A Note to Foolocracy Readers

Claude_Andrew_Calthrop_001After five years of regular posts in Foolocracy, it’s time for a break. I need time to recharge some batteries and rethink the direction where I want to go. I’m not sure when I’ll be coming back to post in Foolocracy. There will be an occasional article, but regular posting will need to wait a month, maybe two, maybe even three or a bit longer. I can’t see it going longer than that, though.

I cut my teeth in politics when I was 9 years old and campaigned door to door for my father. I’ve had an interest in it ever since. Yet I have to say that there are only so many crazy things from the mouths of Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and their likes that I can tolerate. Throw in Rob Ford and Anthony Weiner-like antics, and the disillusionment increases.

We are in a critical point in this country and world where technology has far outpaced the cultural, social and political institutions of modern civilization. People see a conspiracy everywhere because no one can fully grasp how a modern society operates. The education required to be an expert in anything is extensive and, ultimately, the field is narrow. No one but an expert can truly understand climate change, but everyone has an opinion. A large number of those opinions go against the 97% consensus among the experts. Like the caveman who hears something mysterious rustling in the bush, our first inclination is to think the worst. That works great when it comes to avoiding being eaten by a tiger in the wild. It isn’t so great when that same thinking is used to elect public officials and run governments.

Attitudes towards the Obama administration has become a manifestation of what is wrong in politics. There is a lot to be disenchanted with in the President. Many of the most noxious Bush administration policies on national security have been continued. The NSA is just one instance. Despite his promises to be the most transparent administration in history, there is a strong case that Obama has created one of the least transparent. He flipped on medical marijuana only to partly flip back to letting the states run their own show. (At least, I hope that is the case.) Obama pretended to be more conservative on gay rights than he was. (He backed same-sex marriage in 1996.) Yet it took him several years to come out for same-sex marriage as President. There are no profiles in courage here.

Having said that, once Obama’s opponents are considered, then he looks pretty good. The birther issue is a prime example. There was always the stench of racism or playing politics with the Constitution in the accusation that Obama was unqualified because he was born in Kenya, for which there is zero evidence to prove. Now that Ted Cruz is being considered for the presidency, and he admits to being born in another country, the same standards are not being applied. Instead, when the United States elects a black man to be President for the first time, some people question if he is really an American or even three-fifths of one.

The Affordable Care Act is a horribly written, complicated piece of legislation that needs major fixing. Having said that, the current health care system is even worse. Yet, Obama opponents want to label Obamacare as a socialist takeover of 20% of the economy. All Obama has done is roughly copy the plans designed less than 20 years ago by the conservative Heritage Foundation’s response to the Clinton’s efforts to health care reform. Of course, it is a close copy to Mitt Romney’s heath care legislation in Massachusetts. I have yet to find a real socialist call Obamacare socialism.

Of course, there are also Congressmembers playing chicken with the national debt who think a default is an acceptable idea. When there are people like that on the other side, it’s hard not to look at all the failings of the Obama administration and still feel thankful that he is in office.

For myself, I don’t feel satisfied only to draw attention to some of these things whether it is at the federal or state levels. I feel a need to go deeper into some of the distortions, demagoguery and deceit. The current format at Foolocracy doesn’t give me that opportunity. I’m looking for a better format.

One of my goals here has been to confront conspiracy theories. While there have been  legitimate conspiracies –- the Lincoln assassination and Watergate are two — most of them are just ramblings from cranks, contrarians and kooks. If only we can apply a little science, reason and common sense to the debate, then we would be on the path to real solutions.

I’m not sure which direction things will go in. I may be back on Foolocracy or on another website. I’m exploring a number of avenues. I’m not averse to passing this website onto someone else. It’s well established and would give anyone who wants to be a blogger some immediate visibility, but I can’t promise that I’m willing to let it go either. I’m open to a discussion in case anyone is interested.

With the holidays coming up, it seems this was a good time to take a pause, but it will not be a silent pause. As I said, there will be an occasional post, but I will back with more energy, in some form, at some time.

