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Friday, February 02, 2007

Denouncement #5

I hereby formally denounce Paris Hilton. Furthermore, I hereby formally issue a call for Paris Hilton to be tarred & feathered at once.

Anybody who casually follows the "news" as put out by the mass media will know there are any number of reasons for denouncing Paris Hilton. To enumerate them all would be an undertaking for which I have not the time. Nonetheless, I shall attempt to hit the high points and outline roughly my case for denouncement.

Paris Hilton is a stain on the United States of America. I shudder at the thought of a single foreigner associating her with this country. Her entire person, her every action stands in stark opposition and contrast to the values of the United States. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the person of President Lincoln is an excellent yardstick by which to compare the various infidels whom I denounce. Let's take up the case of Mr Lincoln and Paris Hilton. Only then, gentle reader, will you come to know the true worthlessness of Paris Hilton.

Abraham Lincoln bears the name of the biblical figure Abraham, who is revered by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Paris Hilton is named after a hotel. A hotel. Enough there.

Abraham Lincoln's youth epitomizes that of the self-made American. He was born in a one room log cabin on the frontier. He was largely self-educated, with only 18 months of formal education, and that from unofficial teachers. He read what he could borrow and in doing so mastered the Bible, Shakespeare, and English and American history. During his younger years, he performed manual labor and operated a small store. Abe would go onto study the law (on his own) and be admitted to the bar in the State of Illinois at the age of 28. As we all know, Mr Lincoln would go on to the Illinois legislature, the US Congress, and later the Presidency and immortality.

Compare that to Paris Hilton. (FN) She was born into a family of wealth and a life of privilege; indeed, her grandfather was named Barron (Think: "Baron"). Instead of taking advantage of her circumstances and making something worthwhile of herself, Ms Hilton dropped out of high school. Since then, her notable contributions to society include making a crappy porn video, acting (if you can call it that) in a series of horrible TV shows and movies, recording an album of music (if you can call it music), and whoring her name and likeness out to any corporation with enough money to satisfy her seemingly insatiable desire for wealth. When one considers her life, the only good thing to come out of all this was Banksy's excellent prank.

Then, Ms Hilton was shown on film to call somebody a "Hoodlum, broke, poor bitch from Compton" and a "Public school bitch" (FN), as if that could be considered an insult coming as it were from somebody who didn't even finish high school. The audacity. I wonder if she would say the same thing about Mr Lincoln, would she call him "A poor, country boy from the Frontier" and a "Self-educated bitch"? Makes you wonder.

And Ms Hilton's recent comments about black people is another matter entirely. In the same video, she mocked other persons at the party by saying, "I'm a little black whore. I get fucked in the butt for coke", "I'm a nigger", and "I'm black and I steal shit." Compare this to Mr Lincoln, who, while no John Brown when it came to matters of race, at least had the common sense and decency to see that the horrible institution of slavery be abolished and that the blacks in America be given equal rights with other citizens. Ms Hilton's recent comments make you wonder whether she would be more at home in the antebellum South than in the 21st century.

Now, I have shown a few of the reasons for my Denouncement of Ms Hilton: specifically, that Ms Hilton was born into a life of wealth and privilege but still failed to contribute to the betterment of society; and, that Ms Hilton has nonetheless maintained an outlook on life that can only be described as aristocratic and an affront to the people of the United States.

I come now to the reason for her being tarred and feathered.

Tarring and feathering is a type of punishment carried out by a vengeful mob. It is done primarily to humiliate the victim. It was a common practice in colonial America, with Patriots tarring and feathering those in cahoots with the King of England and the ruling classes. It was done in post-WWII France, with French patriots tarring and feathering those in cahoots with the Nazis. And it was also done by the IRA (as it was in the Colonial US) to those in cahoots with their English colonizers. (FN) So what does all this add up to? It adds up to tarring and feathering being the appropriate punishment for those who flagrantly and without remorse insult the honor of one's country from the foul perch of aristocracy.

