Monday, August 14, 2006

With Psychic Friends Like These...

...who needs enemies?

I watch little TV, and even less daytime TV. I haven't had cable in years. So, having a free day but feeling a little tired I lied down on the couch and stared at the TV for a little bit. I expected the offerings on the tube to be pretty idiotic, but I wasn't expecting this.

The Montel Williams talk show was featuring world-famous, "real-live psychic" Sylvia Browne. She then proceeds to wrap the audience around her pinky finger with her amazing psychic insights and predictions. What an absolute fraud! She is obviously cold reading her victims. Even sleazy used car salesmen can do a better job of cold reading potential custumers than she can.

Actually, I have more respect for used car salemen than psychics. At least you get a crappy car out of the deal. I have little tolerance for people who intentionally and cynically spread falsehoods and lies, making the world a more fucked up place than it already is, for their own gain and greed. What I find particularly repugnant is that these psychics are weaving pure fantasies to people with serious real-world problems; some of their problems require a professional psychologist rather than a professional psychic. Some people I remember from the show were looking for signs of hope from loved ones who died from random violence, a mother grieving for a stillborn child...serious, heavy shit.

It takes a special breed of inhumane, hypocritical, exploitative soulless sleaze to prey on such vulnerable people, and charge big bucks to boot. Browne, for example, charges $700 for a half-hour reading on the phone.

There ought to be a law for people like Browne.

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, Hoaxes...

The Naked Quack


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Candidate For Governor Takes Satire VERY Seriously

You know, I was really hoping to bait Jeb Bush (or at least Tom Gallagher) into a ferocious diatribe of self-righteous indignation at my previous blog entry Who You Should Vote For . Unfortunately, the only gubernatorial candidate who bit was apparently Socialist party candidate Atlee Yarrow. I guess I'll just take what I can get! (you can read his priceless comment here).

The comrade pontificated extensively on the unforgivable ignorance and political naivete in the blog. Of course, ad hominem attacks and numerous derogatory insults on my intelligence and are surefire ways to win my vote!

Fortunately for me, there were a couple of things that protected my fragile ego from being shaken by the full force of such an earth-shattering retort from the good comrade. One is my thick skin and imperviousness to adolescent name-calling, especially by candidates running for governor.

Another thing, and more importantly, was the fact that the entire article was intended as a political farce and satire, using newfangled literary tools such as humor and hyperbole. In other words, it was a fucking joke! Perhaps my endorsement of a baboon for governor was a little too subtle for political candidates to appreciate. Or maybe the comrade's vision is a bit too myopic to see that I was taking jabs at ALL of the candidates I listed, not just him. Any middle school student (and any other human with the remotest sense of humor) can read into such context clues and come to the conclusion that this wasn't serious political commentary.

This is just classic. I mean, here I am trying to write a piece of satire, and along comes a politician who trumps the satire without even trying! I admire such Zen-like skill. He was so intent trying to force my foot in my mouth that he failed to realize I was already speaking with my tongue firmly in cheek. Don't you just love unintentional humor?!

Oh... one more thing, there never was any character named "Schmo" on the Three Stooges, comrade. Get your slapstick straight!


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Important, Useful Information

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Castro Newsflash

Regarding the previous entry on Castro's death:

SSSSSSSSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKKKKKKKKKEEEEEEEEE! Tales of Castro's demise are greatly exaggerated.

The article is not real, and I didn't even write most of it. Most of the previous article I transcribed from a Voice of America obituary written for Castro found in Memory Hole. They even conveniently left blank spaces in certain parts of his obituary so they can easily fill in things like Castro's age and cause of death. I spiced it up with some recent articles from the Miami Herald to make the whole obituary appear more timely and believable.
Castro probably has more obituaries written on him than any other living person. Even legit organizations like CNN have participated in such wishful thinking. Castro has had so many failed assassination attempts put on him by the U.S. government, and he's been a thorn in the side of Washington for decades. I don't agree with everything Castro has done, but I do have to admit I pull for the underdog with this one... and can't help but respect and admire how David has stood up to Goliath so intently and for so long. The way things have been going, I wouldn't be surprised if Castro continues to be a revolutionary pain in the ass for the U.S. for another 20 years. Viva La Revolución!

