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Thursday, December 23, 2004

You Can't Spell "Santa" Without "Satan"

I'm not all Scrooge this year. If I have made you depressed by dropping reality bombs, then check out this fun site.


My Annual Airing of Grievances

Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?
Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born . . . a Festivus for the rest of us!
Kramer: That must've been some doll.

Costanza: She was!

-- Seinfeld, episode 166

Today marks the seventh annual celebration of Festivus, which now by the way has its own entry in Wikipedia, so as an adherent to the holiday, I must now present the annual Airing of Grievances.

Sure, I know this is normally done with friends and family at the dinner table, but the rules are meant to be bent. My blog will have to do.

  1. The Media really disappointed me this year, on many counts. Most notable however was how the media allowed the ironically named Swiftboat Veterans for Truth organization to repeat lies about John Kerry's tour in Vietnam. Even when it was shown that at best the group had no proof for any of its claims and that the group was backed by prominent Bush supporters and fundraisers, the mainstream media compliantly continued to air the group's claims with equal time to the proof that the claims were false. This did enormous damage to Kerry's campaign and the political process.

  2. The Democratic Party apparatus, especially at the state and federal level, disappointed me for its inattention to its real core of support – the poor, minorities, the elderly and workers. The real reason I believe Kerry and the Congressional Dem candidates lost was because, as in the 2000 election, they did not pay attention to the real issues – corporate greed, health care, poverty and inequality. A full third of eligible voters did not vote, which is a clear sign that they do not believe there is a stark difference between the two major parties. I agree.

  3. Bush supporters were shockingly supportive of what appears to be the worst presidency of the past 50 years. While I do not have a problem with people being or voting for Republicans (I supported McCain in 2000), I cannot see and have yet to hear an honest reason why Bush should have been re-elected.

    • The economy – worse than when he took over.

    • Security – Bush was sleep at the wheel when OBL attacked and responded by invading a country that was not threatening us and had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. Now OBL has more support for his cause, which is to stop the US from controlling Islamic governments through the use of military force and the support of corrupt dictators.

    • Honesty – while President Clinton obviously had a problem admitting the an intern had given him multiple blowjobs, Bush & Co. spent a year lying through their teeth about the need to go to war, using the threat of nuclear attack. I could go on and on. The point is this – despite the unanimous agreement that Iraq was not connected to Sept. 11 and that our inspections and sanctions were preventing him from becoming a threat, a majority of Bush supporters still believe the opposite. The relative consequences of Clinton's lies versus Bush's lies are massive – Clinton got laid versus tens of thousands of people dying and more suffering, with our security in no better shape and the threat of terror as bad or worse than before Bush was elected.

  4. Finally, Americans in general, even many of those against the war, disappointed me for not caring about the carnage and death we inflict on others. The bombs we drop often land on children and other innocent people – people who claim now to have invaded Iraq to liberate. These are people just like us, but an inherent racism and feeling of superiority in America makes such suffering irrelevant in most people's eyes. Like my mom said, "We need that oil." Many opposed to Bush's war argued, as Kerry did, that we needed more troops and a better plan to win the peace, when it is obvious that Iraqis just want us to leave.

Anyway, I suppose this blog is a routine airing of my grievances, so you can read the archives if you want to know more about the things that piss me off. Merry Fucking Christmas.

Sierra Club and Ecoterrorism? Uh, nope

As predicted in this blog, the Sierra Club was exonerated from the claims that it might have been tied to the arson fires that destroyed a new, upscale housing development that the organization had lobbied against during the development's approval process.

After the fires, law enforcement immediately claimed it would investigate the possibility of "eco-terrorism" as a motive. All stories on the fires followed this announcement with information about the Sierra Club's fight to prevent the development from happening, based on its impact on the environment.

Being a member of the Sierra Club, I knew this was a false connection. Even if someone had razed the homes because of the development's negative environmental impact, the Sierra Club is the last group that would have anything to do with it.

Instead, police have arrested a security guard hired to watch the development and a volunteer firefighter in connection with the crime and have officially ruled out "eco-terrorism." The new motive being investigated – hate for minorities, because most of the homes were owned by African Americans.

Why the cops didn't think of that before eco-terrorism, one can only speculate.

Paula Likes Pork

Well it didn't take long for Alachua County Commissioner Paula DeLaney to prove me right, and it is one time I wish I was wrong.

DeLaney, who replaced Penny Wheat on the commission when Wheat decided not to run for re-election, provided a crucial third vote in favor of four-laning Southwest 24th Avenue when it is paved.

As I wrote previously (and please read that for a lengthy explanation), the only reason for four-laning that road is to help Clark Butler expand Butler Plaza. The county had previously voted 3-2 to two-lane the road and make it bike and pedestrian friendly, congruent with the citizen-led plan to make that undeveloped area into a student village.

Because of the size of Butler's planned expansion, he needed the road to be four lanes to ensure there was enough road capacity to handle the additional traffic the expansion will create.

DeLaney, who personally thanked Butler in her first speech as a commissioner (Butler was one of her generous campaign contributors), used the same tired propaganda about how the four-lane road will help ease traffic congestion and such.

It is a load of crap, simply put. Anyone with any knowledge of land planning and growth management will tell you that traffic planning drives growth and that road expansions only invite more traffic and growth and therefore, traffic congestion. Butler's development will quickly eat up the road capacity.

This is a slap in the face to all of the citizens who participated in the student village plan. Four-laning this road is a political perk bought by Butler through campaign contributions to local, state and federal officials. People should be outraged.

DeLaney gets the Knucklehead of the Week award for handing out this piece of pork for Butler. If his development moves forward – and that is not a certainty, just a likelihood – then that area of town will be even more congested than it is now. More importantly, from DeLaney's point of view, her good friend Clark Butler will be even richer than he is now.

Advice from the Fourth Wise Man

I do not come bearing good tidings and joy. While we Americans feast on our annual festival of gluttony and greed, which we dress up with religious clothing, we should be reminded that across the globe we have been burning Iraqi cities and not chestnuts over an open fire.

Yes, America, there is no Santa Claus, and when you wake up Christmas morning to your stockings filled with goodies and presents stuffed under the tree, Iraqis will still be combing the rubble for lost loved ones killed or maimed by bombs and bullets paid for with your hard-earned tax dollars.

The US invasion of Iraq has destroyed much of the nation, leaving many cities in utter chaos. While you may have spent the week before Christmas frantically trying to find a store selling iPods (or whatever), people in Baghdad are trying to simply survive under Dubya's jackboot.

Here is a Christmas list posted by Riverbend on her blog, Baghdad Burning:

1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care--but you're also practical)
Riverbend, who blogs only occasionally now because of the power shortage, also had this advice for Santa:

When Santa delivers please make sure he is wearing a bullet-proof vest and helmet. He should also politely ring the doorbell or knock, as a more subtle entry might bring him face to face with an AK-47. With the current fuel shortage, reindeer and a sleigh are highly practical- but Rudolph should be left behind as the flashing red nose might create a bomb scare (we're all a little jumpy lately).

Peace on Earth (as if).