questions for obama

I've heard these are historic times and all that. An African-American has won the White House, a Jewish man is his Chief of Staff, all that groundbreaking stuff. But has everyone forgotten that there's just so much about Obama that we simply don't know? As recently as 10:59 pm on Tuesday November 4th, unanswered questions about Obama's past, his associations, his 'dealings' with 'community organizations', swirled around him in an obfuscating cloud. But now he's your President-elect, and those questions have been magically puffed away like a bad fart. Well, I'm no American, but if I were, I'd stand outside the White House for the next two months with a gigantic placard. I don't know what the placard would say, but in my pocket there'd be a piece of paper with the following questions for this President-elect about whom we know so much little:

1. Mr. Obama, for the last two years you've been campaigning tirelessly, first to be the Democratic candidate, then as the Presidential candidate. There were periods before this - don't deny it, sir - when you campaigned for the office of Governor. I have difficulty believing that a man so addicted to candidacy can lay down his candidate pipe so easily. What are you running for now, Mr. Obama? Mayor McCheese? King of Revy Home & Garden? Overlord of The Gap?

2. At today's press conference, you asked a reporter "What happened to your arm?" But the camera never moved to show us this supposedly injured reporter. Mr. Obama, is it not true that the reporter in question was an amputee?

3. In 1971, during the height of the Vietnam War, Bill Ayers and his domestic terrorist gang were waging their campaign of fear against America. Several years later, you were woken in the middle of the night by a strange buzzing noise and a bilious glow coming through your window. You slipped on your bathrobe and stumbled into the backyard, where a shining meteor had partially buried itself in the ground. Startled but somehow compelled, you knelt down an placed your palm upon the alien rock, whereupon an extraterrestrial intelligence transferred itself into your mind and condemned you to live out your days as a symbiote with an energy being from Rigel-4. Mr. President-elect, will you finally come clean about your relationship with Mr. Ayers? And that black guy, the priest? Yeah, those two?

4. Why do your daughters have nictitating membranes over their eyes and vestigial throat sacs and gills? What do you know about the amphibious future that other Americans may not?

5. Is it not true, Mr. Obama, that your campaign slogan "Change You Can Believe In" ends in a preposition? And is it also not true that your other slogan, "Yes we can," discriminates against the lazy, the apathetic, the stupid, the terminally TV-addled, the self-pitying, the whining, the blame-casting and the just plain mean of spirit? Those assholes are people too, you know.

6. Apparently Zeus sent you a congratulatory message but Yahweh did not. No questions there, just - well, I didn't think Zeus paid much attention to politics.

7. Over the last eight years the Republicans have worked tirelessly to grant George W. Bush with godlike powers to spy on people without warrants, kidnap innocents and torture them indefinitely, screw habeus corpus right in its liberal ear, shoot laser beams from his eyes and basically stomp on any law if deemed necessary. They have taken the Presidential cloth and tailored it into an armoured, weaponized shell. Now that walking tank of an office is being handed over to you. You, um, you're not going to abuse absolutely your new absolute power, are you?

unborn for Obama (undead for McCain?)

I don't usually talk about politics on this site, but this snippet from Salon.com caught my eye. In a piece about the Newsweek article "Secrets of 2008 campaign" and the process that resulted in McCain's pick o' Palin as a running mate, Kate Harding writes:

"Secrets" confirms what we already knew: That McCain himself wanted Joe Lieberman to be his running mate, and if not Lieberman, then Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. Problem was, aides advised that "a pro-choice pick would deeply antagonize the religious right, maybe even provoke a floor fight at the convention."

I think we can agree that McCain lost for several reasons. He was unprepared to handle the economic crisis, he tilted his campaign towards an increasingly select base of abysmally stupid people, and in any case, John McCain was a man on the wrong side of history. But the choice of Palin as a running mate damaged his campaign to such an extent that there was no way of recovering from that one. Every time undecided voters considered McCain, that grinning, winking, pan-smacked face rose up in their minds. Palin embodied a little too completely the face of American ignorance: blandly pretty, unjustifiably confident, insulated from and wholly unsuited to the real world. She turned a vote for McCain into a vote for the worst tendencies in American culture, and too many Americans were heartily sick of her kind of attitude.

