Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Open Letter To FEMA

Dear FEMA:
Please suck my ass. I was hoping that the beat-down you received after the debacle surrounding the mishandling of Hurricane Katrina would have knocked some sense into you. I almost felt bad for FEMA, seeing you get roasted daily in the media for botching everything, when others should have shared the blame with you, like Governor Kathleen “The National Guard are Mine” Blanco and Mayor Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin, not to mention Congressman William Jefferson, who used a military convoy to go find his house & retrieve belongings, to include almost $100,000.00 in his FREEZER. Homeless refugees everywhere, and thousands of trailers were sitting in a field in Arkansas in storage, awaiting uses that never came. Then you shook things up within your organization once the director resigned. You revamped yourself and were ready to handle the next crisis situation in America.

I call bullshit

I just found out that those thousands of trailers are still sitting in that field in Arkansas, while about 160 miles away in the same state, dozens of families are homeless after tornadoes blew their town off the map. Families in Alabama are likewise homeless after tornadoes hit their towns just last week. However, FEMA is selling/auctioning those trailers through the Government Service Administration’s website, and recouping about 40 cents on the dollar. Wow…the American taxpayers bought those trailers for FEMA at full-pop, because no one, and I mean no one, sells anything to the federal government at a reasonable price ($400.00 toilet seats, anyone?). Now these unused trailers are being practically given away at a 60% discount to anyone with space in the driveway, and the American taxpayer is getting HOSED, and needy citizens whose lives were devastated by storms are crammed into makeshift holding tanks.

So much for your shot at redemption, asshats.

The whole Walter Reed fiasco

Occasionally the public crucifixion of a senior public or military official is warranted. While they themselves may not necessarily have caused the event that people are questioning, they’re certainly responsible for setting the tone of their command climate. So long as the responsible parties are ALSO flogged for their fuckups, the commander should get some heat as well.

Shit rolls downhill, as they say, and all too often some poor fall guy enlisted schmuck is left sitting at the base of the mountain with his mouth wide agape awaiting a steaming open-faced shitwich, while the officers who promulgated the mess skip away unscathed and with another career ticket punched.

The controversy in question surrounds Building 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC, and the red tape of their outpatient center’s bureaucracy that troops get mired in. How the deplorable conditions endured by wounded warriors at Building 18 were unbeknownst to the commanding general of WRAMC, Major General George Weightman, are beyond me. This dude didn’t make a walkthrough of his command when he took over? And who’s the officer in charge of that ward? He’s gotta be a full-bird Colonel and a doctor to boot, and he/she didn’t notice the mold, rats, and leaks? The OIC needs to be shit-canned too. What about the ward’s doctors? The command sergeant major? Anybody? No one attached to that facility gave enough of a shit about the troops to speak up about this place. The troops themselves finally had to blow the whistle, and reporters brought it to the attention of newly-appointed Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

If you ask a volunteer soldier to sally forth into battle time & time again in some third-world shit hole for multiple tours with murky objectives & not enough equipment, that soldier is accepting on faith that he or she will be supported 100% by the wonks that sent them there. And when they get wounded & maimed, that support should be 200% at the very least.

When I think military medicine, I think of hospitals like Landstuhl in Germany, the Bethesda Naval Hospital, and especially Walter Reed. WRAMC is supposed to be the best of the best, our showcase facility in the DC area. Looking at the footage of the shoddy condition of the place these heroes have to recover & convalesce in, it looked like it hadn’t been touched since I was born at that same hospital almost 38 years ago. Yes, I was delivered at WRAMC (then called Walter Reed General Hospital) by an Army major.

You mean to tell me MG Weightman never toured that place? He didn’t make at least a weekly or monthly walk-through to speak with the soldiers under his care? And it seems his underlings were also not doing the same thing?

To this I say Fuck You, sir. Fuck You Very Much.

So, in the face of this public relations disaster, what does the Army do? They fire Weightman, effectively halting his career dead in the water, and they replace him with Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley, the former commander of WRAMC whom Weightman had replaced. LTG Kiley had been serving as the Army’s surgeon general. However, all evidence points to the fact that these shitty conditions existed under Kiley’s command, too, so this putting another fox back in the hen house. Why put him back in charge when it was falling to pieces on his watch too? The Secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey, fell on his sword and resigned when Gates asked him to, and rightly so. His ass should have been over there at that hospital seeing soldiers too, and he should have been sending people over to inspect the facility. Sure, most unit inspections are just dog & pony bullshit, but this is a hospital for shit’s sake. Standards must be upheld.

All of you should write or call your duly elected Congressional Representatives and Senators and ask them when the last time was that they went to a military hospital to see the troops and check on their care, morale, and welfare.

