20 Annoying Things About 2007

Whew, has this been an annoying year, or what! I figure 2007 has been the most annoying year of my 62. I even did up a list of just the top 20 things I became sick and tired of during the past year.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1) I'm sick and tired of being bombarded by TV ads with American Indians telling me that their casinos are making life better for everyone, not just the ten members of their tribe. Have you ever been in one of those casinos? Just how are casinos making life better for the bus loads of gray-haired codgers who upload their meager Social Security checks into Chief Wampum's slots? And what about all those already over-extended, mortgage-poor, credit card maxed out working stiffs so desperate their last remaining hope to hit a progressive-slot jackpot? How is the spreading plague of Indian casinos helping those folks?

So knock it off with those phony feel-good ads and replace them with something that at least approximates the truth. Something like this would be more tolerable:

"We had a sweet thing going before Europeans showed up, uninvited, and mugged the living crap out of Indian tribes from coast to shinning coast. Well that hunk of Karma has come home to roost at our Indian Casinos where we are now happily, and profitably, doing the same thing to you. We even have a name for you ... The White Buffalo."

Now, that's at least true, and defensible. I can live with that. But even white-guilt has its limits and those spoken-with-forketh-tongue, Indian-casinos-are-good-for-us TV ads have pushed that limit well beyond the breaking point.

2) I'm sick and tired of all things bimbo. Paris, Britney, Lohan ... and all those like them. The only time such appaulingly stupid people should appear on my evening news is if they should stumble in front of the Presidential limo, get run over but survived and, once out of a coma, scribble out the solution to Einstein's unified field theory. Otherwise I never want to hear their names or see their vacant faces on the news again. They are nature's most useless and annoying creatures. CNN and MSNBC -- don't waste another electron reporting on these people because electrons have more important things to do -- and so do you.

3) I'm sick and tired of having to pretend that Christian fundamentalists are entirely sane when they announce with straight faces that the earth was created in six days, and is not billions of years old but actually just 6,000 years old. And that dinosaurs and humans coexisted because, "In fact, at Answers in Genesis, we call dinosaurs 'missionary lizards.' No sane literate person would -- could -- hold such utter nonsense to be true. Such pronouncements should be treated for what they are -- evidence of ignornace, mental illness or both.

Because they are provably false. They are NOT a equally valid scientific theory. They are the product of mass-hysterical-crazy thinking -- viral nonsense. People who believe such things, and try to get others to believe them, should be treated the exactly how we treat people who walk city streets shouting at things only they can see. And when one of these zombies shows up at a school board meeting demanding religious mythology be taught in science class, they should be politely asked to either shut up or leave. If they refuse then someone needs to call the cops to remove them to the nearest psychiatric facility and placed on a 36-hour hold. (Except in Texas, which we all know is a lost cause.)

4) I'm sick and tired of every politician running for election or re-election testifying that they, too, "believe." Believe what? Well, they keep that kinda of fuzzy. Politicians understand that, when you're seeking the votes of people who believe crazy things, you've gotta stay vague. That's because metaphysical-crazy comes in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins. No two crazies are the same, but they do all have one thing in common; they believe crazies of a different flavor are ... well, crazy. Which is why politicians play their "crazy belief cards" close to the vest. Instead of risking losing crazy votes by getting specific about precisely what kind of metaphysical things they may or may not believe in, they vaguely reasure them with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge -- "Just trust me folks. I'm at least as crazy as you."

5) I'm sick and tired of my country listing among our "friends and allies" creepy, unsavory, smarmy, self-indulgent, utterly despicable regimes -- to wit -- Saudi Arabia and the Saudi "royal" family. John Gotti's family had more royal blood in it than the 7000-odd dictatorial, misogynistic sheiks that run Saudi Arabia. If they weren't squatting atop lakes of oil the only kingdom they'd be lording over would have horns and require milking twice a day. If there's a more despicable bunch of mobsters masquerading as leaders today, I can't think of it. And I'm sick of seeing our moron of a President walking hand in hand with these cross-dressing, lying, cheating, terrorist-financing, rape-victim-lashing Arab home-boys, at the same time we continue embargoing Cuba and shaking a threatening fist at Iran.