Anyway, if the above snippet is true, the chief criterion for Palin's selection was her position on abortion. Could it be that this was the first American election that fetuses had a hand in deciding? Maybe we should be upgrading their status.

Mes for Palin

I’m not an American. But if I were, I’d support Sarah Palin. In fact, I’m starting up an organization called Mes for Palin. Why? Because she’s just like me. She’s a hockey mom. I’m a hockey mom, sometimes. She shot a moose. I shot a tall guy. She actually hunts moose in nature. I hunt tall guys on my private human game reserve. She shoots wolves from a helicopter. I pee standing up. She runs Alaska. I run my refrigerator (frost-free, biznatches!). She’s protected by the Lord from witchcraft. I keep a wrench on me in case Stevie Nicks shows up.

Are you catching the similarities yet? She sees Russia. I see England, France and Sasha Grey’s underpants. She gets tongue-tied in front of Katie Couric. I too feel the white-hot heat of Couric’s raw sexuality, even through the television screen. She loves America. I love a small subset of paranoid ultra-right conservatives who lost their dignity and their marbles years ago. She has close ties to a secessionist party. I moved out my parent’s house last week so I can understand the need for independence, so STOP READING THIS MOM. She is kept from speaking to the press. I am kept from entering the YWCA again. She probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Everyone probably loves me too. If I were me, I’d be just like me too, and I’d be part of Mes for Palin. Because she’s me.


Where to start? Between the x365 entries and the feeling sorry for myself, I've hardly had any time to write one of my more typical entries, which usually falls along the lines of: Insert ridiculous premise A into ridiculous situation B, then watch it try and hold up ludicrous, overly elaborate punchline C. I still don't want to do that. I'm suffering from a deficit of good humour lately.


Part of that stems from the impending surgery on my back. I had my CT scan and it confirmed what I'd pretty much figured out: that my lower back is fucked. I have a 'fracture' in one of my vertebrae that looks more like a hole, through which a disc has spilled out onto my spinal cord. Have I told you this already? If I have, forgive me.

I took the scan results to my doctor and he said I had two choices. The first choice involves hobbling around in pain for the rest of my life, slowly subsiding into a wheelchair-bound life while continuing to throw money into the physical therapy pit. The other involves a date with a knife. Not surprisingly, I took the surgery. I'm now on the waitlist and am waiting for the hospital to call with a date.

A few people have tried very hard to feel sorry for me. Others have suggested that surgery may not be the way to go. If you feel the temptation, there's no need. Surgery for me is a good thing. It may not be right for other people in different circumstances, but this is what's right for me. I've been down a long road, hobbling all the way, and now that road has ended. Now I get my life back.


As anyone who's waited a long time to get surgery can tell you, the last stretch is a killer. Now that I have a couple of concrete milestones, I've turned pissy and impatient, just when I should be grateful and cheery.

There are also moments when I dwell on the negative. I've been given an 80% chance of a full recovery. At times the 20% whips through my mind and I'm nauseous. I think about the possibility that I will never be quite as mobile again. Then I realize that the alternative to taking a chance is not even worth considering.

The waiting weighs heavily on my mind, though. If posting here has been largely restricted to x365s and little dribs and drabs, it's because, in the words of Jon Spencer, now I got worry.


Also, I have an urge to write about the local politics. And the old world politics. I tend to crush these impulses as quickly as possible, because who wants to hear some guy's opinion on whether Al Gore should run for Pres in the wake of winning a Nobel Prize?* If I want politics on a blog, I go to political blogs. I figure that you folks come here for the downloadable ice cream coupons (any day now, I swear). But I will break from my usual moratorium on politics to show you a picture I took of the Premier recently at a news conference. I had a camera, he had a face, and it all worked out.



Do you like the new template? Whatcha think? Some have been enthusiastic, others have been guarded. I vote for snazzy. If this were a blog democracy, you could submit all your hanging chads, out of which I would fashion a suit. I'm not a big guy. It wouldn't take too many chads. Then when the voting is finished, I would walk the streets at night in my chad suit, threatening anyone who comes near. If I make it through the night unmolested and unarrested, then I will be president. Damn, there's that politics again.

