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Friday, September 29, 2006

New Torture Photo Turns Up

Here we have photographic evidence depicting the heinous torture that American military forces regularly inflict upon the people of Iraq. You've heard of "waterboarding," but have you heard of "hand squeezing"? It's a sickening practice that is made to appear to be an ordinary handshake. The man in the white robe has been told (according to an unnamed sources who said he talked to Dan Rather, who heard that Michael Isikoff heard it from somebody who may have been Bob Woodward): "Smile or I'll say something that irritates your self esteem even more than your hand." This combination of physical and verbal abuse is so gruesome that highly sensitive John McCain and and ever empathic Lindsay Graham can't bring themselves to mention it without weeping, or at least sniveling, especially when speaking to audiences in New Hampshire and Iowa. My friends, can we put aside our partisan differences just this once and demand an end to this kind of barbarity before America loses further credibility, especially in Georgetown and Malibu?

Oliver, Stoned

The proper response to people who blow up buildings, lop off journalist's heads with machetes, use children as human shields — that kind of frivolity — is to learn to live with them. This sage advice comes to us from Oliver Stone, the movie maker who became a rich man by mongering cinematic paranoia about the death of JFK. Stone says the money we've spent fighting radical jihadists would have better been directed at fighting "poverty, death, disease, the planet itself and fixing things in our own homes." This is a guy who believes we haven't spent enough money to eradicate poverty. Let's do the math. America has spent roughly $6.6 trillion spent on poverty-related programs in the four decades since President Johnson, with America's black community intended as a primary beneficiary. In the 1950s, America's black middle class was robust. By 2000 there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. Perhaps Mr. Stone would have us keep spending money until there are no remaining black men in college, which presumably will confirm his frequent assertion that America is a fascist state. With that achievement under our belts, we could use the same spending paradigm to tackle death, another issue that Stone wants addressed. Has it occurred to you that death is continuing "problem" because we haven't devoted enough federal money to wiping it out? Above all, the director of "Natural Born Killers" (a movie that exalted children murdering their aging parents using methods that would make Charles Manson wince) wants America to focus on "fixing things in our own homes." Who better to turn to for guidance than Oliver Stone? In 1999 Stone pled no contest to DUI and guilty to a drug-possession charge. Six years later Stone got arrested for driving drunk and possessing drugs. Then he had an affair and got a divorce. Oliver Stone's definitely a guy I want leading the charge for personal responsibility and family values. Let's get busy teaching young people to emulate Oliver Stone's model: Get drunk, go for a drive carrying illegal drugs, cheat on your wife, stand up in other countries and brag about how "ashamed" you are to be a citizen of a nation that gives you the freedom to return and keep earning fabulous amounts of money. The pilot program for Oliver Stone's approach has been extremely successful in Hollywood in recent years. All the more reason why the national version needs funding now.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Depressed"? Who Would Have thought?

Iran and North Korea getting nukes. Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker's office. How to secure American ports against catastrophe. These are among the topics we could discuss today, but I'm tired of the A-list. I feel this need to go slumming. I have learned to honor this feeling. Accordingly, let's talk about Daniel Smith. Turns out Anna Nicole Smith's son died of an accidental drug overdose. Daniel Smith was taking two antidepressant drugs: Zoloft and Lexapro. In combination with metadone, the young man died. It's tragic, but it makes toxicological sense. Here's the part I do not understand: why this kid wouldn't have a really chipper attitude about life. While he was growing up, his mother became famous posing naked for men's magazines. True, later she ballooned to roughly the size of a walrus and did a reality TV show in which she regularly appeared falling down drunk or stoned or some combination of the two, yammering and giggling a lot. But she was just actualizing her potential in the world. At least she wasn't a stay-at-home mother. I mean, how embarrassing to have a mom who doesn't, you know, actualize her potential doing real work. Daniel Smith also had a father. OK, so Billy Smith had not seen his son since the boy was 2 years old. But it's not like the sperm donor was abusive or anything like that. Dad was just, like, gone a lot. He had things to do, beyond the whole repressive nuclear family trip. Depressed? Ya think?