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And the losers are ... 

Whoops. It’s not just the Democrats who are screwing up these days. This was sent to me from a very-much-not Republican who mistakenly got shipped a Republican National Committee survey. I’m using the word “survey” pretty liberally here. Or should I say I’m using the word conservatively? While I mull that over, I’ll let you take a gander at some questions:

• “Are you in favor of reinstituting the military draft, as Democrats in Congress have proposed?”(Huh? Did I miss a meeting?)

• “Do you agree with Barack Obama and the Democrats that taxes should be raised for the sake of ‘fairness,’ regardless of the negative impact it is likely to have on the economy?” (Oh no he di’nt say that!)

• “Do you believe that the best way to increase the quality and effectiveness of public education in the U.S. is to rapidly expand federal funding while eliminating performance standards and accountability?” (Agh! I don’t know anymore. Damn those liberal hacks! Where’s my mommy?)

Apparently there are another 12 questions of about the same tone. Then they ask for a donation when you send back the results.

Oscar time!

In honor of the (James Cameron-sponsored) upcoming Academy Awards, I’ve decided to send out a few little gold men of my own. Watch your mailboxes all you winners. Not really. I don’t even have real statues. Well I do, but they’re actually just little army men I spray-painted.

Best Actor: Dan DeVaul for his depiction of Jesus.

Best Actress: Deborah Cash for her work as the obsessively controlling teacher from Donnie Darko.

Best Picture: A tie. You Idiot, a tale of Arroyo Grande City Councilman Ed Arnold’s violent love triangle between himself, his wife, and his wife’s girlfriend. And Frenemies: a dramatic depiction of the high-school escapades of former county deputy administrator Gail Wilcox and sheriff’s union leader Tony Perry with a nod to former county administrator David Edge playing the role of overbearing dad whose, “I’ll cut your balls off,” line has solidified its rightful place in history.

Creative names

“He’s a terrorist. He’s disgruntled. He’s a coward. He’s a murderer.” Some blogophiles have even loosely labeled him “patriot.”

Bottom line: Joseph Stack—the nutcase who flew his plane into the Texas IRS building—should be considered a terrorist by definition. The fact that there was any discussion on what to call him is borderline insane.

“But he’s white!” they cry. “He’s not Muslim! Does he hate freedom? ”

Who cares? Timothy McVeigh was immediately labeled a terrorist. Granted, that was before vast swaths of the country collectively acquiesced that “terrorist” is a surname for just about every Muslim/Arab/brown person. If we’re going to call it terrorism, then let’s call it terrorism. If you’re name is Joe Bob and you live in Biloxi, Mississippi, and kill people because you hate postage-stamp taxes, you’re not a terrorist. Uh, no, wait—you’re still a damn terrorist!

If you think a person’s race or nationality or underlying belief system has anything to do with the title, you’re a jackass.

Otis Page is certainly a jackass, and damn if I won’t protect his right to rant about his bigoted belief system. Most of you—basically all of you—who sent in letters think Page is a raging jackass. That’s fine, though. I’m a bit of one myself. A lot of you also think this Page guy is afraid to come out of the closet. (I’m kind of tired of this homophobes-are-secretly-gay argument. It’s the lame argumentative equivalent of comparing someone to the Nazis.)

   Then there were a few of you who went after New Times for publishing Page’s commentary. Maybe this was a ploy to generate controversy and it certainly bordered on how insane of an opinion deserves getting published. Here in the newspaper business, though, we treasure our free speech. It’s all we have left. After all, the industry is on the verge of death.

Guv’nator speak

I love me some typos, especially when they’re of the government variety, and extra especially when they’re so absurd I have to question whether they were an accident or intentional. Case in point: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing for a budget that would cut state park funds, banking that the State Lands Commission will approve an ultra-contentious offshore drilling operation in the Tranquillon Ridge. Admittedly, I constantly have to re-look-up the spelling of Tranquillon, and then usually misspell it anyway. Come to think of it, Shwarzennaygar is hard to spell, too. Apparently, he has the same problem. Here’s a bit from the guv’s transcript regarding the budget. See if you can spot the error.

“This includes … $200 million from the Trankean Ridge offshore drilling to fund state parks.”

Some poor speech-writing intern probably had to decipher Arnie’s accent.

“What’d he say?” the terrified intern whispers to his equally baffled intern buddy.

Intern buddy shrugs. “No clue. Just take your best guess. No one can understand this guy either, which is weird because he’s been out of Austria for most of his adult life now.”

On second thought, the Best Actor goes to Shwartsenaeger.

The shredder can be reached at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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