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Friday, August 31, 2007

Vigilante Justice: Tar-n-Feathers!

Sadly, this report doesn't come from America. It does, however, provide me with a little bit of appreciation for the will of a community and ideas for my mind to process on how to handle situations where the government isn't doing its job properly.

A drug dealer had been plaguing the community around the Taughmonagh estate in South Belfast, Ireland. Several members of the community took their concerns to the police and provided enough information, in their minds, to get this drug dealer off their streets and behind bars. The police sat on the information and refused to intervene or act in any way to solve the problem.

The community at large became fed up, lost their faith in the proper law enforcement handling the situation, and took the matter into their own hands. In an act that hasn't really been done since back in the 1970's when the Provisional IRA used to handle matters in their own ways - the group doled out some punishment on the man, who has yet to step forward and point a finger at his "attackers".

He doesn't want anyone to know his identity.
Probably because he's a drug dealer.
Also likely that he's embarrassed about being tarred and feathered.

That's right, this group of citizens ambushed the man, dumped tar on his head and feathers were strewn over him. They tied him to a lamppost on the street and hung a sign around his neck for all to come and bear witness to. The sign read: "I'm a drug dealing scumbag."

Of course, police and politicians are up in arms over the event, calling the whole thing "barbaric" and quickly pointing fingers at the loyalist Ulster Defence Association. The UDA maintains that it had nothing to do with the event, and added: "The UDA told the local community to go to the police about this. The community responded in the way it did because it had no confidence in the police."

So what does that equate to us, across the Atlantic? There are so many issues here in the USA that citizens can't trust the government to take care of. Illegal immigration comes to mind. The best form of "vigilante" we have on the case for the fight against illegal immigration is the Minutemen group. And while to most people, the group is seen as rabble-rousing rednecks with guns and bigotry - they're nothing but border watchdogs in reality. They patrol, and call law enforcement agencies when they've spotted someone. They don't even go over and subdue or detain the illegal immigrants themselves as a "citizen's arrest" like they technically have every right to do.

So what happens if we see a true breakdown? That we've finally given up on sitting around and "calling it in" only to find that, once again, nothing has happened? Some local/state law enforcement agencies themselves are fed up with the federal law enforcement agency not doing enough, so they've applied to get trained by the ICE and be able to start deportation paperwork themselves. But it's not enough. Speeding up the process is better, but it's not catching them any faster.

I'd like to see a similar vigilante group here in America, performing these kinds of vigilante justice on the criminals that our government isn't properly taking care of. And you know what? As long as we're going to be "offensively using racial profiling" (which is what any pro-immigration or Latino in general would say) - why not go the whole nine yards?

Forget "tar and feathering" - let's "nacho" them.

In an act similar to a standard tar-and-feather, this one ironically uses their own stereotype against them. Subdue the criminal, tie 'em to a lamppost, and dump a bucket of refried beans or nacho cheese on them. Then dump bags of tortilla chips on top. "Nachoed!" As the coup-de-grace, we can't forget the cardboard sign reading "Soy un scumbag inmigrante ilegal", which of course is "I am an illegal immigrant scumbag" in Spanish.

Maybe after a few "nacho" incidents, police will be more vigilant about locating and deporting illegal immigrants who are cluttering up our streets and our systems that are supposed to be reserved for legal citizens who have the right to utilize them. A few reports of "rampant nacho-ing" might just scare a few of them.

And in the words of Dennis Miller, "Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

(The article about the tar-and-feathered guy)

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Letter to RedEye: Gay Marriage

Well, another letter in to the RedEye. This one, I'm kind of hoping DOESN'T get published, because my friends read it - and most of them are gay. So if you hadn't guessed, this is a "gay marriage" thing. Which, frankly, means that my opinion doesn't really matter at all. I'm not gay. I'm not even married. I can't even manage to land a girlfriend - so I really have no say in what's right or wrong about gay marriage in the first place.

So of course, when the Boy on Boystown guy opens the floor to gay marriage debate - I jump at the chance to make a fool of myself. It's the problem with being a realist. "Should" just isn't a huge part of the process - because what matters most to me is what "is" and what "will" be rather than what "should" be. SHOULD gay marriage be accepted? Probably. WILL it? Probably not - at least not for a while yet. I'm in favor of it, really I am. But you know what scares me the most about gay marriage?

The inevitability of Gay Divorce Court on TV.

Anyway, here's the letter I sent:

Whenever I'm faced with the actual question of whether gay people should be allowed to get married, I have to quote Kinky Freidman by saying, "I support gay marriage because I believe they have the right to be just as miserable as the rest of us." In all seriousness, I do believe that homosexuals should be allowed to get married - same as the rest of us.

However, the real question isn't one of SHOULD it be allowed, but WILL it be allowed - and I have to say that I doubt it will be happening anytime soon, no matter how many "should"s you throw at it. The fact is that marriage is, as was pointed out, a government institution (despite its pseudo-religious history). Which means that government gets to decide, and it's been made evident in many ways that the government (which is made of elected officials who REPRESENT the country) is not ready to accept homosexuals at a level that allows for them to officially marry. Maybe once there are a decent number of elected homosexual representatives in the government (openly homosexual BEFORE election), gay people will be able to have a better chance of beneficial legislation.

My question back to you is why aren't homosexuals trying to make lemonade out of the lemons that they've been handed? If marriage is exclusive to opposite-sex couples, and civil unions are exclusive to same-sex couples, why is it that the fight is to ignore civil unions and rally for marriage instead of rallying to get benefits and government legislation attached to civil unions? If the only reason for wanting marriage instead of civil unions is the various governmental benefits in the marriage package, why not fight harder to get pieces of that benefit package added to civil unions (if not the whole thing in time)? Why not even go for DIFFERENT benefits or MORE benefits? I think that the civil union is only a weak/unacceptable version of marriage because few are fighting to make it any better. In many countries, civil unions have benefits similar to marriage (and a few have equal benefits) - so why does it seem like here in the USA there would still be a homosexual uprising if civil unions provided the EXACT SAME benefits as marriage but had a different name because of the difference in gender-combinations?

Rally the troops to buff up civil unions and leave marriage alone. Besides, if you follow the news you'd see that when it all comes down to it, gays already have the right to get married. They just aren't able to marry each other yet.

Aaron Samuels, 23, Bridgeport

I'm sure there'll be a flood of comments on how wrong I am or how wrong my logic is. It really doesn't matter to me - like I said, my opinion doesn't matter in the long run. I'm not gay, and I'm not getting married anytime soon.

But let's face the facts - how can gays expect to be given equal rights from the legislative branch when the truth is that the POSSIBILITY of a representative being gay coincides with being asked to step down and resign. You've seen it in the news - and while people are supposedly more against him for the criminal nature of his sexual transgression, the fact that it was of the homosexual persuasion is what's raising all of the eyebrows and shaking fists... If a senator has to protect his career by announcing (denial or not) that he is NOT GAY - what chance do gay people REALLY have at this point to be taken seriously or as full equals in every sense of the word?

No, that's not how it SHOULD be. It SHOULD be different. But this is what it IS and HAS BEEN. Maybe in the future, things WILL be different...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Serving Sizes: I've Got Your "Fun Size" Right Here!

If there were ever doubts that the marketing and advertising world is just a tangled web of lies - you'd find it evident in two simple words: "Serving Size". For as long as I can remember, I've had people telling me to "read the food labels" and make "healthy choices". So, for most people, that involves picking up two things, looking at the calorie and RDA numbers sitting on the label on the back of the package, and then picking one with smaller numbers. Of course, NONE of that matters without bothering to take a look at the horrific description sitting next to those two simple words...

Who the hell gets to decide what a serving size should be??

Because they're not doing a very good job.

Case in point: A normal package of ramen noodles contains TWO servings.

That means that some people actually believe that while you're boiling water on a hot plate in some dilapidated dormroom to cook up a package of 10-cent noodles, you actually plan on only eating HALF of it. As if you're going to "save the rest for another meal". That right there is an outrage - and it's just the tip of the iceburg. Just about anything you purchase, food-wise or beverage-wise, has unacceptable ideas about how much you should be eating at once.

Fig Newtons: 2 cookies.

As Brian Regan says, "Two cookies? I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve! Two sleeves is a serving size! Who the hell only eats two cookies? 'Oh, would you like a Fig Newton?' 'I don't know, I already ate two whole entire cookies - I don't know if I could muscle another one in... *mmmmph* No! I am stuffed to the rafters!' 'We got one for the E.R. here, we have a three Fig Newton eater!' 'HOW MANY DID HE HAVE???'"

Snickers: 35g-58.7g!

This one actually varies! I've seen a few wrappers (and I think you KNOW I've seen a few wrappers). The first one I had to look at was the "Fun-Size" wrapper, which thankfully admits that a serving size is TWO bars (40g). Then you move on to the regular-size candy bar, and the serving size changes to ONE bar, which is now 58.7 grams of candy confection. So okay, what about the King-Size bar? Now the serving size DROPS to ONE-THIRD of the bar, which is only 35 grams! As if I'm supposed to eat one-third of that bar, and then fold over the wrapper and go, "Boy, that was a tasty treat! Now I'll save the other two-thirds for two different snacking opportunities at later times!" That's bullshit, wrapped in a lovely chocolate coating.

