Friday, July 31, 2015

The Friday Link for 7/31/15

My little secret; I love the Muppets.  I grew up watching them and I have a sweet spot in my heart for them.  Sam the American Eagle reminds me of my mom, always embarrassed and disappointed (just kidding!).  I have featured them a few times on the Link, most recently on the 4th of July edition.

This is the promo for their new show.  I don't know if it will be anything like the old Muppet show, but this 'leaked footage' promo is hilarious, with more than a few more adult jokes.

I'll be watching when it makes it on air.  Enjoy the link on a Friday!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

White Hunter, Dumb Heart

Walter Palmer killed Cecil the Lion.  After paying around $54,000 to go to Zimbabwe and hunt a lion, Walter, an experienced big game hunter, shot Cecil with a bow and arrow; this after a series of missteps any responsible hunter would've seen as wrong.

First, let's talk about this type of hunting.  When hunting evolved, from a form of sustenance and shelter acquisition, becoming more of a hobby, it was wealthy people who romanticized the idea of man verses beast.  In North America, buffalo, bear, wolves and moose were all hunted.  In Africa, elephant, zebra, lion, and pretty much every other animal as well.  These animals were killed for sport; a trophy to hang on the wall, regaling visitors with (mostly made up) stories of man fighting for his life, with man winning in the end, a man who doesn't need to brag in conversation, instead, this man can just point to the wall and let the head of the beast he'd slain do the talking.

My cabin up north has the antiquated antlers of a moose, and a mounted deer head, on the wall, relics of an age from before US 53 was upgraded from the modest cow trail it used to be.  I don't know the story about them.  I didn't kill those animals, I don't know who did, I never would (I got my fill of guns in the military, thank you), and for the most part, the trophies are ignored, part of the mysticism of the cabin.  One thing I can definitively say; considering my family's love of venison and moose sausage, those animals didn't go to waste.

Modern trophy hunters are a laughable group.  They talk about the excitement of bagging big game, but in reality, they're killing something just to kill it.  In Africa, they insist the animal goes to the nearest tribe for food, something which is mostly untrue, a lie the hunters believe to make what they do seem less ghastly.  The modern big game hunter tries to follow in the footsteps of hunters of yore, making it seem as if they are stalking the beast, lucky to escape with their lives, when in reality, most of the animals are shot while investigating bait planted to entice them, or near domesticated animals, called out into the open for what they think is another helping of free food.  There is no honor here, only a misguided desire to brag.

Walter is a big game hunter, with extensive experience, and judging from an earlier incident in Wisconsin, he has experience with poaching too.  When he went to Zimbabwe to hunt, I assure you he had a laundry list of rules given to him he needed to follow, prior to his arrival.  Between his instructions and his experience, there are too many red flags to excuse any 'responsible hunter.'

  • Giving Walter the benefit of the doubt, and listening to his assertions he knew nothing about Cecil being protected, considering the amount of time on this hunt, he should've been very alarmed by the amount of planning going on he wasn't included in.  He did pay a lot of money.  He should've been in the loop.  A responsible hunter would have made sure they understood the hunt as it played out.
  • This hunt happened at night, and from what I've understood, it's illegal to hunt lions at night in Zimbabwe.  A responsible hunter would have immediately insisted on holding off on the hunt until daylight hours.
  • If the allegations of the hunting party using Cecil's tracking collar, to pinpoint him in the preserve and eventually lure him out, are true, and if Walter knew anything about it, it was a monster red flag any responsible hunter should have caught.
  • It would've been very clear to most people, especially to the hunting guides, where the edge of the preserve was.  If his hunting party was trying to lure ANY animal off of it, a responsible hunter would have said no.
  • A responsible hunter would've frowned on the idea of baiting an animal with food for an easy kill.  This means both tying meat to a car and driving it around to lure an animal from safety, or making a pile of food on the ground, so an animal to becomes an easy target.
  • A responsible hunter would've recognized the collar on the animal before they took the shot.  A collar tells the hunter the animal he's targeting is being monitored for some reason.
  • But all this aside, after tracking a mortally wounded Cecil for 40 hours, when they found him, a responsible hunter clearly should've realized their mistake with the collared animal, immediately calling the authorities to report their accidental kill.  A responsible hunter wouldn't have cut the collar off the animal, removed its head and hide, and then quickly left the country.

This wasn't hunting, this was poaching, plan and simple.  Walter should be required to return to Zimbabwe and answer for this atrocity.

For the record, I think this guy is lying his ass off.  I think he so wanted to kill a lion, he didn't care which one it was.  He paid his money, so come hell or high water, he was going to get one. I think he thought he'd be safe upon returning to Minnesota.  We has wrong.  That's my opinion.

We need to stop trophy hunting.  It's killing something just because we can, something we surely don't need to prove anymore.  It's not a sport, it's a cry for help.

One last note:  I get it outrage guy.  Cecil the Lion isn't the most important story today.  Why are we outraged about Cecil when there are so many, far more horrible things going on?  I don't know why a story like this takes off, but being bitter and angry about a 'lesser' story getting coverage is not the way to get people to care about your issue.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Quick Hits for 7/26/15

