Sunday, October 31, 2004

Detached From Reality/Celebrity Endorsements

I frequent many of the left-wing and right-wing blogs. It is kind of sad and amusing to watch the folks on these sites cling onto whatever sliver of evidence there is that their guy is winning to self-assure. The fact is no one knows shit and won't know shit until about 11ish Tuesday night. It is pathetic to listen to some loser on The Corner or Daily Kos gush effusively about the long line at some voting center in Broward County or in Boise.

That said, it is a good time to take stock of celebrity endorsements, because there are a pretty useless predictor of the nation's sentiment...therefore, they are about as useful as the latest polls. Evaluate them, then you decide which list is more persuasive and may affect your choice. I have to admit Ernest Borgnine's endorsement almost tipped me to Bush....Diddy hasn't endorsed any candidate (and as of recently had not registered), but remember his call to arms: Vote or Die! (Banality Fair chooses...Vote!).


For Kerry: Brad Pitt, Gwenyth Paltrow, Jack Black, Ben Affleck, Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, John Mellencamp, Jon Bon Jovi, Dixie Chicks, Lenny Kravitz, Larry and Laurie David, Jenna Jameson (is the whole porn industry behind him? Larry Flynt's a Kerry man too), Nelly, Moby, Eminem (?), Ashton Kutcher, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rob "Meathead" Reiner, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Romijn, Matt Damon, Al Franken, Kevin Bacon, Whoopie Goldberg, Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chevy Chase, Opie Cunnigham aka Ron Howard, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Stephen King, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Portman, John Stewart, Babyface, Sharon Stone, Robin Williams, Sherryl Crow, Billy Crystal, Ozzy Osbourne, Oliver Stone

Bush: Curt Schilling, John Smolz, Mario Andretti, Ted Nugent (Kill it and Grill it, baby!), Ahnuld, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Ron Silver, Dale Earnhart Jr (strange, thought he encouraged people to see Farenheit 9/11...edorsements at issue, probably), ex-con Don King, Kid Rock, Bo Derek, Brooks & Dunn, Stephen Baldwin, Lynrd Skynrd, celebrity anorexic Laura Flynn Boyle, Heather Locklear, vampire slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rachel Hunter (?!?), former supermodel and godawful actress Kathy Ireland, Matt LeBlanc, Mandy Moore, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Adam Sandler, Shannen Doherty, Angie Harmon, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Johnny Ramone, Dennis Hopper, Jason Preistly, Kelsey Grammar, Reba McIntyre, Ernest Borgnine, Wayne Newton

Thursday, October 28, 2004

NAACP IRS Investigation

Drudge is saying that the Post will report on an IRS investigation of the NAACP this weekend. The IRS apparently issued a document request related to a convention last summer where NAACP Chairmon Julian Bond made anti-Bush comments. According the Drudge, the Post report says that the IRS is investigating whether NAACP violated nonprofit rules by engaing in political advocacy.

C'est degoutant si c'est vrai. Didn't realize nonprofits could not engage in free speech critical of a sitting president.

The Unbearable Shrillness of Maureen Dowd

I was going to write about my amazement at how brazenly and effortlessly Bush lies on the stump -- and, Lord, it sounds real good to the blissfully ignorant and the deliriously partisan. I listened to him today on my ride home, and he was funny, charismatic, and a master dissembler.

But, something has been grating on me for some time. Maureen Dowd may be the single most useless purveyor of opinion in this country, and she somehow has the privilege of ink on the NY Times editorial page. I have thought this for some time. Now, it is ripe for comment.

She is the classic opinion writer as cynic, spewing nihilist nonsense under the guise of faux wit and condescending snarkiness. Generally, she has no point other than to look down on the powerful; it is not entirely clear to me what qualifies her to do so, except for a mediocre career as a NY Times Washington correspondent.

