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08/27/2004: "Big-Assed Weekend Edition (Featuring James Randi & Cornhusker Fans)"


randi (17k image)Hello, teenage thrill-killers! Paul and I had a great time interviewing James
"The Amazing" Randi
today. They don't call him "The Amazing" for nuthin' -
he rules every inch of this planet. The three of us talked about psychics,
UFO's, speaking with the dead, and - of course - RUMPOLOGY! Thanks, Paul for
allowing me to spend a half hour on the phone with one of my heroes.

You can hear the whole thing, including my "Return to Fort Mifflin" piece,
here.

An open letter to Babbitts.

Recently, in the forum, longtime listener / first time caller and weekend
Pope, sully, suggested that we all pay a visit to the "Third Rail" forum of
a message board for Nebraska Cornhusker football fans. It's a place where
small minds tackle big issues - and where unintentional comedy flows like
cheap wine. In other word - Babbitts galore!

Many of you have asked me to post something there for the enlightenment of
our knuckle-dragging brethren. Well, you can stop asking.

The post may be found here, but since they're bound to remove it, I'll
recreate it, below. Please note that with only minor alterations, this
post may be used to anger both Republicans and Democrats alike. I mention
this just in case you plan on visiting Al Franken's blog.


Dearest Babbitts;

A friend of mine sent me a link to this forum and I have to admitto being
equally fascinated and repulsed by the postings here. Congratulations.

If you don't mind, I'd like to address a question to the "regulars" here:
Why would a working class person vote for either the Republicans or the
Democrats?

After all, since Bill Clinton moved the Democratic Party to the right by
adopting the economic policies of the Republicans (Bank deregulation,
welfare reform, anti-unionism, Pro-NAFTA, etc.), haven't the two parties
been pretty much indistinguishable on economic issues? Meanwhile, the
republicans - formerly the party of fiscal responsibility - have given us
the largest tax hike in our history (under Reagan) and the largest deficit
(under Bush).

If this is, in fact, the case, then I'll assume that you're casting you
votes on "Cultural" issues. This is just as tragic.

Republicans, it's been nearly a quarter of a century since your party was
taken over by the Christian Right and what have you gained in the "Culture
Wars"? Abortion is still legal. You haven't removed the teaching of
evolution from public schools and brought prayer back in.

No, what you've accomplished is the installation of economic policies that
are far from being in your best interest (I'm assuming that none of you are
in the top 1% income bracket). The widening gap between rich and poor, the
shrinking of the middle, the lessening of a worker's right to bargain were
all ushered in while your attempt to get the 10 Commandments placed outside
every public building failed miserably. Again, you have my congratulations
and my condolences.

By the way, if the trickle down theory is correct (This is the backbone of
Republican economic strategy. The idea is - simply put - that, by giving
tax breaks to the wealthy, capital will flow, freely, from the richest
segment of our society to the poorest), then why weren't the peasants in
the Middle Ages wealthy? After all, their Lords and Kings weren't taxed at
all. Why didn't all that gold "roll down hill"?

As for you Democrats, do you really see a difference between John Kerry and
George Bush? Take Iraq, for example. What's the difference between Kerry's
position on Iraq and Bush's? Nothing.

Kerry voted to authorize the war with Iraq and recently issued a statement
saying that, even if he had known about the lack of WMD's, he still would
have voted to authorize the war. Not only that, but "in all probability",
Kerry would've launched a military initiative to depose Hussein by now if
he were president.

On the economic front, Kerry has not made a single significant pledge towards
helping labor, which was practically deserted by the Clinton administration
who failed to pursue health care reform, strengthen labor law or in any way
attempt to better the working conditions of ordinary Americans.

Union membership, by the way, is now down to 11 per cent of the work force.
Union jobs used to be the gateway to a middle class existence for many
poor people.

Wow, those Democrats are sure doing a swell job of looking out for the
workin' guy.

sheep (51k image)In a two party system there can only be a party of money and a party of the
people. When Republican's shifted their focus towards "cultural" issues to
attract more people, the Democrats abandoned their traditional economic
policies to pick up more money. The losers in this shift were all of us who
work for a living.

Since I don't like to castigate without offering solutions, I'll put forward
two: The Greens and the Libertarians.

Those of you, who call yourselves Democrats, may want to look at the core
beliefs of the Green Party. Their principles seem to encompass the ides that
you espouse (Looking out for the little guy, protecting the environment,
not exporting jobs overseas, etc) much better than the reality of the
policies of the present Democratic Party.

As for you "Republicans", I suggest you familiarize yourselves with the
Libertarians, whose policies of fiscal responsibility coupled with
personal freedom make them what your party pretty much once was.