  • I hate to say this, but I don't disagree with Donald Trump on something.  Earlier this week, the Des Moines Register wrote an editorial where they called Trump a "feckless blowhard" and strongly encouraged him to quit the GOP race for President.  On Friday, Trump got a level of payback by withdrawing the press credentials of the Register's reporters, barring them from a major event in Iowa.  For the record, the editorial department of the paper, not the reporters, encouraged Trump to leave the race, and Trump's people are hilariously off the mark when they accuse the DM Register of having a 'liberal agenda,' but for the most part I agree with Trump.  The editorial page of a newspaper is the newspaper's emotional identity.  Where as reporters should strive to be neutral, the editorial department allows the unabashed opinion of the newspaper itself to fly. They weren't railing against the GOP.  They were railing against Trump, but how could they write a piece which accurately sizes up Trump's massive ego driven campaign, and then be shocked when he demonstrates it?  I don't have any problem with Trumps reaction.  This wasn't endorsing a different GOP'er or disagreeing with Trumps specific platform.  This wasn't even mocking Trumps toxic comments.  This was insisting he leave the race entirely, something they should have known would not be welcomed with smiles from his camp.  Say you're going to ask out a girl for prom, and then you meet her dad, and he calls you a "feckless blowhard," adding not only should you not ask his daughter out to prom, but you shouldn't even think about going to prom at all.  Now imagine the same dad then gets upset when his daughter is not on your shortlist of prom asks.  The Des Moines Register should print what ever editorials they want, but they should also think through the repercussions of said editorials before they print them.
  • A great example of how a few gun crazed individuals now control the entire debate on common sense gun control was demonstrated during a presidential campaign event with Chris Christie.  In the town of Ankeny, Iowa, just north of Des Moines, Christie was accosted by an individual in the crowd, accusing him of being "anti-gun."  This individual was a plant, someone who was only there to try to make Christie look bad; sent to the town hall by either the NRA, a rival GOP'er or the extremely crazy, Die Hard/John McClain worshippers of the fascist right, the same guys who showed up for Cliven Bundy.  Apparently this fool thought Christie would back down, but the biggest bully in the GOP field laid into this 'Iowan,' stating "don't come in...and lie about my record," defending his 'proud' accomplishments, ensuring there are no restrictions on anyone, anywhere in New Jersey owning and carrying as many weapons and bullets as possible.  Mind you, this proud gun terrorist moment came two days after the latest theater shooting in Louisiana, nine days after the Chattanooga shootings, and a little over a month after the gunning down of nine individuals in a South Carolina church.  How tone deaf can you be?  What this confrontation shows, plain and clear, is the argument pro-gun guy makes about "being too soon after a tragedy to talk about gun violence," is only for the people who want gun violence to stop, and want stronger gun regulations in place.  It's okay for them to shamelessly and tastelessly talk about guns right after a massacre, but for everyone else, shut the F- up.  Unrestricted gun access, with everyone walking around like it's a zombie move (guns out, loaded with live rounds, safety off, and finger on the trigger), is insane, something the vast majority of Americans are against.  The Founding Fathers would be aghast at the mere suggestion this is what the 2nd Amendment was about, furious the gun nuts, which is a tiny percentage of the American people, have erased the words "well regulated militia" from their tome's intent.  The next time someone says, it's too soon to talk about gun violence, ask them when we can talk about it, and also ask about the thousands of shootings in America, every year, that are never addressed.
  • I railed against the Vikings stadium last week, talking about how these sports teams have created loyalty within the ranks of the reporters, who are supposed to be neutral, by granting them access to the players, coaches, games, and dangling baubles in front of them.  To the sports team's credit, they know what they are doing.  Yesterday, my kids and I went to the Twins game.  The game itself was a nightmare (why are you even pitching to A-Rod after his second monster homer???) but it was the promotion which got me chuckling.  It was Brian Dozier Bobble-head Day, where the first few fans through the gates (after all the wealthy fans in the luxury suites and the lap dog sports media covering the team get theirs) receive the Bobble-head.  They market these giveaways with pictures of kids proudly holding up the prize, something which is not mimicked in reality.  I didn't see one kid with a bobble head yesterday.  I only saw middle age white guy, proudly strutting up and down the concourse with them.  This was their moment to shine; all envious eyes on them as they parade their good fortune and luck for all to see.  These guys with the bobble heads are fans the sports team owners can count on to put the face paint on and scream at politicians in St. Paul, every time the five year old stadium needs a new tax payer funded upgrade.  I could care less about bobble heads.  I'm an adult, with a job.  I can buy one whenever I want.  It was the longing look in all the kid's eyes which caused me to shake my head.  The kids were watching, as some 40-year old loser, intentionally or not, taunted them with the prize these children coveted.  These giveaways are such a joke, but the sports teams love it.  It creates demand and urgency, spurring ticket sales, especially when the team isn't doing so well.  If these giveaways are for the kids, then do like you used to and make them for the kids only.  Or do the lottery method, where random seats are picked from the tickets that were sold for the game.  If you're not going to change it, may I suggest the ad campaign for your next promotion:

Hey, are sports memorabilia giveaways your only friends?  Are you so desperate to validate your life, you'd crush the dreams of a five year old?  Would you push an elderly person down the stairs to get a foul ball?  Then make sure you head to Target Field, on August 7th as it's:

 Pathetic Losers Day!  

The first 500 middle aged losers through the gate will get a prize, which may help fill the void their complete lack of friends and lovers has created.  And bring the kids, just so you can feel mildly superior to a young child for a fleeting moment!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Friday Link for 7/24/15

This is just cool to say - Jim Gaffigan was interviewed by Keith Olbermann!

I'll start with the later.  I'm a liberal morning show host today because of Keith Olbermann.  In the early days of the W. Bush administration, there was a culling of left leaning voices out of media.  It didn't matter if the targets were actually left leaning or not, the mentality was to stop any voice which might have been perceived as critical of war, and in turn Bush/Cheney.  Olbermann was Phil Donahue's replacement at MSNBC, and in the year that followed, he seemed to be the only rational voice in American media.  When his critics came after him, he didn't hesitate or back down, rather he used his intelligence, and the facts, to bolster his arguments.  Watching his take downs gave me hope this country had some normalcy left.  He pre-dated the Daily Show's rise from cable network filler to political juggernaut, and he cleared a path for Air America to follow in his footsteps.

When I was offered a show at AM 950 in 2010, I kept asking myself if I should take it.  I followed, what I felt was, Keith's lead, deciding I was done having Program Directors stifling my real thoughts on air, feeling Minneapolis/St. Paul needed an experienced local progressive radio voice.  Olbermann taught me to always research, be ready to back up my position, and make sure I had the same passion every day.  Frankly, Keith Olbermann is my hero.  Now that he's finishing up at ESPN (he's also one of the smartest baseball and all around sports minds out there), I pray he finds another media outlet and returns to politics.

Gaffigan has been featured on the Friday Link before.  Here he does an interview for his new TV show, from about two weeks ago.  I'm glad he is finally getting his own show geared around his life, not having some idiot industry guy try to jam him into a role set aside for "current popular comedian."

Here's the interview:

I'm a Jerk!

I want to apologize to Stan from Oak Park Heights.  I really didn't have time to take his call this morning, but since I so wanted to smack him down, I did anyway.  I jumped the gun, summed up what he was calling in about (deflecting any criticism away from Scott Walker, by insisting everyone is corrupt, so just ignore Walker's crimes) and smacked him down hard.  Here's the problem; I knew where he was going, Stan knew where he was going, but no one else knew where he was going, so I ended up just cutting him off and criticizing his call.  It wasn't my finest radio moment.  He might be a fool, and calling in with an agenda, but he didn't deserve that.  I apologize.

But that out of the way, I stand by smacking down these conservative trolls whose goal is to make sure only positive messages come out about the GOP, and only negative messages come out about the Dems.  Back when I started at AM 950, you had hosts who would let conservative callers go on and on with rants of delusion Trump only dreams about.  They'd say, "the sky is green, water isn't wet, Clinton and Obama are hell beasts, One Direction is a great band, and the oil industry should be worshipped as our overlords, but the main point I wanted to get to is (something equally as stupid)."  They then would ask multiple questions about the final point, hanging up, leaving the host lost in a fog.  Not me, I hear something stupid coming from your mouth, I'll stop you in your tracks and make you talk that issue.  During the first few weeks of the old evening show, it was hilarious listening to GOP trolls getting called out, made to defend things no one could.  Most of those guys stopped calling.  I do not miss them.