Doritos: 11 or 12 chips.

Another interesting variance here. No matter what the size of the bag, the servings at least stay at a consistent unbelievable amount. Whether it's a "Snack-Size" bag (which pretty much contains only 11 or 12 freakin' chips) to a normal-sized bag to the Family-Sized bag (because they eliminated Super-Size for no real reason) - it's always 11 or 12 chips. This variance is strangely dependant on the FLAVOR of Doritos being consumed. If it's Nacho Cheese, you get 11 chips in your 28-gram serving. If it's Cool Ranch, you can actually get to eat 12 chips as your 28-gram serving. I guess all that orange powder weighs more on each chip than the green/red powder. Go figure!

Seriously, I could go on all day citing horrible amounts of serving sizes that just aren't true. I didn't even touch upon the nature of a 1/2-cup serving of ice cream. And the fact that most SCOOPS of ice-cream are more than 1/2-cup, so shouldn't that throw up a warning sign that a serving OBVIOUSLY is more than what's being printed?

Bottom line - serving sizes need to be revamped, big time. I'd say that if an average American can open up a package and consume the entire contents and not think twice about it - the serving size is "one package". Adjust the calorie/fat content nutritional label accordingly, so we can understand that we KNOW we're going to be eating the whole thing, so just tell us how bad it is for us. Don't lie and say that my ramen is "only" 38% of my daily recommended allowance of sodium if one actual package really contains 76%! There's too many large packages out there that hide behind the motto of "but we printed that you're only supposed to have ONE cookie as a serving! Not our fault if you ate half the package, which is 6 cookies!"

I also want to briefly touch upon one more FDA-bullshit fact: if a serving contains less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving, a product can be labelled as "nonfat" or "fat-free". Legally. Approved by the FDA. What they DON'T regulate is the serving size! A spraycan of aerosolized cooking spray (MADE ENTIRELY OF FAT) has a serving size of less than 0.5 grams. So it logically doesn't contain more than 0.5 grams of fat in the serving. So it can print "NONFAT" on the label! Imagine! A product MADE OF FAT can declare itself NONFAT if the serving size is small enough!

If that's not enough to convince you to never ever trust the FDA, I've got lots more stories I could tell. But for now, I'll leave it at that - and open the floor for any other complains about poor choices of serving sizes! Feel free to post some of your own!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Butt-Biting Bug Bestows Bliss

I'm going to take a break from the political claptrap and bring you something downright hilarious. Or disgusting. It's really your opinion. Frankly, I find it to be a little of both. But since it comes from Japan, it's already getting several bonus points in MY book.

The name of the craze is "Oshiri Kajiri Mushi" - which literally translates to "Butt-Biting Bug".

The cartoon character is... exactly what you'd expect. It's a bug. Who bites butts. To help people...

Yes, apparently the bite of the butt-biting bug causes happiness and bliss and other randomly-joyous things that you wouldn't expect would arise from a giant bug chomping down on your buttocks. In one scene in the intro (oh, did I mention there's a cartoon show?) - the Butt-Biting Bug takes a glomp on a man's butt, causing him to propel forward while holding his bouquet of flowers, directly into the path of some woman. Wouldn't you know it, they get married! Thanks, Butt-Biting Bug!

Here's some hilarity from a Butt-Biting Bug interview in the Japanese magazine "Sunday Mainichi":

The Butt-Biting Bug is the creation of an artist couple called Uruma and Terubi, who work together under the nom de plume of Urumaterubi.

"I was watching Terubi wash the dishes one night when the words 'butt-biting bug' just suddenly popped into my mind," Uruma tells Sunday Mainichi, recalling the creation of their fabulously famous fairy.

The weekly notes that the current Butt-Biting Bug is actually the 18th generation of its family. Terubi elaborates on the Butt-Biting Bug's colorful past, even if the explanation is a bit bizarre.

"The Butt-Biting Bug's genealogy can be traced back to ancient Assyria. Butt-Biting Bugs traveled across the ocean with Columbus and the current bug's ancestors heard of a land in the east called Jipang and heard tales of how it was filled with gold," Terubi tells Sunday Mainichi. "Generation after generation of Butt-Biting Bugs headed east in search of golden asses until the 17th generation, the mother and father of the current bug, finally arrived here in Japan."

You get to see a glimpse of the parents of this 17th-generation Butt Biting Bug during the intro, as the bug laments over the bitter taste of large city asses - the taste of which apparently causes it to pass out, get a fever, and have fevered flashback thought bubbles showing his parents. Oh, Butt-Biting Bug! Will you ever find a golden ass and bite it to bring pride and honor to your parents??

It's a cartoon. And a CD. And a DVD. It's swept the entire nation of Japan. And now it's on the internet. Is it only a matter of time before the United States is overrun with derriere-devouring delights? Or will our bitter fat city asses keep the critters at bay, across the Pacific?

Only time will tell...

(The article - I seriously can't make this stuff up)

(The Youtube Video)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Why Isn't This Mandated??

I was just idly reading my RedEye this morning (okay, not "idly" as much as "looking for something to rant about") and a tiny blurb caught my eye. Buried deep in the Chicago news section was one paragraph that reads the following:

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Friday signed a new Illinois law requiring first-time drunk driving offenders to install breath test devices in their vehicles and pass the test every time they try to start their engines. If the driver's breath exceeds the alcohol limit, the alcohol ignition interlock device - which costs about $150 to install, plus monthly fees - ensures the car won't start."

Why isn't this mandated already? Why isn't this a standard??

Forgive me from taking a turn away from my usual "keep the guv'ment out of mah business" type of rants, but this is about safety and about being realistic. We're already stuck in a crappy society with a government that actually tickets people for not wearing a seatbelt and can arrest you for driving without insurance.

Got that? Make you pay money for not protecting YOURSELF and arrest you for not being FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE and CAUTIOUS.

So why are they letting people drive around without protecting OTHER PEOPLE and stopping drunk drivers before they even begin the driving part of the equation?? Now I don't own a car, and I've never bought a car, but if they threw in a mandatory $150 extra when you bought your car, new or used (if the used car didn't have it already) to install this breathalyzer device - would it really be that noticable? I mean you're already paying thousands of dollars, and likely the car dealer's going to be screwing you out of a lot more with "add-ons" anyway, right? Call it a "car tax" if you will, since the government should be making it mandatory for cars to have it and undoubtedly it's the buyer who foots the bill.

And as for the "plus monthly fees"? Again, not a car owner, but I reckon most car owners wind up paying a pretty penny on upkeep for their vehicle every month anyway, if not every other month or so. Between the already-stupid mandatory insurance, vehicle repairs, and that ever-rising price of gasoline - is an extra monthly fee really that noticable? Besides, if you tacked it onto your insurance plan, it'd benefit in the long run. Fees could go down for good drivers, get raised for those who still manage to mess things up. Just like your normal insurance plan screws you over, you know?

Think about the end results, though! No more drunk drivers! (Okay, well, a severe decrease in drunk drivers!!)

It's true - you'll never get rid of drunk drivers. After all, who's to say what goes down after the car's been started? Wouldn't be the first time someone was drinking while AT the wheel - won't be the last. I'm sure plenty of sober idiots would be blowing into their friends' breathalyzers as payment for a ride home or something. And luckily, DNA evidence would prove who was driving wasn't the person who blew into the device last, and more people could be arrested for "enabling" the drunken driving dilemma.

I won't say it's the best idea I've had - or the most practical to put into effect - but at least it's an idea. It's an idea that has some potential. Maybe in the hands of some other sane and rational people (not government officials, I need some RATIONAL thinkers here) it could become a feasible idea, and a practical one. Maybe then it could be passed to the legislators to hem and haw over until someone shows them Red Asphalt and they all cry, "Yes! Make this a law so there's no more Red Asphalt!!"

After all, that's how it worked with the whole "foie gras debacle". Let's get to brainstorming and make this happen. Then maybe we can get to work on abolishing the pointless seatbelt laws...

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Vick's Dogs Dying Anyway?

Yes, dogfighting is cruel. Yes, Vick and his cronies buying dogs, "training" them and then fighting them to the death is cruelty. You're not going to hear me say otherwise - it's a vicious thing to do and he deserves jail time for his misdeeds.

But at the end of the day - aren't they just going to die anyway?

Welcome to the life of pit bulls - a breed of dogs that has been bred over many years to be an aggressive animal used for guarding and attacking. Just as golden retrievers have been bred to be best at helping the blind get through their day as seeing-eye dogs, and just as border collies have been bred to herd sheep for their owners, and just as chihuahuas have been bred to shake nervously and pee - pit bulls were bred for vicious action.

No, I'm not blaming the dogs for the cruelty they were put through - I'm saying that they're the most likely candidates to fall victim to this bloodsport in the seedy underbelly of society. You're not going to train a poodle to kill in the ring - you'd want a dog that has the look and the potential to be a killing machine. Enter the pit bull. Then enter Michael Vick.

This guy and his friends admittedly purchased a location and owned a kennel specifically for these dogs. They trained them and put them through the wringers to hone in on their killing skills, and that does suck. But when you get right down to it, where do you draw the line between Michael Vick's dastardly ploy that winds up with winners and losers and potential death for any of these pit bulls - and the government's seizing of the pit bulls after locking up Vick and the others, creating a ticking clock for all of these animals to be simply put to death.

That's right - they're all destined to die.

Truth of the matter is, there's nothing anyone can do. They've tried notifying anyone they can of people who left their dogs at the kennel or sold their dogs to Vick and his cohorts. The dogs are sitting in shelters right now. The window to claim them was over a few days ago, 30 days after their initial seizure in late July. They're now currently owned by the federal government, and it's going to be a federal judge's decision that deems whether these animals live or die. Well, I mean live longer than if the judge demands euthanasia. Which is highly likely.

Even PETA - those douchebags who always pray for animal peace and welfare and then perform terrorist acts against businesses to "make a point" - says they're going to die. And PETA should know - over 90% of the animals "rescued" by this organization are killed and their carcasses are thrown into a walk-in freezer until they can be disposed of.

Says Daphna Nachminovitch, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, "There's no dispute over who owns the dogs. Obviously this is not going to be a process where someone steps forward and says, 'This is my dog, can I have her back, please?' These dogs are a ticking time bomb. Rehabilitating fighting dogs is not in the cards. It's widely accepted that euthanasia is the most humane thing for them."

And that's PETA talking!

The damage has been done. The dogs are now "damaged goods" and nobody's going to be able to take care of them. They're too aggressive (beyond the aggressive nature of the breed in general) to be taken in as pets. It's bad enough to watch a family adopt a pit bull, knowing their violent tendencies, but to adopt one that's already been TRAINED TO KILL? I don't think so.

So they're going to die anyway. Whether they stayed at Bad Newz Kennels and fought to the death as valiantly as possible until the bitter loss of defeat ended their career and life - or were kept in a fenced cell for 30 days until a judge banged a gavel and they were injected with a lethal cocktail and died quickly and without a fight - they will be dying soon.

So what's the lesson in this? Do we regulate the breeding of these animals so there are less of this aggressive breed around to have people train them and fight them in the underground dogfights that simply cannot be stopped? (Let's face it, even the police have no idea how to stop the dogfights from going on because they almost ALWAYS find out AFTER the fights and the damage has been done and nobody is arrested because it's too late to find anyone.) Do we try and up the ante and make the penalties harsher for these crimes that so rarely get caught - just to satiate the public when a rare arrest is actually made? Do we just kill all the members of PETA? (Sorry, that's just for my benefit, so one of these rhetorical questions rings out as "yes" for me.)

Truth is - I have no idea. Which isn't that horrible of a thing. But it's the fact that the government has no idea either. And we still can't even decide if it should BE the government's decision to make. After all, we are the humans and they are the beasts - that gives us the right to own them and eat them, so why not let us fight them? And why not let us eat them, no matter what the beast? When you look at the delicacies of THIS country, let alone those of other countries (rat buffet, anyone?) - don't you get the impression that if it's made of meat, we can eat it?

That's my solution, anyway. I've heard the saying, "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out." Well, mine's more of an "Eat 'em all and let the Intestines sort 'em out!" kind of plan.

Bob Barker led an amazing career of telling us to spay or neuter our pets to help control the pet overpopulation problem. I say that it's a lot more humane to kill 'em and grill 'em than it is to chop off their testicles and let 'em STILL wander the streets. We solve the pet overpopulation problem, and we provide meat to the impoverished, at home and overseas. We've already domesticated them and learned to breed them as well - isn't it a matter of time before they join the rest of the domesticated/bred animal kingdom like cows and pigs and sheep?

Now, before you go painting me as Cruella de Ville with a lovely Dalmation coat, it's just an idea. A crazy and seemingly insensitive one, true - but can you really argue that it's worse than rescuing over 50 dogs from a cruel underground dogfighting circuit and telling us that the only thing we can do for these dogs is to KILL THEM? At least in my version, a poor family can have Pit Bull Fajitas or something...

I'm open to hear other ideas - go for it. Tell me how YOU think we should stop what cannot be stopped - and then at the end of the day find something positive to do about it in the end. Because you can't stop the dogfighting. And you can barely attempt to stop the breeding of the dogs themselves. And you can't stop the killing of animals that can't be adopted even though you "rescued" them.

So what do we do? Leave a comment. Let me know YOUR ideas. Together, maybe we can do something...

(The article with the deadline and PETA bitch)
(A website with a friendly reminder that animal cruelty is bad - in case somehow we forget that)

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Romney vs. Giuliani: Illegal Immigrants and Anchor Babies

One of the hot-topic issues that will undoubtedly be coming up again and again in the 2008 elections will be that of illegal immigration and all of the subtopics associated with it. One such subtopic is regarding the legal citizens born to illegal immigrants and their rights to the same things that the rest of the citizens of the United States have access to. For example, in the 1982 Plyler vs. Doe decision, the Supreme Court ruled that children of illegal immigrants have a constitutional right to public education.

While this decision doesn't make reference to whether or not the "children of illegal immigrants" are US citizens or not (I'm not in the mood to look it up) - I'm going to assume it's referring to LEGAL children. If they're legally here, I say they have the right to an education, same as everyone else. While I'm fairly sure that the above decision was referring to illegal immigrant children, I say "no" to the idea of them taking up the taxpayers' money and filling another seat in an overcrowded and understaffed classroom. Maybe if there weren't any illegal immigrant kids in our public school system, teachers could teach better, students could learn more, and we wouldn't be failing all of our tests as a nation.

Either way, whether the child itself is a citizen or not, the fact remains that neither parent is a legal citizen. Which means that they shy away from the school system to enroll their child for fear of being asked a bunch of questions about their immigration status and getting arrested and deported like the criminals they are. They also shy away from hospitals, for the same reason, and refuse to do their part in stopping crime because to attempt to be a witness in court or make a police statement, they'd be at risk of getting "found out" and they again would be arrested and deported because they're here illegally and that's a crime.

Rudy Giuliani wants that to stop happening. He favors a "don't ask, don't tell" policy involving illegal immigrants, that police officers and school officials and hospital workers shouldn't be allowed to inquire about a person's citizenship status unless it's part of an actual investigation of a crime. By which I'm sure he means "A crime BEYOND the initial crime of breaking the law and entering our country illegally."

Mitt Romney represents the other side of the equation - that illegal immigration is illegal and maybe it's a good thing that these criminals are afraid of stepping into the light because they'll be seen as the criminals they are. After all, if a man robs a liquor store and gets shot by the clerk in the process, is he likely to go to a hospital to get treated for his "GSW" (gunshot wound, to those who don't watch any hospital-themed TV shows)? Or is he likely to stay in the shadows, get poor or unreliable medical treatment (if any), and possibly die of infection or blood loss? Sure, he's caught between a rock and a hard place - possibly dying from the injury or going to jail when the GSW is reported by hospital staff - but if he didn't want to be put in that position, he shouldn't have robbed a frickin' liquor store!

Giuliani actually tries to bring up one valid point - that something affecting an illegal immigrant runs the risk of spreading to the legal community. An illegal child sick with a fever and possibly-contagious illness runs the risk of spreading it to the community if not allowed to be treated at a hospital. An illegal witness to a violent crime runs the risk of having the criminal continue the crime spree in the community if damning witness testimony isn't being provided by those too afraid to give it. Allowing kids who don't go to school runs the risk of having them grow up to be dumb gangbangers and continuing the stereotype of illegal immigrants committing MORE crimes of a violent nature if their illegal parents are too afraid to enroll them.

But some of these are risks we're willing to take, according to Romney.

We're fine with turning our backs on illegal children who want to leech time and energy from our school system and the poor teachers. After all, they don't belong here, and the less they learn and assimilate, the easier it'll be to find them and send them back to their country. As for a sick person who'll be infecting others - luckily that's why we have hospitals, health insurance, doctors, HMOs and a crappy-but-existant healthcare system. For our citizens. Maybe that'll teach citizens to either stay away from or report all illegal immigrants - especially the sick ones. Then they can be picked up and taken back to Mexico and the healthcare system Mexico offers its own citizens. You're a Mexican citizen, not an American - take up space in THEIR healthcare system! As for the idiots who don't go to school because their parents won't enroll them? We need better truance officers, I guess. You know, people on the lookout for children who aren't in school? Find the children, keep them off the streets (and preferably back in their own damned country if they weren't born here) - maybe then they'll learn the only lesson they need and probably wouldn't learn in school: You don't belong here, because you're not an American citizen!

Me? I'm siding with Romney on this one. Sounds like there's actually a candidate who's as against illegal immigration as I'd LIKE our President to be. Unfortunately, I haven't heard much coming from him in the form of plans to put the opinion to action. That's what I'm waiting for. So Mitt, if you're out there, reading this - let me know...

...I've got PLENTY of ideas to share with you.

(Some of the Romney v. Giuliani info)

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Letter to RedEye: Political Book-Reading

I think I'm going to start entering my reader-response letters that I send to the CTA here on my BlogSpot, since only 1 in 4 at best actually get printed in the paper. That number will probably drop thanks to the fact that I'm writing more often, due to increased boredom while in possession of the RedEye in the mornings.

