Friday, October 24, 2008

Phony Business

Hi, you’ve reached the McKay residence. We can’t come to the phone right now because we’re trying to bury our house in a giant pile of leaves for extra insulation. Please leave a message and we’ll call you back.


Hello, I’m calling on behalf of John McCain for President, and the RNC, to let you know that Barack Obama is a greasy, lying, Molotov-cocktail-throwing shoe bomber sex pervert from Iran. If the Democrats take control of Washington, they will enact their radical left-wing agenda by bombing churches, parochial schools, and southern state capitals.

The liberal elite mainstream media is also not telling you that Barack Obama once listened to a Michael Jackson record, which means he associates with child molesters and --


Wait! I wasn’t done. John McCain, on the other hand, is a cute and cuddly little ball of fun who promises to be your best pal. Just look at him – don’t you want to give him a great big hug? He’s like Elmo, only not as annoying. He promises to bomb only foreign capitals, and –


Hi, Chuck, this is Ed from Black Death Oil Company. I just wanted to touch base about the delivery we made a few weeks ago, just before prices plummeted. Funny how that works, isn’t it, right before an election? The only thing lower than the price of oil right now is Bush’s approval rating! Oh, zing! Am I in the wrong profession, or what? Anyway, your payment is overdue, and –


This is not a solicitation. This is an urgent business call. Please hold the line while we make you wait long enough to determine if you are enough of a sucker to fall for our scam.


On November 4, vote for John McCain, a true reformer and maverick. John would never stand for vicious partisan attack ads that mark “politics as usual” in Washington.


We’re offering a low introductory rate of just 2.999999 per cent to qualified –


Barack Obama may be a smooth talker, but as everyone in “real America” understands, articulate people can’t be trusted. We can only believe people who speak in short, folksy sound bites that are easy to understand.

John McCain puts his country before politics. That’s why he chose the most qualified, mentally stable person available to be his Vice Presidential running mate, even though there were other, less-experienced candidates who could have helped him energize the base of the Republican Party and pick off votes from women.


Mr. McKay, this is your local tax assessor calling. We’ve driven by your address three times, but we couldn’t find your house, only a giant pile of leaves. If you could please call –


Christmas is under attack! Barack Obama and the liberal elite would have it stricken from our vocabulary! This is why it is not good enough for stores to start playing Christmas music in mid-October. If John McCain becomes President, you’ll hear nothing but “O Come All Ye Faithful” from August through January.


Please continue to hold until our next available associate can assist you. If you start to wonder why we didn’t just call you when we had someone available, shake your head and remind yourself of the futility of trying to understand the marvelous and mysterious ways of capitalism.


Acorn! Bill Ayers! Obama bin Laden! Terrorist! Your family will die! Stop this heinous –


End of messages.

I don’t negotiate with fear-mongers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Electing History

Has anyone else noticed that the 2008 Presidential Election feels different than almost every other election in recent memory?

Normally, around this time, people look at the two candidates in front of them, and wonder what distant, swampy planet of anguish and confusion, teeming with drooling losers, jettisoned its two most incompetent stiffs to Earth, only to have them end up competing to become leader of our planet's wealthiest and most powerful collection of homo sapiens?

In 2004, for example, plenty of voters were not particularly impressed with W, since they round out he invaded Iraq under false pretenses, having doctored intelligence reports to substantiate his dumbfounding aggression.

But the electorate was still insecure enough to want a watered-down John Wayne in the White House instead of someone who, despite his real-life experience in foreign policy and warfare, is from Massachusetts.

Every four years, it seems voters shake their heads and wonder, “is this the best we can do?”

This year, would-be moderate voters actually seem to respect both candidates.

McCain has an honorable record of service and a reputation for doing the right thing instead of the most politically savvy thing.

Obama has a chance to make history by breaking a color barrier, and keeps drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy. He has the charisma of Bill Clinton, with half the fat and almost none of the sleaziness.

Am I crazy, or are people feeling like no matter who wins, we could end up with a President who actually changes the course of American history?

Someone who will be remembered 100 years from now, and not just by 10th grade history teachers?

To find out, let's journey back in time and examine some of the most ground-breaking presidencies in our history, to see if we see any parallels.

Obviously, George Washington, who “could not tell a lie,” set the standard for all presidents to come. Too bad they all ignored that standard.

Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of our country through the Louisiana Purchase. Obama doubles the size of his campaign war chest every three days.

Andrew Jackson started the practice of appointing his friends to government jobs, rather than hiring based purely on a person's qualifications or experience. Sarah Palin tried to get her brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper.

Abraham Lincoln steered us through civil war and ended slavery, holding our divided country together with sheer will and guile. Barack Obama has nice teeth.

Theodore Roosevelt made a career out of championing “the little guy.” John McCain is a little guy (at 5'6”, he would be the second shortest president in history, after James Madison).

Franklin Roosevelt guided America through its most desperate period of personal and collective sacrifice, starting with the Great Depression and leading into the Second World War. Joe Biden was one of his closest advisors.

Richard Nixon became the first president to visit China, opening diplomatic relations. Sarah Palin can see China's next next door neighbor from her house.

