Losing Before the Starting Line

Glen Beck, the lat­est angry US pun­dit, spoke out a cou­ple of days ago against US Pres­i­dent Obama’s (now unsuc­cess­ful) trip to Copen­hagen to lobby the Olympic Com­mit­tee to hold the 2016 Olympics in Chicago. He men­tioned that the Van­cou­ver Olympics had already “lost a bil­lion dollars”.

The White House called him out on the fact that as we all know all-too-well around here, the Olympics haven’t taken place yet:

RHETORIC: BECK SAID VANCOUVER LOST $1 BILLION WHEN ITHAD THE OLYMPICS.” Glenn Beck said, “Van­cou­ver lost, how much was it? they lost a bil­lion dol­lars when they had the Olympics.” [Tran­script, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]

REALITY: VANCOUVER’S OLYMPICS WILL NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL 2010. Van­cou­ver will host the 2010 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games from Feb­ru­ary 12 – 28, 2010 and March 12–21, 2010, respec­tively. [Vancouver2010.com, accessed 9/29/09]

In response, Beck explained that he meant Cal­gary, and then began an account­ing of how much he thinks Van­cou­ver is going to lose, with the final tab com­ing to some­where around a 4.5 billion-dollar short­fall. I’m speech­less. The audio, via YouTube, is below:

Things Only a Republican Could Believe

I haven’t blogged much about US pol­i­tics in a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been fol­low­ing the farce that is the cur­rent debate about ‘Death Pan­els’, Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate, Con­spir­a­cies about the sub­ver­sive art­work around Rock­e­feller Cen­ter and other inanities.

I saw this on reddit.com, and would nor­mally merely link to it, but it’s so spot-on that I just had to include it here. Sure, it’s got some rude words and is a bit angry, but these days, so are a lot of us:

So, y’all remem­ber that email that went around years ago called “Things Only a Repub­li­can Could Believe”? I’m pretty sure there was a Demo­c­ra­tic vari­ant as well. Well, I’ve put together a new and updated list and wanted to run it by you. Please feel free to add to it or offer corrections\comments. If you like it — email it out to your spam­ming list. I’m hop­ing for a bit of a viral effect to get it cir­cu­lat­ing. Satire is an effec­tive weapon against craziness!

I make no apolo­gies if you con­sider your­self a Repub­li­can. I am a reg­is­tered Inde­pen­dent and have voted Repub­li­can at var­i­ous lev­els of gov­ern­ment, but the cur­rent crop of Repub­li­cans at the national level are off the reser­va­tion. To call them bat shit crazy would be an insult to bat shit.

