On Something That Seems All Too Familiar

congress

I swear I must have accidentally boarded a time machine set for 1995. Haven’t we done this before?

I’m talking, of course, about the impending shutdown of the Federal government some 1 hour and 50 minutes from now (I’m over here on the left coast, three hours behind Washington D.C.).

Having been through the Shutdown of 1995 I already know what to expect and something I hadn’t experienced before: the National Visa Center will be shut down.

This is important to me because I have a wife in Indonesia who has been waiting patiently for this long, dragged out process to play itself out. After having waited over two years and finally in sight of what looks to be the end the shutdown will delay the process by several months or for however long this shutdown is going to last.

As if I haven’t had enough setbacks during this process already.

In closing, I’m stepping out to put a face on this The Great Government Shutdown of 2013. I am, for all intents and purposes, one of its unintended consequences.

 

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On The Harm Greenpeace Actually Does

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Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Greenpeace states its goal is to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity” and focuses its campaigning on world wide issues such as global warming, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues – except nowadays they seem bent on fulfilling their charter at the cost of human lives and scientific progress.

I used to applaud Greenpeace’s goals. Saving the whales? Sure. Stopping deforestation? Good idea. Going after polluters? Hey, I like clean air and water just as much as the next guy so I can’t object to making sure I’m not being poisoned every time I get a glass of water out of the tap.

I still think these are worthwhile goals. I don’t think it’s right to hunt a species to extinction, cutting down all your trees is a bad idea and nobody likes air you can stab with a fork.

But what happens when we as a species come up with technologies that could actually improve the current human condition and save the environment?

Greenpeace wants to deny people in the poorer Third World countries the very things that could save themselves.

Consider:

In Britain, France, the Philippines and Australia Greenpeace vandals have destroyed bio-engineered crops wiping out millions of dollars in research to develop crops that require fewer pesticides, raise nutrition quality that would prevent ailments like blindness and increase crop yields in spite of overwhelming scientific consensus that such foods are no more dangerous for you to eat than non-genetically engineered ones.

Greenpeace has convinced countries ravaged by malaria and dengue fever that DDT, a pesticide that is effective against mosquitoes (the carriers of these diseases), is too dangerous to humans and wildlife in spite of the fact that no serious peer review medical studies back this claim.

As a result, over one million people die from malaria every year with children dying from malaria around the world every four seconds.

Over 1.5 billion people on this planet have no reliable electricity for lights, refrigerators, factories, hospitals, schools, shops and a host of other modern conveniences that would raise their standards of living and wipe out a host of preventable illnesses but yet Greenpeace continues to wage its war against hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power by telling these people they should just be content with solar panels and wind turbines – which are intermittent, insufficient and a guarantee they’ll live in unending poverty.

It would seem to me that Greenpeace isn’t pro-environment – they’re anti-human and what’s worse is that they’re willing to gamble the lives of people in impoverished countries around the planet by using them as a laboratory for their untested, untried and utterly failed experiments.

I suppose now by having thrown down this gauntlet I’m going to catch all sorts of criticism from Greenpeace. You know what? Fine. Bring it on. I’d really love to hear their justification on how billions should suffer for their idea of environmental purity and how they’d love to drag the rest of the world back into the Stone Age along with them.

Well, Greenpeace? The floor is yours.

On Ted Cruz

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Seriously, I don’t know what to say to this – but I’ll try.

It was supposed to be about ObamaCare – or perhaps it wasn’t. The takeaway I got from Ted’s 21 hour rant is that it was that he was saying something about how Washington is detached from the American people.

Or something like that. I’m not really sure. I sort of got lost after his reading of Dr. Seuss’ epic tome “Green Eggs And Ham”.

Except it’s really bizarre to hear an argument about how DC doesn’t listen to the American people from Ted Cruz who is obviously on the wrong side of public opinion. A recent poll clearly shows the American people want ObamaCare funded even if it means a government shutdown.

A whopping 59% of the American people don’t want ObamaCare defunded in the event of a government shutdown.

Clearly the American people spoke in 2012 when President Obama was reelected with 53% of the popular vote. On my planet, that spells majority and moreover it spells mandate – as in, keep doing what you’re doing because we’re behind you on this.

Clearly, Ted’s a bit tone-deaf (I’m being charitable in this assessment, of course). Though he opposes tax hikes on the rich, more than half the American people want them. Ted wants to cut Medicare and Social Security but the public overwhelmingly opposes such an idea.