Schmutzie, aka She Who Loves Smallville And Is Not Afraid To Admit It,** designed the whole thing. She produced a clean, sharp template that puts the emphasis on the content instead of the wrapper, which means that the burden of quality rests on my brain. Well, this is me. Stepping up.


*Have you seen Draftgore.com? Not to cause offense to well-meaning and passionate people, but how deranged have two Republican terms made you? If I were Al Gore, I think I'd rather join a circus sideshow than run for president. He's won an Emmny, an Oscar, and a Nobel - there is nowhere to go but down if he reënters politics. If he loses the nomination or the presidential race, then it's humiliation. If he wins, then he can do absolutely nothing but disappoint as he enters a fatally degraded public sphere weakened by two terms of lethally bad policy decisions. Don't forget that Gore was V-P for two terms, and the Clinton administration did plenty to weaken environmental regulations, not to mention fuck up rules on media ownership so badly that radio listening in the States now amounts to a choice between Rihanna or Rush Limbaugh.

One of the spiffiest things about the American political system is the limit placed on presidential power. The twentieth century is full of instructive examples of what happens when political leaders concentrate that power. It seems to me that the movement to get Gore into the race speaks of a fairytale longing for a hero to ride in and save the day. It's precisely the same attitude that had people queuing up at the Handjobs for Dubya booth after 9-11. The various power grabs, the Unitary Executive Theory of governance, the lack of oversight in the current administration: that's the stuff of leaders shooting for tyranny in the guise of heroism. And so it is I've snuck in a political discussion despite my own objections?

**Geez, give it a rest and stop talking about Smallville already. You were so totally thrilled when Clark was fighting Bizarro - I get it already. Would you let me watch PBS in peace.

the great game!

Yesterday I promised a part two of the worst party I'd ever attended. But I've got a flu coming on, so here's something I started this morning before my sinuses started filling up. Yummm.

James Conway, the latest US General in charge of the Irag-Afghanistan schlemozzle, repeated one of the standard rationales for the conflict: We fight them terrible terrorists there instead of here. Gen. Conway stated (from Salon.com): "Somehow I don’t think our people have made that connection and feel the same way that I do, and our troops do --that because there has not been an attack in this country is directly related to the fact that they are killing these … fanatics who would otherwise be trying to work their way in to Baltimore harbor or Los Angeles airport".

Aside from the logical confusion in that statement between causation and correlation: if the people back home don't get the connection, it's because it's never been explained properly. As far as I can tell, it doesn't matter how many troops you pour into Iraq - it's not like you're maintaining a physical barrier against a fortified position. If terrorists wants to hit LAX, they don't have to fight their way through a wall of American troops on the way to the travel agent. They'll book a ticket to LAX. Terrorist with sufficient resources and a well-defined program are not going to spend their time burying explosives on the road to Sadr City. They'll get on a plane and land at LAX. Visit Disneyland, have a drink at the Viper Room, take a photo of Drew Carey. Then their plan begins to unreel. As one distracts Drew Carey with an autograph, the other sneaks up and straps an IED to Carey's back and sneaks away on tiptoes. Carey spots IED in a classic double-take, looks up, sound of slide whistle and BOOM. Charred star, muted trumpet plays, and then it's on to a series of 30-second vignettes involving Drew Carey's hapless attempts at revenge. The terrorists make him run off a cliff, hit him with giant mallets, drop a piano on his head, cleverly disguise a brick wall as an alleyway - into which Carey runs smack. Eventually Carey gives up and the terrorists destroy vital infrastructure. They tip California into the ocean with a giant crowbar, and once everyone from Bakersfield to Sacramento is treading water, they do their terrorist dance to some tinny Turkish pop music. On cue, French people run up and start dancing in approval. And that's all, folks.

