms in the Gulf of Mexico and plows through some oil refineries, causing energy problems. Again, NWS was supposedly "unable" to spot this one too. So our intuitive father-figure there makes the announcement that he wants to know when a dog farts anywhere outdoors.

Speaking of energy, that brings us to Chicago and an Enron-style crisis in the works. It's incredibly hot, energy is at a premium, and we have an evil energy corporation doing everything possible to get as much control over the grid as possible, including sending attractive blondes to get into affairs. One power grid worker gets seduced, another blabs about the security flaws to a reporter... who, of course, is being barred from pursuing the story because IT IS a big EEEEEVIL corporation.

Oh, and of course we have the various boilerroom human interest stories. You can't have a big-budget miniseries disaster (as compared to a big-budget disaster miniseries) without a few dozen people to get personally involved. We have Randy Quaid playing a thrill-seeking mercenary storm-chaser and tour guide who leaves a bunch of paying customers in the middle of a thunderstorm so he can chase that Vegas "supercell" towards Chicago. All he needs is that crop-duster and he can bring back his "Independence Day" character. We have Nancy McKeon playing the frustrated reporter, who keeps on dropping hints of doom and gloom and pissing off her boss. We have Diane Wiest, who is playing the Secretary of Energy, and apparently she's only good for making vocal threats and complaining about the environment. (What? No White House people?)

Okay, I won't tie you up with too much of the story, because it's pretty much boilerroom trash. We have the standard EEEEEEEVIL corporation creating both an environmental AND technological disaster, and when a "hacker" suddenly crashes electrical grids right and left... including just before this big "mother" of a storm comes through Chicago, you have to wonder if the EEEEEEVIL corporation is behind it as well. So we have "Mother Nature" cause havoc over our energy consumption, and we have the "evil hacker" causing havoc over our "unsecured" utility systems. And as we finish off part 1, our reporting heroine is signing off with a twister forming right over her head.

What a WASTE of time, energy, and talent!

And I probably will not see part 2 either... mostly because it comes on when I'm doing my show, and I just don't see it worth taping. I mean, the only reason why I was watching it in the first place was because ABC did that equally pathetic American Music Awards show instead of airing "Desperate Housewives" and "Boston Legal".

I should have just popped in a DVD.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Quick EEEEVIL thought...

Looking and listening to the chaos surrounding the arrival of Yasir Arafat's corpse in the West Bank brought out an interesting and EEEEEEEVIL thought.

If the Israelis were such the hell-spawed devils that the Arabs and scroll-thumpers make them out to be, then they would use this opportunity to cull the ranks of the Palestinians by a few thousand with one-felled military strike. You're seeing an INCREDIBLE concentration of Palestinians, including active or potentially active terrorists. These are people who pray for and act towards the extermination of Israel and every Israeli on the face of the planet. Some hellfire missiles and some napalm could easily cripple the Palestinian cause. Of course that is IF the Israeilis were the evil malicious murderers that the Arab world wants people to believe.

Just a quick EEEEEEVIL thought... nothing more.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

FCC Strikes Again!

The Federalist Christian Censors have struck again!

Today is Veteran's Day, a day to remember those who served in defense of America. People like my father, who saw active combat in the Bay of Pigs and was on point on board the USS Joseph P. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. People like my grand-uncle, who served and died in World War II.

The folks at ABC thought that it would be appropriate to mark the day by airing the Steven Spielberg movie "Saving Private Ryan", which was based on an actual account of World War II and of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. They've done this before without any problems, so they figured that they can do it again this year.

But not so fast. The movie contains GRAPHIC depictions of combat, including all of the blood and gore associated with war. Plus some of the soldiers used profanity. They weren't all choir boys saying "Golly" and "Gee wilikers"!

And due to the contract ABC signed with Spielberg, this movie CANNOT BE EDITED FOR CONTENT! That means that if ABC wants to air this movie, they have to air it uncut, uncensored, and unedited! All of those nasty words and blood and guts and severed limbs have to stay if ABC wants people to see this movie.

Now in the past, if TV stations wanted to air something that would obviously be disturbing to bible-thumpers and freedom-haters, all they had to do was go to the FCC and get a waiver. CBS did that with "Schindler's List", and ABC did that in the past with "Private Ryan". But this year, the FCC refuses to issue such a waiver. They're also not warning broadcasters that they could be fined for airing this movie. They're essentially leaving it up to TV stations to decide whether or not this movie is worth risking their broadcasting license over.

So several ABC affiliates have made the conscious decision to NOT air the movie, stating that until they can assertion whether or not they would be punished for the content of the movie, they will err on the side of caution. They will, instead, air local programming or rehashed grade-Z specials like "Return to Mayberry".

THIS IS CENSORSHIP! This is the iron hand of the imperialist government lording over broadcasters, baiting them to get in trouble so they can act. This is what the politicians mean when they talk about "family values" and "moral integrity". They're talking about bringing in and using THIS kind of power over us!

You still think it's just Eminem? You think it's just Marilyn Manson? You think it's just Madonna and Britney Spears? You think it's just about Mancow and Howard Stern? Once you bring in censorship to squash the things that you don't like, you open the door to censoring the things that you DO like!

THIS is your government at work, boys and girls. This is the government that YOU voted for. Now aren't you proud of yourself?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ashcroft: Good-bye and good riddance!

So John Ashcroft followed through and became the first person in Bush Junior's Administration to pack up and leave following the 2004 Election.

Well I say good riddance to him!

Let's count the ways that Ashcroft has hurt America.

  • For starters, Ashcroft lost his US Senate seat in 2000 to a DEAD MAN! That should tell you how much trust the voters in his own state had in him. I mean, if this guy was supposed to be so great, how is it that the morals and standards of someone who DIED are stronger than him?

  • Second, not too long after getting his job in the DOJ, Ashcroft spent $8000 to cover up two statues depicting Truth and Justice because they were created with a permanent "wardrobe malfunction" on them. (In other words, their mammary glands were exposed.) That in and of itself should have been a sign of things to come.