Let's look at some of this morning's Dowd "editorial":

"After 9/11, Mr. Cheney swirled his big black cape and hunkered down in his undisclosed dungeon, reading books about smallpox and plague and worst-case terrorist scenarios. "

-- Zing! Dowd likes to work with what she thinks are clever metaphors and a literary style. They are neither. This weak attempt to dress up Cheney's actions with Holloween metaphors is weak and useless.

"[Cheney's pre-war comments are] often seen in scary movies: you play God to create something in your own image, and the monster you make ends up coming after you."

-- Pap! Evoking Mary Shelley without saying it. Wink, wink. I am so cultured. Want to know how cultured little Maureen is? Check THIS out.

"Just as Catherine Deneuve had bizarre hallucinations in the horror classic "Repulsion,'' Mr. Cheney and the neocons were in a deranged ideological psychosis, obsessing about imaginary weapons while allowing enemies to spirit the real ones away."

-- You uncultured peasants don't get the reference do you. You probably dress as bad as Judy Dean does (remember when Dowd catily and sadly ripped Judy Dean for being insufficiently hip?).

I finally heard her for the first time when she was plugging her book Bushworld on CSPAN a couple of months ago. She is a remarkably dull speaker, and if only some of her limp wit had surfaced, she might have been marginally bearable. Her writing is certainly saucier, but it is a stale, pointless sauce, that is best tossed out rather than being mixed into the national discourse.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Election Prediction: Kerry Will Win

Kerry will win both the electoral college and the popular vote. It won't be too close in the electoral college; my predicition is that he wins the electoral college vote, 301 to 237. He'll win the big three swing states: Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Of the blue in 2000 states, he'll lose Wisconsin, but it won't matter.

As far as the popular vote, he'll probably win 50% to 48 or 49% for Bush (1-2% split between Nader(independent), Cobb (green) and Bednarik(libertarian). If I had to guess, Bednarik gets the most votes of that group. If there is a God, Nader will be swallowed by a giant toad after the election, never to pollute the political discourse with his nonsense ever again.

I base my conclusions on the fact that more than 50% of the Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, most Americans seem to trust Kerry (or trust him enough to oust a guy they really don't like) . They are not fired up by him, but they'll be ok choosing him. The issue is whether these folks expressing displeasure with the direction of the country will turn out.

Answer: There will be a huge turn out of younger and nontraditional voters that will tip the election in Kerry's favor. The scare tactics Bush has wantonly advanced will not outweigh the catastrophic foreign and domestic policy failures of this administration. Voter intimidation will fail. More of Kerry's base and these new voters lives in swing states, where are more of Bush's base lives in states he'll win anyways.

There you have it. Post your predicitions in the comment section.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Losing Explosives, Losing Their Minds

So now we learn that the U. S. failed to secure some 380 tons of highly explosive materials that may now be in the bad guys hands. 380 tons. Do you know how much that is? Hint, you'd probably need 50,000 donkeys to transport it.

I love the Bushies rationale: Hey, well, do you know that we destroyed thousands of pounds of explosives notwithstanding. Cool, so our soldier's will not be hurt by the destroyed weapons, so let's forget the 380 tons of other explosives out there.

And: You should be ashamed of politicizing the situation in Iraq. That is a September 10th mentality, and it is the kind of thinking that gives our Wolfmen terrorists comfort. Irony is for bitches!

Seriously, though, I just saw that scary Bush ad on MSNBC where the Wolfmen come to eat us because they hate America and are attracted by the scent of Kerry's effete-ness. And, frankly, I agree with it: Kerry cannot keep us safe from marauding Wolfmen. Didn't just one of them fuck up London in that movie?

Worse: Wolfmen like to eat impressionable soccer/security moms. Be afraid!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

I Am Damned

As I get older, I am become more and more aware of my mortality. Days gone. The what ifs transformed into loose memory.

So, where to go from here? Is this life the beginning and the end of what "I" am. Or is there something more. And, thus has begun my long journey to figure out (a) whether I have any spiritual beliefs and (b) what the hell they are.

My reflections begin with some travels I had with a former colleague of mine at my old firm. We were working on a case out on the West Coast. She was an evangelical Christian who chewed with her mouth open, especially when she ate boiled eggs.

