Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Get ready for the 28th Amendment!

In 1954, in the face of a growing Soviet threat in the world, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Republican-controlled Congress took important steps to ensure that freedom is preserved. Their first step when they met in 1953 was to change the name of the Boulder Dam back to the Hoover Dam, which was named after former (Republican) President Herbert Hoover, whose opposition to federally-funded hydroelectric projects was circumvented when they decided to name it after him in the first place. This got back at those damned Democrats when they renamed the Hoover Dam as the Boulder Dam under Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt and the Democratic Congress in 1934.

Another important Eisenhower initiative was to add the subordinate clause "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

But most importantly were the rules for flag care and display that were laid out that same year! In order to show proper respect to Old Glory, President Eisenhower laid out the rules that you'll find linked right here, courtesy of the Town of South Windsor (Connecticut) Patriotic Commission. Care and respect of the flag is very important to freedom, and you can be sure that no one respects freedom more than the United States because no other country even *has* flag care regulations (except for, um, the People's Republic of China.)

Know these rules! It's your civic duty to make sure you're not in violation of the pending 28th Amendment! The House has passed this amendment, which bans flag desecration, so if the Senate passes it, (which they might,) and if President Bush approves it (which he would,) and if 38 states approve it, then you're going to have a whole slew of flag rules to get to know. There's a lot to get straight, but remember: your freedom depends on it—and quite literally, too, because failure to comply could mean up to a year in jail!

Okay, readers, let me know: how do you plan to prevent flag desecration? Are you going to drop by local businesses to let them know they need to take their flags down at night? Will you conduct neighborhood seminars in proper flag lowering, folding and storage? Will you urge others to stop using stamps with flags on them, so that when the Post Office cancels the stamps, they won't desecrate them with ink from the postal meter? Let me hear your suggestions! It's your patriotic duty!

Monday, June 20, 2005

I have been contacted by Africanized bees.

They didn't seem menacing, but something just doesn't seem right about them. Here's what I got from them:

Request for urgent business relationship

We are top official of the hive contract review panel who are interested in imporation of honey into your country with bees which are presently trapped in Nigeria. In order to commence this business we solicit your assistance to enable us transfer into your account the said trapped honey.

The source of this honey is as follows; during the last exterminator's visit here in Nigeria, the gardener's officials set up hives and awarded themselves pure royal jelleys which were grossly over-invoiced in various apiaries. The present pest controllor set up an insect review panel and we have identified a lot of stollen honeys which are presently floating in the Central Beekeper of Nigeria ready for harvest.

However, by virtue of our position as civil pollenators and members of this hive, we cannot acquire this honey in our names. I have therefore, been delegated as a matter of trust by my colleagues of the panel to look for an overseas partner into whose account we would transfer the sum of 10,320,000 gals.(ten million, three hundred and twenty thousand u.s gallons). Hence we are writing you this letter. We have agreed to share the honey thus; 1. 20% for the account owner 2. 70% for us (the officials) 3. 10% to be used in covering English muffins and all local and foreign confitures. It is from the 70% that we wish to commence the importation business.

Please,note that this transaction is 100% safe and we hope to commence the transfer latest seven (7) days from the date of the receipt of the following informatiom by tel/fax; 234-1-8840449, your company's signed, and stamped letterhead paper the above information will enable us write letters of claim and toast description respectively. This way we will use your company's name to apply for confiture and re-award the breakfast in your company's name.

We are looking forward to doing this business with you and solicit your confidentiality in this transation. Please acknowledge the receipt of this letter using the above tel/fax numbers. I will send you detailed information of this pending project when I have heard from you.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Clement Okon, Drone

Note; please quote this reference number (ve/s/09/99) in all your responses.

So, should I trust them? Or fear them? Sounds like a good deal, but I dunno...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Flag desecration—again!

Hooray! It looks like Congress is poised to pass anti-flag-desecration legislation. The House will definitely approve it, and it looks like the Senate probably will. That just leaves it up to the president to approve it or not (and what do you think he'll choose to do, being the oh-so-vigilant guardian of civil liberties that he is?)

However, even if it makes it to the president's desk for signature, that doesn't make it an amendment. It would still have to pass muster in at least 38 states. If thirteen states vote it down, it doesn't make it into the Constitution. Still, I don't feel overly confident that thirteen states can scrape together enough civil libertarians to stand up to the light and transient cause of banning flag desecration.