And if anybody in recent memory has insulted the US and the American people in such a manner, it is Paris Hilton. If I was the attorney in the LA County District Attorney's Office responsible for prosecuting her for DUI, I would see to it that she received the appropriate punishment under the law, that is to say, the statutory maximum. Or, perhaps, in an act of leniency and forgiveness, I would not recommend she be sentenced to jail if instead she agreed to be tarred and feathered.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Castle Doctrine

At common law, there is something known as the "castle doctrine." Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Ed. defines it as, "An exception to the retreat rule allowing the use of deadly force by a person who is protecting his or her home and its inhabitants from attack." It is also known as the "Dwelling Defense" or the "Defense of Habitation." Now, my guess is that "castle doctrine" caught on as the popular way of referring to this legal concept because castles are excellent. And that brings me to the thrust of this article: Castles.

I want a castle to live in. If I had a billion dollars, I would build myself a castle. I don't know why these jackasses like Bill Gates get mansions (look here) when they could be building brand new castles or buying existing castles like this one, or this one. Some people have the right idea, like these folks: Person 1 and Person 2. These people here will even build you a castle - now that's sweet.

Of course, right now I don't have a billion dollars, but I will one day. So, let's just say I do get a castle built.

Well, mine would have a moat for sure - it'd be filled with water. I'd have some alligators in there. I don't know what I'd feed them, but hopefully it was captured members of attacking armies and/or thieves. That would work out well since their food bill wouldn't be too high.

But as excellent as having a moat filled with alligators would be, there is a potential snag. If you have a moat, you have to have a drawbridge. Now, drawbridges are excellent, especially for home security, but they do present a problem. Here's why: You always have to lower a drawbridge from the inside, so there's always gotta be someone inside to lower the drawbridge for you. And that's the problem. Allow me to illustrate it for you........

Picture this: you get up one Saturday morning and want to go slay some dragons. Then as you are getting ready to leave you realize everybody else in the castle got up and went out for the day. You're shit out of luck, aren't you?

If you were to leave and go kick some dragon ass, you'd have to leave the drawbridge down, which would leave your castle open to be pillaged, plundered, and worse. And the reason why you'd have to leave the drawbridge down: There'd be nobody inside to raise it up for you. And if by some miracle of God you managed to get it up yourself, there'd be nobody to let it down for you. You'd be locked out of your castle. And then what would you do? Swim across your moat of alligators, raised on the flesh of thieves and/or attacking armies? I don't think so.........

So, castles aren't 100% perfect. But compared to your run of the mill mansion, I can't see a downside to having a castle. And that's my castle doctrine.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Denouncement #4

I hereby formally denounce Standard Time.

I hereby formally commend Daylight Savings Time. All nations should switch to Daylight Savings Time (where it stays light later) permanently.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sore Loserman or Boltin' Joe?

After the 2000 election and the related fiasco in Florida, there appeared bumperstickers reading "Sore-Loserman, 2000" in a parody of the "Gore-Lieberman, 2000" bumpersticker. (This was pretty funny one that ranks right up there with my favorite from 2004, "Bush-Kerry, 2004", with another example here). Well, now it appears that one-half of the less-than-dynamic duo, Joe Lieberman, is up to his old tricks once again and his recent actions just might warrant the printing of a new bumpersticker reading "Sore Loserman, 2006" (without the hyphen, because it's just him this time; and the year updated).

"takethemud," you are probably thinking, "Why are you calling Joe Lieberman a sore loser LOL?"

Because Mr. Lieberman is bolting away from the Democratic Party, his party, faster than Joltin' Joe DiMaggio ran the bases. Hummmm, how about this for a Lieberman nickname: Boltin' Joe?!?!? Going once, going twice, sold!!! Boltin' Joe it is.