Here's one I sent yesterday, in response to their call for comments about an article saying that liberals read more books than conservatives. There was some kind of poll done (which I'm sure was done haphazardly with either poor sampling or poor logic in general, judging by the results and how they're being generalized) and the end results show liberals reading more books than conservatives. So here's my response:

(UPDATE! They printed! Grab a copy of your Friday RedEye if you're in Chicago and see my response in the Powerpoints section! I have bolded the parts they printed.)

A poll showing that liberals read more books than conservatives doesn't mean very much to me. When you think about it statistically, wouldn't you have to take into account the fact that there are a lot more books being written by liberals or with liberal points of view than on the conservative side? I'd like to think that the difference between liberals and conservatives would be about the same between books available to read and the readers themselves. After all, it seems doubtful that one would pick up a book geared towards the other.

Either way, it really shouldn't matter about which political party reads more books or worrying that readership among the parties is low - it should be about making sure that CHILDREN are reading. They're the ones who need to be given access to ALL ideas, left or right, so they can learn to think for themselves and in turn become upstanding citizens and members of whatever political party they see fit. We need more Harry Potters turning kids on to reading and less books that result in older stubborn people turning against each other in a "who's more well-read than whom" spitting contest.

Aaron Samuels, 23, Bridgeport

(I sincerely hope that my response doesn't trigger a score of "President He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" jokes.)

Your thoughts? Your opinions? I know that liberals love to make more-learnéd-than-thou remarks about certain "dumb Republicans" - but doesn't MY argument make sense? Read more!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Native Americans" Frauding Illegal Immigrants?

This is just so intriguing, I couldn't help but post about it. It's got some of my favorite things in it - illegal immigrants, idiots getting screwed out of money, and frauders of grand proportions. All of it combines so deliciously, providing hilarious ways to help curb the illegal immigrant population and new reasons why I'm probably going to hell. But at least I'll be laughing all the way there.

I'll start at the beginning. With the Kaweah Indian Nation. Which isn't.

You see, the Kaweah Indian Nation isn't an actual Indian tribe. The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs denied the Kaweah group recognition in 1985 because it was not a real tribe. Well, a Kaweah tribe DID exist at one time, but it is completely unrelated to the one that applied for recognition. Okay, so now that we're up to speed on the illegitimate nature of the tribe itself, let's see what it decided to do.

In an attempt to profit, it started selling tribe memberships. Think about that: they started a process where you can APPLY to become a member of the tribe. This isn't a matter of proving ancestral heritage, this is an application and a signup fee - like a club. So who would be interested in purchasing membership in an Indian tribe that isn't really an Indian tribe?

Illegal immigrants.

That's right, those leeches on America are the ones being pulled in by the scam. Because the tribe's high chief makes claim that one could use the Indian tribal membership papers as legal paperwork to prove citizenship. Seriously, a tribe of Native Americans (named that because they were here before WE all emigrated) are selling that status to illegal immigrants (named that because they come in illegally and are destroying OUR "native" status).

Here's what makes it all worth it: It means nothing!

That's right - paperwork from an Indian tribe (legit or not) is no proof of citizenship or nothing that advances you anywhere in the direction of citizenship! Iimmigration authorities insist becoming a tribe member gives no protection against being deported - contrary to the claims being made by Manuel Urbina, the tribe's high chief who says, "We are not going against the law, we're with the law," and claims that membership papers can help illegal immigrants avoid being detained by authorities if they are asked for documents. It's all false. "You can't just decide to become a member of a tribe and all of a sudden legalize your status," said Marilu Cabrera from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

So basically, it's a scam. But it's a scam I can sit back and be proud of! This is nothing like the whole Nigerian prince thing that feeds on the naive, the incompetent and the elderly. This is a brave new world of scamming - designed to play on one group in particular and doing a great job of using that group's ignorance against themselves! I'm just glad that the group being taken advantage of is ironically a group that takes advantage of real U.S. citizens - AND BONUS that the group taking advantage of them is ironically a group that's long been taken advantage of by U.S. citizens!

Seriously, how hilarious is this??

And if you're thinking either 1) no way that this could possibly be working effectively or 2) no way that illegal immigrants have ill-gotten money enough to fall for this hook, line and sinker - GUESS AGAIN! Manuel Urbina, the tribe's high chief, acknowleged his group has sold at least 10,000 tribal memberships to illegal immigrants for about $50 each. That's over half a million dollars!! And that's just the Kaweah tribe, who had Nebraskan illegal immigrants paying up to $1,200 to join their fake Indian tribe! Let's not forget the fact that one good turn always deserves another...

A Florida man said he sold about 2,000 memberships to the North Dakota-based Pembina Nation Little Shell tribe through a Web site. Each cost $150. That's another $300,000 right there! And to make matters worse (did I say "worse"? I meant "much better") - the illegals are falling for it COMPLETELY. They're even trying to use these tribal memberships to try and get passports and Social Security cards - and obviously getting caught and indicted for being illegal immigrants!!

This is the perfect system. The scammed get to scam, they're scamming the criminals, and the scam itself leads to the criminals who fell for the scam getting ARRESTED for being criminals!

Fake Indian tribes selling bogus membership to illegal immigrants - I salute you!

(Proof that I'm not making this crazy scenario up!)

Read more!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Letter to the RedEye

I'm doubtful they'll be printing any of this, especially since they just printed something of mine last week and they're not all that keen on conservative viewpoints. (Thanks a lot, Northsiders...) So I figured I'd post it here instead, although it's nothing new from what I've already posted about the immigration debate and the Elvira Arellano debacle. I'll be sure to update if they actually print any of it.

RedEye: How do you think Elvira Arellano's arrest will affect the debate on immigration?

Hopefully Elvira Arellano's arrest will remind the populous that illegal immigration is illegal. I know, it sounds so easy and logical, but apparently there are too many people out there in our country who keep forgetting that simple fact. It's illegal to enter the United States without proper legal documentation. It's also illegal to steal a social security number in order to build an ill-gotten life here, like Arellano did once before.

What saddens me the most about this incident is that the federal agents didn't just enter the church and arrest her back on August 15th of 2006. Instead, they succumbed to the notion of "sanctuary" - which does NOT protect you from a federal agent who's come to deport you. The fact that they backed off and let this continue for an entire year just opened the door for other illegals to pull the same tactic - a tactic that the ICE is supposed to ignore and get the job done, no matter what.

With hope, this will empower the ICE to get back to taking action. Yelling "sanctuary" from inside a church should simply act as a beacon to get federal agents right over to that church and arrest the criminals hiding within, proving that not only is there nowhere to run but also that there is nowhere to hide now.

Yes, arrest the criminals. After all, illegal immigration is illegal. And if you do something illegal, that makes you a criminal. Because you broke the law. It's that simple. Now we just have to keep enforcing that.

Aaron Samuels, 23, Bridgeport

We'll see what happens.


Read more!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elvira Arellano Finally Arrested!

That's right! Read 'em and weep, liberals and other amnesty-advocates! Your precious "famous face of the suffering" has been taken into custody and will hopefully be getting deported AGAIN. As for what's going to happen to her son, I still believe she has no right to custody of her son after what she's put him through. Take him back to Chicago and let him live with a foster family that will provide actual parenting that doesn't involve trips across the border to deal with government agencies and policies.

Here's how it went down:

After talking to news media inside the church, Arellano and her supporters got into their van to head north to San Jose, where she was scheduled to speak at another church, Lozano said. Moments after they got in the van, an unmarked vehicle stopped them.

The driver of Arellano's van, Roberto Lopez, poked his head out of the van because he wanted to see why they were being blocked. Several other unmarked vehicles surrounded their van.

Agents came out of all the cars screaming at the top of their lungs for her to get out, Lozano said. Her 8-year-old son, Saul, started to cry, and Arellano said to everyone in the car, "Calm down. Don't have any fear. They can't hurt me."

Then she turned to the people who were about to arrest her and she said, "You're going to have to give me a minute with my son," Lozano said. She spent time with her son in the car, and then surrendered.

It was over in less than two minutes. She was arrested Sunday on Main Street, near Our Lady Queen of Angels, where Arellano slept Saturday night and where she's held several press conferences Saturday and Sunday.

If you have any thought in your head, then you can't argue "how could this happen?" A known fugitive who's been in "hiding" for over a year decides to go in public and start holding press conferences - it's a matter of time before an arrest gets made. I would have preferred that this happen in Chicago, where she was captured and deported once before, to show that breaking the law is a crime and you WILL be brought to justice. Having this takedown finally occur over in Los Angeles worries me.

We all know how lenient Southern California tends to be with its illegals - letting them even take over the cities as "sanctuary cities" where they don't even HAVE to hide because they've abolished all law enforcement.

At least we can finally take solace in the fact that she's been captured again.

Now I'll just wait for news about her deportation - or mock the Chicagoans who will be holding vigils and protests here in Chicago to protest the ICE's decision to deport an illegal immigrant criminal.


(The story that tipped me off to this turn of events)

Read more!

Kia Vaughn - You Are Now A "Ho"

Pardon my Imusness for a second, but the circumstances have now all changed. This is no longer about an off-color remark made by an alleged racist on public airwaves. THAT particular trial is OVER. Al Sharpton got to huff and puff for a while, a bunch of uppity bitches got pissed, Imus got suspended and then subsequently fired, and that - quite literally - was that. Everyone went about their business with their own respective opinions on the matter, and the case was closed.

So what opened things back up?

