Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Ah, here we are on another beautiful, sunny Memorial Day Weekend. It’s the traditional start now to the summer season, and the weather here in the Lowcountry couldn’t have been better. Sunny, warm, with a deliciously refreshing cool breeze; it’s pretty much my favorite time of year. Time to eat & drink ourselves into oblivion, fry like bacon at the beach, and spend whatever money we have left after filling the gas tank at all the myriad sales because to corporate America, Memorial Day Weekend is just another reason to have an alleged sale, from jeans to cars to hot tubs.

However, while I’m all in favor of spending time with the family, relaxing, and the conduct of commerce, we also like to forget what Memorial Day symbolizes. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to our nation.

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Charleston, SC; Boalsburg, PA; Richmond, VA; Carbondale, IL; Columbus, MS; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances eventually coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days. (Confederate Memorial Day is still observed in the former Confederate states on several different dates. Here in South Carolina it’s May 10th.)

According to Professor David Blight of Yale University, the first Memorial Day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the Planter’s Race Course horse race track in Charleston, near the Citadel. Now known as Hampton Park, the site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. A parade with thousands of freed slaves and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.

It later evolved into Decoration Day, by where graves of soldiers were decorated with laurel wreaths, an ancient Greek tradition resurrected by a retired general in Waterloo, NY. Many Southern states refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were very few veterans of the Union Army who lived in the South. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866 at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.

The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, but did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971. After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply at the state level, all fifty states adopted the measure within a few years.

This Memorial Day, I wish to salute a fallen American soldier whose remains were finally repatriated and returned to his family for burial. Staff Sergeant Matt Maupin, an Army Reservist from Batavia, OH, was captured by insurgents on April 4, 2004 when his convoy came under attack. A tip from an Iraqi civilian led to the discovery and recovery of Matt’s body on March 20th, 2008, north of Baghdad. By then, Matt had been missing in action for nearly four years. His memorial service was attended by thousands, filling a local stadium. Welcome home, brother.

SSG Matt Maupin, from Batavia, Ohio

I also wish to call attention to three other US soldiers still listed as Missing In Action in Iraq, missing but certainly not forgotten. On May 12, 2007 insurgents attacked an outpost in Amariyah, a suburb of Baghdad, killing four American soldiers and an Iraqi translator before capturing SPC Alex Jiminez, PFC Joseph Anzack, and PVT Byron Fouty.

On May 23, officials informed the family of Joseph Anzack that the Army had visually identified his body as being one pulled from the Euphrates River by Iraqi patrol boats. The body had two bullet holes in the head and one in the chest.

On June 4, an insurgent group called The Islamic State of Iraq declared in a video posted on the internet that Fouty and Jimenez were killed because the U.S refused to stop searching for them. They also claimed that they will not give the bodies of the two soldiers to their families and that the two men are buried. As evidence, they released photos of both soldiers’ military ID cards. Since the bodies have never been recovered, their status is still clouded with the possibility that they are still being held. They were at first declared DUSTWUN (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown), and are now listed as Missing/Captured.

SPC Alex Jimenez,from Lawrence, MA and PVT Byron Fouty, from Waterford, MI

Also Missing In Action is Army Reservist SPC Ahmed Qusai al-Tayie, an Iraqi-American linguist who was captured on October 23, 2006 while visiting members of his wife’s family in a Baghdad neighborhood. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since February of 2007, when a militant website showed what appeared to be a short video clip of al-Tayie. The Army still lists him as Missing/Captured.

SPC Ahmed al-Tayie, from Ann Arbor Michigan

More than 78,000 U.S. troops remain missing from World War II, according to Pentagon figures. More than 8,100 remain missing from the Korean War and 1,779 from Vietnam. Another 867 troops who were declared missing at some point during the Vietnam War were identified when their remains were found. And still listed as Missing/Captured is LCDR Scott Speicher, who was shot down on the first night of Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

This Memorial Day, we remember those who have fallen, and those whose status is still uncertain.