  • Third, right after 9/11, he essentially told all government departments that the Freedom of Information Act is null and void, and that any FOIA requests should go through him to be summarily rejected. This is in direct violation of a federal law. The US Attorney General has ZERO AUTHORITY to override a law passed by Congress and signed by the President.

  • Fourth, he used his friends in Congress to RAM the USA PATRIOT Act through to passage. Congress may get the blame for not reading what they were voting for, but Ashcroft was the architect of this and even MORE Gestapo-style infringements. You think secret warrants and foreign courts are bad enough? How about losing your citizenship for just being ACCUSED of associating with groups with terrorist connections? That was just one of many ideas on Ashcroft's wish list for PATRIOT II.

  • Fifth, his department's handling of the Anthrax letters and hoax letters is suspect. Even after the President declared any such sender as a terrorist, Ashcroft's people didn't follow through in treating such people as terrorists, especially when they were Christian terrorists like Clayton Lee Waagoner. Hey, a terrorist is a terrorist, no matter what religion they claim to profess! You went out of your way to grab Jose Padillia and to frame Muslim soldiers for wrongdoing, but you soft-pedal a confirmed Christian bad guy? That's not only hypocrisy, but also bad government!

  • Sixth, Ashcroft's scare tactics and fear-mongering go right up there along with another former US Senator by the name of Joe McCarthy. Osama bin PigBastard didn't need to send out tapes to scare Americans. John Ashcroft was doing it for him!

  • Seventh, Ashcroft challenging the patriotism of his critics. Hey, you don't even have the AUTHORITY to challenge my love of country. And if you do, you better say it to my face so I can give you the appropriate response back at you.

Now despite these seven things that he did to harm America, Ashcroft did do two GOOD things. First, he helped resolve that matter with Microsoft. The "Better Bill" (Gates) was getting persecuted in the courts, and the DOJ under Ashcroft helped bring that to a quick end. Second, he changed federal policy in regards to private gun ownership. His people RECOGNIZED that the Second Amendment was designed to protect INDIVIDUALS by allowing gun ownership.

Unfortunately, Ashcroft's minuses destroyed any of his pluses.

Sadly, his departure will not fix all of the problems that he helped create. The endless persecution of American freedoms will continue. His people will still be in office, carrying on his crusades. Those $8000 curtains will still be in place after he's gone.

And worse yet, he's leaving thinking that he's done a good job for America. That's probably the biggest of insults to any freedom-lover in America. If it were up to me, his departure would begin with the following words: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you..."

Friday, November 05, 2004

No sympathy for Arafat

So Yasir Arafat is on death's door, huh?

Sorry, but I really don't have too much sympathy for him. This man has been the instigator of so much death and destruction, so much hate and venom, so much anti-Semitism, that the only thing that I can think of about his eminent passing is that he's getting off easy. He should shuffle off this mortal coil in the same way that his victims had to.... C4, bullets, shrapnel...

Of course maybe the reason why he's clinging to life is because he knows once he exits from this world that the next won't be filled with clear white rasins and virgins.

Oh, and forget trying to bury him in Jerusalem.

Update: 11/11/04 - Arafat died last night. The PLO already has a new leader. They didn't even wait for his body to get cold before putting another person in charge.

They will not be burying him in Jerusalem, although I'm sure the Palestinians will try multiple times to move his body there.

There has been more than one occasion where the Palestininans were actually offered their own country. The UN even proposed creating one just for them. Guess who blocked such ideas? That's right, Arafat did! Yeah, what a visionary this guy was! What a great leader for the cause! The Palestinians could have already been enjoying their own country right now if not for their "great leader" pissing it away.

THAT is Arafat's true legacy!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Aftermath 2004 - quick thoughts

Well, Election 2004 is over with... now it's time for Aftermath 2004.

  • Hope everyone will tune in this weekend to hear my post-mortem of the Kerry campaign. Someone asked me if I'll be cremating the corpse and scattering the ashes... sorry, but I don't see any need for that. The DNC will do that all by themselves.

  • Senate MINORITY Leader Tom Daschile got voted out. Nice! Sorry guys, but he was a demonic SOB who deserved to be voted out of office. Now the Dems will have to find another MINORITY Leader.

  • The whole Georgia legislature will be under GOP control in January. I'm sure the Dems never saw that coming.

  • The Republicans are SO full of themselves right now it's almost unbearable. You know, that's how most fights begin... by overbearing arrogance and attitude.

  • Air America and Al Frankin are no doubt beside themselves right now... they were created for two purposes: to counter conservative radio show hosts and to tout John Kerry. Kerry lost. My advice, though, is to stay the course. Rush Limbaugh didn't fumble when Clinton took over in 1992. He actually got stronger because he was the voice of resistance. Frankin and company need to adopt that same tactic. You guys will now have to rally the resistance, keep them up to date with current events, keep them frosty, and get them ready to act when the opportunity arises.

    Hey, the VOR tactic works. Why do you think I still try to keep the old flames of Talk Liberty going?

  • All of this talk about "healing" and "uniting" is basically crap. Republicans don't want to "heal" and "unite" the nation. They want the 49% of America who don't agree with them to SURRENDER. Just give up! Repent your sins and let yourself be assimilated into the GOP Collective. Resistance is futile. And if they can't do that, then the Republicans just want the rest of America to sit down, shut up, and let them run the country from now until the Apocalypse.

    And yes, since I did not SPECIFICALLY vote for Bush, the GOP is making the same demands of myself as well. To which, my reply is to kindly DROP DEAD.

  • Bush Junior... or is that St. George?... is talking about possible cabinet changes. On the short list of possible departures: Secretary of State Colin Powell, Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge, Attorney General John Ashcroft.

    I actually would like Powell to stay. He's one of the few voices of reason over there... the problem being that he has to deal with a bunch of rabid Neo-cons.

    Ridge could go. Yes, he set the post up, but it's basically become just another overbearing bureaurcracy. Unfortunately any possible replacement will either be useless or else turn the department into the American version of the Gestapo.

    Ashcroft needs to go! His heavy-handed abuse of power is reason enough for him to be shown the door. Unfortunately if he leaves, his lieutenants will still be there causing havoc on Americans. The only way they would leave would be if Kerry won the election, and of course it didn't happen. Still, getting rid of Ashcroft would be a huge step forward.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Quick election thoughts...