My critique of Walker was spot on.  He is trying to prevent anyone from seeing the inner workings of his office, he is the most "quid pro quo-y" politician I have ever seen, and he has, with the aid of a Wisconsin GOP House and Senate whose price tags are still visible, taken around $4000 a year out of the paycheck of working Wisconsin families, with a smile on his face.  He deserves the humiliation.

GOP troll caller hates anyone fairly criticizing their guys.  Stan came in to do the only thing he could.  Since there is no defending Walker on these issues, he tries to do the "both sides do it, so just ignore it" speech.  This speech starts off with, "since you are so quick to point out Scott Walker's failures, you'll also be fair and point out (insert Dem name here)'s failures too," usually followed by a litany of lies about the specific Democrat, lies the GOP voting base believes as true, insisting anyone who tries to correct them as being part of the 'liberal agenda!'

I love being held to a standard by the right they themselves are never required to maintain.  It's part of the game.  You see, if the right can have unfettered GOP praise and Democrat demagoguery in most of the media, then, from their point of view, making the few left voices out there debate about "who is worse," is winning.  By mucking up the works, they derail any real criticism, and try to discourage Democrats from voting.  "Since both sides are horrible, maybe it's best if the left just stays home."

I am a liberal.  I am a liberal radio talk show host.  In my heart, I believe being a liberal is right.  You insisting I have to entertain your drivel, drivel which can be seen, heard and read coming from the majority of media in this city, state and country, is false.  I don't have to, and I won't.

In the future, I will leave guys like Stan off the air if they don't have the time to set up their own trap.  I can see the GOP trolls coming from a mile away, and I'm sure their frantic and pathetic attempts at silencing the left are ready to go for 2016.  Considering how the GOP train wreck is looking, it's one of the few options they have left.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Sorry it's been light this week.  None of my kids have a camp this week, so I'm being a selfish bastard and actually spending time with them.  Not apologizing for spending time with the kids, but for not making any new posts.

We have had a blast this week.  On Sunday, it was the Hopkins Raspberry Festival parade, Monday, we saw Ant-Man (enjoyable!), yesterday we went to Fort Snelling (they have a cool Lincoln exhibit in the welcoming center), and today we ventured up to the Oliver Kelley Farm, a historic farm operated like its the 1870's.  Tomorrow, it's the Mill City Museum and then either the Science Museum or the Arboretum on Friday, with a Twins game on Saturday.  Add in there a trip to the beach almost every night and you see why I've been busy.

We've also taken in the Walker Mini Golf, Pike Island, Lake Calhoun and the Mall of America the previous week.  This town, this state, is awesome for summer fun, and I didn't even mention the Aquatennial!

Get out and enjoy Minneapolis/St. Paul.  No matter what you like, you'll find it here.  I'll try to update the blog tomorrow, but no promises.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Friday Link for 7/17/15

I enjoy Paul Rudd.  He is an everyman actor, with an amazing comedic ability.  He is so underrated too.  Most people remember his first major gig in the movie Clueless, the only actor who seems to have escaped that film with a career, but it was Wet Hot American Summer which really launched him.  The cult favorite is becoming movie royalty, with a TV series, he stars in as well, debuting July 31st.

I'm eagerly looking forward to taking my kids to see Ant-Man on Monday, but if you want to get some great laughs, you can't go wrong with the aforementioned Wet Hot American Summer, the Anchorman movies, The 40 Year Old Virgin, I Love You Man, This is 40, and This is the End.

For a Friday Laugh, I give you two clips from him.  The first is a no brainer for me, as a massive fan of the band Rush.  This is a Funny or Die clip, which is a sequel of sorts to I Love You Man, where the two obsessed Rush fans from the movie, Rudd and a great Jason Segel, sneak back stage to meet Rush.  Rush themselves have a pretty good joke or two, as the band aired this a few years back, at the end of the Time Machine Tour, the show I caught at the Minnesota State Fair.  On a side note: on the R40 tour they are currently on, Rudd and Segel show up again during the rap for Rush's Roll The Bones.  So cool.  Here's Paul Rudd meets Rush:

For the second cut tonight, Paul is part of the Anchorman 2 crew for what is one of the funniest moments ever in movies, the RV scene.  I just watched it again and I'm in tears.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Northern Minnesota Flowers

Some of the flora from my trip up north...

All Stars

Baseball's All Star game was this week, and it's the best All Star Game in professional sports.  Before anyone starts celebrating that level of praise, that's like saying the best Steven Seagal movie, or tastiest thing on a White Castle menu.

The NFL All Star game (the Pro Bowl) is the worst.  It's played before the Super Bowl, usually in Hawaii.  It's not relatable to fans, WAY too expensive to attend, most of the best players don't go and there is nothing hinging on the outcome.  Now they are thinking of playing it in Brazil, Mexico or Germany. excited...

The NBA and the NHL All Star games are better than the NFL's.  They are very similar to each other, occurring in the middle of the season, and at least the best players show up for it.  They move it around the individual leagues arenas, so the fans can at least see it from their houses.  The downsides to both the NBA and NHL's All Star games are similar too.  Only corporate sponsors and the wealthiest of wealthy are able to attend.  The average fan can't even afford to get into the nose bleed seats.  Also, both games are meaningless outside of being a showcase of the best players.

Major League Baseball's All Star Game was useless too, until they tied it a few years ago.  After that, they decided to make the game worth something, home field advantage for the World Series for whichever baseball league wins, the American League or the National League.  It makes me at least check out the score of the game online the next morning, but since MLB made the outcome worth something, they exposed the system they have for choosing players as faulty.

Currently MLB All Star starters, the eight fielding positions and the designated hitter, are picked by the fans.  The rest of the team is picked by the managers of the All Star teams, the two managers from the previous year's World Series.  Every team has to have at least one member represented on the All Star rosters, which I think is a good touch, but usually these rosters have one or two glaring omissions.

The fans always choose at least three or four players to play in the All Star game who just do not deserve to be there.  This year, Kansas City Royal fans seem to have, legally or illegally, stuffed the ballot boxes to get numerous Royals on the roster.  There are two problems with this.  First, we are talking the "All Star's," not the Adam Sandler Blockbuster Viewer Choice Award winners.  The best players in the game should be represented.  Also, with there being actual meaning to the outcome of the game, letting the fans choose the starting players leaves the whole notion of the game meaning something in limbo.