I am afeared there are few die well that die in a battle
William Shakespeare, King Henry V, act IV, scene I

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Knee-Jerk 1-20-09 Sheeple Crowd

I swear, If I see one more bumper sticker reading “1-20-09” or see another rolling to-the-second countdown clock on MySpace to 1-20-09, I’m gonna climb a bell tower with a rifle and a bag of Doritos and have me a grand old time, snacking & sniping. I guess the chips are optional.

For over a year now I’ve been seeing these countdowns, done by eager people who probably don’t even vote, waiting for the end of the Bush presidency. I guess these folks have a better source of information than me. Because according to them all of America’s problems will instantly go away on the 21st of January next year.

Wow, that’s amazing.

On the 22d, if I’m to believe the Sheeple, the economy will be on the upswing, gas will be a dollar a gallon, unemployment will cease, the mortgage crisis will evaporate and allow the housing market to auto-correct in a heartbeat, Social Security will be funded in perpetuity, and all troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will be home by the weekend.

What utter bollocks. That’s not optimism. That’s not even properly wishful thinking. That even surpasses fantasy and delves into The Moon Is Made Of Green Cheese.

Look, I get it. Americans on the whole are looking to be rid of an unpopular President Bush; I’m really not used to seeing a sitting President being so openly reviled by the nation. But no matter who wins it’s going to take a year or two to get us back on an even keel. I myself have never exactly been a staunch Bush supporter, but I’m also not so much of a starry-eyed idiot to think that all our troubles will be over on January 21, 2009. While he latest poll I saw showed Bush's approval rating at 31%, the latest poll for the Democrat-led Congress that I saw had their approval rating at a paltry and sickening 16%.

All the Bush Bashing and 1-20-09 countdown crapola has me seriously concerned about knee-jerk voting. So many people simply hate Bush that come November they’ll just blindly and ignorantly vote for whichever candidunce the Democrats foist off on the American public after they finish slitting each others’ throats at the convention this summer.

I’ve heard dozens of people say they were going to vote for Obama simply because he’s black. And still dozens more have said that they’ll vote for Hillary because Bill was such a good President…… (What coma these people were in during the 90’s is beyond me). But by far the most people I’ve heard have said that they were simply going to vote Democrat because they hated Bush. That, dear readers, makes no freakin’ sense whatsoever. Why?

Regardless of who wins, George W. Bush will no longer be President in January. Voting for a Democrat doesn’t hurt him. Not one iota. You’re not voting him out of office, people. He’s already leaving. Get that through your noggins.

So instead of voting for someone out of spite, make sure you’re voting for someone who honestly will represent your interests and beliefs. I personally will not be voting for either Democratic candidate, as I feel neither are really qualified to lead me or my country.

Senator Clinton has served but one term in the Senate, and although re-elected in 2006 to a second term, she’s spent most of that term chasing the nomination. She keeps saying that she’s qualified because her husband was President. Big whoop, lady; just because I have a CDL doesn’t make my wife qualified to drive a truck. My first wife was a teacher, so does that mean that by default I’m qualified to teach, too? I mean, we lived in the same house & all. Just because you lived in the White House, that doesn’t mean you’re qualified to sit in the Oval Office. Unless I miss my guess, you weren’t exactly aware of everything going on at Bill’s desk anyways. She wants universal health care but has no plan on how to fund it. Her campaign has been rife with scandal on illegal contributions and all the usual Clintonian baggage, and don’t even get me started on her alleged landing in Kosovo under sniper fire. I trust her about as far as I can throw her.

And then we have Barack Obama, a first-term Senator who has spent a good part of his time in the Senate trying to become President. Congressional records show that he missed about 25% of the votes in the Senate last year. Senator Obama’s issues with Jeremiah Wright and his desire to sit & have tea and crumpets with Mahmoud Ahmedinijad of Iran leave me worried about his ability to lead much more than a pack of Cub Scouts to the dumpster & back without getting lost.

