Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fowl Fouls - Danger From The Skies?

I think it's high time someone drew attention to the clear and present danger of bird attacks. While we blithely go about our lives, evil beady eyes are watching from the skies, awaiting the perfect opportunity to swoop in whatever it is that attacking birds do! I was shocked to learn how widespread the threat is.

I found this harrowing account on the Christian Science Monitor: "I was ducking this way, then ducking that way, trying to get away," Mr. Cooper says, recalling a few frenzied seconds where beaks flashed like tiny daggers. "I had no idea what was going on." Horrific!

During a well-documented grackle attack on Houston residents in 2005, Sylvia Velasquez recounts her heroism, "I hit him with a bottle. The other birds came, and one attacked my blouse and on my back."

Clearly shaken by the sheer scale of the horror, constable Wilbert Jue recounted, "They were just going crazy. They were attacking everybody that walked by."

In July of 2008, a woman was enjoying a stroll along the shore at Burnham-on-Sea, in Somerset, U.K., when a seagull swooped and stabbed at her head with its beak. She was rushed to the hospital, where her injuries were treated, according to the Guardian. In their account of the vicious attack, Burnham-on-the-sea press officer Mark Newman commented, "She was very shaken up and taken to A&E. There was an awful lot of blood and she required a tetanus injection. Otherwise she is OK. We all think of Hitchcock's film The Birds with something like this and here it is actually happening."

In 2005, a woman sued Lowe's, after she was attacked by a bird while at one of their home improvement centers. Her case was later dismissed, but I'm sure her trauma lives on.

According to the University of Florida; "Bird attacks usually consist of swoops, dives and chases by common yard birds, such as mockingbirds, blackbirds and bluejays; attacks at the beach or near the nesting grounds of least terns and gulls; in playing fields by burrowing owls' or near forested areas by raptors. Other forms of attacks include vocal castigations from perching birds; "mobbing" or ganging-up on the victim, which crows may do; or intentional defecation or regurgitation on the victim, which may occur in areas of concentration, such as rookeries."

Intentional defecation?! Obviously this menace must be dealt with! I recommend always carrying an umbrella when walking outdoors, and possible arming yourself with a rolled up newspaper or magazine. It also might be a good idea to use mouthwash and change clothes after eating eggs, to eliminate the scent, which could enrage neighborhood birds. And of course, you should already have your first aid kit/medicines with you at all times. Be aware, friends. Watch the skies!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pushed Too Far

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after President Barack Obama ripped Wall Street executives for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, Congress may finally have had enough. I know I have.

An angry U.S. senator introduced legislation Friday to cap compensation for employees of any company that accepts federal bailout money. Under the terms of a bill introduced by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, no employee would be allowed to make more than the president of the United States. Why, how unreasonable!
Obama's current annual salary is $400,000. Who could live off THAT pittance?
"We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer," an enraged McCaskill said on the floor of the Senate. "They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses." Sing it, sister Mac!
McCaskill's proposed compensation limit would cover salaries, bonuses and stock options.
On Thursday, Obama said the prospect that some of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout could end up paying for bonuses to managers of struggling financial institutions was "shameful." Exactly!

The president said it was the "height of irresponsibility" for executives to pay bonuses when their companies were asking for help from Washington. Amen. How do they have the gall to pretend this kind of b.s. is OK? It's infuriating.
"The American people understand we've got a big hole that we've got to dig ourselves out of, but they don't like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up," Obama added. Don't like it hell! We're OVER it, ya'll! Get yer greedy hands outta our wallets already!

McCaskill's proposal comes three days after struggling banking giant Citigroup -- which has taken about $45 billion from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program -- reversed plans to accept delivery of a new $42 million corporate jet. The company changed its mind under Treasury Department prodding. Because these arrogant p****s need someone to tell them that buying a corporate frickin' JET isn't a responsible or appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. They couldn't guess that on their own? And these are the guys making six-figure salaries? This is one f***ed up, corrupt, value-less excuse for a society we've got here, isn't it?
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Friday defended corporate bonuses, saying that cutting them also means slashing jobs in the Big Apple. Oh, do tell us how it will hurt the economy if we don't fund million dollar CEO bonuses with government handouts, Rudy. I thought you Republicans were anti-welfare. Or is that only when poor people are the ones getting the money?

"If you somehow take that bonus out of the economy, it really will create unemployment," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores, so everything has an impact." Hey, you know what, Giuliani? Screw their fancy meals and retail purchases. Give us OUR money back and let US buy nice dinners and clothes. And while you're at it? Screw you, too, you pompous, pandering asshat. Less spending by CEOs as a danger to the economy, my big, fat ass. Jerkwads, all of you.

And McCaskill? I'm declaring my crush on you right now. You tell 'em, girl!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love Is In The Air

OK, I don't know what I could add to this that wouldn't be obscene, so here it is:

He sticks his foot in it at 1:55 into the clip. Wait for it, cause it's worth it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What To Wear To Doomsday

Well, I just found out that the end of the world has been rescheduled (from the previous date of 1/1/2000) for 12/21/2012. There's a handy countdown ticker here. I'm trying to decide what to wear. I suppose black is appropriate? Is a t-shirt commemorating the event too casual? Well, let's check the 2012 Survival Guide and see what it says to pack.

