A Different Kind of Hate -- Newt Gingrich

Rarely has a politician lived up to his name like Newt Gingrich.  His first name speaks for itself.  His last name sounds a little too much like "grinch," as in the guy who stole Christmas.  And yet, despite his long, undisputed record of personal failings that seem okay only when he's engaging in them, South Carolina Republicans love him.

South Carolina is important to Republicans.  It is a "Red State."  More importantly, the person who wins the primary there goes on to win to Republican nomination historically.  Gingrich understands this, and when his ex-wife came out saying that, essentially, Newt loved the ladies, he knew this was going to come up in the debate.

Gingrich loves to hold others up to ethical scrutiny. He does not like to be held up to the same standards.  He does not think he should be called a hypocrite for going after Clinton (and in a sense he has a bit of point, as you can read here).  At the very least, however, he should've come clean and/or reclused himself from the attack.  But his affairs isn't the only unethical thing he's done. 

In 1997 the Washington Post reported that Gingrich, South Carolina primary winner, used tax-deductible for political purposes and then gave investigators "inaccurate" information about it.  In other words, he stole money and lied.  After being caught, Gingrich admitted he had violated House rules.  There are those who say he was just reckless, but make no mistake.  Gingrich is not an idiot.  He knew what he was doing and he took steps to cover it up.  That's not reckless.  That's intentional.

Gingrich plays fast and loose with ethics, both personal and financial.  He pays lip service to a lot of things, but his personal philosophy is, "Do as I say, not as I do."  And when he gets called on this, he acts indignant, blames others and plays a victim.  I would not go so far as to say he is mentally unbalanced, but he is manipulative, and South Carolina showed it loves manipulation. 

This God-fearing man, the one who has engaged in affairs and has lied to investigators (another comparison to Clinton), continues to blame the "elite media," and people are lapping it up.  This is a man they think would make an ideal president.  He has all the personal failings of one, but I would suspect that if people really started to think about what they were doing they may find that they want more. 

Remember this, Gingrich has admitted to his failings ... but only after being caught, and only after he has tried to hide them.  Well, at least he's not black, right?


Human Hand Grenade -- Ricky Gervais, The Golden Globes, Idiots and Me

I am, if nothing else, an example of restraint.  There are times, however, where that restraint starts to become restraint, and like a dog with a choke collar, I get upset when I'm at the end of my leash and want to get within striking distance of the one who has transgressed against me.  I let a lot of things slide.  I have long ago stopped holding people to the same standards I hold myself as that is an exercise in futility that I don't have time for, but there is one thing I have an extremely difficult time dealing with in a "zen-like" way.  Stupidity ... especially when that stupidity has a negative effect on me.  If someone's stupidity is going to cause me grief, then I like to head it off as quickly and cleanly as possible.  I usually go above and beyond what needs to be done, but that's only because I want the problem to become extinct as quickly as possible.

I don't act without warning, though.  To me, that would be unfair.  More often than not, however, these warnings go unheeded.  At that point I do what any reasonable person would do -- I act.  I'm not one of those who subscribes to the "turn the other cheek" philosophy or "kill them with kindness."  Neither of those solve the problem.  I act more like the US in Vietnam.  I spray Agent Orange everywhere and gather ears for a necklace.

Sometimes I have used biting humor to silence a fool.  I have used logic to shame someone into silence.  I have used violence.  I have done all of those things with ample warning.  Don't do X or you get Y.  At the end of the day, I'm still left with one nagging question: Why do people seem hellbent to exploit their stupidity to the nth degree?

The argument can be made is that idiots are too dumb to know they are idiots.  I think this is a valid argument.  To buy into it you have to admit one thing.  They are also too dumb to learn from prior experience.  To be that stupid you either have to be willfully ignorant or there is something seriously wrong.  At that point the question becomes: Why are these people allowed to vote?  To drive?  To have children?  A job?  Why aren't they relegated to a place where their actions will harm as few people as possible?  Why are they walking among us?  Why are the zombies mixing with the humans, and why are we letting them?

