Monday, July 28, 2008

Beware of Killer Tomatoes!

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 28, 2008

Tomatoes are coming! They are out for blood! Oh, excuse me, maybe it’s killer jalapenos. Whatever, something’s tryin’ to kill us. Last year it was spinach, maybe broccoli will be next. When your kids don’t want to eat their vegetables, they might have a point.

That freak out warning devastated the tomato industry. Farmers plowed their crops into the ground. As if the economy wasn’t bad enough, now we have a big loss in the agricultural sector. For nothing.

Health “experts” are constantly trying to tell us what’s good for us, and fresh veggies are always on top of the list. But when was the last time you heard of a killer rib-eye? I like fresh veggies, (with a lot of Ranch), but if you cook stuff, you won’t get E. Coli, Salmonella, etc.

Eggs used to be awful, now they’re not so bad. Butter has cholesterol, so eat margarine. No! Wait! Margarine has hydrogenated oil! Eat dirt. I’d get the impression these people knew what they were talking about if they knew what they were talking about.

If you see a health expert on TV, you will see they are not that old. You don’t see a 90-year-old nutritionist. J. I. Rodale only lived to 70. Euell Gibbons didn’t live to a ripe old age, (apparently wild hickory nuts aren’t the key to eternal life). That guy that promoted running for health dropped dead at 44. I’ve made it past that myself!

After listening to these experts, I’ve become convinced that if you don’t eat anything, don’t drink anything, and quit breathing, you will live forever. Then I think of people I know that have quit these things, and it’s amazing! They have all moved on to a better place! Maybe the crazies have a point! But I love to eat, I get thirsty, and I find strange comfort in breathing. Maybe some day I’ll get the willpower to quit doing that stuff so I can move on to a better place, but meanwhile I’ll just have to muddle along here in Wisconsin.

Seriously, it does make sense to pay some attention to what you eat. But instead of freaking out every time a so-called expert says this or that is good or bad for your health, take advice from people that have actually lived a long time. Eat a lot of “roughage.” Take a shot or two of brandy before bedtime. Eat something green everyday, (I don’t think this includes grasshoppers). An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Walk, (don’t run), one mile every day. Etc, etc. If you know a really old person, ask them what they did to get so damn old. And cook your jalapenos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is Fairness in the Media Possible?

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 22,2008

There is a mass quantity of whining coming from the Republican camp that the national news media is being unfair in it’s coverage of the presumptive Presidential candidates. The numbers bear this out. Obama is getting over twice the airtime McCain is getting on network news, and papers are the same story.

Now this isn’t a conscious effort to get the Democrat elected. No way. Remember, these organizations, the media outlets, are owned and operated by millionaires, people that like Republicans very much. Republicans make the rich get richer. Fox News, for example, has a well known and much deserved reputation for it's lean to the right. They were the loudest in trumpeting Bush’s line of crap that got us into Iraq.

The GOP is just going to have to face it; Barrack Obama is better television. He is a fresh face, photogenic, charismatic, offering new ideas at a time when the old ways aren’t working. McCain is not a fresh face. He’s been around a long time, getting a reputation as an also-ran. Poor guy, he finally gets his moment in the spotlight, and people are tired of looking at him. Outside of an initiative on the environment, his line is the plain old Republican line; trickle down economics, war over diplomacy, safety over civil liberties. America is sick of Republicans, and deservedly so. They have been lousy at running the country, and most of the country doesn’t want to hear any more of it.

McCain didn’t help things himself. He made a big, big deal out of it that Obama hadn’t visited Iraq lately, and Afghanistan never. Like there are things to discover sitting in “Green Zones” that can’t be learned from reports shipped over by people in the trenches. Okay, Obama is visiting Iraq and Afghanistan, so the media is making a big, big deal of it. Are we all happy now?

The Republicans are just going to have to face it; John McCain is old news, the Republican Party is old news. Just sit in your rocking chairs and quit your whinin’.

Monday, July 21, 2008

How Are We Going to Power the Future?

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 21, 2008

We are in an energy crisis; there is no question about this. Left, right, or center, we all agree we’re screwed. But, of course, there is big disagreement over what to do about it.

To the left, we have Al Gore. To anybody who doesn’t know who he is, he is very much a Democrat, and was once elected President, but wasn’t allowed to serve. His plan is geared more towards environmental protection, but his belief in the reliance on renewable energy is compatible with energy independence.

