Thursday, July 08, 2004

Reading Is Fundamental...

and I am so glad I had the time today to read the paper thoroughly. Like the AP article that reports George Bush attacking John Edwards' "inexperience" as a first-term senator as a detriment to being Vice-President. Unless the President seems to think that a resume of failed oil businesses is sufficient enough to prepare a man for the Presidency. Seeing that he's set the country on a bullet train to hell, I would say he's holding true to form.

My favorite quote from the article was Bush saying, "Dick Cheney could be President." More cynical people than I would claim that he already is.

"Ann Coulter Is A Fag Hag"...

I would guess there is a blog called that somewhere, but it's also one of the main accusations Larry Flynt levels in his new book. Salon conducted an interview with Flynt that goes over some of the more salacious allegations, like George Bush paying for an illegal abortion in 1971.

It's easy to dismiss Flynt as simply a "smut peddler." We might be well-served to remember that he's also one of our greatest champions of civil liberties. Flynt once stood before the Supreme Court and called the justices "eight assholes and a token cunt" during one libel case; five years later the Court sided with Flynt in the Jerry Falwell lawsuit.

We need people like Howard Stern and Larry Flynt to protect our free speech. Otherwise we wind up with...

Christian Nazis in the South Loop...

barking about the Rapture to an audience that had more productive things to do Wednesday outside Buddy Guy's Legends. I'm guessing they chose Legends because the Blues is "the Devil's music." I wonder if they would ever set up camp outside HotHouse when we have vodoun-inspired music from Haiti or Cuba playing on stage.

The problem with Christians is that they will broker no argument to their positions. Their way is the only way and you are wrong regardless of evidence you might have to the contrary. It's passive fascism and they've found a sympathetic ear with the hawkish right wing extremists in the GOP.

They have made it so hard for moderate Republicans to have a voice in their own party. Resultingly, if you're not a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical, the GOP brass largely ignore the concerns of the moderate and progressive lobbies in the party. I'm reminded of a time years ago when I lived in a studio apartment on the north side of the city. One day a Jehovah's Witness knocked on my door asking if he could minister to me. I politely declined, went to shut my door, but he blocked the door with his foot.

"Do you know that only 144,000 chosen people will go to Heaven when Jesus comes back?" He said, aping one of the many teachings of his faith.

"That's not many people," I replied.

"Then why are you forsaking His Word?" He inquired further.

"Well," I began to answer, "those are some real long odds. You live according to the Word, the apocalypse comes, you've been faithful all your life, and the possibility still exists that you still won't be among the chosen."

"Yes, but..." he stammered.

"Just think of what you missed out on because you were afraid to live." The missionary stood in the hall with a stunned look on his face as I closed and locked the door.

He must've thought I was the devil in flesh trying to tempt him because he went to the next apartment, which was occupied by a West Indian Miles Davis lookalike who painted all the reflective surfaces in his dull black because he believed the Indian government was sending him subversive messages through reflective surfaces using Fred Dryer- star of the tv show "Hunter"- as the messenger. I heard knock, the missionary's opening, and two loud pops.

I slowly stuck my head out of my apartment to find "Miles" standing in the hallway waving a starter pistol, screaming that Fred Dryer sent the missionary to recruit him to "spy for the Indians." The missionary fled down the stairs and bolted like a jackrabbit out of the building and into the daytime.

Rumble, Young Man, Rumble...

Barack Obama released his second quarter fundraising reports the other day, which revealed that he has over $7 million in his war chest. That, ladies and gentleman, is a sure indicator of his popularity and support.

At the Obama house party I attended last week the candidate stressed that even though Jack Ryan had dropped out of the Senate race he could not let up. He's right. Four months is a lifetime in the short attention span of politics. Still, I have the feeling that we're watching something very special blossom here with Barack Obama. It sounds like hyperbole, but we could be watching the emergence of the most important politician of the 21st century in Obama. His growing popularity, especially in these polarized times, could eventually lead to the Presidency if he wishes.

And stays away from the sex clubs.

Ride Like The Wind...

I love watching the Tour de France (or as Outdoor Life Network correspondent Bob Roll calls it, the "Tewer DAY France") and Lance Armstrong's quest for a sixth tour Victory. After donning the yellow jersey for overall race leader in yesterday's team time trial- which Armstrong's US Postal Service team absolutely out on a clinic- he surrendered the maillon jeune today.

Armstrong is looking at the big picture and willing to concede the jersey during the first week, where sprinters rule with reckless abandon. Next week the peloton hits the Pyranees, where the sprinters flame out like one-hit wonders under grueling climbs, thin air, and unbearable heat.

The mountains is one of Armstrong's specialties, along with time trials. He used to flame out like a sprinter, but retrained his body after his bout with cancer to handle the enormous strain of climbing. Armstrong's pedal cadence never wavers on climbs; his grueling training is what popularized spinning.

Mentally Armstrong seems more focused, as well. Last year's fifth Tour win was a struggle for him but he seems on top of his game this year. Good thing, too: American Tyler Hamilton will be bird-doggin' him all the way back to Paris. For all the talk about Spain's Iban Mayo and Germany's Jan Ullrich being Armstrong's main challengers, the most dangerous is Hamilton.

Hamilton showed remarkable courage and heart in last year's Tour. He broke his collarbone in the Tour's first stage in a massive pile-up that almost took down Armstrong. Hamilton stayed in the race, received therapy during breaks, and placed fourth overall. He won the tour's 21st stage with an amazing breakaway at the fifty-ninth mile marker and never looked back. Hamilton's performance gave him a tremendous amount of confidence. It would not surprise me to see an Armstrong/Hamilton finish under the Champs Elysees in two weeks, another milestone in American cycling.

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