From - In case of a catastrophic event on December 21, 2012 I would like to supply a preparation guide to help get through in case of an emergency. Thank God(s) someone thought of that! There has obviously been a stronger buzz going around about this date that has not only been predicted, but also showing signs of scientific possibilities in recent years. Normally, grammar and spelling mistakes detract from a site's credibility, but in this case, no points deducted. The date is only 4 years away and it's never a good idea to wait until it's too late to start thinking of a game plan. Talk about sound advice!


Everybody heads up now, this is important!

Constantly pay attention to any natural disasters / changes to the world as we know it and take note of how much more effective these natural changes are becoming. Constantly? Can I take meal and bathroom breaks? What about sleep? Will I die if I'm not up to this task?!

Saving some extra cash is never a bad thing. Could it be a bit tough with today's economy? Absolutely. But if you create a mindset to save "X" amount on a weekly basis, you can easily accomplish that. Oh, good. "X" is exactly how much cash I have on hand. All set there.

Have a 1 - 2 month supply of water / non perishable food. This is especially essential in storm prone area's. Water is the same as non-perishable food? Storm prone area's....what? Their zoos? Their coffee shops? Please clarify! Lives are at stake here, man!

First Aid Kit / Medicines. This is something that everybody should have at all times.
Store a sleeping bag / blanket in the back of your vehicle. Even if you never have to use it, it is always better to have it and not use it than not have it and obviously not be able to use it. Obviously. Can I leave the first aid kit / medicines in the car, too? Or do I actually need to carry it everywhere I go?

Being prepared is not a difficult task at hand. Once you do it, you are set. Spread the word to friends and family and help them in becoming a prepared member in society. Points deducted for mangling grammar because I just can't take it anymore. You. Are. A flaming idiot.

Well, that didn't help me at all. I still don't know what to wear! Will I need a helmet? A tinfoil hat? I looked through the report from the future detailing the events, but no mention was made of appropriate garb. I had just about given up and ordered the t-shirt when I finally ran across an offhand remark about wearing lead aprons on the Survive 2012 site. So now, I'm hitting ebay for my lead apron (preferably black). I'll see you all in the Storm Prone Coffee Shop. Don't forget your First Aid Kit / Medicines!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Net Worth? Not So Much

I wasn't pissed off enough today, so I decided it would be fun to see how much professional athletes make. Not your A-Rods or Shaqs, just your average pro players. The most concise table I found shows figures for 2006.

Basketball (NBA) -- $5,000,000
Baseball (MLB) -- $2,800,000
Football (NFL) -- $1,750,000
Hockey (NHL) -- $1,500,000
Men's Golf -- $973,495
Women's Tennis -- $345,000
Men's Tennis -- $260,000
Women's Golf -- $162,043

Sports Illustrated has an article on the top 50 highest paid athletes. Tiger Woods tops their list, pocketing $127,902,706 for last year, although $105,000,000 of it was endorsements. So his salary (winnings) was just $22,902,706. I could probably make do with that.

As I've mentioned before, I'm in tech support. More precisely, I do software support. My salary is about $35k, which according to, is way below average for my area.* But even if I was making the top salary for my job, I'd only be bringing in $55k.

Don't you mock me, Allen Iverson, I don't have your legal bills.

But forget me, all I do is answer phones. How about some other, actually important professions?

EMT - $27k

Firefighter - $40k

Police Officer - $45k

Elementary School Teacher (20 years + experience) - $50k

Garbage Collector (New Jersey) - $50k

Neurosurgeon - $400k

President of the United States - $400k**

How ****ed up is that? What are our priorities here? Is this some bizzaro universe where basketball players make more than firefighters?! Why are we so complacent about this inequity? Does anyone even notice this glaring disparity
besides when the players strike for yet more money?
See, this is the kind of sh*t that pisses me off. Tiger Woods seems like a nice guy, but does he really contribute more than the President? Michael Vick is a criminal. Is he worth more (monetarily) than a cop? I don't think so.
I love sports, and regularly go to hockey and baseball games. Am I to blame for this? Are my $32 tickets the reason for these inflated salaries? Probably not. Most sports teams don't even make a profit. So how do the professional sports leagues justify multi-million dollar pay rates?
I really want to know.

*I've been in tech support awhile, and while I am in the lower half, I think their figures are a little high.

**Salary is $400,000 a year plus a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rants and Raves

Whatever happened to Dennis Miller? Remember him?
Dennis Miller would just light into these rapid-fire monologues full of obscure political & historical references that the rest of us couldn’t possibly keep up with. And you don’t want to admit that you have no idea what the fuck this guy is carrying on about, do you? But come on, just between you and me…he made you feel kind of stupid, right?

And then he goes and does that weird thing where he decided to be a football announcer, a, what do you call it, a sportscaster, right?

Yeah, so now we all know he knows more about sports than we do, too.


Thanks, Dennis.

And the thing is, I really wanted to like Dennis Miller. I really did. Because he called his routines rants. And I love a good rant! Don’t you?

See, I think the rant is an under appreciated form of communication.

It is.

You get a good rant on, and people will stop whatever they’re doing and pay attention.
That’s true. Try it yourself.

