Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Poverty and Violence - Martin Luther King 

"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today - my own government...I¹m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values... When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered..."

Martin Luther King, Jr. April 30,1967

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Bush Campaign 

Dubya and the Campaign

While vacationing on his ranch one August day, George "Dubya" Bush gets thrown from his horse, lands on a rattlesnake, gets bit and dies. So his soul arrives in heaven and he is met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a Republican around these parts, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in; I'm a believer." says Dubya.

"I'd like to just let you in, but I have orders from the Man Himself. He says you have to spend one day in Hell and one day in Heaven. Then you must choose where you'll live for eternity."

"But, I've already made up my mind; I want to be in Heaven."

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to an elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a lush golf course; the sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the temperature a perfect 72 degrees.

In the distance is a beautiful clubhouse. Standing in front of it is his dad...and thousands of other Republicans who had helped him out over the years.

Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Jerry Falwell .... The whole of the "Right" was there ... everyone laughing ... happy .... casually but expensively dressed. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had getting rich at the expense of the "suckers and peasants".

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and Caviar. The Devil himself comes up to Bush with a frosty drink, "Have a Margarita and relax, Dubya!"

"Uh, I can't drink no more, I took a pledge," says Junior, dejectedly.

"This is Hell, son you can drink and eat all you want and not worry, and it just gets better from there!"

Dubya takes the drink and finds himself liking the Devil, who he thinks is a really very friendly guy who tells funny jokes and pulls hilarious nasty pranks -- kind of like a Yale Skull and Bones brother with real horns. They are having such a great time that, before he realizes it, it's time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves as Bush steps on the elevator and heads upward.

When the elevator door reopens, he is in Heaven again and St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit Heaven," the old man says, opening the gate.

So for 24 hours Bush is made to hang out with a bunch of honest, good-natured people who enjoy each other's company, talk about thingsother than money, and treat each other decently. Not a nasty prank or frat boy joke among them; no fancy country clubs and, while the food tastes great, it's not caviar or lobster. And these people are all poor, he doesn't see anybody he knows, and he isn't even treated like someone special!

Worst of all to Dubya, Jesus turns out to be some kind of Jewish hippie with his endless 'peace' and 'do unto others' jive.

"Whoa," he says uncomfortably to himself, "Pat Robertson never prepared me for this!"

The day done, St. Peter returns and says, "Well, then, you've spent a day in Hell and a day in Heaven. Now choose where you want to live for eternity." With the 'Jeopardy' theme playing softly in the background, Dubya reflects for a minute, then answers "Well, I would never have thought I'd say this -- I mean, Heaven has been delightful and all -- but I really think I belong in Hell with my friends."

So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down, all the way to Hell.

The doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren scorched earth covered with garbage and toxic industrial waste ... kind of like Houston. He is horrified to see all of his friends, dressed in rags and chained together, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. They are groaning and moaning in pain, faces and hands black with grime.

The Devil comes over to Dubya and puts an arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers a shocked Dubya, "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a clubhouse and we ate lobster and caviar... drank booze. We screwed around and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and everybody looks miserable!"

The Devil looks at him, smiles slyly, and purrs, "Yesterday we were campaigning; today you voted for us."

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"Make the Pie Higher" 

Claim: "Make the Pie Higher!" poem is composed of actual
quotes from George W. Bush.

Status: True.

by George W. Bush

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the Internet become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope, where our wings
take dream.

Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher! Make the pie higher!

We certainly didn't need to write a piece to inform the
world that, like his father, President George W. Bush is
not a strong public speaker. Particularly when speaking
extemporaneously, he often uses words similar in sound
but different in meaning to what he intends to say
(e.g., "vulcanize" for "Balkanize") or uses incorrect
forms of words (e.g., "resignate" for "resonate"),
garbles familiar phrases by transposing words (e.g.,
"where wings take dream"), and makes a variety of
grammatical mistakes (e.g., "how many hands have I
shaked"). The point here was not to rehash the numerous
lists of "Bushisms" to be found in a variety of media,
but to perform a sort of investigative experiment into
the accuracy of information transmission in the Internet

A common phenomenon in the world of the printed word is
that once a public figure -- whether he be an athlete
such a Yogi Berra, an entertainment figure such as
Samuel Goldwyn, or a politician such as Dan Quayle --
acquires a reputation for spouting malapropisms, people
quickly begin to put words into his mouth. All sorts of
humorous misuses of words and phrases that sound like
something that person might have said are soon
attributed to him as something he "really said";
newspapers run the erroneous quotes without verification
and are later cited as documented proof of their
veracity, thereby enshrining apocrypha as fact. Only
when someone undertakes the chore of trying to track the
quotes back to their sources are the misattributions
discovered, usually far too late to dislodge them from
the public consciousness.

So, we thought we'd tackle a project to see whether the
increased availability of information in the Internet
age has had any effect on this phenomenon; whether
quotes are less likely to be misattributed when nearly
every utterance of a public figure as prominent as a
presidential candidate is recorded and stored in one
form or another. As a test example, we chose the "Make
the Pie Higher!" piece reproduced above (generally
credited to "Washington Post writer Richard Thompson," a
satirist and illustrator who produces the "Richard's
Poor Almanac" feature appearing in the the Post's Sunday
edition) and attempted to trace every statement listed
therein to its source to determine how many of them were
actually uttered by George W. Bush. Our standard was
that in order to consider a statement to be a genuine
"Bushism" we had to find at least one major newspaper
article that quoted the actual words spoken (rather than
paraphrasing them), included specific information about
when and where the statement was made, and was printed
within a few days of the event at which the statement
was offered.

In this statistically insignificant non-random sample of
one, we found that yes, the accuracy of quote
transmission was remarkably high: All but a couple of
the items in this piece could be reliably traced back to
the mouth of George W. Bush.

[For a detailed authentication of each line of 'Make the
pie higher', see

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