Clearly, Americans have every reason to be optimistic that a new and exciting chapter of American history will soon be written, no matter what happens.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kids These Days

Are you responsible for a youth? If so, make sure you get him or her involved with youth sports as soon as possible.

Even if your youth is still in diapers, it’s not too early.

The recent story of a St. Louis-area junior league football coach illustrates why this is so important. During the post-game handshake line, the coach was caught on video violently shoving an 11-year-old player on the opposing team.

The player had apparently been mouthy and disrespectful. All highly trained child development specialists know a healthy shove is the best way to take care of that problem, so I don’t see why this is such a big deal.

But the over-protective parents are pressing charges, thus undermining the coach’s powerful message about sportsmanship.

The message you, as a parent, must take from this story is clear: other people know best how to raise your child.

Have you spent years studying child psychology and education, like all the genius football coaches have? Not likely.

Six or seven hours a day in school is not enough time away from your child. Make sure she or he is involved in enough structured activities to keep you free and clear of parenting responsibilities until well after dinner.

I should probably acknowledge that for every story in the media about some heroic coach or parent who beats up somebody else’s kid at a hockey game, there’s another coach or parent under the radar who doesn’t take things too seriously and just wants all the kids to have a positive experience.

This bleeding-heart approach makes me sick, but we shouldn’t let a few bad apples keep us from letting other people do what’s best for our children.

In his book “Hold On To Your Kids,” psychologist Gordon Neufield tells us that kids spend so much time away from parents these days that they develop stronger attachments to peers than to adults.

This realignment starts at a surprisingly young age and builds momentum.

To test this theory, ask any child over age 10 who is more important to them, parents or friends. Ask again once you get them to take out their “ear buds.” The eventual response is likely to be:

“Well, obviously, my parents are, like, the most – wait, somebody is texting me… Oh My God! Tara says Jamie totally posted some sick photos of herself on MySpace. She is, like, such a skank.”

Fifty years ago, teen suicide was usually traced to rejection by parents. Nowadays, it’s usually linked to rejection by peers. No wonder teen suicide rates have ballooned like a skyrocket through the roof.

Studies show that kids involved in sports are less likely to kill themselves, get pregnant, or become drug addicts.

I wasn’t able to find any studies about suicide or pregnancy rates of kids who spend a lot of quality time with their parents, so it’s safe to assume those kids are also offing themselves in record numbers.

This is a matter of life and death. I urge you to put your kids first. Instead of selfishly insisting that they be home in time for a family dinner and a game of Monopoly, let them spend all their time with other kids.

And when they finally do get home, ignore them and watch TV. They’ll thank you for it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Your Personal Votation Device

Normally, around this time, I give my readers a quick rundown of the important issues facing us as the election nears.

But this time, I’m going to profile the two major referendum questions instead.

You’ve probably seen all those ads from the citizen coalition called Fed Up With Taxes (formerly known as Fed Up With Death, and, before that, Fed Up With Gravity).

In one ad, the owner of an ice cream stand bemoans the impact the new soda and beer tax is having on his business.

“We have no choice but to pass that expense along to the consumer,” he says.

Hm. I already knew a lot of Maine families are headed for some tough times, but it looks like the reason is not as obvious as I thought.

A winter of high energy prices? Bank accounts gutted by fiscal mismanagement? A whole season without Tom Brady?

Nah. The big problem is that we can no longer afford to buy soda and beer, irreplaceable staples in the American diet.

"Maine families are struggling right now," said Fed Up With Taxes spokeshuman Newell Augur, as quoted in the York Weekly. "It's absolutely the worst time for state government to be asking people to pay more money.”

The tax is three cents on a beer and four cents on a can of soda.

Those might seem like trivial amounts, but trust me, Mr. Augur knows the drill (ha!).

Considering how much of these beverages we consume, especially in winter, this tax probably costs the average Mainer several thousand dollars a month.

No wonder the movement to repeal it has so much support. It couldn’t possibly nothing to do with the fact that revenues from this tax go to support the Dirigo health initiative.

Either we pay some sort of tax to keep Dirigo afloat, or lots of people are going to lose health care. As long as those particular people are not the ones I spend any significant time with, I’d rather get my Mountain Dew Float four cents cheaper, thank you very much.

That way, when I get diabetes, I can use all the money I saved to afford my insulin shots and doctor visits.

So be sure to vote “Yes” on Question 1. I realize this is a little confusing; it seems like you’d be saying “yes” to the tax, but you’re actually saying “yes” to those who are against not repealing the tax.

Vote “no” if you oppose the people who don’t want you to not keep more of your own money for use on self-destructive fetters on society.

Which brings me to Question 2, which is getting less attention in the media because it only applies to people with a sense of decency.

It’s vague wording doesn’t help, either:

“Do you favor giving permission to allow some guys to build some sort of structure, somewhere in Oxford County, that may be used for gambling, at least for a while, with an unspecified share of profits going to causes that may or may not be completely pointless and wasteful?”

Details are scarce. The latest news is that some architect has drawn a picture of what the building might look like.

Also, the casino backers admit the legislature will have to tinker with the law even if voters approve it.

So you might as well smear brown finger paint on your ballot as far as Question 2 is concerned.

Me, I’m going to form a new citizen group. It’s called Fed Up With Pointless Referenda.