I believe in lower taxes, smaller government, and a strong military that we don’t send pell-mell to every Third World crapfest conflict that crops up. I guess I’d consider myself a moderate conservative, since I don’t completely toe the party line of the Republicans. I support the death penalty but am pro-choice. I support gay marriage and advocate responsible gun ownership.

I’ll be voting for John McCain in November, it looks like, unless a legitimate third party candidate can actually get onto my state’s ballots and can accurately represent my interests. But so far, Johnny’s my man. He served two terms in the House before being elected to the Senate in 1986, bringing 26 years of experience to bear. He’s a retired naval aviator who flew over Vietnam and spent five and a half grueling years as a prisoner of war after being shot down. That builds a lot of character, character that you don’t always find when ducking Whitewater allegations or listening to Jeremiah Wright spew rhetoric for 20 years.

Granted, I do have some concerns over John McCain that trouble me. He’s a bit weak on immigration. Of course, the state he’s represented in Congress for 26 years borders Mexico, whose chief export is Mexicans. If he wants to appease the locals at home, he can’t really be seen helping Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) building a border fence. And it seems that he’s pandering to Liberals by dabbling with the Global Warming conspiracy crowd, but over all, I think that given what we have to work with he’s my best bet. I honestly, deep down, do not feel that either Democratic candidate represents my interests.

But hey, don’t vote McCain because I said so. Vote for who you believe in. Please, do vote, and encourage everyone you know to vote. Don’t let American Idol have a better voter turnout than the Presidential elections of 2008. And for the love of all things small & fuzzy, don’t just knee-jerk Sheeple-vote Democrat thinking it’ll hurt Bush. He’s past caring who you vote for.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My first foray into public Bush-Bashing, sorta

For almost 8 years I have steadfastly avoided publicly bashing President Bush for his apparent (well, sometimes obvious) lack of brains at times. There are dozens of websites devoted to “Bushisms”, the abuses of the English language perpetrated by the President during his speeches and public remarks. Listening to him sometimes, it can be hard to fathom that he graduated from Yale and Harvard and at one time flew fighters in the Air Guard (although he scored the lowest acceptable passing grade on the pilot's written aptitude test) and is ostensibly the most powerful person in the world.

"Removing Saddam Hussein was the right decision early in my presidency, it is the right decision now, and it will be the right decision ever."—Washington, D.C., March 12, 2008

But out of respect for the office of the Presidency I’ve tried my best to not join the late-night hosts and comedians and, well, pretty much everybody, in continually trashing George Bush. But after today, even I have to ask the question:

Mister President, are you just plain stupid?

I ask this because today I heard word that you are planning on visiting with the king of Saudi Arabia next week, and when you meet you’re planning on asking him to get with his OPEC cronies and have them start producing more oil. That’s just effing ridiculous.

We only import about 22% of our oil from OPEC countries. Our number one source of imported oil is Canada, sir. That would be the large country to our north where they look like us but have less crime and better education. Our number two import source is Mexico. That would be the country below Texas whose chief export to America is Mexicans.

With oil approaching $120.00 a barrel (it was about $19.00 a barrel 10 years ago), why would we want OPEC, who keeps jacking the price up, to produce more oil for us to spend all our money on? Why should we give it to filthy rich sheiks to buy a diamond-encrusted Mercedes or an Airbus flying palace?

Mister President, how about you ask AMERICA to boost production of oil? That’s a capital idea, sir. How about we open up ANWR to drilling? How about someone kick Big Awl ™ in the ass and get them to channel some of that obscene profit fundage into building new refineries? And how about we start taking advantage of all the oil sitting just offshore that no one will go and get for fear of reprisals and boo-hoo from tree huggers?