So let's dig a little deeper and get just a little background ole Boltin' Joe. He's been a democrat since at least 1970, when he ran for the Connecticut state senate. Since then, he served as a CT State Senator, the CT Attorney General, and a US Senator. He was also the Dem's nominee for Vice President in 2000 and one of the candidates for the Dem's presidential nomination in 2004. To me, that sounds like a real party man, somebody with loyalty who's going to stick with his party. And right up until tonight, that's what Boltin' Joe did.

See, earlier tonight, things changed for Boltin' Joe. In a come-from-behind victory, Joe lost the democratic primary (and consequently the party's nomination for US Senator) to Ned Lamont, a businessman turned politician who campaigned on an anti-war platform and defeated Mr. Lieberman by won the party's nomination. Mr. Lamont really overtook Lieberman these last few months. Observe what the polls were saying:
  • On May 2, 2006, Lieberman was up by 46 points over Mr. Lamont in a poll.
  • In June, Lieberman was up 46% - 29% over Lamont in polls.
  • On July 20, 2006, Lieberman was in a "statistical tie" with Mr. Lamont, with a slight edge of 51% - 47%.
  • On August 3, 2006, Lamont was up by 13 points over Lieberman in a poll. (A lot can change in 3 months)
  • On August 8, votes were cast and Lamont defeated Lieberman 52% - 48%.
(FYI: I will not be discussing whether Ned Lamont is a viable candidate or how this will affect the Democrat's and Republican's chances of victory in November. I am concerned with the integrity of the political process, how it affects democracy in America, and what it says about Boltin' Joe & the Party System.

But he didn't choose to stick with his party and respect the wishes of the party faithful, which is what you'd hope you'd see from somebody like Lieberman, who has given and taken so much from the Dems. Instead, Boltin' Joe, ever the sore loser, got the hell out of Dodge and formed the "Connecticut for Lieberman Party." Now he says he's gonna run as an independent.

Now is it just me, or does it not make sense to run as an independent after you already ran as a Democrat? I mean, if Boltin' Joe started off as an independent, I'd be singing praises to the heavens, being the perpetual third-party lover that I am. (More on that later)

See, when you start off as a Democrat for the primaries, you're kinda saying to everybody: "I cast my lot with this party and this process. I'm going to take part in these primaries. If I win, I reap the rewards and will run for President with the machinery of one of the two big parties behind me. But if I lose, I will concede defeat and throw my weight behind the victor."

But what Sore Loserman was saying was something entirely different: "I'm going to get in on this Democratic primary thing because, you know, I'm entitled to the nomination on account of having been a senator for so damned long. If I win, well, it's what I was entitled to. But if I lose, then it's a perversion of the party nominating process and contrary to the will of my state, so I'll run as an independent."

It's almost like somebody running for a Presidential election, then, when they lose, violently overthrowing the government to become President. Not exactly a tame analogy, but the principle is the same: somebody tries to get what they want through the established means of getting it and then, when they lose, they take steps outside of the system they implicitly endorsed by getting involved in that system's established processes.

And to add another twist in the process, Boltin' Joe said that if even if he lost his party's nomination, he'd be Boltin' home to the Democratic Party, continuing to present himself as a "petitioning Democrat" (FN1) and vowing to sit as a Democrat in the senate (FN2). (News Flash Joe: You get to be a Democrat if your party nominates you to represent it. Yours picked Ned Lamont!)

It sounds to me like Joe was determined to have his cake and eat it too; that is to say, take part in the Dem's primaries and run for the Senate regardless of the outcome. Maybe Boltin Joe's just plain ol' hungry to spend another 6 cushy years in the upper house of the US Congress, making lots of money, enjoying the spoils of political office. Being the 3-term senator that he is, maybe he thinks it's somehow his birthright to go back to Washington.

If that were the case, it'd be awfully aristocratic. And aristocracy is always awful. There's nothing is worse for this country than an aristocratic class of any kind, be they aristocrats who derive their sense of nobility through the fortune of their good birth or aristocrats of the self-annoited variety who derive their sense of nobility from the institutions they pass through and persons they know. America is about people earning what they get through their labors mixed with good fortune, never as a spoil of privilege. Perhaps that is why the US Constitution forbids the United States from bestowing a title of nobility upon anybody (See Here).