If you want to make the All Star Game better, try this.  The owners, managers, players and baseball writers choose the bulk of the team.  They would choose all of the starters, most of the reserves and pitchers, and would ensure every team has at least one player on the rosters.  The fans get to pick one additional infielder, outfielder, designated hitter, starting pitcher and relief pitcher to be added.  They would be limited to one additional player from any given team being added to the All Star roster, preventing 5 Yankees or 5 Dodgers making up the fan vote.

I'm not delusional.  MLB is not going to change a thing.  That's fine as long as they know I'll only be checking the boxscore the next day, instead of watching the game itself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Unsweet 16

Dear Lord, the GOP field for their presidential nomination is an absolute train wreck.  With 15 confirmed candidates and one expected to announce soon, it's a smorgasbord of incompetence, ignorance, red meat, dog whistles and zealotry.

While it's fair to giggle now, eventually this clown car will eject its abundance of freaks, with most of the GOP voting diehards coalescing like a clot around one of them.  Remember, these candidates will say anything to appeal to the worst of their party; the mostly racist, bigoted, homophobic, anti-woman, Christianity distorting, pseudo-libertarian, anti-education fringe which has become the bellwether of the Republican beauty pageant.  These nutbags are the king makers on the right, and the willingness to sell one's soul knows no bounds when it comes to trying to garner their favor.

Differing from the past, many of these candidates aren't running for a potential VP spot.  For many of them, the VP position is a demotion, distorting their true goal, speaker fees.  Most of these candidates know they have no chance, but by spending a few bucks now, visiting Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and then beating a hasty retreat, they'll be able to demand six figure speaking fees for the next few years, yucking it up on the bizarro talk circuit residing on the periphery of sanity.

Let me take a few moments to break down each one of these buffoons, giving you my opinion of their likelihood of winning the GOP nomination:

Rick Perry - I think Perry thinks he can win.  He's really that stupid.  That's the problem with Texas politicians, they get such egos from an insulated Texas they don't realize they're not W., a simpleton semi-aristocrat who had been groomed to run for President, handled by calculating operatives, and using Texas Republicans as a spring board (because they are dumb and gullible).  Rick is running to win, not for a VP slot.  At best, (in my opinion) his chances are 5%.

Mike Huckabee - This guy really does believe the insane crap coming from his piehole.  At one point, Huckabee scared me, as he initially had some appeal with moderates and independents, but those days are long gone.  He has jumped into the deep end of paranoid-ville, wrapping himself in a false religious veil, trying to secure the Evangelical vote.  The Duggard fiasco has hurt him, and only the most fervent quiverfull's still support him.  He could be looking for a VP spot, but I think the prize for him is increased speakers fees.  0%

Rick Santorum - This guy is crazy if he thinks he can win by looking cool and hip in a sweater vest.  He's the template for the speaker fees business plan.  He made a lot of money the last four years, and he needs to refresh his bank.  I think he knows he can't win the nomination or Presidency (his last name is Santorum...YIKES) so this is about reminding the masses of who he is.  Could he be making a play for Veep?  He would have some appeal in the northeast, but there is very limited wow factor from him being the...(wait for it)...number two.  0%

Ben Carson - Ben is pulling 7.6 percent.  If half of the GOP field withdrew today, I still think he would be pulling the same numbers.  There' s a passionate Ben Carson fan base, but this is the same GOP who still today makes horribly racist comments about Obama and African Americans.  The right's hatred of Obama has ripple effects, and even if Carson was most insanely far right choice, he'd have zero chance.  0% chance at nomination, but 10% chance at being the VP choice.  I think he's very aware of all of this, and he's mainly looking for speaker fees.

Scott Walker - Walker is the first legit contender for the GOP nomination on this list.  The money people of the party, lead by the Koch Brothers, and their ilk, have already anointed him their chosen one.  They love him.  He is wildly pro-wealthy, actually having been caught with, what seems to be, quid pro quo with a member of the Menards family, and there isn't a workers right he's not willing to crush.  His lack of education and rural stupidity (I refer to him as a dumber W.) will appeal to the nomination base, and his unpolished nature might appeal to the long alienated moderate Republicans.  After all he has done to destroy workers rights as governor of WI, I don't think he'll win the Presidency, but the nomination is within reach, especially with the money trucks backing up to his door.  25%

Bobby Jindal - He has the same problem that Walker has, a incredibly mis-managed state, on the verge of financial collapse, which will be hard to ignore.  Unlike Walker, he doesn't have a lot of big money backers.  Of all the candidates, he is the one who seems to be most eagerly auditioning for the VP role.  0% for nomination, 10% chance at Veep.

Carly Fiorina - She has no chance.  This is the GOP, a party designed by rich white guys who still want to be able to smack their secretary on the caboose.  Sarah Palin was a weak attempt to appeal to women voters in 2008, but notice how there was never a chance for Palin to be the top of the ticket in 2012.  There's no way, in the male driven GOP, she would win the nomination.  And that's before we even get to her nightmarish turn running HP, almost as bad as Steinhafel's run at Target.  She wants some speaker fee bling, and she'll get it.  0%

Jeb Bush - Another legit contender for the nomination.  He has become the Fredo of the Bush family, and it's easy to see why.  His "employees need to work harder" comments show he just doesn't seem to be able to get past his unpolished nature.  He's had 8 years to get ready for this moment, and he still sounds unsure of himself.  The Bush name can win you a state like Florida, but even that popularity seems strained.  How he'll get people to forget his bother, I don't know, but that would be a question for the general election, if he gets there.  He's not running for the VP nomination or for speaker fees.  He's trying to stumble his way to what he feels is his manifest destiny.  Still, loyalty to the Bush name will take him far in the GOP nomination process.  25%

We are only half way through this desolate wasteland...onto number 9!

Donald Trump - I think this guy is serious.  He spent a lot of his life trying to win public acceptance, something he's freely destroyed, like Ariana Grande has done with her career.  BOOM!  Why would he do that, unless he thinks he can win the big enchilada?  He's a joke candidate, but that's what scares the crap out of the GOP.  The party has freely handed over the nomination process to the weirdos and when you have a guy come along who knows how to push the weirdos buttons, magic happens!  Trump knows who exactly makes up the GOP today, and he, so far, is playing them like a fiddle.  The other bad part of this for the Republicans is he doesn't care if he wins or loses the general election.  The end result will be a GOP in absolute chaos, a circus with ringmaster Trump at the center.  No interest in the VP spot.  20% chance at winning the nomination.