According to the US Department of Energy, US oil production has fallen approximately 40% since 1985, while US consumption has grown more than 30%. We’re using more while making less and getting it elsewhere. But we don’t have to get it elsewhere. The Outer Continental Shelf of the United States contains over 44 billion barrels of oil, and 232 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, eighty-five percent of the outer continental shelf is off limits to domestic exploration.

Digest that a moment, would you?

That’s 44 billion barrels of oil and 232 trillion cubic feet of natural gas out there just off the coast, and 85% of it is off limits to domestic production due to environmental laws and policies. In the Gulf of Mexico, there is enough natural gas to heat 60 million homes for another 160 years. But more than 85% of the coastal waters adjacent to the lower 48 states, extending up 200 miles from our shores, are off limits to oil exploration. And as we use our own resources, it will buy us time to work on solutions to our energy needs other than fossil fuels, provided that Big Awl™ allows that to happen.

Of course, there are less-scrupulous nation-states out there who are more than willing to siphon off our oil while we worry about making a spill, nations like China. China has an environmental record so dubious that athletes are afraid to attend the summer Olympics for fear of not being able to breathe in Beijing’s polluted smogfest. And as I’ve said before, China has contracted with Cuba to drill for oil right off Key West…..that’s our oil, Mister President. Oil that we ourselves should be taking advantage of, if only we could circumvent the left’s environmentalist lobby.

An for all you environmentalist granola-heads out there who are now sticking pins in voodoo dolls that look like yours truly, I bring you a case in point: Australia. The Aussies have been drilling their own offshore deposits for 40 years without a big nasty mishap the likes of which you would have us all believe lurk under every oil well. And here at home as a matter of fact when Hurricane Katrina hit, only 86 of the gulf region’s 4,000 rigs and platforms were damaged or destroyed, and most of those were older rigs on top of unproductive wells. So our existing offshore infrastructure was only minimally impacted by the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.

Don’t go branding me an Enemy of the Environment, either. I’ve watched bald eagles soar above me in Acadia National Park and gazed in wonder directly into the eyes of humpback whales off Stellwagen Bank. I don’t drive a mammoth SUV and I rescue stray animals at work and set them free, much to the bemusement of co-workers who wonder why I stop work to help lizards, tree frogs, and even a mouse once.

The sooner we stop suckling at OPEC’s teats the better. Asking them to produce more just keeps us at their beck and call as they dangle that carrot at us and then beat us with the stick of exorbitant prices. And if we allow other nations to suck our own fields dry, we’ll never get off the teat. Time to stand up and wean, and in the process become energy-independent. C’mon, Dubya…do the smart thing even though I know you made millions by being a part of Big Awl™ yourself. January 21st is coming fast and you're running out of time to do something intelligent.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Origins of Mojo Steve/The Lightning Man

Most everybody that I know in my everyday life simply knows me as Steve. I mean, it’s my name and all, and has been for nigh on 39 years now. I prefer Steve to Stephen, and for the love of all things small & fuzzy, don’t call me Stevie. That’s just wrong.

However, in the realm of fans of the band Depeche Mode, I’ve been known by another name entirely for about 15 years now. The know me by the nickname of Lightning Man. And among my circle of die-hard hockey fans, I’m known as Mojo Steve. Both names are somewhat cryptic and a tad strange, I admit. Perhaps it’s time to enlighten you as to how I ended up with two nicknames, and really don’t go by either in my everyday life.