Deploying soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard are stuck in Biloxi, Mississippi at Camp Shelby because neither the Army nor the state will pay for their bus fare (yeah, bus fare, not plane fare) to come home on pre-deployment leave before heading out to Third World Purgatory, yet Nancy freakin’ Pelosi, Speaker of the House, is bitching about how the military transport jet at her beck & call isn’t big enough to haul around all of her lackeys & lobbyist bootlickers (who shouldn’t even be on a military flight in the first fucking place) across the country without having to make a refueling stop. Unreal. Well now, Fuck You Very Much, Madame Speaker. Matter of fact, Double Fuck You. She acts like she has to deplane at a dirt field in Omaha and wait while terrorists pinpoint her with laser beams….the plane would stop for maybe 20 minutes at a secure military field and refuel and be on the way again before she can finish her Perrier.

I can think of nearly 3500 reasons that she should be thankful every day for her freedom and her very privileged position. And I can think of over 24,000 reasons for her and the other 534 members of the 110th Congress to get off the golf course, cut short the 3-martini power lunches, and get their elected asses over to 7100 Georgia Avenue in Northwest DC and 8901 Rockville Pike in Bethesda and personally thank everyone they see.

Note: as of the time I write this, the death toll in Iraq is listed as 3,190 in Iraq and 371 in Afghanistan, and the wounded in Iraq as 23, 785 and 1,062 in Afghanistan. By the time you read this, it will unfortunately be higher.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

American Idol: Televised Crack

American Idol can best be described as televised crack. No one really wants to watch it but it’s addictive. I’m sure that no one who is a crack fiend woke up one morning & said, Dayum, I need to start smoking toxic rocks through a glass straw till my heart explodes . Same with Idol……Since the American Sheeple love to have their prepackaged pop music pabulum spoon-fed to them by corporate radio whores, American Idol appeals to the American Idle in that now the music buying public is actually fooled into thinking they’re part of the process of choosing what sugar-coated tripe they’ll hear non-stop on the radio until that fresh-scrubbed pop star suffers a nuclear meltdown and implodes. And we all know how I love a good implosion.

Also, since America by & large loves a good train wreck, we tune in by the droves to watch the dreaded Auditions Week round of shows. In this round of 2-hour specials we get to see the absolute worst shit imaginable that these 100,000+ crowds have to offer up, and revel in the tears and suffering that follows the delusional idiots who actually think they can sing., whining about how America will be sorry they missed out when they get told how bad they suck. I do, however, have 2 problems with this:

1. This show is in like, it’s sixth season now. For nigh on 5 years now we have watched this shit happen so by now if you haven’t figured out the formula of one judge being hot & cold, one judge being a sugar sweet dimwit, and one judge is an asshole who calls a spade a spade to see you suffer, then you really get what you deserve.

2. In order to face the Big Three, you have to audition in small groups in front of handlers from the show who wade through the really shitty ones since with 5 minutes per audition you’d never get through 100,000 wannabes in a week, let alone a day. So, this means that in addition to feeding the decent singers into the hopper, these lackeys also hand-pick the poor bastards who get sacrificed on national television like Christians in the lion’s den. That’s the wickedly funny part of all of this.

So now we get to watch these kids sing the same tired-ass shit they sing every year….overdone show tunes, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, and 70’s light rock. And we’ll also get “celebrity” judges to sit in, too, like Kenny Loggins or Barry Manilow, and Olivia Newton John and Paul Anka. You know, these celebrity judges for the most part are IRRELEVANT to today’s pop music. They may have been relevant to my parents when I was 9 years old, but to a 16 year old kid downloading to their Ipod, Carole Bayer Sager may as well be a goddamned ancient history footnote. Hell, even so-called judge Paula Abdullard hasn’t been relevant to pop music since about 1995. I find it galling that she gets to judge what a pop star is when she hasn’t had a top 40 hit since before most of the contestants hit puberty.

More people voted in last years’ Idol finals than have ever voted in any Presidential election in history, and that’s fucking sad. Our collective attention span is down to phone votes day by day. Maybe we should have all 186 current Presidential candidates go on a show and we can vote off each idiot one by one with weekly phone votes after debates. Then we’ll be down to two, and then we can vote for them in a giant 2-hour special with 800-numbers. This is what America has become…way to go, Sheeple.

The Sweet Sound Of A Trainwreck

Ah, the sweet sounds of a train wreck. Not the thundering boom and the screech of twisting metal followed by screams, wailing sirens and crackling flames. No, this train wreck has more subtle sounds. These sounds are the click of camera shutters, the whispers of rumor and conjecture, the frantic chatter of spin doctors and talking heads doing damage control when the tabloids hit the stands, and the thump of doors being shut on a career. I love to see a good come-uppance.