John Kasich - The only one of these candidates who hasn't officially announced, but it sounds like he will.  My only guess; he's in possession of an ancient idol and his running for the presidency fulfills some prophecy tied to said idol, or he's got his own Brewster's Millions situation going on.  I know he is from Ohio, but he won't win the the nomination, the VP spot or even raise his speaking fees. He's wasting everyone's time. 0%

Marco Rubio - He has a chance, but there's a lot about him which seems either bland or dated.  He was outraged about Cuba; no one else is anymore.  He wanted immigration reform; and then he slowly backed away from that.  He's from Florida, but I think Jeb is a bigger draw there.  He just seems lost...and thirsty (HAHAHA).  He looks like a presidential nominee, but, for the same reasons I mentioned with Ben Carson, most of the Republican Party equates Latino, Mexicans and Cubans with 'enemy.'  He'll last longer than Carson, but he is a long shot at best.  10%, but the front runner for VP at 25%.

Rand Paul - Rand is the high school kid who read Ayn Rand and became convinced a Libertarian world could actually exist.  Then you're supposed to turn 17 and realize The Walking Dead has more realistic outlook than Libertarians.  Not Rand, he just kept on marching forward, in love with an ideal which is laughable at best, trusting the mail order bride's photo.  He has a following, but he also is upsetting that following by abandoning Libertarian principles, such as legalizing marijuana, gay rights and staying out of combat zones, to try to win the nomination.  He'll resonate with self anointed realists who actually have no foothold in reality at all.  In the end, he'll likely withdrawal by South Carolina.  5%.  No one would make him their VP.

Lindsey Graham - The funny thing about Lindsey is I think he would actually be the toughest candidate to beat in the general election.  Yes, he's said some insanely stupid things in regards to foreign policy, but the moderate Republicans I know like him, a lot.  I also think he could draw independents and enough of the GOP base to make his campaign a threat.  That being said, he has no chance at being the GOP nominee.  He's a moderate.  You might as well say your preforming a gay marriage for two undocumented workers, in Vermont, while Al Gore rages about climate change.  The current nomination process doesn't want anyone who even acknowledges the opposition.  0%

George Pataki - Nope! 0%

Ted Cruz - Cruz is like Perry, distorted by the Texas bubble, and like Carson and Rubio, his ethnic background will not help him with the racist leaning GOP, but he does represent how the GOP likes their minorities, as caucasian as can be.  At one point I never dreamed he would be taken seriously, but as the rhetoric and kookiness have ramped up, Cruz is looking more viable.  He is Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs, but he brings the militia element to the table.  Guys like Cliven Bundy love him and with the mutant specimens making the Republican decision, that might get him there.  10%, and maybe a 5% chance at a VP spot.  He'll make a lot of money with speakers fees regardless.

Chris Christie - His jackassian move to create pay back traffic jams with liberals should have won him more points with the far right than it did.  His one time likability in New Jersey, a state which would be a nice pick up in a general election, should have made him more popular.  The weight jokes were weak at best, and should have acted as a rallying cry of unfair treatment by the media.  But all of it was for naught.  Chris Christie made the biggest mistake of his political life welcoming President Obama after Hurricane Sandy wiped the Jersey shore clean.  When the President flies to a GOP governor's state, the Republican Governor either doesn't go and greet him, demands no cameras are present, or tries to pull a Jan Brewer, making it look like a old white person is dressing down an African American man, giving the GOP erotic shivers.  Nope, his one time caring about his state over politics cost him dearly, and is why Republicans now ask for government assistance during natural disasters through back channels, off the record. 0%  He'll be welcomed like an old friend by the eventual nominee during the general election.

That's how I see it right now.  The VP percentages don't add up to 100% because there are way too many other people to consider for that position.  At the end of it all, the party will congregate around the nominee and they will guarantee 30% of the country votes for them.  It's up to the rest of us to make sure 31% of the country gets out and votes for the Democrat.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Flag of Disgrace

The Confederate Flag needs to come off of every government building, whether local fire department, State Capitol grounds or national monument.  It's the flag of an enemy of the American people.  The US government would never fly the flag of the Nazi's, ISIS, or Great Britain officially, so why would we allow the flag of an enemy, which fought America to keep slaves, killing hundreds of thousands of American citizens along the way, to fly in any official capacity?  The Confederates were not forced from the country and were not trying to fight their way back in, they opened fire on US forces and they invaded northern states with the intent of conquering.

When I lived in Buford, Georgia as a kid, I had numerous white people insist the Confederate Flag's main goal was to "remind the (bad word for African Americans) of their place."  I have no admiration or respect for this 'southern pride.'  This was the same 'southern pride' which bragged about a county in Georgia where most of the African Americans had been run out off by the Klan.  This is also the same "southern pride" which got me yanked off the air at KKBJ in Bemidji.  Back then, South Carolina was having a different discussion about the true meaning of the flag (hint: it's racist!) and when I said it was time for the flag to go, pointing out white people telling black people what they should and shouldn't be offended by was wrong, I was taken off the air.  The GM told me, "you made the Pepsi distributor angry.  You know we're all good ol' boys up here, don't you?"

Before the conservatives distort it like a Jade Helm conspiracy, let's clarify something.  The Confederate Flag is not outlawed.  It isn't.  You can choose to be an ignorant moron and fly it all day long at your private residence or on your pick up truck.  That's freedom of speech and that's your right.  What you can no longer do on the State Capitol grounds in South Carolina, and what should no longer be allowed at a local, state or Federal government level anywhere, is the perceived endorsement of racism and anti-Americanism by having any government entity flying the stars and bars.  That's why racists are really upset; they can no longer force their opinions and ideology on the masses through a government entity.  It's also why religious conservatives are so mad about the gay marriage ruling.  They loved having state sanctioned homophobia, wrapped in the thin veil of piety.  No any more.  Without the Government to disguise their real motivations, both groups have become exposed for the truly close minded people they are.

Looking back to my Bemidji days, one of the most racist elements of the debate itself isn't being talked about.  Supporters of the Confederate Flag try to convince people offended by the flag they're wrong for being offended.  They dismiss the very legitimate racist and slavery reasons to be offended by the flag, because they know the flag is offensive, they like that it's offensive and they want to keep it without having to defend their true motivations.  It's a belligerent brush off.  Not only do they outright ignore everyone else's feelings, they then make up a false, vague justification to keep the flag (southern pride), and insist anyone who's offended by the flag is the real intolerant one.  These idiots act like they're getting away with something.  It's like the emperors new clothes, but as everyone is screaming "you're naked and we can see you," the emperor insists they're the real fools, and then puts on another invisible jacket.

If the vast majority of a cultural group told me they thought something was offensive, it's not my place to tell them they're wrong.  I used to like Mel Gibson.  Mel Gibson went on an anti-Semitic rant.  I'm not Jewish, but my Jewish friends say they're very offended.  After weighing the facts of the case, I agree with them.