Back in 1992, a couple months after I got out of the Army, I took a short trip to New Smyrna Beach, Florida to visit my buddy John. Whilst lounging poolside, John and I somehow decided it would be a novel idea to start singing along loudly to the CD "SHOWTIME" from the band Nitzer Ebb. The cd contained the song "Lightning Man", a catchy yet angry dance track, the funky track "Fun To Be Had", and the song "Getting Closer", which was just plain angry. After a couple songs, a full can of beer ker-plooks into the water near me and floats to the surface. Holy crap…depth charges! Looking up to a third floor balcony, I see a young lady waving a Nitzer Ebb concert shirt at me & beckoning John and myself to come up the party she was throwing. Free beer? Drunk chicks? We were SO there. The drunken hostess introduced me to her friends as “The Real Lightning Man”, causing John and me to raise an eyebrow and look at each other like “Dude, just roll with it”. The party was a tad lame so we made a hasty retreat, but somehow the name stuck, and a year later when we discovered that there was an online discussion forum for our favorite band, Depeche Mode, I opted to start logging in as The Lightning Man, since half the people in the forum were using clever music-oriented screen names. A lot of DM fans also like Nitzer Ebb, and the Ebb opened for the Mode on their 1990 world tour. It stuck, and 15 years later the online Depeche Mode fan community still knows me as Lightning Man. In tribute, one of my tattoos symbolizes the nickname.

----------Nitzer Ebb: Bon Harris and Doug McCarthy----------------

Fast forward to the 2004-2005 hockey season, and there I am in the stands at a South Carolina Stingrays game. The camera operator is panning the crowd during stoppages in play, and they happen upon me while the song “Yeah!” by Usher is on. I’m not an Usher fan but I do rather like Lil Jon, who is featured on the track, so I stood up on impulse and started tossing out every cheesy white-boy dance move could think of, much to the crowd’s enjoyment. Up in the control box, they rewound the film of it and played it again in slow motion about 10 minutes later, to the tune of “Let’s Get It On”, again to the enjoyment of the crowd. I was a little embarrassed at first, but the crowd enthusiasm emboldened me and it started to become a regular game occurrence. I started to get feedback from the players themselves saying how much they were amused by it, so I kept on doing it, and then Stingrays legend Marty Clapton told me after a game that he thought they played better when I did what he called The Mojo Dance, sending the lucky mojo to the team……..and thus a monster was created. Marty’s use of the word Mojo led to me being Mojo Steve, not to be confused with Suspenders Steve, who does a dance during Stingrays games to the tune of “Cotton-Eyed Joe”. The dancing became an every-game phenomenon during the 2005-2006 season and through the 2006-2007 season, with me trying to add new moves every so often to change it up, or adding props like wigs and sunglasses, and for a while wearing a bright pink hockey sock on my head. This season, however, I seem to have fallen out of favor with team management, as they put me up on the screen maybe four times all year. It’s a shame really, since I keep having to fend off questions from my “fans” as to why I’m no longer up there, and I just direct them to ask the man in the booth who runs his little fiefdom and decides what to do.

So there you have it. The simple, actually rather mundane, origins of the strange names associated with me. But really, I just answer to Steve.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You mourn your heroes and I'll mourn mine

Eight Belles goes down with two broken ankles

Admittedly, among my many addictions (hockey, electronic music, caffeine), I’m also a news junkie. As soon as I pry my eyes open at zero-dark-thirty for work, the news is on. I have 5-6 news feeds tied to my Google start page. On my drive to & from work, I’m either listening to ESPN or talk radio; music is for leisure driving. On my lunch break, I eat in my car to listen to the news.

That said, all I heard yesterday morning was Eight Belles this and Eight Belles that on a continual loop. Every few minutes I had to listen to the same soundbyte of how these horses put their lives on the line and that she was glad to do it, blah blah blah and how PETA wants the jockey publicly stoned and then burned at the stake, yadda yadda yadda. Sure, it’s a damn shame that such a magnificent animal, just three years old, had to be euthanized, but frankly I was getting a bit worn out on hearing about her freakish double-leg break and subsequent destruction in front of a hundred thousand people. I’m sure that there are now hundreds of bouquets of roses and wreaths and stuffed horses and hand-scrawled notes saying “We’ll miss you Eight Belles” piled up at the front gate to Churchill Downs in some grand makeshift memorial to what really was an overbred draft animal, and trust me when I guarantee that while the ownership of the animal is grieving the loss of their little four-legged money-maker, the animal was generously insured, likely for much more than you or I are. I believe I covered this before here:

So, instead, allow me to refocus your sympathy and kind thoughts to another death last week, one that was overshadowed by the death of an expensive animal, sadly under-reported and generally overlooked by the drive-by media.

