28 September, 2009

A threat to all we hold dear

My friends, I come to you today to warn you of a menace that threatens us all. Or it may be a threat that menaces us all. It’s just so insidious that I don’t even know. All I know is that I spent my whole lunch break researching this and I can find no evidence against it so therefore it can only be true and if we don't do something about it - right now - it will undoubtedly destroy our way of life which we have fought so hard for.

Let me explain that nature of this threat.
It is about Gratuitous, Lame-brained Extremism.
It is about Narcissistic Nonsense.
It is about Broadcasting by Egotistical, Conspiracy-theorist Kooks!

Now you’re probably reading that and thinking, “Hey Bill! That’s just a bunch of big words to me. That doesn’t look like any kind of threat or menace, or whatever.”
Well, let me break it down for you my friends. The truth is hidden in there, right under our noses.



Do you see it now? It’s hidden right there in plain sight.
Am I alone here?

20 September, 2009

The Rules: Freedom of Speech

Here’s how it works:

You have the right to say
WHAT you want
WHEN you want
HOW you want
about WHATEVER you want
to WHOMEVER you want
AS MUCH as you want.

You do NOT have the right to be paid for it.

It’s that last little bit that has Glenn Beck and his supporters in such a flurry. Their crying about a sponsor boycott attempting to “censor” Beck conveniently misses the point that the right to express yourself does not offer protection from the consequences of doing so.

No-one is trying to silence Beck. He can say whatever he wants – on his own dime. If his show continues to lose sponsors, there are still thousands of street corners on which he is free to espouse his bizarre rants and theories along with all the other paranoid schizophrenics. But to expect people to continue to sponsor you even when they’re disgusted by what you do? That’s called.... (have you guessed it yet?).... socialism!

What really burns Fox News and the teabaggers up, is that this is exactly the same kind of consumer boycott that Fox advocates against anyone who says anything they don’t like. The only difference is that this one seems to be working. Of course, there’s nothing to stop people from launching a counter boycott and boycotting the companies who have boycotted Beck. But you might as well accept the fact that whatever the public relations departments may say, these companies have bean-counters who have crunched the numbers and determined that sponsoring Beck is going to lose them more custom that it wins them. That’s the free market for ya!

While we’re at it, let’s remember that free expression applies equally to everyone (more socialism!). This means that your own right to express yourself does not protect you from blowback by those who think your free expression makes you look like a jerk. When Kanye West invaded the stage and interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance, he was simply exercising his right to free expression. And everyone else exercised their freedom of expression by saying he acted like a dick. The same goes for Serena Williams and Congressman Joe Wilson*.

The interesting thing about these outbursts is that out of all of them, West is the only one who has unequivocally accepted that he did the wrong thing. What does it say when out of a news commentator, a tennis player, a congressman and a rapper, it’s the rapper that shows the most class after making an ass of himself?

*I don’t usually go with the American tradition of referring to politicians by their title, but I do it in this case to distinguish him from the other Joe Wilson, who exercised his freedom of speech for the reason it was originally intended and had his and his wife’s career destroyed for it.

16 September, 2009

Fair crack of the whip

After jockeys threatened to strike over new racings rules restricting the use of the whip, the Australian Racing board has offered a compromise.
Jockeys will be permitted to strike the horse up to seven times over the last 100 metres of the race.

There is a very simple way to figure out what is a fair use of the whip:
Get all the jockeys, stewards and board members together and keep whipping them until they say they’ve had enough.

12 September, 2009

What's in a Name?

Listening off and on to the US health insurance debate (if 'debate' can be an appropriate word to describe some of the rubbish that has been said) has made me wonder how they are ever going to get anything passed without it being compromised to death. One chant that has been coming from the disproportionately vocal lunatic fringe has been "read the bill." Of course, they haven't read it either, they're just repeating what they've been told by others who also haven't read the bill, or have and are lying about it. And when I hear this, I think to myself, Geez, where were these people when the Patriot Act was voted on? They didn't seem to have a problem with their representatives not reading that one.

Then it occurred to me: to get things moving on health insurance, they need to do what they did with the Patriot Act and give it a name that no-one would dare vote against. To vote against the Patriot Act would imply that one is not patriotic, or does not support patriotism. Had it been called the "We Get to Listen to Your Telephone Calls" act, then people might have scrutinized it a bit more. The war in Iraq is called Operation Iraqi Freedom. That sounds like a great idea. Had it been given the more accurate name of "Operation Kick-out-the-bad-guys-then-hope-that-everything-else-will-fix-itself," then perhaps approval would have been lower.

So if they want health insurance reform, don't call it something boring like America's Affordable Health Choices Act. Call it the Puppies Are Cute Act and everyone will be on board. Bush's education policy was called 'No child left behind,' so why not call health cover reform, 'No child left uninsured'?

No, I have it: call it the Life Act. Who could possibly vote against life?

As rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but if it were called a vomit flower, most wouldn't bother to sniff it at all.

02 September, 2009

Two cartoons

....that sum up my life a little too much sometimes: