Friday, March 9, 2007

Comp. Ed.: “Welcome Back, Culver”

Dean Wormer: "God I hate high school drop outs."

Inspired by the likes of Dean Wormer, the Iowa House Education Committee has decided to amp up the vice grips on high school drop outs by proposing a nonbinding bill that would make it illegal to drop out of high school before turning 18 (HF 6). Currently, Iowa students must stay in school up until they turn 16 – or else! Or else…you know what…! The bill is nonbinding, because the bill does not contain a penalty for dropping out -- other than the implicit penalty of having to face a treacherous lifetime of paying LESS in taxes than a high school graduate. I’m sure this will make a great selling point to aspiring drop outs:

High School Guidance Counselor: If you decide to drop out, not only will your life be a living hell, but you also won’t get the opportunity to pay more taxes. Now think about it. Is this the kind of life you want to live? Huh, is it?

But the bill is not altogether about what’s best for the students, especially if you were to ask Legislative Services Agency analyst Dwayne Ferguson: “A high school graduate will pay an estimated $8,600 more in taxes than a high school dropout over a 45-year work life…”

The big question is who’s going to teach the would-be dropouts? Answer: If Governor Culver signs this bill into legislation, it’s only fitting that he should teach these kids. After all, he'll be the first to tell you that he's the only sitting Governor who has been inside the classroom during the last twenty years.

"Welcome Back (Mr. Culver)" by John Sebastian

Welcome back, Your dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome back, To that same old place that you laughed about.

Well the names have all changed since you hung around,

But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)

Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've got him on the spot, welcome back,

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back...

1st Compulsory Class of ’11: Freddie “Boom Boom" Washington (left row), Arnold Horshack (front row), Vincent “Vinnie” Barbarino (back row), Juan Epstein (right row)

First Day of School at West Buchanan High School: Civics 101

(Students strut into class as their teacher, Mr. Culver, finishes writing “Civics 101” on the chalkboard.)

Mr. Culver: Welcome, class. Welcome back to school. I would like to start off by letting you know that while you’re in here, there is no such thing as a stupid question. So, do any of you have any questions?

Horshack: (arm shoots up with dramatic flair) Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh, Mr. Culver?!!!

Mr Culver: Yes Arnold?

Horshack: (lowers hand and ponders as if lost in thought) Ummm….

Mr. Culver: What is it Arnold?

Horshack: I don’t know.

Washington: (shows off slick smile) Mr. Cul-ver

Mr. Culver: Yes Boom-Boom?

Washington: How come we gotta be here?

Mr. Culver: Good question, Mr. Washington. (Turns to write on board while rest of classmates high five him for his “good question.” Mr. Culver writes “C-O-M-P-U-L-S-O-R-Y E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N” across the chalkboard.) Can anyone tell me what compulsory education means?

Horshack: (Hand defiantly raised) Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

Mr. Culver: (reluctantly) Yes Arnold?

Horshack: (pauses) I don’t know.

Washington: Is that when we gotta go to school, ‘cuz the Man says we gotta go?

Mr. Culver: That’s one way of looking at it, Boom Boom, but—

Washington: --But I thought you was the MAN, Mr. Culver?

Mr. Culver: Well yes, I am the MAN, Washington, but it’s the law that –

Epstein: Mr. Culver, I got a note for you. It’s from my mother. (He walks up to Mr. Culver and hands him the note.)

Mr. Culver: (reads note aloud) Please excuse Juan from school this year. He has a rare disease that only gets worse when he’s in school. Signed: Epstein’s Mother. Rare disease? Do you mean, Senioritis, Juan?

Epstein: Yeah, that’s it. That’s just what the doctor said, Senioritis. So if you don’t mind, I’ll be heading out to go get my medicine –

Mr. Culver: Epstein, you have to earn enough credits to become a senior before you can actually get Senioritis. (Other students collectively Oooooo…as Epstein takes his seat.)

Barbarino: (completely perplexed) I’m so confused…!

Mr. Culver: Hey, Barbarino?

Barbarino: What?

Mr. Culver: Can you tell us what “compulsory” means?

Barbarino: (feigning ignorance) What?

Mr. Culver: Compulsory? What does it mean?

Barbarino: When?

Mr. Culver: Not when, but what?

Barbarino: Where?

Mr. Culver: Well I think we’ve learned enough for today. Tomorrow we’ll pick up with the latter half of the equation: “education.”

(Bell rings as students strut out of the classroom with a new sense of purpose.)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Iowa Legislature 82nd General Assembly Declaration of Human Rights

In Iowa, the Legislators first came for the school-yard bully, and I did not speak up, because I was not a bully.

Then they came for the paroled sex offenders, keeping them exiled to seedy motels 2000 feet from all tangible temptation, and I did not speak up, because I was not a sex offender.

Then they came for people who dismember human corpses with the intent of concealing a crime, and I did not speak up, because I am not one who indulges in criminal acts with human corpses.

Then they came for 16- and 17-year-old high school drop outs, and I did not speak, because I am not a 16 or 17 year-old drop out.

Then they came for the smokers, banning them from public buildings, and I did not speak up, because I am a not a smoker.

Then they came for beer keg binge drinkers, adding bureaucratic hoops to the purchase of beer kegs, and I did not speak up, because I am not a binge drinking beer keg buyer.

Then they came for hunters, who hunt live animals with an Internet hookup, and I did not speak up, because I am not a virtual hunter of live animals.