Anyways, one morning as we ate breakfast, "You know, Joseph, I like you a lot as a person. To bad you'll never be saved." Then, she got up, and I think she was crying.She came back and explained that her particular denomination of Christianity -- I cannot recall what it was called now, but it was not one of the major denominations -- believed that only members of their church will only go to Heaven. Usually, she is fine with the fact that just about everyone around her is going to hell, but she'd come to like me as a person.

We -- you and I who are not a member of her church -- are damned. She actually said that to me.

"You are damned," she said. I have only now absorbed what she said, because at the time I was just hoping she'd stop talking and chewing with her mouth open and filled with saliva softened egg.

It actually all seemed pretty rational, too. My last experience with evangelical Christians was when this Korean girl I was trying to hook up with in college took me to a campus Korean Christian revival. At some point, I realized it wasn't worth it. I reached that point when everyone started speaking in tongues for about 20 minutes. The guy next to me was self-flagellating, and I thought he was really going to hurt himself. Or me. I eventually switched places with the girl I came with.

Given my agnosticism, I will begin with the premise that I am indeed damned, and for the next few months will post periodically on my search for salvation. Any advice? Please post in the comments section.

More Travel Notes

Fun time at the wedding. A few things of note:

1. Comment heard at the wedding: "This friend of mine had a premature baby. It was a couple of weeks before they knew what the sex was." Pardon? I thought they know the sex of a baby pretty early. Did this person give birth to a zygote? I never noticed the petrie dishes row in the neo-natal ICU unit.

2. Sign seen on drive home: "Flight 93 Tours This Exit. Free for Kids." Classy.

3. Thing I learned: I can run for five miles pretty easily, but I cannot sit on the floor for more than 5 minutes. You have to sit for 1.5 hours on the ground at Sikh Weddings. May have gone to my first and last Sikh wedding (which was lovely notwithstanding my long suffering ass) . I am still sore.

Friday, October 22, 2004

On the road to: Troy

No, not to take back Helen. Troy, Michigan. To a wedding that I am going to this weekend. Road trip was kind of fun. One highlight:

Catching the mayor of Detroit being a dee jay on a local R&B radio show. He was pretty damn smooth too. Unfortunately, he got super political after playing a Musiq song and brought on his police chief to explain away Detroit's failure to meet its obligations under a DOJ consent decree to cut down on a variety of civil rights violations. I was unconvinced and pined away for some Alicia Keys instead of the tripe I was hearing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Does God Hate The Yankees?

Jesus hits 2 homeruns. Boston up 8 to 1 in the bottom of the 5th....Whither the curse?

Potential Endorsement: Michael A. Peroutka

Not sure whether Joseph K will be endorsing anyone for anything this year. But, I am flirting with the Constitution Party's Michael A. Peroutka. He seduced me with a weird, long commericial I saw last night where he attacked Arlen Specter mercilessly. Haven't we all wanted to.

Anyways, some of his key positions:

1. Against anti-gun legislation. I agree. The time to end anti-gun bigotry has come.

2. Women in the military? "It is the God-commanded order that men are to fight for and protect women and their country. Women are not to fight for and protect men and their country. If I'm elected President, I will do everything within my power to see that women do not serve in the Armed Forces --- at all, anywhere, period." God said it, end of story, chicks. Stop trying to die.

3. Peroutka on a potential draft -- kind of punts, he is definitely anti-Selective Service: "As Samuel warned sinful Israel when they begged for a "King ... like all the nations," "This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen." A Godly ruler is not to amass military might to himself, lest he see his forces and itch to use them. See Deut. 17:16. It is not sound Constitutional policy, and it is not Christian, to view people as mere inventory to be expended at the whimsical fancy of the Chief Executive Officer of these United States."

4. On taxes? "As President, I would work to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment, abolish the IRS, eliminate the income tax and other Godless forms of taxation such as the property tax and the inheritance tax. " The income tax is definitely Godless. God is more of an excise tax type of deity. And the last thing He wants is to have some Government try and tax the Kingdom he would leave to Jesus, his only begotten son.