I can't say for certain that this will be the shape of the next assault on America, but really, if you've read the pundits of thunder and Islamo-fear, then my scenario is as good as any other.

smooth brains and small towns

Some years ago, around 1980, I was watching a documentary on television about racism and hate speech in Canada. The documentary featured an interview with a modern-day spokesman for the Ku Klux Klan, who explained that intelligence could be measured roughly by the number of whorls in the surface of the brain, the theory being that a greater stretch of coastline meant more real estate for cognitive fishing. He went on to explain that 'the brain of the Negro' (I remember clearly that he always referred to black people as 'the Negro,' with audible capitalization) was smoother than the Caucasian brain, which demonstrated that 'the Negro' was congenitally less intelligent than 'the White Man'. It was both explanatory and predictive, at once excusing slavery and intimating that the lot of 'the Negro' in the future would continue to be one of servitude and deprivation.

My nine or ten year old self was intrigued and astonished by this piece of scientific information. I went and told my father that 'the Negro' had a smooth brain. My dad grew very quiet and then told me, in carefully measured words, that the man on television was motivated by stupidity and hatred, and furthermore, that he had been lying.

I didn't understand - how could he be lying? I was prepared to believe that brain texture made no appreciable difference in intelligence, but I couldn't wrap my young mind around the idea that a person could appear on television and calmly cite facts that could, with a little checking, be easily refuted. The man on television had appeared completely confident in his words, his tone pedantic but faintly friendly and intimate, as if he were imparting knowledge to a bright but misguided child. I recognize the tone now as condescension, the patter of the televised preacher when the subject shifts from oracular pronouncements to edifying truths.

I also recognize now that I came from a highly privileged household, one in which books were regularly consulted. Almost any conversation with my familu usually ended with one of us getting up and crying out, "To the dictionary!". I have vivid memories of poring over the 1971 New York Times Atlas of the World - the entire world! - picking out blue threads of rivers and consulting the minuscule print of the index to settle some question. All our reference books had split spines and loose leaves. The net result of all this was a low tolerance for bullshit, although it never quelled my love of horrendously sloppy thinking, or my habit of building elaborate logical scaffolds to buttress up my dumbest ideas. It is a surfeit of humility, not intelligence, that keeps me grounded in my adult life.

Given our family habit of putting assumptions to the test, it seemed strange that the Klan speaker could get away with spouting crap, without someone simply opening a book and pointing out his error. They have their own books and studies, my parents explained, to bolster their lies. It followed, then, that the authors of the books and the people who conducted the studies, the people who gathered and collated the information, were either seriously stupid or just as wilfully evil as the speaker. I realized that the head of the Klan was the visible tip of an iceberg, that a much larger unseen body of people were devoted to a lie, a body of lies, an exercise in scholarly untruth dedicated to proving the inferiority of an abused class.

If my intellectual habits at home did not prepare me for this kind of deception, neither did my experience of cruelty and hatred in the village where I grew up. It was a profoundly rural place living in close proximity to wealth, where the disenfranchised were made keenly aware of their status by the parade of self-satisfied heirs of wealth who invaded our town every summer to race yachts and drink. The local rednecks needed no justification for their cruelty. They didn't care about sin or the smoothness of brains; they just wanted to kick some ass.

Racial slurs were thrown around, but it didn't mean very much; they could say all they wanted about black people, or indian people, or Torontonians, but they would likely encounter no more than a dozen of each in the course of their lives. Sometimes I was foreign enough for them, small and dark-complexioned, and I'd end up in an afterschool or weekend fight, but by and large my differences were suffered. Even with the threat of violence, this was a kind of hatred I could understand - a mix of boredom and basic teenage posturing, an outlet for kids who didn't want to go home to their shitty family life, so they hung around in front of the donair shop and waited for something exciting to happen. And when someone new or different came to town, they beat on him until he was no longer different. They beat him into a shape they could recognize - a victim like themselves.

I almost miss that genial cruelty (almost). I have a sense that the world has grown meaner over the last twenty-five years, as whatever cultural impetus - and genuine affluence without loads of consumer debt - from the 1970s evaporates into the arid air of 21st century capitalism. Discontent rules the discourse, and a vague suspicion of being cheated hangs over every issue. During my time as an interviewer I traveled around the world, but in parts of Canada and the States I found myself constantly amazed at the number of people who would, without prompting, tell me what the problem with society was. Invariably, the problem was small-l liberals, or black people, or immigrants. Occasionally it was sinners and infidels. Quite often it was the spectre of Bill Clinton, who even in 2004 was still ruining the country from his secret country-ruining base in New York. It was never the freeway that had sucked the heart out of the downtown and reorganized it into a row of strip malls and box stores straddling the county line. It wasn't the draining of the local oil wells, or the relocation of a factory to Mexico (under NAFTA, for which you can handily blame Clinton). It could not be one of their own, or a result of the decisions that they had made. That was a given.

