Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Supremacy & You!

Recently, I watched a documentary about the Imperial Klans of America, a white supremacist organization based in Kentucky. A subsidiary of the original Klu Klux Klan, the IKA currently has the second largest membership of any Klan organization and sponsors a yearly music and cultural celebration known as NordicFest where hundreds of able-bodied crackers gather to reaffirm their commitment to the white race.

Like the KKK before them, membership in the IKA is restricted to “pure” Caucasians who have never been in a romantic relationship with a member of another race. They hate Jews, Asians, Latinos, African-Americans, Indians, and presumably, Mariah Carey.

There were two aspects of the IKA in particular that struck me. The first was that they opened their rituals (such as the annual cross-burning) with a prayer, specifically because they wish to pay homage to Jesus. Unfortunately, the documentary did not capture the full prayer so I began to wonder what a white supremacist prayer preceding a cross burning might sound like, and this is what I came up with.

Heavenly Father,

                     We just thank you for bringing us together on this beautiful day to hate the Jews and the Mexicans. Though we may walk through the valley of the shadow of Negros, we fear neither Asians nor Native Americans for you are with us. We ask that you bless us as we ignite the device used to crucify your Anglo-Saxon offspring and may the racial slurs of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing unto you. May your ethnically-specific grace continue to shine on our genetically translucent skin tone.  


The second thing that struck me was how heavily the IKA leaned on white power music as a recruiting tool. This seems rather unwise since it appears that quality songwriting is not the strong suit of those espousing the idea of a “master race.” I realize of course that I shouldn’t be expecting The White Album (pun absolutely intended) from a band named “Jew Slaughter” or “Grinded Nig,” but perhaps a little variety in subject matter would expand their fan-base. After all, how many songs can you reasonably compose with “white power” in the chorus? What they need are more love songs because there cannot be a large number of Aryan couples in these movements who exclaim “that’s our song!” every time “Kansas City Kike Massacre” comes on.

Surprisingly, many studies corroborate the group’s claim that white supremacy music brings in hundreds of young men to IKA and similar organizations. This means that in a majority of cases it isn’t overwhelming hatred that drives youth into their ranks, just a lack-luster music collection. If this is indeed the case, we could disband the entire white power movement with a few well-placed Led Zeppelin albums and an iTunes account.

All joking aside, you guys really are embarrassing the rest of us white people. We are having a hard enough time recovering from Gary Busey’s last stint on Celebrity Rehab without you claiming that you and your unnecessarily-camouflaged Uncle Jimmy represent the pinnacle of human evolution.

And by the way, Jesus was a Jew and I am pretty sure he would tell you that your music sucks too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Roid Rage

In response to my wife’s chronic sinus maladies, we finally broke down and decided to consult a specialist. He spent an hour or so giving the misses a once-over and decided that she needed a strong round of Prednisone to clear up any remaining intranasal inflammation. For those of you unfamiliar with this wonder drug, it is a steroid that suppresses the immune system to reduce swelling and inflammation. In our case, my wife was given double the normal adult dose. Partially because her condition was somewhat severe and partially because the prescribing physician is not married to her and knew her return appointment was scheduled for well after the effects would have worn off.

I had taken Prednisone before to somewhat dramatic effect, its euphoric highs being balanced out by long philosophical soliloquies that usually ended with me crying on the couch. I silently prayed that Ashley did not suffer a similar fate, but it was not to be.

At first, the effects were negligible; but after several days a change began to overtake my spouse and I became a man living in fear. Rudderless anger was the most conspicuous side effect and it would erupt with no warning. Something as innocuous as a misplaced hand-towel or the asymmetrical arrangement of periodicals on the coffee table would lead to a heated confrontation.