6) I'm sick and tired of hearing about how Pakistan is a "valuable ally in the war on terror." No they're not. Hell, they're not even a real democracy anymore. Also everyone knows that the Pakistan army and intelligence services are lousy with al Qaida and Taliban sympathizers. Calling Pakistan an ally is like declaring George W. Bush one of America's most accomplished Presidents. The day Pervez Musharraf fired the whole Supreme Court and replaced them with handpicked Clarence Thomas' and Anthony Scalia's, we should have given NATO troops in Afghanistan the green light go into Pakistan's tribal regions and do whatever needed doing there. The other thing we should have done a long time ago is to dispatch a team of Navy Seals to snatch A.Q. Khan -- the guy who spread nuclear bomb technology from North Korea, to Lybia and Iran. Khan is currently under "house arrest" in Pakistan. Snatching him and bringing him to justice would send a message to anyone thinking of peddling nukes that they'll never live to spend the money.

7) I'm sick and tired of "Billery." Bill and Hillary Clinton have worn out their welcome in my head. I appreciate Bill's accomplishments as President. But fine, can we move on now? I didn't appreciate the Bill and Hillary soap operas the first time around. But now the nation and world are too much in crisis to restart that kind of unhelpful diversions. Hillary is a smart and viciously accomplished pol. But rather than president, her skills could be put to better use as Senate Majority Leader. Ditch the nearly comatose Harry Reid and put Hillary in that important post. Because, unlike Reid, Hillary knows how to jerk leashes -- and actually likes it.

8) I'm sick and tired of the global warming deniers. They should be treated with the same sense of anger and disgust as Holocaust deniers... just more so. Denying the Holocaust only denies the murder of six million humans. Denying global warming and it's causes threatens to sentence hundreds of millions, maybe billions, of humans to slow, painful untimely deaths. I can't punch global warming deniers, though I'd like to. But if they persist they and their families should all be required to relocate to the lowest laying atoll in the Pacific.

9) I'm sick and tired of Wall Street and government "economists" blowing smoke up my ass about the state of the economy. I cut my journalistic teeth on financial crisis, so I know one when I see one coming. And one is coming. In fact, it's just now arriving. Don't tell me the "underlying strength of the US economy is strong." Bullshit. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the US economy, and those consumers are tapped out. They can't even mug another dime of equity out of their now over encumbered homes. Even those usurious credit card companies won't lend them anymore until they pay off their overdue balances. Hello.....

The truth is we are heading into the worst case of stagflation in a quarter century. So, economists, spare me the happy talk. That crap might buy you some time by creating sucker rallies on Wall Street, but you are about to run out of suckers. Do you have a plan for that? If so, that's what what I want to hear from you ... and quickly please.

10) I'm sick and tired of defense contractors, like Lockheed, running TV ads trying to convince me that everything they do is "for our troops in harms way." Gag me with a rocket launcher! Everything defense contractors do is in pursuit of billions of defense tax dollars. That's why they do it --- the only reason they do it. They never seem to mention in their ads that every year... without exception...every year, they are each one caught red handed lying, cheating and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars more. And that, even when caught, not one of them has spent a day in the slammer for it. So, shut up with the "we do it all for our troops," crap, will ya? It makes me wanna reach through the TV and Blackwater your asses.

11) I'm sick and tired of teachers absolving themselves of any responsibility for the dismal state of American education. When I sat on a school board I suggested we grant teachers even more in pay raises than they were requesting. I only had one condition; that we be allowed to bypass teacher union roadblocks when we wanted to reward exceptional teachers and could promptly fire the well known loser teachers on our staff. Their response -- "No way Jose." You would have thought I'd asked them to undress or something. No personal accountability for teachers, not even if we paid them for it. If private industry had those kind of rules America would look like Somalia today -- which is why our education system nearly does.

12) I'm sick and tired of hearing that the US has "the best health care in the world." First of all my wife is a health care professional, which means I hear the real scoop every day she returns from work. Tales that curl the blood. We don't have the best health care in the world, we just have the most expensive health care in the world. It's a system run by a bunch of blood sucking private insurance companies that cherry pick the actuarial pool. They insure only those unlikely to need medical care, and reject anyone who just might. Those they refuse to insure eventually end up getting medical care on the public nickel. Wouldn't you love a business deal like that, one where you get to shove your risks off on the government allowing you to pocket all that low/no risk gravy? I sure would. I'm sick of it... pun intended.