So the 2004 Election Day is HERE! And I have a few quick thoughts...

  • First, yes I DID VOTE! I showed up at 6:45am at the polling place and waited an hour in the morning drizzle to make it inside. Should have brought a book. (I'm currently reading "The Art of War", in case anyone is wondering.) Traffic around the area was a mess!

  • Contrary to some of the video jokes, the Diebold machines did NOT play games with my ballot. I've been using electronic voting for several elections now, and I really don't see any problems with it. If anything, it's made voting easier and faster. I was done and back on the road by 8am. Only a 75-minute wait.

  • If you haven't heard my election rant, please do so now! No, not because I'll be uploading the new rant tomorrow, but because it's important stuff!

  • Watching the number of SUVs parked in drainage ditches made me realize that it was probably the most extreme situation that any of those drivers would EVER need an SUV! Meanwhile there was ample parking in the parking lot behind the polling place! (I should know, that's where I parked my car.)

  • Osama bin PigBastard's speech: I was waiting for Bush Junior to say three little words that would have probably clinched his re-election. All he had to do was look straight at the camera and say "Dead Terrorist Hiding!" Guaranteed it would secure at least two more states. But, of course, he didn't. We need to stop pussyfooting around with trying to capture Osama.

  • A good friend forward to me a link showing Bush Junior's "one-finger victory message". I thought it was a joke or something. Sure enough, it was for real. It was one of those "off-air" moments like Reagan's infamous "outlaw Russia" message.

  • Prediction: I could see the election going in either direction. But like I said in my show, no matter which way it turns out, America is SCREWED! It's just a matter of whether we'll be screwed over by socialists or theocrats. At least the socialists won't try to claim that they're there because GOD told them to take over!

  • Some people are speculating that rain will dampen the spirits of Democrats, thus allowing Bush Junior to win in those areas... because we all know that Republicans are just mind-nummbed robots doing whatever their leaders (Limbaugh, Hannity, Rove, Falwell, Robertson) tell them to do, no matter what the weather is like. How quickly they forget those days when the Dems would show up at nursing homes with busses. Besides, I think this election season has become too caustic to let a little rain spoil the election mood.

  • The tenative title for this week's Brutally Honest Rant is "Aftermath 2004". Right now I'm working on notes for whomever will lose and why they lost.

  • From the folks at the First Amendment Center:
    ''Election coverage without results is like pornography without nudity.''
    - Tom Shales television critic, The Washington Post, 2002

  • The latest from Whazituya News: CBS News has now officially confirmed that the winner of the 2000 Election in Florida is... George W. Bush. Come back in 4 years to find out who won in 2004.*
    *Whazituya News: When news breaks, you buy it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The curse is over!

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for finally putting the Bambino curse to rest!

Yes, I know, I'm not a big sports fan, but this is an old cause... and an old curse. Babe Ruth cursed the Red Sox when he was traded to New York in 1918, and ever since then they have never won a World Series. As a New Englander, I've always heard about the curse and how the Red Sox will NEVER win a World Series because of it.

Well the curse was broken, and I think it was done right.

First, the BoSox beat the dreaded Yankees with a miracle from-behind win in the playoffs. Oh, just the reaction from the NY fans alone was incredible. And then a solid sweep in the World Series against the Cardinals to bury the curse once and for all.

And I'm glad it turned out this way. Nothing against the Cardinals... they didn't make it easy for the BoSox to win those four games... but the fates in the Universe decided that it was time for the curse to be put to an end.

So as an old-time New Englander, congrats to the Boston Red Sox... 2004 World Champions! You guys earned it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Ashlee Simpson = Phony Baloney

So Ashlee Simpson, kid sister to Jessica Simpson, claims that "acid reflux" caused her to use a tape-recording of her songs instead of singing them live on Saturday Night Live? Well I'm sure nobody would have been the wiser if the audio hacks didn't screw it up, right? But they did, and she got caught pulling a Milli Vanilli/Phony Baloney act.

Well as Elton John best asked it... "Since when is lip-synching LIVE?"

So Ashlee had to cover up her little gaffe, and "acid reflux" was the best her father could come up with? Was he watching one of those pharmacy commercials when he thought about it? I half expected her to drop a plug for some new drug when she was explaining her action on the Today show.

And then she says that EVERY major artist does this sort of stuff... Yeah, nice going Ashlee! Why not give away all of the OTHER dirty little secrets of the music biz while you're at it?

Methinks she's been hanging around her sister for too long... her blond roots are starting to show.

Speaking of blondes... Britney Spears-Tease-Homewrecker-Rodham-Federline is telling people that she needs some more "time off". FROM WHAT??? She was supposedly ALREADY on the disability list for her bum knee when she pulled off that impromptu marriage. She's not doing concerts. She's not recording new songs. She's not doing new videos. What else does she need a break from, other than the Paparazzi?

Do yourself a favor... take Hef up on his standing offer... appear in his magazine... then take yourself and your new soulmate and his two children and just disappear to someplace like Key West. Open up your restaurant and just fade away into obscurity to pump out as many little dancing puppies as you wish. Let those last ticks of your 15 minutes go gentle into that good night.

Important notice for Brutally Honest listeners

As you may know, Election Day is next Tuesday. There is a lot at stake in this election... not just for those running for office or running to keep their jobs, but also for the rest of the world. That's not an exaggeration, my friends. We live in perilous times.

With that in mind, I have a special Brutally Honest Rant being prepared right now for the elections. Now normally when I do a rant, I record them on Wednesday (like I would any normal Brutally Honest show) and upload them on Friday. However, due to the subject I'll be discussing in this week's program, I'll be uploading this show to the Brutally Honest website right after post-production is finished. I'll also be sending out the transcripts to the show that night, not over the weekend.

What this means is that I'll have this week's rant online earlier than usual. So if you haven't checked out last week's rant entitled "The Numbers Game", please do so before Wednesday, because after that, it'll be too late. It's a good rant... one that is almost as important as this week's. But I think once you listen to what I have to say about the election, I think you'll agree that this show is one that deserves to be heard as early as possible before next Tuesday.

