Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So what was Diebold, chopped liver?

So George W. Bush supposedly said that Osama bin Laden helped him win the 2004 election:

The al Qaeda leader had issued a taped diatribe against Bush the Friday before Americans went to the polls. [...] "I thought it was going to help," Bush said.

"I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn't want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush."

Fair enough. Though if I recall correctly, al-Qaida actually endorsed Bush for president:

At least one well-known group does not endorse Kerry. They worry about his ability to conduct the war on terror: “Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps…Because of this we desire [Bush] to be elected…who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom.” Considering al-Qaida’s current clout in the world, I’d take those words to heart.

Sure, one could interpret al-Qaida's words as reverse psychology; but what part of that statement is untrue? Bush does deal with matters by force, and Kerry had a smart (if drastically under-reported) anti-terrorism plan. So let's assume that those words were sincere. What, then, gives Bush license to assume that bin Laden supported Kerry?

Obviously, it's because bin Laden is the bad guy and Bush is the good guy. And thus, anything bin Laden says has absolutely no merit. So if he says that Bush has flaws and Kerry is the man, then the opposite is clearly true. Case closed. Couldn't be simpler!

This dismissive thinking runs deep; if bin Laden told Bush not to jump off a cliff, Bush would probably strut around the edge of the Grand Canyon chirping, "So you think I'm a wimp, do ya? Well, watch THIIIIIISSSSSSSSsssssss....."

Except that al-Qaida supported Bush. So not only is that machismo stupid, it doesn't even make sense. However, Bush is right that bin Laden helped him win the 2004 election. Because like their leader, much of the public apparently believes that only the good guy ever makes a valid point.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Throwing Amuses

Today is Mardi Gras, the time of year in south Louisiana where people sit around and get drunk on the streets. Usually, such a day is known as "Friday"; however, Mardi Gras is different because it's on Tuesday and it involves parades.

As I write this on the stroke of Tuesday morning, I haven't yet been to any of the several parades Lafayette has had over the past week. My only contact with the festivities so far has been a Molly Ringwalds concert at the Mardi Gras fair, which has left me with a tinnitus-afflicted left ear even two days later. Right now, the Alan Parsons Project's "Eye In the Sky" has a hauntingly angelic chord that I'd never heard before, but only out of the left speaker. Ah, the wonders of stereo.

Mardi Gras is actually one of my favorite times of year, which isn't saying much given my general dislike for most holidays. It's ironic, because I can barely remember anything I did for the last two celebrations--not for good reasons, either, but because they were that lame.

Lafayette has a decent-sized shindig for a city of its size, and in fact I believe it's the second-largest in the state behind New Orleans (or maybe the top three). Because of Katrina, we had an extra weekend of parades to accommodate the larger crowds. I still lament missing John Schneider last weekend; Bo Duke at a parade is perfection at its finest. Naturally, this year's N.O. presence was met with the same fear that punctuated the initial refugee wave in August ("Crime's going to escalate! My friend's cousin's ex-girlfriend was carjacked at Wal-Mart!"). Never mind that these people have been with us pretty much the whole time, and there hasn't been a substantial increase in crime.

My prediction is that crime will escalate this year. But considering that fewer than 10 arrests are made each year on Mardi Gras in Lafayette (I think last year it was one), that isn't saying much. I hope the public will approach that statistic with a sense of perspective.

If anything interesting happens in my presence today, you'll be the fourth or fifth to know about it. That's my promise to you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Even overkill calls this overkill

UL NAACP chapter: revoke Vermilion funding

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Student Government Association, at its Feb.13 meeting, did not act on a request to pull funding away from The Vermilion because of the Jan. 18 conservative column about Martin Luther King Jr.

Darren Triplett, president of the UL Lafayette chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), expressed concern over the column written by John Hinson in a special report brought before the Senate.

He argued that students, who pay $2 per semester, totaling about $64,000 per year to support the paper, should not be forced to pay that fee if the paper is running material that is offensive to a large number of students.

No, no, no, no, no, NO!!

I agree that Hinson's MLK column was one of the worst The Vermilion has ever published (and yes, I'm counting all 99 of mine). And I agree that a college newspaper should not be a mouthpiece for racist views. But recommending that students no longer fund the paper because of one controversial column is ridiculous! It's pointless crusades like this that cheapen the good work of the NAACP and gives its opposition fodder for criticism.

I served as Hinson's diametric counterpart for a year and a half. He has a lot of issues, not the least of which are his racism, his subpar writing style and his use of questionable sources. While I would debate his suitability to write the column, I would never suggest that he be censored for his views or demand that the newspaper shut down because of it.

He also said the NAACP, along with other supporters, would be compiling a packet containing the article, past articles from Hinson, and similar quotes from white supremacist groups.

I hope they stop by here, because I've already done their homework.

“We also will be drafting a letter to go to the local businesses about them pulling funding away from the paper, at least in their advertisements, temporarily, as well as other student organizations,” Triplett said.

However misguided it might be to recommend withholding student funding for the newspaper, it's an even worse move to discourage other avenues of sponsorship. Such a move, at least in this case, is overkill of the worst kind. This goes beyond burning down the house to kill a few ants; it's strangling the homeowner as well.

“Every week I find something extremely offensive in The Vermilion, constantly,” Liberal Arts President Moriah Istre said in agreement with Triplett.

I know, I know...my bad! But I'm gone now.

Triplett suggested that students be allowed to vote on whether they wanted to support the paper. “We don’t feel our money should be used to bash us in the paper or to make those statements,” Triplett said.

