Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:40 AM
Number of posts: 642
Number of posts: 642
I write a blog of dark humor - Goblinbooks.com
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While the Supreme Court ruminates on the constitutional issues of the Defense of Marriage Act, can we take a moment to remember the stinking hypocrisy of the thing? Can we remember clearly the men who passed it through Congress and made it the law of the land, and what contemptible, laughably phony jackasses they were?
Rep. Bob Barr was on his third marriage when he first sponsored the bill. As CNN reports, his second wife repeatedly accused him of having an affair during divorce proceedings, and Barr did not deny it. The bill went to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Henry Hyde, who would later publicly admit he had cheated on his wife, calling the matter a "youthful indiscretion," even though the affair happened in his forties. It passed the House under the leadership of Newt Gingrich, who was cheating on his second wife at the time. Around the same period, according to this woman, Gingrich told her about the infidelity and tried to get her to agree to an open marriage. The bill passed the Senate, whose president pro tem, Strom Thurmond, had an illegitimate daughter he didn't acknowledge because she was African American, and he was, of course, a racist. The bill was eventually signed by - wait for it, it's delicious - President Clinton. Yes, the people arguably most responsible for this bill have themselves treated marriage vows and family loyalties as optional.
It gets worse. One of the early supporters on the judiciary committee was entertainer turned politician Sonny Bono. He was on his fourth marriage at the time, and according to a Parade Magazine interview with his ex-wife Cher, he was repeatedly unfaithful:
"Stardom made Sonny a huge womanizer," Cher told Parade. "One woman, or even five, was not enough for him."
We're not even near done...
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Mar 27, 2013, 01:26 PM (0 replies)
We're in the middle of a stunning upsurge of support for gay people and an equally stunning collapse of support for conservatives. And I believe the reasons are the same: More and more people actually know them.
When the Supreme Court holds hearings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act this week, Chief Justice Roberts' gay cousin will be in attendance. This is symbolic of the place we've reached as a country. While Roberts wrestles with his decision, he will have the benefit of understanding that people in the LGBT community are responsible members of society who just want the same rights as the rest of us. And we, the public, also know, through personal experience, that Roberts himself was recommended to the bench by a halfwit who thought Jesus Christ actually told him to launch a preemptive war on Iraq.
The effect is undeniable. Back in 2009, Andrew Sullivan cited Gallup research that showed how being acquainted with a gay person made one more likely to favor same-sex marriage rights. And watching a parade of scary old men openly air their opinions on rape and abortion caused much of the electorate to decide they didn't want them to be in politics ever again.
With increased openness, you can encounter gay people or conservatives anywhere. You might meet a coworker's partner at a company lunch, say, or have an old friend post a picture of an aborted fetus on your Facebook page. Maybe an older relative finally has the courage to express himself - and he either tells you he's going to start dating, or he sends you an email with a racist picture of the president.
However these things happen, millions of people across the country are getting more accurate images of both groups. They understand a gay person is a well-adjusted man or woman who happens to be attracted to people of the same gender. And they understand a conservative is someone who doesn't believe in climate change, and maybe not even evolution, and enjoys hoarding weapons and highlighting the scariest parts of Atlas Shrugged.
The way forward, in both cases, is clear. Gay people should be proud of who they are. They should feel free to talk honestly, even bluntly. Conservatives should really, really do the opposite. They need to pull the plug on CPAC and encourage Michele Bachmann to build that compound she's probably sketched out. They need to fight those feelings they have about contraceptives and the gold standard. They're not right. They're not natural.
They need to find a deep, dark closet somewhere just cram themselves in there. For good.
"The Black Book Of Children's Bible Stories"
Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Mar 25, 2013, 02:24 PM (6 replies)
The sad possibility is we are alone. We come into this world briefly, barely have time to learn what's happening to us, and then we are gone forever. The universe is indifferent, life without intrinsic meaning, and death lasts forever. On the other hand: muffins.
"Astride of a grave and a difficult birth," writes Beckett. "Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries." But then one day you discover poppy seed, and it's like - Wow! That is amazing. Amazing.