  • Par­ents who don’t want their chil­dren to pray in school are Anti-American zealots — par­ents who don’t want their chil­dren to lis­ten to a speech by the Pres­i­dent of the United States telling them to work hard and get good grades are noble patriots.
  • Peace­fully demon­strat­ing against the coun­try start­ing an inter­na­tional war is trea­son — show­ing up with auto­matic weapons to protest health­care reform is democ­racy at its finest.
  • Any gov­ern­ment offi­cial with a desk job should have every action scru­ti­nized — any gov­ern­ment offi­cial with a badge and a gun should never be ques­tioned or dis­re­spected. At all. Ever.
  • Ques­tion­ing the legit­i­macy of an elec­tion because the “win­ner” was selected by the Supreme Court is sour grapes — ques­tion­ing the legit­i­macy of an elec­tion because the win­ner (by the largest num­ber of votes in Amer­i­can his­tory) is really a Kenyan born Mus­lim despite all evi­dence to the con­trary is being a vig­i­lant American.
  • Lying about a blowjob is an impeach­able offense — lying about a war is no big deal, really.
  • Inves­ti­gat­ing a shady land deal involv­ing the First Lady is a mat­ter of National Iden­tity — inves­ti­gat­ing the use of tor­ture at the direc­tion of the Exec­u­tive Branch is a par­ti­san witch hunt.
  • Exe­cut­ing Japan­ese offi­cers for water­board­ing pris­on­ers dur­ing WWII shows that we have the moral high-ground on human rights — water­board­ing (our own) pris­on­ers of our shows that we have the moral high ground on human rights.
  • Sit­ting two rows in front of Jane Fonda in a 1970 anti-war rally is an OUTRAGE!  Shak­ing Saddam’s hand in 1983…meh, not so much.
  • Any­one who ques­tions the pres­i­dent dur­ing a time of war is giv­ing aide and com­fort to the enemy and should be deported…unless the pres­i­dent in ques­tion has a (D) next to their name in which case you should under­mine them at every turn even if you have to rou­tinely make shit up to do it.
  • Social­ism, Marx­ism, Com­mu­nism and Fas­cism are all inter­change­able words that mean pretty much the same thing.
  • Any­one who abuses drugs should be locked up indefinitely…unless they are a pop­u­lar Repub­li­can radio host in which case they need your prayers as they recover from the ill­ness of addiction.
  • Health Insur­ance com­pa­nies have your best inter­ests in mind and any­one who thinks oth­er­wise is try­ing to turn Amer­ica into the God­less hea­then nation of Swe­den where every­one in the coun­try dies (eventually).
  • Obama is an athe­ist com­mu­nist mus­lim who attended a rad­i­cal chris­t­ian church.
  • Believ­ing that human activ­ity could impact the global envi­ron­ment is crazy talk — believ­ing that an invis­i­ble man in the sky per­son­ally told George Bush to invade Iraq to ful­fill Bib­li­cal prophecy is log­i­cally sound.
  • The ver­dict is still out on evo­lu­tion — but Jesus Christ return­ing in our life­times is a pretty much a given.
  • The media are unques­tion­ably biased against Repub­li­cans — Talk Radio, The Wash­ing­ton Times, The Weekly Stan­dard, The Wall Street Jour­nal, Rightwing Blogs, Fox News and News­Corp are not part of the media.
  • The gov­ern­ment should have no part in reg­u­lat­ing multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions as they make deci­sions that impact the lives of mil­lions of peo­ple — gov­ern­ment should reg­u­late indi­vid­u­als by deter­min­ing who they can marry, what kind of inter­course they can have, what they can smoke, how to man­age their preg­nancy and how to pro­ceed with end of life decisions.
  • Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with hos­tile nations is a stab in the back to our great nation — Rea­gan com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the USSR dur­ing the Cold War was Polit­i­cal Genius.
  • Iran is a mor­tal threat to our nation and any­one who attempts to talk to them is trai­tor­ous scum — sell­ing weapons to Iran and then fun­nel­ing the money to start wars in South Amer­ica is clearly in our National interest.
  • George Bush kept the nation safe after 9–11 (NOTE: the Anthrax attacks, the DC Sniper and Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina don’t count. Also, the fact that 9–11 hap­pened on his watch despite receiv­ing a secu­rity brief­ing specif­i­cally warn­ing of the attack doesn’t count either.)
  • Social Secu­rity, Mei­d­care, pub­lic school­ing, pub­lic libraries, fire depart­ments, police depart­ments and the US Mil­i­tary are as Amer­i­can as Apple Pie — uni­ver­sal health­care is ZOMGDEATHPANELSOCIALISM!!
  • George W Bush is a reg­u­lar ‘olé Texas rancher just like you and me despite the fact that he was born in Con­necti­cut, attended two Ivy League schools, bought the Craw­ford ranch just before run­ning for pres­i­dent, sold it imme­di­ate after leav­ing office and is ter­ri­fied of horses.
  • The two guys at the cen­ter of the Water­gate and Iran-Contra scan­dals are trust­wor­thy voices in dis­cus­sions of cur­rent national pol­icy and should be taken at face-value.

…and my addi­tion that I heard some time back on twit­ter and still quote to this day:

  • Gay Mar­riage is a crime against nature but Tur­ducken is OK??
  • Fol­low up:
    I loved this bit of video from MSNBC that sums up how I’m feel­ing about a great deal of Amer­ica these days:

    Fox News Has No Shame (as Usual)

    When Gov­er­nor Mark San­ford made his tear­ful Press Con­fer­ence announc­ing that he had secretly left the US to visit the woman he was hav­ing an affair with in Buenos Aires (and left his wife and sons over Father’s Day — Classy move, dude), Fox News decided that this was rea­son enough to switch his party affil­i­a­tion for him (notice the ‘D’ next to his name):

    Mark Sanford Now a Democrat?

    Mark San­ford Now a Democrat?

    They later cor­rected it, but not after leav­ing this lie up a good long time.

    Nice try.

    Update: Appar­ently, they (Fox, that is) have indeed been at this a long time.

    Brilliance From Keith Olbermann

    Keith Olber­mann, the MSNBC pun­dit, and fre­quent spokesman for the US Left, kept me believ­ing that com­mon decency had not com­pletely left our for­mer coun­try dur­ing the last admin­is­tra­tion. I still watch his show via an iTunes pod­cast, since we don’t get MSNBC here. I’ve kept watch­ing him, mainly because I still want to keep in touch with what’s going on down there, and I have to admit that the results of yesterday’s Provin­cial elec­tion here have me a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed, espe­cially since we can’t vote yet. (I’d say ‘Wait till next year’, but we’ll have to wait another 4 years to get our chance.)

    Despite the fact that Olber­mann doesn’t have George W. Moron to kick around any more (and let’s face it, as James Carville said on Real Time with Bill Maher: “The man was a walk­ing punch-line.”), every once in a while he is able to mix his por­tion of out­rage with equal parts humour, and the result is price­less. Tonight, he was in rare form, and I just had to share:

    He’s a geniusGenius, I tells ya’!