A settlement between Imus and CBS, providing not only $20 million but also a welcome back to Imus as he'll once again be on the airwaves. Even Sharpton himself wasn't as rattled by this turn of events. After all, you can't deny that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and scores os sponsors were still waiting at the door to sign up with Imus' returning show. Not even calling for Imus to lose his show again, all Sharpton could offer was advice that he get himself an ombudsman.

So who's taking action in court against Imus, "coincidentally" at the same time he gets his career back AND a cool $20 million?

Kia Vaughn.

You might not recognize the name, though now that it's been used in the same article as Imus, you can no doubt guess she was one of the "nappy-headed hos" who was in that fateful game that I'm sure nobody was watching and didn't even know existed until Imus and his big mouth made it known to us. She, as I predicted in an earlier post that will be moved to this site soon, is filing a lawsuit claiming slander and defamation of character. Which we all know will be IMPOSSIBLE to prove in a court of law.

There are two main points that she'll need to prove in order to have this case stand in a court:

1. That Imus' statements actually led people to believe that she is a "ho" AND that it negatively affected her in an obective way.

2. That Imus' statements were a lie and she is not, in fact, a "ho".

Have fun with that!

Let's tackle the first point. Imus called her a "ho". So? How many people get called a "ho", in either that vernacular or a more proper "whore", and it is taken seriously? Do you think anyone has stopped Kia Vaughn on the street with a $5 bill asking for a handjob in the adjacent alley? Has she been arrested for prostitution by the police based on Imus' "lead" that she is a whore and selling sex for money? No - they haven't. I don't even think she's had her career affected in any way, aside from her maybe playing worse because she's focused too much on name-calling and not "defending the zone" or some other basketball term that she's supposed to be doing as a basketball player. Has the WNBA turned her down because of her "illicit sexual activity"? None of this has happened, because it was a comment made in jest, not to be taken seriously, and it WASN'T taken seriously.

Now about the second point: Was Imus even lying? What if she IS a whore? Is Kia Vaughn really prepared to line up and identify all of her sexual partners to verify that none of them had to pay money in order to have sexual relations with her? How about the defense parading out possible witnesses saying otherwise? Evidence on bathroom walls that seem to compliment Mr. Imus' implications? Borderline perjurers who are willing to risk it just for the media spotlight by taking a comment out of context that makes it seem like they were propositioned by Ms. Vaughn? Sexual pasts can be a tricky thing - and the subjective nature of it all makes for various interesting interpretations of the "facts". Go ahead, Kia, and prove you're not a "ho".

Oh wait, you can't. Because you are.

That's right - I'm calling her out based on a loose definition of the word "ho" or "whore". Just as a "media whore" is willing to do whatever it takes, including dirty and/or dispicable things, just to get the attention of the media - so is a commonplace "whore" willing to do whatever it takes, including dirty and/or dispicable things, just for money. Don Imus gets $20 million in a settlement with NBC. On the same day, Kia Vaughn files a lawsuit against him seeking monetary compensation for the "slander" and "defamation of character" on Imus' part. You do the math. It's not a coincidence in the least. Kia Vaughn is just out to get some money and strike it rich with the most dispicable act in society today: suing the wealthy.

That, Kia Vaughn, makes you a whore.

"The defense rests, your Honor. Mr. Imus' statements are retroactively proven to be truthful, which means there is no grounds for defamation of character or slander in any way. Request that all charges be dropped immediately."

(Some columnist who thinks otherwise)
(Some columnist who's on the right track)
(Fellow blogger's opinion)
(Another fellow blogger's opinion)

Read more!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Elvira Arellano, Go Back to Mexico!

Fine, accuse me of being a hateful person for using the phrase "Go back to Mexico." I'll say it as many times as I have to until something gets done and this criminal is back where she belongs: Mexico, her country of origin from which she entered the US illegally. TWICE.

For those of you who aren't aware of the year-long story of The Illegal Who Cried "Sanctuary" - here's a recap:

- In 1997, Arellano attempted to cross the Mexico/US border with fake papers. She was caught and deported back to Mexico.

- In December of 2002, as part of a terrorist sting at O'Hare, Arellano was arrested for working under a false Social Security number.

- In 2003, she was convicted in federal court of Social Security fraud and ordered to leave the country.

- Somehow three years go by, and she decides to hole up in a church here in Chicago, claiming sanctuary to avoid deportation from officials. The date is August 16th, 2006.

So now it's one year later. She's been using her "anchor baby" to literally do her bidding between here in Chicago and Washington D.C., taking an eight-year-old boy and turning him into her personal media-whore. And she's made an announcement: She's going to leave her sanctuary on September 12 to travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for immigration reform.

Feds: It's up to you to catch her.

I say that with just the SLIGHTEST bit of hope that something will actually be done. After all, it's been an entire freakin' year and nobody's bothered to do ANYTHING about it yet. She just stays cooped up in the church, and nobody's deported her yet. Even though they have every right to. That's right! The whole myth of "sanctuary" is pretty much a lie. The only thing that's protecting her in her "sanctuary" is the fact that the public would outcry federal agents breaking into a church.

Which they have every legal right to do. They can bust in there and catch her and deport her ass back to Mexico where she belongs. They just haven't, because of whiny bleeding-heart liberals. And probably some devout Christians. But mostly the liberals.

So here's what needs to happen: On September 12th, there needs to be an operation to arrest her, publicly and openly. I want a van with a federal agent and a newscaster chosen to get the "exclusive story" in the front, and a few local police cars in the vicinity in case they sneak out the back. As soon as she's sighted - go in for the takedown. Make it known on public television that if you are an illegal immigrant, YOU WILL BE DEPORTED!

You know what? Add in that van a person from child protective services! I want that child to be torn from the arms of this abusive and/or neglectful mother to show that not only are "anchor babies" a horrible idea, but you CANNOT make them "do your bidding". For the love of all things good and holy, if I were a single parent in Chicago, I still would not be letting my 8-year-old go to the store to get groceries - let alone allow him to walk to and from school by himself.

I certainly wouldn't let him travel to MEXICO with some woman from a random immigration rights group!

That's called "bad parenting". Hopefully it's bad enough to warrant child services making a case against her. She's a criminal who left her child in the custody of practically a stranger to travel to Mexico. She should be found unfit to care for her child (who she obviously hasn't cared for anywhere other than this room in a church) and since HE is a citizen and SHE isn't - take Saul Arellano away and into a foster home with real parents who'll give him an actual childhood and won't make him go to Mexico to appeal to governments about immigration reform.

You call it "breaking up a family". I call it "justice".

Don't let her get to Washington, federal agents! The only reason I would accept for not arresting her outright here in Chicago and deporting her ass is that you want to do it in Washington because you have the home court advantage. It's a criminal walking straight to a police station and yelling "I'm a criminal but I shouldn't be arrested for it!" Take her down, in the middle of the lobby for immigration reform. Let the public know that we don't need immigration reform - we need to enforce our immigration laws.

Oh, and be sure to have lots of agents stationed outside the area, so that when they pop out to arrest and deport Arellano - there are people ready to catch all of the fleeing illegals who are frightened by the presence of ICE agents. I've always said that the best place to sweep for illegal immigrants is at an immigration reform conference or protest.

Seriously, feds! Just take a look online or at websites! Find out where and when these protests and lobbies are being held - and then show up to arrest and deport all of the illegals! It's time to enforce the laws and scare some of these MILLIONS of criminals back to their countries of origin because they'll know we're finally enforcing the laws!

Feds, we can't do this without you. Help us take down Elvira Arellano and make a statement.


Read more!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Letter to RedEye: CTA Rate Hike

I got printed again in the RedEye! Here's the letter I sent them - the italics are the portion that they decided to print. Sad, really - they kept the part where I complain, but left out the part where I suggest how to make things better.

To RedEye:

Okay, so to make up for this lack of funding, they not only want to raise the fares based on which method you pay with but magically what time you're having to make your trip? Unfortunately, I don't GET to change my game plan. My game plan involves having to ride the CTA between 6:30am and 9:30am and then again between 4:00pm and 7:00pm.

It's called a JOB. I don't get to call in to work and say, "Sorry, boss, but to save money I'm going to have to come in at 10am because they charge extra on the CTA to get to work when I'm supposed to."

With that kind of flawed logic, they should get it over with and charge us double the fare - punishment for having a job and contributing to society, I'm sure.

How about if THEY step up and start FIXING things as a game plan?

If they're already threatening to cancel 40-something bus routes, why not be SMART about it? Why not just threaten to cut 50-something routes, but use the EXTRA buses and drivers from those extra cancelled routes and improve service on the EXISTING routes?

Put 3/4 of the workforce from the extra cut routes into extra buses and drivers so riders can USE the buses. That extra 1/4 of the workforce? Put that money towards hiring some HELP to figure out why buses keep bunching and how to eliminate the problem! I can think of SEVERAL research methods to figure it out - I'm sure they could come up with ONE and put that extra money towards implementing it and making our public transportation system at least tolerable.

Because tolerance is currently running thin. And we'd rather have our money working FOR us, rather than flushing it down a failing system like we currently are.

Aaron Samuels, 23
Read more!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's a "Hate Crime" to Hate Crime??