I can understand how tempting it would be to allow students to vote on how their individual money is spent. But that isn't how the real world works. The fact is, students will do anything to lower their tuition. Ninety-nine percent of students would refuse to fund anything with which they weren't directly involved. But let's be real -- nothing can sustain itself that way. Did I really want to fund the Young Republicans, exclusive honor societies or any of the multitude of hyper-expensive religious organizations with my tuition? No. But I did without objection, because I knew that the people in those organizations were funding that which I cared about.

The real world is similar: my tax dollars go toward petrochemical tax breaks, bunker-buster missiles and corporate subsidies, whereas a conservative's tax dollars go toward, uh, petrochemical tax breaks, bunker-buster missiles and corporate subsidies. Okay, maybe that's not the best example...

In any event, how would a university go about stopping funding of anything that is controversial? I can't wait to see what that focus group would look like! Any word on if the list of offenses will include excessive sidewalk chalk, plasma TVs that blare only commercials, expensive mission trips or poor layout? How about misguided activism? Because that's the one thing that offends me most.

The NAACP should know as well as anyone that if you take away Hinson's rights to free speech, you also take away everyone else's.

Sunni day results in storm of violence

Iraqi militants blow up sacred shrine

BAGHDAD, Iraq (MSNBC) - Assailants wearing uniforms detonated two bombs inside one of Iraq’s most revered Shiite shrines Wednesday, blowing the top off its landmark golden dome and spawning mass protests and reprisal attacks against dozens of Sunni mosques as leaders pleaded for calm. [...]

Despite calls for calm from Shiite leaders, militants attacked Sunni mosques, including a shrine containing the tomb of Talha bin Obeid-Allah, a companion of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, in the southern city of Basra. The extent of the damage was not immediately clear.

Things must be really, really bad in Iraq if it's at this point. We talk about two Americas, but Iraq has got us beat in that department. Sunnis versus Shiites? Makes Democrats versus Republicans look like a friendly card game. And the Civil War look like preseason.

Think of a parallel situation in the United States: How bad would things have to get for Democrats to blow up St. Patrick's Cathedral? I know, it's in New York City and the church is not exactly representative of the religious right; but hey, does that make any less sense than the real situation in Iraq?

All I know is that, as much as I get angry at the fundamentalist faction trying to rewrite U.S. law, I would never even consider reacting that way. It takes a collective mind far sicker than any of us probably know to inflame tensions so severely. And it doesn't look to change any more now than it has for the past 3,000 years. Sad.

Yet another solid argument for separation of church and state.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Monday morning musing

The word on the Net is that blogs are past their peak.


All that means is that blogs are no longer the trendy novelty of the week. And I can definitely, definitely live with that. After all, I see myself as someone who never does anything strictly for the hype. I played Atari in 1991. I was into eighties music in the early 1990s, and have the schoolyard scars to prove it. Hell, I didn't even have a full-fledged home computer until 2000, or a cell phone until late 2004! I may never own an iPod. It's pretty safe to assume that once I have something, everyone has it.

And I like it that way. Why? Because anyone can follow the crowd. It does not take a lot of brains to latch onto the Next Big Thing and then drop it as soon as it loses its luster. I don't see how Google's server isn't yet dead of bowel blockage from all the blogs that contain one lonely entry:

Let's get this party started!

Well, this seems as good a time as any to start this up. I've never blogged before, but it seems pretty cool. People have always told me I have a knack for offering unique insight, and this seems like the perfect medium for expressing what I've held within for so long. I hope to make this blog into a conduit of major information, debate and fun! Watch out for regular updates, and join the party! Talk to you again soon.

Posted by THE BILLY BLOG REPORT on July 5, 2003 (0) comments

That's not me, because I didn't give a rat's ass about blogging as a trend. I want to be the last person still blogging. It takes courage--and persistence--to be that uncool.

Even so, I don't think blogging is really on the verge of extinction. The biggest flaw in this reasoning is that most people don't blog for profit in the first place. I could be wrong about this; maybe megroxors1987 of "My Random Blog Ramblings" fame really did buy that new Mustang with her own money instead of her trust fund. But on my end, I've never earned a dime from blogging; my capital from this blog have been really good friends, strong debate and a renewed sense of purpose. As long as that can be found online, blogging isn't going to go away. Indeed, as every last outlet of expression in this country becomes fee-based and over-commercialized, online expression is one of the few pure things we have left.

Another concern is that the bloggers who bring the most to the medium will be co-opted by the mainstream media. Yeah, as if any aspiring comic at Second City or The Groundlings is thinking, "Damn, I hope Saturday Night Live doesn't offer me a job!" Compromising your ideals is one thing; being hired for your talent is another. Co-opt me, please!

So if any of you are concerned about blogs being "over," then do what you can to prevent that downward trend.

Keep on blogging.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Retirement at 85? In years?

Convenient for nursing-home workers, perhaps...

Wedded bliss is ignorance?

A single guy and a high-school student debate marriage

Continuing Easy-Target Week here at Not Right, today I critique a conservative column from a local high-school newspaper. Normally I leave these alone, because teenage writers tend to resort to extremely flawed arguments and somewhat unformed prose. Hell, even adult writers are prone to this from time to time. But because this particular conservative column holds up surprisingly well as a piece of writing, I deem it worthy of a rebuttal. The untitled column is written by one S.L. Benedict Oliver, an old-school writer's name if ever I've seen one.

