Jan. 2001
...In Katni, India they have just elected a eunuch as mayor of the town. ...The media will be bitterly disappointed as it may reduce the chance of sex scandal.

March 2001
"AUSTIN-A state representative's proposed bill would make gun-carrying principals the first line of defense against shootings..." - Reuters Don't know about you, but my principal was a brutish man with a glass eye. The gun would have appealed to him, less so to me.

Former Tyco CEO, Dennis Kozlowski: Arrested and charged with tax evasion on millions of dollars in art purchases. Named Florida Atlantic University's Business Leader of the Year. File under How to become a millionare (Kozlowski owns 8 houses worth $54 million one of which contains a gold shower curtain worth $6000.)

Bring out your dead …
"I don't think they play at all fairly,' Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, "and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can't hear oneself speak - and they don't seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them ..." *

Either politics is a banal and disgusting pursuit or I am an ignorant fellow who just doesn't understand it (or the necessity of it)? I leave it to the reader to decide which. In fact, let's take a vote. No, wait. That would be a banal piece of software to write …

As I write this, we do not yet know who our next president will be. In a marginally civilized country with a decaying industrial base and a fraying social fabric, I'm not sure it matters much. Am I in the minority with that feeling? My middle class friends are quite shocked at my attitude. "Of course there is a difference," they yell. But I am left asking the question, "a difference for whom?" I suppose Mr. Bush may make some of the super rich richer but I really don't see that as much of a difference. A friend at work came out with an interesting remark. He said, "I voted for Bush because I'm a moderate, but it really doesn't matter much. Whoever is elected, it won't make much difference in my life." It is true. For the middle class both candidates will, more or less, maintain the status quo. The biggest change might be a loss of abortion rights if Bush were to pack the Supreme Court. Neither candidate will do anything for the marginalized and the homeless. Both will continue to run our foreign policy in that swashbuckling, macho bullying way that leaves us with that arrogant, ugly American pie on our face. Both support that third world exploiting, pollution generating boondoggle, euphemistically known as the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both candidates will continue to export blue-collar jobs to the third world and neither will have any solution for those that lose their jobs. Whomever we elect, we'll still be wearing our designer sneakers made by children in third world sweatshops. I guess as long as we want to wear designer sneakers, we aren't really likely to make any changes in who governs us.

America has become a corporate/media experience and nobody seems to find it strange. The economy is largely defined by the big money, and the media largely defines the culture. One is ruthless and the other insipid. Again I leave it to the reader to decide which is which. (If you think sit-coms are the greatest thing since white bread, stop reading here.) My children find it hard to believe that people used to make most of their Christmas presents and they think the top ten countdown is more important to listen to than live music. They do not think it strange when they see the cubicle farm I work in. If I would let them, they would choose to watch TV over a walk in the woods and none of them have much of a concept of what money stands for. It leaves one with the distinct feeling of being the only one able to see that the emperor has no clothes. We train our children to fit into this strange society with very little thought as to the validity of doing so. In our state, high school kids must pass a proficiency test in science, American history, and math to graduate. They need not be proficient in food production, any creative art, music, craft, construction trade, or even civilized dialogue. In this context, politics is just an entertainment package. We have a two party system, just enough to provide us with one good guy and one bad guy. We love to argue just which is which.

One the candidates is a liar, the other a puppet of big and corrupt money. One is frankly stupid, the other a caniver, willing to do or say anything to be elected. One is a champion of the people, one a savior of the middle class. Am I missing something?

We elect liars, cheaters, adulterers and lawbreakers; mean spirited men and women of such low integrity and poor morals that they would not be welcome in polite society except for the fact that they are our leaders. The sad thing about all of this is the power we give to these people. We choose people to govern us that we would be loath to have in our homes. Why do we allow ourselves to be led by men and women of such poor character? Why do we believe that everyone we elect is perfectly capable of accepting large sums of money from political action committees and yet be completely un-swayed by it? The answer is strangely bizarre. Each of us firmly believes that our candidate is the good guy and that the other is not. We mythologize our candidate and will rationalize their behavior no matter what they do. Nixon broke the law and gets a pardon. The kid down the street from us smoked marijuana and is in jail for a year. Is it true that Oliver North now has a talk show? Will we give Bill Clinton a TV sit-com when he's finished disgracing himself? Why do we excuse these clowns? This is where the two party system really shines. If we had lots of parties with lots of views, it might be difficult to really demonize and canonize. What would happen if we all dumped the myth and just thought about things? What if we all turned off the TV and talked? How many of us understand what the word dialog means? File under heresy.

There was one bright spot for me in this election. It was a very interesting election in Missouri. The headlines read: "Posthumous Victory" Three weeks after Gov. Mel Carnahan died, Missouri voters elected him to the U.S. Senate! I don't know about you but this gives me a tremendous amount of hope for our country. The clever people of Missouri have come up with a plan to drastically improve or government; elect the dead. Who can doubt that they will perform significantly better than the current crop of sycophants and sociopaths, (of course I'm not talking about your candidate)? But think of the improvement. It is unlikely that the dead will cheat the American people and no matter how much money a PAC contributes, it is almost guaranteed that it won't sway their vote. You may argue that the dead are corrupt, but I say, "hold your nose and mark your ballots". The dead may be corrupt but I promise you that they will never act on that corruption. We can have congressmen who will not spend the taxpayers money on pork barrel legislation. We CAN have a president who will never commit adultery. We CAN have a president who will never lie under oath. We CAN have a president who we can trust never to authorize a break in at the Watergate. Who can deny the obvious improvement in moral behavior? I say a vote for the dead is a vote for integrity.

* Alice In WonderLand -- Lewis Carrol

The Party Begins

"Twinkle, twinkle, litle bat! How I wonder what you're at!" ....

"It goes on, you know," the Hatter continued, "in this way:"

The election has been decided. In keeping with the surreal nature of the event, the person that got the least votes will be the new president. Stretching the fabric of reality further, the new president wants to appoint John Ashcroft to the position of attorney general. Mr. Ashcroft is just off the campaign trail himself having lost his senate seat to a dead man. One can only wonder why the president elect did not make the more positive choice and appoint the dead man to the position.

"Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky."

Here the Doormouse shook itself, and began singing in in its sleep, "Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle----" and went on so long that they had to pinch it to make it stop

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Hatter: "let's all move one place on." He moved on as he spoke, and the Dormouse followed him: the March Hare moved into the Dormouse's place, and Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the March Hare. The Hatter was the only one who got any advantage from the change: and Alice was a good deal worse off than before, as the March Hare had just upset the milk-jug into his plate. *

"Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs? (Less Developed Countries) A given amount of health-impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost… I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable." - Larry Summers while chief economist for the World Bank, later he was Secretary of the Treasury under the Clinton Administration

I can "eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women, take their money and then vote against them." - California Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh on Lobyists