On April 30, four days before the Kentucky Derby, Staff Sergeant Chad A. Caldwell of Spokane, Washington was killed by an IED in Mosul, Iraq while conducting dismounted combat operations. SSG Caldwell was a squad leader assigned to Troop K, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas.

SSG Caldwell joined the Army in 2002 after graduating from high school in 2001. He and his wife, Raechel, met while they were high schoolers and working part-time at a telemarketing firm. They were married in 2002, just before Caldwell entered basic training. They have two boys; Trevor, age 4; and Coen, age 2.

At the time of his death, SSG Caldwell was on his third combat tour. He initially served in Iraq in 2003-4 and also previously completed a tour in Afghanistan in 2007. SSG Caldwell is also survived by his mother, Carol Caldwell of Spokane, his father, Mark Caldwell of Hayden Lake, and his brother and sister, Justin and Krista, both of Spokane. He had planned to make the military his career.

Caldwell was a heavily decorated soldier. He received two Army Commendation Medals--one for saving the life of a pregnant woman in Baghdad in 2003 and a second for saving the life of a lieutenant colonel who was caught in gunfire. He had been featured in news articles in both the USA Today and Stars and Stripes.

So worry all you want about a horse, and I’ll worry about a valiant hero who was somebody’s son, brother, husband, and father. Rest in Peace, Chad.

SSG Chad Caldwell in Iraq

The Caldwell Family before Chad deployed

Monday, May 5, 2008

Top Ten Reasons to Vote For Ron Jeremy

As a follow-up to yesterday's blog:

Top Ten Reasons To Vote For Ron Jeremy

10. Meets all the criteria for election.
9. Native New Yorker who can carry the state and its vital 31 electoral votes.
8. Master’s Degree in special education means he’s prepared to deal with Congress.
7. If told by another nation to go screw himself, he probably could.
6. Wide appeal to both young and old voters. Everyone loves Ron Jeremy!!!
5. Comes ready-equipped with Secret Service nickname: Hedgehog.
4. No worry of a sex scandal in the White House. It’s all in the open, baby.
3. Guaranteed support and backing from the entertainment industry.
2. With dual undergraduate degrees in elementary education and theater, and having acted in 1700 films and directed 250, if we can elect an actor in 1980, why not now?
1. If America is gonna get screwed by the White House, shouldn’t we get it from a true professional?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hedgehog For President

Every time one opens a newspaper or turns on the TV or radio you get inundated with non-stop, 24/7, second by second, up to the minute Election 2008 coverage. It starts over a year in advance of the elections and just gets worse every 4 years. It’s Obama this, and Hillary that, sprinkled with a side order of McCain said whatever. Of course, you’re not really obligated to vote for just one of the major candidates, you know. You can write-in a candidate of your choice, so long as they meet the qualifications for President of the United States. In fact, if you’re really feeling froggy, you can write me in; I’m over 35 and meet the residency requirements.

Article Two of the Constitution sets the principal qualifications to be eligible for election as President. A Presidential candidate must:

* be a natural-born citizen of the United States
* be at least thirty-five years old
* have been resident in the United States for at least fourteen years

And there are some folks who just think it’s funny to write in Mickey Mouse. Frivolous write-in votes of cartoon characters are tossed out and not counted as a general rule, but according to some sources, Mickey received 428 votes in the 2003 Florida elections.