In most cases, the Christian-liberal argument for homosexual marriage begins with discrediting the Bible (Leviticus 18:22 to be specific). Leviticus says "do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman." This is one of the more straight-forward messages of the Bible. They might say that the Old Testament is antiquated because it also sanctions children into slavery (Exodus 21:7) and the execution of those who work on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2).

Which is a good point, really. One of the only ones I fear we're going to see.

Once they're done mocking their own religion, they might then make a Socrates-esque argument like this: God says love all people. Men and women are people. Men should get married. That is the best justification I could put together; now watch as it falls apart.

As poorly constructed straw men often do...

As long as we argue the Christian side of the case, it must be pointed out that the Bible makes no claim that love between two men or women is wrong; it simply states that the act of sodomy is an offense. The affection of someone for another should under no circumstances be mistaken with the 'romantic' attraction between two people. The whole sodomy thing is what gets God throwing plagues around.

So you see, the Bible allows gays to love each other as long as they don't ever have sex or kiss or hug or touch or anything. Why, that's not oppressive at all! Incidentally, I apologize if anyone had God's hand recently pour locusts on their crops; I man-hugged an old track buddy the other day. My bad.

Marriage is there so two people can procreate without being hedonistic freaks.

Which is such a wonderful definition of romance. On the other hand, I know plenty of married people who say their sex lives lack hedonistic freakdom, so this is probably true.

Going back to Socrates and his method, marriage is for procreation. Same sex couples can't procreate. So, do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman.

Unless you happen to be a woman, in which case it's perfectly fine to lie with a man. But you damn well better procreate every time you do it, otherwise you'll wind up in Hell right next to Nicole Kidman!

So, what do the rules of one religion have to do with the laws of a nation so adamant about separation of church and state? Leaving out all of that man and woman business, the legal requirements for marriage in a nutshell are this: "The consent of the parties...followed by consummation...amounts to a valid marriage" (Lectric Law Library) The key word here is 'consummation.' The nearest thing to consummation in a homosexual marriage would require a lot of sodomy.

Yes, and I don't doubt that people like you and Fred Phelps never pass up an opportunity to obsess over the sexual practices you claim to hate so much. Listen, who really cares what couples do in the bedroom? I don't, and I would hope that no one cares what I do as long as I'm not molesting children, raping someone or nailing Chicken Little. It's called discretion. Anyway, there's nothing that gay couples do that straight ones don't also partake in.

America has laws against sodomy (or did) as does the U.S. military. (2+2=4) Draw your own conclusions.

My conclusions: 1) maybe you ought to check out whether or not those anti-sodomy laws are still on the books. Last I checked, they were being repealed due to their unconstitutionality; 2) if the U.S. military is going to be our barometer of behavior, then we're in for a load of civilian court-martials. Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson might have to reunite for a sequel to A Few Good Men. Heh heh heh.

As anyone who has taken Biology I can tell you, man plus woman equals baby, and baby equals future.

As anyone young enough to take Biology I can tell you, boy plus girl minus education equals baby, and baby often equals limited future. No child should ever be born strictly for purposes of parental validation; if that is the reason you feel the need to get married or to procreate, then you need serious counseling. Children deserve to be wanted and feel loved.

One of those liberal-types may tell you that this procreation thing can be easily circumvented with artificial insemination (for the ladies). A conservative may say then reply that this makes no sense because it's still not consummation and the liberal is not answering the question.

Or perhaps one of those liberal-types would ignore this straw man and argue that marriage is about much, much more than mere procreation. Like the ultimate commitment of mutual love, and the legal establishment of a partnership. And let's not forget the whole hedonistic-freak thing; that's a bonus!

The opposition argues that marriage should be changed from "man and woman" to "either, or." Also, marriage should not be based on procreation but sex (yes, there is a BIG difference).

Those who support gay marriage favor a legal concept of marriage as a union between two consenting adults, whoever they might be. Because we supposedly have a secular government NOT based on the Bible, and because procreation has no legal basis as a parameter for marriage, there is no legal reason that gay marriage should not be allowed in the United States.

Finally, the natural act of having children should be altered to suit homosexual needs. Just to clarify, no man/woman plus no procreation would then equal marriage. (2+2=5) Big Brother is watching you.

Remember how I said that this editorial was well-written? I take that back.

With that out of the way, let's get down to the bare-bones. Homosexual couples want to be married in order to gain the many wonderful benefits given by the law to married people. No one can blame them; it is injustice for laws to come between two people in love.

Exactly. Which is why I chastise Republicans and Democrats alike for waffling on this issue; gay marriage is a personal and religious issue, period. Why do we continue to bow to the most puritanical elements of the right on this one? As far as I can tell, heterosexuals wreck marriage well enough on their own. What's all this talk about sanctity again? Frankly, I'm surprised Oliver made this lucid point. He must be setting us up for a major qualifier:

Now listen to these last words and listen well.

Wanna bet what kind of dad this guy's going to be once he procreates?

You can have your civil unions with all the trimmings, but stay away from marriage. You will not meddle with either the sanctity of the marriage or the dignity of the human race as living, procreating human beings.

Actually, it's exactly because of such fanatical thinking that Louisiana voted out all of its civil unions. Voters were so determined to hurt gay couples that they deprived unmarried heterosexual couples of civil benefits as well, thus saying, "We don't hate gays; we hate everybody."

So live and love and be happy, but be wary. Two people of the same sex may someday be married in the eyes of the state, but, in the eyes of nature, they will be nothing more than partners in crime. Leviticus would be pretty ticked off too.