A small sparrow, fragile and beautiful, flies in from the storm through a window high in the feast hall. There is a confusion of light, warmth and sound. However he soon finds the exit, and all is dark once more. Such is our earthly existence, according to the Bede. But what are they serving in that feast hall? Yes. You guessed it.
You forget about blueberry, of course. It's one of those flavors you pass by. Then on a whim, you decide to have one again, and you realize how good it is. Like you suddenly know you have a fragmentary personality and your own identity itself is an illusion. Aren't you, every moment, always leaving behind the moment before? How will death be any different? What is there to fear in such a world? Like the blueberry muffin, you perceive it in bits - a spark of discovery and sensation in an ocean of forgetfulness. But the berries are just the right kind of gooey, and the crust is perfect.
The fact that some kind of teleological meaning eludes us, that all revealed truths are hearsay, should not deter us from building a world of love and value. The muffin top is of course the pinnacle, but without the substance of the muffin it would be nothing. Nothing! Is the day to day struggle not enough to fill our hearts? Do we not each have our own night-filled mountain to contend with? One must imagine us, like Sisyphus, happy. Possibly overweight too. Which will bring death sooner. The candle burns the brighter for it, my friends.
Your doom approaches. Have a muffin.
NOTE: I write things like this at www.goblinbooks.com. Check it out. No pressure, or anything.
Posted by paulbibeau | Fri Mar 22, 2013, 02:36 PM (2 replies)
A great age of Republican whining is upon us. Across the country, people are accepting same-sex marriage. It is becoming a losing issue for the right, and some politicians are even changing their minds about the whole thing. But generally, conservatives are responding to this by quibbling about the particulars, as George Will did last week. One thing you are seeing - and will continue to see - is the argument that "I personally feel X about the issue, but let the states decide, for goshsakes." Will himself just wrote a states' rights column on DOMA, Marco Rubio loudly defended a states' rights position at CPAC, Carly Fiorina was jabbering about it recently, and Washington Post conservative Jennifer Rubin wrote an approving piece on Rand Paul's view of the matter. Many Republicans will follow along, and your scary prehistoric uncle will be talking about how he doesn't mind the gays, but federalism's important, dammit, in the coming months. Here are three reasons:
1. The GOP wants plausible deniability for their bigots. The Republican "autopsy report" came up with a plan for increasing its supporters among Hispanics, Asians, women, African Americans, and young people. Guess which group didn't make the cut? To be fair, the report does nominally list gay Americans as one of its campaign targets. But it gives the other groups each a detailed section on strategy, on how to make this happen. Instead of really worrying about gaining gay votes, the report makes it clear that the Republicans are more concerned about how the issue looks to another group, young people:
Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.
It's not about winning actual gay people. It's about convincing the 22 year-olds who just read The Fountainhead that they're not going to get too much hassle from their gay friends and relatives if they vote Big Red. Why?
2. The 2014 election will raise the stakes of 2004 for the base. People have analyzed - and criticized - the notion that putting gay marriage bans on state ballots during the 2004 race increased Republican votes. The idea is that the kinds of people who wanted this to pass were going to show up in greater numbers, and pull the lever for the Republicans while they were there. This report from scholars at the University of Florida concluded that the measure in Ohio did not increase overall turnout, but it did provide more support for Bush. The results were mixed, but there's evidence the GOP tried it again in 2006.
Now however, it's different, because social conservatives are on the defensive. Over the next two years, a dozen states will probably be adopting measures to legalize same-sex marriage. If you are a member of the religious right, what you will see if you fail this time won't be the status quo - it will be a whole new rainbow-colored world. Republicans might not be able to reliably pump up the social conservative vote with a same-sex ban, but obviously they can alienate these people by moving too far to the left while the groups are facing what they consider a serious struggle. GOP candidates will need a way to gain moderate votes by appearing to "soften" on the issue, while still signaling to the hard right that they identify with their cause. How will they do this?
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Posted by paulbibeau | Fri Mar 22, 2013, 01:48 PM (1 replies)
Dear Gentlemen of the GOP:
I see that you've come out with an "autopsy" report about what went wrong last election. I think that's just great. It's a good start. You're growing up and discovering the whole big world out there. Sorry if I sound emotional. But it's not every day that a group of wealthy aging men learn to take responsibility for themselves.
