© 2008 – 2022 John T. Burke, Jr.

I Have A PETA For You Right Here

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June 22, 2009

It was a tension-filled week, when it appeared as though the Islamic Republic of Iran was ready to self-destruct at any moment.  (It did.  Iran is now a police state.)  It was a week when the summer humidity caused the duct tape, holding up the equities markets, to start losing its grip.  It was a week when “Turbo” Tim Geithner and Larry Summers brought their Beavis and Butthead act to The Washington Post. It was also a week when the creators of the JibJab animations released a new cartoon, depicting Barack Obama as a superhero.  The stars were aligned.  It was during this week when The Obama Moment happened.  He killed that fly during the interview with John Harwood.  It was a moment made for Maureen Dowd, but God didn’t just leave it to her.   Stephen Colbert saw fit to do a piece with The Fly himself, Jeff Goldblum, entitled:  “Murder in The White House”.

The mainstream media obviously thought this story had “legs” (fly legs, unfortunately, but not wings).  The Obama sycophants saw this moment as proof that the man who sank the three-pointer on camera in Kuwait was indeed a Master,  …  a Jedi Knight, …  a Sensei.  Comparisons were made to The Karate Kid (probably because it was also the week of the disclosure that the star of television’s Kung Fu show from the seventies, David Caradine, died from auto-erotic asphyxiation, making The Karate Kid the de facto understudy for such circumstances).  In order to properly “work” the fly-swatting story from all angles, the media inevitably turned to the animal rights group, PETA, for their response to The Obama Moment.  To be fair, PETA did not seize upon The Obama Moment to promote the ethos of animal rights.  It was only when contacted for their reaction to the event by “multiple media outlets” when PETA responded to the “executive insect execution”.  Subsequently, Alisa Mullins of PETA explained:

When the media began contacting us in droves for a statement, we obliged, simply by saying that the president isn’t the Buddha and shouldn’t be expected to do everything right—if not for that, we would not have brought it up. It’s the media who are making a big deal about the fly swat—not PETA.

Once PETA bit on the bait by taking a stand on this issue, it put itself in the crosshairs for ridicule.  Ms. Mullins of PETA saw fit to use the opportunity for promotion of the “humane insect catcher” by actually sending one of these devices to The White House, as a suggested alternative to fly-swatting.  Ms. Mullins reported that she once used one of these devices to “capture and release” a palmetto bug.  I believe that these $8 devices are absurdly stupid and inefficient.  Look at their ad for the thing.  Do you really believe that it’s possible to catch a fly with one of these?  On more than one occasion, I was able to catch a palmetto bug by merely sliding a piece of paper under it.  I walked it to my porch and released it back into the wild, where it was likely eaten by a cat.  Palmetto bugs are slow, pathetic, helpless things.  The trap sold by PETA holds the palmetto bug in an oppressive Plexiglas prison until you bother to release it.  By using a single sheet of paper (costing $7.999 less) you can talk to the palmetto bug and nurture it as you return it to its natural habitat.

On the other hand, I don’t necessarily agree with all the people who are dumping on PETA.  Although it is true that Alisa Mullins of PETA referred to this event as “Flygate”, she is probably too young to remember that Bill Clinton already had such a scandal.  I agree with protecting animals to a reasonable extent.  I was a vegetarian for two years.  I also believe that PETA has had some nice advertising campaigns that they lacked the guts to stand behind.  Take for example their Super Bowl ad that was banned.  It showed some steamy-hot women getting erotic with vegetables, using the sloagan: “Studies show:  Vegetarians have better sex”.  Better yet, was their campaign for vegetarianism wherein two sexy women, dressed in lingerie, got cozy with each other on an air mattress, to demonstrate how vegetarians can be sexy people.  Do you really believe that I’m going to just tell you about this and not provide a link?  Guess again.  The link is here.  The mistake PETA made involved locating this event in El Paso, Texas.  Some citizens claimed that this demonstration was not “family friendly”.  PETA should have located this event on South Beach, where it belonged.  (If I may be so bold as to recommend a particular address for such a redo …)

As you can see, PETA has used some mighty-fine ideas in promoting its cause.  The only problem was that they caved in to intimidation.  As for The Obama Moment in fly-swatting, they may want to go back to the well if they want to capitalize on it.  Why not shoot a commercial in an apartment where two hot women live, with lots of Georgia O’Keeffe prints all over the walls?  They would have the place loaded with plants, some of which are called:  Venus Fly Traps.  Flies come in … and they get eaten by those plants.  Although some proponents of “flies’ rights” might complain that plants are being used to kill insects …  That is simply unfair.  Those plants have a right to defend themselves from unwanted invaders.  If the flies are so obnoxious as to get themselves killed in the process, that’s their problem.  Case (and Venus Fly Trap) closed.

