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busy, busy, busy

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Crisis On US's Earth To Address GOP Continuity Errors (via MMG!)
At a press conference earlier today, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the The Republican National Committee, announced "Crisis on US's Earth," an ambitious, year-long initiative to address the multitude of continuity errors George Bush and the Republicans in Congress have introduced into the GOP Universe.

"We're very excited", Mehlman said, speaking with reporters. "It's going to be a major crossover event, involving all the branches of government we control: legislative, executive and judicial. No checks and balances here -- we're pulling out all the stops." ...

Industries insiders say that the overhaul was precipitated by Bush's increasingly reliance on "parallel universes" (such as the one where voters gave him a mandate in 2004) and "imaginary stories" (such as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction). The Iraq war has been particularly vexing for Republicans, with no less that three "origin stories" (WMDs, liberation, democracy promotion), each of which is considered canonical. In addressing this issue, Crisis On US's Earth will introduce the "Anti-monitors" -- a second set of UN weapons inspectors who actually found stockpiles of chemical weapons in early 2003 and urged the president to attack immediately. When asked how these new characters will be integrated into the existing timeline, Mehlman shrugged and said, "we'll just casually mention them of FOX News. Americans have always been very accepting of our retcons."

Though the comic book reference is, unfortunately, almost completely lost on me...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?
Howard Zinn, 1976
From The Zinn Reader

Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.

It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause.

It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.

There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon's and Kissinger's war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?

No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.

"The shell had his number on it. The blood ran into the ground...Where his chest ought to have been they pinned the Congressional Medal, the DSC, the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, The Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania. All the Washingtonians brought flowers .. Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies."

Those are the concluding lines of John Dos Passos angry novel 1919. Let us honor him on Memorial Day.

And also Thoreau, who went to jail to protest the Mexican War.

And Mark Twain, who denounced our war against the Filipinos at the turn of the century.

And I.F. Stone, who virtually alone among newspaper editors exposed the fraud and brutality of the Korean War.

Let us honor Martin Luther King, who refused the enticements of the White House, and the cautions of associates, and thundered against the war in Vietnam.

Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.

On Memorial Day we should take note that, in the name of "defense," our taxes have been used to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on a helicopter assault ship called "the biggest floating lemon," which was accepted by the Navy although it had over 2,000 major defects at the time of its trial cruise.

Meanwhile, there is such a shortage of housing that millions live in dilapidated sections of our cities and millions more are forced to pay high rents or high interest rates on their mortgages. There's 90 billion for the B1 bomber, but people don't have money to pay hospital bills.

We must be practical, say those whose practicality has consisted of a war every generation. We mustn't deplete our defenses. Say those who have depleted our youth, stolen our resources. In the end, it is living people, not corpses, creative energy, not destructive rage, which are our only real defense, not just against other governments trying to kill us, but against our own, also trying to kill us.

Let us not set out, this Memorial Day, on the same old drunken ride to death.

Kansan mostly alone in belief that he’s the true pope
The weathered blue farmhouse stands just off a dirt road in the rolling hills northwest of Topeka.

There are children’s toys lined up in the yard and irises blooming in the garden around a statue of the Virgin Mary. Satellite dishes and solar panels point toward the southern sky.

“Good morning,” says the dark-haired man on the front porch. “How are you? I’m Pope Michael.”

This is David Bawden. He has never been ordained a priest and hasn’t been to Mass since 1989. But to his tiny flock, numbering about 100 and scattered as far away as India and Australia, he is the rightful leader of the Catholic Church.

Bawden, 45, has claimed the title of Michael I since 1990, when he was elected by six people — two of them his mother and late father — meeting in his father’s consignment store in nearby Belvue. He has maintained his “Vatican in Exile” near Delia for the past dozen years...

Even most other traditionalists — who reject the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and maintain that no legitimate pope has ruled from the Vatican since Pope Pius XII died in 1958 — dismiss his election, which they largely ignored despite what Bawden said were months of preparations and publicity.

“They had the right idea (i.e., that an election was necessary), but the wrong execution,” the Rev. Robert Lyons, a cardinal in the “true Catholic Church” led by the Rev. Lucian Pulvermacher, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Pulvermacher, a former Capuchin priest who took the name “Pope Pius XIII” after his followers elected him in 1998, lives near Spokane, Wash. At least 10 other people around the world have claimed the papacy since 1958, some by election and some by what they claimed was divine revelation.

“Bawden was ‘elected’ pope by his parents and a lady friend,” Lyons wrote. “Anyone with an ounce of common sense would see such as a flawed election.”

But to the “lady friend,” author Teresa Benns, the fact that Bawden was the only eligible man present at the 1990 election was a sign from God.

“I had never considered him a real candidate until the very day of the election,” said Benns, who lives in La Garita, Colo. “We had expected priests. We had expected more response. It was a disappointing thing, but it was like God saying, ‘This is the choice I give you.”’

The next time there's an election for a new pope in rural Kansas, I'm signing up. If simply being the only interested person to show up at a meeting is all it takes to become the pope, why not? And since I'd have to tend to a flock of only ten people, which couldn't possibly take up very much time, I could still keep my current job (and benefits!). I'll probably have to find a "lady friend" to support me in my candidacy, but who's going to turn down the future pope?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Here's an Idea:

Military recruiters should forget about schools and set up permanent offices in churches.

Here's an Even Better Idea:

Every purchase of a magnetic car ribbon proclaiming support for the troops should come with a legally-binding obligation to serve a one-year tour of duty in an active combat zone.

I plan to start posting again really soon.