To listen to the show, either click on the link below or copy and paste it into your Real Player URL:

And don't forget to send in some feedback via the Brutally Honest Random Thoughts page:

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

NY Times doesn't really grasp the idea...

So I'm reading the feature article in the New York Times on Monday, which was about Europe's efforts to regulate Islam and try to create "positive" religious leaders to counteract the hate spewed by the mullahs and imams of today.

Now I know the bible-thumpers and God Squad leaders in America are having their hairs stand up on end over this idea of the government "regulating" their faith. But also bear in mind where this is taking place: Socialist France! And in all honesty at least they recognize the abuses of religion. They don't BS these things by declaring the abusers to be "not TRUE followers". They also recognize the value of secularism in society, which is also something that American religious leaders are too damned egotistical to admit to. Unfortunately, France has way too many other government issues to deal with... Socialism itself being one of them.

But there was one comment made by a theology student that just blew my mind! He wondered just WHY anyone would want to become an imam. After all, the pay sucks. There's no security. And all that most people expect of an imam is just someone to lead off with prayers and officiate certain services. It blew my mind as to how CLUELESS this student was!

You want to know why anyone would consciously want to become an imam? Well writing off divine inspiration and a fanatical desire to do good, the essential reason behind the vocational desire can be summed up with just one word: POWER!

An imam is a religious leader. People turn to him for advice and guidance. He has influence over them, thus he has POWER over them. He can use that influence to his advantage, just like the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

That's why religious leaders crave government power, because it's not enough to just have influcence over your faithful. They need government to have influence over everyone else as well.

Why can't the NY Times get it?
And of course it's not just the Muslims who do this. They're just the uncontrollable brats right now in sore need of a social spanking. Trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until the Christians kick things up a notch.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Non-story: NY Times endorses Lurch

So as I understand it, the New York Times has come out to endorse Senator John "Lurch" Kerry this past Sunday.

And this is news???

The NY Times is a liberal newspaper, so OF COURSE they're going to endorse Senator Lurch! That's not news, that's a foregone conclusion! These guys will endorse anything the Democratic machine tells them to endorse. They'd endorse a bowl of jello if it had the party's logo on it!

It would really be news if the Times endorsed anyone BUT Kerry. It would be news if they endorsed independant candidate Ralph Nader. It would be news if they endorsed Libertarian Michael Badnarik. It would even BIGGER news if they endorsed Bush Junior! But they didn't, so the endorsement isn't a news story... it's an afterthought.

Friday, October 15, 2004

FCC exposed

Found this quote from the folks at the First Amendment Center:

''Scratch just about every other FCC commissioner, and you’ll find a TV critic dying to get out.''
- Robert Corn-Revere, First Amendment lawyer, author, 2003

All too true, but I think Mr. Corn-Revere is being too kind in terms of the numbers. It's more like EVERY commissioner, not every other one. A regular critic can't do what the FCC can do, which is to use government to silence speech. That's WHY they're in the government in the first place. It's all about power, folks.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It takes a geek to get it right!

It figures that it would take a techno-geek named PC to be able to sum up the 2004 Presidential debates just right...

Click on this link to see what I mean...

Monday, October 11, 2004

Sad to hear he's gone...

Sad day in Smallville, boys and girls. The former Man of Steel has died.

Christopher Reeve was THE Superman for all four movies made between the late 70's and mid-80's. He inherited the role originally made famous by George Reeves (no relation) in the 1950's TV show, and previously by Kirk Alyn from the 1940's movie serials.

And yes, he was known for a variety of other roles and movies, but he was always considered to be Superman, even when he was paralyzed after a riding accident. Even when he was confined to a wheelchair and fighting for his life, he still spoke out for cause he believed in. He even continued to act and direct, performing on stage as the lead role in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window", and serving as a mysterious mentor to a pre-Superman Clark Kent in the WB series "Smallville". Bringing Reeve and actor Tom Welling together along with the original John Williams theme music was probably the best two episodes of Smallville that the folks at Warner Brothers ever did, and it is a pity that they will not be able to continue with that.

On a more personal note, Superman was always my favorite cartoon character, and Reeve portrayed the role perfectly, to a level that even those that preceeded and followed him could not match. This commentator was shocked when the character died in the comic books (Superman #75), and just as shocked today to know that the actor who exemplified the character has now died. He will be missed.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The question that probably won't be asked

Tonight: Lurch Versus Junior, Part 2! The flip-flopper versus the pretzel-choker will be once again unleashing their weapons of mass distraction as they battle over who will win in the November election (post-court decision, of course)! This time the candidates will have to field questions from selected members of the audience in a nationwide town-hall forum! Will Kerry contradict himself again? Will Bush stumble over his words? Will we know if the candidates make fools of themselves? Will we care? Will we even bother to vote in November? Tune in tonight to see it all for yourself!

Okay, first, I hope everyone will tune in to hear my thoughts about these debates. That's what this week's Brutally Honest Special will be all about. That should be uploaded by 8pm EST, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to listen to that and then see the debate at 9pm.

Second, I have a sinking suspicion that the candidates will be a little more prepared for this debate than their previous one, simply because the questions will be coming from the audience instead of from a lone moderator. There's a greater chance that you will have strategic plants (and I don't mean the potted variety) in the audience with prepared party questions.

Remember, the whole purpose of these debates is to make the party's candidate look credible and authoritative. If they know what the question will be ahead of time, they can prepare the perfect response, thus fulfilling the illusion.

Now every question has to be screened in advance and approved of before it can be asked. That means that the moderator and the people working for the debates know in advance who will be asking the question and what that question will be. You won't have anything spontaneous. In other words, no surprises.

With that in mind, there is one question that you probably will not hear during the debate, and it is a question that both Bush and Kerry need to answer.

Q: In previous instances, President Bush has mentioned that we have entered into an era of responsibility. An era that says that "if it feels good, do it" is wrong. Yet we are one week into federal fiscal year 2005, and the Congress has yet to even consider one of the thirteen required appropriations bill for this fiscal year. This
government is operating without a working budget for the year, and is instead relying on creative accounting practices that would otherwise lead to criminal charges in the corporate world.