Time To Toss The Tool

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November 6, 2008

November 5 (the day after Election Day) left us with a nearly breathless Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball.  His guests included their correspondent, David Schuster, who had attended the election night speech by Barack Obama in Chicago’s Grant Park.  Schuster described the scene in Grant Park, immediately after the west coast results were announced at 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).  Strangers were hugging each other and crying.  This could have only happened in Chicago.  I had been in Grant Park on several occasions to celebrate many a Bulls championship, back in the day when Phil Jackson was coach and Michael Jordan defied the laws of gravity.  The post-championship celebration in Grant Park became a rite of summer:  the weather was just getting nice and Fourth of July was right around the corner.  I still return to Grant Park for the annual Independence Day fireworks show (that actually takes place on July 3) even though I now live a long way from there.  The consensual spirit of Chicago’s people brings life to the theories expressed by Carl Jung.  Myth, archetype and symbol hold important places in the collective soul of that community.

Chicago has its own approach to politics, as well.  The city’s history is rich with tales of “back alley” politics, giving rise to legendary figures and laying waste to contenders.  As a result, I can’t keep my mind off the subject of what might be in store for Senator Joe “The Tool” Lieberman of Connecticut.  The remark by Stephen Colbert during Indecision 2008 on Comedy Central, caught my attention.  After the announcement that Obama had won 64 percent of the vote in Connecticut, compared to McCain’s 35 percent, despite McCain’s unfailing support from The Tool, Colbert wondered:  “Where could the people of Connecticut have learned such disloyal behavior?”  As you may recall:  Lieberman was re-elected to the Senate in 2006 as an Independent candidate (after having lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamot).  Although they were irked by The Tool’s mercenary act to preserve his own political skin, the Democrats struggled to keep Joe in their “Big Tent”.  The Senate Democratic Caucus (or Conference) currently consists of 49 regular Democrats and 2 Independents, one of whom is Joe “The Tool” Lieberman, who calls himself an “Independent Democrat”.  Prior to the 2008 election, the Democrats had been desperate to maintain their 51-percent majority in the Senate, so they did all they could to make sure The Tool was a happy camper.  All that changed when Barack Obama became the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee.  Many commentators saw in Obama, not only a winner, but one with long enough coattails to bring more Democrats into the Senate.  The Tool realized that his betrayal of the Democrats could result in the loss of his many important appointments, should Obama get elected.  He had already “sold his soul” to Bush, Cheney and Rove in his quest for re-election.  At that point, he had no choice but to “go for broke” by endorsing John McCain.  However, The Tool went beyond that.  He spoke ill of Obama at the Republican Convention.  He followed McCain around throughout the Presidential campaign, giving rally speeches himself, in addition to serving as McCain’s “nodder” when McCain would question Obama’s patriotism.

It is now time for the Senate Democrats to throw The Tool under The Trash Talk Express, before it departs for that great bus barn in the sky.  It has been widely reported that The Tool is scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, at some point this week.  My familiarity with Chicago politics leads me to believe that on his way to this meeting, The Tool will be alone in a dark alley.  He will reach a spot alongside a blue dumpster and that will be the signal.  Suddenly, Democratic Senators will step out from their positions, in the shadows, to surround him.  The Tool will be cut  … and he will be cut quite thoroughly.  He will be cut from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  He will be cut from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (where he is Chairman).  He will be cut from the Senate Armed Services Committee.  He will be cut from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, including its Subcommittees on: Clean Air and Nuclear Safety, Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection (where he is Chairman).  He will also be cut from the Subcommittee on Public Sector Solutions to Global Warming, Oversight, and Children’s Health Protection. He will be left, writhing on the back bench of the Senate.  “Backbenchers” have no influence to peddle  …  or, perhaps I should say:  They have difficulty raising campaign contributions.

The Tool assumed that by joining himself to McCain’s hip, he could secure the Vice-Presidential nomination or a high-level Cabinet appointment.  This must have appeared as his only route to avoid obscurity.  It didn’t work.

The Tool now has a “date with destiny” somewhere in a dark alley   .  .  .