Oddly enough, talking with so many bigots reinforced my faith in people. No one, I realized, can hate without justification, or revel in power for power's sake (that privilege is afforded to the upper classes). Like the head of the Klan with his talk of smooth brains, people need an intellectual armature for their beliefs. The Texas couple who refuse to do landscaping work for gay clients cannot admit to the mixture of revulsion and arousal that the thought of homosexuality excites in them; therefore they cite a stray passage from the bible and imagine that this affords them a reprieve. Hatred thrives on false divisions and will take any authority, no matter how nutrient-poor, as its medium. Even fundamentalist Christianity understands that, at base, their theology is a compound of Hebraic folklore and myth with infusions of hearty Greek mysticism, now thousands of years past its freshness date. The entire structure of anti-Darwinian pseudoscience functions as a tacit admission that literal and 'Dominionist' interpretations of the bible are little more than an excuse to indulge in a kind of hind-brained simplicity.

My point is, none of the elaborate justifications would exist without an abiding knowledge of right and wrong. No one but the most cartoonish of racists will hate without some set of reasons, whether the justification is scriptural, scientific or myopically anecdotal. Bruce Chatwin points out in The Songlines that populations are exceedingly difficult to brainwash because you need to keep up the effort with each generation. It's a shame that we're so good at brainwashing ourselves.


From the Errol Morris interview with The Power of Nightmares director Adam Curtis:

EM: I still don’t know what I think. The New York Times, today on the front page, had an article about new evidence concerning incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. The incidents – which are discussed in The Fog of War – have been disputed for over forty years. There are those that believe that they were part of a conspiracy to escalate the Vietnam War. Here’s a question: Are they right? And, in an even more general sense, is history primarily a history of conspiracy? Or is it just a series of blunders, one after the other? Confusions, self-deceptions, idiocies of one kind or another?

AC: It’s the latter. Where people do set out to have conspiracies, they don’t ever end up like they're supposed to. History is a series of unintended consequences resulting from confused actions, some of which are committed by people who may think they're taking part in a conspiracy, but it never works out the way they intended. (full text)

That's the best blip of analysis I've heard in a while. The Illuminati and the Catholic Church and the Rothschilds and the Elders of Zion make their plans with the Alien Reptile Hegemony of Rigel IV, but it always dissolves into chaos. Mostly because of the machinations of the people who live inside the Hollow Earth.

purely an example

From the latest Harpers Weekly Review:

Bush also announced during his speech that America is "addicted to oil" and vowed to replace "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025." Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said that this promise was not meant to be taken literally. "This," he said, "was purely an example."

Okay then. The president of the US apparently lives in a world where the Bible is literal truth, but his own promises, delivered on television to millions, are figurative.

Bush doesn't need PR flacks to lend his blubbering legitimacy. He needs exegetes.

a reason to live from the conservative party

If you're bored of life and convinced that the world has nothing entertaining to throw at you, I urge you to visit the website of the Conservative Party of Canada and watch their television ads, available in the tiny streaming media window on the sidebar to the right. Non-Canadians will be forgiven for thinking that the Conservative Party of Canada is five used-car dealers with a grudge and five hundred bucks to spend on TV spots. Nope, they're one of the four major political parties of this country. Witness the robotic head of candidate Stephen Harper as he promises to punish criminals, punish reform corrupt federal government, punish court the western and eastern rims of our country, and punish reward taxpayers by cutting our taxes, and punish punish families by gutting federal daycare. How does he intend to carry out his complex plan for drowning Canada and resurrecting it as the United States?