I'm told that this all started back on July 5th. Or at least around then. A group of protesters from a group supporting a Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act went on a hunger strike to further press this issue of giving relief to illegal immigrant children for secondary eduaction and making college and military service another pathway of amnesty to making them legal citizens. Okay, so already we've got a rather dumb idea. But it all started to really hit the fan when Michael Savage had his say:

"I would say let them fast till they starve to death. ... Because then we won't have a problem about giving them green cards because they're illegal aliens."

And bleeding-heart liberal San Francisco went ablaze in fervor over the remarks. They went so far as to waste taxpayer money (because taxpayers are responsible for paying their representatives' salaries) by having Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval introduce a resolution Tuesday condemning the "defamatory language used by radio personality Michael Savage against immigrants." And soon, more will be wasted as the Supervisor plans to call a vote on the official condemnation.

I'm asking of you: Who did he defame, and how were they defamed?

The protesters on the hunger strike trying to get amnesty for illegal immigrants? How did he defame them? By disagreeing with their stance on an issue? By not taking their method of protest seriously? If not agreeing with a method of protest or the reason for the protest and verbalizing it is wrong, then all counterprotests would result in "condemnation" and "defamation" news, wouldn't it?

The illegal immigrants? The ones who want us to help pay for them to go to college and cheat their way into legal citizenship? How were they defamed? Michael Savage doesn't want them to get green cards. He called them exactly what they are - illegal aliens. That's not defamation at all. It's stating the obvious. They're not citizens, and they're here illegally. They are criminals. Okay, Michael Savage didn't say that, but I am. Does that mean I've defamed illegal immigrants by posting this?

Good. Defamation is a way of reducing the fame and popularity of someone. And the less famous and popular we make the criminals walking amongst us and the less public support they're receiving as a result - the better.

Now let's get to the idea that this is "hate speech" or a "hate crime":

As for hate speech, I think the only appropriate response is, "SO WHAT?" Speech can be hateful. As long as there are hateful emotions, there will be hateful words and hateful speech to express that hatred.

As for calling it a crime? No f-ing way. The man has done nothing criminal in the least. In fact, he's expressing hatred and outrage about CRIME being committed by ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! How can it be a "hate crime" to hate a crime? The only criminals here are the illegal immigrants - especially those who want more support and help to continue their criminal lives here and seek amnesty for the crimes they've committed.

Here's the real problem. Government officials are going out of their way to officially condemn this radio show host for the comments that he made. But here's the thing: he was telling the government officials themselves to stay the course and NOT give in to some piddly little hunger strike. In his own words (which you wouldn't hear in the biased liberal media who's comparing him to Imus), "the logical conclusion of a hunger strike is starvation. That's their right."

Savage went on to explain that the hunger strikers are illegal aliens, "who stole free college educations and then had the audacity to demand citizenship because they were slippery enough to beat the system out of a college degree!" The strikers, he said "owe the U.S. taxpayer reimbursement for their college degrees, and any other public benefits they may have cadged over their years here illegally. Then they should be deported."

If it's condemnable to speak up and speak out against illegal immigrants robbing citizens of so many resources, demanding that we be reimbursed for what they've stolen, or calling for their deportation - then I'm willing to bet that some hippie in San Francisco is writing up a proposal to condemn me as well.

And I'd welcome it. After all, there's no such thing as bad publicity. And illegal immigration is ILLEGAL. Strange how not a single Latino-based or Civil-Liberty-based organization will accept that...

(A story about the Michael Savage condemnation)

Read more!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rap Deathmatch!

This is what I like to see, and I think there should be more of it in the entertainment industry today. It's the career version of no-limit Texas Hold'Em and deciding to shout "All In!" Two men enter the marketplace. One man leaves. And the other man stays, to continue his career. This is what it's all about, and we need more celebrities doing it - putting their careers on the line, providing us with both the best of what they can offer (finally!) and the relief of having the loser gone from sight.

50 Cent: "If If Kanye West sells more records than 50 Cent on September 11, I'll no longer write music. I'll write music and work with my other artists, but I won't put out anymore solo albums."

50 Cent, welcome to the Entertainment Industry Thunderdome! Just for participating in this glorious arena, your "Platinum Balls" trophy is in the mail, provided that Kanye accepts your challenge. (The Thunderdome rules only apply if two men enter, you know?)

I'm literally praying that Kanye West agrees to this challenge. I'm rather sick and tired of Kanye West, and I believe that 50 Cent has the larger following and could pull off a victory. He's certainly the favorite in MY books. Not that I'm a bookie or anything. So no need to contact me to place your bets if this shindig actually takes place. Though I'm really hoping it does take place.

I'm not really much a fan of 50 Cent, either. In my mind, we're kind of dealing with a "lesser of two evils" scenario. But that's where the magic of the career pink slips comes in. The best thing about a fight to the career death with two artists who you don't really care for is that one of them is guaranteed to never bother you (as much) again! Sure, his rules stipulate that he can still write music and you could still wind up hearing him on a track by another artist - but his solo career is over! For good!

So let's come up with rules for spreading this to other industries...

Singers: No more solo albums, I like the thought of that. I'm okay with songwriting and performing with others, but you should not be vocally present on more than 50% of the songs on any album.
Actors: No more starring roles. You can be in the movie business, directing or producing or something, but only acting as a cameo role at best.
TV Actors: No more starring roles. Again, you can be in the business behind the scenes, but you must not appear on any opening credits as anything but "Guest Star".
Game Show Hosts: Same applies as the TV Actors. I just think Game Show Hosts deserves a category of its own.

So now the Thunderdomes are set up and ready for participants. Who would you like to see doing battle with their careers on the line? What pairing would be a fair fight, whether you don't care which jackass loses or your money is riding on your personal favorite? Here's a few of my ideas:

Chris Rock vs. Chris Tucker: Tucker's latest movie just came out. If Rock's next movie beats it at the box office, we'll have a winner.

Ted Danson vs. Kelsey Grammar: I think each of them have a new crappy show coming out this fall. Ratings winner takes all. One of them goes home, for good.

Those are my ideas - I WANT TO HEAR YOURS!

The article about the 50 Cent vs. Kanye West challenge

Read more!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Rallying Against Rap? Tough.

When I was growing up, there was a word repeated over and over from my parents. "Tough." Perhaps it was an abbreviated version on a phrase "Tough _____" and my parents were sparing me the obscenity or softening the blow. Which I guess would make it a contradictory statement. But anyway, when things weren't going right, when I wasn't happy with a situation, when I had a problem that I wasn't able to solve by myself:


It's a motto that, while it didn't seem to affect me physically, and although I'm still a bit of a non-confrontational person at heart, I still live by. Or at least try to spread to others. Whether it's about "toughening up" or "toughing it out" - society could learn a lot from that brand of parenting and that brand of giving into a situation and making yourself more tough by ACCEPTING it rather than by bitching about it with a stupid rally or protest.

Which is where this topic turns, towards the rallies being held across the nation, but especially here in Chicago. Rallies to debate the controversial lyrics in rap music. Some are here to piss and moan that rap music degrades women and glorifies violence and other naughty things that parents shouldn't want their children to grow up thinking, doing or being in general. Some are here to cry "censorship" for trying to remove words from a language, and more specifically from a music genre. Some are here just because some newly-famous jackass is here and they flock to stupid ideas and anyone spouting them because they have no minds of their own. To all these people, and any others coming to rally for one reason or another:


The system is damned fine the way it is, for the most part. Deal with it.

Rap is riddled with "bad words" and what many call "bad ideas" and "bad beliefs". So? Music has always contained questionable material, and it perseveres. Way back when, don't you think there was some argument going on about women being referred to as "hound dogs" and lying about being "high-class"? That's right, even the King was a bit "misogynistic" - if you want to fall for exaggerations. And what about the racist undertones of "Play that funky music, white boy"? Face it, it's always going to be there. That's the crazy thing about freedom of speech and freedom of thought - it literally takes all kinds.

So after we accept that music can always contain questionable material, it comes down to how it's handled, and by whom. If it's on the radio, it's handled by the FCC. As much as it shouldn't be, that's who it's currently handled by. For decent radio, like this XM satellite radio stuff, which I believe ISN'T under FCC rule - it's handled by the person listening to the radio. George Carlin said it best, "A radio has two knobs, you know. One to turn it off, and one to change the station!" If you don't like it, don't listen to it.

And if you're a parent, claiming you don't have the power to change the station when your child is listening to it without you - you still have the power to instill decency in your child no matter what the radio provides for them. If a song on the radio has more effect on your child's attitude towards women than YOU as a PARENT do - what does that say about your parenting skills? After all, that's what this boils down to. Parents at these rallies want everyone to parent their children EXCEPT THEMSELVES, so they can complain about how crappy their children are behaving and acting. Well guess what, parents?


YOU'VE got to be in charge of your kid, not some rapper. And don't even try to play the "but they look up to them" card - just because I looked up to Superman as a kid doesn't mean I jumped off of buildings trying to fly. My PARENTS sat me down and reminded me that while it all looks cool and Superman's a great guy - I have to obey the laws of gravity. And just because your kid looks up to someone who talks about "shooting bitches" - you have to remind them that they have to obey the laws of the city/state/federal government. Oh, and that they have to obey the laws of decency, too. YOU instill their values and their morals, so THEY can decide to follow it when confronted with rappers and how they treat their bitches.