For far too long, Congress and the White House have been allowed to stave off their fiscal responsibility to the American public through continuing resolutions. Both Democrats and Republicans complain about deficit spending, yet both parties are equally guilty of spending money that the country does not have.

My question to both candidates is this: how can our government speak of responsibility, much less try to impose it, when members of this government themselves refuse to honor their own obligations?

You probably won't hear that question being asked, because it makes both candidates look bad. But it is still a question that needs to be asked.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Rodney: he got his respect

So I get a phone call this morning from Dr. Vinnie Boom Botz, and he tells me that he needs a new patient. I ask him why, and why did he call me? He tells me that Rodney Dangerfield passed away, and that he needs someone new to insult.

I tell him that I'm fine and that I don't need a doctor. He tells me that I may not need a doctor, but he needs someone to pay for his trip to the Bahamas, and since Rodney can't do it, I'm the next logical choice.

I ask him what's that. He says that while Rodney may have pretended to not get any respect, that I really don't get any respect. He figures that at this rate, I'll be calling him at some point about stress, high blood pressure, a broken heart, and he might as well just make a pre-emptive call now to get the bad part over with.

Boy I tell you, that's the story of my life. No respect. No respect at all, I tell you.

Rodney, on the other hand, was a class act. Sure some of his stuff was sophmoric. Sure his stand-up was old school. But that's why we loved his stuff. Rodney wasn't above making fun of himself to get a laugh, even if it was just a parody of himself.

Rodney, you will be missed.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Quick DVD Review: THX 1138 - Director's Cut

Picked up the director's version of THX 1138 over the weekend. It had been a while since I've seen it, and back then it was censored. (This was obviously pre-DirecTV.)

THX 1138 was the professional directorial debut of a young man by the name of George Lucas, along with another "young Turk" by the name of Francis Ford Coppola, who served as the producer. Lucas was also the writer and film editor.

Now if you've never seen the movie before, be forewarned... this is not a light movie! It is very cerebral, and you will be as lost and confused as many of the characters were if you're not careful.

THX 1138 was originally billed as "a love story live from the 21st Century". The 21st Century was a long ways away when this movie came out in 1972. And there is love in this movie. Well that and a few other things which couldn't be seen on broadcast TV.

This is not a "Brave New World", but rather more like "1984" done in white. Everyone is monitored. Emotions are dulled away by pills. And you MUST take these drugs, or else you're charged with a crime. Even education is administered through drugs. Religion is reduced to prayers to OHM, which responds with a programmed script. Consumption is required, even if you don't need to "consume". Production and consumption are the only purposes in life. Robotic officers patrol the area talking like therapists, and they will take you away to be "re-educated" if you're not behaving yourself. Trials are reduced to rushed arguments by advocates followed by a computer-generated verdict.

Scary, isn't it? And yet how much of that world do we see in our reality?

Now this is the "director's cut" of the movie, which means that George Lucas added a couple of things to it. One of them happens to deal with stimulation through artificial means. I won't say what the other two are, but when you see them, you'll know what they are.

The rest of the DVD involves a couple of documentaries, and other two versions of the movie (movie-only and sound effects-only) which you may want to check out if you want to impress a bunch of liberals.

And now I have a little exercise for you: there are a couple of hints to the director's NEXT science fiction movie hidden in this one... and the title is one of them. Can you find them? (Oh, and in case you don't know what I'm talking about, the next Sci-Fi movie Lucas did was this little movie called "Star Wars".)

All in all, like I said, this is a cerebral movie. If you like these omnipresent dictatorial stories like "Brave New World" or "1984", then get this DVD. If you're opposed to the USA PATRIOT Act, then get this DVD. If you're a freedom-loving individual, then get this DVD. On the other hand, if you just want to be mildly numbed by lighthearted comedy, then skip this DVD, pop your daily pills, and don't mind the robots when they come to pick up your computer-assigned roommate for deviant behavior.

Or as OHM would tell you... Buy more. Buy more now.

Monday, October 04, 2004

SpaceShipOne wins the X Prize!

As I am typing this, SpaceShipOne, America's first privately-funded spaceship, has just completed its third trip into space, and has tenatively won the $10million Ansari X Prize.

The whole purpose of the X Prize is to generate interest in private exploration of space, much like the original challenge did for air travel in the 1920's. The new civilian astronauts of SpaceShipOne are the Charles Lindbergs of the 21st century, and hopefully they will do much to hasten the development of more private ships to do what NASA refuses to do.

I have a few suggestions on the next goals for the people behind SpaceShipOne...

1. Offer to fix the Hubble Telescope. NASA wants to let our first and best space telescope die a slow death rather than daring to risk a shuttle mission to fix it. If NASA doesn't want to fix it, they can lay claim to it.

2. Pay the International Space Station a visit. Maybe ask the two astronauts there if they want to pop on down for some dinner and some fresh air before taking them back up over the weekend. It takes NASA months to set up and launch a shuttle, but we've just proven that we can get a ship up there in a matter of days!

3. Offer to make more civilian astronauts. Hey, SSO can hold three people! Offer $10,000 to put you in space for a few minutes and make you an official astronaut. How many former Air Force and Navy pilots with dreams of being the next John Glenn were turned away from NASA? Well we can fix that now. And the more these guys that become civilian astronauts, the more opportunities to get OTHER private vessels into space.

All in all, guys, this is a GREAT moment for space travel and a GREAT moment for private industry.

And I need to remind you that today is also the anniverary of the launch of Sputnik, the Soviet satillite that shocked the world. Today the world isn't shocked... but I'm sure that the paper-pushers at NASA are just a little on edge right now. They've just lost their monopoly.

And yes, it is good.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

History made again... did you see it?

SpaceShipOne, America's first-ever private spaceship, soared into space yesterday for its second flight and to complete its first leg of the ten million dollar challenge.

The second launch did have some tense moments, though. Once the ship detatched from the jet White Knight and fired its main engines, SpaceShipOne began to roll and spiral upward. There were calls to abort, and no doubt if this was a NASA operation the pilot would have ejected and self-destructed the ship. But this was a private operation, and civilian astronaut Mike Melvill - a seasoned test pilot - kept the roll under control, and then cut the main engine once he knew the ship had enough momentum to escape Earth's atomosphere. He stabilized the ship, snapped some beautiful pictures, and then coast the ship back to Earth at Mach 3. (That's the speed, guys, not the razor.)

