This is what happens when shit gets unreal

Category Archives: Politics

Self-Evident Truths

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence

Signed July 4, 1776

Those words come from the Declaration of Independence, with which America hoisted a middle finger towards Britain and told them it wasn’t them, it was us, but please not to call tomorrow morning.

It’s a long document. TL;DR. (Though we ought to.) That first sentence tells us everything we need to know. Let’s have a look at it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident…
This crap should be obvious. No one should have to tell anyone this stuff.

That all men are created equal…
In this instance, “men” means “humans”. No getting huffy about gender words, because that’ll distract from the issue you really want to focus on. And that would be, everyone was created equal.

That they are endowed by their Creator…
Our Founding Fathers were Christian, but really, this is vague enough you can fit anything in. If you like, imagine this refers to God, Goddess, your mother or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

With certain unalienable rights…
This means, these rights cannot be taken away. I’m going to emphasize that. No one can take these rights away from another person. These are sacred, inviolable rights to which every homo sapien is entitled.

That among these are Life…
You know, living. Heartbeat, breathing, the works. No one has the right to take life away from someone else.

Freedom to do and to choose what goes on in the life from above.

And the pursuit of Happiness.
This means, everyone has the right to chase whatever it is which will make them happy, and give them a fulfilling life. Basket weaving. Flamenco dancing. Rollerskating while wearing rainbow socks and a Batman costume.

Holy Rollerskating Rainbow Batmans!

Photo by Joshua Trujillo, Seattle Pi

So what does all that really boil down to?

This means everyone has the right to create a life which will bring them joy. Even the people whose lifestyles you don’t care for. It means you can preach up a storm against perfidy, homosexuality, independent women and noisy proselytizers. Try to convince everyone you want these people are disgusting / wrong / noisy / stupid / whatever your preferred word. If it makes you happy, you can shout yourself blue.

But you can’t take away their right to pursue happiness as they see fit.

A religion does not give the moral ability to take away Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. It means the faithful get to spread their church’s message and save souls, but when it comes to laws and legalities, they have no right to take them from others. The city, state and federal governments are not their strong arms.

Too many people get this confused. Too many people think, “My faith says this is right, therefore, I can use the government to enforce my faith’s belief.” This is a country founded on the belief all may worship as they see fit, believe as they like. All may pursue happiness. They think, “My faith defines marriage as between a man and a woman, so the government must, as well. A religious marriage is the only legal marriage.”

A couple can walk down to the records place, get a marriage license, then amble over to a Justice of the Peace and get legally married in the eyes of state and private institutions. No religious ceremony involved. No church seems to have a problem recognizing these marriages, despite God’s total lack of involvement in the process.

No one has to like it. Everyone has to shut the fuck up and deal with it. This is America. Where all men are created equal, and all have the right to pursue happiness.

It’s self-evident. No one should have to say this.


Olly Oxen

When I was a kid, we used to play Hide and Seek. The game went like this:

Someone was It. Everyone else was Not It.

The It Person would count to some pre-designated number. If playing “fair”, the person would count at the top of his lungs and at a slow, measured pace which resembled seconds. When playing “dirty”, the person would count under their breath and at a speed which would have made Billy Mays reach for more blow to keep up.

Those who were Not It would run and scatter to find the most obscure hiding place possible. Most times, they didn’t even end up going to the emergency room for having shared a spot under the shed with a black widow.

The It Person would traditionally yell, “Ready or not, here I come!” Then the hunt would start, hopefully to find the kid who ended up with the spider before the allergic reaction to the venom got too bad.

Now, sometimes, a kid couldn’t find a hiding spot before time ran out. Or perhaps they’d found two, and had trouble deciding. One could endure no greater embarrassment than to end up caught out, choosing between behind the tree or under the car. In such a situation, only one solution could provide any relief: blame the It Person.

“You didn’t yell, ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ No fair!”

I bring up this slice of childhood because I read something which reminded me of those younger, simpler times. Mayor Bloomburg of New York authorized “stings” at gun shows in Arizona to see if one could buy guns illegally there, especially those such as what were used in the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

To no one’s surprise, private investigators came back with a well-exercised Second Amendment.

The investigators bought a Glock 17 9 mm handgun without a background check and two 33-round extended magazines from private sellers. Investigators also bought a Sig Sauer Pro 9 mm handgun and a Smith & Wesson handgun from two private sellers who continued with the sales even after being told by the undercover buyers that they probably could not pass a background check.

The Arizona Attorney General was horrified, of course, and vowed to do whatever he could to bring gun shows in line with the law- No, haha, just kidding. He bleated like a goat about the entire thing.

Bloomberg’s office didn’t bother to give Arizona police any advanced notice of the plan, Attorney General Tom Horne said.

“The fact that no such notification was made indicates this so-called sting is nothing less than a public relations stunt,” Horne said.

This sounds really familiar to me. “You didn’t yell, ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ No fair!”