5. No Child Left Behind Act? Peroutka would push a Every Child Left Behind Act: "As President, I would obey the law, in this case our Constitution. I would immediately move to abolish the Department Of Education and stop all Federal involvement in education. Under my Administration, this illegal Department and the “No Child Left Behind Act” would be left behind. That’s a promise!"

A final word from Michael A. Peroutka that may yet persuade you: "America needs and deserves a President who will stand against the entrenched socialism, elitism and globalism which have a stranglehold on American political power. It is clear that both major parties are committed to the agenda of the New World Order and seek to enforce economic, military and social policies which are antithetical to the interests of our independent Republic. Michael Anthony Peroutka and the Constitution Party will fight to defend America against enemies domestic and foreign and return to a Republic of self-governing states whose laws are rooted in Biblical principles. "

Preparing for the Worst

I am, by nature, a dour, unpleasant, and anxiety-riddled man. Those who think otherwise simply aren't privy to the thoughts that are really coursing through my mind. To me, the glass isn't half-full, or half-empty. It's a lethal weapon, one slipped grasp away from slicing open a major artery and sending me to death's bed.

When I drive, I try to keep my elbows away from the steering wheel, so that if an airbag goes off, I don't impale my skull with a stray ulna at rocket-velocity.

When I watch a movie, I like to sit on the aisle, in case the ceiling unexpectedly crashes down. I don't want any women or small children blocking my route to safety.

Skiing? Forget it. Hurtling down a treachorous ice-covered incline on two devices that, by design, have no traction whatsoever is not my idea of a good time. I'll be sipping a hot toddy in front of the fireplace, caressing my intact limbs, thank you.

Then comes the matter of electing a president. For months now, the election has been far enough off that it's been something of a fantasy. Thinking about the outcome has been pretty much like thinking about what I want to be when I grow up. A fun, idle pastime.

But, just like I grew up and had to actually become something (in theory), the election is here and I have to prepare for the consequences. I have been afraid to say it, but here I go: Bush might win.

[Spiral Stairs takes break to splash cold water on face and disinfect typing fingers.]

It's game seven. Fourth quarter. Third period (in hockey). Tenth frame. Eighteenth hole. Eleventh-thousandth inning (or whatever the cricket term is). Kerry is losing, 6 to 5 (baseball); 24 to 21 (football); 3 to 2 (hockey); by ten pins (bowling); by 2 strokes (golf); by four hundred shillings (cricket).

He needs a hit. Or a turnover. Or a puck to the eye of Bush's goalkeeper. Or some really, really good pin action. Or Tiger Woods to take over his tee shots. Or to whack that cricket ball into Bush's shins.

The pressure is too much for a worrywart like me. Until November 2, I'll be keeping my arms away from the steering wheel, avoiding ski slopes, and researching Canadian immigration regulations.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Poll on -- Tipping Hotel Housekeepers

Should you tip a hotel housekeeper? I am kind of arbitrary in my hotel tipping practices, but kind of resent the notion. It reflects the fact that housekeepers are probably underpaid.

If so, by how much?

Let us know in the comments section.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Election in E Minor

I pulled some CDs from my CD tower a few minutes ago. Here is where the election currently is through song titles from those randomly selected CD:

1. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) -- Marvin Gaye. Is it me or has no one mentioned the environment at all in this election? Not one question about it. But, we did get some question about how Bob Scheiffer, Kerry and Bush are bitches who are controlled by the women in their life. Important, very important.

2. Be Thankful for What You Got -- William DeVaughn. Bush is trying to convince everyone that the tax cut that wasn't (given the rising cost of healthcare, etc.) is something we should be thankful for. That and the deficits and fiscal crisis he has wrought. I am so fucking ungrateful, sorry.

3. One Monkey Don't Stop the Show -- Honey Comb. Nader will probably not be a factor this year.

4. Give Peace a Chance -- John Lennon. Peace is for punks, hippy dead guy. It is about crushing and killing and rooting out and stuff. Look where that peace stuff got you, chief.