Posted in Foolocracy | 5 Comments

Congressman Wants No Free Lunches for School Kids

This is similar to the idea that Newt Gingrich proposed in the last presidential campaign. At that time, Gingrich suggested that low-income kids should be janitors. Now Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston has a similar idea.

Kingston asserts that giving free lunches to kids from low-income families should require them to sweep the floors or do some other work because getting a free lunch sends the wrong message. This is a ridiculous assertion. If Kingston wants to be ideologically consistent then he should take it to the next level. Perhaps Kingston will also propose legislation banning churches and other social organizations from helping the poor with food banks, meals and clothing.

A civilized society has the responsibility to take care of the less fortunate. That’s a concept Kingston has failed to grasp.

Having kids who receive free meals work for that food at school chores sends the wrong message. They are singled out from the other kids because their parents are poor. They will also face incessant teasing from their more affluent classmates.

Contrary to Kingston’s beliefs, every kid deserves a free lunch, and a dinner and breakfast too. It is a parent’s responsibility to provide that. If the parent can’t do it, then society or government needs to step in.

This plan would mean that affluent kids never have to get a free meal at home or school. Poorer kids would get meals at home but have to work for them at school. This is not their fault. What kind of message does that send?

Posted in Jack Kingston | Leave a comment

The Anal Jihad

My hunch is this is a prank, but the possibility of placing a bomb in a jihadi’s anus is a very real threat. At the very least, this draws attention to a potential new terrorist method. On the hand, if this video is legit, it confirms the old adage that those who protest the most about homosexuality are secretly hiding their own sexual desires. Let’s assume this is not a prank.

On a jihadi forum a potential martyr asked a sheik for permission to engage in sodomy for a period of time so that his anus becomes wider for the insertion of explosive capsules. The answer was yes. It is okay to allow a fellow mujahideen to perform sodomy if the intentions are “honorable.” I must assume that it is also “honorable” for the guy who offers up the jihadi penis. All they have to do later is pray for forgiveness to Allah and wait for the next session.

It still sounds like a joke to me, but any opportunity to laugh at a terrorist is welcome. And, it just might be real.

Posted in al-Qaeda | Leave a comment

A Vicious Dog, Don’t Say “Rape” Tutoring, Homophobic Campaigning and a Potential Gubernatorial Candidate with Bad Hair

Since I stopped writing regularly on Foolocracy, several people have written to me expressing that they will miss the regular updates on the absurd in politics. Like a Toronto mayor on crack, I must admit that making regular posts is addictive. In the last few days, I found several stories that were too good not to share.

By now, you have probably seen the vicious assault of the Obama’s dog, Sunny, on an innocent little girl. I wonder if Obamacare covers these mishaps.

The National Republican Congressional Committee wants to avoid the mistakes of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who doomed their candidacies over comments about rape. The committee is meeting with aids of sitting Republican Congressman to tutor them on how to campaign without saying stupid things that might offend women voters. Of particular emphasis are lessons on how to campaign against women opponents.

In the words of House Speaker John Boehner: “Some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be.”

Most males learned that annoying females was inappropriate when they stopped pulling ponytails in fourth grade. Those that didn’t learn took a straight path to Congress.

It’s not just women that Republicans in Congress are offending either. Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes wants the GOP to stop funding gay Republicans running for Congress. There are two notable races in Massachusetts and California where gay Republicans have a chance to defeat incumbent Democrats.

In a positive sign, much of the Republican leadership is not buying Forbes’ homophobic campaign appeal. At least most of the GOP is making politics about politics and not lifestyles. Better gay than Democratic is their mantra, I suppose. I don’t know if there is a connection between anti-gay rhetoric and offending women, but Forbes might be one of the guys who needs to pay special attention to that training on how not to offend women. He looks like a prime candidate for foot in mouth disease.