13) I'm sick of paying a higher percentage of my adjusted gross income than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The Bush tax cuts have been a bonanza for the already super rich, and a big lump of coal for everyone else. For our national infrastructure the Bush tax cuts were a "who needs public infrastructure anyway!" The truth is that the rich got rich largely thanks to Americas generous, reliable and efficient taxpayer funded infrastructure -- roads, bridges, airports, ports and such. Therefore they should pay taxes that adequately reflect and reimburse the nation for that. At the end of the day, every road is a toll road, and the rich are nolonger paying their fair share of tolls.

14) On the same subject, I'm also sick and tired of hearing Republicans spout the nonsense that if you cut a rich person or corporation's taxes they will use that extra money to "create jobs for working Americans." No they won't. And no, they haven't.

What they have done with their Bush's tax cut bonanza is sock it away in tax-protected family trusts and then lobby Congress to eliminate the estate tax so their heirs can keep every dime of it. If any of that extra money does end up getting invested in a job-creating enterprise you can bet your low-wage bippy those jobs end up in China or someplace like China. So, spare the "trickle down" crapola fellas.

15) I'm sick and tired of spending $60 billion a year on intelligence services that aren't.

16) I'm sick and tired of Neo-con, lap-dog Republicans who have defended and aided administration officials who openly champion views of governance so un-American they border on neo-fascism.

17) I'm sick and tired of conniving, weaselly, cowardly Democrats who could have obstructed our nations slide toward totalitarianism -- but didn't -- and still haven't.

18) I'm sick and tired of hearing American auto makers whine about how they can't possibly meet higher fuel economy standards while the Japanese clean up doing just that. The last time this happened, back in the 1970s, the Japanese whipped Detroit's sorry ass by making higher mileage small cars while Detroit keep spitting out 8-cylinder behemoths. Then Uncle Sam ended up having to bail out Chrysler and put import quotas on Japanese cars so we didn't have to bailout the out GM and Ford as well. The Big Three dinosaurs are at it again, addicted to selling Hummers and gas-guzzling SUVs and fighting every effort to get them to switch to higher millage and alternative fuel vehicles. Maybe if we hadn't bailed them out of their last self-inflicted wounds they'd have come out with a Prisus before the Japanese this time. If GM had an ounce of sense it would change it's name from General Motors to Green Machines and get with the frigging program. I'm sick and tired of rewarding and enabling such stubborn, corporate stupidity and public and social malfeasance.

19) I'm sick and tired of soap-opera news stories that have runs longer than most Broadway plays. The next time some guy's wife goes missing, and authorities suspect he killed her and dumped her body someplace, don't tell me about -- at least until they solve the crime and actually know what happened. Even then such stories are for local news, so why are they on the national news in the first place? I'm sick and tired of these long, drawn out tales of dysfunctional relationships turned deadly. Nothing about these tales matters to anyone except the poor people directly involved, their families and immediate neighbors. There's absolutely no national news value to running these stories night after night, except a sick "entertainment" value. So, unless these sad cases are being caused by some communicable virus that's spreading at an alarming rate and heading my way, I don't want to hear about them -- it's not "news I need" -- or even want.

20) I'm sick and tired of these new "Christians are being persecuted" TV ads. You know, the ones where some Chinese kid narrates how she was forced to walk barefoot through the snow to a detention center because she wrote stuff about Jesus ... blah, blah, blah. The truth is the overly religious thrive on claims of persecution, real or Madison Avenue-imagined. Nothing stirs up the religiously enthralled like a ripping, tear-jerking tale of persecution. More importantly, nothing opens up the wallets of the herd faster either. One might suggest to them that maybe if fundamentalist Christians tried to be a little less "up everyone's nose," every time we turn around these days they might face less persecution. That assumes, of course, they really are being "persecuted" every time they make the claim -- which I doubt. Often what they view as persecution is simple, non-violent, rhetorical push-back from those of us who've heard quite enough about their supernatural pretend friend(s) of choice. They consider such push back "persecution." We call it self-defense.

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