An International Embarassment

I had a conversation a couple of days ago with a friend that thinks Fox News is actually “Fair and Balanced.”

I say that so you’ll know that we almost never agree on anything…except that America needs to be ashamed of the way we treat our veterans. Oh, sure, we love the Hell out of them when they are dying for us in some cesspool of political corruption halfway around the world.

We just can’t seem to love them if they live through their enlistments and then turn to us for the benefits we promised them…AND…Jesus help them if they were wounded or get old or both.
Janet Jackson’s nipple pops out at the Super Bowl, and we can generate outrage out the ass. Some poor infantry soldier’s leg pops off when an IED explodes and he can’t get the absolute best Goddamn prosthetic leg in Goddamn record time, and it’s, “Ho-motherf**king-Hum.”

My Dad is 85. He enlisted in the Navy in 1946. He is considered a WW II-era veteran. He’s about as young as a WW II-era veteran can be. Korean War-era veterans are in their late 70s. I’m going to be 60 in August. I was never in the service, but I am about as young as a Vietnam-era veteran can be. Older vets need more care…AND we owe them.

We have veterans from both Gulf wars, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a million other places where gunfire wasn’t exchanged that are 50 and younger. They all that served out of a sense of duty…AND, partially, because we told them we’d take care of them when their service was completed.
Apparently, we lied.

There is no excuse for this international embarrassment. Presidents Obama, et al, should be ashamed. Democrats and Republicans that haven’t taken care of our veterans should be horse whipped. All this takes to solve is resolve…and we have had damned little of that in Washington, D. C., so far in the 21st Century.

At funerals of veterans the honor guard presents the family of the departed a folded American flag. The honor guard then thanks the family on behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation for the veteran’s service. How about we thank veterans that are still alive by honoring our commitments to them?

• “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, we’ve scheduled your annual physical for next week instead of next decade.”
• “Sorry about your leg; here’s one you can use until we get your new one from the manufacturer.”
• “Wow, we are overwhelmed this month, but you can go to a civilian doctor and have the doctor send the bill to us.”

I have another idea about how we might show the members of the armed forces that we love them and appreciate their commitment to defending our collective asses…How about we don’t get quite so many of them killed or wounded?

Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, as well as most of the rest of the neo-cons that thought “liberating” Iraq was just a peachy idea, have come up with a plan to make more dead and injured veterans…they want to basically occupy Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Ukraine, and any other place “freedom is at risk.”

Senator McCain, please retire. You have served your country for a long time as a warrior in the Navy and as a member of the United States Senate. You used to be a “straight talker,” but now it’s starting to get embarrassing.

Senator Graham, please shut up. I know you are scared that some South Carolina Tea Party nut bag (a tautology) will come along and challenge you to a nut bag duel for the hearts and minds of your nut bag constitutes, but, just shut up…you come off sounding like Scarlet O’Hara in a snit.

Goodbye, Eric Cantor

I will not miss you…however, that may change. David Brat, the man that beat you in the Republican primary, gives God credit for his victory. He thinks other Christians haven’t done enough to promote the teachings of Jesus.

Really, when you think about it, the teachings of Jesus aren’t the problem…love thy neighbor as thy self…that which you do to the least of these, you do unto me…feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick…I’ve always found it was the teachers and not the teachings that screw up the whole thing.

Goodbye, Uncle Bob

We had to say goodbye to my Uncle Bob Mayer late last month. Bob died following a short illness. He and my Aunt Ruthie were married for 44 years. He was a retired FBI Special Agent and an Army veteran. He was the kind of man that always did the next right thing. People like that are getting rarer these days. I will miss him.

Is there a solution?

By Bill Devol

The legend being told by my conservative friends is that President Obama got re-elected by the trick of telling black and brown people, the poor, the under employed, the elderly, the gay, people without health care, and the student what they wanted to hear.

What I try to point out is that black and brown people, the poor, the under employed, the elderly, the gay, people without health care and the student make up a majority of Americans.

One friend tells me that if I knew the truth, I’d have voted for Mitt Romney. When I inquire as to what the truth might be, my friend says that Obama won the election by telling black and brown people, the poor, the under employed, the elderly, the gay, people without health care, and the student what they wanted to hear.

This vicious circle repeats itself in discussion after discussion.

I tell my friend that the Republicans have to realize that there aren’t enough white people to win an election by appealing to them alone. My friend thinks I’m “playing the race card” (he actually says that phrase). I say, no, look at the statistics; Barack Obama got his ass handed to him by white men in the last election…he just won nearly every other constituency.