The latest batch of train wrecks include Paris Hilton, famous only for being born into hideous wealth, and her former “BFF” Nicole Ritchie, famous only for having been adopted by Lionel and for interrupting her status as Paris’ chief boot-licking toady to lose so much weight she made a resident of Auschwitz look plump. But these wrecks are actually mild, and I think the best crashes are yet to come from these two.

Lindsay Lohan has been wonderfully entertaining with her starvation, party binges, faux rehab attempts, and generalized scandalous idiocy. She was such a Disney-dreamland fresh face 3 years ago. She was downright hot with her flaming red tresses, curves, big smile, and even bigger jugs. Then she turned 18 and started dropping pounds like a B-52 dropping bombs on a Ho Chi Minh Trail arc-light mission. In an attempt to hide her Irish freckles, she began fake-baking her skin into bomber-jacket leather. She then lost her tasty shape, dyed her hair Goth black, and became almost as big a party fool as Paris, wrecking a couple of $100,000 cars in the process. She managed to get the nickname Fire Crotch after getting her thongless snapper snapped pretty much simultaneously with Paris and Britney’s hoo-hahs hanging in the wind. I guess the black dye only covered the hair on her noggin, not her scroggin. There’s still some hope for her though I think, if she can realize rehab means you can’t just leave whenever you want, adds about 20 pounds, and goes red again. The whole incident where the movie studio exec called her out publicly for staying out partying & showing up for her job late made her look like a fucking idiot, and she still has enough pride left to not end up with her own celebreality farce on VH-1.

I get a special sort of twisted glee to watch the flounderings of the Olsen twins. Everybody’s child-star darlings, by the time they were old enough to decide on pad vs. tampon they were worth more dough than most Third World countries. The way everyone was counting the days till they turned 18, you’d have thought they already had brokered a deal with Larry Flynt to violate each other with strap-ons in Hustler as an act of rebellion. However, it’s by far more entertaining to see their emaciated carcasses in all the tabloids with that deer-in-the-headlights stare, expensive rags hanging from them like wet blankets, and sunglasses so huge they could pass for welding goggles. The glasses may look almost normal on someone who takes in more then 9 calories a day.

And then there’s Britney. Oh yes, there will be Britney. Squeaky clean Britney. Everyone’s little Mouseketeer turned Mouseketurd. Who couldn’t see THIS shit coming? The lookouts on Titanic, maybe. Each successive album saw her start to ho it up a little more, writhing with a python on stage and showing up pretty much naked in the “Toxic” video, and then sticking her tongue in the well-traveled cock-holster of Madonna. And along came K-Fed…..Y’know I really blamed him for her decline at first, till I realized he was just a symptom of a greater apocalypse, the “bad boy bad choice in men” phase. But Federline is smarter than he looks. He was a background dancer, not even a singer, with no better prospects of a career, who’d previously knocked up some B-list actress a couple times and then fled to Britney’s sheets looking for 15 minutes of fame. So her starts banging Spears and manages to marry into the bankroll to boot , then starts to spend her money like there’s no tomorrow before she could wise up & kick him to the curb. Another smart move: he foisted two more kids on her, in order to secure more bankroll by proxy.

In a rare moment of lucidity, Brit left him, got a makeover, and hit all the talk shows. And then you’d expect her to be all successful & shit, recording more pre-packaged vapid pop dogshit while Federline the wannabe rapper should have been back to washing cars and trying to be an extra in “Electric Boogaloo 3: Rise of the Moonwalk”. His CD was so bad it made William Hung look like Pavarotti. Enter Murphy’s Law….

In a truly fucking majestic stroke of irony, Brit turns into a party whore of Courtney love proportions with Paris and starts to meltdown like Chernobyl. Meanwhile, Federline shaves, washes his hair, puts on a suit instead of an oversized set of trackies and gold chains, and starts being seen in public with his first two kids at Disney like a model citizen. He got a cameo role on CSI, which always helps the resume, and was astute enough to parley his image as a fast-food escapee into a very funny investment company ad shown during the Super Bowl. All of a sudden, he’s the responsible dad. Meanwhile, Britney is photographed every night partying, dating K-Fed look-alikes, falling asleep in clubs, getting tattoos, piercing her man in the boat, and shaving her head. Now she’s in rehab again after leaving twice in the same week ala Lohan style, and I can’t stop cackling with demonic glee.

I haven’t laughed so hard since Kurt Cobain martyred himself and thus secured himself a place in the pantheon of saints in the Grungy Church of Emo Whiners. Money may not buy you love, or even happiness, but it’ll buy you some panties, a cheeseburger or two, driving lessons, and some couch time with a good shrink. Hop to it, kids.