One particular evening I had gotten home from work early and was sitting on the couch when I heard the familiar humming of the garage door opener. Sweat began to adorn my brow as my eyes swept the living room for points of contention. Were the television remotes arranged by button quantity? Was the ottoman askew? Were my soiled boxers still adorning the entertainment center?   I felt like the kids in Jurassic Park staring hopelessly at the glass of water as the T-Rex approached to devour them. Unfortunately, seven years of marriage had taught me that lying motionless on the couch did not prevent my wife from seeing me nor did such behavior mitigate her anger.

Oddly enough, her contempt was not limited to waking consciousness. The tiny pills also produced what I referred to as “violent insomnia” in which she would grunt and flail wildly at the slightest noise or mattress vibration. One night as I lay motionless in a fit of paralyzed terror, she kept yelling at me to stop “jiggling around” although I hadn’t moved in ten minutes and my heart rate had dipped to dangerous levels. Had the sink started dripping, I feared she would have to be sedated and restrained. I remained motionless until she huffed the words “finally” (although I hadn’t shifted for the duration of the episode) and she fell back into a fitful slumber.

That is not to say that unbridled wrath was the only result. One particular day, after we had spoken a few cross words about the arrangement of the mail, I retreated to my man cave to gather my thoughts and plan the easiest way to slip her a barbiturate. However, after about ten minutes had passed I heard uncontrollable sobbing from the living room and immediately emerged expecting to be informed that all of my in-laws had perished during a Harry Potter screening. I hadn’t seen my wife that distraught since the matrimonial debut of my “dance of seduction.”

Between the violent bursts of tears I was able to discern only a single word: “Wolfie.” I quickly racked my brain searching for a childhood friend or distant relative who could have acquired such an unusual moniker but could produce nothing. It was only minutes later, after finally regaining her composure, that she revealed the source of her heartbreak. 

It turns out that “Wolfie” was the heroic canine who had just been shot on a stirring episode of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. This chilling act of poorly-scripted animal cruelty had sent my wife into an emotional tailspin. I instinctively changed the channel (to avoid any other ill-timed frontier hijinks) and began consoling my wife by assuring her that Wolfie’s sacrifice had not been in vain. She seemed to accept this, and for the remainder of the evening I made sure to only approach her position at perpendicular angles.

After two weeks of chemical enhancement, my compassionate loving wife was returned to me and I was able to shift positions in the night without having a pillow firmly placed over my airway. In the future, I may stipulate that any physician wishing to prescribe Prednisone to my wife be required to board her for the duration of treatment. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spread 'Em (For Safety)

On November 13th 2010, a passenger named John Tyner attempted to board a flight from San Diego International Airport. Apparently Mr. Tyne wished to avoid submitting himself to the much-debated full body scan machines so he was walked through a metal detector and asked to submit to a pat-down. Once he was removed from line, a TSA employee explained that during the search they would be checking his “groin” area. Upon hearing this, Mr. Tyner eloquently replied "you touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested.” This statement set in motion a chain of escalating absurdities that ultimately ended with Tyne’s ticket being refunded before being told neither he (nor his reclusive junk) would be allowed to fly.

The encounter was made all the more remarkable because John had captured much of the scene with his nearby cell-phone and posted it online. During the recording, Tyner insists that no one other than his wife and doctor should be accessing his “junk” and that he did not understand how “sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying." The confrontation, and resulting audio, has quickly become an Internet sensation and reignited the debate of personal privacy versus public safety (and whether or not “junk” is a viable euphemism for genitals).
John (Don't Touch My Junk) Tyner
Tyner’s argument was that being submitted to such rigorous screenings, whether through pat-downs or body-scan machines, is a growing example of the freedoms that the government has taken away from us since President Bush created the TSA in November of 2001. John’s notoriety may be exceptional, but his viewpoints are shared by a growing number of Americans who feel that safety officials are overstepping their boundaries.