The Republican Party can’t win with the “Southern Strategy” any longer…unless they figure out a way to curtail the voting rights of black and brown people, the poor, the under employed, the elderly, the gay, people without health care, and the student.

The number of states trying some tactic to screw one group or all groups of Obama voters is growing every day. If the Republicans can keep Obama voters away from the polls, the Southern Strategy could eke out a victory one more time

This is a strategy that has a shelf life slightly longer than a fart in a tornado. Yet, it’s what Republicans cling to with all their strength. Those dirty, lousy Obama voters stole two elections by giving the President a majority over both John McCain and Mitt Romney in successive elections.

What my Republican friend is saying is that we cheated when we paid attention to what Republicans were saying and deciding we didn’t like the message that black and brown people, the poor, the under employed, the elderly, the gay, people without health care, and the student were all ruthlessly self-centered and lazy. Yep, we should just slap ourselves in the forehead with the heel of our hand and accept that we are the problem.

This is denial with a capital D-E-N-I-A-L.

Barack Obama didn’t win…he tricked people into voting for him. He never really had the experience to do a good job…he went from black guy to President without anything in between. He won’t compromise. He hates America…blah…blah…blah.

These people want nothing good for Barack Obama…that means they want nothing good for America. If Republicans don’t get their asses handed to them in the 2014 mid-term elections, they will get worse. If they get their asses handed to them, they will get worse.

Then we move into the 2016 pre-game.

The Republicans will try to block all the liberal voters they can while they double down on the crazy. They will use the “We weren’t Republican enough last time” strategy and come up with somebody like Rand Paul.

If Hillary Clinton beats some nouveau racist, libertarian, Tea Bagger like Rand Paul, the divide in America will widen. The fringe of the Republican Party will become the heart of the party. My Obama-hating friends will become my Hillary-hating friends, and America will spend another decade running in neutral.

That might be the last nail in our coffin…the rest of the world will pass us by. America will have an internal cold war or maybe regional civil war. We have it in us, you know. I hate to admit it, but we have barely tapped into the hatred generated by the demographic changes in America over the past 20 years…

I can’t imagine a solution inside my head…Any solution I dream up requires that people come to their senses and realize “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Currently, we are at a stalemate…unless one side or another gets a prohibitive majority in the House and the Senate, there can be no movement.

P. S.

I overheard two college-educated people (advanced degrees were involved) discussing a supposed, shocking rise in the formation of atheist mega-churches (military intelligence, jumbo shrimp) in America.

One of the two said they shouldn’t be allowed to form churches. When I asked why, the answer was that churches are for worshiping God, so by definition atheist churches should be illegal.

Just before this revelation of Judeo-Christian jurist prudence, the same pair were discussing the Second Amendment and how no one should mess with the Constitution…Dear (fill in the deity of your choice or none at all) help us.

Where was I?

By Bill Devol

I had a dream the other day that Jesus appeared at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Did you know that CPAC actually stands for Caucasian People Acting Crappy?

Michelle Bachmann, not fully realizing she is no longer relevant, was introducing Eric Cantor as “a Jewish man with some really good ideas” when there was a flash of blinding white light and a herald of trumpets.

When everyone’s vision returned, a decidedly Semitic-looking young man in a seamless white robe with a red sash was standing at the podium.

Michelle Bachmann leaned toward Eric Cantor and whispered, “Where did the hippie come from?”

The man at the podium turned to Ms. Bachmann and said, so only she could hear, “I am Jesus, and I can fix those eyes. Find me after I’m done. Oh, and maybe we can work on expelling a few demons while we are at it; you’re a mess.”

The CPAC audience reaction was varied. Many people were asking each other where the hippie came from. There were loud boos and angry shouts…some in the auditorium seemed to recognize the Lord, some were crying, some were praising, and many were running for the exits.

Jesus didn’t need a microphone. When he spoke, everyone in the auditorium heard him in their heads, “How in the world could you screw up something as simple as love thy neighbor as thy self?”

“Seriously,” Jesus continued, “There isn’t any wiggle room in there that I can see… Love thy neighbor as thy self. Unless you are all a bunch of self-loathing idiots, you have completely missed the point.”

“If you think neighbors means just the people in the houses and apartments on either side of your home, you must be smoking something.”

More people started heading for the exits. More people started crying. Newt Gingrich passed a note to his wife asking for a divorce.

“I say feed the hungry, and you people cut food stamps and WIC. Brilliant…you act like it’s always Opposite Day. I say shelter the homeless, and you just tell them to take a bath and get a job. I say to care for the sick, and you try to defund and repeal Obamacare or any other attempt to make health care affordable.”