    Coming Up for Air and Tired Old Phrases

    I’ve had to neglect blog­ging for much of this month, because I’ve been work­ing very hard. It’s hope­fully going to work out in the end, but this is one of those times where I have to keep inton­ing that mantra “It’s Only Tem­po­rary.” So, while today was one of those picture-perfect days we in Van­cou­ver get in the spring and sum­mer, I must con­fess that I only saw it via the occa­sional peek at a the KatKam web­cam from my win­dow­less office. I might as well have been under­ground, instead out in the place that has once again been named by Mer­cer Con­sult­ing, Num­ber 4 of the ‘Top 5 qual­ity of liv­ing rank­ing for cities world­wide’. While I am proud of the fact that my home is once again up there with Vienna, Zurich, Geneva and Auck­land as one of the best places to live, I have to admit that for us per­son­ally, for a vari­ety of rea­sons,  it’s been a very tough past cou­ple months. How­ever, I’m look­ing for­ward to beau­ti­ful sunny days with cool breezes, local straw­ber­ries and aspara­gus, walks along the False Creek sea­wall and the return of the Farmer’s Mar­kets on the week­ends. The foun­tain in the park across the street is flow­ing again, and the tulips are out in full force. I just have to be sure to get out and enjoy all of those things. After all, they are all only tem­po­rary as well.

    Heard Often. Way Too Often

    To keep an eye on our for­mer coun­try, Pam and I have tried to catch one of the net­work news chan­nels from the US each evening over din­ner, so we keep switch­ing between TiVO record­ings of Brian (Williams), Katie (Couric) and Char­lie (pro­nounced the way Sarah Palin did in the puff-piece inter­views he did her, as the sharp, twangy CHAR-ly, Gib­son). I’ve been notic­ing an annoy­ing ten­dency by both the reporters as well as the pub­lic (and politi­cians) for using the same phrases over and over again. Here are a few that I’ve just about had enough of:

    Come Together
    What does that phrase mean? Aside from the sex­ual double-entendre, as far as I can tell, it means to have a pub­lic meet­ing where  prob­lems like gang vio­lence, racial strife and poverty are all mag­i­cally over­come by an aura of good fel­low­ship. Sorry, I’m not buy­ing it. It’s an empty phrase uttered over and over again in front of TV cam­eras by peo­ple who have no idea what they are saying.

    Bipar­ti­san
    Until recently ‘bipar­ti­san’ used to mean some­thing. I think it meant that both of the big, iconic US polit­i­cal par­ties sup­port some­thing, as opposed to its more com­mon oppo­site, ‘par­ti­san’ (which now that I think of it, could have been Monopar­ti­san). Now,’ bipar­ti­san’ is uttered by politi­cians mean­ing (depend­ing on which side they are on)  ‘Some­thing I wanted but never got’ or ‘Some­thing we should all look like we are try­ing for even though we really don’t want it any­way’.  Like Lite and Fat-Free or Sus­tain­able, it’s an now a mean­ing­less word held aloft like a flag of vic­tory or rag of defeat.

    Wall Street always fol­lowed by Main Street
    It used to be that you could say ‘Wall Street’ and every­body knew that it referred to the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the other busi­ness and orga­ni­za­tions in that gen­eral geo­graphic area of Man­hat­tan. Now, like Twee­dle Dee and Twee­dle Dum or Flot­sam and Jet­sam, it has become a stu­pid short­hand for the hos­til­ity between the rich and con­nected in the Finan­cial Ser­vices Sec­tor vs. Mid­dle Amer­ica. Like two squab­bling chil­dren, we are sup­posed to make sure both are taken care of, but not to let the other get jeal­ous or sulky. I hope they break up the idiom before it becomes another ‘prim and proper’ or ‘tooth and nail’.

    Bailout
    ’Bailout’ orig­i­nally meant ‘an act of loan­ing or giv­ing cap­i­tal to a fail­ing com­pany in order to save it from bank­ruptcy, insol­vency, or total liq­ui­da­tion and ruin’. (Wikipedia). Now it’s almost become a joke phrase, mean­ing  Free Money.  Enough, already. It’s never funny.

    …and the word or phrase that I’ve found the both the most ubiq­ui­tous and annoy­ingly impre­cise on the news these past months:

    Trans­par­ent
    I’ve heard this word used so many times, I’ve started doing the old Pee-Wee’s Play­house shtick (well, not scream­ing real loud, but say­ing ‘ding!’) every time it is uttered.  I think it was to sug­gest that like a glass house, the oper­a­tions and deci­sions of an orga­ni­za­tion (such as the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment) were to be eas­ily appre­hended by the pub­lic, typ­i­cally by using a Web Site or some other pub­licly acces­si­ble medium. Wasn’t that what C-SPAN was sup­posed to do? (except of course, nobody but the wonks and fanat­ics both­ered to watch it). Again, like ‘Come Together’, Trans­par­ent is another word or phrase overused to the point of meaninglessness.

    There are oth­ers, but these are the ones that come to mind today. I’m sure that in a few weeks I’ll be sick of ‘Tor­ture Memo’ and ‘Pan­demic’, because they’ll have been made just as mean­ing­less through rep­e­ti­tion by that time.