The idea is that once all major airports receive body image scanners, passengers will have the option of receiving a pat-down or submitting themselves to the imaging machine. There are currently two main objections to the scanners:
  • We do not yet fully understand the long-term effects of exposing a human body to the image scanners and for frequent travelers (and airline personnel) this could pose a potential health risk.
  • I do not want a TSA employee leering at an electronic facsimile of my (or my child’s) naked body. What if they keep a copy and post it online? What assurances do I have that I will not appear on TSAHOTTIES.COM?
Both are valid concerns, but based on our current understanding of radiation exposure it would seem that unless you flew constantly or were employed as a crew member, your exposure levels would be fairly negligible. The invasion of privacy issue seems to have more traction and some countries are investigating whether or not the screening of children violates child pornography statutes.

I have done some research on the airport body scanners and while the images produced do allow the security agents to see under your clothes, the result is about as erotic as a dimply-lit Polaroid of a CPR dummy.

Others have argued that the TSA (despite their insistence to the contrary) is storing these images for some as yet unforeseen invasion of our civil liberties. While I doubt that the images are always destroyed, I am not sure what nefarious purpose the TSA could have for retaining such data.

Of course, since the scanners are not yet widely available many fliers are being subjected to pat downs. While I agree that having a complete stranger rub me down like a thoroughbred in the middle of a busy airport is unpleasant, I am willing to submit myself to it for the privilege of being suspended inside a metal Tylenol 30,000 feet in the atmosphere.

I recently watched a Roman Polanski film where the protagonist, an elected official, opined on the hypocrisy of the general public concerning airline travel. He proposed the following compromise:

Travelers will be given the choice of flying on an airline where all passengers have submitted themselves to rigorous security screenings and uncomfortable searches or they can elect to fly with an airline where all onboard were allowed on the plane without having to be searched, questioned, or screened in any way so as not to make them uncomfortable or infringe upon their freedoms. He wondered which airline would turn a profit. So do I.

There are those, however, who would argue that there is a viable middle-ground that America has left unexplored. This approach has been dubbed “Israelification” after the sovereignty which pioneered its use. At Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, visitors must pass through six layers of security that take a radically different approach to screening. The process is so efficient that the average time from the parking lot to a seat on the plane is around twenty-five minutes. So how does it work?
  1.  Everyone coming into the airport is screened at a roadside checkpoint before entering the parking lot. They are asked a few innocuous questions so that the screener can gauge their temperament and mental state.( If your temperament is unacceptable, I assume that you are shot.)
  2. You then pass through heavily armed guards who are trained to look for suspicious behavior as customers approach the ticket desk. (Like the kind of nervous demeanor a normal citizen might display in the presence of heavily armed guards.)
  3. Guards watching on camera will then select certain passengers to have run through metal detectors. (This includes known militants and Christian Slater.)
  4. Once you approach the ticket desk, you are asked another series of innocuous questions by the clerk who looks for behavior patterns. (Such as “How are you today?” or “Do find the imperialist dogma of the United States is detrimental to the moral fabric of our modern world?”)
  5. Your luggage is now placed through a screener machine that is surrounded by blast-proof glass that can withstand 100 kilos of plastic explosive. (If you have managed to calmly navigate an Israeli airport with enough plastic explosives to take out a Ford dealership, it would seem a shame to fall victim to such a rudimentary device.)   
  6. The last layer involves more trained personnel looking for behavioral patterns.(Such as open hostility at having your 100 kilos of plastic explosives confiscated during step 5.) They do not screen for liquids or ask you to remove your shoes. 
This onsite system, combined with tireless information gathering and threat analysis by Israeli intelligence agencies, allows their security to be pro-active instead of re-active. The real question, though, is does it work?

The last documented security breach at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport was in 2002 when a civilian accidentally carried his handgun on a flight. Not bad for a country with such tumultuous unrest. Of course, it must be kept in mind that Israel’s busiest airport only handled ten million passengers in 2009 which doesn’t even put it in the top fifty in terms of traffic (Atlanta handled over 88 million in the same time period) so it helps to place that in perspective. According to Rafi Sela, an international security consultant, there is one other important difference between Israel’s approach compared to the western world, “"Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take s**t from anybody.”