In other words, the Old Testament Judgment Police will always be after you if they lose this round. Never mind that such thinking represents neither Christianity nor American freedom.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Fun with facebook discussions

Facebook, for those of you who don't know, is a college networking site. One of the student groups is called, "George W. Bush is the Freakin' Man." What follows are real comments from University of Louisiana group members:

City officials announced the Houston Hurricane Evacuation Plan:
Hispanics use I-10 West to San Antonio
Cajuns use I-10 East to Lafayette
Rednecks use 59 North to East Texas
Republicans fly Continental to Washington DC
Liberals and Democrats use 45 South to Galveston


Kanye West is an amazing musician. I guess he failed to realize that being on national TV means that the nation will see you. The thoughts that he portrayed on TV were unacceptable. He has millions, he takes 4 showers a day, and isn't in the flood waters where HIS PEOPLE are raping, killing, and trying to start their own form of government. The looting isn't about a black and white thing. BAN KANYE WEST! Make him pay for his actions.

When will intolerant liberals like XXXX XXXX be sane enough to make rational decisions without the help of mental health care professionals? People like him almost make me wish that the first amendment didn't exist. [...] I hope you have a miserable 4 MORE years of the Dubya! By the way, XXXX XXXX, vandalism is NOT free speech as much as you'd like to believe so. So, just let me catch you doing anything to ANYBODY'S vehicle with a Bush sticker on it. My rich, republican, suv-driving ass will run your ignorant, eye-brow pierced, punk ass over with my gas-guzzler.

Maybe if west coast liberal hippies wouldn't bitch about oil drilling in the Pacific, then our gas prices wouldn't be so high and we'd have more oil to use.

XXXX, you're a fucking moron. you probably think that having sadaam in power is a good thing, i mean he only killed millions of his own people. or better yet, we should just sit back and let another terriorist attack happen. we shouldn't go take the war to them. let's let them come fuck us up on our own land. go to hell XXXX XXXX. there must be some flower power rally for you to go to


LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING FUCK FACE, it aint my fault that we rich ppl come from the up side of the world. you poor bitches aint ever gonna get outta poverty b/c you dopnt know how. Just because we "rich" ppl are replublican doesnt mean you have to fuck up our shit. And thank God for PPL like BUSH that dont tax the rich, b/c thats what keeps the money rollin in. I"LL RUN YOU OVER WITH MY HUMVEE BITCH, IT MIGHT BE A GAS GUZZLER BUT MY RICH ASS CAN FUCKIN AFFORD IT, OH WAIT I GET IT FOR FREE ( HALLIBURTON RULZ )

It sounds like the threats are going bothways. Your the idiot who lives in a mostly conservative society and actually trying to impose/defend your beliefs on us. Move to hollywood with the 10 other liberals in this country. If you socialism so much move to a socialist society. Reminder--->this is a democracy. It's great that your passionate about your beliefs, but your wasting your breath. You sound like every other person who voted for Kerry.

Yeah man, GW is the only president who has the guts to say what he means and how is faith is put into the white house. George Bush is the only one that can turn this country around into the right direction. I will always support GW and i know that he is put in office twice for a reason.

I totally agree...but two terms does not necissarily have anything to do with being good. I mean, look at the joke who came before him.

PVT XXX here, i fell what you man i go threw that crap every day at (that is making them fill as stupid as possable for being some left-wing crackhead) school......just waiting for my number to come up and ill more then willing to send those ragheads to hell.

Well, who the fuck are you?? You should be so lucky as to have such a great man in office, someone who's not a sell-out nor an ass-kisser. The dude's got freakin balls. He does what he knows needs to be done. And I've got another thing for any of you other snotty lieberal little fucks who may be posting on a message board that's not yours. Check this out people! I drove home from Lafayette yesterday afternoon, and I got out of my truck and saw that somebody at school had keyed my truck. They keyed "FUCK BUSH" into my mother fucking hood! Boy I tell you, the snotty cocksucking faggot little liberal fuck is lucky he still has a nutsack, because God only knows what I would have done had I come out there and caught him in the act. That's the biggest load of bullshit I have ever seen. You'd figure the people who don't know any better would keep their mouths shut, but they don't. They are here in America in their own safe little bubbles where no harm can come to them. Only, what they don't realize is that people are putting their asses on the line and keeping the wolf at bay over in the middle east so that they can stay safe. I've never felt safer than when I came back to the CONUS. It was such a great feeling. But our country is only as free as we make it, or well as free as the people who are willing to make it. Meanwhile, we've got little Joey Dumbfuck at school carving shit into my hood. Well fuck him then. If he wants to get blown up or be speaking Arabic, then he can go right the hell ahead! Get the fuck out of my country if you don't like it here mother fucker, and stop wasting our damn time. I've had way too many buddies die to keep this person's ass safe to be putting up with this shit.

And, as a bonus for your attention span, here are some select comments from the equally humble group, "Republicans are Better Looking than Democrats":

I just got back from Oregon and man... SO MANY KERRY FANS!!! I only saw a few non-butch, make up wearing, great bodied people.. and they all said.. 1. They are from the South and 2. They are Republicans.. I only saw one hot Democrat.. and that was my best friend from Elementary School.. so she can pass.. but she IS from the south.. :) So SOUTHERN REPUBLICANS are WAY HOTTER than ANY DEMOCRAT.. period.

At the inauguration parade this year it was easy to tell apart the protesting democrats from the republicans. Seriously, the protestors were all wearing rags and looking like they hadnt showered in months. However, the republicans all looked very nice and clean and civilized. We aren't making this up just b/c we're republicans, we REALLY do look better!!