“People, people, people…sometimes I wish we were still in smiting mode. I could smite the crap out of a few of you. I’d like to give some of you a half-mile head start and then start chucking lightning bolts at your asses, but…we don’t smite any longer.”

“While we are on the topic of weather-related smiting…we do not send tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, or earthquakes as punishment for some cockamamie sins you folks dreamed up…AND…for my sake, leave the gay people alone.”

“One guy with an unrequited man crush writes one verse in the oldest half of the Bible, and you folks lose your minds…It’s an abomination, you shriek…look…Dad invented gay people when he invented leather freaks and vacuum pump freaks. I add this as personal aside…not an order, mind you…I wish the folks that get it on in mascot suits would give it a rest, but Dad invented consenting adults and free will.”

“I came here today because so many of you are doing really sick crap and attributing your motivation to my or Dad’s will…cut this crap out. Do want you will, but don’t try to hide behind me when you do it.”

“Before I leave you today, I’ll repeat two of my greatest hits…Love thy neighbor as thy self…and…What you do to the least of my children, you do unto me…Peace…Out”

Jesus disappeared into the same blinding light in which he appeared…the hall was silent for nearly two minutes before someone in the back of the auditorium screamed, “Socialist!”

The place went crazy.

P. S. – I got a message today from someone on Daily Kos asking after me because I haven’t posted since early August. That felt really good…it kind of bumped me out of a rut into which I had fallen.

In case anyone else wants to know…

I got a new day job about August 1. It’s hard to participate in KOS and Firedoglake from work because I’m really busy and people are watching…the new job is stuff I’m good at…it’s way closer to home (no freeway driving)…it’s more money…I’m remodeling a room at home…I don’t get all the sleep I need.

I am trying to carve out time to write posts, but I think age may be creeping up on me…it takes tons of energy to keep up with the kids at work.

I work with a real Obama hater, so I have kept my hand in pissing off conservatives. It’s a good thing my coworker and I are friends. The other day I told him that Hannity was ancient Greek for “lying motherf**ker.”

Be well.

Apollo Lunar Landing Lunacy Act

By Bill Devol

H.R. 2617, the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act, was introduced to Congress on July 8 of this year by Representative Donna Edwards. Ms. Edwards is a Democrat representing Maryland’s 4 Congressional District. Her district surrounds the east side of the District of Columbia and follows a narrow corridor across I-95 and spreads out again south of Baltimore almost to the seashore.

The following is excerpted from the actual House Resolution:

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds that–

(1) on July 20, 1969, Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr. became the first people to set foot on another celestial body, during the Apollo 11 mission;

(2) between 1969 and 1972, Apollo Missions 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17 all saw American astronauts visit the surface of the Moon;

(3) the 1970 Apollo 13 mission, which was aborted due to a serious malfunction en route to the Moon, also circled the Moon;

(4) the Apollo lunar program was one of the greatest achievements in American history;

(5) as commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity; and

(6) establishing the Historical Park under this Act will expand and enhance the protection and preservation of the Apollo lunar landing sites and provide for greater recognition and public understanding of this singular achievement in American history.

SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

The purposes of this Act are–

(1) to preserve and protect for the benefit of present and future generations the nationally significant historic sites associated with the Historical Park;

(2) to preserve and protect for scientific inquiry the artifacts described in section 5(b); and

(3) to improve public understanding of the Apollo program and its legacy through preservation of the historic resources associated with the Apollo lunar landing sites.

My Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Bob sent me an actual letter (kids, look it up) in which they included a newspaper (imagine if Google News could get your hands dirty) clipping about this proposed Act.

The first thing I did was run to http://www.snopes.com to find the entry that told me this was a hoax. I searched and searched, but lunar parks were not mentioned. I Googled the Act, and I’ll be a son-of-a-bitch if it wasn’t the truth.

The first thing I thought when I read H.R. 2617 was “Holy crap, I missed the news story about how Congress solved all its differences and the country’s problems and now has time to fiddle fart around.”

I searched the news and found no such story…in lieu of fixing anything of any real importance to American citizens, Congress will consider this lunacy. My Uncle Bob summed it up with a note on the news clipping that said, “This is what we elect these clowns for…protect the Moon, but don’t worry about the deficit?”

Yes, Uncle Bob, that’s what it has come to, but, if it makes you feel any better, the web site http://www.govtrack.us gives the resolution only a 21 percent chance of getting out of committee and an anemic 7 percent chance of becoming law.

It has come to Representatives and Senators sitting around a twiddling their legislative thumbs because no real work can be done. Hell, the House cut the SNAP program and voted to repeal Obamacare 40 times.

The vast majority of people feel the same way as my Uncle…”DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT!”