I believe to an extent, we have embraced a sense of entitlement concerning commercial air travel. After all, life is possible without it. In Mr. Tyner’s case, he could have elected to get in his car and drive if he wished to avoid any violations of his privacy but like many of us he has become accustomed to the convenience that flight provides. Although we would never admit it, many of us vehemently denounce the TSA when they inconvenience us but secretly find their presence reassuring. If it comes down to privacy versus mid-flight catastrophe, I say bring on the “Nude-o-tron!”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grinch Alert

Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX has recently made headlines for creating a list of businesses that are “naughty” or “nice.” A business is considered nice if they appear to openly celebrate Christmas (either by oral greeting or store signage) or naughty if they choose a more ambiguous greeting such as “Happy Holidays.” This list is populated by citizens who can submit a business to and (if approved by staff) it will be listed for the world to see. 
Grinchmaster Jeffress
Pastor Jeffress has stated that his reasoning behind the decision was “to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday.” I decided to visit the site in order to discern which businesses were naughty and which were nice and immediately stumbled upon a conundrum. It would appear that some businesses have been double-booked. 

For instance, Target was listed as naughty by one submission and nice by another on the very same screen.

The overall goal of the site is to guide holiday shoppers toward establishments that openly support Christianity by acknowledging Christmas’s elevated status as the premier winter holiday. Finding no local businesses on the list yet, I took it upon myself to select a local merchant (since most of the franchised institutions had been duly represented) and discover their stance. I eventually settled on the Double D Ranch, a Hooters-esque restaurant that that features scantily-clad women and serves beer in bra cup sizes.

After chatting with the on-duty manager for several minutes, he enthusiastically informed me that the Double D Ranch was a “Merry Christmas business” through and through. I replied that his commitment to Christmas (and by extension Jesus) was inspiring and that he would be seeing me soon. I then logged on to Pastor Jeffress’s website and filled out a submission form nominating the Double D Ranch Restaurant in Jackson, TN as a “nice” business. As of this writing, I am still waiting for approval.

Since the Grinch approval process seemed to be moving slowly, I decided to research some of the “nice” businesses. I began with Taco Bell, a franchise deemed worthy to carry the Pastor Jeffress seal of approval.

Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Incorporated, a conglomerate that owns other large fast-food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, and Long John Silvers. The company is based in Louisville, KY and since 2006 has been the primary corporate sponsor of the Kentucky Derby horse race, an event that generates over $100 million in gambling revenue each year. I found this curious since the official stance of the Southern Baptist Convention on gambling is that it “is personally selfish, morally irresponsible, and socially destructive. Therefore, gambling must be vigorously resisted.”

Another “approved business,” Cinemark Theatres, was boycotted by several religious groups in 2008 after the CEO donated thousands of dollars to support the repealing of California’s Proposition 8.

I use these examples not to make a moral statement on gambling or homosexuality, but to highlight the futility of trying to identify businesses that share compatible values based on how a minimum wage employee chooses to greet you. Is the best use of his church’s time and resources blacklisting organizations that acknowledge other religious holidays? Should Christians really get pissed off that a store acknowledges a Jewish holiday by inclusion? One person put Delta Airlines on the list because they “offended him as a Christian” by sending him an e-mail wishing he and his family “Happy Holidays.” This is one of the pettiest comments I have ever read. You are privileged to live in a country where you can freely worship as a Christian without fear of persecution and you chose to take time to be offended because an airline wished you a “Happy Holidays.” Do you even understand what the word offensive means?