My Great Grandma is a republican... but I actually heard her describe Al Gore as, "an attractive young man. That is a handsome man," she says. What the geratol was she thinking!?

as my friend chris says, if you dont care about presidents, atleast vote for who has better looking daughters. god, kerry's daughters look like horses.

Is it any wonder why it's so hard to write satire these days?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Putting the "bull" in "bulletin"

--Vice President Dick Cheney shot an elderly Texas lawyer Saturday while hunting for some food. And up from the ground come a bubblin' crude.

--Henry Whittington, the 78-year-old victim of Cheney's accident, suffered a heart attack Tuesday after a fragment of the ammunition traveled to his heart. Under the new Medicare guidelines, this qualifies as an iron supplement.

--Cheney has come under fire for refusing to address the incident. Republicans are concerned that the shooting will tarnish Cheney's otherwise sterling reputation. Among the worries: that the delay in reporting the event smacks of a cover-up; that his lacking a $7 hunting permit displays contempt for the law; and that the administration will gain an unfair reputation for shooting at the wrong targets.

--Saddam Hussein announced Tuesday that he and three former Iraqi officials are on a hunger strike to protest the judge assigned to their trial. That officially makes four people in the world who want a new judge in that trial.

--In the wake of the ongoing cartoon controversy, Iran has officially renamed Danishes, "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad." In a counter-protest, A Flock of Seagulls has renamed its biggest hit, "Record of the Huge Profit Margin."

--Austria, Iran and Germany are the latest three countries to report cases of bird flu, having found deadly strains in wild swans. The White House is expected to impose strong sanctions on the new "Axis of Ugly Ducklings."

--On Tuesday, English lawmakers voted to ban smoking in all of the country's pubs and taverns. In a related story, Colin Farrell is now officially banned from himself.

--A new online quiz by the San Francisco Veterans' Affairs Medical Center is said to calculate your risk of death within the next four years. Your risk is said to be particularly high if you voted for Bush, and come anywhere near the San Francisco Veterans' Affairs Medical Center.

--Yesterday was Valentine's Day, the one day of the year where we celebrate love. We now return you to your regularly scheduled 364 days of intense hatred.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dick Cheney shot a dude!

I always said I'd quit blogging the moment that real life officially took over satire. This is it.

So, bye.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ironically, Lafayette Sports went out of business years ago

The following is a list of noteworthy people from Lafayette, Louisiana, as mentioned on this city profile. See if you can detect a pattern:

Gil Meche - 2005 Major League Baseball player (Seattle Mariners)
Lance Cormier - 2005 Major League Baseball player (Arizona Diamondbacks--I graduated from high school with him)
Anthony Clement - 2005 NFL player (Denver Broncos)
Devery Henderson - 2005 NFL player (New Orleans Saints)
Domanick Davis - 2005 NFL player (Houston Texans)
Jerry Fontenot - 2005 NFL player (Cincinnati Bengals)
Josh Reed - 2005 NFL player (Buffalo Bills)
Kevin Faulk - 2005 NFL player (New England Patriots)
Luke Lawton - 2005 NFL player (New York Jets)
Nnamdi Asomugha - 2005 NFL player (Oakland Raiders)

Of course, this list doesn't tell the whole story. It leaves out the talented pro athletes of surrounding areas such as Carencro and Breaux Bridge, as well as the talented pro athletes who trained here but were born elsewhere.

The great actors, artists and intellects of our time may visit here, but they are apparently never born in Lafayette hospitals.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Martin Luther Xing in Lafayette?

Here in Lafayette, we have a very interesting debate going on. It involves everything that defines the city: dim politicians, confusing streets and an inappropriately high degree of dispute over a superficial solution to a pressing issue. Here's the breakdown:

--There is a movement to rename one of the major highways that runs through the city after Martin Luther King Jr.

--There is an equal movement to keep the road's current name, Evangeline Thruway, because it supposedly has major historical relevance.

--The council wants to dismiss the issue offhand, because it accuses its two African-American councilmen (who represent the side of town where the road is located) of playing the race card.

--Though the two councilmen fight valiantly for their sometimes drastically underfunded districts, they do play the race card to almost comical extremes.

--Proponents for the change argue (correctly) that King was a great man and deserves an appropriate memorial in his honor, such as a major thoroughfare.

--Oh, and there is already a Martin Luther King Drive in Lafayette.

I genuinely don't know what to make of this. Both sides are really making asses of themselves: the anti-change movement by arguing that the name Evangeline is more resonant with 21st-century Americans than Martin Luther King, and the pro-change movement by ignoring the current MLK Drive and giving fodder to those who already accuse them of racial provocation.

Like most of Lafayette's road problems, the only answer to this one is go back in time (which seems easy enough, given the 19th-century mentality that pervades the area) and rename the highway instead of the other street. Short of that, here are a few free suggestions for both sides. If we work together, maybe we'll be too busy affecting positive change to wring each other's necks over differences and stereotypes:

--Rename something besides a street. We already have the Martin Luther King Center, so how about dedicating a new park? Lafayette's green space is endangered as it is. Or, name one of the new UL buildings, Martin Luther King Hall. With the current wave of civil-rights sympathy generated by John Hinson's awful anti-King column, that should be a lock. In any case, what could be a better legacy for Dr. King than to dedicate to him a place where people really can come together?

--Rename Willow Street, another huge thoroughfare that intersects with Evangeline Thruway. This idea is already being bandied about, and (if nothing else) would ease confusion among our non-French-speaking travelers who currently wonder why Willow Street suddenly becomes "Rue des Saules." Another advantage of this location is that, unlike the situation with Evangeline Thruway, Willow Street won't have its name defended by George Lucas fans who insist that the 1988 movie must be remembered for all time.

