Wednesday, October 30, 2002


Students get a visual aid.
The Sniper

Hated, even by his family.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Look up "classless" in the dictionary...

...and guess who's pictured.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Wanna hear a joke?

What's the difference between South Africa and Zimbabwe? Five years.

Funny, right?

Now read this and this, and I think you'll find the humor rather quickly evaporates...

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Some Recommended International Blogs

Dilacerator, Tim Blair, and Shoutin' Across the Pacific.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Jesse Jackson

A disgusting fool.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

What I Saw At The Debate

I attended the Bush-McBride radio debate this morning at Universal Studios. I was accompanied by "SF", a female friend from work. SF is politically to the right of me a few steps (Like Jesse Helms to Jesse Ventura? No, more like Steve Forbes-2000 to Steve Forbes-1996...), but we both went as Bush supporters.

The morning did not start smoothly. Heavy construction on State Road 520 prevented me from arriving at her apartment as early as planned. When I finally got there, I had a forehead-slapping moment : I'd forgotten to bring my e-mail confirmation! We decided to give it a shot anyway, though I felt it was likely I would be listening to the debate in her Jeep while sitting in the parking lot.

We arrived on time, and proceeded to stand in a line for about a half hour (Hurry up and wait!). Our amusement consisted of gawking at some GreenPeace lunatics dressed in what appeared to be, I am not making this up, orange jumpers, like escapees from Sharpes. They were driving a solar-powered truck. Luckily for them, it wasn't rainy. Or at night.

After having our IDs checked (luckily, the e-mail was not required, though everyone else seems to have remembered theirs...) we boarded a bus for the short trip to the building where the debate was to be held. In front of us sat a VIP : the mayor of Miami Beach. SF recognized him, but to me he looked like your generic pol : expensive suit, well-groomed hair, personable body-language, gentle tone of voice. (Nice guy. And if he ever retires from public service, he could always make a few bucks as a Jose Canseco impersonator...)

SF also recognized a three-person-strong contingent of University of Central Florida Young Republicans. (This, as I understand it, equals nearly 100% turnout...) At this point, we waited in another line to go through the metal detectors. (Had either of us chose to ask the candidates a question, there was yet another line awaiting us in our immediate future. Alas, we are both cowards. Well, at least I am. But I shouldn't get ahead of myself...) She was promptly wand-raped as a security offical rifled through her nearly microscopic purse with a gusto rarely seen among those not criminally insane. What he was expecting to find, I don't know. (Perhaps a single spore of anthrax? Because I doubt two could have fit...)

Now, having passed through the crack security, we entered the actual debate stage. Within seconds, SF was pulled aside by reporters from the Tampa affiliate of NBC. (Or was it ABC? Or CBS? Really, it's moot...) She was asked if she was an "undecided voter", and surprised me by responding in the affirmative. (Strictly speaking, this wasn't dishonest. After all, it was within the realm of possibility that governor Bush might have, say, ordered his security detail to turn loose water cannon and hounds on the crowd. This, in turn, just might have had an effect on her choice in November. Maybe.)

At any rate, they decided to record her pre-debate thoughts on camera, and then interview her after the event to see if there had been any movement. I, being camera shy (not to mention uninvited...), chose to grab a couple seats and wait. While waiting, I overheard a gentleman apparently from FrontPage Magazine talking into his cell phone, distressed that he had been unable to find a professional political analyst at the event. I contemplated offering myself as just such a person (and if you consider this site "professional", it wouldn't even be a lie! Well, at least not anymore of a lie than what SF told the citizens of Tampa-St. Pete...), but decided against it. The last thing I need is David Horowitz finding out I have a unique interpretation of "professional", and placing me in the same category, veracity-wise, as David Brock.

So. A few minutes later, I notice SF coming to join me. That's good, except the cameraman is following her and still taping. She proceeds to immediately berate me, on camera, for my choice of seats. I shrugged and muttered some ambiguous apology. (For all time, viewers on the West Coast of Central Florida will recognize me as "that pussy-whipped dude".)

We waited for a little longer, with nothing to amuse ourselves with other than a brief cameo appearance by the governor (aren't you suppose to take a bow after your performance?) and the sight of John Morgan of the law firm Morgan, Colling, and Gilbert. Infamous for his preachy and self-promoting commercials, Mr. Morgan looks absolutely Hobbit-like in real life. That's not to say he's particularly short, just that he looks like he should be short, or something.

Our boredom was interrupted by a gentleman seated in front of us. He decided to start a pre-debate debate amongst the audience members. Spewing forth McBride's talking points like a parrot on crystal meth, he was eventually silenced by the fact that he was completely surrounded by Bush supporters armed with actual critical-thinking skills. (Sadly, this guy was one of the handful of people selected to question the candidates. Though the information I received warned against asking loaded questions, this guy was armed with a verbal Saturday-night special. I guess he didn't get the memo...) He asked my political registration, and I replied, "NPA - No Party Affiliation." Then I was questioned who I was leaning towards, and why. Since I was expecting to watch a debate, not participate in one, I offered some non sequiturish ramblings about tax cuts and the President. However, the man completely wigged out when I said, "the state isn't really facing any major problems." Slipping into agit-prop mode, he spoke about the "crisis" in education, and offered a small amount of data to support his contention. (Curiously, these were the same points McBride himself ended up making. I guess this fellow got that memo...) I was going to respond with some comments about the anti-choice teacher's unions, or some such, when the people around me all started talking at once, using this opportunity to opine about the supposed causes and solutions of our education "crisis". (One of these folks, a "gentleman" from the University of South Florida, used the opening up of a high-minded policy dialogue as an excuse to try to verbally bukkake all over my companion. Unfortunately for him, she doesn't like assholes.) Sadly, this was to be the rhetorical high-point of the morning...