Next time you’re standing there in the Quik Trip, waiting to pay for your gas, or your cigarettes, or your fountain drink, and some asshole is in front of you making the counter guy run him like 1000 lottery tickets?

Just go off on a rant about how fucking lottery tickets do not constitute a viable retirement plan, dumbass, and could you please hurry the fuck up, because some of us have jobs we have to get to, so we can pay the taxes that probably fund your whole brilliant, “winning the lottery” plan!
I promise you will have the undivided attention of every single person in the store. If you get going good enough, people will even come in from outside to see what the hell’s going on. Ranting is effective.

I don’t like it that people put ranting together with raving. Raving is what lunatics do.

See, that’s why I would never do that drug ecstasy.

Cause they call their parties raves, which makes me think of a bunch of crazy fuckers stumbling around, babbling incoherently, all in their own bizarre little worlds.

Kind of like the Republican convention.

I’ve never been to one, but I bet that’s what they’re like, right?

Yeah. That’s not my idea of a cool party at all.

When I was a kid, we had pot parties, remember? Slouched on a sofa in some guy’s parent’s basement, watching Beavis & Butthead, eating Doritos, and laughing that pot laugh.


I mean, what’s wrong with that?

You know what’s a weird kind of party? A keg party.

Think about it.

It’s kind of like a religious ritual, right? I mean, everyone gathers around this one object, the keg, and it’s the center of everything that’s happening.

It’s like this benevolent deity that that sacrifices its lifeblood to the followers of the party.
It’s kind of like going to church!

You get it all: rejoicing, dancing, hollering, enlightenment, weeping, regret, remorse….redemption!

Sometimes, small groups will leave the keg party briefly to go get more people and bring them to the party. Missionaries!

A religion based on beer is something I could really get into. And you’d never have to miss a football game to go to church.

Because in a beer religion, football would be considered sacred, I think. So watching the game would be like the equivalent of watching those televangelists. Right? Only you wouldn’t have to send money, you’d just give at the liquor store.

Don’t forget to pick up some lottery tickets while you’re there.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blue Dog Democrats

From the AP: Gov. David Paterson has picked Democratic U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to fill New York's vacant U.S. Senate seat, an aide to the governor said early Friday, a day after Caroline Kennedy abruptly withdrew from consideration. Aw, too bad. Looks like Caroline didn't have the ovaries for the family business. This is very disappointing. Still, given our recent experience, maybe political dynasties aren't such a great idea.

Paterson's appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton's term.

Is it just me, or is the whole idea of Governors appointing Senators starting to look like a very bad one? Special elections, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?*

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who wasn't among the 10 to 20 people Paterson said applied for the Senate appointment, immediately criticized the expected pick. McCarthy, whose husband was killed by a gunman on the Long Island Railroad, said Gillibrand's support of more conservative issues such as gun ownership rights was out of step with most New York Democrats.

"I just think it's a very, very poor choice," McCarthy told News12 TV on Long Island on Friday. "It sends out a very very bad message." I gotta ask, why didn't YOU apply, Carolyn? You've gotta play to win. At least that's what the lottery commercials keep telling me. Seriously, wouldn't you have been in a better position to fight the NRA neanderthals in the Senate, than in the House?

But Gillibrand is a proven vote-getter in a largely rural eastern New York district that sprawls from the mid-Hudson Valley to north of Albany. She defeated a long-term Republican incumbent in 2006 and won re-election last year by a wide margin. Defeating a Republican in 2006? In New York? Is not a huge accomplishment. Of course, every seat counts, so good for her.

"On the minus side, she's an unproven statewide vote-getter, a conservative `Blue Dog' Democrat who could face a primary challenge in 2010 and face a tough general election," says Doug Muzzio, a political science professor at Baruch College. I'll get back to this, I promise.

The pick came after a week in which Kennedy surprisingly withdrew from consideration and Paterson revealed he was considering Cuomo, who had refused to publicly express his interest. In the end, Paterson chose the up-and-comer over more established names.
But Paterson has said the first task of a new U.S. senator should be bringing more aid in the federal stimulus package back to New York. It's uncertain that Gillibrand has the background or pull to do that. Uncertain? Try unlikely. Who's ever even heard of this woman? On the other hand....

She voted last year against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill. That's a BAD thing?! I don't personally know anyone who wanted to give the fat cat CEOs our money.

Gillibrand was an official in the Housing and Urban Development Department during the Clinton administration. She worked as a lawyer before challenging Republican John Sweeney in 2006 to represent New York's 20th District. Her upset win came after a police report showing that Sweeney's wife had called 911 in what appeared to be a domestic violence incident was leaked shortly before the election. Low blow. Guess she fights fire with fire.

In November, Gillibrand defeated wealthy General Electric heir Sandy Treadwell. The former state Republican chairman was seen as one of the Republican Party's best chances to capture a congressional seat in New York. That had to hurt. See also: ha ha.

OK, about the "Blue Dog" reference:

From Wikipedia: Blue Dog Democrats are a group of 47 moderate and conservative Democratic Party members of the United States House of Representatives. The Blue Dogs promote, among other things, fiscal conservatism and accountability. Many members come from conservative districts, where liberal Democrats comprise a decided minority of the general population.[citation needed]

In 2006, Blue Dog candidates such as Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth were elected in conservative-leaning districts, ending years of Republican dominance in these districts. In 2008, the Blue Dogs' prominence as a voting block was highlighted by their support for the Republican-backed FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that provided immunity to large telecom companies who had been accused of assisting the government in illegally spying on electronic communications involving U.S. persons.