Ricky Gervais is hosting the Golden Globes again this weekend.  If you recall his last stint there, you'll remember that people got pissed.  He cracked jokes that had people feeling downright uncomfortable.  It was funny, and it caused the kind of controversy the mainstream media loves (aka, Much Ado About Nothing).  His reaction to his critics was simply incredible.  He didn't back down.  He didn't apologize.  And, quite frankly, he treated the offended as they should have been treated -- like dumb herd animals that needed everything spoon-fed to them because they couldn't find their mouth with a GPS device.  He is hosting again, and while the first time may have taken people by surprise (though it shouldn't of), they can't say they weren't warned or aware of it this time around.

Gervais uses my favorite way of dealing with stupidity.  Laughing at it.  Making others laugh at it, too.  It's hard to feel any sort of pity for a target when you are spastic with laughter.  Comedy is an equalizer, and a damn good one at that.  It exposes stupidity with such clarity that people often don't know how to deal with it. The target is left gasping for air and wondering why they are suddenly the joke they don't understand. 

I don't know if I'll watch the Golden Globes this time around, but I'm sure I'll hear about it after.  Another silly controversy over words meant to take the piss out of people.  They won't get it, and that's okay.  They don't have to.  The rest of us can laugh at them.  When you can't make the morons feel the real outcomes of their actions, you do the next best thing.  You turn them into your own personal entertainment center.  And even the fools know that being the butt of a joke is better than being thrown into the mass grave where they surely belong.  


Occupy Eureka Has Bombs(?)

If you've driven past the Humboldt County courthouse any time in the past few months, you've seen Occupy Eureka.  The 1/12/12 copy of the Times-Standard, Humboldt County's paper of record, ran a front page article (under the fold) by Grant Scott-Goforth.  "County emails outrage members of Occupy Eureka," the story's byline reads.

To note: The Eureka Police Department has made it quite clear that it is fed up with the Occupy Eureka movement.  On the local NBC affiliate (KIEM), Interim Police Chief Murl Harpham even suggested that he had been told by some demonstrators that they were "paid" to be there, thus discrediting an entire movement that is largely already discredited in many people's eyes.  Of note is the fact that Harpham has said time and time again in various media that he supports people's right to free speech.  Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos has said the same thing, including the article in the 1/12/12 paper.

Whatever your opinion of the various Occupy movements across the country (or the one in Eureka, California), the article deserves some attention as to its unveiling of how the minds of Humboldt County's justice system think.

As well see, logic takes a back seat and rational thinking is nowhere to be found.

The article concerns a series of e-mails that Gallegos wrote that were "part of the discussion that led to police action against the Occupy Eureka encampment."  These e-mails, obtained by an Occupier using the California Public Records Act, were never meant to be public. 

According to Goforth's article, on 11/2/11, Gallegos wrote to "county officials" that he believed the "continued presence of tents outside of the courthouse presents a profound public safety risk."  What is that risk?  Gallegos continues, "While I do not suspect that any of those tents contain any explosive or other dangerous materials, I cannot confirm that they do or do not and I do not believe that we can allow the risk of such an occurrence to continue."  Again, this is the District Attorney.  A man who tries cases.  By his logic, any kind of police action is acceptable in almost any sort of situation because if you "cannot confirm" something, you can't "allow the risk" of something happening.  One cannot confirm whether or not Gallegos has cocaine and guns in his car, therefore it should be searched ... or so one would think by following Gallegos' logic.

The article continues with "Gallegos siad he did not think that any Occupy protesters had explosives."  Perhaps not, but he planted the idea in officials heads that it was a possibility and should be acted upon.  "He said, as with natural disaster planning, it was his and other officials' responsibility to prepare for and prevent worst case scenarios" such as, presumably, a dirty bomb on the courthouse lawn.

Gallegos, who stated he did not believe protestors had explosives, wrote on 11/18/11 to 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace, "Having tents outside our building pose an immense public safety risk.  All you need is 1 McVeigh guy."  Gallegos goes on to say that enclosed tents or trucks (the very thing that "McVeigh guy" used to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City) wouldn't last three minutes in front of a federal building.  Perhaps he is right, but his concern only seems to be tents.  Even as of today, vehicles, including trucks, were parked on all four sides of the courthouse building.  Any one of them could've contained explosives, something that Gallegos could or could not confirm.  I have yet to hear of any reports of any of these vehicles being towed for being threats to public safety.  A brief history of rogue terrorist bombings shows that vehicles and people, not tents, are the most popular methods of transport. 