I can only hope that Jeffress brings this kind of fervor and passion to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, otherwise I might be “offended as a Christian.”  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


A few days ago I noticed that many of my Facebook friends were changing their profile pictures to cartoon characters. The explanation given for this behavior was generally two-fold:
  1. It diminished the possibility of seeing a “human face” on Facebook.
  2. It brought awareness to, and helped combat, child abuse.
Leaving aside the glaring irony in voluntarily removing our human faces from a website whose entire basis is to facilitate unique self-expression through profiles, I began to wonder just how the second objective would be accomplished. In our modern age are there really a significant number of people with Facebook profiles who are unaware that child abuse exists? What are the odds that someone is currently staring at a photo of Scooby Doo on someone’s homepage saying to themselves, “So that is what it is called when I beat little Timmy with a tight-rolled area-wide phonebook…”

Therefore, logically, the next assumption we come to is that widespread awareness of child abuse already exists and the cartoon profile is a way to combat its proliferation. I find this even more preposterous that the ignorance argument. Exactly how would this scenario play out?

Scenario A - Stepdaddy comes home drunk, decides to update his profile to include Nightranger among his favorite bands, and just before signing out to go show the kids “what’s gonna happen when young’uns get to sassin’” he sees that a picture of Donald Duck has replaced his friend Terry’s profile pic and is overcome with emotion. His inebriated body is racked by guilt as the childhood image sparks memories of his own adolescence when he too found himself at the violent mercy of an alcoholic step-father. Slowly, he becomes acutely aware of the cyclical nature of his own rudderless aggression and vows to never lay a hand on the children again. Over the next several weeks, a marked change appears in his demeanor as he realizes the physical and psychological damage he has caused to the young lives entrusted to him. Years later, he looks back on the poignant self-reflection initiated by Terry’s simple act of nostalgia and wonders what could have happened had Terry chosen not to participate.

Scenario B –Intoxicate stepdaddy notices Terry’s profile pic of Donald Duck, makes a mental note to de-friend him, and follows through with his original proposal of beating his stepchildren with a partially-thawed rotisserie chicken.

Do not misunderstand me. Child abuse is an abhorrent trend that must be stopped, but it almost cheapens the issue to tell people that they can help eradicate it by replacing their frat party photo with a .jpeg of Space Ghost. If you want to change your profile photo to a cartoon, don’t pretend you did so out of solidarity with the victims of such a heinous crime. If you want to actively help combat child abuse, find a reputable charity in your area and volunteer your time and/or bank account.

Take that, morally abhorrent social deviants!

This phenomenon is not limited to child abuse. Earlier this year, women were encouraged to utilize their Facebook status to cryptically divulge where they prefer to store their purse. This resulted in statuses that read like sexual euphemisms:

  • Sarah likes it “on the kitchen table.”
  • Julie likes it “hung from the bar stool.”
  • Cindy likes it “in the trunk of her 2002 Dodge Intrepid at the Bon Jovi concert.”
In this case, participants were assured that their compliance supported “breast cancer awareness.” How? Does my status change set in motion a chain of events that will ultimately result in a Facebook friend realizing that women have breasts and that those same breasts are susceptible to cancer? Are people with constant access to high-speed Internet connections really so far out of the loop that they have to discover medical advances through a Facebook status update?

Even before Facebook, this same “slacktivism” infiltrated cyberspace through e-mail forwarded chain letters. Our inboxes became saturated with messages imploring us to continue circulating pointless information to assist a cause.
  • If you disagree with cancer, please forward this to 10 people…..
  • Help stop gang-related puppy violence by sending this to twenty people that you care about……
  • Every time you forward this message, the National Institute of Organizational Charity will donate one dollar to prevent pre-childhood obesity in illiterate Asian women……
Why do these resonate with us? Deep down, most of us must realize that whatever self-satisfaction we get from these symbolic gestures borders on emotional perjury. In some cases, especially on Facebook, we do it because large amounts of people witness how “chartable” we are. It is unlikely that anyone you know will see you volunteering at a soup kitchen or battered women’s shelter, but on Facebook you are assured that hundreds of people will know that you think they should be aware that there are battered women and starving people.