"Blue Dog Democrat" is playfully derived from the original term Yellow Dog Democrat. It was former Texas Democratic Rep. Pete Geren who said that the members had been "choked blue" by those "extreme" Democrats, from the left. Thus, he is credited for coining the term Blue Dog Democrat.
The term is also a reference to the "Blue Dog" paintings of
Cajun artist George Rodrigue of Lafayette, Louisiana. The original members of the coalition would regularly meet in the offices of Louisiana representatives Billy Tauzin and Jimmy Hayes, both of whom had Rodrigue's paintings on their walls (and both of whom later switched to the Republican Party).

Soooo....the good news is they are Dems. The bad news is, they jump the aisle on a whim, apparently. I have no problem with moderates, despite my own far left lean. And some of their positions, even on financials, I agree with for the most part. But wiretapping? Jumping parties after being elected? Not down with that, Zell. In the balance? Don't trust these guys as far as I can throw them. I prefer to know where my representatives stand on all the issues.

*Edited because evidently it isn't just me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trial By Fire

High school is closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of. - Kurt Vonnegut

Lately, thanks to MySpace's plain sister, Facebook, I've become re-acquainted with some of the people I went to high school with.

Some people loved their high school days. I did not. School itself, I kind of liked. I liked learning, I still do. I test well, so I even enjoyed that aspect of my education. High school should have been a blast for me. Except for....the kids I went to school with.

To be fair, I did have friends, and I had problems with very few people on an individual level. But there's a pack mentality that rules adolescence, and it will not tolerate much individuality.

This is not unique to kids, of course, but high school is such a small world, and everything is so emotionally charged there. It's a hormone-fueled, angst-ridden microcosm of society. It's the test track for the real world.

The experiences of high school inform a person's character throughout their life, even if their only lasting effect is a desire to get as far away from the battleground of lockers and textbooks as humanly possible, literally and/or figuratively. My own adolescent encounters weren't particularly enjoyable, but the life lessons I learned in that place and time have stayed with me.

Lessons like love is painful, acceptance requires compliance, and individuality requires sacrifice.

It's easier to quantify these lessons from the safe distance of long years and with the buffer of the self-actualizing occurrences of my 20's and 30's between my now-self and my then-self. I see the happy exceptions to those rules, and know my own worth enough to value the pain and sacrifice as worthy acquisitions in their own right.

The most painful experience of my high school years was also the most profoundly empowering event of my entire life.

I had a girlfriend in high school, Bridgette. My infatuation with her was as complete and unguarded as only a first love can be. Our relationship was of course, mostly sexual. (I only mention that because it is essential to the story. I'll try to keep it PG-13, I promise)

Well, we tried to keep our liaisons secret. No one had to tell us we wouldn't be accepted as a couple. And of course, we got caught in a compromising position. By her mother.

Her mother was not exactly overjoyed. She kicked me out of her house and forbade her daughter to see me again. Heh. Wanna guess what kind of effect that had?

Anyway, we got better at sneaking around. Until, one time at band camp...someone wasn't asleep when she should have been, and being a teenager, she of course, told everyone. You can probably imagine how horrible the next couple of days were for us.

The Amish couldn't have done a better job of shunning us. We were the punchline to every joke, the object of every smirk. The whispering, giggling and outright derision was non-stop. It was the teenager's Inferno. So, not fun.

We took it until I snapped. I turned on our friends like a rabid dog. I was so furious at their failure to say anything, do anything at all to help us, even to indicate in the slightest way that they were aware of our plight. I'd never, ever gone off like that before. I think they were a little shocked by my naked rage. (Seems kind of ironic now, doesn't it?)

But, it worked. Faced with their cowardice, they rallied. And things got better. At least they did for me. I guess it wasn't the same for Bridgette.

I've always thought it was the experience that made me and broke her. Our relationship was never the same. She'd publicly date guys, and show up at my bedroom window late at night. It was a long, painful end for us. She cheated and lied and caused me no end of pain. Until finally, one of her unwitting beards shoved a gun in my face. I woke up the next morning and realized I was finally over her.

But now that I sit here telling this story, for the first time it occurs to me that I may have hurt her just as much. When I attacked our friends that night, I wasn't thinking of her at all. I was so angry all I could do was lash out. I don't even know where she was when it happened. I wasn't rational enough to bring her with me to present a united front. When I turned on them, I turned my back on her. So, wherever you are Bridgette, I apologize for that. For the rest of you, I digress.

The point of the story is that I found my personal power during what seemed, at the time, to be a terrible adversity. And I think that's a big part of how I came to be the person that I am.

This post is dedicated to my little sister Paige, because she's there now.

Cats Are Better Than People

I don't like people. I do like cats. Here's why:

Cats never drive like assholes. They don't even like cars, so they are never in my way. You? Probably are.

People don't have fur. So you'd hope they'd have some fashion sense. They don't.

If people don't like you, they talk about you behind your back. If cats don't like you, they claw your eyes out. I respect violence far more than underhandedness.

