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Making Amerika Great One Swastika at a Time

aunt-beulahBy Aunt Beulah

Aunt Beulah is a former comatose pseudonym who woke from her slumber when the country lobbed a grenade through her nursing home window.

Is it not refreshing to see America and its citizens finally paving The Path to the Moral High Ground? It’s about time we jumped on High Horse and galloped over the Constitution of the United States of America. Just between you and me, I feel the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, not to mention the Declaration of Independence, are pretty lame. After all, the Founding Fathers of this country couldn’t even be bothered to establish a State religion or mention Christianity at all in any of these documents. I’m almost positive that was an oversight, although I can’t be sure as I wasn’t there and there was no Twitter. Perhaps they were sidetracked while separating church from state and couldn’t find their way back to the pew to ask for guidance. Damn Deists. Horrifying Humanists. Sensible Secularists.  What were they thinking by leaving the construal of those documents to the commoners?!

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On Tigers, Hookers and Hypocrites

The media circus surrounding the 2010 Masters Golf Tournament ended Sunday when Phil Mickelson pulled away from the field to don the coveted Green Jacket of Augusta National. As golf tournaments go, it was a great show. But as usual, the media tried to hype everything surrounding the event from Mickelson’s family travails with breast cancer to the resurgence of the aged Viagra sect of the field, i.e., the old men in contention, Fred Couples and Tom Watson (at the ancient age of sixty actually still walking upright).

The main event involved the repentant Tiger Woods who has spent most of his time in the rough over the past six months. Tiger erred in his personal life. No one can argue that. But in what is supposedly one of the greatest events in sports, the media couldn’t focus on the competition without constantly alluding to Tiger’s past boudoirdic sins.

It’s time to get over it, give the poor guy a break and realize he’s one of the sport’s greatest athletes of all time and a real and flawed human being just like the rest of us. I don’t condone his past behavior, but that’s his personal life. He’s a figure on the world stage because of his golf skills. Let him be human.

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The Sad Crucifixion of Tiger Woods

By the time you read this, the “true” story of what happened with Tiger Woods will probably be public.  “True” that is, if you consider the story as filtered by Tiger’s team of pugnacious, flesh eating attorneys and white washed by his slick talking word meisters from his public relations people.

Who can deny the circumstances appear suspicious.  After all, Tiger banged a fire hydrant and a tree right in front of his own house in the middle of the night.  Elin Woods, Tiger’s wife, apparently was awake in the middle of the night, heard the crash and ran down the driveway with a four iron in hand and smashed the rear window of the Cadillac SUV to drag Tiger’s body out of the vehicle.  This in of itself doesn’t seem to be the proper way to administer medical treatment.  You don’t suppose the four iron shots were taken before the vehicle left the driveway?  You don’t suppose they were feuding?

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Et Tu New York Times?

It probably won’t come as a surprise that I’m a regular reader of the New York Times. Some conservatives believe it leans a touch too far to the liberal side. Perhaps it does. Some of our faux-patriots believe it’s a communist rag, but most members of that set don’t read the Times (or much else for that matter). I find it generally balanced, well researched and well written. But even the New York Times isn’t immune from my contempt for irresponsible reporting.

The headline on an article in this morning’s edition read, “Shortage of Vaccine Poses Political Test for Obama”. Oh, come on. I expect better from the Times.

President Harry Truman once proclaimed, “The buck stops here,” but let’s be realistic. The President of the United States is not personally responsible for every pissy little happening in a society of 300 million people. How did the drug manufacturer’s inability or unwillingness to meet deadlines they’d given to government officials get to be Obama’s problem?

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There’s a Fly in the Ointment

Let’s talk flies. May as well. It appears we have nothing better to do in the Capital, across the country, in the blogosphere, or through the media. Certainly swatting flies is more exciting than listening to 19 senators asking the same questions, duplicating matching diatribes, or harping on inconsequential matters in the confirmation hearing for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Smoke and mirrors with the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain would likely sum up a process that was essentially nonexistent until 1955. Perhaps it should have stayed that way. Watching paint dry would be more stimulating and less time consuming. I certainly would not want to be a fly on that wall.

Or apparently any wall in the vicinity of our President. I can appreciate President Obama’s irritation with the annoying fly in question as he sat through a lengthy CNBC interview while the pest buzzed around his head. For PETA to take him to task for what it termed the execution of the “smallest and least sympathetic animals” was almost as entertaining as watching Vice President Dick Cheney defend the former administration’s policy on torture and terror. I know that administration terrified me. And it was torture listening to Mr. Cheney talk out of both sides of his mouth.

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The Media Circus is Back in Town

A Florida couple was murdered. Their family and friends mourn. Byrd and Melanie Billings were found shot to death in the bedroom of their Beulah, Florida home. Inarguably, it was an outrageous act of perversion. As if the sickness of the crime isn’t adequate in of itself, the media has turned it into a cross between a TV melodrama and a reality show. The true sickness is in the media’s willingness to turn the event into circus proportions and in the American public’s willingness and anxiousness to gobble up every gory detail.