If Ted Cruz was serious about listening to the will of the American people, his voting record would reflect it.

Except, it doesn’t.

So, Ted, what disconnect are you talking about? Yours?

In Which I Correct A Forbes Contributor’s Math

KillObamacare

Yeah….what if?

So there’s this article that was published in Forbes today that the right seems to be having a field day with and why not? On the face of it, it looks to predict doom, gloom and disaster for the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) as it will cost $7,450 for a typical family of four.

Before I address this, let me say a few words about Forbes Magazine.

Dear Forbes:

You suck.

There. I said a few words (or as few words) about Forbes Magazine. Now back to the drubbing of today’s Forbes contributor (whose name is Chris Conover), already in progress…

So having read the title of Mr. Conover’s Forbes article the first question that came to mind was how in the world did Mr. Conover arrive at this figure? Fortunately for me and a lot of inquisitive minds, we didn’t have to wait long or search wide for the answer he so generously provided in his own words:

So I have taken the latest year-by-year projections, divided by the projected U.S. population to determine the added amount per person and multiplied the result by 4.

Yeah, he really did this and when he speaks of year-by-year projections, keep in mind what he’s talking about is actual spending attributed to the Affordable Health Care act.

Everybody with me on this so far? Good! Because I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on this.

While I sit here thumbing through a PDF report that says that Obamacare will lead to “roughly $621 billion” in additional health spending over the next ten years, it most emphatically does not say it’s coming out of your family’s pocket.

So who pays?

Most of it will be paid out by insurance companies who will have a lot of new policyholders because of Obamacare. Much of it will be paid by the government in subsidies and increased Medicaid enrollment.

And yes, some of it will be paid by healthy, well-off and young people who would otherwise take a pass on health insurance and take a chance on not ever being brought to the hospital in an ambulance.

In other words, the Affordable Care Act will insure an estimated 30 million additional Americans over ten years at an additional cost of about $2,070 per additional insured per year and if my memory serves me correctly that’s actually a pretty good deal – better than the one you’re getting now.

And for those of you who are going to complain to me about how Obamacare is going to make your premiums go up, consider this: your lower rate was dependent on very sick people not being able to get any insurance at all or running into lifetime benefits caps and dying in destitution.

In total, out of that $621 billion we’re saving $119 billion over the next ten years. Maybe some of that can go to teaching the folks over at Forbes how to look at all the facts instead of just the facts that they want to look at.

On A Tragedy That Could Have Been Easily Prevented

 CREDIT: Damian Dovarganes/AP

CREDIT: Damian Dovarganes/AP

First things first: I’d like to take a moment to thank everybody who wished me well getting over this god-awful flu and although I’m still going through it I feel well enough to get through this blog.

It’s not often I get to discuss the adult entertainment industry but recent events have given me considerable pause to weigh in on the subject as its turning out to be very hazardous for your health.

Recently Cameron Bay (right) and Rod Daily (left) tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. While it’s no surprise how they got it the two bravely stepped forward to hold a press conference yesterday to discuss their situation and reiterate a call for an idea that’s been a long time coming – condom usage on the sets of adult films.

They were joined by the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, an advocacy organization that has lobbied California lawmakers to enact statewide legislation requiring the use of barrier methods on adult film sets.

“I’m not here to push anything down anybody’s throat, I’m not here to fight anybody’s fight,” Bay said. “I’m just here to share my story and to get knowledge out there to people and try to prevent anything like this happening to anyone else.”

Bay and Daily are in a relationship off-set.

Bay suspects that she may have contracted HIV while doing a shoot for the San Francisco-based company Kink.com. Even though the actor she was working with appeared to have a cut on his penis, they continued filming.

“Asking for a condom on set wasn’t really what you did because you could just be replaced,” Bay explained. (Emphasis mine)

And that right there, ladies and gentlemen is a problem which nicely sums up the adult entertainment industry’s position on condom use – for which they’re against. If an actor/actress refuses to do a scene that person will be replaced by someone who will.

This doesn’t even begin to address the issue.

HIV, as I’ve pointed out, is the virus that causes AIDS and it’s sexually transmittable. We’ve known this since the 1980s. Does the adult entertainment industry believe by replacing an actor/actress concerned for their own health and safety is going to make this particular problem go away?

The trade group representing the adult entertainment industry, the Free Speech Coalition, says that none of the three actors who tested positive for HIV this month actually contracted the virus on set.

