20 December 2006


It isn't even Christmas. The last wood and cardboard lawn signs haven't yet been fed into cabin stoves. The last of the wood pellets haven't been laid up for winter, although there seems to be a major blizzard underway in the Rockies.

The last of the nativity scenes have pretty much all gone up, or been taken down, according to which side of the anti-Santa door you're swinging on.

But NEWSWEEK's cover this week is a tabloid cut-and-paste "face off" (friendly) between Senators Obama and Clinton. What?

Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa appears on the Daily Show, another candidate appears on the Thom Hartmann radio show. Ed Schultz quotes polling indicating Republican John McCain has LOST seven points to ex-NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Good lord.

It isn't even Christmas, and, just in case you hadn't noticed, one year is an ETERNITY in American politics. Can we please stop with the presidential election spam?

There are two theories as to why this is.

The first (paranoid) theory is that this is just a continuation of the endless PR show of "look at the shiny object" that characterizes the current regime.

The second is that we really are a bunch of dogs trying to operate heavy farm machinery.

I'm inclined to the second theory, but I could be wrong.

It's happened before.


18 December 2006

Who Gives A Shit?

Paul Jacob had a thought while taking a shit the other day. I apologize for the frank nature of the language here, but given the pettifoggery and mendacity usually evinced by Jacob's allegedly self-written weekly radio spot/column "Common Sense," some plain speaking ought to be welcomed, even if it means calling a spade a spade, or, in this case, a turd a turd.

Who is Paul Jacob? you might ask. Good question. Howie Rich's brother-in-law is heard on "over 100 stations" every week on his commentary spot produced by "Americans for Limited Government*" (Howard Rich, President)

[*ALG is in trouble again, according to late breaking news as I was posting this: http://www.takingsinitiatives.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=255&Itemid=62 ]

The radio spot/column is called "Common Sense," and evinces pretensions of being a modern Thomas Paine, but, unlike Paine, it is delivered in a pseudo-folksy manner crammed chock full of phony populism and specious argumentation from ALG's Washington D.C. studios. The column version is carried in a number of media outlets, including on TownHall.com, the official Establishment Right-Wing internet watering hole. [Which is NOT, as Thom Hartmann suggested yesterday, "William F. Buckley's website."]

You may have heard of ALG. They're the ones who financed a huge chunk of the "TABOR" and "TAKINGS" ballot initiatives, in that whole bramble thicket of interlocking, secret money "political" organizations that have Howard Rich in common. In this case, the president of the Cato Institute, Edward Crane III, is also responsible, sitting on the ALG board of directors, under whose aegis Paul Jacob opines -- when Jacob is not out campaigning as the public face of term limits, takings, TABOR or whatever the oligarchy's cause du jour happens to be. ALG "sponsors" Jacob, although they spout is the standard "does not necessarily reflect" disclaimer for standard C.Y.A. purposes.

Jacob attends events at Cato quite a bit, to judge from his prior radio spots/columns.

As noted, Paul Jacob had a thought while taking a shit, or, to be more precise AFTER taking a shit, because this week's screed is, naturally, a sneer at that horrible Congress for mandating water-saving toilets.

December 18, 2006
Flushing Congress from the Toilet Industry
by Paul Jacob

Every time I have to flush a toilet twice, I think of Congress.

No, I'm not crazy. It's actually Congress's fault. Well, I may be crazy, but in this case my point is: it really is the fault of our legislative wonders in Washington.

After so many decades of we citizens taking our toilets for granted, well, Congress wandered into the toilet regulation business. And now I'm buying plungers.

Back in the '90s, Congress legislated these new-fangled low-flow toilets. And like Congress, these toilets are regularly full of...well, let's just say they...don't get the job done....
Hyuck hyuck hyuck. "Common sense," get it? At this point, you might prefer calling it "shit" to dancing around it in a cutesie pie manner that makes a mountain out of a ... well let's just say ... shitpile.

[Note as well the inclusion of that "hip" with-it "now" slang term: "new-fangled." Jeepers.]

I understand the problem. Indeed, in my acoustic repertory is a ditty I wrote, "I gots the low-flow, slow flush blues ..." But the humorousness of the issue ends there.

In Paul Jacob's angry world, everything restricts his freedom: all taxes are theft (even if they're for roads for him to drive to protests on), all laws are suspect, and politicians only seek evil power -- generally over Paul Jacob.

But, underneath the phony populist rhetoric lies an elite ethic that fundamentally rejects democracy as mobocracy. It is, conveniently enough, a philosophy that justifies wealth as its own moral justification. We've dealt with this elsewhere.

Taking his shit that day, Paul Jacob saw his freedom imperiled, sees the menacing hand of power-mad congressmen at the throat of his toilet-paper roll. One would be curious as to the exact nomenclature of his imperiled freedom would be:
  • The inalienable right to freedom of defecation?
  • The right of Americans to keep and bear toilets?
  • That Congress shall make no establishment of plumbing?
After all, exercising the urinary function would NOT, QED, require multiple flushings, unless the toilet in question were broken -- and the internal evidence of Mr. Jacob's essay indicates the fault for his multiple flushings lies entirely with Congress and not with his selfsame newfangled toilet-choking turds. (Although the latter seems a more reasonable analysis of what is, in essence, a minor hydraulic engineering problem at the Jacob house).

Alas, Mr. Jacob reveals himself to be a scientist of somewhat limited acumen, maintaining that "Needing several flushes uses more water and wastes the most precious of all commodities: your time."

But, he has not thought this crap through. When one balances the number of flushes that are successful, (i.e. liquid), against the more infrequent flushings that require multiple flushes (viz. containing more solid matter), one still ends up saving water. Debits against credits still produces a net credit. What could be more free-market than that?

This is the reductio ad absurdum that Professor Jacob attempts to draw: Congress regulated toilets to save water. But we flush more times, ergo, we flush more water. Congress has, therefore, wasted water in trying to save water. Ha Ha!

The error lies in the second proposition: we waste more water. Without that 'scientific' observation, the proposition is merely a cranky plunging of a recalcitrant toilet carried to the Universal Human Rights extreme.

Alas, this is specious. And it is offal logic: that Mr. Jacob's ire at having to flush his toilet more often than he REMEMBERS flushing old toilets can ONLY be ascribable to the United States Congress? And not, say, to an increasingly large (in both number and volume) colonic outflow? IS that a proven theory?

Or is it a not-very-carefully-thought-through hypothesis? Dr. Jacob?

So: is the problem in attempting to deal with what is increasingly a vital national problem: water supplies have not increased in the past 90 years, but our population has tripled -- most especially in the arid and semi-arid West? Is Mr. Jacob against dams as well? Should water be "free market"?

Or does Mr. Jacob's specific problem lie with one angry asshole? The reader must decide. But ...
Ask not for whom the commode flushes, Mr. Jacob;
It flusheth for thee.
Who gives a shit, indeed?