--Let's have a Rosa Parkway! With her recent passing, Rosa Parks is fresh in our memories. And not only is she underrepresented here, but naming a road after her would remind everyone that the street is where she made her most famous protest. Logistically, it would solve another as-yet-unaddressed problem: if the Thruway were named for MLK, then the current Martin Luther King Drive would have to change its name, requiring all of its residents to obtain new deeds, driver's licenses, phone books, mailing labels, change-of-address forms, etc. On top of that, the city of Lafayette isn't known for changing its database particularly quickly; chances are, emergency response and delivery businesses would have trouble, just as they currently do in other recently reconfigured parts of town. And I can imagine that most of that street's residents (who probably fought for the MLK name in the first place) would not be happy about giving it up. Naming the highway after Parks would eliminate redundancy and isn't likely to disrupt too many residents.

--Short of that, just name the highway after King, without changing the name of the current MLK Drive. Hey, Lafayette's good at duplicating street names! Just look at Camellia Boulevard, Camellia Drive and Camellia Circle. This solution, while arguably the most counterproductive listed here, is the one that would resonate the most with the Consolidated Government.

--Leave everything as is. Then the City-Parish Government can go back to its normal business of pitting Northside versus Southside on every other issue.

I agree that Civil Rights leaders deserve far more recognition than Martin Luther King Drive. But if we're searching for another way to honor our civil-rights heroes, let's at least be intelligent about it. How about, say, addressing the poverty and inequity that accompanies those roads? That isn't likely to change on its own, regardless of what the street sign says.

Monday, February 06, 2006

This just in in injustice

--Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday that George W. Bush has every right to spy on anyone without a warrant. “I hope I’m loud and clear on this point,” Gonzales said into the lamp.

--Terrorist suspect Zacarias Moussaoui was ejected from a Virginia courtroom Monday after he told prospective jurors, “I am al-Qaida.” His defense attorney then told the jury, “I am an alcoholic.”

--Denmark and its embassies have been targeted by fundamentalist Muslim groups furious over Danish cartoon renditions of the prophet Muhammad, the drawing of whom goes against the teachings of the Quran. Also not allowed by the Quran? Terrorism.

--Legislation being proposed in 14 states would ban protests at funerals. These laws are in response to increased picketing of military services by Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, known for its cry of, “God hates fags.” Offenders will face a horizontal 21-gun salute. In more ways than one.

--A well-preserved body discovered in ice in California has been identified as a Minnesota airman who disappeared during WWII. Thanks to stop-loss, he’s currently serving as armor in Iraq.

--Researchers at Dartmouth have discovered that the human brain continues to grow well into the 20s, with a particular spike between 18 and 19. Or was that the liver?

--The Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XL with a 21-10 score over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The heavily favored Steelers won their record-tying fifth Super Bowl, against a first-time contender, in front of a friendly crowd in Detroit. Yet another inspiring victory for the underdog.

--A West Virginia woman who received a credit card with a man’s picture on it discovered that they shared both a credit rating and a Social Security number. At which point she bought 300 new pairs of shoes and robbed a bank.

--Citing flu and dehydration, Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont passed out Sunday during a military funeral. What is it with Vermont politicians and collapsing?

--Michael Jackson is reportedly in talks with an Italian record label to perform on a CD of hymns written by Pope John Paul II. The album will be called, Dangerous.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Monday Morning Complaint

While perusing the expansive nothingness that is the online job hunt, I came across an entry-level position for a major pharmaceutical corporation. Among its requirements was this:

Must show demonstrated longevity by having held less than 3 jobs in the past 5 years.

Are you kidding me?!! In this day and age, are we really still gauging an employee's work ethic by how many jobs they've held? That might have made sense 20 years ago, but definitely not in the 21st century. If that isn't a sign of detachment from today's career realities, I don't know what is.

I had to hold three jobs in college just to stay solvent! And, I should mention, I held each of those jobs from anywhere between three and seven years. Along the way, I've met numerous adults who (regardless of education or number of dependents) are in the same situation. No potential employee should be punished for doing what they have to do to survive.

If anyone should prove their demonstrated longevity, it's the company! With layoffs, relocations and outsourcing being the orders of the moment, the burden should be on them to prove that I won't have to hold three jobs in the next five years.

Super Size Bowl XL

I'm pulling for Pittsburgh, because I want Seattle to win.

Predictions for the Super Bowl:

1) Scared of repeating the 2004 Janet Jackson debacle, ABC will cut away at any potentially titillating moments. These include, but aren't limited to: streakers; Heath Miller breaking away for a long ball; players getting hit; the referee bending over to pick up the coin; cheerleading routines; Janet Jackson, because she's heavy now; and, of course, any footage of women in any capacity. Similarly, Steelers coach Bill Cowher's mouth will be digitally removed for the entirety of the game.

2) In an attempt to raise badly needed funding, the FCC will rate the telecast "TV-Y."

3) Because of the new squeaky-clean policy, the game will be touch.

4) The halftime show will have a giant curtain surrounding it, with Al Michaels offering commentary from inside as to what everything looks like. He will read from a script.

5) The Rolling Stones will change their name to the Let's Rolls for this performance, because "Stone" implies some sort of drug lingo and/or fast-track lifestyle that goes against the American family ethic.

6) Osama bin Laden will streak onto the field during the second-half kickoff. Because both the cameras and the entire crowd will dutifully look away, no one will ever know it was him.