The coalition opposes mandatory “condoms in porn” measures, saying those laws violate porn producers’ right to artistic freedom of speech. In March, when Los Angeles passed a citywide law requiring condoms in adult films, a group of porn producers sued to block it.

That case is still tied up in court and there’s no telling which way they’re going to rule on it at this moment.

The coalition claims that condoms are a violation of the producers’ freedom of artistic expression and speech. To its credit, the industry briefly required condoms on set after an HIV scare in 2004, but the effort was short-lived. The industry claims that porn films with condoms in them don’t sell as well.

Well, porn industry, I have a question for you: when enough actors and actresses contract HIV making your movies how badly do you think that’s going to put a chill on your bottom line? How many people are going to want to step forward and volunteer to make your movies with the knowledge they’re going to end up dead from AIDS about a decade or so from now?

Keep this up and you’ll have done to yourselves what the churches, religious leaders and anti-pornography proponents have tried to do for years.

In Which I Take An Aspiring Comedy Writer To School

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In my last blog I called for the unmasking of the individual or individuals responsible for a string of fake press reports on the town of DeQuincy, Louisiana and not more than 15 minutes after I published it an individual has come forward to claim responsibility.

Meet Paul Horner, writer/owner of Super Official News.

paul_horner

As to why he did it, I’ll let him explain:

Because after this story: http://superofficialnews.com/new-zombie-attack-from-bath-salts -leaves-7-dead/

The nice town of DeQuincy threatened to kill me, cut my balls off, have me arrested, kick my ass, do harm to my family etc etc etc

After today’s twerking hoax, I’m satisfied.

I’m happy. I think we’re even. If they threaten my life again or my family, there will be more stories, lots of them.

The story in question is a parody gay zombie attack in DeQuincy that occurred after the local priest gave one of the altar boys an overdose of bath salts.

My opinion: the article is okay, not terribly funny but okay. Personally, I think the zombie/bath salts thing is a hackneyed premise as it’s been done so many times by many others but I’m not here to put down Paul’s brand of comedy.

After having posted the article, the good people of DeQuincy got upset. Very upset. The way Paul tells it (and I’m usually correct about these things) the entire town was so moved to rise up as one and go after him with the pitchforks and torches.

Or, as he puts it:

So what started as one page turned into two and then three and then four as more and more ass beatings and death threats to my family and myself came to my inbox and were posted on my fan page. All documented. IP addresses, full names, Facebook profiles, phone numbers… everything.

Okay. Let me say first that I’m sorry this happened to you and you’re right, you didn’t really deserve this but I’d be equally remiss if I didn’t point something out to you: this kind of reaction is in the fine print in the contract you signed with satire.

On Paul’s website:

Disclaimer: Lulz killing of any kind will not be tolerated. If you are being a buzzkill, your comment can be altered or deleted. This entire site is pretty much just a resume containing a collection of my writings and such for the off chance that someone like The Onion or The Daily Show ever happens to stop by. Until then just remember, if it’s on the internet it must be true.

Now Paul, don’t you think for one moment that The Onion or The Daily Show gets death threats, too? Not everybody in America thinks either one of these institutions is funny. Yes, I know that must come as a surprise to you but it’s absolutely true.

I’ll tell you something else, Paul: back in the Dark Ages I dabbled a bit in stand-up comedy. The places I played were a certified bucket of blood and BYOB meant Bring Your Own Bullets. I’ve performed in front of hecklers, drunks, longshoremen (both hecklers and drunks), sailors, hookers, pimps and crackheads.

Really. Tough. Crowds.

What I found performing in front of these people was that certain jokes were going to fly and others were going to bomb and (above all else) you tell your joke, gauge the reaction and move on to the next routine.

Not tell a joke, get a bad reaction and then proceed to tell variations on the same bad joke.

So it’s your desire to write for The Onion or The Daily Show? Personally, I think you’ve got the chops for it. I’ve read some of your work and it’s pretty good, especially the twerking ordinance article which made me laugh pretty hard and I wish you the best of luck in that endeavor but I have to tell you something, something that may help your career down the road if you take my advice:

You’re too thin-skinned for comedy and what’s more The Onion or The Daily Show won’t hire a vindictive, vengeful person like you.

There were black jokes I would tell in Oakland, gay jokes I would tell in San Francisco and Mexican jokes I would tell in Los Angeles but there’s a line that you never cross in which your audience will let you know if you have.

The folks down Loozyana way let you know you crossed the line. If you can’t take some blowback over a joke you told, you need to get out of the game.