None of this is questioned in the article, though protesters were reported to be "outraged" and express concern over the idea that if the Occupy movement "was associated with terrorism" that it would put a severe limit on dissent.  That is a valid worry.

Gallegos insists he has the protesters best interests in mind.  Goforth reports that Gallego was "worried that it was possible for people not directly associated with Occupy Eureka to use the group as cover for illegal activity."  One presumes the illegal activity in question is bomb detonation based on prior e-mails.  Something that on the surface seems absolutely ridiculous and not based on any Occupy history so far.  Gallegos, in citing McVeigh, knows how easy it is for some to infiltrate a group, as McVeigh received all his training in the military while harboring radical views and later worked as a security guard much like the kind employed by the Humboldt County courthouse.  One wonders whether Gallegos was referring to them infiltrating the Occupy movement.

Gallegos has stated that the e-mails were not meant to be public, as if that somehow makes it more acceptable.  Regardless, they were used as impetus to arrest members of the public engaged in civil disobedience.  In case anyone thinks Gallegos is some sort of anti-freedom District Attorney he points out that he supports the Occupy movement.  "Unfortunately," he is quoted, "here it has been somewhat co-opted locally by our local protesters."  For someone who supports the movement he shows very little understanding for what it entails.  Why would non-local protesters engage in an Occupy Eureka movement when they have their own in their own hometowns?  Is it a case of "not in my backyard," or is he so removed from what is going on that he has little understanding of what makes up the movement.  One imagines it's the latter.

Gallegos has a telling quote toward the end of the article.  "I find that most hyperbole doesn't warrant a response."  Or at least that is what he hopes ... especially when it is one's own hyperbole linking a largely peaceful (though disruptive) movement to terrorism and Timothy McVeigh.  There would be nothing better than for this indiscretion to go away, and that seems very likely to happen.

The Times-Standard article reported this on what seems like an unbiased basis.  Gallegos, however, was given more print space and was able to defend his actions, while protesters were given far less column inches to air their concerns.  If the reporter would've actually challenged Gallegos on his own delusional statements, one could reasonably say the paper was attempting to maintain some journalistic integrity.  Instead, this article was printed with a straight face and easily avoided questioning a public official who is supposed to uphold the law, not randomly speculate. The article states that "more than 50 people" have been arrested in connection with the movement in the past few months.  How many of those arrests were prompted by e-mails like the ones uncovered by the movement?

Regardless of what one thinks of the protesters, Gallegos' words are important.  They show that the man charged with upholding the law thinks nothing of fear mongering.  What's more telling is that this speculation wasn't shared with the public, though it was important enough to Gallegos that he called it out in various e-mails.  The press release (read it here) makes no mention of the possibility of bombs hidden in tents or terrorists infiltrating the movement.  Those are very serious charges, and if one believes they have any merit they should have been made public.  Instead, Gallegos did it secretly and police used it to help justify arrests.  There is never any good to come out of public decisions reached in secret, and one can only hope that is something Gallegos will learn first hand ... though one doubts it will be a lesson dealt out by the paper.


Pregnant Demon Thing

Far be it from me to judge, but I was pretty sure the baby gestating inside its mother would've been better off being raised by wolves.  The "mother" (a term I use because "incubator" seems harsh) was outside the post office.  I was tempted to take a picture with my cell phone, but I don't think it would do her justice.  And, quite honestly, if she saw me capturing her image I could only imagine the hell she would try to bring my way.  I figured it would sound like a lot of screeching and those growling things coming out of Linda Blair toward the end of The Exorcist.  Yes, the woman looked a little bit crazy.  But just a little bit.  
Her hair was pulled back into a pony tail.  Her eye makeup looked as if it had been applied by short circuiting robots.  Her black "wife beater" barely contained the bun in the oven and exposed a real nice pot leaf tattoo that looked like it was the best money could buy from a Walkman-style gun. On her other arm was the name (in cursive and most likely by the same gun) "Andre." The pajama bottoms (Raiders, of course) completed the picture.  She had one child in tow.  That little girl looked unhappy.  The baby in the stroller (sex undetermined) seemed content to be in oblivion.  While yammering away on a cell phone, the woman, in an act that would make the judges on any reality show proud, managed to not only suck away at a cancer stick (so good for baby), but also tell her little girl what an "annoying shit" she was.  What was the girl's crime?  No idea, but I think it had something to do with being born.