If you’re considering voting for a write in candidate, there are a few dozen choices. I found them at
You have:
Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party
Jesse Johnson, Cynthia McKinney, Kent Mesplay, and Kat Swift, all of the Green Party
Thirteen candidates running for the Libertarian Party, not including Ron Paul
Gloria LaRiva of the Party of Socialism & Liberation
Reverend Gene Amondson of the Prohibitionist Party
Brian Moore of the Socialist Party
Roger Calero of the Socialist Worker’s Party
And perennial independent candidate Ralph Nader

Additionally there are 55 other independent/write-in candidates who have yet to achieve ballot status in any state, including Cris Ericson of Vermont’s Marijuana Party, John Taylor Bowles of South Carolina, representing the National Socialist Order of America (a complete front for the KKK. Their website scared the shit out of me.), Pennsylvania’s Jack Grimes of the United Fascist Union, and who can forget Jonathon “The Impaler” Sharkey of New Jersey, running from the bully pulpit of the Vampire, Witches & Pagan Party. I kid you not.

Of course, I have a few more that you can choose from too:

Cobra Commander- Sure, he’s been portrayed as a villainous tyrant bent on world domination, but a lot of people say the same thing about George Bush too. Cobra Commander is all about keeping a strong military.

Christopher Walken- The epitome of cool. You know what America needs? More cowbell!

Angus MacGyver- Come on, man, the dude made an ultralight aircraft built from bamboo, garbage bags, duct tape and a cement mixer engine. I think he can fix the economy with a rubber band, chewing gum, and a tampon.

And personally, I’m throwing my support behind Mister Ron Jeremy Hyatt, of New Hyde Park, New York. Ron Jeremy meets all the criteria. He’s 55 years of age, a natural born citizen and has resided in the United States for at least 14 years. Ron Jeremy attended Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens, where former CIA director George Tenet and actor Reginald VelJohnson were classmates. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and theater and a Master's degree in special education from Queens College in New York. He is also a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon international fraternity. He taught special education classes in the New York City area and was a substitute teacher for regular classes before embarking upon, shall we say, an alternative film career. He holds a Guinness World Record for most appearances in adult films. He’s a published author and frequent public speaker and is a spokesman for PETA. So THINK BIG: RON JEREMY IN 2008!!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Reverend Wrong

A few weeks ago when all this hullabaloo over Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his pastorship over Senator Barack Obama came up, I quickly came to the conclusion that the esteemed pastor is a complete and utter blowhard totally enamored with the sound of his own voice. This guy loves to hear himself talk, and talk he does. He also likes to stir up crap, both for himself and for his erstwhile flock member.

Now most recently, the good reverend has said a few things that finally made me have to stand up, and pretty much tell him to shut his pie hole, for he seems to not completely know that of which he speaks.

Yes, you heard me correctly. I’m telling a pastor to just shut up and crawl back under his rock.

The first bone of contention I have is Wright’s problem with the New England accent. At a recent NAACP function, Wright started ambling on about black children speaking differently from white children because they learn differently and have left-brain/right-brain differences. Wright was then quoted (completely butchering Kennedy’s accent) as saying,” John Kennedy could stand at the inauguration in January and say, "ask not what your country can do for you, it's rather what you can do for your country." How do you spell “isk”? Nobody ever said to John Kennedy that's not English, "isk"….. Ed Kennedy, today, those of you in the Congress, you know Kilpatrick. You know, Ed Kennedy today cannot pronounce cluster consonants. Very few people from Boston can. They pronounce park like it's p-o-c-k. Where did you "pock" the car? They pronounce f-o-r-t like it's f-o-u-g-h-t. We fought a good battle. And nobody says to a Kennedy you speak bad English. “.

Okay. I’m very familiar with the New England accents. I’ve visited all six New England states and lived in Maine for a total of eleven years, or not quite a third of my life. I know all about the New England propensity for dropping the letter R from words and sort of pronouncing it with an “ah” sound. However, I hasten to point out to the good reverend that in today’s vernacular in use by young, urban black Americans, almost every word ending in R is instead not only pronounced but also spelled with an A as well. As evidence, I offer you such words as: gangsta, playa, hustla, sista, brotha, killa, holla, dolla, supa, and that most ubiquitous of all words, the one that I’m not even allowed to say, nigga. Those R’s are just as clipped as any R found around Back Bay Boston and Harvard’s yard.