The nation’s debt limit must be raised by October 1 of this year. Congress and the President have been coming to last-minute compromises and narrowly avoiding a government shut down for more than a year and a half.

Republican legislators are going home for summer recess to find their Tea Bagger constituents calling for letting the whole thing grind to a halt…total shutdown…everybody get your ball glove and go home…you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here…sorry, Pal, we don’t owe you any hospital care because you lost your leg in Afghanistan…screw everybody and don’t touch my shit or I’ll shoot you.

This is America in 2013…a whole bunch of people want the system destroyed so it can rise from its ashes as a leaner, meaner, screw all you brown people, poor people, old people, sick people, and women country.

Uncle Bob, what really scares me is that Democratic polling shows Republicans will be blamed if a shutdown happens, so in their tiny little politician hearts, Democrats look at a total shutdown as a plus for their party.

I leave you with this quote from (I think) the 1951 Disney film version of Alice in Wonderland that perfectly describes what’s happening:

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

Starve them until they get jobs

By Bill Devol

Republicans think people on food stamps are lazy bastards that won’t ever make anything of themselves until we starve a few of them off of the government teat.

Have you ever been on food stamps?

I was once on unemployment, paying child support, alimony, and rent…AND…I still wasn’t poor enough for food stamps. I don’t ever want to be poor enough to qualify for food stamps.

Yet, Republicans act like being on food stamps or WIC or any of the programs that try to make sure no one in the richest country in the world has to go to bed hungry is a choice made by lazy, good-for-nothings because they would rather not work.

Republicans will tell you that unemployment and federal nutrition assistance is the reason people are out of work. If you start starving them and their children, the Republicans say, they’ll go get one of the millions of good jobs just lying about waiting for unlazy people to take them.

This myth that people are living in poverty because something is wrong with them has to be dragged out into the sunlight and be staked through the heart. This myth has sucked the compassion out of America. Far too many people in this country believe that good people live well, and bad people live badly because they are lazy.

It’s been quite a while since I blogged about anything…I can’t believe I just used a form of the verb blog…blog, blogged, blogging. I may fit into this century, yet.

My inability to blog has come for two reasons.

First, I have worked for three companies since the first of June. The first place got sold to second company, and a week later I accepted a job offer from a third company.

Second, June and July left me full up to the eyeballs of asshole Republicans.

If you agree with the following, you are an asshole Republican:

  • Let’s punish lazy sluts that get knocked up and force them to have babies so we can punish their hungry babies later.
  • Let’s make sure black, brown, young, poor, and old people have a hard time voting.
  • Let’s do everything we can to stall any progress on anything that could help Americans so we can blame it on the President and pack the House and the Senate with more Republican assholes so we can kick the hungry, poor, homeless, pregnant, black, brown, sick, and old people in the collective balls.
  • The country sucks because the hungry, poor, homeless, pregnant, black, brown, and old people have been sucking it dry with their damn laziness.
  • Old, sick people need to get busy living or get busy dying, but they have got to stop looking for handouts and do one or the other on their own.
  • If we tell kids what their sex parts are for, they will want to start using them to do those things. (Blogger’s Note: When I was a kid, my peers told me what my sex parts were for, but I had already figured out 90 percent of it by virtue of having the stuff where I could easily get my hands on it.)
  • Towns like Detroit need to die before they can be reborn into conservative wonderlands.
  • It’s the weak and the powerless that are dragging America down…who needs them?
  • Sluts need to tie their legs together…AND…sluts that are just asking for rape need to wear wet suits.
  • God hates gay people, and it’s up to us to make life as hard as possible on them so they will stop choosing to be gay and just turn straight, already.
  • Mexicans are all drug mules that have broken the law and have come to American to take all the good crop-picking, landscaping, dishwashing, and bathroom cleaning jobs.
  • Good women don’t have unwanted pregnancies and NEVER get raped.
  • Black people, come on, really, you act like everybody still hates nigg…ah, like everybody still hates colored people. You have to bring race into everything.

It’s this crap that keeps me from being able to deal with these people as members of the human race. All I want to do is slap them silly.

It’s not just Republicans…

Anthony Weiner, Carlos Danger, whatever, take your penis and go home. The Mayor of New York has to be a dick sometimes, but we don’t need one that thinks no woman is complete without feasting her eyes on the magic schlong of Carlos Danger.

Why can’t we get some non-assholes to run for office? What would be wrong with getting something done and both sides getting the credit? Why can’t we all just get along?

I guess it must be because good people naturally shun assholes, so no good people want to go anywhere near Washington, D. C.