The music industry does half the battle for you, parents. The radio stations have to censor the cussing themselves, or pick up Radio-Edit versions of the songs. Does that eliminate the potty-talk? Mostly. Does it alter the messages of demeaning women and glorifying violence? Nope. But again, that's where parenting comes in - before the police wind up coming in later on in life.

So where does all of this violence and women-bashing come from? Why is rap music being blamed for trends in society? Because these researchers (and especially pompous douchebags with holier-than-thou attitudes) still can't get it through their skulls that CORRELATION DOES NOT MEAN CAUSATION! Rap music is more offensive to people than ever. Society is more offensive to people than ever. Does that mean rap is to blame for society's ills? Couldn't it also mean that rap's ills are due to society? That since it's cooler and "in" to be shocking and promote violence and sex (sex sells, and it always will) - that's what leads music companies to hire/produce artists with songs portraying just that? I think that's the most likely story. The MARKET and the DOLLAR is what drives the trends, and vice-versa. Society wants more violent video games and is willing to pay - the market makes it happen. Kids would rather shell out money for Parental-Advisory-stickered CDs instead of cleaner rap music that the whole family can enjoy? Then that's what's going to get produced.

Don't get mad at the rappers, get mad at the recording studios willing to produce it to make a profit off your children's skewed value system (I mean AFTER getting mad at yourself for allowing your child to have a skewed value system and the cashflow to affect the marketplace accordingly).

Or as I once heard, "Don't hate the player, hate the game."

Or as my mom used to say:


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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dogfighting Bites

I'm not sure if I could ever be called an "animal lover". I mean, there have been animals in my life I've felt love for - but they're few and far-between. For the most part, I'm a man who believes that animals are made of meat and a pet is no substitute for a child. Non-human animals simply aren't human. And yes, I'm foolish enough to believe humans are better animals than non-humans.

So if all of that winds up putting a bias on my ideas about dogfighting in your minds, so be it. I have to be true to myself. If I weren't, I wouldn't be able to write these articles.

Dogfighting is cruelty. Even I'm sane enough to admit that. Pitting an animal against an animal for the sole purpose of profit and/or bragging rights, just because they don't know any better - that's cruelty.

That in mind, could you really expect better from our society? Wasn't it just a few thousand years ago that leaders of men were pitting humans against each other to the death? Wasn't it also just a few years ago that we brought it to the silver screen and the home television? And what about boxing, or the newer and more violent "ultimate fighting" competitions? Sure, that's done on a voluntary basis, and pretty much never to the death - but still evidence of human thirst for violence.

While dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, it took until just a few months ago to get cockfighting banned in all 50 states. In fact, the last state's ban won't officially take place until 2008, I believe. Are we suggesting that the more "lovable" an animal is, the more offensive it is to pit them against each other in bloody battle? After all, a few of our first presidents were avid cockfighters. I mean they owned gamecocks and battled them, not that they actually fought against gamecocks or anything. That's just silly.

No, I'm not trying to defend dogfighting. Again, there's little way to see it as anything but cruelty. Of course, everything leading UP to the dogfighting, that might be a different story. After all, it's considered "damning evidence" just to be in possession of both a dog (whose breed is one commonly associated with dogfighting) and a piece of what is considered "dogfighting equipment". That's seriously all it takes to get a case going and a jury completely against you. THAT, I feel, is unfair. Dog owners have the right to train their pets to be as aggressive or passive as they choose. How they train them? That can border on cruelty, yes. Not feeding a dog just to make it hungrier and more aggressive is technically "neglect" - even though it's not being neglectful, it's just being cruel. As for things I've read about mixing dead bumblebees and gunpowder in the dog's food, to rile up the dog as stingers pierce their gums - that's cruelty AND stupidity.

Of course, I'm a man who'd love to lock people up for stupidity as much as cruelty.

Even so, I think the laws and penalties are fine where they are. If you're caught with supplying a dog for dogfighting, or being in charge of anything - that's up to three years in jail. Most of the training things, if you're caught, are rightly dished out as animal cruelty charges, most of which are one or three years. Attending a dogfight lands you up to a year in jail - this one I'm a bit against, mostly because police can never seem to actually track down a dogfight taking place, so why trump up the charges just for being there? As for bringing a child to a dogfight resulting in up to three years in jail, that one I'm more comfortable with. Of course, I'd see it more as "child endangerment", or just being plain stupid - which sadly isn't yet punishable with jail time in and of itself.

But that's fine as it is! We don't need "harsher penalties" all of a sudden. The punishments currently fit the crime, no matter how much you want a bad guy who hurts puppies to get locked up "forever and ever". But lately, there's a fad here in America where hot-button topics get overemphasized, overexaggerated, and overlegislated as a result. When that bridge recently collapsed, there was nothing but fearmongering, causing the closures of way too many bridges. We need to veer some of the news away from hot-button topics, so that the first time we pay attention to things isn't when IT becomes the new hot-button topic.

Dogfighting is cruel and illegal. It was cruel and illegal long before some NFL superstar wound up shedding twenty times the normal spotlight on the issue. It will continue to be cruel and illegal. That doesn't mean that just because it's the "in-thing" to be against dogfighting, that means that we need a hundred more harsher laws and punishments.

We just need to keep enforcing the laws we have, and if that's the best way to remind our law enforcement agents to shape up, so be it. I just want them to remember that there's a lot of human suffering out there and a lot more human victims every day than the counts of dogfighting victims being wallpapered over the newspapers.

I'm not saying they should ignore the poor victims of dogfighting rings. I'm saying they have to pay just as much attention to the violence befalling humans, too.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

PETA: Dogs WE Love Are BETTER!

That's right, you read the title correctly - PETA is at it again.

This time, they're doing something even more ridiculous than usual: they're attacking celebrities for buying instead of adopting. PETA has just decided that animals in shelters "deserve" owners more than animals available for purchase from a breeder or just a common pet shop. Protests were organized (of course) and as the protesters donned their Paris Hilton and Britney Spears masks, they waved their signs reading things like:

"Shelter Dogs Are Dying and I Don't Care"

Alright, let me get something straight right off the bat: these celebrities are being attacked because they purchased dogs rather than adopted from an animal shelter.

Really think about this for three seconds. There are two dogs. One is in a shelter, one is in a pet shop. Both are available to be taken home as somebody's pet. But because one was bred and has papers and you genetically know where it came from - that makes it worse to bring home and love? That's PETA's argument. That because you wanted a prettier pet that is the breed of dog you were looking for in the first place instead of one "slated to die" in an animal shelter - that makes you someone they can target in a protest.

Know the most hilarious part of this whole story??

PETA is protesting because these unadopted shelter dogs are going to be put down - but PETA is responsible for putting down so many shelter animals every year.

Their signs should really read: "Why did you buy that dog? Now we have to go kill one from a shelter!"

This whole thing is just insane. PETA, you idiots, the LAST thing you should be protesting is a person willing to take in a dog and care for it - especially those with enough wealth to care for it luxuriously. After all, you held your little protest right by your latest crazy billboard about "animal birth control".

That's right - PETA thinks that the best way to save animals from the shelters (where PETA will likely kill them) is simply to spay/neuter all of the dogs and cats in California.

WAIT WAIT WAIT - isn't PETA the insane group that wants us to leave animals alone completely, not to anything harmful to them ever (even things that aren't harmful but sometimes LOOK harmful or could be harmful if done in the completely wrong way) and to let them all roam free to do as they please? And yet they want it MANDATED to chop off the sex organs of every dog and cat in the state of California??

Well, PETA, two can play at your little CRAZY GAME!

Since PETA is so fond of taking situations animals find themselves in and then relating it to actual tragedies of human circumstances (remember the animal cages made to look like Holocaust concentration camps?) - here's one for you, Ingrid Newkirk!

Africa. Too many Africans. They're all dying of disease and starvation due to poverty. There's just too many of them to share the little resources they have. So instead of coming in and putting them out of their misery (why hasn't anyone thought of euthanasia in Africa?) - we're just going to cut off the testicles of every African man and remove the uterus from all African women. In time, the population will acheive balance once more and the few Africans left who avoided castration or migrated from another continent can live peacefully without dying of starvation and poverty from overpopulation!

Okay, so the plight in African countries is a lot more complex than simple overpopulation - but socioeconomic trends show that lower tiers of socioeconomic status have lots more children, so as to provide a bigger support structure over time. So there IS a lot of breeding going on, and one COULD theorize that sterilization could improve things. By killing off families by destroying their support structure and letting another family have a chance at their food and shelter...

No matter how you look at it, it's a grim picture. One grim enough to warrant a shock video sequence from the masters of terrorist propaganda: PETA itself.

Back to the matter at hand: PETA is usually up in arms about people owning animals in the first place, aren't they? When did "animal liberation" suddenly become "animals-other-than-pets liberation"? As soon as I'd heard about a protest regarding Paris and Britney purchasing dogs, I thought it was going to be in protest against animal ownership and "animals are not ours to own" bullshit. But I was wrong.

Because even PETA agrees that animals can be owned, and that it gives the owner the right to do whatever they choose to with that animal.

Don't believe me? I didn't think you would. That's why I've got a link to the PETA employee trial where the lawyer for PETA stated exactly that in his closing arguments: "It was PETA's property, and she had the absolute legal authority to put the dog down."