Cats are clean. People....are not:

Cat toys <$3. LG - 42" 720p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV = $899.99 at Best Buy.

Cats never call tech support.

Cats are dignified. People? Not so much.

If cats have a religion, they don't talk about it or try to convert me.

People either fear eating because they have a poor body image, or use food to comfort them because they have low self-esteem. Cats eat when they are hungry and never ask if their butts are too big.

I've never seen a cat mall.

Cats don't go through body-odor reeking, hormone-addled, self-centered, whining adolescence.

Even the very worst cats in the world never did anything as horrific as Be Kind, Rewind.

People talk, cats purr.

Cats screw, and are done with it. No Dear Abby, no couples counseling, no relationship-py angst.

If there were no cats, there'd be no Catwoman.


10 Rules For Calling Tech Support

Maybe I'm so pissed off because I work in tech support. I spend all day on the phone with people who think a port is where ships come in, trying to walk them through fixing their software, which they usually screwed up in the first place. Here's what you need to know when calling tech support:

1. Have your ducks in a row. You probably know what they are going to ask you before they even get to your problem. Name, account number and/or phone number, model or version number of the product. Get all the relevant information before you call.

2. Know what's going on. Be prepared to answer questions about what you were doing when the problem occurred and what has changed since it was working properly. If you don't know, say so. If you did something wrong, admit it. Confession's good for the soul. It also saves you time and frustration.

3. Make Time. Call in when you have time to thoroughly troubleshoot. Have a coworker cover the phones for you, if needed. Constantly putting the tech on hold isn't just annoying, it breaks the flow, and can make the process much longer.

4. Suffer through the script. Yes, they really have to go through all that, their job performance evaluation is partially determined by adherence to the script, if there is one.

5. Don't freak out. Whatever it is that's gone wonky on you, if it isn't your defibrillator, it's probably not time to panic.

6. Count to ten before you dial. Getting your knickers in a twist is not going to help get your problem fixed.

7. Don't rant about the product or service. Chances are, you're not talking to anyone can affect policy or specifications. The person on the line might agree with you, which they can't say, because the "call may be monitored for training and quality assurance". Or, they might actually like the company and the product they support, in which case, good job, Dweezil, way to antagonize the person you've turned to for help. If, after your problem has been addressed, you really have a gripe you want to air, try phrasing it as a suggestion. Have a little tact. Some people have ugly babies, but they still love them.

8. Know when to bump it up a level. If the rep doesn't know what he/she is doing, ask for a supervisor. You'll know when this is necessary. Do not immediately ask for a supervisor, it's insulting, and usually not warranted. The flip side of this rule is, if you aren't familiar with the product, have the person in your home or office who knows it best be the one to call, if possible.

9. Cut the "ugly American" act, Minute Man. If you can't understand the representative, don't ask to speak to an American, or "someone who speaks English", unless you want to piss off that person and whoever else gets on the phone next. It's okay to calmly advise them that you are having trouble understanding them. Just keeping telling them you're sorry, but you don't understand what they just said. If they don't take the hint, see rule 8.

10. Show your appreciation. If your tech does a truly outstanding job, goes above and beyond, and you feel you've gotten excellent service? Ask to speak to their supervisor and tell them how great their employee is. If you were really impressed, write a letter and send it to the company. Address it to the Support or Customer Service Manager. You don't need their manager's name, just the representatives'. Some companies give bonuses or perks for these 'kudos'. Even if they don't, being recognized is always nice, and it looks good to the brass.

Let me bottom-line it for you. Get your s**t together and show some respect. As annoying as you find telephone support, I promise you have the potential to be far more annoying to the person on the other end of the phone. And we have to be nice to you. You're the reason I'm medicated. So don't be an ass to someone who's helping you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The World Responds

Berliners enjoy the inauguration

From the blog of Renee Earle, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the European Union (official blog of the Department of State):

"TV channels across Europe carried the ceremonies, and this morning it was hard to find a newspaper without a front cover carrying the image of the U.S. inauguration. Some papers ran 20 pages of coverage, and “open letters” from Foreign Ministers and school children detailed recommendations and aspirations for a world that can be renewed. From small towns to the European Union’s principal institutions, all shared in the significance of the moment. Braine- le-Comte, a small town south of Brussels, gathered its citizens around a large-screen showing of the inauguration in its town square while Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, issued a public statement: 'I personally believe that the election of President Obama was a defining, turning point for America. It may now also be an important turning point for the rest of the world.'

Kenyans point shoes as Bush appears on screen

Both the U.S. Mission to the EU and our 'bilat,' the U.S. Embassy in Belgium, hosted standing-room-only receptions to view the inauguration. Smilingly enthusiastic, our European guests, like the editorial comment across Europe and Belgian Defense Minister, Pieter De Crem, in his speech at the Embassy event, hailed a new era, a renewal of America and its place in the world. European officials, media, NGO leaders and other friends tried also to focus some attention on the challenges ahead and the great, perhaps unrealistic, expectations for one president, who would have to be 'a cross between Gandhi and Superman,' but last night the emphasis was on jubilation and hope. This morning, an email from a European think tank contact summed up the feelings, 'You may not believe it yet, but America is back.'"

