Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sign of the times

I saw an ad tonight on MSNBC. I assume it is running elsewhere but it particularly struck me that it was on a supposed liberal news show. The ad was for American Express Card. The gist of the ad was a man going to an airline counter to purchase a ticket to San Francisco. He goes to pay for the ticket with a card that has kittens on it. The agent looks annoyed and the next shot is two TSA people standing behind him putting on latex gloves and telling the traveler that they need to question him. The next person uses an Am Ex card and sails through.

I watch enough (too much?) TV to get all the references and the ad does exactly what it was targeted to do: Make you think that AM EX has credibility that other cards do not. What frosts me is that it we are so conditioned to this constant state of war that we believe this is a normal way for people to behave. If there is the slightest hint of anything that low-level functionaries don't like or even if there is no rational at all, then an ordinary citizen is subject to the most demeaning treatments you can imagine. Treatment that 8 years ago would have gotten these minimum wage Brownshirts a punch in the nose to the applause of other travelers. To attempt that today would get you a minimum of two days in a TSA sweat box with hand and leg irons and most likely some time in a real prison.

You could not have written a story about this happening to America 8 years ago and sold it anyone. They would have laughed you out of the room. And yet 8 years later we accept it so completely that it becomes a "cute" ad. With my perspective of 50 some years, this stands out to me but imagine a young person just coming to voting age. This has been how things are done for all of their adult life! I only hope that in the upcoming election we can bring some sensibility back to this country and maybe spend the next 8 years fixing some of what we have broken. If we don't, all I can say is "Show me your papers!".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some things just aren't funy

I really like Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. It's usually a must watch for me and Mrs. d. Sometimes I find the bits a little boring but he usually has a great comedic sense and some of his interviews are fantastic. Tonight, though, I think he went to a place where comedy shouldn't go.
The opening bit had a Muppet like hand puppet called Gitmo. Gitmo was, of course, a prisoner of Guantanamo Bay. Stewart worked in numerous torture references and even did a take-off of the ventriloquist trick of drinking a glass of water. Water boarding of course. It was clever. It just wasn't funny.

I like comedians that work blue. I like comedy that pushes the boundaries of good taste. But I just can't laugh at this on the week where we are starting the show trials (one of which is for a man who was 15 when we dragged his half way around the world and tortured him for 5 years) and when the Bush War Criminals are getting ready to use the execution chamber they built there.

Somehow I don't think Jon would do a bit about the Birkenau Easy-Bake Oven, but then there's concentration camp humor and then there's concentration camp humor.

Article XX

Rep Dennis Kucinich spent five hours last night reading a 35 count article of impeachment against President Bush. It's a 63 page document that details the high crimes and misdemeanors of the most dangerous threat to America since the Civil War. The crimes include lying us into war, misuse of funds, torture, illegal wire tap, and failure to sufficiently supply troops in combat. It's like a laundry list of how this administration has abused the power with which the people of America had entrusted them.

Reading through them you find yourself nodding and agreeing. Some of them are heinous, others almost petty. Until you reach Article XX. It has the shortest heading of the entire document.

ARTICLE XX: Imprisoning Children

Imprisoning children. Imprisoning children. The mind boggles at the thought that people with the American flag on their shoulder bind, blindfold, drug, interrogate and hold for years without hope for release, children! And remember: This is being done in your name.

The saddest part of the whole thing is that Rep. Kucinich's efforts will come to nil. His bill was introduced to almost no notice within the mainstream press. Most Americans don't even know it happened and those that do hear about it are told it's another move by that goofy guy who ran for President. For those of you who do care, I can only say call your Congressperson and ask them to support Dennis's bill. It won't help, but at least you can say you tried and I recommend that you look at who does support him and that will tell you who you can trust in this Congress.

Friday, June 6, 2008

And the winner is.......

With Obama finally getting enough delegates to clinch the nomination the debate goes to who's going to be the vice-presidential candidate. No this is not about Hillery. I think the great overlooked question is who will be McCains VP running mate. On the face of it it seems pretty mundane. Do you pick Mitt who was a strong competitor to McCain? Maybe Bobby Jindal to off-set Obama's ethnicity. Or you could pull someone less known who will bring a swing state?

My take is that the powers that be are going to do this more like it was done for GW. Cheney was originally the head of the search for the vice-presidential candidate for the 2000 election. I think midway through he realized that GW was an OK candidate in terms of electability but there needed to be a real manager behind him. Hence the Cheney vice-PRESIDENCY. Many have written of their fears that this administration will not leave office willingly and believe that some non-constitutional trickery is afoot but I think that the real powers behind the throne will find a VP who will be waiting in the wings. The smart bet is that McCain doesn't have two terms in him and possibly not even one. Look for the dark horse VP candidate to be the real inheritor of the Bush Neo-Con power play. These guys are tricky and really, really hate to lose.

Anyone got any bets on who it's gonna be?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Plug The Meter

I seem to be focused on the CrapTimes lately. Weird article tonight about Baltimore converting old parking meters to "homeless meters". The idea is that you will give your spare change to the meters rather than to panhandlers. The money is given to Homeless Health Services. The take appears to be about $100 a month. Tom Yeager, vice president of clean and safe programs at Downtown Partnership of Baltimore Inc. (I love the title), says:

"People love it... because it is not degrading to the homeless and it's anti-panhandling. It also educates the public to put their money where it can make change. So, it's not about money- it's a message."

Why do I suddenly have a vision of Papal Indulgences? You know, where you gave the church money so that you could go ahead and sin? Throw a few coins in the old meter and you can walk by that beggar knowing that you have helped to save him. It's a great idea and dog knows it's perfect for State St. Needless to say Mayor Dave is already on it.

All I can say is that I feel like I should go buy a case of 40's and drop them off at Peace Park.
To quote the late great State St regular Brian "Gotta quarter?".