The whole thing from takeoff and spectacular launch to a gentle landing was over in a matter of two hours. SpaceShipOne reached a stable altitude of 64 miles above the planet's surface, two miles into space. Now all they have to do is repeat this feat within two weeks to win the Ansari X Prize. Their next flight is scheduled for October 4th, on the anniversary of the launch of the Sputnik satillite by the Soviet Union back in 1957. No, that date wasn't a coincidence.

But I hope people bear in mind that this was the SECOND civilian space-launch that wasn't flawless, but still succeeded. And where's NASA? Still on hold.

Hey, I have an idea... maybe after SpaceShipOne wins the X Prize, Melvill can take the ship back up one more time to pay the International Space Station a visit? Maybe send up some food and ask if they want their laundry taken care of? I'm sure the paper-pushers running NASA would freak out over that!

Oh, by the way, did you know that the Ansari X Prize was based on a challenge made in the 1920's? It's true. It was a challenge to promote the further use of airplanes. That challenge was successfully met by Charles Lindberg when he piloted The Spirit of St. Louis nonstop across the Atlantic in 1927. Lindberg's legendary flight caused a tremendous surge in air travel. The promoters of the X Prize hope that the same will apply with private, non-government space travel.

Science fiction made real. And its about time too. Now if only someone can do something about those flying cars that we were promised....

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sorry Cat... Yusuf.... whatever

So Cat Stevens, a.k.a. Yusuf Islam, is upset because he was turned away from coming to America. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is DEMANDING an explination as to why his flight from London to Washington was diverted and he was sent back.

Well gee, Yusuf, it could very well be that you support organizations that have ties to Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the premeditated murder of innocent people. Ever think about that? Oh, that's right, I forgot, terrorists aren't "true Muslims" so they don't count, right?

By the way, where WAS the Council on American-Islamic Relations while Americans being held hostage were getting their heads sawed off? Why have they been so silent over those acts of brutality, but get your burquas in a bunch over Cat Stevens being turned away? At least he got sent back to England with all of his body parts intact and working! Two families in this country can't say the same thing about their fathers.

Until CAIR addresses THAT matter, they have ZERO CREDIBILITY.

There is a little parable about a man with a plank in his eye trying to take the splinter out of the eye of his neighbor. I realize that the folks at CAIR may not know about that parable because it's from a book they don't accept, but the moral of the story is this: the splinter represents Yusuf being turned away. The plank represents the terrorists. Take the plank out of your eye before worrying about the splinter in your neighbor's eye!

As for Cat/Yusuf... hey, you had some nice songs once upon a time. Sorry you got shuffled off your flight, but next time be careful about the charities you give money to, and in your prayers be thankful your treatment was every bit as cordial as should be expected of any man of faith.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Breaking news: CBS backs down on memos.

As I'm typing this story, word is coming over the wire services that CBS can no longer vouch for the authenticity of the "Bush memos", which accused then-National Guard Airman George W. Bush of directly refusing an order, and of being pressured to "sugar-coat" Bush Junior's service record.

Of course, Dan Rather did NOT take up my open challenge to put his job on the line. I figured that he wouldn't have the guts to in the first place, because if he did, then he would have to announce his resignation, and that would end his reign of power.

And yet... I'm sorry guys, but Rather still needs to be removed over this flap. He risked the network's credibility over this political fiasco... and yes, it appears to really BE a political fiasco. That eliminates any kind of illusion of impartiality CBS News may have, which they desperately need. That's another blow against the network.

Well while we're waiting for the next spin on this issue... go ahead and check out my column for this week. The latest article is on this subject and how it ties into past articles I've made about the future of the media. Go ahead and read it, then come back here and vent your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

An open challenge to CBS News and Dan Rather

I don't know about you, but I am pretty much sick and tired of hearing about the questionable authenticity of these new memos that CBS continues to champion. Just about everyone except the people at CBS News are now saying that these documents that claim that George W. Bush disobeyed orders are probably forgeries.

But CBS continues to claim that these documents from a retired military officer who died years ago are true. The late officer's family members and even his former secretary are now saying that these documents are forgeries.

So I have an open challenge to CBS News and to Dan Rather himself: if you still believe without a shadow of a doubt that these documents are true, then put your job on the line!

The world of jouralism has been hit pretty hard these past few years by seemingly "stellar" reporters that got caught fabricating stories. USA Today and the New York Times know first-hand how this blatant fraud has an effect on their credability. And right now, CBS News has not only their credability on the line, but the network's whole future on the line.

It's a serious gamble. If these documents are real, then it is a serious blow to President Bush's re-election campaign. But if they're not real, then CBS News will lose any credibility and respectability whatsoever! They will be damned to an extent that not even the New York Times or USA Today has so far endured.

So Mr. Rather, if you, as the seasoned professional that you claim to be, want to continue to claim that these documents are valid and not forgeries, then it is your responsibility AS a professional to put your job on the line. If these documents turn out to be forgeries, then I expect you to not only announce so, but to also immediately announce your resignation from CBS News. That is the only way to show the world that you are serious in your support of this story, especially when the whole world is starting to believe otherwise.

It's high time for CBS News to put up or shut up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

"Everybody got a car!"

Wow! I have to say that I was impressed with Oprah Winfrey's surprise the other day. Seriously. You fill the audience with some 270 people who need a new car, and tell them that somebody has a key to a new Pontiac car, and every single person in the audience discovers they got a key!

That's a nice $7million plug for Pontiac and a hell of a great PR gesture for Oprah.

I just have to wonder 2 things:

1) Why couldn't I have been in the audience? I could have used a new car! Okay, maybe that was tremendously selfish of me, but my parents definately need a new car, and I know someone who also definately needs a new car.

2) Who is covering the little things? Who will be paying the taxes on the car? How about the title costs? Registration fees? Any chance people there are running without insurance or a valid driver's license? And who would be covering all of that? Would the new winners have to pay for that themselves, or would Oprah or Pontiac pick up the tab?