I have no problem with cartoon characters profile pictures, divulging the location of your purse or the color of your undergarments; but let’s drop the pretense of crusading for charity. Can’t I just change my profile picture to Snoopy because I like Snoopy? Must I fabricate an altruistic motive to justify my decision? There are countless ways to utilize your time, money, and talents to have a positive impact on the world around you and if you are fortunate enough to have regular access to the Internet, then I am sure you can locate a more effective medium than Facebook in which to utilize them.

*On a side note, I have it on good authority that if you change your profile picture to your favorite Kardashian during the first week of January, Viacom will donate two pouches of Capri-Sun to the cousin of an albino homicide victim. For realsies!     

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movies That Suck: Legion

The year is 2010 and God has decided that humanity deserves to be eliminated (it is unclear whether or not watching The View factored into his decision) so he distributes a memo to his full-time angelic staff to “clean house” a la’ Noah and the Ark. For reasons known only to the big man, it is imperative that the unborn fetus of a specific Arizona waitress is violently executed before mankind can receive its supernatural comeuppance.

This new corporate policy does not sit well with the Archangel Michael (painfully referred to as "Mike" throughout the film) and after he and Gabriel kick it around the heavenly water cooler, Mikey decides two put in his two weeks’ notice. In short order he finds himself on the streets of Los Angeles without his wings and on a mission to save the aforementioned fetus from God.

While Mike is on his way to the isolated coffee shop to protect said waitress, heavenly angels begin taking over the bodies of motorists in the area. This angelic possession can be easily identified by two characteristics:
  • The affected suffer violent seizures from the neck up.
  • Their teeth become both symmetrical and pointy.
However, if the host is elderly they are immune from both the seizures and involuntary dental work and  instead they use the f-word excessively and favor undercooked beef.

Eventually, Mike and a band of customers find themselves hold up in the Arizona dinner (owned by Dennis Quaid) fighting off the hordes of angels. The film’s climax involves a showdown between erstwhile angel Mike and his old buddy Gabriel. I will not spoil it by telling you who wins, but I can assure you that it will not be the audience.

I am more than willing to make certain theological concessions when it comes to apocalyptic films, but come on. Are we really expected to believe that God almighty, who by the films own admission wields infinite power, is unable to snuff out a particular pregnant waitress without the help of possessed motorists? And while I am on the subject, why do the angels sport tattoos and carry what appear to be prison shanks? Was the heavenly defense budget cut this year?

The exception, of course, is Gabriel who has been issued a motorized mace that functions like a holy-ghost power tool. It is also worth noting that Mike, who presumably has spent his entire existence removed from the trappings of humanity, has a strong British accent and received extensive training in both Taekwondo and the handling of automatic firearms.

All of this must be quite discouraging for Satan, whose job of torturing and punishing humanity has essentially been outsourced. I am not sure what is left for the dark master to do if angels are violently murdering the width and breadth of mankind.

The film, however, does excel in certain areas; the most notable being the subtle art of stereotyping. Kyle Williams, played by Tyrese Gibson, is an African-American traveler who drives a chromed-out SUV with dark tinted windows, carries a pistol, and has a disgruntled baby-mama that he may or may not be late making child support payments to.

Conversely, the single nuclear family that appears in the film is Caucasian but is imploding because the couple’s teenage daughter is disrespectful, sexually promiscuous, and may or may not use large amounts of recreational drugs. They only find themselves in such an undignified eatery because their BMW broke down and the dinner apparently employs a part-time mechanic. The film’s remaining character is the dinner’s grill cook who possesses only one hand.

Thankfully, the child is safely delivered and God changes his mind and decides to give humanity another chance. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t put Legion in his Netflix que…

This film has been rated R for geriatric profanity, theological innuendo, and an intense scene of Dennis Quaid mismanaging a small business.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To The Politicians

I cannot help but feel somewhat disillusioned by the state of our legislative body after the midterm elections. In the interest of full disclosure, I voted about half Republican and half Democrat in the midterms and have never been a registered member of or donated to either party. I try my best to research the candidates I support and do so based on their stances. With that being said, I have decided to pen an open letter to several members of our Federal legislative body which no one will read.