I never understood parents who called their children such vile names.  I can't imagine how that feels as a child to hear the person who is in charge of your protection calling you a "shit."  Whether or not you know what it is, you know by tone it isn't good.  And somebody thought it was a good idea to get sperm up inside of all that.  Not to torture myself, but I couldn't picture that being a pleasant experience.  

Those kids were probably going to grow up miserable.  Mother would never have enough patience or time for them.  They will feel like burdens more often than not, and when they forget what a burden they are, mom will be happy to remind them.  She'll go from man to man to man.  Some of those men will be nice.  Those are the ones who go as quick as they came.  The mean ones stay longer.  Some of those may take a little too much interest in the children.  Mom, the protector, may or may not turn a blind eye.  Every once in a while, mostly on holidays and birthdays, mom will tell them she loves them.  Within twenty four hours she'll be screaming that she wishes they were never born.  They won't question why she didn't get an abortion or put them up for adoption.  They learned early on what it is like to take a slap across the face.  They don't like having their hair pulled and heads slammed into the table next to their bowl of buttered noodles.

In time, the oldest will have to make a decision.  She can be like mom, or she can act human.  If she's like mom, she'll be smoking by 11, sex by 13, pot and pills at 14, child at 16.  The circle of life when you are unwanted and unloved.  If she decides to act human, she'll keep her head down, look out for her siblings, and do her best to make peace so mom doesn't fly off the handle.  If she needs to, she'll take the heat off the others and get "mouthy" with mom when she's had too much to drink.  She knows how to take a hit by now, and besides, if mom pisses her off too much there's a tube of Crazy Glue in the drawer.  One drop in the corner of her eye while she's sleeping is sometimes the only thought that gets that girl through the day.  She'll keep her grades up and apply to "every fucking college" she can think of in order to get out.  And when she leaves, she'll feel guilty as hell.  She hopes and prays she's set an example for her brothers and sisters.  She hopes they follow her path.  She's told them about the glue.  She's told them how to keep the doors locked for when mom's boyfriends come over.

So there Mom was outside of the post office.  Screeching into the phone about how she had to get away for a weekend.  Yes, life is so stressful when you don't give a fuck about the kids you got and there's another one on the way.  Cancun calls, and they'll be happy to see you there.  I walked away wondering, though, why the woman even bothered.  

She looked too dumb to follow any religion to any point it mattered, so abortion wasn't the moral evil it would be with some people.  I was sure she thought about giving her kids away more times than she could remember, so adoption was an option with which she was familiar.  So why have them?  Why keep doing something that makes you stressed out and unhappy?  Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe this day was an anomaly.  Maybe she was Mom of the Year material every other day but today, but I doubt it.  People who call their children a "shit" don't just pop out with that.  That comes from a long line of disgust and hatred.  So why bother?

As I drove away I looked in my rearview mirror.  Mom had moved on toward the corner, cell phone still attached to her ear.  The oldest child was lagging behind.  Mom realized it and screamed something at her.  The child didn't move any faster.  Would you?  No.  Neither would I.  Someday that child will get it and maybe even ask her mother, when the alcohol has run its course, "Why did you have me?"  Mom, depending on level of coherency, will give some rehearsed answer.  She's said it over and over in her head all those times she's asked herself that very question.  Why?  "Because I love you."  They'll both know it's a lie, but mom will want to believe it and the kid will cling to it as it is so rare to hear.  The real answer is a lot more telling and truthful, though.  Kid, your mom had you guys because she's a selfish bitch who puts herself first and looks at you as a burden.  She had you because that is all she knows.  Eat, drink, breed.  She put as much thought into having you as she put into birth control, and she was too lazy to take care of her "mistake."  The question isn't why she had you.  It's: What will you do when you are old enough to leave?  Take my advice.  Walk out that door and don't look back.  Take your mother as an example of what not to be, how not to act, and what not to do.  When/if someday you have a child of your own, do your best to make up for every single mistake your mother made.  Do your best to be the parent you never had.  You didn't have the best example growing up, but you knew what you hated.  Don't be that.  And don't call your child an "annoying shit."  Remember how it felt.  Your mom forgot, and look what she turned into.  Don't make the same mistake.  And if you do, spend the rest of your life making up for it.