May you live in interesting times

By Bill Devol

 I personally have been living in interesting times, and my country has been right there with me.

 Three weeks ago I went to a job interview basically as a favor to a friend. Two weeks ago, on Monday, the company I work for told us our group was being sold, and we would become employees of our new master by July 1.

 Two weeks ago Tuesday, I got a job offer from the aforementioned interview contingent on passing a background check…I passed. Two weeks from this coming Monday, I start a new job.

 I know how incredibly lucky I am. There are way too many people without even one job and I get a choice of jobs…it feels weird.

 As weird as that feels, America is even weirder.

 Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas 36th Congressional District) has sponsored H.R. 2625, which would strip public school districts of federal funding if said schools try to impose imaginary gun control.

 Stockman is crazy angry that some schools in America are making the use of even a “pretend” gun (point your finger and say, “Bang, bang!”) a suspendable offense. I guess Stockman feels that school is where children should learn that loaded weapons are the best way to solve disputes and decrease crime.

 Illinois’ lawmakers overturned a gubernatorial veto this week to allow Illinois to become the final of the 50 states to pass a law allowing its citizens to carry a concealed weapon.

 It will be legal to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois starting in 2014. The liberals had to mess with the law, however; you must be at least 21 and you can’t  have been convicted of a misdemeanor or drug violation or undergone treatment for alcohol or drug addiction, in the last five years. You must not have any pending arrest warrants or other offenses, as well. Hmmmm, mentally disturbed…not on the list?

 In Ohio, women wishing abortions will have to get a state-mandated lecture from their doctor and an abdominal ultra-sound. Should anything go wrong during the actual abortion, women can’t be admitted to a public hospital…they can be admitted to a private hospital (for lots more money). Oh, if rape crises centers even use the word “abortion” while counseling victims…the center can lose its state funding.

 In Texas, the woman behind the Texas anti-abortion bill, Republican Representative Jodie Laubenberg, believes rape kits prevent pregnancy, “In hospital emergency rooms, we have funded what’s called rape kits that will help the woman, basically clean her out. And then hopefully that will alleviate that.”

 If rape kits work the way Miss Jodie suggests and conception had already happened, the brilliant Miss Jodie is saying Texas already funds some abortions.

  Why are Republicans fonder of the unborn than the born? To Republicans, abortions are awful, but so is SNAP, WIC, free or reduced breakfasts, free or reduced lunches, free or reduced medical care, Head Start, after school programs, and gun control.

 While you float in your mother’s uterus, you apparently have potential in the eyes of Republicans. Once you arrive, you fall victim to that pervasive welfare mentality Republicans are always talking about. Little, newborn babies suddenly become all about the handout. They quit even trying to make something of themselves.

  • “The state will roll me over; I don’t have to learn how.”
  • “I don’t have to get potty trained; Uncle Sam will wipe my ass and change my diaper.” 
  • “Walk? Kiss my ass; you walk over here with my check, and bring some of those government-surplus Cheerios with you.”

 Texas Governor Rick Perry has announced that he won’t run for another term. Jesus, he had to get out of the way or Republicans had no chance of keeping the Governorship in the land of armadillos.

 I have admitted that I overestimated Rick Perry’s intelligence by a factor of at least 100…or, I underestimated the intelligence of the Republican primary voter. I had Perry winning the nomination in 2012. I’m glad I was wrong, but I think he’s going to run again…aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh!

 I’ll leave you with the story of some nuts from ten counties in the northern part of Colorado that want to leave their current state and become “North Colorado.” These folks are mad that they have been disenfranchised by not getting their way on gun regulations and petroleum industry regulations. They want far less of each than the majority of Colorado citizens.

 No, you assholes…Disenfranchisement is not getting to vote at all…it’s not finding yourself on the losing side. Disenfranchisement  is keeping people from voting all together…like what Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama…you get the idea.

 If you vote and lose, it isn’t the same as losing the vote.

 And, because I love saying it…”Suck it, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia. Did anyone ever tell you that you are beautiful when you are apoplectic about Gay people?”

In the summertime…

By Bill Devol

Summer just started, and next Tuesday will be six months from Christmas. As the hair grays time starts whizzing by faster and faster until your nose starts to heat up and turn red from the friction (or the booze).

Back in the post-diaper period of life every day is summer. Then your parents explain the concept of school to you, and you just know it’s a bad idea. Then they explain summer vacation to you, and you accept the deal with the Devil.

When I was a kid, summers alternated between really good and different. The really good summers were those when we stayed where we were. The good summers were after kindergarten, after second grade, after seventh grade, and then all through high school.