Remember that five of the new Republican senators elected last year all voted for similar legislation while in the House, so it's a given that they'll vote for it again while in the Senate. Chances are that Republicans will vote yes on this in a bloc. Remember: if you voted for a "moderate" Republican, this is partly your fault. Aren't you proud?

It looks like Bush won the election—this time.

I've long had the queasy feeling that, while there was probably fraud during the 2004 elections, Kerry actually did lose. And an article appearing today in Salon backs that up. Clearly the election was close—so close that the winner has no right to pretend that the party of the loser doesn't exist.

The point raised in the article by British amateur mathematician Elizabeth Liddle is a good one: the lines at polling places and the suppression of voter rolls need to be addressed. Those are the real issues, and they're problems that might have turned the election of 2004, and they certainly turned the election of 2000, as we remember all too well.

So, math is hard, and pollsters' jobs are difficult, as the whole exit poll-versus-actual results discussion points out. It's easier to cry "Fraud!" particularly in light of the fact that fraud decided the 2000 election, but that's a dangerous diversion. The truth isn't as easy to pin down. The truth is that Republican officials have done much to suppress voter rolls in numerous places—most famously Florida, but also in Ohio and Wisconsin. There have also been reports of racial intimidation in Kentucky and Arkansas during its senatorial and gubernatorial elections, I remember, and there's no reason to believe this couldn't have happened during the 2004 presidential—though in light of the fact those states weren't really in play, they wouldn't have been very interesting media targets. (Of course, Kentucky's very interesting senatorial race might have prompted some intimidation, though I don't recall hearing about any. Regardless, I doubt the self-appointed white Republican "poll watchers" who harassed black voters in heavily Democratic districts in 2003 during Kentucky's gubernatorial election would have sat out the presidential election the next year.)

What have we learned, then? Clearly nothing. The Republican Party has learned that victory hinges on their stopping as many people from voting as possible, and that they can fuss and fume enough to get away with it. Weird how the fringe that was relegated to the ranks of the John Birch Society just thirty-some years ago has made it into the mainstream, isn't it? America is more threatened now than ever before. And the problem is that the right-wing Republicans, as dangerous as they are, aren't as dangerous as those who insist on cynically believing that it doesn't matter who's in power. Those who don't see a difference between Bush and, say, Gore or Kerry or anyone else are tacitly giving more power to the extremists by not standing up for anything. Anyone who pays attention can see there's a marked difference between the modern Republicans and Democrats. The problem is that not enough people are paying attention anymore.

Friday, June 10, 2005

5 Marines killed, 21 bodies found

In what's all too common news these days, U.S. authorities found five dead Marines and 21 bodies of what are presumed to be those of Iraqi soldiers. Something just doesn't add up about all this, and I'm going to try to figure it all out.

What's strange is that I remember Achmed Chalabi telling us that the American soldiers would be welcomed with "sweets and flowers." Rumsfeld and Bush echoed this. So far, I haven't heard of too many American soldiers getting any sweets or flowers. In fact, these roadside bombs and other weapons of some destruction seem to be pretty much the *opposite* of sweets and flowers.

What's going on? Could it be that a bad translator translated when Chalabi said "sweets and flowers" as "bombs and rifles"? Or could it be that 95% of the world's population was right in thinking that the 2003 Iraq invasion would prove to be an utter debacle? Man, that's a real head-scratcher, it is. I just don't know if I can figure it out.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bush chooses Cox to head SEC.

I try to run a clean shop here, but sometimes the news is just dirty. Sorry, sometimes it just works out that way, but don't blame me. I just report it. Ahem:

President Bush has massaged conservative Representative Chris Cox into a new position—the head of the SEC. "Looks like a hard job," said Cox, "but once I penetrate the initial aspects of my duties, I'll be in good." The conservative Cox expects to grow in his new position, but he also "expects some friction with other members" of Congress over his appointment. "On the whole, though, I think things will work fine." Vice President Dick Cheney agrees. "I think Cox is a good fit with Bush," he said.

Other members of Congress considered for the position were Rodney Alexander, G.K. Butterfield, Sam Johnson and Jerrold Nadler. "I could really get behind Butterfield," said Cox. "He would have been a good choice, too. As to Johnson, well, he and I are a lot alike."