Hey, don't get me wrong, great gesture, but for a gesture that big, you do have to look the gift horse in the mouth... especially if it could come back to bite you.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Quick post-GOP thoughts...

Few quick post-GOP convention thoughts...

Some folks were asking me just how the hell Michael Moore got press credentials for the convention. Well folks, ask the folks at USA Today about that. He was hired by them to be their "counter-point" person, just as the editor of The New Republic was brought in for the DNC convention. For every day that USA Today covered the conventions, they had someone doing counter-point for their editorial section.

Personally, I like the concept. I just don't know about them picking Moore for the task. Jonahs Goldberg isn't a recognized name, unless you happen to be a diehard conservative.

As I mentioned in my online broadcast, the GOP put up their usual facade, but if you picked up PBS or the cable channels, you would have seen hints of the true nature of the beast.

Senator Zell Miller's fire-and-brimstone diatribe about his own party... I noticed that the press continually made mention of the fact that he was retiring after this year. I don't know why they constantly needs to bring that up. It didn't take away from him burning those political bridges with his scathing attacks. Nor did it detract from the truthfulness of some of his words. He spelled out very plainly why he could not support his party's candidate.

Oh, and I'd pay money to have Zell get into a duel with Chris Matthews. Pistols at ten paces. Put it on Pay-Per-View and it would be the biggest selling special in history.

VP Cheney was a cool cucumber. Putting him and Zell on for the same night was about as much of a mis-match as you could make it. His words were somewhat anti-climactic as well.

Cheney made a few flubs, though.

First, the recession DID NOT START AFTER 9/11!!! The current recession started in 1998. I should know, I was the one warning people of it happening. (And you guys didn't believe me either, so shame on you!) I was also the one who was speculating that if Bush won the 2000 election that the media would be quick to announce a recession. Sure enough, not even 30 minutes into his inauguration the media was warning about a "looming recession".

Yes, 9/11 exasperated the recession, but it did not create it.

Second, Cheney made it seem like the Bush Junior tax cuts came in response to the 9/11 attacks and the recession that "followed". With all due respect, sir, the first tax cut came PRIOR to 9/11! That was the big issue following his inauguration. The second round of tax rebates came, not on Bush Junior's insistence, but because the Democrats were pushing for one.

Oh, by the way, nice to see you out of the Dick-cave. Cripes, you spent just about as much time in hiding as Saddam did before he was captured.

John Kerry was fixated on Vietnam. The GOP was fixated on 9/11. Nobody seems to be fixated on the future.

Bush Junior basically gave a State of the Union speech mixed in with a few ribs at his chief opponent. He was every bit the humble candidate that all of the previous speakers painted him to be. He also was the one to more or less take the high road and let the others give the "red meat" speeches.

There were three, possibly four, instances where people tried to disrupt Bush Junior's speech. The crowd drowned them out and security moved them out before the media knew what was happening. As I warned people in my show, this was going to be a lesson in futility. I don't even know why they bothered to try.

And what the hell was up with letting John Kerry give a rebuttal to Bush Junior's speech? Why wasn't the same courtesy given to Bush when Kerry made his speech?

Finally, despite the antics of the protesters, the GOP gave a much better infomercial. They had a relevant package that appealed to the masses much more than the DNC did. If the DNC wanted a "bounce", then they should have picked up on better themes, like FREEDOM and LIBERTY. The very things that the GOP profess to champion but actually bastardize.

Oh, and have you noticed that Kerry has STOPPED harping on Vietnam now? I guess he finally realized that we're sick and tired of that crap.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

New rant is online early!

Hey guys,

This week's rant is actually online a couple of days early. I did this because of the subject matter, which was the GOP convention, which will be coming to a close on Thursday night.

Now if we still had the Talk Liberty website operational with the server running, this really wouldn't be too much of an issue because everyone would have heard me do a full-hour show with that rant included. BUT since the website is offline right now, the closest I can do is do the rant and then get it online ASAP, which is what I did here.

By the way, I hope folks don't get the impression from my rant that I had dropped from the GOP this year. I made the jump to the Libertarian Party years ago. That's how long that I've noticed and had issues with the GOP's evangelical leanings. In fact, if you go to my main website and check out some of the earlier published articles you'd see that even then I was leaving hints of what I knew.

Anyway, be sure to post your thoughts here. Between Zell's thoughts and my own, I'm sure SOMEONE has something to talk about besides yours truly!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

News flash: Bush Junior Waffles!

President Bush just got caught pulling a John Kerry....

On Saturday, Bush Junior told NBC's Matt Laurer that the War on Terror cannot be won. In the interview that aired on the "Today" show on Monday morning, he said, quote, "I don't think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less accessable in parts of the world."

Today, however, Bush Junior flip-flips and proclaims that the war CAN be won.

No doubt this turnaround came because it pissed off too many people, which the GOP simply cannot afford to do at this point.

But there's something familliar about his original statement. You can just about apply that statement to every domestic "war" being fought by government today!

The war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on corporate abuse, the war on offensive materials... they all are not winnable by any stretch of the imagination. So what government has been doing is creating conditions so that the practice in CERTAIN areas is undesirable. They know that they can't really "win" in any meaningful way, so at best they're just making life miserable for everyone involved.

But since the politicians can't really sell that idea to the great unwashed, they continue to sell the illusion that they're "winning".

That may also explain why the Bush Junior Administration refuses to recognize terrorism being carried out by non-Muslims. Clayton Lee Waagoner, Eric Rudolph, and the late Paul Hill were terrorists in every sense of the word, but the government and the media still refuse to refer to them as such.

As I have pointed out in the past, there is no real way to determine when this war is finished. But there is a way to know whether or not we have lost this war. When America ceases to truly promote and defend individual freedom, when its people live in fear not just of terrorists but also of its own government, when people decide that freedom is an obscenity and that being safe is the ONLY thing that matters, THAT is when America has lost the war...

... and sadly, we aren't too far off from that point.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

2 things quickly..

Hey folks... just have 2 quick things.

First... be sure to check out this week's Brutally Honest rant about the Olympic games and with the controversy surrounding Paul Hamm. I don't usually discuss sports, so you know that if something got me going on that subject it must be interesting.