If the TV spots are any indication, he'll set up a gigantic pretend country in a soundstage somewhere - maybe in that new one being built at the Toronto Harbourfront - and rule that pretend country with a faux-populist fist. The ads show that Harper is most comfortable in the world of absolute make-belive, talking to a pretend journalist in a pretend newsroom with pretend cups of coffee (my favourite pretend detail) while pretend citizens ask him pretend hard-hitting questions. His answers and his opinions seem to refer to a country that he's made up somewhere, a lawless world where drug dealers roam the streets and people will be grateful not to bother with well-managed subsidised daycare. Or decent health care.

In the ad titled "Trades," the young journalist mentions that politicians "seem to talk a lot about university. Why the focus?" A better question is, What kind of a weird pretend question is that? It turns out to be the kind of question that allows Harper, a politician, to smear politicians as a category. Politicians talk about university because "almost all of them went to university" (Harper himself carries a master's degree in economics). "But we need to remember," he continues, "that most people don't". Then he offers a couple of generalities about making things easier for people in the trades.

Really? Most people in this country don't go to university? I'm prepared to accept that, but a few facts wouldn't hurt. Statistics Canada shows that, in 2001, 22.6% of the population attended university, which is about on par with the percentage of people who graduated high school (23.9%), nearly the same as those who didn't graduate (22.7%), and somewhat more than college grads (17.9%). The big losers in the education race turn out to be the trades, coming in last at only 12.9% of the population.

When you look at the percentage change between 1991-2001, the situation becomes clearer. University graduation increased a freakishly huge 50.5% in ten years. Fifty percent. College attendance went up 45.5%. Trades increased by 9.2%, high school by 8.4%. Once again it seems that learning a trade simply isn't the goal of most Canadians.

What does this mean? If you believe Stephen Harper - if that really is him, and not a clever mannequin head swivelling on some gimbals - it means that the ranks of politicians are swelling out of control. Or, if you believe me, it means that the politician's "focus" on universities has to do with the fifty percent turn on the university focus wheel. But we're not really talking about Canada here; we're wandering through Stephen Harper's funhouse, where the politicians kick back in the faculty lounge and ignore the hordes of plumbers and drywallers and electricians out in the street. Either that, or he's exploiting a non-existent class conflict for political gain by making it all up.

Also worth mentioning is the ad on childcare, which is called "Childcare". In case you miss the theme, a video screen looms over the background with the world "chilcare" splashed across it. Harper's big plan? One hundred dollars per month per preschooler, and it's your choice as to whether you want to use that money for a daycare, a baby-sitter, or for a parent to stay at home. "They're your children," says Harper, conceding to his own logic, "Shouldn't you decide how to raise them?"

Let's do a bit of very elementary math here. One hundred dollars a month. Unsubsidised pre-school daycare in this country can cost four to five hundred dollars a month. A baby-sitter who'll show up every day of the week will cost - hmmm. A lot more than a hundred bucks, unless you want to take advantage of the naive illegal immigrant labour pool. A stay-at-home parent costs an entire income. But hey, at least big government isn't butting in on your childrearing decisions and beating you down with that horrible heavy stick of affordable daycare. Maybe Harper will afford us all slingshots so we have the choice of hunting squirrels in the park for food. After all, they're our stomachs. Shouldn't we decide how to feed them?

It's possible that the amateurish attempt at realism in the ads will move people to pity. Like a dog that waddles back a few paces from the table and affects not to beg, maybe Harper hopes that the diners will throw a few scraps his way. Look at me, the ads plead, I'm so out of my depth here, it's embarrassing. But I refuse to beg. But is that kind of subtlety really possible within the parameters of Stephen Harper's software? If so I have to congratulate his programmers, who doubtless cultivated such cunning irony at a degree-granting institution.

my living will

Recent non-newsworthy but nonetheless newsfilling events have impressed on me the importance of keeping a living will. All you need to keep and maintain a living will is:

1) a terrarium
2) mealworms in oatmeal
3) some lettuce
4) water
5) a heat lamp

Okay, let’s stop that joke now before it grows out of control. In the unlikely event that my heart pops like a stepped-on grape, or my liver flares with cirrhosis, or some brainsucker loose from a childhood joke alights on my scalp and scoops out my cortex, here is what I’d like done with my body.