Still really pisses me off that those puppy-killers got away with it all.

And here's a little bit of extra thought, thanks to a provoked defense in a comment on LJ:

It doesn't matter either way. PETA wants all pets dead, matter-of-factly.

They don't want us breeding dogs and cats. Because breeding them means there's going to be more of them getting owned instead of adoptable pets from shelters. And the bred pets might wind up in the shelters anyway, given pet-owning trends.

They don't want animals breeding by themselves. Because if they "accidentally" breed, that's more "unwanted" pets being put in shelters and being "slated to die" - sometimes by PETA's own hands in a "rescue mission". That's why they're sponsoring billboards for a movement to spay/neuter all dogs and cats in California.

So if they can't breed themselves, and we can't breed them - that's the extinction of dogs and cats. At PETA's hands, all their arguments coming together. Hell, they kill over 90% of the ones they "rescue" anyway, right?

PETA would rather have them all dead. That's the logic I get from it.

But then again, you can't trust PETA with any form of logic...

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Friday, August 03, 2007

McDonald's and Rap Music

You know, even though I'm a huge fan of McDonald's and have been an addict for nigh on thirteen years or so, I will always admit that it's bad food. You know it, I know it - the whole world knows that McDonald's is and will always be synonymous with "bad for you". This doesn't mean it's the WORST for you, and it certainly doesn't mean its TASTE is bad (not in the least!) - it just means that it's not healthy and it shouldn't be.

Whole Foods is synonymous with "healthy" and/or "pretentious" (at least in my book) - you wouldn't trust them coming out with a "Supreme Meat Lover's Cheeseburger Pizza", would you? That's because they know what they are and they stick by it. And McDonald's, you're "fatty burgers and fries" to the extreme - don't ever lose that. But enough of my pleas to fast food chains to stay true to their titles and lay off the healthy food menu items - this is about Twista.

It's okay if you haven't heard of this whole mess - I hadn't either, until I picked up my RedEye this morning. So for those of you who get the news from sources like me and my RedEye regurgitations, here's the scoop:

McDonald's is hosting a concert series. One of the concerts is going to be in Chicago and McDonald's picked Twista, a Chicago-native rapper, to be in the concert. They promoted the concert using Twista as one of the performers. And suddenly, there was a wave of billboards being put up chastizing rappers for their derogatory language, naming Twista as one of the long list of perpetrators. According to the rapper, McDonald's had even told him they were behind him during this potty-mouth-lyrics situation.

And then all of a sudden, as Twista so eloquently describes it, "they just told us that they didn't want me performing no more."

This is where the hypocrisy comes in. McDonald's obviously knew that derogatory lyrics were used - not only from the public accusations on billboards, but the fact that, uh, TWISTA IS A RAPPER! We don't live in the 80s or even the 90s anymore. You won't hear "rapping" about happy things like "saying hello to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow" or even hilarious things like "cooking MCs like a pound of bacon". Rap has degraded into this amalgam of debauchery and violence, and we ACCEPT THAT. You either like rap or you don't. But don't say you like rap while trying to deny everything that rap now is.

Sure, I loved the Sugar Hill Gang. But then rap grew up and starting f*%^ing the police.

So here's what I'm saying to you, McDonald's: accept Twista and the fact that his lyrics are lewd because he is, indeed, a rapper. You and rap have so much in common, let's all face the facts...

- Most people either love it, or they hate it. There's a few fence-sitters, who likely haven't experienced much of it.

- Most people against it say, "It's bad for you and bad for society in general." Most people for it say, "Sure, but we like it anyway."

- If you hear about a person who likes it, you'll immediately jump to a negative stereotype of what that person looks like based solely on that fact and without even having seen them once.

- Both are having a huge impact on the newest generation of consumers, and a huge number of people are up in arms about it being a huge NEGATIVE impact.

- Both are always trying to claim to be "cleaning up their act"; we know it'll never really happen.

So c'mon, McDonald's - just say Twista can play in the concert again. He had such nice things lined up because it was such a big gig and in his hometown. He was going to get a children's choir to join him for a song, and he was going to donate the money raised by his performance to two of his favorite Chicago charities. Does that make up for "crude lyrics"? Beats me. But he's not the only one to come up with catchy chants that society wants to blame all its ills on, is he, McDonald's?

I'll leave you with a "rap" from my childhood, written by McDonald's itself:

"Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!"

(Twista's RedEye blog telling the whole story from his perspective)

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Freedoms: Speech and Hatred

Face it, we're being enslaved. Slavery is not at all over - not by a longshot - because none of us are truly free. We cannot do the things we were guaranteed the right to do, challenged by oppressive overseers who try to put us back in our "place" every day.

And here in the city of Chicago, two of this era's greater-ranking oppressors are merging and will be sharing the city's overseeing. I'm speaking, of course, about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Now I don't really have as much of a beef with Jackson; he stays out of the newspapers more often than not and is more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy (as far as I can tell). Or it could just be that he's totally not behind-the-scenes; he's just severely overshadowed by the pompous windbag of oppression known as Al Sharpton.

Use the "n-word" in public (or loudly in the privacy of your own home) and the odds are good that it will travel like a twinge on a spider's web, alerting the beast that it's time to feed and suck the life out of another morsel. Say it on any broadcast waves, and the swarm is akin to a scene in Braveheart. Even now, I can picture Al Sharpton with the half-blue face, shouting:

"They can have cops shoot us! They can lynch us in the streets! They can portray us poorly in the media! But they can NEVER SAY THE N-WORD!!!"

Well guess what, Sharpton? Yes, we can! We have the right to use any word we want, at any time we want, in any place we want!

Oh, I think except for "fire" in a crowded auditorium. I think that's one's actually illegal, because it can get people killed in the ensuing trampling - though saying the WORD isn't illegal, just the result of it is illegal. Or something. It's a slippery slope...

Back to the point: Sharpton and Jackson are both proponents of the "death" of 'the n-word'. They even had a ceremony for its burial and everything. Which was then promptly defiled. It just goes to prove my point: You cannot kill words, and you cannot forbid them to be spoken. If you tried to ban/kill the word "green" - let's say you're against the unholy union of pureblood blues and yellows and you consider it an offense to the color wheel at large - wouldn't you also have to ban the word "verde" ("green" in Spanish)? What about "midori" (Japanese) or "vert" (French) or "зеленый цвет" (Russian)? No matter what words you take away, you can't change the fact that it IS a color and it's the IDEA of that color that creates the words, not the other way around. Removing the "n-word" isn't going to remove the hatred or feelings that lead people to USE that word; you've got the whole thing backwards! Even if you removed the right to say all known forms of the word "green" from every single language, people would have to find new ways to say it or express it. The color remains, and it wouldn't be long before "blellow" (blue-yellow) came into play. Kill it, and you'd get "yellue" (yellow-blue). Kill that, and people might start just calling it a word you couldn't get rid of...

Like "Kermit". Could you really kill off that word, just because it NOW represents some word or idea that you don't like? That's what we're faced with today.

Newer "n-words" are being formed thanks to the destruction and burial of the old one. Now, instead of the "true n-word", some people on the street have switched to "ninja". What are you going to do about that, oppressors Jackson and Sharpton? You can't kill a word that has thousands of years of history completely unrelated to the negative idea you're foolishly trying to hunt down and kill without bothering to try the root of the problem.

And the root of the problem is the hatred. Without the hatred, there'd be no reason to create or use "n-words" of any variety. Words are an expression of feelings and ideas - you can't just treat every instance of a word as just one emotion or feeling or idea being tied to it. One person from the Deep South might use the "n-word" as a way to express outright hatred and loathing for a race of people. One person of that race might use the "n-word" as a way to express a "brotherhood" or connection with other people of that race. Nobody should be allowed to mandate that one usage is associated with all utterances of that word, and no matter if you use it to express brotherhood, comedy, or even the factual (like reading a transcript) - the mandate says it's nothing but hatred and loathing.

That's a load of "BS-word".

No matter what the foolish reason for trying to cut the word down to size, you can't curb the ideas and emotions behind it. Nobody can tell you how to feel or how to think. You have the right to enjoy something or dislike something. That's right, you have the liberty of hatred. You can hold a grudge, form an enemy, even pray for genocide. You can have any idea you choose to be nestled in your head - and even the right to say them out loud and express them. Following through with them, however, is another case entirely. You have the freedom to wish for genocide; you don't have the freedom to put it into action. But that's a rant for another day.

I think I've spoken my peace. Which I am fully entitled to do. I have the freedom of speech. And I have the freedom of hatred towards those who do not respect the freedoms of speech and hatred.

So Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton - keep your wits about you, because I won't be stifled by your oppressive beliefs that words can be "bad". Words are always good, because it's always better to use them than to resort to violence instead. Any good mother can tell you that. The ideas are what you're supposed to be against, not the words expressing them. And unfortunately for you, the ideas in someone else's head are not yours to govern. The best you can hope for is you speak your mind, just as you should let others speak theirs, and hope that in time, your words can sway their minds away from the hatred and loathing that lead them to use their words in ways you don't like.

Until then, we'll just have to agree to disagree - and speak our minds as such.

Which we both have the freedom to do. Read more!