The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries

Executive Action: 638 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fidel Castro Dead at 79

Times Wire

HAVANA, Cuba- Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, president of Cuba, died today of complications from colon cancer, according to official Cuban sources. His death followed intense speculation in the U.S., particularly the Cuban exile community in Miami, that Mr. Castro was undergoing surgery for life-threatening intestinal bleeding. Prior to the surgery, Castro temporarily handed power over to his brother, Raúl--the first time he has given up power since becoming prime minister of the island in 1959. Today, that temporary power became permanent, with Raúl Castro becoming Cuba's first new president in 47 years.

Mr. Castro's communist dictatorship lasted decades, surviving a U.S. backed invasion, a superpower missile crisis, numerous assassination plots and nearly a half century of U.S. economic sanctions.

Born in 1926, Fidel Castro Ruz was the son of an immigrant landowner from Spain who owned large estates in the eastern part of the island. As a youth, Fidel attended Jesuit schools, and then later enrolled at the University of Havana, where he received a law degree and also became active in politics.

A powerful and charismatic speaker, he soon emerged as one of the leaders in the growing movement against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. In 1953, one year after Mr. Batista seized power in a bloodless coup, Mr. Castro led an unsuccessful attack to seize the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba, the island's second largest city. A number of his men were killed, and many others captured, including Mr. Castro himself.

After his release in 1955, Mr. Castro began organizing another effort to overthrow the Batista dictatorship. This time, he was more successful. By the late 1950's, he was leading a large guerilla force based in Cuba's Sierra Maestra mountains. Victory finally came in January, 1959, and a triumphant guerilla army, many of them bearded and wearing fatigues, marched into Havana.

After seizing power, the new Cuban government began making major changes, collectivizing farms and nationalizing banks and industries, including more than $1 billion worth of U.S. properties. Political liberties were suspended and government critics jailed.

In taking these actions, Mr. Castro finally acknowledged what had become increasingly obvious; he was a marxist and intended to set up a communist state in Cuba. Cuba's new leader also made sure that he would keep a tight rein on power. According to Cuba specialist, Thomas Patterson:

"From the very beginning, beginning in the late '50s when he rebelled against Batista, he tried to keep power and authority very much in his own hands for himself and a very small circle of friends. It's his revolution in that sense, and we speak of the Castro Revolution, not just the Cuban Revolution."

Mr. Castro's policies put him on a collision course with the United States. Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Havana, and imposed a trade embargo. Then, in April, 1961, the United States armed and directed a poorly planned invasion by Cuban exiles, which was easily defeated at the Bay of Pigs. Another confrontation occured in 1962, when the United States discovered Soviet nuclear missiles had been installed on the island. Moscow withdrew its missiles after U.S. naval forces set up a blockade of the island, thereby ending the most dangerous showdown of the Cold War.

Following the Cuban missile crisis, Mr. Castro built up his armed forces into one of the most powerful in Latin America. Sometimes acting as a Soviet proxy, Mr. Castro sent his troops around the globe to support the spread of communism. Also in the 1960s and '70s, he supported leftist guerilla movements in Latin America. At the same time, Mr. Castro established a healthcare and education system that put Cuba among the top nations of the developing world for high literacy rates and low infant mortality. These programs succeeded in part because of financial support from Moscow. By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Cuba had been receiving up to $6 billion a year in Soviet subsidies.

The disappearance of these subsidies plunged Cuba into a deep recession that led to severe shortages of food and other necessities. This forced the communist government to undertake some reforms, such as allowing limited private sector activities, legalizing the use of the dollar, and seeking foreign investment. But even these small steps towards a free market system were resisted by the aging Cuban leader.

"Even rich industrial countries", he told reporters on more than one occasion, "cannot put all their people to work. This is why capitalism is unsustainable."

But his brand of socialism also proved unworkable. By the end of the 1990's, only Cubans with dollars could buy good quality food, medicines or other necessities. Mr. Castro blamed this situation on the U.S. economic embargo, and while many Cubans may have agreed with him, they also blamed the failings of communism for the country's economic problems.