What can I add? Maybe just this:

More photos at

High School Was Not Kind To Me

Someone posted this picture of my homeroom class (North Cobb High School, 1986) on Facebook. I'm the one in the glasses.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Last post, I was in the unpleasant position of agreeing with something Tom Delay said. I'm happy to report that is no longer the case, thanks to this site a co-worker pointed out to me. Turns out we taxpayers aren't footing the bill for the inauguration after all, so enjoy the festivities guilt-free!

Read the full text of President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address here.

OK, I admit it, I was moved. He starts off thanking Bush for his service (whatever), and his "generosity and cooperation" during the transition. Which you know what? He has been pretty well-behaved, for whatever reason, so one-time only props to George.

He then talks about how "We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers (sic), and true to our founding documents."

I was especially happy with that choice of words, as our Constitution has been on life support for so long now.

He talks about the challenges and crisis the country faces and promises, "know this, America — they will be met."

This is followed by the assurance that the "petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics" are over. I know he can't really speak for everyone, but I hope he's right. I don't really like living in a country where everyone is as bitter and angry as I am. It steals my thunder.

This next is maybe my favorite part of the whole speech:

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. "

Just, wow...dude can flat give a speech!

Let's see....Great Nation, journey, path, props to the labor force, immigrants, and soldiers....more about the journey, we still rock...oh, this is good:

"But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. " Very nice! Uplifting, and a backhand at the last administration. Bonus!

Now he plugs his economic stimulus's a neat little slap at the deregulation fiasco:

"Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good. "

Next comes a nice undercut to the Patriot Act:

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals....we will not give them up for expedience's (sic) sake."

While they're on the ropes, he gives 'em one of these: "know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more. "

The punishment continues in fine form: "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet."

Now there's some tough talk to terrorists, shout out to all major religions, and whoa! even heathens like me! He mentions civil war and segregation...Muslims, let's be friends...gonna help the poor...props to the Armed Forces...everybody has to work together...Here's another favorite passage:

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

Just, perfect. I love that bit. It goes on;

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

Oh, hell yes. Beautiful, man. And for the big finale:

"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: 'Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].'
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations
." Let's roll.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Republicans Not Having A Ball

From Politico: With Barack Obama's approval ratings in the 70s and his visage plastered on every shop window and Metro card in Washington, it's hard to remember that 58 million Americans voted for the other guy. If you have trouble remembering that, just turn on Fox News for about 2 minutes.

Even President Bush — who presumably counts himself among that group — said last week that Obama's inauguration is "a moment of hope and pride."

That's not exactly how Michelle Malkin describes it."Jan. 20 has turned into a schlock inauguration, (where) every last moocher has come to cash in on Obama," says the conservative blogger and pundit. "There are some of us who want to bang our heads against the wall." There are some of us who would like to help you do that.

While most Republicans now in office are saying all the right things about Tuesday's proceedings — roll tape on "peaceful transfer of power" and "historic moment for the country" sound bites — some conservatives can't quite get themselves in the "We Are One" mood.

Not even for a day. I can understand that feeling. I've had it for eight very long years.

On his radio show last week, Rush Limbaugh railed against "people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, 'Well, I hope he succeeds. We have to give him a chance.'"

"Why?" Limbaugh demanded. "They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated, the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year and a half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed." Well, if you makes ya feel any better, it may very well take more than eight years to shovel out of the steaming pile Bush is leaving the country in, big boy.

In the wake of the disputed 2000 election, only 47 percent of the public predicted that Bush would be an "above average" or "outstanding" president. In a new Associated Press-GfK poll, 65 percent of the public attaches those words to Obama. On the other hand, the public actually elected Obama.

Asked about Obama's inauguration last week, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hammered on the cost.

If Obama were "serious" about changing Washington, DeLay said, "He would announce to the world: 'We are in crisis, we are at war, people are losing jobs; we are not going to have this party. Instead, I'm going to get sworn in at the White House. I'm going to have a nice little chicken dinner, and we'll save the $125 million.'" Wow, I agree with Tom Delay? I knew that cheese I just ate smelled funny. Seriously, it is an obscene waste of badly needed public funds, but inaugurations always are.

DeLay said he understands why Republicans in Congress aren't complaining about this publicly: "Those in elected office are looking at Obama's popularity numbers and don't want to be perceived as anti-American by being anti-Obama." Sucks when your own tactics work so well that they turn on ya, doesn't it, Kenny?

He didn't name names, but the normally outspoken Rep. Michele Bachmann might fit the bill. Just before the election, the Minnesota Republican told Chris Matthews that she thought Obama might have "anti-American views." Last week, she told The Hill: "I look forward to working with him and I would expect to be as friendly as I would be to [any president]." A double-talking politician? Stop the presses!

Or, as Bob Anderson put it: "Pffffffffffffffffft."Anderson, a retired chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, is the founder of the conservative grass-roots organization "What are we fighting for?"Asked to elaborate on his onomatopoeia, Anderson said that "Obama-mania" is leading the country into bad times."The only positive thing I can see is hopefully it will be bad enough quick enough that the people will stop drinking the Kool-Aid and see what we're about to lose," he said. "I think we have a very short launch window." This is how they begin shifting the blame for the failure of Republican economic policy to Obama and the Dems. Mark my words.