5. The More I Get, The More I Want -- Teddy Pendegrass. What new tax cuts will the Richest 1% get if W's re-elected?

6. Tell Me Something Good -- Rufus featuring Chaka Khan. Kerry, you gotta ease up a bit on the criticisms and doing that vision thing. And none of this "A Better America" nonsense. The Democrats are allergic to good slogans.

7. Yes We Can -- Pointer Sisters -- That could be a great slogan. Or just "We Can" as in "We can do better. We can succeed. We can be respected. Yes, we can." Too bad the Pointer Sisters song actually sucks, because the title was briefly inspirational there.

Bottom line: I have a pretty cool music collection.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Travel Notes

I've been on the road the last few days. Some travel notes:

1. Kudos to United for providing free headphones and free entertainment. Watched line..."Do you believe in unlikelihoods?"

2. Ran into Ari Fleischer...Literally...He was on my mobile lounge as I arrived at Dulles. Basically elbowed his way past me without saying excuse me. Prick.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Nonsense about "Nuisance"

Part of me just wishes Kerry would keep his mouth shut. Sometimes, he can be punchy and effective. Sometimes it is like listening to someone's grandfather tell you a story. The more anyone blathers on, the more he or she says that can be used against him.

In NY Times magazine article, Kerry said:

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance… I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

Why did he need to say this? All he needs to say on terrorism is: We will crush the terrorists. Any way. Any how. Period. And, I have a plan...

But, for some reason he could not help himself and has to wax philsophical on the issue. We hope terrorism becomes like prostitution, a nuisance? Not only is he sounding silly, but he has also offended thousands of hard-working hookers. They vote too, Senator. Anti-gambling as well? He basically alienated all the libertarians who like having a good time.

That said, he is not entirely wrong and out of his mind. How can anyone claim 100% victory. My complaint is not about 100% substance, but mostly rhetoric.

Basically, it sets him up to charges that he will not take the terrorism threat seriously an do everything necessary to fight it. Here is how Bush responded today:

"I couldn't disagree more. Our goal is to not to reduce terror to some acceptable level of nuisance, our goal is to defeat terror by staying on the offensive, destroying terrorist networks and spreading freedom and liberty around the world."

The bottom line is that Bush's election hinges on manipulating Kerry's words in ways that sow distrust and fear in the electorate. And, he has been very effective at it. The less, and the more poignant the Senator says, the better. The time to be ponderous is not when speaking to a Times writer during a hard fought election.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Passion of the Bush

The coverage of this election is probably the most meta it has ever been, which is clearly more a reflection of the narcissism of the political press corps than voter interest. Campaign strategy, image politics, and facile "fact-checking" have replaced a substantive discussion of the issues. Political reporters and campaign workers have entered into a mutual back-cratching/belly-rubbing relationship to everyone else's disinterest and disadvantage.

That said, when did Bush become an angry guy with bunch of weird tics? Previously, he always projected a virile, tough, jocular image. But, these debates have shown another side.

Excessive blinking. Shoulder hunching. An un-modulated voice. A lack of control over his motor functions, his face. The Tourette's. "Need some wood?" -- huh? Am I watching a debate or lumberjack porn? "Let me finish!" -- no one tried to cut you off, dude.

The great burden of his mission, as bestowed upon him by...well, be our great protector has taken its toll. From fainting an falling after a malicious attack by a liberal pretzel, to falling off a Segway scooter, to falling off his bike, a distracted Bush has suffered many scratches and emotional wounds as he struggles to shoulder his burden to thrash terrorists.

I found myself pitying Bush. He clearly suffers for us, and we shouldn't make light of that.

We're Back....

After a long hiatus, the gang at Banality Fare is back. Check in daily for ruminations and insights on the events of the day and our lives. Probably lots of politics stuff as we lead into the election, but there will be some other stuff as well. Enjoy and please post some comments from time to time.