Mr. Castro never ceased his opposition to capitalism or to the way the world had changed following the collapse of communism in eastern Europe and Russia. At the time of his death, he had held power longer than any current Latin American leader.

The Bush administration's reaction to the news of Castro's death was decidely mixed, saying no change in U.S. policy on Cuba is forthcoming. At a briefing at the White House, spokesman Tony Snow said the change in power won't mean any changes in the U.S.-Cuba relationship, at the moment.

''There are no plans to reach out,'' Snow said.

He said the president is committed to democracy in Cuba and called Castro's brother his ''prison keeper'' and that Raul Castro's elevation to Cuban president will "not a change that status.''

''The one thing we're going to continue to do is assure the people of Cuba that we stand ready to help,'' Snow said, referencing the report that spells out how the administration will handle a post-Castro Cuba.

The State Department reiterated its longstanding policy that the United States would only act if a transition government moved toward democracy.

The Real Fidel Castro


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Who You Should Vote For

The election for Florida's next governor is still months away, but it's not too early to do some Feral analysis of the current crop of candidates!

If you don't live in Florida, you may think that this upcoming election has nothing to do with you. Think again. Whatever your opinion of the Sunshine State happens to be, Florida matters in the big political scheme of things, both in the U.S. and worldwide. Think back to the glory days of 2000 and the Florida chad debacle. Who happened to be governor back then? Why, George W.'s brother Jeb of course. Thanks to good ol' Jeb and his cronies, the state was handed to George, landing him directly into the White House. That, in turn, leads to such wonderful things like the Patriot Act, the War on Terror, Iraq, and so many other bright sunshiny things the world is dealing with on a daily basis today. Thanks Florida!

Jeb Bush
Thank gawd there's such a thing as "term limits". Of course, we'll always remember Jeb as the main guy who helped his brother steal the presidential election and gave us the visions of Armageddon we hold so dear today. But let's not forget his other enlightened progressive moves leading us boldly into the future. Things like repealing the car emissions test requirement that helped the environment and curbed pollution. Or how about removing the law to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle? Classy! And let's not forget other things like religious school vouchers paid for with public tax money, or the multitude of laws enabling business and corporations exploit the state and it's people with as little interference as possible. You can move to sunny Florida and get paid a fraction for what you were paid doing exactly the same job in a lot of other states. Why, it's like having a lite version of Mexico or Bangladesh sweatshops right in the good ol' U.S. of A.! Quite a legacy you'll leave, Jeb.

Charlie Crist
You can see it in his eyes: Charlie wants to be governer really, really, really bad! He wants it so bad, he's already raised a ton of cash from corporate coffers to inundate our TV screens with political ads months ahead of time to show us what a good guy he is. If you just didn't get enough of Jeb the first couple of times around, Charlie is your man if you want to be force fed even more Bush for years to come. He prides himself in being a Bush clone, and even proclaims his undying love for Bush in his TV ads. He thinks South Dakota is da bomb on abortions, and wants to make S.D. type laws making it practically impossible to get an abortion in Florida too. He's big-time pro-business, and "family values" to which you MUST conform. He's your typical slick neocon in a nutshell.

Tom Gallagher
On the other hand, maybe guys like Jeb and Charlie are a little too bleeding heart liberal commie for your tastes. Then you want Adolf Hitl-- er, Tom Gallagher on your side.
He'll support your god-given right to be a homophobic, foaming-at-the-mouth bible thumping fascist bigot waiving your AK-47 and other weapons of conventional warfare around your mobile-home lot to protect your priceless 1973 TV Guide collection from the bogeyman. One of the first issues in his TV ads is to point out how he rabidly opposes gay marriage and other dire threats to Western Civilization. Yes, such issues are just as vitally important to my everyday life as figuring out how to pay for a roof over my head and food on the table. Sieg heil y'all!

