Saturday, September 25, 2010

Propaganda Film

In 1965, Citizens for Decent Literature whipped (hah!) this little film out, narrated and presented by journalist George Putnam. It purports to show how naughtiness in print and such can lead to all sorts of problems.

In my considered opinion, this is sort of the Reefer Madness of smut. It's not - quite - safe for work, and some of the rhetoric is way over the top.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Friday, September 17, 2010

"Welcome to Scotland, Your Holiness. You'll have had your tea."

Obligatory Friday Anti-Sex Post

When I think about her ...

I DON'T touch myself.


I don't.

This is Christine O'Donnell, Republican Tea Party candidate for Senate in Delaware, and I hope that the voters there are proud that they voted for her.

You see, this is the Anti-Sex Post. Because O'Donnell here is anti-sex. She hates the idea of masturbation (comparing it to adultery), dislikes co-educational college dorms, despises homosexuality, and believes that she can stop pre-marital sex by legislation (I thought Prohibition proved that you can't legislate morality).

Something tells me that this arid, small-souled, unhappy woman is in dire need of something. Hmm, what could it be?

Oh, yeah.

That might work.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not A Mental Image I Wanted

I ran across Talking Points Memo and this leaped up at me like an alien face-hugger:

Rove, O'Donnell and Palin Get Into Heated 3-Way

Try to get that mental picture out of your heads for a moment. I know I should have reserved this for Friday, but the article is illustrative of the cannibalism going on in my Party.

And a reason for my unseemly glee at the prospect of the GOP imploding.

Tea Party and Anti-Masturbation Candidate Christine O'Donnell managed to win against the establishment GOP candidate in Delaware for Joe Biden's vacant Senate seat, prompting the oleaginous Karl Rove to opine that the Republicans would fail to win the seat.

This pronunciamento from the man once touted as "Bush's Brain" brought down a firestorm of abuse from the real intellectuals of the Party - Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.

Rove might be right about this one, but there's no way the Democrats can afford to be complacent. Control of the Congress rests on a knife's edge, and we'll have to wait until November to see if Washington will end up hopelessly jammed until 2012.

But I just wanted to share that headline with you on a Thursday morning.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quo Vadis?

Where are you going?

That's the question that I find myself asking as various people and groups recall the events of Black Tuesday, nine years ago today.

Where are you going, America?

It is a truth that past is prologue, so let's take a quick look back in order to see where we might be going. My own judgment of the future is spotty, but I ask you to bear with me and I'll do my best.

The nine years after the attacks have resulted in two wars, neither of which are over. We have been actively engaged in military actions longer than we were involved in World War Two, in which we destroyed three highly industrialized empires with odious ideologies and armies totaling millions. At the present resting point in our military actions in Southwest and South Asia, we have mortgaged our economy and killed thousands of our fighting men and women, in an effort to defeat a ragged mass of unwashed troublemakers who never numbered more than ten thousand.

Militarily, we have lost Iraq as a geopolitical counterweight. When the Baghdad Government finally sorts itself out, you will likely find that it is more closely bound to Tehran than to Washington. The Sunni Gulf States have already started concerted action in an attempt to make up for the loss of Iraq's military strength. Whether it will be enough is anyone's guess.

In Afghanistan, we may have already lost. We can take the country, at tremendous cost in lives and treasure, but the experience of centuries tells us that we cannot hold it. We will have to leave eventually, and our habit of leaving forward bases behind will not be tolerated. Our allies will likely back out before we withdraw.

Economically, we are mortgaged, bound hand and foot. Much of this can be laid at the feet of the previous Administration, which financed its wars with borrowed money in order to slash taxes for the upper one percent of the population and deregulate things to the point that we're in far greater danger of dying from salmonella poisoning than from terrorist acts. Pulling ourselves out of this hole and eventually reducing the deficit will be a long and very painful process. The Obama Administration, in its hell-bent desire for an illusory consensus, has done only half-measures and essentially squandered its legislative advantage.

Ideologically, the repeated failures of the Bush Administration led to a stunning repudiation of Republican and conservative policies. This discredited the Party establishment, giving an entree to the extreme right wing to take over the reins. On a historical note, we saw this in the Democratic Party after the 1972 debacle - the Party Right purged the liberal and radical elements that McGovern tried to install. The difference here is that the GOP has no liberal wing and a very vestigial moderate faction. The only alternatives it has are Right, Very Right and Far Right.

This has led to the phenomenon known as The Tea Party, which isn't anything really new. It's partly tax revolt enthusiasts and people who think that government should be abolished. Of course, such a knee-jerk reaction to their Party's defeats is to be expected, and the Establishment is fighting a rear-guard action. Some are even embracing Tea Party ideals in an effort to remain in power. What is unfortunate is that the knee-jerk reaction of the Tea Partiers gives no space for sober reflection (as evidenced by the continued vocal support for tax breaks for the rich, when most of these people are lower or middle class).

In terms of our national psyche (if I may use such a sweeping generalization), the Black Tuesday attacks were the equivalent of a man getting mugged in a meadow. Once and for all our mythic aura of invulnerability was dispelled, and that scares and bewilders us. Fear now rules, and that fear causes us to lash out without thinking - witness George W Bush's knee-jerk assumption that Iraq was involved, when Bush was already determined to do something militarily about Saddam Hussein as far back as 1999.