I was a Navy dependent. We followed Dad. The different summers included moving to a new place where we could all be “the new kid.” Being the new kid was second nature, and thus part of life. It was the travel that I remember.

I added it up once, and I think I was a passenger seven times in cross-country car trips. I saw stuff.

I saw the Corn Palace in South Dakota. I saw a gigantic stuffed bear in a Reno, Nevada casino. I walked the original strip in Las Vegas…before it was a covered light show. I saw Mt. Rushmore. I saw the Black Hills. I saw the Badlands. I learned what deep was by staring into the Grand Canyon.

We had a 1965 Ford Station Wagon, and Mom and Dad went out Route 66 through the southwest desert with 4 kids and a dog. It got so hot that we thought the dog was going to perish, so we stopped at a diner in the middle of nowhere (I swear it was like the diner in Alice.) The waitress let us come in with our dog and gave him water with ice. We ate there, and we didn’t leave until the sun started to go down. I hope that woman had the greatest life.

One summer we went from Ohio to San Francisco to get Dad after his first tour in Vietnam. In Sacramento the morning of the day Dad arrived it was over 100o. When we picked Dad up in San Francisco it was 55o. We were freezing. When Dad had left Da Nang, Vietnam two days earlier, it had been 120o.

The Disney company gave us free tickets to Disneyland because Dad was a returning Vietnam vet. I never once thought of how bizarre it must have been for Dad. He had been a Navy Corpsman in a Marine field hospital at Phu Bai, South Vietnam a week before he was taking us on the Dumbo ride. WOW! His mind must have been blown.

When I was a teacher, summers were awesome. The last day of school is exciting for students, but it was a religious experience for me. My summers were short because I coached football, but I managed to cherish every day…even days I slept through.

The first summer I wasn’t a teacher was terribly depressing. Up until that summer, my life had been punctuated every year by a three-month sabbatical. I would sit in my cubicell and think, “Here I am in summer school while all the other kids are out having fun.”

The summers when my kids were young gave me the chance to relive the old freedom through them. Summers last longer when you live with people that are still living in a time stream that crawls by slowly.

One of the few places time slows down in the summer is in our garden. It is taking forever for tomatoes and peppers to set on. My lettuce got in late, and it’s been almost a week, and I haven’t seen anything but a weed pop up. I think my potatoes rotted in the hills. It rained for a week just after I planted them.

Summer is barely arrived, and I can see it’s in a big hurry. Lately Gail and I have taken to drinking coffee on the back cement slab on weekend mornings and sitting with cold drinks after the yard work and before the mosquitoes. It’s the same yard with the same trees every time, but it’s nice. Time slows down there, as well.

Our dogs, Edgar and Otis, sit out there with us. We drink our coffee and talk. Edgar walks around looking for the hottest sunbeam, and Otis eats the cement and the maple tree spinners until he gags…ah, family.

This summer is just begun, but I know it will soon be done. The trick is to find those places where time slows to a childhood pace. Get to a place where that tick, tick, tick of time can be drowned out by the scolding of squirrels or the arguments of Blue Jays. Watch the birds in your feeder. Wait for the deer to come out for a sunbeam. Remember to go slow.

That dog won’t hunt

By Bill Devol

Down where my folks live in Athens County, Ohio, they have a saying which means an idea or action makes no sense and is doomed to failure…“That dog won’t hunt.”

Mr. President, as to sending arms to people in Syria in hopes that they use them only on their repressive, homicidal, secular government…”That dog won’t hunt.”

That is one really stupid idea. Only a complete idiot would try something like that just because the Republicans are calling him a pussy. All you have to do is resist what appears to be an insane impulse to George W. Bushify your presidency.

Only a man with straw between his ears could look into the future of giving bad guys guns to shoot badder guys and see flowers and accolades. Crap, next you’ll be in a codpiece-enhanced flight suit and giving a “Mission Accomplished” speech on the deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.

Rob Rogers, the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has drawn a cartoon in which a man dressed like Uncle Sam stands before a mirror holding a piece of paper with Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan written on it. The “Uncle Sam” in the mirror is holding a piece of paper that says, “93,000 dead in Syria.”

The Uncle Sam looking into the mirror is saying, “I’ve got three reasons why we shouldn’t get involved in Syria.”

The reflection Uncle Sam is saying, “I’ve got more than three reasons why we should!”

Mr. President, that first list should include the Korean War. The Korean War came so closely on the heels of World War II that we tend not to immediately lump it in with the other “police action” cluster fucks we’ve been involved in. Make no mistake Korea was a cluster fuck.

If you add together the American dead from the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan you see what comes from trying to police the world…dead Americans.

