Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's not insidious, it's electoral posturing

UPDATE, 23 Feb 2006 12:38 CT - Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Safari, in India to discuss oil pipelines, heard the news and commented "The two sides had a comprehensive review of bilateral relations, and agreed to continue cooperation in all areas of mutual interest and beneft, including in the energy field." Noting the confused looks on the reporters' faces, the translator asked Safari to repeat his statement, and the correct version came out like this:
I could live in a state like South Dakota.

BYLINE Pierre, South Dakota. (It's the end of February - So. Dakota is just as likely to do something stupid as anyone else.)

South Dakota Senate passes abortion ban bill
Legislation passed by the SD Senate bans nearly all abortions in the state.

Now some of the cynics might think the great state of South Dakota was tapped to fire the opening salvo on Roe v Wade.

But that's not it at all. The movers and shakers in Pierre have been stuck on 3 electoral votes since the state's inception. It finally dawned on them that they need to bump up their population to grab another electoral vote. So they don't execute people anymore - but they could if they wanted to! - and the abortion ban is another avenue to the same goal.

Four in 2010!

Not as ringing as "Tippicanoe and Taylor Too" or "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight" but it's something to rally around.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Look at who's in bed together

The U.S. and Iran. Wait - it's an orgy. China, Russia, and Pakistan are there too.

Iran made a motion at the U.N. to deny consultative status to organizations that protect the rights of gay/lesbian/transgender people. The United States, in a reversal of policy, backed the Iranian initiative.

Condaleeza Rice could not be reached for an explanation (as usual).

Others backing Iran's grand idea include China, Russia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. Just imagine the cocktail parties these guys throw.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We're all brothers under the skin, after all

There's something about carbs that brings the super patriot out in us.

Dateline Tehran, Iran. Iranians now ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad" when they swing by the bakery to pick up some danish.

I am not making this up.

Some Iranians enthusiastically embraced the new name. Some were indfferent. Zohreh Masoumi, a simple Iranian with a sweet tooth, was interviewed at a bakery, "I just want the sweet pastries. I have nothing to do with the name."

After consultation with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)*, the mullahs decided to stone Zohreh.

It's great how all those mouthy pious sanctimonious types quickly retrench and become class A apologists when it's their government who is violating every tenet of their religion.

And I'm not talking about mullahs.

America's very own Bible belt is in full swing defending Bush & Co. Why do they feel compelled to do this? Who knows? How far do the depths of their stupidity go? Science doesn't know that answer either. I strongly suspect it is immeasurable.

Ask them if they're okay with our troops committing torture? The feeble rebuttals are that happened only once, or it isn't that serious, or those new reports are really just recycled photographs. These people better change their prayers to "God, I really really hope that afterlife is not what I've been spouting on about, because if it is, I'm in heap big trouble."

My fear? That their version of afterlife doesn't exist. I will be sorely disappointed if there is no hell.

*That would be Walter Jones of Freedom Fries fame.

Monday, February 06, 2006

When you absolutely, positively, have to bury someone

This can be a treacherous world to maneuver. Your editor wanted to check on the high cost of mattresses. And then I realized there were some frequently asked questions I had about caskets.

For instance, does Costco sell caskets?
YES

Do caskets come with operating manuals?
YES

Why does Costco sell caskets?
According to Costco, and I quote "As a service to our members." It's nice to know that even when you're dead, Costco still considers you a member.

Do funeral homes let you BYOC?
The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral homes to accept any casket purchased from an outside source. (You should probably notify the funeral home ahead of time instead of strolling in with one.)

Is this good for all 50 states?
No. But Illinois is one of them.

How fast can I expect the casket, once I order it?
Overnight and standard shipping is available. (If you're wondering, standard shipping is 3 business days.) And Costco does add "acts of God, weather-related conditions, and states of emergencies can delay delivery." In other words, all the stuff that put you in a position to require a casket are the same ones that can prevent you getting buried in one.

What goes on at the checkout?
Don't space out on the Shipping Address form. Remember to fill in the Deceased's information in SHIPPING ADDRESS. And don't be a funny guy and put the Deceased's information in the BILLING ADDRESS.

Does the winner need to be present to collect?
No. Universal Casket Co. will notify the funeral home of delivery.

Can you return the casket?
I wouldn't try it.

Where do caskets come from?
The storks aren't telling.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Housework

What happens when you take a wrong turn and get stuck on the floor of the House of Representatives for a whole day.

Dawn breaks, the birds sing, the gates swing open, and boobus Americanus (aka Congressmen) stroll into the chamber. [Ed. note: Actually, there is a significant time lapse between dawn and the boobies showing up to work.]

10:00am A brand new day to legislate and scare the bejeesus out of all of us. As the boobies stroll in, they stick their faces up close to the C-SPAN camera and say "We're in session. Are you scared yet?"

[Ed. note: This happens after the daily prayer done by some Baptist minister.]

10:02am Straws are drawn and the honorable Rep. Poe lost, so he has to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

10:03am A gaggle of Congressmen make noises about having things to say. The House decides to give 15 1-minute speeches to both sides of the aisle. Doing the math, this correspondent figures out 30 minutes of 30 different boobies spouting off. The horror!

10:12am The Speaker couldn't take any more and called a recess.

[Ed. note: In a severe miscalculation, I stayed in the chamber because I thought they'd be back in 15-30 minutes.]

1:05pm The House convened, continuing the legislative day of 1 February 2006.
[Ed. note: Oh yes, that is exactly what they put into the record!]

1:10pm House gets around to talking about HR 648. For 40 minutes.
[Ed. note: What's HR 648? To eliminate floor privileges and gym access to lobbyists. At the 35 minute mark I held up an impromptu sign "Remember Abramoff?"]

1:50pm The Chair, sensing which way the wind was blowing, postponed a vote on HR 648.

1:54pm Some mumbo-jumbo in Robert Rules of Order jargon. Meanwhile I found a discarded NY Times and worked on the crossword.

2:35pm After making some noises about HR 653, they looked at me, whispered something to the Speaker, who announced that it is now considered a privileged matter.

4:31pm After more chatter, the Chairman rules it unfinished business.

5:07pm Some Senate bills were brought up for reconciliation. And some Senate amendments to House amendments. After catcalls and frankly, some pretty blue language describing the deficits of Senators, the House agreed to table all Senate stuff.

5:15pm HR 664 "electing a certain Member to a certain standing committee of the House of Representatives."
[Ed. note: Like I care if I don't know who they're talking about for some stupid committee.]

5:16pm The "honorable" Rep. Ney (R-OH) submitted his resignation as chairman of the Committee on House Administration.
[Ed. note: What Ney failed to mention is that he's being investigated in the Abramoff affair and needs the time to find a really good criminal attorney.]

5:59pm The House pats itself on the back because it "concluded" all anticipated legislative business. Now they'll listen to Special Order Speeches.

8:50pm The House adjourns.
[Ed. note: Since the official record doesn't have it, I'll report on those Special Speeches. The first hour was taken up with Super Bowl squares. The sticking point was the payouts. Then the white Representatives mouthed sanctimonious crap to the black Representatives on the death of Coretta Scott King. After that, they tried to find the Danish political cartoon lampooning Muhammad that has the Middle East in an uproar. That segued into trying to find Iran on an atlas. And finally, wrapped the whole thing up with idle speculation on the Oscars. One thing Diebold can't fix.]