To the right, we have T. Boone Pickens. A billionaire oilman that spent a lot of money to help elect Bush in 2004. He is seriously into wind energy, and making use of America’s natural gas resources.

Either way, wind energy is a winner. We have wind energy being generated, profitably, as you read this. We need more. Environmentalists cry that these windmills are tough on birds, but there is a certain point, probably a long time ago, where you can’t take these folks too seriously. I like birds, and have had several parakeets as pets over the years, but we are in a crisis! Get a grip! They forget how tough coal fired plants can be on birds.

Natural Gas. Unlike oil, we have a lot of that. Cars and buses can be converted to run on it, just don’t run out of it in the middle of nowhere. You can’t just carry it in a little red can. You would need a big, pressurized tank in your trunk. Natural gas produces much less pollution than gasoline or diesel, the bulk of the exhaust is water vapor.

Gore considers natural gas “respectable,” but calls it a temporary measure, and doesn’t endorse it. He is big on solar energy, which is getting practical, except for powering cars. Gore says his plan will only cost as much as the Iraq war. This very sweet, except we have no clue how we’re going to pay for the war! How we going to pay for his plan? Pickens is, like I said, a billionaire. He knows his nickels and dimes, and he knows we don’t have a lot of nickels and dimes to spare. Don’t let him fool you, he isn’t entirely altruistic, he sees profits! And that means his plan has a chance to happen! Natural gas should be part of the solution. Start with trucks and buses, then the family car. This can happen, and it can happen soon. The profits might go to Exxon, but isn’t that better than going to despotic foreign countries?

Offshore drilling is proposed. This, again, will keep profits in America, but it is a relatively small part of the solution. Environmentalists will cry, but offshore drilling hasn’t been shown to be a problem. So ignore them. It’s been said that it will take 20 years to see that oil, but that’s crazy. It doesn’t take 20 years to build an oil rig. It just won’t make much difference.

Nuclear power is attractive because of it’s reasonable cost and lack of pollution. But it is dangerous. A major accident could kill thousands. We have been operating these plants for 50 years without a major incident; (Drunken Russians haven’t had as much luck). Are we that good, or will our luck run out? Plus, President Dummy doesn’t consider it important to protect them from terrorists. The next President will be smarter, but will he be smart enough? And the issue of disposing of waste isn’t settled. Here the environmentalists are being really stupid. They won’t let us build decent storage sites, but the current system of on-site storage is very shaky. Get a life! Nuclear plants take time to build, you can’t just slap one up like a Wal Mart, so this would be a long-term solution, if anything.

But we have the best solution in our own hands. Use less energy. Insulate your house. Turn off lights, televisions, air conditioners, etc, when they are not needed. Hang clothes out to dry when the weather is nice. Dryers suck up a lot of energy, and you’ll get fresh air and exercise. Drive slower. I usually drive about 5 mph over the limit, (bad boy), but cars still blow by me like I was sittin’ still. They don’t realize that they’d save enough for a couple of lattes if they’d just back off of the gas a little bit. Use yout imagination. If you see energy being sucked up that doesn’t need to be sucked up, turn it off. Using a little thought will go a long way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Barking at the Moon

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 16, 2008

The Moon is getting full, and some primal instinct makes me want to howl.

John McCain is known for being weak on economic issues, and now his top economic adviser has shown himself a total idiot. Do you think $4 gasoline and record home foreclosures are all in your head? He does.
According to anecdotal evidence, the prevalence of drug testing is encouraging drug users to switch from Marijuana, which is detectable for weeks, to Cocaine and Meth, which disappear in a few days and are easily masked. If true, this is not a good trend.

Right wingers are trying to paint Barack Obama as a Muslim. He is not a Muslim, plus there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim. It’s wrong to be a murderous religious lunatic, as not only are some Muslims, but some of those “Christian” right wingers. How many senseless deaths have they encouraged in Iraq?

The Minnesota Senate race is real interesting. With all the Bozos already in Congress, they have a chance to elect an actual clown! Al Franken should campaign wearing a big red nose.

Jesse Jackson is a joke. He also should wear a big red nose. ‘Nuff said.

If cows are responsible for so much Global Warming, why isn’t Wisconsin tropical?

It took the FAA 14 years to figure out why airplanes blow up in mid-air, and now is giving airlines 10 years to fix it. Who needs terrorists?