Now, Mr. President, add together all the benefits accrued to the United States of America from our involvement in those wars, and all you get are dead Americans.

Korea is still a mess, and the leader of North Korea is a dangerous douche bag. During the Vietnam War, Senator John McCain was held in an infamous North Vietnamese prison nicknamed the Hanoi Hilton, and now there is an actual Hilton Hotel in Hanoi.

Iraq was and is a disaster that earned us a reputation as torturers and created more dead Americans. In Afghanistan the President we prop up with our military and economic aid, Hamid Karzai, makes Anti-American statements on a regular basis…AND…in return we get dead Americans.

Every time we blunder into a shooting match for “humanitarian” reasons, we create more widows and orphans and get nothing in return except the enmity of the humans we intended to save…oh, and dead Americans.

If we are to be the world’s police department, we must accept the price…no love from the people we protect and dead Americans. There has never been any other outcome.

My father was in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars twice each. He is proud of his service, and we are proud of Dad’s service. I thank God Dad made it home safe all four times, but I’ve got to weigh the benefit of those wars against the dead Americans that came out of those wars…I find the equation lacking.

Mr. President, if you do this thing so the guys don’t call you a pussy, every widow, widower, and orphan you produce will do nothing to make you look manlier. You’ll be another idiot that had to show how big his swinging dick was by seeing how many flag-draped coffins he can ship home to grieving families.

Here is a song from back in the day that says it much better than I:

War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War, it’s got one friend
That’s the undertaker
Ooooh, war, has shattered
Many a young man’s dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much too short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away

(War by Edwin Starr)

So, Mr. President, what is it going to be…you turning into George W. Bush or you showing you still have some sense of decency? You do realize that if you do this thing, the Republicans will NEVER love or respect you…that dog won’t hunt.

Plus, history shows us how this goes…first its guns and bullets, and then it’s advisors, and then some advisors get dead, and then we send troops and they start to come home in body bags…the circle of life or, more accurately, death.

Tick-Tock, Mr. President…should we order more body bags, or what?

I never saw that coming

By Bill Devol

Wow, the government has access to all the online and phone information available about me and everyone else…I never saw that coming.

I personally don’t care if Uncle Sam knows how many times I’ve searched for “Topless Naughty Nurses in Thongs,” but I am shocked, shocked, I tell you, that the government would…sorry, I can’t keep a straight face.

Raise your hand if you are truly surprised that the government has been pulling together all available information on as many people as possible. If you raised your hand, look up naive in Webster’s; I think you’ll see your picture.

Since the days of the ink pot and the quill pen, the government has been keeping tabs on its citizens. The only thing different about America 2013 is that we went and made it too fucking easy for the government to know shit the government doesn’t need to know.

Little Arnie stud muffin can’t comprehend that the picture of his dong he sent to that girl he met at church camp last summer will always be available to any person with an internet connection…how can he understand that his government (a creature that thrives on knowing secrets) loves that it can tell with a few key strokes where Arnie and his cell phone were all day.

“Well, if you don’t have anything to hide why does it bother you?”

The government doesn’t need to know that I requested the latest and supposedly last Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse novel from the Geauga County Library last week.

“The government is keeping us safe.”

Hell, the government was warned about the 9/11 terrorists and didn’t do squat. The government knew the oldest Boston Marathon bomber was up to no good and didn’t do squat. What good is all that information if they don’t use it to keep us healthy and unexploded?

Everything you email everybody winds up in the government’s info-hungry stomach. They know everything about you. The “Cloud” is like an internet party line.

History lesson for the kids…a party line was a phone line that a number of homes shared. Each home had a separate phone number, but each number caused a different ring sequence. My Grandfather’s ring sequence was two long rings and a short ring. Everybody that shared the phone line knew my Grandpa got a call if they knew his ring sequence. Nosy neighbors would listen to other people’s phone calls…just like today!

We can’t put this toothpaste back in the tube. That game is way over. The government has always grabbed what bits it could about folks. You never know when you might want to blackmail a Kennedy with information that they were sleeping with a known Nazi sympathizer during WW II (true story).

I would be outraged, but I’ve known for a long time that the scariest words in any language are, “Hello, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.”

If you want no risks, you have to be totally off the grid. Unfortunately living off the grid is nearly impossible. The government knows what I buy at Giant Eagle, Winn Dixie, Acme Markets, Pet Supplies Plus, Pet Smart, Kmart, and anywhere else I have a connivance card. I am scrutinized and digitized every day of my life.

My only comfort is that I’m not important enough to squash. I don’t have much money, so I don’t give any of it to Political Action Committees or political parties. If someone held a gun to my head in an attempt to get money, they’d either have to shoot or go away empty handed.