But whatever the reason for his bolt from the party that provided fuel for his political machine all these years, the fact is that Boltin Joe dipped out. On principle, I just can't say that's a good thing.

Now, I said earlier that if Boltin' Joe were a third party candidate from the beginning, I'd be singing his praises. And that's the true. I think third party candidates are necessary for democracy to progress. The more third parties are able to take part in the political process, the more our public discourse will resemble the ideal of the public square. Instead of political discourse being like a rowdy and boorish game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, with two little kids pounding on buttons trying to injure the opponent, it would be become something more sophisticated, strategic, and representative. With more voices and parties vying for votes, our political discourse might elevate itself to the level of, say, Hungry Hungry Hippoes, with four little kids working away to get as many of us into their camp as they could. In all seriousness, it's tough to decide what's better for the American system - Mr. Lamont winning as an outsider or Mr. Lieberman running as a third party candidate.
  • On the one hand, there is a legitimate third party candidate running, which should broaden the discourse. Who knows, maybe it will get people talking about the importance of minority voices to maintaining the health of the political process, the potential for expanded democracy made possible by Instant Runoff Voting, and other issues relevant to increasing the viability of third parties. Not likely, but I hold out hope.
  • On the other hand, Mr. Lamont was a political outside who won the nomination of a major party to a pretty serious office. This in itself is a big deal. Outsiders have the greatest potential to shake things up and that's a good thing. At the very least, challenging the accepted ways of doing things makes it necessary for the guardians of the status quo to defend their methodology. If a single weakness is exposed and the process become stronger, then there were gains to be had. So, I'm always happy when I see an outsider win or run for something, anything - think: Arnold for Governor, Ralph Nader for President, Ned Lamont for Democratic Senate Candidate, John Q Independent for Local School Board Seat #3.
Only time can tell whether Boltin' Joe's big jump to an independent candidacy will pay off for the democratic process. Until then, we should be content with knowing that people want to be Senators so badly they'll eschew common sense and their own principles just to take a shot at it. Or maybe that knowledge should make us discontent.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mark Twain

As everybody knows, Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain. The reason for this is that his original name couldn't possibly contain him in all of his awesomeness. Adopting a pen name helped ease the burden by allowing Mark Twain to shoulder some of the load.

Here are some of the facts about Mark Twain that illustrate why his awesomeness was so large it needed two named to be contained:

(1) Mark Twain once challenged somebody to a duel.

When he was living in Nevada, Mr Twain challenged a rival newspaper editor to a duel. Mr Twain's second exaggerated his prowess with a pistol and the rival backed out of the match. Mr Twain subsequently left town. Now, offering to duel will make it so you can't practice law in Kentucky (FN1), but it certainly doesn't diminish how awesome you are. Quite the opposite - it increases it ten-fold.

(2) Mark Twain once walked 75 miles to accept a job.

I can't find anything on the internet to corroborate this. But, the anecdote is in a published book that my fiancee used for a journalism class in college. He was offered a position at a newspaper and he was such a stand-up guy that he walked 75 miles to tell them he accepted. How many of you would do that nowadays? None. You would all write emails, make phone calls, drive a car there. . . . anything but walk. Score a few more points for Mr Twain.

(3) Mark Twain was funny - funnier than you & everybody else.

Mr Twain is widely regarded as the best humorist of the nineteenth century. You aren't. Mr Twain has a humor prize named after him that's given out by the Kennedy Center annually (FN2). And do you? No, I didn't think so. And if you think present-day comics are funnier than Mr Twain, then ask yourself this: Why are present-day comics given the "Mark Twain" award? Mr Twain never got the "Richard Pryor Award" or the "Steve Martin Award". The reason is obvious, Mr Twain was funnier than they'll ever be.