Republicans accuse Democrats of being “Tax and Spend.” Republicans just spend as if they have a stolen credit card. We will never dig ourselves out of the hole they’re putting us in. Don’t believe for a minute that Republicans know how to handle an economy.

The candidates are courting the Hispanic vote, the Black vote, the Female vote, and the Youth vote. Being an old white man, I wanna cry.

Gays are getting married, in places like California and Massachusetts, as fast as they can. How long before we see gays on “Divorce Court?” That should be interesting, if not nauseating.

I don’t have anything against gay marriage, but it won’t be long before gays are against gay marriage. You folks are getting exactly what you wished for.

Dick Cheney’s little outfit, Brown, Root and Kellogg, is getting a reputation for electrocuting our soldiers. What a racket. Overcharging us on no-bid contracts, and doing shoddy work. Hell of a way to support our troops. It’s just supporting Cheney and his buddies. Supporting them very well, in fact.

Brett Favre wants to get back in the National Football League. Being one of the all time greats, it would be a shame if that stupid, stupid interception was his last professional play.

The men in the white coats want to put me back in my cage. Sleep well.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Let’s Be Rational About Abortion

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 2, 2008

Abortion has become one of the most divisive issues in modern American politics. There are those that believe abortion should be available at any time, for any reason, and there are those that believe abortion should be outlawed, no exceptions. Most Americans are in between. Gallup polling has found that most of the United States citizenry, those at the center, believe in a right to abortion, but not without limits. Where can we set those limits?

Why not use the Constitution, and legal precedent, to set those limits? The Supreme Court has determined that the brain, and it’s functionality, determine a human’s life status. Those without a brain wave are dead, whether their heart is beating, or any other organ is working. Why not use this to determine a fetus’ right to live? Once a fetus has an operating brain, it is self-aware, capable of feeling pain. This is where it should be determined it has become human, and has an American right to live.

Research on this matter is sketchy, but a fetus develops the brain waves used in the Supreme Court standard somewhere between the 20th and 26th week of gestation, probably at the 22nd week. This would not eliminate a lot of abortions, but it would eliminate many of the most gruesome ones.

Only the most vicious of the Pro-Abortion movement would object to this determination, most on the Left Wing are kind and gentle, people that don’t even like to see a puppy in pain, much less a baby. And the Anti-Abortionists would get to see an end to third trimester abortions, a cause they have been promoting for decades. Win, win.

I am a strong believer in the Separation of Church and State, both for the sake of the Church and of the State. This may be a subject for a future post. I am also a strong believer in the Constitution, and the sensibility of the Supreme Court. Let’s keep the argument within those parameters. Thank you.

Let’s End the War on Drugs

By Jonathan Bert
The Extreme Moderate

July 2, 2008

The War on Drugs is more damaging to America than the drugs themselves. Let’s end it, now. This is entirely a political war, as demonstrated when Janet Reno, then Attorney General of the United States, suggested we end this war. The Right Wing immediately shouted “Soft on Drugs,” and the discourse ended without any discussion of the merits of her arguments. As we have trouble locking up murderers, robbers, or sex criminals for any length of time because our prisons are jammed with drug offenders, this must mean these Right Wingers are Soft on Murder, Robbery and Sex Crimes. But then look at how many robbers they elect to office.

These people have an urge to baby-sit others, even if they don’t behave so well themselves. Drugs are bad, no question, but prisons are not good places to baby-sit users. They need treatment, not punishment.

Marijuana, for example, is a little stronger than coffee, and less addictive, but these loonies insist that it be illegal. They won’t even allow it for medical use! What business is it of their’s if somebody wants to catch a nice, peaceful buzz? It doesn’t even affect driving nearly as much as Alcohol, which I am sure they freely consume. (Minnesota is extending it’s bar closing time by two hours for the Republican Convention, being held in St. Paul this September!)

Instead of spending millions, if not billions, of dollars to enforce laws against Marijuana, legalize and tax the hell out of it. It would be income for the farmers, and would help fill our Treasury!

Other drugs should be looked at on a case by case basis, but users of even the worst ones shouldn’t be shuttled into penitentiaries, where they will be exposed to, if not instructed by, truly hardened criminals. Treat them in some manner that doesn’t make them fear and hate Police. Police should be someone that will help them through their trials and tribulations, not someone that will cage them up with cruel and unsavory people.