yes, we will follow you

Clear Channel, in at least one market so far (in Florida), has apparently begun putting up ominous billboards that simply show Bush and say, “Our Leader.” The Republican party gets all up-in-arms every time someone comments on the similarities between Bush and great, evil leaders of the past, but what do they expect when their supporters are out doing stuff like this? You have to admit that it seems more than just a little Saddam-esque… And, before you start writing letters telling me how stupid I am for saying that Bush is like Hitler, do me a favor and read this post again. I didn’t say that Bush was “like Hitler.” I didn’t even suggest, as some people have, that the US is becoming a fascist state. I simply said that billboards like this one might give that impression.

Speaking of Hitler, here are a few posters that I was able to dig up. One says, “Yes, we will follow you.” Another says, “One people, one Reich, one Fuhrer.” And, another says, “Be true to the Fuhrer.” Draw your own conclusions.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

the second bush term: god vs. science

When you boil it all down, the first Bush term, at least to me, seemed to be about the consolidation of corporate power and the rise of the American aristocracy. Shareholder value, deregulation and cheap labor trumped calls for clean air, sustainable business practices, and corporate responsibility at every turn. Media consolidation rules were relaxed, public lands were opened to corporate exploitation and large swaths of public sector were turned over to private industry. The shareholders of companies like Enron, Halliburton and Clear Channel were happy, and we were told that what was good from them was good for us. This, after all, was an “ownership society.” We all owned a piece of it, even if we didn’t all own stocks. To own a TV was essentially the same as owning shares in GE… Well, as I sit here thinking about what to say tonight, it occurs to me that we’re turning a corner. While these next four years will certainly hold more of the same with regard to the favoritism shown to America’s most powerful, I think the major thread isn’t going to be “corporation vs. man,” but “god vs. science.”

I don’t know that I believe it, but according to a new poll released by the Gallup organization today, only one-third of Americans believe there’s evidence of evolution. And, according to this same poll, almost one-half of all Americans believe that God created humankind just 10,000 years ago, in finished form.

So, I know it’s unlikely, but if you were looking for just one more reason to either 1) run screaming out your office window, or 2) start swimming for Cuba, there it is. Not only did 51% of your fellow Americans vote to keep the worst president in American history in the Oval Office, but they also apparently don’t believe that human history extends beyond ten thousand years into the past. (“What fossils? I don’t see any fossils.”)

So, be forewarned, it’s just a matter of time before they start collecting text books and tearing out the pages on evolution… Soon, it will be stricken from our collective memories like homosexuality and abortion.

The work’s well underway.

In 2002 the Cobb County, Georgia Board of Education began adding the following disclaimer to textbooks that dared mention evolution:

“This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

Fortunately, some folks, like evolutionary biologist Colin Purrington, are fighting back, but I wonder if it’s enough.

Now that the extreme, fundamentalist right has tasted power, one wonders just how far they’ll go. Will we see legislation on creationism being championed by the Department of Education? Will we see monuments to the Ten Commandment going into our federal court buildings? According to the news, the fundamentalist assault on our nation’s landmarks has already begun. Here’s a clip from an ABC News article:

In the aftermath of the November presidential election and talk of a Bush administration mandate, some people on the right of the political spectrum believe the government has a greater responsibility to heed their views. In some cases, that means changes in the images that define the nation — including those at some of the nation’s most popular parks and monuments.

For roughly a decade, a film has been shown to visitors at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, depicting historic events that have taken place there — from civil rights marches to antiwar demonstrations.

The film shows a number of marches with liberal themes like gay rights and abortion rights, intercut with older clips of historical figures like former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Marian Anderson.

Then, one day the Rev. Lou Sheldon saw it.

“It showed only those liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marches,” said Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition….

So now they’re demanding to have the footage removed, arguing that “special rights” for gays aren’t the same as civil rights, as championed by the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King. Of course, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, says he would have disagreed with these people who invoke his name, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

In related news, the Parks Service at the Grand Canyon has recently been forced to sell the book “Grand Canyon: A Different View,” which contradicts well-established, accepted science, by saying that the Grand Canyon was formed by the great flood described in the Bible. Park Service employees maintain that offering the book violates their charter to promote responsible science, but that doesn’t seem to matter either.