The name of the NFL football team in Washington DC is taken from the color of the native American's skin.  It's extremely offensive to Native Americans, and after weighing the facts, I whole hardily agree with them too.

It takes a lot of arrogance and animosity to insist everyone else is wrong, when you're the one who is clearly misguided.  If you're from Minnesota, read about the Minnesota First and how they saved the union at Gettysburg, and then explain to me how you can proudly fly the Confederate Flag anywhere in the state of Minnesota, outside of our captured flag gallery in the Capitol rotunda.  Its time to remove the Confederate Flag, and all references to the flag, from all government buildings and land.  It's time to put that element of America's racist past into a museum.

Now, what to do about Stone Mountain, Georgia...

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Friday Link for 7/10/15

For tonight's sojourn into laughs, I give you more Honest Trailers!  Seriously, these guys are hilarious, and the delivery of the script readers are some of the best ever.

Since it is summer movie time, they have been revisiting some classic summer movies from the past few years.  The three links below will give you their takes on Iron Man, Jurassic Park 2, and Armageddon.  All three get dismantled fairly effectively.

The best though, and maybe the reason to go and actually buy the DVD with the commentary, is Armageddon.  The Honest Trailer guys twice play Ben Affleck's actual commentary on the movie, and he is incredibly hard on the movie's premise, actually taunting the direction and story in the commentary.  That's gutsy!

Warning, a little salty language here and there.  Watch at your own risk!

Easy and Hard

The Huffington Post recently ran conflicting stories.  The first was about how hard marriage can be, specifically referencing Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's split.  The other was from Ronna Benjamin who counterpointed that thought, insisting marriage isn't hard work.  I think both stories were a bit of a crock, as rarely can life be defined as simply 'easy' or 'hard.'

I'm not a marriage advisor or counselor.  I've known some couples who should've never gotten married.  I've known others who eventually grew apart, after time.  I also know couples who got divorced, thinking they were making a huge mistake.  At the end of the day, it's not my place to judge other people's life decisions, so I usually keep my personal feelings on other people's marriages to myself.

Marriage is a serious commitment, one which should never be taken lightly. Marriage is a tremendous amount of work, but if you really do love the other person, I think most couples can work through most stresses.  I've been asked by friends what makes marriage work.  Here's how I usually answer.

Marriage is work, but it's work you can prepare for.  The hardest part is finding someone you want to marry.  After you date someone for awhile, before you think about reserving a church, you need to find out if you two are compatible in three distinct areas.

The first is money.  Talk to them about what their financial goals are, what their career aspirations are, what kind of residence they want to live in, when they want to retire and what kind of life they want to live.  Do they want to eat out five nights a week or make their own food?  Do they want to travel extensively or save intensively?  It's more than how do they spend their money every pay period, it's how they are going to spend money for the rest of their lives.  I'm not saying marry for money, but if you aren't compatible, when it comes to financial goals and spending habits, it will not end well.

Secondly is sex.  Be honest about sex and what you want.  If there is something you really want to do or don't really want to do, talk to them about it.  I know this might seem superfluous, but bad sex is one of the biggest killers of marriage.  If one of you is not satisfied with the sexual relationship, eventually temptation will start enter the dissatisfied partners life. The more temptation there is, the more likely the individual will succumb to the temptation.  Talk about sex.  Usually, you can come to an agreeable arrangement.  Remember to revisit the discussion once a year or so, asking your partner, "are you happy?"  If something is bothering you, then say something about it right away, in a nice way.

Two other points on sex.  Boys night out or girls night out rarely ends well.  I highly suggest stopping the practice of guys and girls nights before you get married.  I know WAY too many people who had a fight, or were unhappy in their relationship, who end up going out with friends for a night of drinking and making HUGE mistakes.  Same thing for business trips.  Avoid drinking too much when you're nowhere near each other.

The other point (***and we are about to go a little more adult here***) is to talk about masterbation.  You're getting married, not dying, hence human urges and practices are still going to happen.  Talk about it, and don't be shy.  I had a friend, now divorced, whose wife when nuts when she found out he  was still occasionally doing it.  It didn't end well.  Talk about it.

In my experience, most marriages fail due to those first two issues, money and sex. I'd say 90% of the divorces I've seen have a foothold in one, or both, arenas, but there's a third area you need to talk about with your partner which is just as important.

Talk about kids.  Talk about how many you want, how you want to raise them, how you want to punish them, how much screen time they get, all of it.  Kids are the most wonderful thing in the world, but they are amazingly stressful.  If you don't want kids, talk about it.  Make sure you have a full discussion about children before you start trying to have one.  Divorcing because of kids usually happens when one parent isn't on board, or is not talking about their true feelings.  Realize you're sacrificing your world the minute you have your first kid, so be prepared for it.  And a reminder, when you start having kids, the decisions you make are no longer just for two.

If you find someone who is compatible with you on all three levels, grab them and never let them go.  Once you find someone with the same financial, sexual and parenting goals, it gets easier.  Yes, you'll still fight and disagree, but your similarities will almost always keep your differences in check.

That is the usual speech I give to people who ask me about marriage, but there are two other things which I've learned over time.  Talk about what happens in worst case scenarios with health problems, whether it's an aging parent, a sick child with a serious disease, or having a spouse who needs hands on care.  Life is a bitch at times, and when you are marrying someone, rarely do you think about caring for your husband/wife 24/7, 365.  Also, ask yourself the question, 'will I be able to consistently put my wishes and feelings aside to make my spouse happy?'  Don't let that question scare you, as no one has to surrender all the time.  Marriage is a compromise.  There are times where I've had to eat my personal feelings and just do what my spouse wanted, for the betterment of the marriage.  It's not all the time, just occasionally.  Both partners being able to sacrifice for their spouse is a common theme is successful marriages.

Good Luck...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Supersize Me

Eventually, the city of Edina, Minnesota will be completely torn down and rebuilt.  That's sad.

For those that don't know, Edina is a very wealthy suburb on the southwest side of Minneapolis.  I went to high school in Edina and lived there for two years.  It's a very nice community, the kind of nice which only a wealthy tax base can provide.  New schools, clean parks, not a pot hole to be seen; even back in the middle 80's it was a different, insulated upbringing, one you didn't realize was so unusual until you spent time away from it.

This last week, I've been having to drive my daughters to day camps in Edina, one at the Edina Center for the Arts and the other at the old Edina East High School, which is the Edina Community Center today.  It has given me the opportunity to drive some of the old neighborhoods from my youth, and what I saw was amazing.

