Thursday, March 26, 2009

"You must have been so high..."

I agree, President Obama: legalizing marijuana is not a good strategy to grow our economy. No, legalizing marijuana is a good strategy to: relieve stress on our crowded prisons, reduce police corruption and urban violence, focus law enforcement attention on more egregious crimes, and promote individual freedom of choice. And, oh, by the way, we could also turn the billions of dollars wasted enforcing this unjust law into billions of dollars in tax revenue, which might help the economy just a little bit. Even if that's dead last on the list of reasons, and it is for me, it's still a better reason than any I've heard to keep it illegal. And instead you dismiss the notion out of hand.

I know people who voted for you, President Obama, based on the assumption that, even if you would not necessarily push for marijuana legalization or decriminalization, you would adopt a reasoned approach to the idea. None of those people do drugs. The fact that you dismiss their questions and concerns with a pretty lame joke about their assumed recreational habits is shameful and disturbing. I hope the incomprehensible laughter was worth it.

Radley Balko has more, including that apparently that whole "calling off medical marijuana raids" thing was utter bullshite.

In the meantime, President Obama, I would like to know this: why should other people be penalized for doing something that you yourself admitted to illegally doing in the past?

"We are broken, we are bitter, we're the problem,
We're the Politicians
Watching for our sky to get torn apart"
- Switchfoot, Politicians

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"What have you done Mark David Chapman?"

...well, apparently you didn't kill John Lennon!

According to a van I drove by on US 19 this morning, John Lennon was killed by ... wait for it ... Stephen King.

This white van seemed very intent on spreading the word to the masses, what with the black lettering covering it saying "Stephen King Killed John Lennon" and pointing to its website, which I won't dignify with naming or linking to. So just in case anyone doubted there are some seriously crazy people in this world, there you have it. (Now I know why they call US 19 the most dangerous road in America.)

Speculation as to what Stephen King's motive could have possibly been, as well as why he would have then apparently hired a guy named Mark David Chapman to stand over Lennon's body reading from The Catcher in the Rye until he was apprehended, may be placed in the comments.

"Instant karma's gonna get you..."
- John Lennon, Instant Karma

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Sticks and stones, baby, break your bones..."

Okay, first things first: I don't believe the President of the United States belongs on a late-night talk show. Period. This belief has nothing to do with these shows' propensity for telling jokes many would consider "off-color" (and many others, including myself, generally just consider "unfunny"). It's simply that I like to believe that POTUS has better things to do with his/her time than appear on late-night TV shows. I certainly have better things to do with my time than watch them. Like read. Or sleep.

That having been said, the aspect of President Obama's "Tonight Show" appearance last night that most people are and will be focusing on is not the fact that he should be leading the nation rather than yukking it up with Jay Leno, but rather the Special Olympics gaffe, which I am going to rather uncreatively dub "Specialgate" (I also considered "Gutterballgate" since the comment was related to Obama's poor bowling skills).

The first I heard of it was on Facebook when Ploeger asked the amusing question, "Who loaded the "Special Olympics" comment in the teleprompter?" The comments on the status dismissed it as "an offhand remark" but also pointed out that Dubya would have been flayed alive for such a remark. (Ploeger's retorts to these comments were that the President is supposed to be a reflection of American ideals and if those ideals include making fun of the disabled well then that's just sad, which is true, and that Dubya probably would have mispronounced "Special Olympics", which is untrue but amusing.) (Also, I don't ever recall President Bush making a late-night TV appearance during his term of office, probably because, and this will likely be the only time I ever say this, he has more sense than that.) Ahem, anyway: both points are valid and probably merit discussion.

First off, to Obama's credit, he seems to have immediately recognized the inappropriateness of the comment and called Tim (Corporal? Lieutenant?) Shriver to apologize and further extend an olive branch by inviting Special Olympians to the White House. Is it enough? I don't know. I'd be curious to hear Aaron's thoughts... (Perhaps a good time to end the blogging hiatus, Turtle? Hmm? :)

Anyway, credit having been given where credit is due, on to the discussion: while I do not buy into the whole "liberal media" conspiracy B.S. spouted by many conservatives (notably Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign), I do acknowledge they are generally at least slightly left-of-center. So it's pretty hard to argue that the media wouldn't have been pretty merciless with George W. Bush here. (I will be extremely curious, for example, how Jon Stewart handles this on Monday's "Daily Show". Certainly he would have eviscerated Dubya in similar circumstances. As a side note, here's an interesting article about Stewart I got from, as usual, Jacob.) It will be interesting to see how they handle it in general. Personally, I predict that FOX News will begin calling for impeachment, CNN (particularly leading candidate for devil incarnate Nancy Grace) will discuss how the comments relate to the latest missing attractive white girl, and MSNBC will proclaim that Obama made the statement to draw attention to such a wonderful cause and then take a commercial break while Chris Matthews cleans his shorts. Again.

