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Steely Dan: Confessions

Words and Mood - updated 2004.05.10

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

- from September 1, 1939, by W.H. Auden


Monday, May 09, 2005


Attack of the Pinhead Clones

As the readers of this blighted little corner of cyberspace may or may not know, the self appointed majordomo of this space was raised and currently lives in the state of Ohio. These days, it certainly behooves one to keep such information on the down low, seeing as though a certain wingnut pinhead did his level best to turn my homestate into this past presidential election's version of Florida in the 2000 race.

As can be told from last year's result, the state has very much of a split personality politically. Recently, one of the state's GOP senators, George Voinovich, called a sudden halt to the John Bolton confirmation hearings despite White House pressure to just ram him through and get him confirmed at warp factor ten... you know, before any unpleasant facts about the man's "diplomacy" "skills" come to light. Not that this makes Georgie a saint or anything, it was just an interesting turn in events coming from a guy elected by a state that often seems full of raging centrists (and more often than not, wingnuts who like having the sheen of Ohio's moderate rep without doing a damn thing to earn it). Over the last several years, quite a few absolutely whirling wingnuts have taken up residence in our august statehouse on primarily sheer gall and belligerance. Another big downside to the "centrism" and politeness on display here is that such types can bully their way in due to an attitude that goes something like, "Well, that fellow does seem to want into office so badly, and he might have an apoplexy if he doesn't get his way... it would probably be rude to deny him what he wants. More pie, anyone?"

The wingnuts are up to their usual crapola, and one of the symptoms of this pathology here is that yeah, you bullied your way into office here... and now, compared to your pinhead compadres in arms in other states, it's kinda boring in der kulturkampf 'round heah. I mean, yeah, there are a few corners of the state, like down in the southeast along the Ohio River, where people like going all apey about pure baloney issues like dropping huge stone tablets with the ten commandments on them on schoolhouse lawns, but while a good percentage of the population might privately get riled about such things, the vast majority of the state doesn't like to be quite so in your face about it, because well, it's just fucking rude, like demanding your next door neighbor convert to Pentecostalism right this damn instant or you're gonna beat them over the head with a cookie sheet full of buckeyes or something.

People are one thing, and wingnuts in the legislature unencumbered by the need to look the people they demonize in the eye are another entirely. Especially with genuine, but really boring issues like school funding, where money for Medicaid is going to come from, and kids from these parts getting blown apart in Iraq and getting shipped home sans pieces or in a box, our local political genuises have decided to focus on a much sexier non-issue shipped in from another state that they see their ideological compadres have fun with elsewhere. And that bullshit issue is...


Whew!!! Aren't you scared? Do you need to take a valium before we go on? Because, I don't know about you, but I've always heard that Ohio is a hotbed of ecoterrorist activity, and that they spike trees in old growth forests here with sticks of dynamite, and that they're planning on sending cans of radioactive dog food to the CEO of Iams, and...

Oh, sorry about that, I couldn't resist having a little fun of my own. I mean, it's not even funny really, it is just flat out fucking ridiculous to assert that this state has an issue with "ecoterrorism" that somehow requires our local political pinheads' attention above and beyond the actual burning issues that affect real people's lives here that require immediate attention. But instead, we get horseshit like this:

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Though arson, vandalism, assault, break-ins and other tactics by radical animal rights activists and environmentalists are already illegal, some officials want to take punishments a step further.

A national group of conservative state lawmakers has been promoting laws creating a separate offense of ecoterrorism since 2003, when California passed such a law.

You know, California... where things are more exciting, and there are demon, in-yer-face commie libberuhls to take on! And oh, where they have also had real incidents that could be labeled as "ecoterrorism" (which is a pretty politically loaded and fairly useless term to begin with, anyhow).

Similar bills have died in Texas and Arizona, and others are pending in Pennsylvania, New York and Missouri.

Note to pinheads: please see something approaching common sense in action.

Bills in Ohio would add that state to the growing number that seek harsher penalties for attacks, including those against dog food makers, farms where animals are caged, and university animal labs.

Note also: the inclusion of dog food makers. There's no homegrown reason, no local companies that the pinheads could be pandering to, is there? Naww, no way, it's just not possible.

Sponsors say the bills are needed because of fire-bombings at ski resorts and new subdivisions, break-ins to free disease-carrying laboratory animals, and threats against corporate executives and their families.

NONE of which has occurred here that I'm aware of. Then again, maybe I'm wrong... I mean, Ohio is a hotbed of skiing, isn't it?

The Humane Society of the United States opposes using violence in the name of protecting animals but considers the bills too broad, lobbyist Julie Janovsky said. The New York and Missouri proposals would outlaw videotaping without permission in private farms and labs.

And herein we reach the crux of the matter... an attempt to remove any monitoring of various industries that don't want to be scruitinized at all.

Ohio Republican Sen. Jeff Jacobson included the language on animals in a bill that would outlaw many activities considered domestic terrorism, such as donating money to groups on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

Which are already illegal. Thanks a bunch, Jeff... by the way, when do you think you can get your pinhead ass in gear to make sure my kids have decent schools to attend?

Jacobson said he would work to ensure the animal provisions apply only to felonies. His bill would add attacks on lawful animal activities such as farming, food processing and hunting to the list of offenses that could be prosecuted under state racketeering law, allowing the state to seize assets after a conviction, or sue if the suspect is acquitted.

Because god knows, people who are damn well acquitted of anything need Pinhead Jeff and his pals suing their butts off to keep us safe from non-existent crimes that have never occurred here in the first place. Please Jeffy, seek competent mental health care right away.

A 1992 federal law forbids interfering with "an animal enterprise" but enforcement is difficult, said FBI Special Agent James Turgal, who heads the agency's Ohio terrorism unit.

You know, like the FBI actually paying attention to the data they already had and preventing 9/11 was difficult. Damn, I feel safer already.

He said the state ecoterrorism bills could allow more federal terrorism prosecutions under the Patriot Act.

Because what we need is to find reasons to nail people under the Enabling Act er, Patriot Act, pardon me.

Only a small percentage of the FBI's active terrorism investigations in Ohio involve environmental activists, but they are increasing, he said.

Woo hoo! No actual cases yet, but they have investy-gations!!! God damn, maybe they'll be every bit as fruitful and useful as some previous FBI "investigations" have been. I mean, thank god for Mr. Hoover protecting us from the terrible non-violence of Martin Luther King, right?

The states take varied approaches.

Yes. As can be seen, the VAST majority have the good sense to realize what a ludicrous non-issue this is.

The proposed bill in New York — considered the toughest by the Humane Society — would ban any attempt to impede animal research or commerce, forbid financial donations to "animal or ecological terrorist organizations" and create a registry of such groups.

"I have a list!!!"

Missouri's bill bans releasing disease-causing agents in animal and research facilities and would expand a state law that bans damaging or stealing records from the facilities.

"Theft" would undoubtedly include making copies of said records.

Pennsylvania's bill, like Ohio's, creates harsher penalties for people convicted of vandalism, assault or other offenses if they involve intimidation or obstruction of legal research and commerce involving animals and natural resources. It also allows suing for damages.

Gotta protect the holy commerce at all costs, don'tcha know.

"The penalties in the past don't seem to have deterred actions of the activists," said John Ellis, executive director of the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research.

Animal rights activists have claimed more than $1.3 million in damage to pharmaceutical labs and researchers' homes in western Pennsylvania alone, he said.

Proof or rebuttal of said claims from what is pretty obviously the side that likes making "ecoterrorism" claims? I guess they'll have to get back to us on that one.

In Philadelphia, animals were stolen from an agricultural high school.

Could have been anything from "ecoterroism" to a prank by a rival school to people stealing the animals and reselling them for their dollar value. Damn, I'm petrified now.

Nathan Runkle, head of Mercy for Animals, a Columbus-based animal rights group that has videotaped conditions at egg farms, said he fears Ohio's bill would infringe on lawful, peaceful demonstrations.

That's the idea. That and to get peaceful protestors stamped with the "terrorist" label and either jailed for long stretches without trial under the Patriot Act, or monitored and harrassed for life.

At any rate, I'd like to congratulate our Brave Jeffy of the Legislature; you've managed to be every bit as "exciting" and stupid as your distracted ideological cohorts elsewhere. I'm also sure he'd like to respond but is too busy at one of the many, many resorts in the skiing paradise that is our fair state that are now safe from the ecoterrorist hordes... at least, that's what they tell my kids in school since the funding for geography classes has been cut.

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