Granted, a search of my Facebook page would reveal that I am a wild-eyed liberal with some crazy friends, but I don’t advocate the violent overthrow of anything. If being liberal ever becomes a crime with jail time, I have convicted myself.

What I find truly nutty is the notion that conservatives have that spying on hippies is good and spying on conservatives is bad. Realizing that our government spies on everyone, you would think that we could agree that spying is bad…nope, spying on hippies is good…spying on the Tea Party is bad…or…spying on the Tea Party is good and spying on Hippies is bad.

Never the twain shall meet. It’s just another place the government can divide and conquer the populace.

Do not despair that your government is spying on you. It always has. I’m of the opinion that we don’t spy on our own government enough. If the government has to know about my favorite porn sites, I think I should be able to find out which corporations own which politicians…oh wait…we already can, and we don’t seem to give an honest, collective shit about it, as long as the politicians make noises agreeable to us when she or he speaks in public.

There is still a ton of crazy

By Bill Devol

The outhouse rat is not going to run for her House seat in 2014. I am, of course, referring to Michelle Bachmann whom we all know is crazier than an outhouse rat.

Ms. Rat’s particular strain of crazy was mighty strong. But fans of the crazy need not despair…there is still a ton of crazy in America. We should be well stocked on the crazy for many years to come.

In Portland, Oregon, the anti-science mentality has defeated plans to fluoridate the city’s water supply. Good for them. I don’t blame them for not trusting the government (run by a Black guy) to “help” them and their kids. For all we know that fluoride stuff could cause white folk’s peckers to go soft and then all the brown people would take over.

Portland’s new motto could become, “Portland…our teeth are bad, but look at these peckers.”

John McCain, the Republican Senator from Arizona and the bringer of the Palin, went to Syria this past week. He met with the “good” rebels who want to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and then become America’s bestest friends once they take over.

Senator McCain says we can identify the “good” rebels and then arm them. He has a point…what could possibly go wrong with a plan to give radicalized Muslims a bunch of weapons with which they can overthrow a repressive secular regime that is backed by the Russians who have propped up the secular regime with gifts of weapons and money?

Hell, I don’t know. Has such a thing ever been attempted before? How did it turn out for us? We might as well give McCain’s plan a try…what could go wrong?

America’s Attorney General Eric Holder is investigating himself. This is a tried and true method of getting to the bottom of wrong doing at the Justice Department. It has worked well through Democratic and Republican administrations. In all those instances, no Attorney’s General ever found they had done anything wrong.

I don’t know if Eric Holder did anything wrong. He is probably just a victim of the favorite Republican game in Washington, D. C., “blame Obama, et al.,” but you can be sure Holder will find that Holder did nothing wrong.

President Obama spoke last week and suggested that Congress better get busy and remove his power to drone anybody anywhere before it gets out of hand.

Back in the dark times of post-9/11 trauma, Congress gave Dubya the power to blow up any damn thing and any damn people he wanted. There were a few hazy stipulations about the people and places having a direct link to the people that planned and carried out the 9/11 terror attacks, but our President can still pretty much blow up whatever or whomever he feels like blowing up.

Good one, Mr. President, “I wouldn’t be eating these potato chips if the wife hadn’t bought them. I guess there is nothing I can do but keep eating them until she quits buying them.”

Congress, under the stellar leadership of its Speaker, Republican from Ohio John “Tiny” Boehner (pronounced “boner”), has voted 37 times to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act. It doesn’t matter that the Senate is controlled by Democrats so the vote will not be brought up in the Senate. What matters is that Republicans, whom are accused of doing nothing by the lame-stream media, have done something. Rumor has it that vote 38 is just days away.

In Batavia, Illinois, high school social studies teacher, John Dryden, is in big trouble for explaining the Fifth Amendment to his students as it related to a student survey that included questions about drug and alcohol use. Each survey included the student’s name.

Dryden had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the collective name given to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution which, among other things, provide American citizens the right to religious freedom (Amendment 1), the right to bear arms (Amendment 2), and the freedom from self-incrimination (Amendment 5).

When Dryden explained to his students that they were covered by the Fifth Amendment and need not answer the incriminating questions, he was suspended without pay for one day and reprimanded officially by the Batavia School Board…he could get fired, but the guy is a hippie anyway, so no big deal.

Michelle Bachmann may be drifting out of the public spotlight (dear God, please), but there is still plenty of crazy to go around. Some newer, crazier outhouse rat will surface, or Ms. Rat could decide that America and God need her to run for President again.

Now, that’s crazy in which you can believe.

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