Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Difference #5

This is the fifth installment in an ongoing series in which I attempt, as diplomatically as possible, to shed light on the actual differences between liberals and conservatives. For previous "Differences," see below:

Difference #1
Difference #2
Difference #3
Difference #4

Introducing Difference #5, this time expressed through the wonders of Keynote, Quicktime and Blogger.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Son Is Not Normal

This is a new trend, hidden iPhone videos. The first shows him talking about the difference between Minnesota and Texas tornadoes; the second is him discussing his plans to migrate south...

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Political Hypocrisy Test

Most people I know aren't mindless political ideologues. In fact, they have secret litmus tests to measure the appropriateness of their joy or outrage at the latest political event.

In light of several recent political events, I thought I'd share my top three.

Test #1: If you could wave a magic wand and make every member of the House and Senate into members of your party--as well as have the Presidency and the Supreme Court tilted your way--would you do it?

My answer is no. My party has its own whack-burger element that needs to be tempered by the opposition. Besides, majorities don't matter with Democrats; they still can't get anything done.

Test #2: If there is a heaven... or at least some place you go when you die where you can find out The Truth about everything (including where you lost that contact lens in 1987), are there any political issues you think you could be wrong about?

My answer: Yes, nearly all of them. I could be wrong on capital punishment. I could be wrong on abortion. I could be wrong that there's a happy medium between economic anarchy and European socialism. The two I know I'm right about: 1) creationism is bunk; and 2) homosexuals are 100% American and have no fewer rights than heteros.

Test #3: When you disapprove of the opposition's behavior in a given situation, would you feel the same way if the situation were reversed?

This is the most useful test on a day-to-day basis. Let me say this regarding recent events, imagining that George W. Bush were still president:

I would not question the President's birth certificate.

I would not keep my son home from school if Bush were addressing his class (in fact, I'd encourage him to be excited that the democratically elected leader of his country was speaking to him).

I would, however, take some sort of glee if a member of my party had shouted "You lie!" at Bush during a joint address to Congress. Sure, I would condemn the behavior and think it was immature and bad decorum. But truthfully, if it were in regards to Bush conflating Iraq and 9/11, denying global warming (or saying it "needed more study"), or denying that we have condoned torture, then deep down I would probably have been happy that someone, as the kids like to say, "spoke truth to power."

That I will admit.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama Guilty of Using First Person Singular

You'd think at the age of 40, nothing would surprise me anymore. You'd think that I'd be jaded to pretty much everything--even the techniques of Political Paranistas. You'd think I would have learned my lesson by now. I haven't.

On tonight's drive home, I thought I'd check in on the epicenter of paranoia and ignorance in today's America: talk radio. Why? Because Obama had given his school speech, and by now we all knew that it was just a good old-fashioned bully-pulpit performance on the benefits of staying in school and working hard. With nothing tangible to criticize, I wondered what the wingnuts would do. Would they acknowledge the egg on their face, would they move on to the next issue, or would they revert back to the "he's a socialist" playbook?

Nothing could have prepared me for what I heard.

When I turned to AM 1280, The "Patriot" (quotes added for irony), the talk radio host was saying that Obama had a definite theme in his speech. "In fact," he said. "Obama mentioned this theme 58 times in 18 minutes. So here it is, the edited Obama speech."

They then proceeded to play an edited version of the speech that consisted of starts and stops beginning with the word "I" or its possessive. "I'm glad to be here today..."; "I did things I'm not proud of..."; "My father left the family when I was two years old..."

Their point: The president is self-centered. Why else would he use the first person singular so often? That's right. Apparently when you've reached the office of President of the United States and are giving a speech to school children who are supposed to look at you as a role model, you are not allowed to share your personal experiences. That's right, a station that calls itself The Patriot thinks that the country's democratically elected President should not speak in the first person. That's right, they're either bat-shit crazy or they've abandoned the last atom of their shame.

The irony of all this is that Obama, more than any other presidential candidate in recent memory, won by constantly invoking the first person plural. His slogan was "Yes We Can," remember? He once said, "We are the people we've been waiting for." At one point in the campaign, he was criticized for not being human enough, for not relating enough of his own experiences. By contrast, George W. Bush began the first news conference after his reelection (by a margin far narrower than Obama's victory four years later) with the words: "I've earned some political capital here, and I intend to spend it."

Shameless. Desperate. Paranoid. Cynical. Take your pick, depending on what you think of the sincerity of such anti-thought. There are no parties in America right now. There are only rational people and irrational people. So 9/11ers and Birthers, I invite you to join with the newly formed FirstPersoners. Go ahead and put up your own candidate. Just do us all a favor and get off the radio.

Friday, September 4, 2009

If Michele Bachmann Practiced Medicine

Hello, my name is Michele Bachmann, and I’m here with a very special message that I think every American needs to hear.

As you know, some people are pressuring you to embrace the concept of Medicine. But as we also know, Medicine doesn’t work. It’s too big. It’s too powerful. And it’s too inefficient. I, like so many Americans, believe that we need to get Medicine off our backs. Believe me, no matter how some may try to convince you otherwise, the people who practice Medicine simply cannot be trusted with your well-being. In short, Medicine isn’t the solution; it’s the problem.

That’s why I’m desperate to be a part of this horrible, lazy, ineffective institution. I’ve always aspired to work for something I don’t believe in, and I’ve long admired the wonderful men who founded this insidious idea so many centuries ago. In fact, it’s always been a dream of mine to get up every morning, take your money for my salary, and then work hard every day to further an organization that is intrinsically ruinous to the lives of each and every American.

So in short, remember this: Medicine doesn’t work and is inherently evil. That’s why I want to be your doctor.