Lunchtime Blues

School days ...
I popped into Big Pete's for lunch today.  Spur of the moment type thing.  I was in an incredibly bad mood and I didn't feel well.  I figured a couple slices of pepperoni would hit the spot.  I rarely go for lunch during the week because I love the place and it seems like a tease when I have to go back to work after.  How can something so good be followed by something so bad?

As I entered, I saw someone I was not expecting to see.  In fact, we were both taken aback.  It was Big Pete's employee extraordinare and all-around cool girl, Jackie.  She asked what I was doing there, as she thought I should be at work, and I asked the same as I thought she should have been in school.  Long story short, she joined me for lunch and a great conversation ensued.  (Admittedly, though, a lot of it was me stating how much the day sucked so far and how it didn't look like it would get better.  Shock.  It didn't.)

Elementary school was WAY better than high school.
The topics were of the usual mix.  Stuff we want to do with our lives, dwarvesploitation, idiots and so on.  Before that started, though, she told me she got caught reading this blog during class.  That struck me as kind of funny.  She should've been doing some of that "learning," yet she was engrossed in my online ranting about people masturbating over the arrival of Walmart.  I wonder which was more interesting and which provided a better learning experience.  I remember high school.  If you left knowing how read, write, do basic math, and socialize without actually turning into a serial killer you not only made it out with flying colors, you made it out with about all the experience will really lend you.  Now there are some classes that were interesting, but that was not the norm.  Instead, high school felt like a prep course for all the things that don't really matter in life.  Cliques.  Mindless repetition.  Football.  Scattered in that, however, were things that were wonderful.  Whirlwind romances.  Adventure.  Friends.  I wouldn't want to relive it again, but nor would I not want to have some of those experiences.  With high school most likely being far worse now than when I went back in the late '80s (just the fact that everyone is so afraid to offend anyone makes me wince in pain), I can see why someone would be reading my blog instead of listening to someone drone on about the importance of test taking (or whatever was being discussed).

High school failed Russell Williams
So, lunch friend, I hope your day looked up.  I hope your sick friend felt better.  I hope the cookies you and your boyfriend made turned out delicious, and I hope you enjoyed our conversation as much as I did.  My day went exactly as I thought it would.  A lot more of the same, really.  Tomorrow?  Well that remains to be seen, but I imagine if today was any indication for either of us the weekend is looking mighty good.

Walmart Creeps On In

Walmart has been trying to get into Eureka, California's pants for years.  First it made overt attempts to move in by the bay.  Citizens, as to be expected, spoke out against it and eventually halted the retail giant's tumorous growth.  You had to be daft not to think it would try again ... and try it did.  Now it is coming to the Bayshore Mall, where it doesn't have to go through zoning issues and whatnot.  Instead, it just enters the cavity Gottschalk's left behind.  You can imagine the reaction.

The pros are: more variety, more jobs, more income, better prices, on more place to safely wear your pjs in public without the threat of ridicule.  The cons: what happens to local stores, the homogenization of America, what happens when the local stores close, the jobs created won't be very good.


I've written about local businesses versus corporations before.  I'm not going to get back into it here as my thoughts on the matter have not changed.  Eureka likes to think it's pretty elitist, but a quick look around shows that there is really nothing substantial there.  Eureka also likes to support local businesses no matter how crappy the service, how high the prices and how little variety there is.  That is fine.  Walmart will change none of that, though it may force a few businesses to change how they operate or face going under.  The end result is still the same, though: If you don't like shopping there, don't go.  Enough people don't go and the store will be forced to shut down.  My guess is -- that won't happen.  As much as people like local stores, there is a certain primal consumer draw to cheap condoms.

I've never stepped foot in Walmart and probably never will.  It's not that I'm anti-box stores.  A big business is just as greedy as a small one.  It's that I don't feel the need to and based on the people I've encountered who love that place ... well, I wouldn't want to be around them when they see a sale sign on some four-year-old Will Ferrell movie.  I sense a trough-like mentality among the faithful, and that always scares me.

Welcome to Eureka, Walmart.  Remember, we've got a lot of activists here, so check your locks and make sure you've got plenty of store security.  As for the consumers who have been masturbating daily since the corporate giant's arrival was concerned -- more power to you.  The lesson to be learned here is that if you pray hard enough your dreams, no matter how small they are, may one day come true.