Now, on to Bone of Contention Number Two, which is the one that’s sticking in my craw just a little more. Wright was talking about his patriotism being questioned after criticizing the war in Iraq and speaking out on his perceptions on racism, when he said, “"My goddaughter's unit just arrived in Iraq this week while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service, while sending over 4,000 American boys and girls to die over a lie!”. He later took a shot at the vice president, saying: "I served six years in the military. Does that make me unpatriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?".

For the record, Vice President Cheney did not ever serve in the military. Instead, Cheney applied for and received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War. Jeremiah Wright, ironically, was inspired by President John F. Kennedy's 1961 challenge to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," and gave up his student deferment, left college and joined the United States Marine Corps. In 1963, after two years of service, Wright then transferred to the United States Navy and served an additional four years as a medical corpsman.
From one veteran to another, Reverend Wright, I must call you out on this. You, sir, are just grandstanding for the cameras again. Allow me to educate you, sir. The following members of Congress have sons who have served, or are currently serving, in Iraq or Afghanistan:

Senator Jim Webb (D-VA)(Webb is a retired admiral who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy)
Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO)
Representative Todd Akin (R-MO)
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
whose stepson, Douglas Lehtinen and his wife, Lindsey, are both Marine fighter pilots
Former Senator and current Attorney General John Ashcroft (R-MO)
Representative Jim Kline (R-MN)
Representative Jim Saxton (D-NJ
)—(nephew, not son, is serving)
Representative Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Representative Ike Skelton (R-MO)
Representative Joe Wilson (D-SC)
(Wilson’s son Joe served in Iraq. Another son is in the Navy, one is in the National Guard, and a fourth is an ROTC cadet at Clemson.)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Um, yeah, the son of the Republican Presidential candidate is serving in Iraq, thank you very much. And, sadly, the nephew of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Marine Corporal Phillip Baucus, was killed in Iraq in 2006. Furthermore, twenty-nine members of the Senate (58%), and 98 members of the House of Representatives (over 22%), are veterans. Those numbers include a couple of retired admirals, a couple former POW’s, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. Lastly, 13 Congressional seats in 10 states are being sought after by Iraq veterans. One of those seats is being campaigned for by the son of Representative Duncan Hunter of California, and the seat of Iraq veteran Representative Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania is being challenged by retired Marine Colonel Tom Manion, whose son was killed in Iraq.

You called these people in power privileged, Reverend Wright, and privileged they are to be able to serve this great nation in the military or by having their family members serve, as well as serving in Congress. Your aggrandizement and zeal for shameless self-promotion sullies your own honorable service by trying to discredit and downplay the service and sacrifice of a Congress you disagree with. I’m starting to think that you’re hiding behind the guise of a clergyman, thinking that you can spew venom and vitriol and then hide behind your Bible, while you seek to further your own private agenda. Why else would you say on television that you’re open to being Vice President?

I also see that you subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the American government executed the 9/11 attacks and that the same government developed the AIDS virus to commit genocide against people of color. If I were a conspiracy theorist I’d say that you approached your old pal Barack Obama months ago about it, attempting to use your status as his pastor, the man who married him and baptized his kids, to garner yourself a spot on the ticket, and when Obama rebuffed you and said no, you decided to become such an embarrassing pain in the ass that his campaign would never recover. But I digress…

You like to argue that all the media attention you’re collecting is simply an attack on you, and an attack on the black church as a whole. I disagree, sir. Your media attention is the same self-serving line of crap that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson like to use. When no one listens, you yell a little louder, and then claim the race card. But I’m an equal opportunist; everyone has an equal opportunity to piss me off, so I’ll lump Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell in with you as grandstanding fringe-element religious kooks. Please maintain that separation between church and state, and stay out of politics.