RedState's Erick Erickson is blasting off.... "The first time Obama uses the bathroom, Newsweek will do a five-page spread." And it will be more entertaining and informative than anything you've ever had to say.

Tom Hoefling, the political director for Alan Keyes' group America's Revival, has had it with all the talk about the "historic" nature of Obama's inauguration.

"What's historic about it?" he asked. "So it's historical because of his skin tone? Isn't that a racist idea in the first place? ... I could care less what color his skin tone is. What matters is his philosophy -- his political philosophy and his ideology." I love how much it bugs guys like this whenever a minority group celebrates a step towards real equality.

Anderson suggested that squeamishness about race is silencing the dissent."We're so focused with political correctness people are uncomfortable in saying your baby is ugly and stuff is broken," he said. "While we're sitting around the campfire and trying to sing Kumbaya, our country is slipping away from us." It's our country now! No givsies -backsies!

Anderson won't be watching the inauguration. DeLay will be out in California to rally conservatives. And Richard Viguerie, the king of right-wing direct mail, said Tuesday will be "just another day at the office.""Yeah, sure, we can be happy that we've taken another step in the racial progress, but I just am not about race, quite frankly," Viguerie said.
No, Rich, you're not. You're about conservative spin via direct mail.

He doesn't necessarily begrudge those who will celebrate this week, so long as they keep it short. "You can take a sip of Kool-Aid. It's OK to smell it, stick your finger in it. But on Jan. 21, let's get back to business." Gosh, thanks, but keep your fingers out of our kool-aid, we don't dip into yours.

Defending Adolf

Little Adolf Hitler has left the bunker!

From Anderson Cooper's 360 blog: A three-year-old boy in New Jersey named Adolf Hitler has been taken away from his parents.So have his younger siblings JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie. How could anyone break up such an obviously loving family?

But in an interview with a local newspaper, the father of the children says he’s not a racist. “A name doesn’t make a person,” said Heath Campbell. “My son is going to learn to love. None of my kids are going to have a bone of hate in their body,” he added. Heath is a dull name. Why don't you change it to FAIL!

When we contacted the New Jersey Department of Children and Services it would not comment on the case. However, it told us that children are only removed from their homes if they are in imminent danger and only after an allegation of abuse or neglect is made. It stressed a children (sic) is never removed because of its name. Although they may be rethinking that policy now.

Sgt. John Harris of the Holland Township Police Department told, "I’ve dealt with the family for years and as far as the children are concerned, I have never had any reports of any abuse with the children," Harris said. "As far as I know, he’s always been very good with the children." Well, I've never dealt with them, and I can think of several instances where he has been less than good with them.

The Fox story also quotes Forensic psychologist N.G. Berrill on whether naming a boy Hitler could be considered child abuse.
"Part of it is the infantile nature of the parents’ behavior," Berrill said. "You can name your dog something weird, but they think they’re making some kind of bold statement with the children, not appreciating that the children will have separate lives and will be looked at in a negative light until they’re able to change their name. It is abuse." We're racist morons is a pretty bold statement, now that you mention it.

They also note that "last year, a New Zealand court removed a 9-year-old girl from her parents in order to change her birth name: Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. In that country, officials do not deem a name abusive unless it causes serious bullying." No fair! Bullies need victims!

BBC News ran a piece on that particular example of parental incompetence in July of last year. Judge Rob Murfitt, in his decision, wrote, "The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name....It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily." Just a note, the comments on the BBC piece are pretty funny.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Looking Back

Imported from my old MySpace blog:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm often asked what it is that makes me so much cooler than the rest of you. I've finally bothered to give it a little thought, and I've compiled a short list of the things that comprise my coolness. Feel free to emulate them, although it probably won't do any good, as you lack the cool gene.
I smoke cigarettes. All the cool kids are doing it.
I light my cigarettes with a Zippo. And I don't ever claim that I "love the way it tastes".
I am witty and aloof. Meaning that after I insult you, I really just want you to go away.
I like cats. Dogs are fine, but they smell bad and they jump on people.
I'm lazy.
I'm selfish. I always treat myself better than I treat anyone else. And I feel no guilt whatsoever for doing so.
I'm smart. Most people are idiots. You are probably an idiot, too, but you're too dumb to know it. I'm willing to tell you, feel free to ask.
I'm bitchy. Because ya'll piss me off alot, with your stupidness.
I watch TV alot. Cause those people are more interesting than you real folks.
I know that baseball is superior in every way to football.I also know that NASCAR is not a sport. Neither is golf, running, horse racing, or wrestling.
I hate kids. I don't like anyone greedier or more self-involved than me. And they have dirty little hands they put all over everything. Btw, your kids? Not cute. Irritating. Make them go away, and don't make any more. Your genes do not merit reproducing.
I'm mean. See above.I will hit anyone who makes me mad enough.
I wear leather, and I eat meat, because I am proud to be at the top of the food chain.
I don't drink or do drugs, because those things are part of why other people are so stupid. I encourage others to indulge, however, because it only makes me even more superior.
I'm already tired of telling you how to be a better person, so I'm going to go watch TV.

I copied and pasted this over without editing, because somehow that seemed like cheating. I think I hadn't quite found my writing "voice" yet (and I'm not sure I really have now). Still, most of it I still agree with.