That's why I think it's time we talked about, y'know, women. You Republicans are trying to figure out why ladies don't like you.
"There is growing unrest within the community of Republican women frustrated by the Party’s negative image among women," the report says. This is a nice start, fellas. And here's what's even better: "Our candidates, spokespeople and staff need to use language that addresses concerns that are on women’s minds in order to let them know we are fighting for them."
See? This isn't going to be too hard.
You folks need to be blunt about your shortcomings. Don't be shy, guys. Women are people - they're not another species or anything. They actually made up 53 percent of the electorate in 2012 according to your own data. And Obama had an 11 point lead with them! You won't close that gap without facing some difficult truths about just what's going on with the fairer sex. And what's going on with them is really understandable. It's not a big mystery or anything. They just need some basic respect.
Here's where we get to real problem. You guys ready? Okay... After talking about how important it is to talk about women's issues, your report is weirdly silent about exactly what those are. It's like you got all tongue-tied or something.
Here are words you won't find anywhere in the document...
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Mar 20, 2013, 07:31 AM (6 replies)
Yes, maulings. There I said it. I guess I'm going to be the one to talk about this. Someone has to. People in Narnia are getting killed or seriously wounded almost every day, and no one wants to tell you the reason, but we all know what it is, don't we? It's because we're being led by a 500 lb. adult male lion. And that, friends, is pretty stupid.
Is he good-looking? Yep. Is he smart? Sure, for a lion, he's pretty bright. Did he help us defeat the witch? Of course, because if you get a lion pissed off enough it'll go after anything.
But face it: He sleeps all day, and when he wakes up he might grunt or roar, and everybody exclaims "Oh wait, the lion's talking!" or "The lion just spoke to me!" or some kind of nonsense like that. But we're all just throwing buckets of hamburger at it, so it'll get full and pass out again. And then every once in awhile, it gets bored and takes down one of us like an antelope, and people start saying stuff about "the inscrutable will of the lion" or the "problem of lion bites." But we're ignoring the obvious, here. We're getting clawed up, because someone somewhere decided it would be a good idea to have a wild lion around and try to talk to it.
Okay, the Pevensie kids. Yes, I'm glad you mentioned them. I'm really happy you brought it up. Because - and I'm sorry if this is rude - I'd like to point out that no one has seen any of the Pevensie kids for a long, long time. You think that's a little odd?...
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Mar 18, 2013, 01:50 PM (0 replies)
Since its St. Patrick's Day I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite political philosophers, the great Irish writer Jonathan Swift. I want my Republican colleagues to read his work. Even though he lived almost three centuries ago, Swift's vision of liberty and free enterprise are the keys to renewing this party and this country today. How?
First, Swift believed in market-based solutions. During his time, horrible economic conditions were all around him. And what he realized was that heavy regulation was holding back the poor of Ireland. The government had laws in place - some of them quite ancient - that prevented ordinary entrepreneurs from reaching a practical and obvious solution to their crisis. People know how to solve their own problems if you let them. The government just gets in the way.
Second, Swift believed in not ducking the tough calls. He anticipated that people might criticize his proposals. He knew some would see them as harsh, maybe even radical. But leaders have to lead. Our party must continue to have the courage to implement solid pro-growth policies. Swift wasn't trying to make friends. He was trying to find answers.
Third, Swift believed in families. Today people are criticizing Republicans for their social conservatism. But we know that traditional families are the building blocks of our civilization. It takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, because it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. And babies are the key to a vibrant economy. Jonathan Swift knew that, and he wasn't afraid to say so.
"Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy," he wrote, "as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow..."
It's about a thing called values, okay?
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Posted by paulbibeau | Sun Mar 17, 2013, 09:46 AM (32 replies)
You have to wonder sometimes why bad things happen. Good people are out there facing unemployment, loneliness, sickness, personal tragedy... I mean, the list is endless. But I really, truly believe that suffering is somehow for our benefit. That it has a purpose - even if we can't always know what the purpose is. I'm absolutely certain there's a reason why I was just bitten by five cobras.