Jim Davis
No, he's not the guy who draws those lame-ass Garfield cartoons. He hasn't been squeezing our corporate overlords of zillions of dollars in donations like the republicans, so he doesn't quite have the name-recognition (like Crist or Gallagher) for those who get most of their information of the world around them through their television set (which, in the end, is the only thing that really matters anymore). He does seem to be a good alternative to the other candidates, and definitely an improvement over Jeb--supporting things like using the state's budget surplus to fund schools and health care instead of private business profits and tax cuts for multi-millionaires. As things stand right now, though, he's another anonymous opposition democrat who's offering little effective resistance to the republican media machine. He's got to overcome his current anonymity and get his face more in the public view to have a snowball's chance in hell of winning though.

Another thing he needs to do is be a real democrat. Don't pander to the republican value system. Support things that matter to normal people. Support worker's rights, living wages, get the U.S. out of imperialist conquest mode around the world, assert a person's right (not privilege) to healthcare like other civilized countries, help people live a bearable life with decent housing and food, be responsive to pollution and environmental needs, etc. Screw what the republicans think, they're full of shit. Why is that so hard for big name democrats to understand?

Don't get me wrong; I certainly don't think that the democratic party is the way to political nirvana. I'm actually registered independent. But they're a helluva lot better than the tripe republicans have been force feeding us in the last 12 years, and particularly since King George has taken reign.

Rod Smith
no-profile Um, Rod who???

Atlee Yarrow

member_141262 Why, you might ask, am I including some schmo from a political party that has 8 members? Well, as things stand right now, he's got about as fair shot winning as Davis or any other "challenger" to the right wing naz---ummmm, republicans, yeah- that's the ticket...

Besides, the party platform includes such unamerican heresies like focusing on everyday people rather than huge corporate profits, greatly improving the social safety net, progressive income tax, among other great threats to our personal liberties.

This all sounds great to me. The problem is that this is the platform of the Socialist Party, and they insist on keeping the tag "socialist" in their name. As everybody knows, all socialists are evil corrupt dictators. I'll be damned if I let another Stalin set up gulags in Miami Beach! Guantanamo is as close as I want to get to that, thank you very much! Thanks to decades of cold war propaganda, that's the first thing that comes to many minds of Americans when they hear the word socialist. And unfortunately, there is no way that scarlet letter will fade anytime in the near future from the American psyche. So step number one is for that party to come up with a name more palatable in the U.S.

Step number two: I don't understand why third parties always go for the gusto in elections they have no chance in hell of winning, such as presidential elections or campaigns for state governor. They always waste a huge amount of their time and relatively meager resources chasing such windmills, no matter how pristine and persuasive their platform is. They rarely even get significant name recognition for their party.

Besides, even if they did get a miraculous win in high office, it will surely go down in a blaze in quick order. For example, imagine for a moment that we live in a parallel universe, and all the planets and stars aligned perfectly, and Ralph Nader actually takes the White House. You think Bill Clinton got a bum rap when he was president? Imagine Ralph facing an even more hostile Senate with no other Green allies to work with. It would be an unmitigated disaster from the get-go.

The right wing who wants to make abortion illegal and force feed the kids creation stories at school (and the Green Party more recently) realized that the way to go is from the bottom up, not the other way around. Start locally, and infiltrate less glamorous offices like the local school board or city council. With their foot in the door, they then can slowly work their way up to more powerful positions. The instant gratification of seizing the presidency or governorship is lost, but they never had a chance anyways. All third parties need to leave high office as a long term goal and focus exclusively at the local level and then work their way up. It's the only realistic strategy.


So, all things considered after all this in-depth analysis and research, there is only one conclusion to be reached this election year...

Feral's Official Endorsement

Bobo the Baboon

Florida needs instant name recognition beyond Disneyworld and hanging chads. Bobo gets things done. You can tell by the stiff-jawed stare of Bobo that he takes no bull, from corporations, state senators---nobody. Minnesota, you think you're tough with your Jesse "The Body" Ventura? California's "terminator" governor Ahnuld? Ha! Bobo will literally rip both of your pansy girly-men to shreds in minutes! Florida needs a non-homo sapien like Bobo right now.

Remember this in November: Bobo-the only way to go!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

On Sale Now!

Remember that little offbeat shrunken head collection you bought from some friendly Trobrianders at that funky shack in New Guinea a few years ago, and is now gathering dust in the closet? You should

read this first!

Other cool stuff to blow your money on

Ephemera and Anomalies at Feral's Shop