All right, so it was rude. I get that. Bloomburg didn’t play nice. He didn’t count out loud, he counted too fast, and he didn’t say he was coming. I hate to tell Mr. Horne, but the people looking to chlorinate the gene pool a little by shooting up a Walmart aren’t going to, either. Public relations stunt or no, it brought up a valid point.

Maybe, though, the AG in AZ is right. We need to go back to the days of our youth. We don’t need gun control laws. We need Ready or Not Laws! If everyone who wanted to maim, rape, shoot, bend, fold, spindle or mutilate another person would just yell, “Ready or not!” then there would be no problem. Everyone could find a hiding place. If we got really fancy, we could tack Olly Olly Oxenfree laws on the end where, if the shooter couldn’t find someone to hammer in a set amount of time, everyone got to come in safely. Then they’d have to file another Ready or Not Notice and try again.

In closing, I leave you with what a rational discussion about this might look like:


Your Heroes Are Morons

ASVAB for Dummies

No doubt

Our Congress has referred to the men and women of our armed forces as “our Nation’s most precious treasure“.  Let me tell you as someone who served along side of some of these precious gems, there are some very stupid people in the military.

“But”, you say, “every soldier and sailor has to pass the ASVAB to be accepted into the armed forces before they can serve!”

How important is the ASVAB test?

Your scores in four critical areas — Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) — count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you’re qualified to enlist in the U.S. military.

These are very basic assessment tests at about a ninth grade level.  Once you’ve taken this test, you have to meet certain minimum standards according to “The ASVAB Explained“.

One of the most critical of these scores is the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which is used to determine if you are qualified to join the military service. Each service determines the qualification AFQT score for enlisting in their service.The AFQT is comprised of your test results in Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), and Verbal Composite (VE) x 2. Your Verbal Composite score is a combination of your Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension scores. Check out the following AFQT qualifying scores for each branch of service.

Service Branch Required AFQT Score
Army 31
Navy 35
Marines 31
Air Force 36
Coast Guard 45

The AFQT is out of a possible 100 points.  If you got a 31% on the test and are trying to get into the Army well, congratulations!  31% is a passing grade, please remember that the pointy part of the gun goes away from you!

“But”, you say again, “I was raised in a meth lab and lived off of rat carcasses and paint chips, how will I ever be able to serve my country?”

Gunship Grey

As a Boatswain's Mate you will see this color a lot.

Well buck up my mouth breathing latrine cleaner, it is possible to get a special waiver to allow you to serve with scores even lower than those.  Rejoice!  You too can be like the young man I served with in the Navy.  Let’s call him Seaman Recruit Smith.

SR Smith was a Boatswain’s Mate.  Boatswain’s are responsible for maintaining the lines, deck and hull of the ship.  Part of this involves using pneumatic chipping hammers and needle guns to blast off old rusty paint off of the decks and hull.  Once the old paint is stripped off you then put primer on the bare metal and repaint it.  Try to remember these steps because you will repeat them roughly sixteen billion times over your career.  That’s a lot of work though so sometimes you just put new paint on over the rust, especially if time is short and an Admiral is coming for an inspection soon.   This paint and, especially the primer, is very toxic stuff.

Forget the lead based paint chips that you were raised on, this paint probably has more heavy metals than the steel hull that you’re painting it on.  Breathing the fumes from the primer kills as many braincells per breath as hard night of binge drinking.   All of these toxic, flammable and dangerous paints and primers are all kept in one central location on the ship: The Paint Locker.

The Paint Locker

The place braincells go to die

Whenever the paint locker is open, someone has to stand watch in it.  I’m not sure exactly why anyone might want to steal/sabotage/huff toxic, flammable paint from the locker but someone has to stand there and make sure that all paint is signed in and out or the terrorists win.  This person is also is responsible for mixing up the toxic epoxy-like mix that is the primer on the ships and gets a face full every time someone needs it.

This was the prime job for SR Smith.  SR Smith thrived in the paint locker!  He had responsibilities!  He was in charge of all of the paint in the ship!

I guess the guys in charge of the deck division figured that no further damage that could be done to his mind since his remaining functional braincells had already been compressed inside of his head into a small lump with a hard protective shell like cerebellum gobstopper.  He was always in the locker when it was open.  They may have moved his bunk in there at one point, I’m not sure.  After spending a couple of years on board with him, I managed to engage him in conversation one day and found out how he was able to get into the service.

Try to cover your amazement, but he had a waiver for his ASVAB score.  His combined AFQT score was… 13.  This makes him marginally more sentient than the paint that he so lovingly tended to.  He might even have passed the Touring test.

I have a sign!

MMMM... Toasty! Like my brain!

So next Veteran’s Day just remember, not everyone who has served in the armed forces was doing it out of a sense of nobility and duty to God and Country.  A lot of them joined because they really didn’t have any other options.

SR Smith, wherever you are, I hope that you stayed in for 20 years and retired with a nice fat retirement and disability check for the physical and mental damage you suffered sustained while serving your country.  You will no doubt need that income to help support you in your new career as a Quiznos sign holder.