The debate was about to begin. Governor Bush and candidate McBride appeared, shook hands, and went to their respective podiums. In SF's opinion, "they both looked like they were going to throw up." A fair assessment, to my eyes. McBride was staring down, apparently reading his notes and doing some last minute cramming, while Bush was taking so many deep breaths, hyperventalation seemed a possibility. At last, the show got on the road, so to speak. McBride had won the coin toss, but had elected to give his opening remarks second. Not a very confident sign, and as his own people said after the debate, "he's not really a master-debater." I paraphrase, of course.

Honestly, I can recall little specific from the hour-long debate. But here are some key comments :

  • The final audience questioner, a high school senior from Melbourne, was a shrill little bitch, whining about having to, God forbid, take a state-wide exam (known as the FCAT) every couple of years. Her contention was that it is too easy and a waste of time. Well, I agree it's too easy, but many of your fellow classmates are fucking idiots who do find it challenging. And if they don't receive a passing score, they will hopefully receive the extra attention they so desperately need (or at least a handful of lead-free paint chips to chew on). And schools that consistently show themselves to be particularly inept at teaching their students the basic requirements of the FCAT will be punished, therefore providing an incentive for schools to make sure students actually learn things. Which, of course, is the whole point of a school.

  • Bush was a stronger debater than McBride (who often giggled through his responses, when we wasn't stammering), but he had a tendency to end weakly. For example, when confronted about his opposition to gay couples adopting children, he summed up his points something like, "So, I'm, uh, against, uh, (whispering now) gay couples, um, (barely audible) adopting." Not exactly Churchillian...

  • Remarkably, the "Beltway Sniper" was brought up by an audience questioner. (Funny. Neither one of the candidates looked like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend...)

  • Bush rather effectively raised questions about the fiscal wisdom of McBride's plan to spend an additional eight billion dollars on education over the next seven years. McBride's plan to pay for it, a proposed fifty-cent-per-pack cigarette tax, would, according to members of his own party, raise only four and a half billion dollars in revenue over the same time period. The three and a half billion dollar shortfall would have to be rectified either by slashing the budget, causing cuts in needed social services, or by raising taxes in other areas. McBride calls pointing this out a "scare tactic". Well, either that, or the truth. Take your pick.

  • The most uncomfortable point in the debate was when Bush not-too-subtly accused McBride of being a shill for the trial lawyers. (Which makes sense, since McBride is a trial lawyer...) McBride feigned moral indignation, and accused Bush of besmirching the good name (*cough*) of all lawyers. Bush responded (against debate rules, I believe) by saying he saw a "conflict" of interest. A small murmur ran through the crowd. (Sorry, folks; that was the high point...)

  • McBride make the idiotic accusation that water is now more expensive than gasoline, and that this is Bush's fault. Well, commercially bottled water can be more expensive than petrol, yes. But it's rather more cost-effective to take a bath with water from the faucet than with either Aquafina or 87-octane. See, I could make the accusation that bed linens are now more expensive than gold. And that might be true, if the only bed linens you consider are those made from the crotch hairs of supermodels. But, if you go to K-Mart, you'll find some that are rather affordably priced. (Especially the Martha Stewart line : now 99% off! Just like shares of ImClone!)

  • JEB! is really tall.

So. The debate ended, the candidates shook hands and the crowd got up to leave. Except for the interviewers, and interviewees. I had to wait for SF to enlighten people from Crystal River to Sarasota about how the mind of the "independent voter" works. Sickening. She's about as "independent" as Himmler at a rally for the National Socialists.

She waited for a bit in the throng of people trying to get either post-debate comments from the governor, or a simple handshake. Bush's handlers allowed 15 minutes or so of this. It turns out SF was, sadly, unable to meet the man. I hadn't tried, preferring instead to eavesdrop on the almost "Rain Man"-like mumblings of John Morgan, who was standing nearby.

We boarded the bus back to the parking lot. Just before reaching her vehicle, a gentleman from 580 AM interviewed her. I commented that she really ought to run for something now, with all this media experience under her belt. As we left the lot, we saw the GreenPeace wildmen waving to the passing cars. I flashed them a peace sign; no response. (Is sarcasm really that noticeable from a distance?) We drove back to her apartment while listening to the radio, as her sound bite ran during local news breaks, every thirty minutes.

Funny place and time we live in, really. The brother of the president of the United States, who just happens to be the sitting governor of a major state, is running for re-election in a surprisingly tight race. The party that controls the governor's mansion will have a big advantage in winning the state's electoral votes in 2004. Florida may very well hold the key to the next presidential election, as it did in the last. So, today's little radio debate might very well decide who wins the gubernatorial election, which in turn might decide who wins the presidency in two years. This was history I witnessed, a special screening, if you will, of the tiny factors, the metaphorical butterfly's wings, that will have an indeterminately large impact on which political path our nation, and to some extent the world, takes in the coming years.

Now, when the hell is somebody gonna interview me??

Sunday, October 13, 2002


In Bali.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

I wonder what happened...

Did Senator Clinton visit Florida and go skinny-dipping?