Under no circumstances allow me to actually, finally, mercifully die. Install an artificial heart if you must. Wire me up with all manner of prostheses. Shove one tube down my throat and another in my lungs. In the event of brainsucker attack, carefully remove whatever is left of my brain and leave me with only a stem and a spinal cord, the better to respond to stimuli with random smiles and occasional eye tracking. Fill my skull with angel food cake and wheel me out for parties. If my faithless, abusive wife attempts to have me removed from the web of machinery that keeps my heart pumping and my lungs exchanging oxygen, know that she is a monster with a pretty nose and bright blue-green eyes that glitter with the obsessive wish to murder me once and for all (I mean, who let that brainsucker loose in the first place?). Please involve Congress if that happens.

Send me on an international tour. I mean it. Cart my corpse-with-a-pulse all over the world, from fabulous cities to negligible burgs, to demonstrate to the world’s people the sanctity of life. I promise to gurgle and smile like an infant. In the terrible event that our freedoms are threatened by unattractive men in foreign countries, or by “death culture” freaks on our home turf, let me be cast in titanium and swung like a living hammer on the heads of our enemies. And on that day when I finally, absolutely, irretrievably die and my soul takes its well-deserved vacation in heaven, strap me to a bunker buster and drop me, your Angel of Life's Sanctity, into the concrete caves of those bad men who plot bad things against us.

I don’t care how you do it. Just do it.

youth concern

Enough of these deep South troglodytes obsessed with controlling our childrens' genitals:

A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda" ... Allen said that if his bill passes, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed ... If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn't offer books with gay or bisexual characters. The bill also would ban materials that recognize or promote a lifestyle or actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws of Alabama. Allen said that meant books with heterosexual couples committing those acts likely would be banned, too.
I used to think that uptight fundies were obsessed with the traitorous genitals of gay men and women, but I'm wondering if I haven't been wrong all along. It seems that, with their constant cries about the need for protecting our unsullied youth, that what they're really thinking about are the genitals of children. It must be pure torture for them, walking the legislative halls and standing at church pulpits, trying to get through the day without thinking about childrens' genitals and all the sodomizing those genitals could do. I propose that these upright citizens form a group to keep those lurid Wildean texts away from impressionable children, something with a name like No Access to Minds Blemished by Lascivious Actions. Or something like that.

Go Orioles! Wax on!

If you're gay in Michigan you can't get married but you can always get screwed. The governor of Michigan is pulling same-sex benefits for state workers. Voters decided to ban gay marriages "and similar unions for any purpose" on Nov. 2nd, so the politicians are dutifully carrying out the will of Republican legislators the people.

I'm not sure what is meant by "similar unions". Is there a Rev. Phelps acolyte writing the state constitution, worrying that men and horses, football teams and their mascots, Tom Cruise and his robot double will start getting hitched if they open the door to same-sex behitchings? Are we looking to prevent crazy-ass fundamental Mormon polygamy from degrading the institution of marriage? How about the phrase "for any purpose"? Let's say I enter into a civil union with an old VHS copy of The Karate Kid in order to help the Orioles win the pennant. Guess that means no pension for either of us in Michigan. California, on the other hand, is anxious for some fresh absurd perversion. I'm pitching that one to Hollywood.

rapid city IV: the time of killing

The latest issue of Harper's features an interview with Omar Bakri Muhammad, the head of London-based radical Islamic group Al Muhajiroun. Much of it is depressing fundamentalist tosh, the sort of stuff you can't believe adults are capable of spouting. One answer is instructive:

Is terror the only way to make people aware of [the disparity between the value of Muslim and non-Muslim lives to the Western media]?

Terror is the language of the twenty-first century. If I want something, I terrorize you to achieve it. To support George Bush is a kind of terrorism. To support Al Qaeda is the same. Everybody is involved. Every Muslim is a terrorist, every non-Muslim is a terrorist. This is the "time of killing".

I thought about this at Mt. Rushmore, watching the tourists take their photos. Men in wheelchairs, women strolling with oxygen canisters, old geezers in straw hats, bikers with leather chaps and long braided hair. I took photos of children with Rushmore T-shirts and disposable cameras. I took a photo of some asshole posing with a bunch of adenoidal Eagle Scouts. I kept imagining a jet plane slamming into Jefferson's face.