As to the comment that it was an offhand remark, a failed attempt at casual humor, it's pretty clear that this is the case. What's more troubling is what that means. Who among us can say we've never cracked a "short bus" joke? Hell, I've callously referred to handicapped parking spots as "cripple spots". In my mind, I defend this as my own personal retaliation against the modern, overly politically corrected parlance, but is this really an excuse? People I care about use handicapped spots. What is the cause of such insensitivity? Is it a symptom of a larger national tendency or is it merely human nature? Or am I just making too big a deal out of it?

Ultimately, the incident will - and probably should - fall by the wayside. There are more important things to worry about. Which does beg the question of why I just spent a ridiculous rambling post talking about it. Yeah, well. Shut up.

P.S. As a follow-up to a previous post: Yay! (H/T: The Agitator.)

"Believe me when I call and I say
The next girl that I love wont be a saint"
- Army Navy, Saints

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"These are just words, and words are okay..."

As someone who performed the descriptively-named role of "Son" in the Steve Martin-penned play "WASP" in college, this story of defiance in the face of censorship puts a rather large smile on my face. (H/T: Jacob.) Not much to say about it, other than Steve Martin is awesome.

Side note: our performance of the play is memorable for many reasons, including: a) it's where I first met Zhubin; b)
it earned Jeff the nickname "the guy with the laugh due to his noticeable enjoyment of our performance; and c) set construction caused me missing the second half of the Vanderbilt-Kentucky game that year, the only football game I ever missed a single minute of while attending Vandy. (We ran to Vandy-Barnard to watch the final heartbreaking minutes of the game on TV, which if memory serves involved Zhubin swearing a lot. That game kept us from bowl eligibility in 1999. I can't help but believe that if I had been there it would have been different. Oh well, it just made this year's Music City Bowl that much sweeter. In other news, my God, that was 1999!)

"And if I forget you I'll have nobody left to forget
I guess that's what assholes get"
- the National, Theory of the Crows

Friday, March 13, 2009

"And so all over creation the culture of death became a celebrated rule of law..."

Some states are apparently considering doing away with the death penalty because it costs too much. Though I usually do involve it at some point, cost tends to fall pretty much at the bottom of my arguments against the death penalty, shortly after: it fails as a deterrent, the judicial system is not infallible (i.e., there's always a risk of executing an innocent), and, of course, Hammurabi died a looooong effing time ago. But still, the ends justify the reasoning behind achieving them.

(H/T: The Agitator.)

I'm betting absolutely no one will get the song reference in this post's title. Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong. (More people will get that reference.)

"Go to sleep now, you little fool
You'll not feel the drowning"
- the Decemberists, The Island

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Hey! Don't come around here no more..."

You have no idea how immensely glad I am to see the Washington Redskins on this list. Knowing owner Daniel Snyder's propensity to throw money at all the wrong places, I was afraid we'd be first in line for T.O. once he became available. Sometimes I love being wrong. Given how T.O., despite his immense on-field talents, has proven to be a plague to just about every team he's ever joined, I'm not entirely sure who would want him.

(Incidentally, though we overpaid for him, I'm still pleased that Albert Haynesworth will be shredding the grounds at the Fed this year -- he may not be $100 million formidable, but he's still pretty damn formidable.)

"I cherish with fondness the day before I met you"
- Los Campesinos!, My Year in Lists

"Going down to the swamp..."

I haven't commented much on Vandy's basketball season, largely because there hasn't been much to comment on, but I felt like last night's victory over #11 LSU merited a "VANDY! VANDY! OH HELL YEAH!" Hopefully this keeps whatever meager tournament chances we have alive.

Better yet, the old Slant mates Banecker and Collazzi were there cheering the Dores on. Apparently Collazzi wore a Freije jersey, which is just awesome.

"Oh God, do not deny her
It's not if I believe in love
But if love believes in me"
- U2, Moment of Surrender

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Gimmee some salt, gimmee some salt, gimmee gimmee gimmee..."

When I first saw this article about "Christian salt", my first thought was that it must come from Lot's wife. Just thought I would share that with y'all. (Seriously, are there people who don't think that when they hear the phrase "Christian salt"?)

(H/T: Jacob)

Update: I swear I posted this before FARK made the same joke.

Literature quote of the day:
"And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.
      So she was turned to a pillar of salt. So it goes."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five