Then they came for me, a lowly satirist who cannot afford to pay my family's monthly health insurance premium, and by that time, there was nothing left to write about.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

“The Blue Scare”: Edwards Names Names

Voters Beware: The ripple effect of “The Blue Scare” has begun in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls are naming names. First Vilsack named names, and now that’s he’s dropped out of the race, John Edwards is naming the names of those previously named by Vilsack. Naming names is catching on and the Blue Menace is lurking behind every political corner in Iowa (or five if you buy into Jim Nussle’s conspiratorial fifth corner theory), waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting Democrat caucus goers.

Granted, like most of the congressional Iraq resolutions, these loyalty oaths are nonbinding and don’t really mean anything beyond political posturing. Once you step behind the curtain, the only binding loyalty is to yourself. Nonetheless, before you sign anything and commit your support to a presidential candidate, keep in mind that you may be “outed” in the future if your candidate decides to name names. Although, should you waver on your support and/or cross over to the dark side, you may be subpoenaed by the Iowa Democratic Party on Un-Democratic Activities:

IDPUDA: Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?

Vilsack can be accredited with starting the “The Blue Scare” when he publicly announced that he had a list of 1,159 Iowans who had committed to support him for the presidential nomination. In the wake of naming names, Vilsack also boldly predicted that he would win the Iowa presidential caucuses. But who needs lists when it’s not even about committed support and votes; it’s all about money, eh Tom? Meanwhile, as Vilsack’s former contenders scramble for his electoral leftovers, John Edwards scored some table scraps and named names, releasing a list of 100 names of Iowa Democrats who said they had been Vilsack backers.

Despite its far reaching penchant for political destruction and chaos, I’m not buying into the whole fear-based “Blue Scare” bit. I refuse to live my life in fear, excluding all the scary stuff such as Dick Cheney, a war with Iran, rodeo clowns, and Dick Cheney. Besides, Mr. Edwards isn’t the only one with a list of names. I have in my possession a list of 7,893 names of people who were committed Anybody-but-Bush Backers during the ’04 election. Since Bush cannot run in ’08, these folks have shifted their allegiances to an Anybody-but-Republican campaign, and they’ve entrusted their loyalty to yours truly. Imagine that, now I’m the Decider!

So any of you presidential hopefuls out there who actually read blogs, let alone “Political Fallout,” and want first dibs on my list, I’m listening. I’ll be waiting for your e-mail. Remember, I have 7,893 good reasons why you should contact me. And please don't get any funny ideas about threatening me with a rodeo clown; I 've written down a contingency plan for dealing with such matters.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Dangers of Yelling “Cunt!” in a Crowded Theater

The sacredness of free speech has a long history of protections under the 1st amendment, although there are exceptions to the rule when speech may threaten the immediate safety of human beings. For example, you cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater. Now let’s put this same litmus test to the yelling of other words in a crowded theater. Imagine if some fringe free-speech protectionist went into a sold out showing of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and yelled “Cunt!” Now the audience, primarily comprised of liberals may associate the word “cunt” with Ann Coulter, thus serving as a warning of her presence in the theater, causing patrons to scurry for the nearest exit so as not to be contaminated by Coulter’s forked, venomous tongue. This act can only be considered dangerous and a threat to the safety and well being of the altruistic theater patrons.

So when Ann Coulter chose to exercise her free speech by indirectly calling John Edwards a “faggot” at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, I wasn’t too surprised by the crowd’s reaction. Watch and see for yourself (Warning: Before viewing this clip, it’s recommended you take a deep breath and repeat the following line three times: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”):

At first, the audience was momentarily shocked, followed by a brief and uncomfortable silence, before the live laugh track kicked into full gear. Chalk up two points for the Annster: one for attacking a Democrat presidential contender without having to directly attack a Democrat presidential contender, and one point for unleashing a gay slur in a designated gay-bashing zone.

Now Coulter’s comment itself didn’t present an immediate danger, but had she entered the convention center unannounced and yelled, “Faggot!,” who knows what potential pandemonium could have ensued. The first lesson I learned in my high school chemistry class is that you’re never supposed to mix a bunch of homophobes with a batch of deeply closeted homosexual men and ignite the mixture by yelling “Faggot!” This could be dangerous, or worse, the combination may lead to an unnecessary war. BOOM!

When I first heard about Coulter’s slur, my immediate response was to take the liberal, or Jesus path, turn my cheek, and dismiss the comment altogether. But I couldn’t seem to keep the GOP noise machine from shaking up my insides, stirring up dormant elements of hate. But then I remembered what Atticus Finch said in “To Kill a Mockingbird” that it’s not okay to hate anyone, not even Hitler. So I turned to my favorite crutch and coping mechanism: loosely veiled satire.

Normally, I cannot stand using words like “cunt,” especially when it’s done gratuitously or out of hate. Is there any other way? My fear is that when somebody types “cunt” into Google, this post will show up, and when taken out of context the googler may misinterpret the intent of the piece, pegging me as a perpetuator of hate. My bigger fear is that my mom may stumble across the title of this post and possibly die of shock, discovering that her son would use such a derogatory word. Fortunately, my mom still thinks “cunt” begins with a “k,” a slip which may land her on Krusty Konservative’s blog.

With freedom comes responsibility, and I hope anyone who wants to protect the freedoms of speech will have enough sense to resist the impulse of yelling “Cunt!” in a crowded, liberal-filled theater. The second lesson I learned in my high school chemistry class is that you’re never supposed to mix political rhetoric with hate-inspired slurs. This could be dangerous, or worse, the combination may lead to an unnecessary war. BOOM!

P.S. I love you, Ms. Coulter. See you in rehab:)

...More Fallout:

For an insightful take on the dangers linked to the "faggot" fallout, read "When Eating Apples, Sometimes You See a Worm." (Essential Estrogen)

"WTFJ, Coulter?" (Huffington)