Fear causes us to go to extremes in search of a sense of security, no matter how much of an illusion it may be. Church attendance went up in the wake of the attacks, as people tried to make sense of the incident and find some support (my theory on that is that we - even as adults - are children deep in our brains, and hunger for our parents' protection when things get bad). Right now, we have hogtied, limited, or outright abandoned many of our cherished liberties and given the police and government sweeping powers in the hopes that we can be made safe. It's another illusion, of course. The Underpants Bomber proved that, even after Black Tuesday, a lone actor can get past security.

Fear also causes us to find a target, a scapegoat. For many centuries, it was Jews; now it's Muslims, or anyone of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. Some conspiracy theorists also blame the Freemasons, or the government itself (recalling, no doubt, government attempts to subvert Martin Luther King and the Vietnam-era antiwar movement).

Fear is what is leading us into religious extremism, as Christianity is subverted, perverted, mutated in defense of what appears to be a militant Islam that takes the place of monolithic Communism in many minds. Islam is a noble faith, and the nations that adhere to it are, interestingly enough, nations that were occupied or held as colonies by the Christian West. Coincidence? You be the judge of that.

Book burnings, like the threatened burnings of Korans, are not usual in the United States. We are usually content to ban books that we don't like; burning books smacks too much of certain events in Germany in the Thirties. But this is not usual. This is extremism, motivated by fear.

Fear leads to anger.

Anger leads to hate.

Hate leads to suffering.

It's a movie cliche, but it's absolutely true, gentle readers. Absolutely true, as true as the planet rotates.

It is a great effort to rise above fear, to avoid an impulsive reaction, to sit back and recall the words of Franklin Roosevelt: " ... let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear... is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

As the sun set on Black Tuesday nine years ago I recited the Mass for the Dead, then called to mind a line from Aeschylus:

"Cry sorrow, sorrow - yet let good prevail!"

Good, so far, has not prevailed.

So where are you going, America?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Obligatory Friday Sex Post

Are you sometimes too tired for sex?

Could it be your bed, rather than your partner(s)?

Well, this may be just what you need! Designed by the Italian firm Sogniflex, the bed (costing about $2400) has straps on it to hang onto when passions run high, and a strategically-placed trench for you to put your knees. Judging from the picture, it looks like it's also easy to wipe clean - Lord knows it can get messy when fluids and lube start flying.

And, guys?

When you get so horny that you're pestering your wife for sex when she's doing something else (like vacuuming the carpets), you need to retire to the bathroom or bedroom and rub out a quick one. Just to take the edge off, mind you.

A woman in Ukraine had that problem, and one thing led to another ... and the Horny Hubby ended up strangled with the vacuum cleaner cord. She says she didn't mean to, of course, and I believe her.

Funny old world we live in, ain't it?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Hello from Mephit Furmeet 2010!

Yes, indeed. It's that time of year again, and this time I wised up a bit and flew to Memphis rather than spend three days driving through the length and longth of the Deepest Reddest South

For the first time since it started 14 years ago, Mephit Furmeet is not being held in Memphis, but in the suburb of Olive Branch, Mississippi. A much better set of accommodations, and the same group of warm and friendly folks.

More to come, as the convention lasts three more days.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


For my 1200th post, I had thought of something celebratory.

But then the 1200th post coincided with the official end of the combat phase of Our Imperial Folly in Iraq, and 'celebratory' was not in the cards.

So here goes.

Sometimes when empires die, they go quietly, with little fanfare. The Western Roman Empire 'fell' officially in 476 when Odoacer told the last Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, to go home and not come back. At the time, few noticed (Odoacer was running things anyway), and the date is still considered pretty arbitrary.

The United States had its first imperial experiment immediately after the Spanish-American War, where we found ourselves looking after Spain's former colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Of the three, Puerto Rico is still ours; we have not been asked to leave yet. We gave up the Philippines after World War Two, basically taking a step we had reluctantly been heading towards before the Japanese attacked. Cuba was a nominally independent state, and is now the subject of our continuing ire.

Speaking of Cuba, it may interest many to note that the Castro Government has authorized people to start owning land and allowing "foreign powers" to lease property up to 99 years. With US sanctions still in place, that means that others will gain the benefits of this emerging market, not us.

Our war in Iraq is still going on, and Americans will still be dying for what was essentially ground of no value in the first place.

When the last Soviet troops left Afghanistan, they left in daylight, with the commanding general walking across the border as the last man to leave.

Our last combat unit left under cover of darkness. Two soldiers stood at the Kuwaiti border with flags, and the official Pentagon announcement was the live coverage you saw on the NBC News. That was it.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Wars have changed since WW2. There are no longer any grand peace conferences or clear moments that we can point to and declare, "Here is where it ended." Now wars end ambiguously, with people scratching their heads wondering What The Hell Happened, who's going to pay for it, and who's going to clean up the mess.

We won't ask who won, because we know already.

The Islamic Republic of Iran won. By taking out the only regional counterweight to Iran, we disturbed the balance of power in Southwest Asia. I'm not going to suggest that Israel is capable of stopping Iran, as even the other Arab powers consider the Jewish state less than trustworthy.

Our imperial adventure in Iraq has so far resulted in the loss of $750 Billion dollars that were not ours. We borrowed that money, folks, so that George Bush and his cronies wouldn't have to raise taxes on the rich. The Deficit? Cheney said that deficits don't matter, so what are people like Boehner, Ryan and the others yawping about?

The final word has yet to be said about Iraq, but I will close by saying this:

This war started on bad intentions and false pretenses - there was no way it could have ended otherwise than the way it did.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.