7) Somebody will awaken from a coma for the first time since 1999, wondering why so much hoopla is being made over the AFC Championship game.

8) At least one genius viewer will notice that the game seems so much faster now than they appeared on the NFL Films of old.

9) Former Seattle receiver Steve Largent (R-Oklahoma) will decry the Hail-Mary pass as "a divisive papist barrier and an affront to all that is decent and holy."

10) After the game, George W. Bush will make the traditional victory phone call, congratulating the Detroit Lions on their impressive season. Confused, the Packers will hang up on him.

For more, read this Super Bowl trivia I compiled last year.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The meme of fours

I only do memes when they offer an outlet for me to be a smartass and/or exorcise demons. Thanks, Michael!

Four jobs you've had:

1) Equipment manager: I did this for my high-school football team in the years I didn't play, and for my college track team for seven years. It's probably done more damage to my body than drugs did to Ozzy Osbourne, but the benefits outweighed it. Also, track girls are hot.

2) Bitch for a fast-food place: I did this one summer late in my college career, and hated almost every minute of it. The only time it was tolerable was when the teenage manager was on duty, which is saying something. I had a severe back problem at the time, which (combined with a perpetually slippery floor) caused me to limp and fall on my ass in front of customers. And then my manager would yell at me because her policy was that everyone keep moving, even if there was nothing to do. "Pretend to be busy!!" I severely burned my hand when a coworker handed me the wrong end of tongs that had been sitting in the boiling fryer for half an hour. Another time, I was the only one in the building (servicing six cars at two drive-thrus) while everyone else was outside smoking. I then got fussed at for holding up things. At this job, I got to see people in their most honest habitat: in a drive-thru, late at night. For example, I came to realize that soccer moms are some of the rudest and most self-centered people this planet has ever known.

3) Don't even know what to call it: I stood in front of the closed drive-thru of a bank and directed customers to the new one across the street. Eight hours a day for a month, in summer, in slacks. That left a lot of time to stand around and simmer with my thoughts, catch an uneven suntan and be approached by homeless vets, skateboarding teenagers and questionable women. I used the money to travel to California; for that reason, I consider this my favorite job ever.

4) Journalist: Oh yeah, I worked as one of those too.

Four movies you'd like to see over and over:

1) My first optioned screenplay
2) My first supporting role
3) My first star vehicle
4) Saved!

Four places you've lived:

1) Downtown Lafayette, LA (1980-91)
2) Downtown Lafayette, LA (different bedroom, 1991-99)
3) Southside Lafayette, LA (1999-)
4) In my head (1980-)

Four TV shows you like to watch:

1) Saturday Night Live
2) The Daily Show/Colbert Report Variety Hour
3) Reruns
4) (This space open for my eventual show)

Four websites I visit daily:

1) Most of my blogroll
2) Gmail
3) Facebook
4) careerbuilder.com

Four places I'd rather be:

1) SoCal
2) Chicago
3) New York City
4) Anywhere but the South

Four people to tag:

1-4) Actually, I'd like everyone to do it!

Broken news:

Superman unable to choose between truth, justice, American way

METROPOLIS--Superman announced today that he is increasingly unable to stand for "truth, justice and the American way" all at once.

"In these trying times, I want the people of the world to know that they can count on me as a paragon of stability," Superman said in a press conference at the Daily Planet. "But how can I claim to be for 'truth, justice and the American way' when those things now contradict one another?

"I mean, I could still say I'm for truth and justice. But neither truth nor justice is the American way these days. The past several years have been a long string of lies and injustices by the Bush administration, all in the name of patriotism. I just don't want anyone to get the idea that I support that."

Superman further questioned whether he could even stand for truth or justice anymore. "Between state-sanctioned torture and Sam Alito sitting on the Supreme Court, I'm not sure justice is worth being about anymore. And truth? That word's been hijacked by the religious right. Hell, I'm from Krypton, so I really have no use for what the Creationists call 'truth.' The last thing I want the world to think about me is that I'm about what passes for those ideas these days."

Superman stressed that he would continue to stand for the forces of good, even if he could no longer describe it as the American way. "It's not that I'm not for those concepts in principle," he continued, "But the spinmasters have turned the very mention of those words into an endorsement of the culture war. Screw that."

The superhero is reportedly considering such alternative mottos as, "Honesty, Accountabilty and the Global Way" and "Rightfulness, Culpability and the Ethical Manner," but also dismissed those on the grounds that they sounded even worse.

Council of Conservative Citizens hosts annual State of the Confederacy Address

CHARLESTON, S.C.--The Council of Conservative Citizens, a national white-rights group, held its annual State of the Confederacy Address Wednesday.

In his address, local C of CC president Kyle Roberts said that he hoped the confederacy would build upon its past and fight for the protection of any future it might have.

"Friends and neighbors, the Confederacy remains strong in spirit," Roberts said. "The Union might have won the war, but they've never won our hearts. And we must do all that we can to ensure our nation's survival, once we're able to get it up and running again." To that end, Roberts said he would allocate $270 toward a bold new "Rising Again" initiative.

"With this new program, I hope to increase incentives for all Confederate-Americans to take pride in their heritage. Whether you choose to express your solidarity with a Stars-and-Bars license plate, a Civil-War reenactment or a tow rope, rest assured that we will continue to stand for freedom of secession."

The SOTC speech was interrupted several times by the audience spontaneously standing up and firing hunting rifles at passing birds.

Upon completion of the speech, Roberts left the parking lot and punched back in at the tobacco refinery.