To Mitch McConnell,
Hello Ladies......
As minority leader of the Senate you recently announced that the single most important priority for the Republican Party over the next two years was making sure that President Obama does not get re-elected. With all due respect Mr. McConnell, that is one of the most insulting statements I have ever heard. You truly believe that the greatest use of your time and our money is campaigning against the sitting president for the next two years. Apparently job creation, social security reform, national security, or foreign policy has become secondary to the making sure Barack Obama is a single term President.

You are fortunate you are a politician because I doubt that such an attitude would fly outside the confines of Congress. I can just imagine my next performance review and when my boss asks what I feel my most important job function as a network technician is I respond “Making sure the current mayor doesn’t receive the votes necessary to reinstate him.” I am sure your eloquent rebuttal would be that ousting Obama would positively affect all the aforementioned areas of concern, but that would be a cop-out of the worst kind. You cannot roll up all of our nation’s problems and lay them at the feet of one man, even if he is the president. It was irrational to do so with Bush and it is equally irrational to do so with Obama. Do what you are actually paid for and not what you would like to be paid for.

To Nancy Pelosi,
When one overly-conspicuous American flag backdrop just wont cut it...
                In the name of all that is holy, please just go quietly into that good night and quit wrangling to hold leadership positions in the House. You are so wildly unpopular that if they elected you chair of the Federal drinking water committee 85% of America would opt for dehydration. I realize that it is difficult to go from third in line for the Presidency to plain old representative, but I think it is abundantly clear that is what America wants. You are paid to serve the country by representing your constituency, please do so out of the limelight.    

In addition, I am tired of seeing your face on every single Republican mailer I get. Each time a local member of the GOP runs for Municipal Illumination Supervisor I have to hear about how he is dedicated to stopping the “Pelosi Agenda” because apparently your liberal bias has negatively affected the performance of our sodium-vapor bulbs on East Avenue.

To Jim DeMint,
Have you or a loved one been injured in an auto accident?
You have put forth the single most practical solution to government overspending of the entire midterm election season. While every single candidate touts their commitment to fiscal responsibility and doing more with less, you have stepped up to the plate and suggested that we should end all congressional earmarks for both parties.

While I doubt that such a sweeping change could gain a foothold in the current political climate, just having you suggest it probably caused two-thirds of the house to soil their designer trousers. It was worth every penny.

On a side note, your idea to fire female public school teachers caught having pre-marital sex is the worst idea since David Hasselhoff’s Greatest Hits CD. If you are that concerned with morality I propose a committee of female public school teachers who have the power to fire politicians who cheat on their spouses.

To The Tea Party,
            Keep the flat tax and drop the nut jobs. The Republicans may think of you as the embarrassing cousin and fight to keep you out of leadership, but several of your ideas are common sense and we could use them. Also, please try and refrain from using Hitler on any more billboards.

To the entire Legislative Body,
            Get your crap together. We have a Republican House and a Democratic Congress which means one of two scenarios can play out:
  •  Each party could use every single issue as a pissing contest while the people who fund your salaries become nothing more than pawns in partisan wrangling.
  • Both of you could acknowledge that the strength of our system lies on the existence of, and cooperation among, differing ideologies to bring about a common good.
 I prefer option number two. The Republicans are so bent on repealing “Obama care” in its filthy liberal entirety they are unwilling to acknowledge that it contains provisions (such as insurance companies not being able to drop you when you get sick) that are widely supported. You may not agree with the all the words said, but at least he Democrats started the conversation.

Conversely, the Democrats feel that not extending the Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthy is the hill to die on, it isn’t. Also, it is fine to fight for important provisions in the health care bill, but allowing some Republican input and tweaking could streamline its effectiveness while allowing it to be more readily fundable and accepted.