So, if I were you, I’d go and buy a textbook on evolution this holiday season. Buy it and hide it in the basement, or bury it out in the backyard. At the rate things are changing, you never know when you might have to set up a secret reading society. (Not to sound too completely paranoid, but you might also want to pick up copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as the originals are now being “safeguarded” by Diebold, the same Republican firm that owns and operates those electronic voting machines that leave no audit trail.)

Believe it or not, this post was a lot more upbeat than the one I first had in mind when I sat down here at my desk. When I first turned on my computer, I was planning to write about the coming economic disaster… or should I call it an economic Armageddon. Either way, it’s not looking good for America.

Right now, I’m tempted to take the advice of a reader by the name of Rocky and invest everything I own in Canadian and Mexican abortion clinics…

Good night, my invisible friends.

Posted in Church and State | 10 Comments

turkey and un-dressing

When I saw this photo over at Leighton’s just now, I knew I had to steal it for… You know, with all the politics and everything lately, I’d almost forgotten what the holidays were really all about.

Posted in Ypsilanti | 4 Comments

dexter romweber

If you want to buy me a beer, I’ll be at the Elbow Room tonight (assuming I can stay a step ahead of this looming panic attack for the next few hours). I’d had all of these great plans to write about big, important topics tonight, like local grassroots activism and this progressive bookclub idea that Jim and I have been kicking around, but I guess they’ll wait until tomorrow… One of my favorite musicians, Dexter Romweber, is playing across town and I want to see if I can snag an interview. I tried once, about eight years ago, and failed. (I mumbled something to him in an Atlanta bar and I don’t think he heard me.) Then, the last time I saw him, sitting alone, watching a basketball game before a show, I was just too tired to even try… Dexter, for those of you who don’t know him, was one of the men behind the Flat Duo Jets, one of my favorite bands of all time. (They deserved the fame the White Stripes would get a decade later.) I think I’ve seen him play almost a dozen times since 1986, putting him just behind the Ramones in the pantheon of Maynard-approved live rock acts. Check him out if he’s stopping in your town.

UPDATE: The interview went well. Dexter and I sat around for over an hour, drinking coffee and talking about the importance of diet and exercise, the pitfalls of early fame and the art of living with depression. Look for it (not depression, but the interview) in the next issue of Crimewave.

Posted in Pop Culture | 4 Comments

a very blue precinct inside a somewhat blue county inside a barely blue state

I was just checking out the final numbers and it looks as though our precinct did pretty well. Here’s how the vote for president broke down.

YPSILANTI CITY Ward 3 Precinct 3
registered 1728
voted 865
50.06% turnout

17.25% of the vote

79.86% of the vote







While the 80% for Kerry is a good number, I was really hoping that we could have done more about the turnout. Just barely over 50% isn’t acceptable. We had 863 registered voters that chose not to cast their ballots. Assuming they would have voted like the 865 people who did turn out, that would have been another 689 votes against Bush. Next year we need to do a better job of turning out the vote. I’m not sure how to go about doing that, but we’ve got almost four years to plan.

While we’re on the subject of the election, I came across a link to an interesting little article the other day at the Ypsidixit site concerning the election of three filter-happy religious zealots to our local Ypsilanti library board. Here’s a clip from the Library Journal article. Unfortunately, it nicely illustrates a point made by Steve and Hillary Cherry in the comments section last week concerning the costs of being farsighted when it comes to politics (that’s the one where you can see things far away, but not near, right? or is that nearsighted?) While a lot us were very busy canvassing for Kerry, we lost sight of the fact that there were people right here at home who wanted to limit our access to information.

Residents of Ypsilanti, MI, who failed to convince the Ypsilanti District Library board to install filters on the library’s computers last summer, instead turned to the ballot box, electing three filter proponents to the board and ousting two incumbents. The library, which does not receive federal E-rate discounts, is not subject to the filter requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Given that one trustee already on the board supported filters, it seems like filter proponents now have a majority….

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments


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