Plus: the Bush taxSteve Hammer

Spending much of the past week flat on my back with a massive and unrelenting cold gave me a moment to reflect on our times. And although I'm more scared than ever, there are some hopeful signs on the horizon. Condi Rice is too busy to talk to the 9/11 panel. She's so busy, in fact, that she has time to go on 'Face The Nation', 'Fox & Friends' and 'Spongebob Squarepants' to tell us that.

Now, I could be like that goofy guy in the other newspaper and rail about the importance of seat belt laws and how education is a good thing, but I won't. I've been doing this for 11 years now and I need to level with you.

Some people look at the record prices for gasoline and despair; they actually give me hope for the future and I'm happy to pay. I look at this as yet another Bush tax, but instead of the usual Bush scheme, where poor people pay more and get nothing, this one will end up helping us.

The way I see it, if people have to pay $2.50 a gallon by Labor Day, it will just increase the number of pissed-off people who'll refuse to vote for Bush in November. Same thing with unemployment. While I have empathy for the long-term unemployed, I beseech them to hang on just a little longer, until the election is over and Bush is sent packing.

On the other hand, if Bush wins in November, you may as well move in to the homeless shelter the day after the election. We'll all eventually end up there anyway, so you may as well save some time and reserve a nice bed before they're all taken.

I take cheer in the fact that Condoleezza Rice is refusing to testify before the 9/11 commission, because her excuses are pretty damned funny. At first, she claimed that she couldn't find the time to testify because she's such a busy woman.

She's such a busy woman, in fact, that she has time to go on Larry King, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Fox & Friends and even Spongebob Squarepants to tell us how busy she is.

I halfway expect her to show up during the NCAA Final Four broadcasts and tell Clark Kellogg that she's too busy to testify, or interrupting Star Jones during The View to tell her.

But people everywhere are turning up in bizarro-world TV scenarios. During his stand-up performance on C-Span last week, the President suggested that Donald Rumsfeld's favorite TV show is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. As Wonkette pointed out, the line was funny because it implies that Rumsfeld is a straight man.

And John Kerry is auditioning for Pat Robertson's job on The 700 Club. On Sunday, he said, "The Scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"

Of course, if Kerry had been a little more thorough in his research, he'd realize that God doesn't approve when Democrats quote the Bible. God prefers it when Republicans use the Bible to justify killing a particular group of people.

Even non-celebrities are getting into the act of appearing on TV. While I was off sick, I took in a few days' worth of talk shows, the one forum where ordinary Americans have access to the airwaves.

While I was drinking juice and coughing up phlegm, the one thing in which I took cheer was that my life isn't being exposed on the Jerry Springer Show.

The shocking thing about Springer's guests is not how crazy they are, but just how typical their stories are. People who dismiss it as a freak show are just plain wrong. It's a mirror on the ordinary lives of average Americans.

Dig deep into your brain and you can come up with some woman you know who is having sex with a man, his father and his best friend. Or a guy who's been cheating with several transsexuals and wants to finally choose one.

Face it, most of our lives are Springer shows in the making. I know a man, a white-collar professional making six figures a year, who only dates women recently released from prison. Now, I'm not going to say I haven't fallen for the allure of chained heat every now and again, but this guy is obsessed.

He trolls through websites such as and others that cater to the babes-behind-bars crowd. At any given time, he's corresponding with half a dozen different women inmates. He's been known to send them commissary money, write letters of recommendation to parole boards and has engaged the help of attorneys to spring his would-be girlfriends.

In my day, I've known people involved in lesbian love triangles, people who've faced half a dozen public intoxication arrests in a year and men who've dated women 30 years their senior.

To me, all of that is normal. It's just part of the crazy times in which we live. And it's one of the reasons I love America so much.

Election update

There are just 215 days until the November 2 election, the vote that will make the difference between insanity and reason. If you haven't registered to vote, take time to visit a license branch, or The future is ours not to destroy.


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