New Monkees attempt comeback with cover of "That Was Then, This is Now"

VENICE BEACH, CA--In a bid to revive their career, the New Monkees have released a comeback hit, a cover of the original Monkees' 1986 comeback hit, "That Was Then, This is Now."

"Eighties retro is huge right now, and we thought of no better way to commemorate that than to redo the song that reintroduced the old Monkees to a 1980s audience," said New Monkee Marty Ross. "Hopefully, it will work for the New Monkees as well as it did for the real Monkees."

The Monkees, a band created for its self-titled comedy show in the 1960s, experienced a massive resurgence two decades later via MTV. The original band rode this wave into a major comeback hit, "That was Then, This is Now." In 1987, The New Monkees debuted on syndicated television, with a new handpicked lineup. Though heavily promoted and awaited, the show lasted only 13 episodes, and the group folded shortly thereafter.

The New Monkees' initial unpopularity, however, doesn't faze Ross. "The original lasted only 58 episodes, which didn't hold up well over time," he said. "Not to mention that the group's musical heyday was short and truncated. No one thought they'd ever reunite, but they did to huge acclaim. So why shouldn't we? That was then, this is now."

Like their predecessors, the New Monkees reunite minus one member. Drummer Dino Kovas was unavailable due to his ongoing effort to make a sequel to 1989's Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, for which he served as property assistant.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Filtering the State of the Union Address

Back when I was a famous college writer for The Vermilion, I spoofed Dubya speeches several times: his 2003 SOTU Address, his first speech on the Iraq War, his second major Iraq speech, and (just for kicks) the infamous Bush tapes. This year I resurrect that tradition with a twist: I have taken the transcript of the actual 2006 State of the Union Address and condensed it to reflect Dubya's true intentions. Not one word has been added. Enjoy!

Thank you, members of the Supreme Court:

Today our nation lost its founding ideals and a noble dream. Tonight, we are glad Coretta Scott King was taken. (Applause.)

Every time I'm mindful of history, we have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning. America has been served--and it has been my honor.

A system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches cannot be allowed. To confront the great issues before us, I will harden into anger. (Applause.)

In this decisive year, I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. Our leadership will retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. The road of isolationism and protectionism is broad and inviting, the only way to protect our people, and the only way to secure the peace. So the United States of America will continue to control. (Applause.)

Abroad, our nation is committed to tyranny. Some dismiss that goal as originating in a failed and oppressive state 7,000 miles away. We will shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and bring weapons of mass destruction. Far from being a hopeless dream, 1945 is our time. (Applause.)

Today, there are 122 lonely women lining up, from Lebanon to Egypt, to rage and fight against men and mark their liberty with purple ink. They seek to impose perversion. (Applause.)

No one can deny the success of radical Islam and terrorists like bin Laden. When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists break our will.

All of us must take their ideology of terror, death and mass murder and seize power in Iraq, and use it as a heartless system of totalitarian control to launch attacks against the world. We have chosen the weapon of fear, and we will fight to keep it. (Applause.)

By allowing radical evil to work our will, the United States will leave no peace. We cannot find these vicious attackers. We no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. There is no peace in the world. (Applause.)

America rejects comfort. We are the nation that liberated death, helped raise up an evil empire. Once again, we deliver the oppressed and move this world toward terror networks. We remain offensive. We have killed. We're helping Iraqis build old resentments, corruption and the insurgency. We're continuing to fight reconstruction efforts and the Iraqi government. And we're striking all Iraqis while we train allies that are increasingly capable of defeating Iraqi forces. The cause of freedom will be marginalized. (Applause.)

Our work in Iraq is difficult because we are in this fight to win, and we are brutal. In less than three years, the nation has gone from dictatorship to defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Our men and women in uniform are making duty. (Applause.)

Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people.

America will continue to take the offensive by encouraging disease in hopeless lands, isolationism, enemies, HIV-AIDS, malaria, genocide, slavery, poverty, corruption, despair, terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, and the drug trade. For people everywhere, the United States is a partner for the suffering and chaos of our world. I urge members of Congress to dull the conscience of our country. (Applause.)

They also deserve drug trafficking and organized crime--so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act. It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, I placed telephone calls to al Qaeda operatives overseas. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed.

American leadership is dangerous and anxious. Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy--the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom. (Applause.)

In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs in Japan, the European Union, China and India. And tonight I ask for yours. (Applause.)

The American economy is complacent, a stagnant and second-rate economy. This creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed people's fears, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. (Applause.)

In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the hands of my presidency. This year my budget will cut, reduce or eliminate more than 78 million baby boomers, including two of my Dad's favorite people -- me and President Clinton. (Laughter.)

We will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. (Laughter.)

Every year we fail, the situation gets worse. America is addicted to oil. The best way to break this addiction is to push for more dependence on Middle Eastern oil. (Applause.)

We must continue to ensure that America will lead the world in violent crime rates, abortions, and the number of children born to teenage mothers. Government has played a role. Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about our courts that try to redefine children in our society.

America is in decline. Our culture is doomed to unravel. The Supreme Court now has two new members on its bench: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I will continue to nominate men and women who cut ethical corners, recognize the most egregious abuses, discard, devalue or put up the public trust for sale. (Applause.)

Let us also show the character of America in our children who lack direction and love. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country. The answer is disaster, like HIV-AIDS, among African Americans. I ask Congress to end AIDS medicines in America. We will also lead a nationwide effort to come closer to the day when there are no African Americans in America. (Applause.)

Citizens, we've been leadership in a period of great ideological conflict we did nothing to finish well. God. (Applause.)