Donald Trump (Source: BostonJerry (CC))

Donald Trump (Source: BostonJerry (CC))

Finally, some Republican legislators in New York are looking for a candidate to knock off Gov. Andrew Cuomo. So whom are they considering? The Donald, of course. Yes, Donald Trump, the perennial wannabe candidate for president and governor is hosting a delegation of influential Republicans who will beg him to run for governor.

“As Republicans we need to cast a pretty wide net and find the best candidate to beat Gov. Cuomo, and we think that Mr. Trump can beat Mr. Cuomo,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro.

If this is the best you have, it might be good to sit this one out.

Trump running is about as likely as the apocalypse or an alien invasion. Even if Trump ran, he would lose. Trump doesn’t like to lose. He also wouldn’t like to govern. Besides, if he ran for governor, then it would complicate playing hard to get in the 2016 presidential election. Think of Trump as Lucy holding a football and the Republicans as Charlie Brown. That’s exactly how this will turn out.

Posted in David DiPietro, Donald Trump, John Boehner, Michelle Obama, Randy Forbes | Leave a comment

Jester’s Court — November 27, 2013

jesterscourt.

provocativeThe NSA intended to use online porn viewing habits of terrorist sympathizers to discredit them.

mediaThe list of news agencies boycotting the use of official White House photography is growing, over what it says is an unprecedented lack of access to the president.

newsColorado Rep. Jared Polis has introduced a bill to allow marijuana users to buy guns.

news58% of Americans want to see Obamacare repealed; 54% believe that the problems plaguing it will be resolved.

foolishCalifornia Rep. Darrell Issa’s “Obamacare hearings” are more of a propaganda show, despite what he claims.

half-witIn Pennsylvania, the former chairman of Montgomery County’s Republican Party was charged with drugging a female employee of his law firm and raping her while she was unconscious.

half-witAn Alabama commissioner claimed that his arrest was unwarranted. He says he couldn’t have wanted to have sex with a 15-year-old girl on Craigslist because he is impotent.

politicsThere’s going to be a recount in the Virginia attorney general’s race which was won by 165 votes out of 2.2 million.

politicsAn effort to put an initiative on the California ballot that would raise the minimum wage to $12 is being pushed by a billionaire conservative activist.

internationalThe Italian Senate has voted to oust Silvio Berlusconi from the parliament.

internationalIndia’s nuclear scientists are dying.

internationalZimbabwe is moving ahead with banning foreigners from operating many basic businesses.

internationalAngola bans Islam.

miscellaneousRichard Simmons said that the Obamas have “rejected” him.

miscellaneousSasha Obama has had enough of this presidential stuff.

Posted in Jester's Court | 1 Comment

Florida Tea Party Leader Calls Gay Republicans “Thugs” Who Have Taken Over Party

The divisions that the Tea Party is causing for the Republican Party are clearer than ever in Broward County, Florida. A Tea Party leader there has lashed out at the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay group, by calling them thugs and accusing them of taking over the local Republican Party. If that is true, the Republicans have a far stronger chance of connecting with mainstream voters with the Log Cabin Republicans than the Tea Party has. Danita Kilcullen, the co-founder of the Fort Lauderdale Tea Party doesn’t see it that way as expressed in an email laced with intolerance.

“We must fight with all we have… We must put  pressure on the House like has never been seen before.  I’ll be damned if I will ever be forced to hire someone with orange hair, body/neck/face covered with tattoos, multiple piercings, or a man in a dress… or for that matter, a demonstrative effeminate male or purposeful butch-looking female.  The Log Cabins are the same lobbyist organization that has all but taken over BREC [Broward Republican Executive Committee]; and besides that, we have someone on the Board of BREC who is using her position to openly put pressure on some BREC members to stand for same-sex marriage.