And could someone please simplify the Federal Tax code? I realize that doing so would ensure the demise of H&R Block, but if I could just be a given a simple percentage that I owed each year I would not feel the need to own a graphing calculator.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Trust Me, I'm a Doctor

Kristina Ross, 36, decided that it was time to give back to the Idaho community that had given her so much over the years, so she decided to provide complimentary breast exams to several citizens. By all accounts she was as thorough as she was enthusiastic, and unlike other physicians she provided the added convenience of meeting her patients outside the office on a flexible time table. In fact, several recipients were so impressed by Ross’s professionalism and attention to detail they called her office to schedule traditional consultations.

Dr. Aussieahshowna
Unfortunately, Miss Ross was not, and had never been, a physician. Furthermore, she had given the exams to patrons of area nightclubs while identifying herself as plastic surgeon Dr. Berlyn Aussieahshowna (pronounced awe-sea-uh-show –nuh). The ruse was discovered when her “victims” called the number she gave them and were curtly informed that they had no record of a Dr. Aussieashowna. Devastated by the deception, some of her patients called the authorities and she was quickly taken into custody.

Once Miss Ross was booked and processed it became apparent that she had been in trouble with the law before, but as a man. In 2004, Mr. Ross had served time for aggravated assault before apparently undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Miss Ross is currently being held for practicing medicine without a license and prosecutors fear that Dr. Aussieashowna may have several other “patients” who have yet to come forward.

While being fondled in a nightclub must be unpleasant, I do have limited sympathy for the victims. After all, a doctor approaching random women in a nightclub and asking to inspect their breasts should be unable to locate one taker, let alone several in a single night. Some of the women have indicated that any reluctance they felt was alleviated by her use of “medical words” and the fact that she recited the phone number of a “real clinic.” Well congratulations bar patrons, your screening process concerning physicians apparently requires only memorizing a telephone number and using the word “areola” in a sentence.

The fact that such a charade could produce so many victims has undoubtedly caused emergency meetings at fraternity houses across the country where the “Its OK baby, I am pre-med” routine was dismissed as implausible. Does it seem likely that any physician (after what we can assume was a grueling 12+ hour shift) would deliberately seek out patients to offer their expertise without charging them for an office visit? A simple rule of thumb, the thin line that separates sexual assault from medical examination is usually a billing department.

Dr. Aussieahshowna’s deception is hardly unique. Just a few weeks ago in Delaware, a man walked into a Newark hospital and administered three physical exams to female patients before someone thought to ask if he even worked there. Although he lacked any credentials or identification, the man was wearing a white coat (working in the meat department at Kroger apparently has its perks) so no one bothered to question his motives. As of this writing the police have not yet made any arrests.

Perhaps the most prolific pretend doctor of the last quarter century would have to be Kentucky resident Dean Alan Willoughby, who began his illustrious career in South Carolina where he ran a fabricated university study. In the course of his groundbreaking research, Willoughby performed over two hundred invasive physical examinations on male and female patients before he was arrested. Sadly, Dr. Dean’s subsequent conviction would cost him his position as an associate pastor but did not diminish his love of practicing imaginary medicine. After serving two years of his sentence he packed his bags and headed to the bluegrass state for a fresh start.

Once there, he opened an office and began paying fifty dollars for patients to take part in his medical “research” and an extra twenty dollars for each new patient they referred. He performed countless prostate exams and hernia checks over the next decade before a lengthy investigation brought him down. He was sentenced on seventy-five counts of practicing medicine without a license and fifteen counts of sexual assault. 
He has not yet indicated whether he will open a satellite clinic inside the penal system.

So what can we learn from these stories?
  • Board-certified physicians rarely hold impromptu breast screenings in Idaho night-clubs.
  • Just because someone is in possession of a white lab coat it does not mean that they are qualified to do anything other than teach a high school chemistry class or deli slice a ham.
  • If someone named Dr. Dean asks you to remove your pants, examines your prostate and then hands you a fifty dollar bill there is a good chance that he actually works at AutoZone and you should immediately take a shower.
  • A HIPAA information sheet and a Youtube release form are not the same thing.