Oh, one last suggestion, if I may - turn off the Cornhusker game and pick up
a freakin' book. Or, to quote Professor of Economics at MIT, Noam Chomsky:

"Take, say, sports -- that's another crucial example of the indoctrination
system, in my view. For one thing because it -- you know, it offers people
something to pay attention to that's of no importance. That keeps them from
worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some
idea of doing something about. And in fact it's striking to see the
intelligence that's used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as
opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio
stations where people call in -- they have the most exotic information and
understanding about all kind of arcane issues."

Thank you for your time,

Rodney Anonymous
Gentleman Adventurer


PS. I'll be busy this weekend wring a piece for a magazine (no, not
Barracuda), looking for a "cure" for that pesky sidebar problem in Internet
Explorer (Switch to Mozilla, folks), and reading death threats from
Cornhusker fans.



Replies: 10 Comments

on Friday, August 27th, billybob said

damned right switch to mozilla, i've only been using it for a week and a half, and almost all of my internet related problems are gone

on Saturday, August 28th, Mochi The Jackass said

Tell me if you get that $0.25/$29.99

Also, would you agree that while gullibly believing in everything is a bad idea, instantly assuming that something is untrue just because it sounds weird is almost equally bad?

I mean, look at the Brits who first saw a stuffed platypus, and thought it was a clever taxidermy job.

on Saturday, August 28th, SirAtededge said

Cut them some slack, at least they're on a website dedicated to the civic religion of football. It's far worse when you see this sort of crap flowing in more ostensibly informed venues.

I want to vote for the candidate who says "The era of big government is back." Howard Dean said it best, "corporations are neither good nor bad, they're simply amoral." From Teddy Roosevelt onward, everyone, probably even George Babbitt,realized that this was the balance that needed to be struck. This held until Ronald Reagan sold the suckers the "get government off your backs" line.

on Sunday, August 29th, Rev. Syung Myung Me said

Hey, thanks for the link to the Paul Kirchner Randi episode! I just listened to it, and it's great... Thanks!

on Monday, August 30th, razlerja said

'Big Government'?!?! Why don't you just flush your money down the toilet; at least you would get some sick satisfaction/thrill. I can't imagine how putting something in charge of an organization who answers to NO ONE, makes it's own budget and then just borrows and taxes you more when they blow through it, and is really not responsible to anyone for any standards of success or efficiency will be better. I agree that 'trickle' is just as bad as 'voodo', but Big Brother is worse.

on Monday, August 30th, YuppieSlacker said

Oddly enough, your post reminded me of some hilarious spam that I received this weekend.
Want a real alternative??
Heehee... I repeat, Hee-friggin-hee:
http://www.writeinmelgibsonforpresident.org

on Monday, August 30th, billzebub said

Razlerja said:
"Why don't you just flush your money down the toilet; at least you would get some sick satisfaction/thrill."

As a Republican, I use my benjamins to light my Macanudos. That way I get a sick satisfaction/thrill.

on Tuesday, August 31st, SirAtededge said

By "Big Government" I don't mean John Ashcroft spectating in roadside restrooms (at least he looked like John Ashcroft to me), I mean government big enough to check the excesses of big capital, which is bigger now than ever and is no longer tied to industry or nation. Taxes and tariffs are about the only tools they have. Hate government all you want, you have more control over it than you do over
Megabank.

Call it "liberalism" or "progressivism", it's now held in slightly higher regard than pederasty. Only when it's respectable do you ever get a piece broken off for the little man, like pure food laws, protection of collective bargaining, and the 40 hour work week. Shit, Nixon signed OSHA and the EPA into being and jacked SocSec payments by something like 20% just before the 72 election. Those Republicans remind me of that Deep Space 9 bit where they beamed back into the tribble episode and saw the beatnik-looking Klingons, prompting Worf to say "Yes, they are Klingons, we do not discuss it with outsiders". CSPAN2 showed Eisenhower's 56 acceptance speech, and it was somewhere slightly to the right of Kucinich and left of Dean.

on Tuesday, August 31st, SirAtededge said

By "Big Government" I don't mean John Ashcroft spectating in roadside restrooms (at least he looked like John Ashcroft to me), I mean government big enough to check the excesses of big capital, which is bigger now than ever and is no longer tied to industry or nation. Taxes and tariffs are about the only tools they have. Hate government all you want, you have more control over it than you do over
Megabank.

Call it "liberalism" or "progressivism", it's now held in slightly higher regard than pederasty. Only when it's respectable do you ever get a piece broken off for the little man, like pure food laws, protection of collective bargaining, and the 40 hour work week. Shit, Nixon signed OSHA and the EPA into being and jacked SocSec payments by something like 20% just before the 72 election. Those Republicans remind me of that Deep Space 9 bit where they beamed back into the tribble episode and saw the beatnik-looking Klingons, prompting Worf to say "Yes, they are Klingons, we do not discuss it with outsiders". CSPAN2 showed Eisenhower's 56 acceptance speech, and it was somewhere slightly to the right of Kucinich and left of Dean.

on Tuesday, August 31st, SirAtededge said

Sorry, zigged, meant to zag.

divide2 (4k image)

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