“This is the same group who, based on nothing other than his recent stand for gay marriage, supports Chris Christie and who publicly worked against Cuccinelli for his stand for traditional marriage.  Keep in mind, this is a thug organization with only their own “special interests” in play.  I wonder what they will do with democrat Charlie Crist now running for governor?   I’m betting on them to vote for Charlie, along with some other mousey republicans.  I will now be accused of ‘splitting’ BREC.  I am not!  I am in standing with the Republican Platform, which is what I stated the very night I was sworn-on to BREC.  We must stop this in short!”

Apparently, a group that promotes its platform is now a “thug.” Presumably, that allows applies to groups like the ACLU, Sierra Club and NORMAL. Each of those has their own special interests. Of course, the same can be said for The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and some group called the Tea Party. I doubt that Kilcullen would agree to that though.

To form organizations and pursue the agenda of that organization is exactly what the First Amendment was intended. What group is not going to promote its “special interests,” whether that be political or civic like the Shriners fight to aid ill children or Christian Services Charities campaign against hunger? That’s the purpose of an organization. It doesn’t make it a thug by trying to promote its purpose.

Unfortunately, we have seen this before. It is a lock the blinders into place and only see what one wants to see approach. Sooner or later, that attitude is going to be the death of the Tea Party. In the meantime, they are an annoying irritant to more sensible Republicans, the political process and country as a whole.

Posted in Florida | Leave a comment

Colorado School Board Member Suggests Castration for Transgender Students

I can understand the fear of some who think that it is inappropriate for transgender boys and girls to use the restroom or locker rooms of the biologically opposite sex. The fear may not be rational, but at least it is comprehensible from the perspective of people who grew up in a world of white picket fences, green lawns and a husband, wife and two kids with two cars in the garage.

Understandable it may be, but they are still teeming with ignorance.

Back in October, school board member Katherine Svenson of Delta County, Colorado, expressed her displeasure with a California law that allowed students to identify with a gender different from what they were biologically born.

“Massachusetts and California have passed laws relating to calling a student, irrespective of his biological gender, letting him perform as the gender he thinks he is, or she is. I just want to emphasize: not in this district. Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.”

Requiring castration of teenage boys is an idea that is not going anywhere. Besides, how does Svenson plan on dealing with girls who identify as boys going into the boy’s locker room? Chastity belts with the principal possessing the key?

So far, there has not been an epidemic of sex in the restrooms or locker rooms by boys or girls faking a transgender identity. While teenage boys are horn dogs, the ones who are heterosexual and identify with their biological gender aren’t going to start living like girls so they can get lucky. That Svenson even thinks this is a possibility means that she doesn’t understand what is going on in the minds of the transgendered, or any male for that matter. Perhaps, she just hasn’t figured out how to move logically from a concept to its conclusion without twisting it into a contrived sex plot.

But Svenson’s original comments were made back in October. Perhaps she blurted it out without proper thought during a board meeting. Surely, she has had time to think about her words and modify her thoughts, right? KREX-TV interviewed her last week and found that is not the case:

“I don’t have a problem if some boys think they are girls, I’m just saying as long as they can impregnate a woman, they’re not going to go in the girls’ locker room,” Svenson said.

At least she is consistent. Consistently ignorant.

 

Posted in Katherine Svenson | 1 Comment

Jester’s Court — November 26, 2013

jesterscourt.

governmentsCongress is on track to go down as one of the most unproductive in modern history.

governmentsThe Denver City Council gave initial approval to banning smoking marijuana on private property if visible from the street or sidewalk.

governmentsVermont approved a single-payer health care system.

politicsParents who only have daughters are 11 percent more likely to identify with the Republican Party.

newsFood Stamp costs are reducing without budget cuts.

newsA Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to introduce legislation banning the use of scented products such as perfume, cologne or body spray in schools having students with fragrance allergies.

newsA Florida mayor was arrested on drug charges and a sheriff’s statement said, “This isn’t Toronto.”

deceptionTexas Rep. Steve Stockman’s $350,000 salary is a mystery.

internationalCanada’s plan to bury nuclear waste deep underground and one mile from Lake Huron is finding opposition.

internationalThe UN is considering the NSA spying as a human rights violation.

internationalToday’s most unusual political protest slogan: “Stupid Crab Bitch Water Buffalo Face.”

miscellaneousAl Gore, joining Bill Clinton, is going vegan.

videoTwo U.S. military aircraft flew into China’s newly claimed and challenged air defense zone over the East China Sea.