The most egregious instances of the media peddling the disgusting details come from the tabloidal networks masquerading as “news” channels. Not surprisingly, the drivel mongers at FOX News lead the way. I had the ill-fortune of having lunch where FOX was broadcast as if the food wasn’t bad enough already. As I ate, I watched as “Urgent Update” followed “Breaking News” with all the nonsense the dirt hounds could dig up. Based on the extent of the coverage, one could easily have been convinced they were watching the aftermath of the assassination of a major world leader. Michael Jackson was known all over the world. This coverage rivaled Jackson’s and who knew the Billings family outside of Beulah, Florida?

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I find it fascinating that the minority members of Congress and Mr. Cheney sit on their keisters, but stand on their soap boxes, waiting for the country to go down in flames. Perhaps hoping is a better word – hoping the country goes down in flames. They give lip service to solutions but those solutions are nothing new or recycled at best. These representatives offer sharp criticism over everything from healthcare to terrorism to Supreme Court Justice Nominees using half-truths, anonymous opinions and rumors they have mined from the vast stores of media misinformation and unchecked facts and sources. Some even plant their own seeds of propaganda, cultivating them until they climb over the wall like kudzu on a hot, humid summer day. What ease our Electeds find in perpetuating myths and spinning the facts until the facts are dizzy and seasick. It takes little effort to then throw those centrifuged, reconstituted and mutated tidbits into the media waters like chum, waiting in gleeful anticipation for the shark feeding frenzy that surely will come. Sensationalism, after all, plays to Madison Avenue like a Siren’ song to a drunken Greek Sailor.

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Blogs and the Death of the Newspaper

In some ways it’s sad to see them go.  I’m sure the printed newspaper will survive in some small way, but the “Stop the Presses”, “Extra, Extra, Read all about it” newspapers we’ve known since the birth of our nation are a dying breed.  In part due to advances in technology and in part due to their own greed and incompetence, newspapers will be remembered as relics from the past. 

When I was a kid in Detroit, a milkman stopped his horse drawn wagon in front of our house, picked up the empty bottles and left fresh milk in wide necked glass bottles on our porch.  It wasn’t long afterward, the iceman showed up with blocks of ice for our old oak icebox.  Before the day was out another horse drawn wagon came along with the Italian grocer yelling “Strawberries, three quarts for a dollar.”

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Swine Flu or Swindle You?

I would be foolish to trivialize the current outbreak of swine flu.  If history is any indicator (and it usually is), the flu could get out of hand.  An outbreak of the Asian flu in the late 1950’s resulted in the deaths of more than a million people worldwide.  The Hong Kong flu killed nearly a million people in the late 1960’s.  Following World War I, the Spanish flu resulted in the deaths of more than 40 million people around the world.  Flu pandemics are obviously things to be taken seriously.

But the cynic in me says I’ve got better things to worry about today.  The nature of the media, traditional, internet and social networks, is such that news and rumor spread faster than the flu virus itself.  Not a newscast passes without a grim description of the advance of the swine flu.  The ongoing news coverage has the public so stirred up that emergency rooms are experiencing crowding from a fearful public with a runny nose dashing for diagnosis.

I don’t know about you, but this year’s flu season is no different for me than any other.  If I see someone who’s feverish, coughing, sneezing and with their nose running down her face, I don’t go snuggle with that stranger.  I try to avoid crowds and contact with people that may be ill.  I don’t care if it’s swine flu, Hong Kong flu, or a chimney flu; I’m not interested in picking up someone else’s crud.

One thing is certain; the more frightened the public becomes, the richer someone is going to get.  That someone happens to be whatever pharmaceutical company or companies will be selling the vaccine.  Pardon my cynicism, but shall we remember the year 1976?

In 1976, there was another flu panic.  Coincidentally, it was over something called swine flu.  The head of the Center for Disease Control, Dr. David Sencer, called on the government to undertake a mass vaccination program.  After pouring nearly $140 million into the program it was suddenly halted.  A few days into the program, reports surfaced that Guillain-Barre syndrome was appearing in some of those receiving the vaccine.  This neurological condition had serious side effects and in some cases caused death.  Over 500 people developed the condition and more than two dozen died from it.  Millions of dollars in damages were ultimately paid by our government to the victims and their families.

The dreaded pandemic never developed and only about 200 cases of the flu were reported.  One death resulted.  There were fears fanned by the media that a global pandemic could kill 50 million people.  The estimates proved to be only about 50 million high.

Every year, people die from the flu.  That’s the reason we call it the “flu season”.  This year will be no different.  I’ve found that the most serious flu outbreaks occur if and when I get it.  Fortunately, that hasn’t happened in years.  Hopefully, my luck will continue.

In the meantime, the media needs to take a chill pill and get itself under control.  The pharmaceutical companies and the makers of anti-bacterial wipes need to try and contain their glee.  We need to use some common sense when interacting with others that are ill.  I’m going to drink more wine; swine flu has never been transmitted through a good bottle of Sangiovese.  And I’m going to try and repress my urge to go outside, snort and roll around in the mud.

Teaching Pigs to Wrestle

Monday I spent the morning in a board meeting discussing mundane but critical matters that should not need to be addressed, but, due to the creativity of the human race and its uncanny ability to wiggle through loopholes, inevitably must be addressed. Just as nature finds ways around obstacles such as the Claymore mines of pesticides, antibiotics and natural disasters, so humans dodge rules, regulations and Arizona Revised Statutes.

Never build flexibility into covenants, conditions, and restrictions. They turn around and bite you on the butt like a ferocious bear market. Not unlike a total lack of regulatory policies.

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