I'm not sure when the "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality got ramped up on steroids, but it seems to have spiraled out of control in the early 2000's.  When I went to Edina High School in the 80's, hardly any kids went to private school.  You didn't need to, as Edina, like most Minnesota schools, was exceptional, well funded to say the least.  Not today.  Half the houses I drove past had a private school signs in their lawns, bragging about how their kid went to Minnehaha Academy, or Holy Angels, or Blake.  These people live in probably the best school district in the state, constantly in the top 3 for the last 40 years, but apparently it's not good enough for them.  Nothing against the private schools, as they're a top notch education, but in Edina, there never used to be a need for a private school.

The parks were mostly empty.  I've noticed this trend in wealthier communities over the last 10 or so years; fewer and fewer locals using the public parks and beaches.  In some cases, the pristine and manicured park land is untouched but for a handful of individuals on any given day.  All the Edina parks I drove past this week, outside of one where a day camp for baseball was going on, were empty.

But it was the houses which really floored me.  Having gone to Edina, I knew people who lived in almost every neighborhood.  The houses back then weren't small, usually around 2000 to 2500 square feet.  They were upper middle class, with the homeowners still mowing their own laws, managing a vegetable garden in the back, and kid's toys strewn about.  The houses felt lived in, with the sounds of a healthy neighborhood everywhere you went.

Today, it's a very different story.  The rise of the McMansions in Edina has been tragic, but with a city council unwilling to reign in the wealth, it's becoming an incurable epidemic.  What was first the Indian Hills neighborhood, then the Sunnyside, then the Interlachen, then 50th and France, is now everywhere.  Every neighborhood in Edina is now infested with new houses, where a developer has ripped out the old house and built a four to five thousand square foot monster in it's place, stretching from property line to property line.  The quaint neighborhoods of my youth gobbled up by property investors who scoffed at the old rube residents, mocking their ignorance of the true value of the land they raised their kids on.

For the record, the houses (for the most part) seem very nice.  They look well maintained, near pieces of art, with the crispiest lines, most modern styles.  The lawns are straight from a golf fairway, perfect and clean, no weeds visible, no blade higher than it's brothers.  The gardens are exquisite, with lush beautiful flowers in rolling sculpted beds.  The driveways gleaming white, spotless, with no cars visible.

After driving these streets for the last few days I realized what makes me uncomfortable about Edina; it feels fake.  It's nice, but fake.  The houses aren't meant for living, but rather for showing off, more designed for the Midwest Living or Architectural Digest centerfold spread the owners are craving to do.  The grass, as friendly and welcoming as it looks, is not meant for bare feet, as that would ruin the esthetic.  There isn't a tree, rock or relief which is natural to the lot, instead they're designed like a model train set.  Very few people mow their own lawn or maintain their own gardens in Edina anymore, choosing to hire landscaping companies who employ muscular 20-somethings, most without a shirt, who seem more interested in trying to manicure the lonely housewives and house husbands, who watch them like hungry wolves from their big bay windows.  The gardens present themselves more like office building flower pots.

And there are no kids.  None.  I've seen maybe five this week.  No toys in the yards, no chalk drawings on the driveway, no bikes by the front doors, nothing.  And quiet, no laughing, crying.  Not even a peep.  It's like someone built these houses, hoping eventually someone would move into them.

Add in the numerous signs of warning (locals only, police monitored, no loitering), and it was downright unwelcoming.  Every house has at least three or four private security signs, warning of the laser beams which will cut you to tiny pieces if your dog even thinks about lifting a leg towards the property. One street had a 'No Outlet" sign which was a lie.  I remembered the street from my youth.  I tried it and the road still cuts through, but I guess they're concerned about undesirables.

It was nice to look at, to a point, but since I'm not impressed by people trying to impress for the sake of their own gratification, it's lost on me.  Eventually the entire city of Edina will be torn down and rebuilt, with row after row of massive estates, all trying to one up everyone around them.  My guess is someone one will eventually start tearing down two of these mansions, replacing it with a 10000 square foot atrocity.  Even when the final original 'small' houses are left, not even the Edina Historical Society will stand in the way.

Top notch schools the residents avoid, gorgeous parks rarely utilized and cold, massive palaces for you to look at, but never touch.  I guess you can't stop 'progress.'

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Sad Little Party

(Warning, some bad words ahead!)

I'm trying to understand the Minnesota GOP better.  On one side, you can't argue their success.  They went into this last legislative session as a clear underdog, and, by playing Senate Majority Leader Bakk like a fiddle, were able to walk away with an insanely positive outcome for 2015.

On the other side, I've finally put my finger on what I don't like about the Minnesota GOP; they're just dicks.

There are some who will insist I've just forfeited any credibility by name calling.  Hey, I'll be the first to admit I'm too brash at times, but, in my defense, if you earn my respect, I'll freely give it.  These Republicans haven't done a thing to earn any respect from the Democrats, and have gone out of their way to be huge tools.  Want proof?

Let's go back to November last year, when the GOP and their dark money buddies were screaming about how Governor Mark Dayton was going to, personally, give every Minnesotan ebola.  As they ran that meme on the day before and day of the election, Republicans across the state insisted they had no idea where the ads were coming from.  Not only did the Republicans refuse to condemn the ads, in some cases, they tried their best to fan the flames of the hysteria.  I blew that off as some national GOP's strategists game plan (it was clearly being coordinated from a national front) and left it alone, brushing it off as election year theatrics.

But then, slowly but surely, the Minnesota GOP, lead by Republican Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt and head of the GOP Keith Downey, went out of their way to be obnoxious jerks.  Here's a list of some of their bigger jackass-ian hits:

  • After swearing up and down to respect Governor Re-Elect Mark Dayton (something we now know was a complete farce) Republican Speaker Daudt didn't attend the Governor's inauguration at the Landmark Center on January 5th.  His reason?  On a Monday, in January, at noon, after an election year just finished up, Speaker Daudt HAD to be at a fundraiser which was too important to miss...on a Monday, in January, at noon, after an election cycle was completely finished up, during the swearing in ceremony of the Governor.  Yeah...sure you did.  It was so disrespectful I was at a loss of words when I heard he pulled his little stunt.  
  • In true GOP form, the Republicans had to find ways to punish their perceived enemies.  Back in early February, Representatives Cornish and McNamara were actually kicking around the idea of a walking tax, charging people walking on state trails.  Mind you, their state tax dollars already went to make the trails, and the damage done by a pair of sneakers is non-existent when comparing it to the damage done by snowmobilers, but since the feeling of the Minnesota GOP was that snowmobilers were more likely to vote Republican and people walking the trails were more likely to vote Democrat, the unnecessary punishment was proposed (and failed).
  • They actually had mind numbingly stupid individuals come to St. Paul and testify that firing a gun is loud.  DUH!  But this was their argument to push forward (likely NRA scripted) legislation to legalize gun silencers, something pretty much every police officer in the state was against.  
  • Allegedly, all freshmen Republicans in the House and Senate were told to sit down and shut up, only to vote the way they were told to vote by the leaders of the party.  They allegedly were told to not introduce any legislation without approval, regardless of district need, until they won re-election, effectively making Kurt Daudt and Keith Downey their district's de facto Senate and House representation.
  • They went after the state Auditor's office by holding committee hearings where the 'true victims' of the Auditor's office were able to speak; people who had been discovered either breaking state laws or being dishonest about how state tax dollars were spent.  They held these hearings with smirks on their faces, trying desperately to hide their giggles.
  • Speaker Daudt and the rest of the GOP refused to force Rep. Newberger to apologize on the Minnesota House floor, after Rep. Newberger made a racist comment on the same House floor, in reference to North Minneapolis African Americans and the commuter rail line.  Newberger has a history of racist tinged comments, but the Speaker and the GOP never once made him apologize in the same venue as he made his racist statement.
  • At the beginning of the Legislative Special Session, the GOP, with giggles and smirks, distributed a hand out to the Republicans, mocking the Governor, at taxpayer expense, by taking the picture of him doing the ice bucket challenge last year, changing it to make it look like the Minnesota GOP was pouring cold water on his agenda, going out of their way to do a dickish victory dance to kick off the special session.
  • And the latest one (and this is wild), an ethics complaint against Hastings Representative Denny McNamara was dismissed by the two Republicans on the ethics board.  Rep. McNamara doesn't deny yelling loudly in his meeting with Representative Kahn and a Minneapolis Parks Board Lobbyist.  He also doesn't deny yelling because he was upset his son's private landscaping company might not get awarded more Minneapolis Parks money.  The GOP and the Rep. McNamara have consistently gone out of their way to screw over Minneapolis and St. Paul, so why he was thinking his son deserves a sweetheart taxpayer funded deal from Minneapolis, I'm not sure, but here is where it gets comical.  Rep. McNamara insists, even though he was screaming loud enough to be heard in neighboring offices, his screaming temper tantrum was in no way geared at Representative Kahn, only geared to the Minneapolis Parks Board Lobbyist, sitting right next to her.  And the ethics committee AGREED!  Too funny...

Governor Dayton and every Democrat who is not Senator Bakk:  don't trust the Minnesota GOP.  Don't respect these guys.  Don't try to work with these guys.  There's no point.  They're just dicks.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Friday Link for 7/3/15

I'm back!  It was lovely up north.  I'm hoping to get some more writing about my adventures and observations on the blog before too long.  I spent my only free writing time this week on the previous post from Wednesday about he burning of churches, but I do have thoughts on northern Minnesota and mining I'll get to.  Plus my flowers are looking great, so look for some photos of them.  As far as my vegetable gardens, rabbits got into my green beans.  Hasenpfeffer anyone?

As we get ready for the 4th of July tomorrow, let me first wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.  Enjoy some fireworks and Bar-B-Que, and since we are celebrating the founding of the United States of America, tossing out a confederate flag would seem, to me at least, a perfect way to embrace the holiday spirit.

Fireworks can be fun, but outside of lighting some off in my yard tomorrow, I'll be at home enjoying a fire pit in the evening hours.  The fighting to get to a fireworks spot, having to deal with crowds, parking and the time to get home, turned me off awhile back.  Plus, I'm not a fan of the fireworks which are just a loud boom.  They're not fun, they're annoying and they scare the heck out of pets.  I have a friend who will turn his computer to the river in Minneapolis tomorrow and live stream the fireworks.  I'll enjoy the show from my own house.

For a patriotic Friday Link, let me send it to the Muppets.  Sam the American Eagle is one of my favorite characters in the troupe, and he is featured front and center here.  The bear in the back makes me laugh every time I see this.  Enjoy and have a wonderful 4th of July...weirdos!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What's Really Killing Religion

I have to post this.

Quick back story; D is a very religious guy I respect.  After reading about the latest African American southern church to get burned down, I went to his Facebook page to read his condemnation, only to be stunned there was nothing.  Nothing from the guy who has insisted there is a mythical or theoretical war on Christianity for the last 6 plus years.  Nothing, even though this is a horrible, undeniable, straight up attack on the Christian faith by the racist far right.

Here is a message I sent D today about the burning of southern churches:

"D(ed.), it bothers me that you, after six plus years of insisting their(sp.) is a war on Christianity, when churches are actually being attacked and burned to the ground, you're not waving the banner of outrage.  That is an attack on the church being coordinated through far right wing racists.  This doesn't bother you places of worship are being burned to the ground?  It IS an actual war on Christianity."

The picture below was his initial response.

I did crop this photo to clean it up.  I've been informed this is probably a fake image, photoshopped by the Christian Right to condemn gays and gay rights (as one photo 'expert' told me, the kid on the shoulders has clearly been added to the picture), but regardless it doesn't matter.  I clearly was asking about the burning of churches in the south, and this was his first response.  

He then tried to tie this to President Obama and Al Sharpton, insisting the south's racial problems were not bad before the President made them so.  I lived in Georgia in the Reagan 80's.  They were horrific then, with multiple near death beatings of black people in my area, southern Lake Lanier, by whites.

Black Churches in the south are being burned to the ground and, for some inexplicable reason, the majority of the Christian Right just can't condemn it.  They just can't.  THIS is destroying Christianity!!!  Why you can't just say, "Wow, the burning of churches is horrible."

If this was the burning of a white Christian church in the suburbs, the religious right would have called for armed guards at all places of worship, yet with the 7th southern black church burned to the ground, many of the Christian right insist on trying to blame gay marriage and the President.

Racists are burning black churches in the south because they are trying kill and intimidate African Americans.  There is a long tradition of southern racists doing this, starting much further back than 2008.

What makes people run away from religion is the way the Republicans and the Conservative right have usurped it, throwing away 95% of the Bible, to focus on an extremely distorted remaining 5%, which in turn fuels the foot soldiers the political right needs to keep any power at all.  Everything has to be pushed through this conservative sieve, and tied to whatever the GOP is attacking this week.  For goodness sake, the Pope is being openly criticized by these people as being too liberal.  THE POPE!

When even a good Christian can fall prey to this broken thinking, a man, who after hearing me condemn the burning of churches without making it political, turns me into nothing more than a liberal Satan, trying to trick and deceive all simple minded fools, and implying I'll be the one who's sorry when Judgement Day comes, when that guy falls to the artificial Christianity created by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, unable to hear the insanity coming from his own mouth and keyboard, it's a sad day for religion indeed.

God bless us, all of us, including D.  I pray he wakes up to the lies he's been told.  I pray he stops just following the distorted Republican Party bible, and I pray he'll condemn the burning of churches without trying to tie it to something completely unrelated.