Posted in Jester's Court | 1 Comment

Monticello, New York, Mayor’s Third Arrest in Five Years Leads to Meltdown

Gordon Jenkins (Source: Village of Monticello)

Gordon Jenkins (Source: Village of Monticello)

Gordon Jenkins, the mayor of Monticello, New York, was arrested recently for driving while under the influence. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to selling fake goods. In 2012, he was arrested for striking a man and a police officer. In most places, excepting the crack-smoking mayors of Toronto and Washington, D.C., this would lead to a quick political exit. Despite calls for Jenkins to resign, he remains steadfast at staying in office.

While in the police station, the mayor went into profanity-laced tirade, threatened police officers and ripped a clock off the wall while handcuffed. Here is part of the transcript from the police video, which is hard to hear because so many words are beeped out.

“You know something, Davis?” he [Jenkins] says to one officer at the start of the footage. “I’m the one that hired you in this job, man. I mean, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter about that.

“But you know something? How the fuck you guys going to play the game?” Shortly afterwards, the officer professionally refers to him as “sir” but Jenkins shoots back: “Don’t call me sir.”

“Mayor? Is that better?” the policeman says. “Don’t call me mayor,” Jenkins replies.

“Call me nigger, because that’s what I am when I’m right here in handcuffs. But you know something? I don’t give a fuck.”

Later, Jenkins threatens a policeman.

“What are you going to do? Put me in jail five years? I’ll get out in five years, and I going to fucking tell you what the fuck you did to me, and I’m going to come back to you.”

Someone needs to show this mayor the exit. At least the people of Toronto can claim that they don’t have the only out of control mayor in North America.

Posted in Governments | 1 Comment

Berlusconi May Avoid Criminal Sentence if Putin Appoints Him Ambassador to the Vatican

SIlvio Berlusconi (Source: Presidenza della Repubblica)

SIlvio Berlusconi (Source: Presidenza della Repubblica)

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi have been friends for years. That friendship is paying off for Berlusconi, who is fresh off a conviction for tax fraud and appealing a conviction for having sex with an underaged prostitute. Berlusconi has been sentenced to community service, but he may not have to fulfill that sentence. Indeed, if things work out for the former Italian Prime Minister, then he will be able to live out his remaining days at his foreign villas and never have to face Italian justice again.

This is because Putin is considering appointing Berlusconi as Russia’s ambassador to the Vatican.

As ambassador to the Vatican, Berlusconi, who is also appealing a conviction for sex with an underage prostitute and facing new allegations of a £2.5m bribe to a senator, would receive diplomatic immunity from any custodial sentence and be free to maintain his lavish lifestyle.

Libero, the right-wing Italian newspaper and a supporter of Berlusconi, claimed Putin is ready to appoint the media mogul as his papal emissary, citing unnamed MPs from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.

“Yes, Vladimir Putin intends to give Silvio Berlusconi a passport, a diplomatic passport, which would allow him to spend the rest of his days in his foreign residences: Antigua or Bermuda, or perhaps St. Moritz,” the MP said.

An unknown political source told another Italian newspaper: “Putin’s idea is clear: he plans to nominate Berlusconi as ambassador to the Holy See, a strategy that would save him from persecution by the judiciary.”

Imagining the billionaire, highly sexed Berlusconi as an ambassador to the Pope stretches credulity, especially since Berlusconi is as he describes “100% Italian.”

Both Putin and Berlusconi deny that the appointment is under consideration, but what other response could they give? They aren’t going to telegraph their intentions while Berlusconi is still plotting his political future. Given the nature of these two, nothing should be a surprise.

Posted in Silvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Putin | Leave a comment