Sure I have questions. Everyone does on this crazy planet. Like, if God is all-powerful and all-good, why would He create a universe with pain in it? How can a Supreme Being justify the evils we see all around us? There are some things I don't think we'll ever know, maybe as long as we're alive. Maybe our doubts and our uncertainty are part of the struggle.
Also, why exactly did I mail-order a half dozen cobras from some website? That's another one I'm not sure about. It's a mystery, and mysteries are here to help us to learn about trust and perseverance, even when we can't get all the answers. Another question of course, is the location of the sixth cobra. But I totally think God wants me to find that out.
Anyway, the point of life is not the resolution at the end. It's the journey. The learning process. The attempt to fight these feelings of fear, and also muscle cramps and blurred vision, and reach my cellphone in time to call some paramedics...
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Posted by paulbibeau | Sat Mar 16, 2013, 01:54 PM (0 replies)
Guys, please stop.
Quit struggling. Struggling only makes it worse. Believe me, I know. If one of your main speakers is Sarah Palin, it is time to just admit you've lost. She sort of defines what losing is, right? Losing, at its worst, is becoming a terrible caricature of everything that's wrong with your side. I mean, I chewed off my own paw in frustration, and even I have the presence of mind to know inviting her was a bad move.
God, this is just painful for the rest of us to watch. Right now I have a dire wolf who's trapped here with me, and he's howling and trying to eat my face. And that's still way, way better than being stuck in a hotel room next to Rick Perry.
Why would you do this to yourselves? I'm a dumb animal, and I have no clue what viscosity is. You, on the other hand...
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Posted by paulbibeau | Wed Mar 13, 2013, 11:52 AM (4 replies)
I don't know what to do. SATIRE This is so exciting, and it's happening too fast for me to process it, really. Let me just say that I think all you guys in the Patriot Resistance, the Minutemen Alliance, and the Constitutional Guards - all of you are absolutely amazing people. It has been great to meet you, and I feel like I've just learned so much... about myself... about SATIRE concealed carry laws and purifying water... about more than I could name. Anyone would be lucky to be a part of your organizations.
SATIRE - It just got hidden, because I'm supposedly spreading conspiracy theories, but it's SATIRE.
I love this process. SATIRE I really think it helps you connect with the different militia groups and find out which one is a good fit for you. If you have the right attitude! I can't stress that enough. I've seen a lot of people put way, way too much emphasis on legacies. Just because your parents want to dissolve the IRS and go back to the gold standard doesn't mean that you have to do the same. Maybe you want to patrol the border with Mexico, or prepare to fight firearm confiscation by the UN instead. Follow your heart, okay?
CAN YOU REALLY THINK THAT A POST COMPARING MILITIA GROUPS TO SORORITY RUSH ISN'T SATIRE?
The Patriot Resistance - the PRs - started out as my top choice, because they just have that reputation for energy and spirit. And the first mixer when we all played memory games while we laid concertina wire around the perimeter was a real blast. I just felt like a PR, right there. But then I learned how the MA has a tradition of community service - they're constantly drilling to evacuate civilians in the event of an attack by FEMA shock troops.
SATIRE - DOES EVERYONE ON DU JURIES LACK BASIC READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS?
It touched me; it did. Now the Guards get blamed for - I'll make some enemies here, but I'll just go ahead and say it - having "an attitude." They're quieter and they're a little more withdrawn. Those first couple of nights when we learned about the true history of the Federal Reserve made me think I should just give it up. But those guys have a real bond. It's not as flashy, but it's intense. And when you're planning on waging a guerilla war against your nation's own army, you suddenly see why they're so awesome.
SATIRE - Do you not want anyone to ever write anything that's weird or challenging on your site again? Seriously. SATIRE.
Satire Satire Bobatire, Banana Fanna Fo-Fatire, Meee Mi Mo Matire. SATIRE.
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Posted by paulbibeau | Mon Mar 11, 2013, 09:54 AM (9 replies)