Weird Blogs List

Atlanta Furs - OK, I had no idea these freaks had such a large population in my hometown. (Shudder)

Brian's Home Blog - Just your standard, what-I-did-today blog. Written by a kitten. Hasn't been updated recently, just sits there, being weird.

I Y Your T-Shirt - Not really a blog, more like an ad. I think. Just uh....weird.

My Gastric Bypass - One Woman's Story - Oooookaaaaay.

The Garbage Man - Adventures of a Sanitation Engineer!

The Tooth Booth Dental Blog - All teeth, all the time.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BAMA GIRL - Just in case the caps lock doesn't say it all, I linked directly to my favorite post, a list of her favorite things including: orange juice (which she will apparently drink until she is sick), sweatshirts (they are the Bomb!), pirates (and cowboys?), and of course, "FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!! (AHHH MY HEART JUST SWEALLLLLSSES UP)". Sorry guys, she's married!

Open Call - If you find any really weird and/or stupid blogs, please email a link to

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't let the door hit ya....

Last night, George Bush reflected a bit on the Age of Duh:

Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your president. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart. Well, yes it has, Georgie. I like to call it The Age Of Duh. But, uh, you do know that 8 years is not a decade, right?

Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey that we have traveled together and the future of our Nation.

Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Not the Supreme Court? Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole Nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls. Good luck, sorry about the mess!

Tonight I am filled with gratitude – to Vice President Cheney The Puppetmaster! and members of the Administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime. And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. Trust?

I thank you for....the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity, and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years.

This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house – September 11, 2001. You had a real chance there, George. You could have been a hero, the man who pulled this country together, and helped heal this country. Instead, you USED this horrible tragedy to further your own political agenda. How do you sleep at night? That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock.

I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son’s police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge. You aren't even fit to touch it.

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe. Like alienating our allies and starting a war? Or by carving out vast chunks of our civil liberties in the name of fear?

Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed. Our Nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And if those tools can be used against innocent citizens as well, that's just gravy. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them. Um, yeah, about that...your friends said to tell you they were real sorry, but they had to go home.

Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. "We have no strategic plan. We never had one," a senior U.S. military commander said of the (war in Afghanistan during the) Bush years. - The Washington Post

Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.

There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. So we agree that everything you've done has been a disaster then.

America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. You can't seriously be taking credit for this.

This is a tribute to those who toil night and day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Yeah, those folks probably don't spend months out of every year on vacation.

Our Nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief. I like playing Army man.

The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace. To clarify, we're the second one?

This is the belief that gave birth to our Nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. They just have to suffer with them after Florida drops the ball...

When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. Cue the Patriot Act.

So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. Everywhere but here?

We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. But no health care for the poor in our own country.

And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations. Freedom to be Christian Democracies, that is.

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home.

Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. By spending more class time studying for more standardized tests, and less actually learning. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Nothing brings peace of mind like more confusing forms! Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes. Especially our struggling billionaire class.

The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. Does this mean they fixed the toilets at Walter Reed? America’s air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner. At least, that's what the industrial lobbyists tell me, and they wouldn't lie. And the Federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. Because one opinion is better than 9 opinions.

When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Say it with me - D_E_R_E_G_U_L_A_T_I_O_N! The fox can guard the hen house! Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. We gave more money to to the Wall Street guys who got us into this mess! These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. Like we were all in it together after Hurricane Katrina? And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America’s free enterprise system. Maybe what we need is a new path. How's the idea "Pay as you go" grab ya?

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Mastering basic English, being nice to foreigners, remembering reporter's names....Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. As they were made clear to me during my weekly briefing/puppet shows with Dick Cheney. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions. And you never let facts or scruples stand in your way.

The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course. Oh, please, do share your sage advice with us.

While our Nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Maybe so, now that you're leaving...that does bump them up the list by one. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. For once, I agree. We got complacent during the abundance of the Clinton administration and let you and your cronies slither into power. Can't make that mistake again. We must keep our resolve. Agreed! And we must never let down our guard. Thanks for the reminder!

At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. Did you mean Contempt and Philistinism? In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Tell that to the immigrants being jailed and deported. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. I hear empire-building. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led. Hear that, "strong allies"?

As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. No homos! I have often spoken to you about good and evil. I love that movie! John Cusack is a genius! This has made some uncomfortable. Right, I forgot there were homos in that movie. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere.

Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. Oppressed and despairing, that perfectly describes my feelings after the 2004 election. This Nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace. Are we fighting for peace again?

President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” He also said, "A Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.
More Jeffersonian goodness - "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. "

I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a Nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a Nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.
Here occurs the funniest bit of the whole piece. He has about 5 black people in the room, and he has them all in one row. I'm serious. Look close, in front of him.

(omitted text. here, he talks about his new black friends)

In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.

It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America.

And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country. Thank you."
Those are very stirring are these: "That public virtue which among the ancients was denominated patriotism, is derived from a strong sense of our own interest in the preservation and prosperity of the free government of which we are members. Such a sentiment, which had rendered the legions of the republic almost invincible, could make but a very feeble impression on the mercenary servants of a despotic prince; and it became necessary to supply that defect by other motives, of a different, but not less forcible nature; honour and religion." - Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire