June 24th, 2005

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Supreme Court Follies

I can't imagine that any right-thinking person supports the recent Supreme Court decision to allow confiscation of the private property for non-public ends. This decision just lends itself to so many potential abuses that it boggles the mind. I've heard a few people claim that it's good because it will allow the government to deal with blight. Who defines blight? Is blight a high-crime low-income area? Maybe. Is blight an area where maybe people don't keep the lawns so green or the yards so clean? Maybe. Is blight an area with a lot of black people? Is blight an area with a lot of non-Christians? What about a town where there's a slim Republican majority and a kind of scuzzy trailer park where many Democrats live? Is it okay to bulldoze that to make way for a Tractor Supply store?

Private property is one of the cornerstones of our society. Now I'm not as fundamentalist about it as someone like iconoclast I don't consider taxes equivalent to the holocaust, nor do I think the estate tax is particularly odious. On the other hand people's homes are sacrosanct to them. It's the place you can go to say whatever you want, think whatever you want, love whoever you want, etc... without judgment or danger. Now we're saying that isn't the case. It's bad enough that people will be displaced from their homes for the advantage of private business interests. We already a way to displace people for private interests, it was called real estate transactions or "Throw enough money at them" and it worked pretty well. But now they need another, for the cancer patient who thinks that living out his last days in the home he's been in for 50 years is worth more than any amount of money, or the young mother who wants her child to grow up with a view of the ocean. Got to get them out of the way. That's bad enough. But we all know that it won't just be about business development, the power of eminent domain is one of the most easily abusable rights. It will be used on that block with a lot of homosexuals where the townspeople would rather have a strip mall, or that area where the Jews congregate. It will be used to give political contributors cushy development deals in prime real estate spots when they don't want to spend the money to actually buy up the property, and to get rid of that guy who keeps suing the city over its sign ordinances.

At some point we, as a society, are going to have to realize that we can't leave it up to the government to make decisions about what constitutes blight or progress and continue to call ourselves free. When a man in black can take your house because he doesn't like the way you keep the porch and would rather have a Wal*Mart there, you aren't free. Not really.

There's a world of difference between confiscating part of someone's income to save the life of his neighbor and taking his house so that neighbor can have a convenient spot to buy plasma TVs nearby. If you can't see the difference I invite you to look a little harder.
  • Current Music
    Neil Diamond - Holiday Inn Blues
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Vitamins! VITAMINS!

Watching Tom Cruise on the Today Show is not something I'd do intentionally, but I flipped the TV on and there he was talking to Matt Lauer, so I rewound to the beginning of the conversation and watched. I wanted to get a feel for what Cruise is really saying and where he's coming from. What I saw surprised me a little.

Tom Cruise is a not-that-bright guy who wants to think of himself as really smart. That seems to be pretty much it. Watching him talk to Lauer about psychiatry and continually bring up that "He had done the research" and "If you look at the studies you'll see..." you could tell how important it was to him to be taken seriously. Of course he hasn't actually done the necessary research and the science he keeps bringing up is actually just L. Ron Hubbard mumbo jumbo, but it put a different spin on things for me. Tom Cruise wants to be a smart kid. He's joined this religion that claims to have all these secrets, he's taken lots of classes and read lots of books, and now he wants to share his 'knowledge' with others and the world. It's like some big identity crisis where being a huge movie star isn't enough for him. We often think of these celebrity types as happy because they have everything and are adored by millions and whatnot, but human frailty will find a way to out itself no matter what your position in the world. Demons must be fought internally, not externally. Tom Cruise is passionately advocating what he believes, not just to spread the gospel but to show that he's bright and can lead too damn it. High school dynamics in middle age...

As for the Katie Holmes thing, I don't know about that. Maybe she is just a beard, maybe he's desperate to believe he's in love, maybe maybe...ahh fuck it.

But Tom Cruise wants to be the smart kid. As an ex-smart kid that's interesting to me.

QUOTE OF THE DAY


Cheney: "We will succeed in Iraq, just like we did in Afghanistan."

SWEET! Heroin and warlord rule for EVERYONE. Now THAT'S a sexy PARTY!
  • Current Music
    Mötley Crüe - Girls, Girls, Girls
pod

Memes are stupid

There's this Meme going around my friends list right now about the five things you'd tell a 16 year old version of you. I think it's dumb. I wouldn't tell a 16 year old version of me nothing. For one thing it would change who I am in fundamental and unpredictable ways. For example lipstickboi thinks I am a compassionate person. If I hadn't gone through some of the stuff I went through I might not be able to snow her so effectively. For another thing it could be dangerous. You might kill yourself accidently. You can't take away the pain of growing up no matter what you do. Our whole lives our parents and elders are trying to impart wisdom to us and we're IGNORING THEM. It's part of life. Telling your 16 year old self stuff probably wouldn't have any effect, but if it did it probably wouldn't be the one we'd want. Take golden_lotus for example. If he got laid more in high school maybe he doesn't end up marrying the woman he did. Then his daughter isn't born. Is there any possible alternative life out there for him that would be worth giving her up? We don't think about this stuff.

The only thing I might tell my 16-year old self would be "I think that eventually no matter what you feel right now you will eventually be happy." No advice, no suggestions, just hope. Even that might be too much.

So anyway, I don't want the power to go back in time and talk to my young self. What I would like, however, would be the ability to do it for other people. Impersonate them and go back to talk to THEM when they were young. I don't want to fuck up my life, but theirs? Hell yeah. Like take that girl you had a crush on in 11th grade. Wouldn't you like to go back and tell a 16 year old her "Your greatest regret in life is going to be not routinely blowing Ben when you had the chance. This will haunt you for the rest of your days and you will die shedding tears over it." Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but there are others that you know YOU want to do.

Billy Graham:

"When you die and go to heaven you're going to find out that Jesus hates you. He fucking HATES you man. Hates YOU. Why? Because you're a douche, Billy. You're a douche bag. You go around blasting the gays and the Jews in Jesus' name, and he can't stand that shit. You know what? Jesus was gay. You find that out when you go to the pearly gates, see him making out with Peter, and then get sent down to hell. So think about that Billy. Pray on that motherfucker."

Carrot Top:

"Consider a career in lion taming. I really think we'd be happier if you went that way. We'd all be happier."

Jennifer Connelly:

"Don't lose the weight."

George Lucas:

"At some point in your life you will think up a character named Jar Jar Binks. At this point I want you to ball up your hand into a fist, hold it far from your head, and slam it into your jaw until you no longer have any desire to put that character into a Star Wars movie. Trust me, you'll thank me later."

George Bush:

"Never stop drinking. There may come a time when you want to, but don't. NEVER STOP DRINKING. Worse choice you could make. NEVER STOP DRINKING."
  • Current Music
    Alejandro Escovedo - Hard Road
Dance For Mazzie

Controversy

There is a group of people in the world who I simply cannot stand. These people expect special treatment, sympathy, and financial assistance from the rest of us. They want us to wear special ribbons and bracelets to help them solve a problem that they are to blame for having in the first place. I am talking, of course, about cancer patients.

I do not think it would be inappropriate to say that cancer patients are a cancer in our society. They walk around like they own the place, with their smug little bald heads and their special parking privileges. You want me to feel sorry for you because you are sick? Sorry, but it is you who sickens me. If you didn't want to have cancer then why did you get it in the first place? And now you want me to buy one of your bracelets? I don't want a bracelet, cancer boy, I want to be able to read a newspaper without reading about your melanoma. Oh there was a new cancer drug invented recently that offers hope to those living with the disease? I could not care less. More information on the fallout from the Michael Jackson trial and less about cancer please.

Now I know what you're going to say, and I've heard it before. "Cancer patients are innocent victims. They did nothing to contract the disease and they only want to be cured and live a normal life." First of all, that is bullshit, and moreover, that is bullshit. Every cancer patient out there has engaged in some sort of behavior that put them at risk for cancer, and they did so willingly. Let's take smokers. Smokers smoke. Smoking causes cancer. Is it hard to link their choices and their cancer-patient status? No. I think it is safe to say we can all agree that smokers have it coming. What about other cancer patients, like those who suffer from skin cancer? Well sun is known to cause skin cancer, and they have all been willingly exposed to the sun. Perhaps you didn't think that that trip to the beach would lead to cancer, but it did. Deal with it. You are not a victim you are merely reaping what you sow.

"But wait, Ben," you might say, because you are a jackass. "What about children with leukemia or other forms of cancer? You can't possibly blame them for contracting it can you?" My response to you is "No. I could not possibly NOT blame them." The fact is that we live in a world where we know of many things that cause cancer. Bread causes cancer. Too much sunlight, not enough sunlight, pollution in the air, pollution in the food we eat, artificial sweeteners, sugar, and love are all known causes of cancer. If you can't keep away from those things then you deserve your fate. So-called Leukemia victims were all breathers, breathers to a man. Maybe if they hadn't breathed so much they wouldn't have gotten sick and they wouldn't be whining about it. Most of them ate bread and loved their mothers. If you eat bread and love your mother there is only one predictable outcome, and that is cancer. Those of us who avoided such shenanigans are healthy, you are not, you are dying of cancer. Maybe that'll make you think twice about having another sandwich or giving mom a hug in the next life.

The cancer patients want us to feel sorry for them but it is they who should feel sorry for us. While they are living the cushy cancer patient life in the finest of hospitals we are footing the bill for expensive research and treatment options to give to them. This is the greatest boondoggle in government history but nobody wants to talk about it. They just want to feel sorry for the cancer patients. Here is my opinion on the matter. I chose not to get cancer, you chose, through your actions, to get cancer. Why should money be taken out of my paycheck or stock profits to pay for your treatment? I need that money. I have better uses for it. Cancer treatment costs the average American over one dollar in tax revenue every year. That is a dollar I could spend on delicious gum, but instead the federal government steals it from me and spends it on cancer. Can we really tolerate the taking of our gum money for cancer patients and continue to call ourselves a free society?

No, we cannot.

In this world everyone deserves exactly what he gets. There is no such thing as a bad break, there is only action and consequence. Cancer patients want to break this simple chain of cause and effect and claim that they were unlucky. They were not unlucky, they were immoral and now they are bald. Bald as a cue ball. It is my hope that some day we will recognize cancer patients for the selfish self-involved drains on society that they are. If there were a ribbon devoted to showing that, that would be a ribbon I would wear. Until then all I can say is stay out of my way if you know what's good for you, baldie. I have gum to buy.
  • Current Music
    Violent Femmes - Blister in the Sun