Second... with the GOP convention about to kick off in NYC, I want folks to think for a minute about how Richard Nixon got elected in 1968.

The voters in '68 saw a lot of violence and instability. Vietnam wasn't just a political issue back then. It was a real-time conflict, happening not just over there, but also on television screens in homes all across America. It was being escalated by the President, who at the time was a Democrat. Martin Luther King got shot... he wasn't a Democrat but he was linked to social programs of the Democrats. Robert Kennedy was assasinated just prior to getting the DNC nomination. The Democratic Convention was mired in protests and violence surrounding the protests, all of which was brought to TV screens nationwide.

Basically Nixon didn't get elected because of what he stood for... he got elected because too many people saw the Democrats as being mired in death and violence.

Keep that in mind when you hear about protesters during the GOP's convention, especially if they get violent.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Quick DVD Review: Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Okay video junkies... picked up "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" on DVD over the weekend, and it was somewhat entertaining.

This movie is almost literally picking up where Vol. 1 left off. There's a bit of a recap (something you didn't with the last two Matrix movies), and a lot of backstory involved with the events. Some of it, I think, was needless. Like the whole backstory leading up into the "massacre". Okay, so the massacre was the prime motivator in the movie, but the details were more or less rehashed in several other places in both parts 1 and 2.

The confrontations with Elle, Budd, and Bill were well orchestrated. And the training bit with Pai Mai was great. It was a great homage to the old Chineese martial arts movies. Then again, director/writer/co-creator Quentin Tarantino does a pretty good job incorporating classic material in his works. The whole "Ironside" bit may seemed a bit corny, but it was well-played.

Yes, it is ultra-violent... although not AS bad as Volume 1. And I would say get this DVD right now... except I understand that Miramax will be releasing a combined "Kill Bill" movie at some point. So if you haven't picked up Volume 1 yet, hold off on getting both until the new combined release is out. If you have picked up Volume 1 already, then get this one.

Friday, August 20, 2004

This just in...

The latest from the Whazituya News Service:

The bodies of two camp councelors were found murdered in their sleeping bags in the coastal area of Jenner, 75 miles north of San Francisco.

Although the couple were apparently shot in the head while they slept, police were still baffled why they found a machette and hockey mask near the area, or why they kept on hearing someone loudly whisper "Che-che-che.... Ca-ca-ca.... Che-che-che... Ca-ca-ca"

* Whazituya News: we break it, you buy it.

Breaking news: BugMeNot bugged out!

It is with great regret that I announce that BugMeNot has vanished from the Internet.

BugMeNot was one of those free resource websites that would provide access information for those newspapers that offer supposedly "free" registration so you could view their articles. The newspapers claim that they're simply doing this for "research", but the truth of the matter is that these papers are doing it for SPAM!

Look, the newspapers don't need to know who you are, where you live, what your phone number is, what your e-mail address is, where you work, what you make in salary, or even what your favorite hobbies are. They don't need to know these things... but so-called "marketers" do! They want to know everything about you so they can Spam the crap out of you!

That's where BugMeNot and a few other resource sites come in. They would set up generic accounts with these papers and then give the access information to anyone who wanted it. Bear in mind that these are for newspapers that supposedly offer "FREE" (as in no subscription) articles.

Well now BugMeNot is shut down. Word has it that their host pulled the plug on this popular resource website. No doubt the publishing companies put pressure to get rid of the website.

I just have one question... have these newspaper website folks ever heard of IDENTITY THEFT? Did it ever occur to them that the REASON why people don't want to divulge all of that information is because they're (1) sick of SPAM and (2) afraid someone in your organization may use all of that information to commit identity theft?

These newspaper websites are due one bitch-slap.
Update 8/22/04: BugMeNot has a brand new home with a brand new host. Here's the link to explain what happened to them. Good going, guys! Hang in there and help keep us away from annoying marketers and their damned "free registration" crap.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Two thoughts...

Okay, I've got two quickie thoughts for you...

The first is I just saw the latest from Penn & Teller from their Showtime series "Penn & Teller: Bull$#!t." (No, I still won't say the word here.) This week's rant was on addictions, and they compared the traditional 12-step religious programs like Alcoholics Anonymous with some of the more secular alternatives.

The big thing they hammered home is this mantra that alcoholism is a "disease". If it's a disease, then it's not your fault that you are the way that you are. But if it is, then why do you have to make an account of what you did and ask for forgiveness? You're not at fault, remember? It's "the disease" that is at fault!

The thing about AA that Penn really didn't get into (but I have in the past) is that you essentially trade in one addition for another. You go from being an alcohol addict to a religious addict, which is considered to be MUCH more socially acceptable... well unless you discount the religious addicts that drive car bombs, shoot doctors, bomb women's clinics, send fake Anthrax threats, or hijack planes and crash them into major cities.

Anyway, I have to say kudos to Penn & Teller for coming up with a kick-ass show, even if it is a word that I voluntarily refuse to say on this forum. These guys are nominated for 2 Emmy awards, and they seriously deserve to win them for the great job they've been doing. It's funny and serious at the same time, and if you have Showtime then you need to watch it... and if you don't you can always get their first season on DVD.

The second quickie thought involves the September issue of Playboy Magazine. Now you may have heard about this issue because of the interview with the guys from Google. It was an interview that almost cost them their debut on the stock market today. Or it may have been the fact that several past and current female Olympians were posing nude. Sadly, none of them were in beach volleyball. (Well, you'll probably say that you just got that issue for the Google interview...)

Anyway, the quickie thought doesn't come from either of those sections of the September issue. Rather it comes from this little letter to the Forum section regarding the Pledge of Allegiance issue.

Does a public display of piety benefit the nation? Before "Under God" was
added, we won every war we engaged in. Since it was added, we have
been bogged down in quagmires. - Paul Alter, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Well you're forgetting about Grenada there, Paul. There was no quagmire when we kicked Communist ass there. And that little excursion into Libya where we sent Mommar Quadaffi screaming into the desert because we dropped a bomb on his house certainly wasn't bogged down in quagmire. But other than that, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Nice observation!