Saturday, April 29, 2006


(FAT JACK's NOTE: This is an essay I posted on this blog several months ago. I re-post the article periodically as I get new readership and I don't think most bloggers read the archives. My political and religious beliefs are still evolving and so this essay is a breathing entity. In this case, it hasn't changed since the first time I posted it.)

We are terribly misguided as a country. We don’t know who we are, but even more importantly, we do not know anything about anyone else. Our country is lost in a washing machine of cynicism, depression and an obsession with someone else’s business. We form our beliefs of others, our world view, using a sound byte measuring stick and media talking heads.

Courtesy used to be a treasured virtue, something taught in school, enforced at home and a valued in the workplace. Little by little, courtesy has turned into a weakness, suffered only by the confused, weak-kneed, and spineless. It has been replaced with power, control and a relentless pursuit of one’s self over all other things. We see this in school children and adults – in sports athletes and politicians.

Today, the spread of information is more important than the information itself, and people who see shades of grey get lost. Nowhere is this more evident than in politics. No longer are we able to define ourselves. That is done for us by those who wish to compartmentalize the world and label those around them. We have so much information available, but we have little time to actually absorb and analyze it. The push to control the party, the public, and the government is so strong that our leaders are no-holds-barred fighters in suits. We are now in a world where Swift-Boating someone is excusable, understandable, and even encouraged.

This leaves little for the individual who can become swallowed by the details and overwhelmed by the corruption. Regardless of the amount of good a person has done, he or she can and will be known for doing or say one thing. It is all about the label. This trickles down to the individual. We are, as the general public, defined by one or two of our many personal beliefs: Republican or Democrat; Conservative or Liberal; God-fearing Christian or Abortion-loving Athiest. This black and white definition is just another form of Swift-boating, that forces people to choose sides. Those sides are becoming more extreme with every election, and that is the goal of those in power and those seeking it. They want the flock to be polarized and partisian, in order to maintain that control.

Yet, I argue that the majority is really none of these. Most people, most I say, have a few viewpoints that may bleed into both groups. Most folks are moderate, leaning more to one side or another. This intolerance to moderation is destroying our confidence in our leaders and creating an ever-decreasing interest in voting one’s conscience. Time and time again, people report that they have no real choice at the voting booth. Indifference and apathy are the new choice, because investigation, understanding and education are just too difficult for us to manage. We just don’t care if we are stupid or not, so long as we have our cable TV, cell phone and iPod.

I am taking a stand, today. I refuse to be labeled by others any longer, and I refuse to be forced to choose one side over another in order to arbitrarily find a place where I fit in. I do not fit in with the extremists any longer. I have defined myself in recent years as a liberal. I am not really a liberal; I sure as Hell not a fundamentalist. I am a complex man who chooses to cross the line from black and white, and come closer to a world with shades of grey.

I am a man, husband and a father.
I am a Christian.
I am a Demublican.
I am flawed.

That is the beginning of the definition of me, and my political standing in this world. It may change as I grow, develop and continue to learn. I reserve the right to be flexible in my beliefs. I do not call that fence-riding or wishy-washy. I call it growth, developed from new life experiences, new understanding, and education.

I notice that many political talk show hosts define themselves by attacking, defining and swift-boating others. While compare and contrast is a staple in critical thinking, these folks fall prey to swift-boat techniques that are not about true critique, but about ratings. (I have much more to say on the politics of media, but that is another blog.)

Well I am choosing to define myself, not through the use of swift-boat tactics, but through introspection and then public display of my current views. In order to do this, I will take typically Democratic or Republican views and then demonstrate my personal views on the issue. I will do this with simple YES or NO responses (and not politic-speak). I understand that this may, in some sense, appear hypocritical in that I am using partisan definitions to define myself. But that is really my point. I am a BLEEDER. That is, I am a moderate with views that bleed into both sides. So I will use conventional definitions to show my particular bias or standing. I believe that they day we start seeing political greys, is the day that we start on a path to higher voter turnout and confidence in our political leaders. So rather than complain, I am defining myself and stating my views outright:

Funding Social Services: Yes
Privatize Social Security: Leaning toward No.
Civil Unions: Yes

Abortion: No (maybe in certain circumstances like rape ... but not likely.)
Gun Control: No
Faith-based initiative: Yes (not if it excludes government programming)
Gay Marriage: No

Stem Cell Research: Undecided (yes, in some circumstances and no in others.)

Friday, April 28, 2006


Recently, I posted an article about the American Film Institute’s (AMI) List of Top 100 Movie Quotes. From that Larry of Simple Thoughts of a Comples Mind, Bryan of Dad’s On A Rant, and Fat Jack have started the movie blog, INCONCEIVABLE.

It is the blog of all things movie, spawned from our disgust of AFI’s disgraceful lists. We will host our own movie quotes list, among others. We will also post mini-reviews, not the in-depth analysis you are used to at Entertain Me, and just anything else cinema related that we can think of.

And for all your cinemaphiles in Springfield, say I to you: Rock The Moxie!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sometimes A Thing Just Needs Killin'

by JB Coffelt, Owner/Instructor
Jim Bob’s School of Welding & Taxidermy
Lampe, MO

I can’t believe that blogger, Flap-Jack, has not put out any posts on Springfield’s new pit bull dog ordinance. She’s probably too busy crying in the corner for the poor, defenseless, little kid-maiming puppies. I just don’t understand how folks can choose animals over people. It’s just a dog, for the love God almighty, it’s a dog. It doesn’t have a soul and it won’t meet its maker. It’s only here to serve man.

If a dog attacks or kills people, then shoot the piece of Hell right on the spot. When I was a kid on the farm, we had a neighbor’s dog that got the rabbies and was a foaming at the mouth. Us boys went out and shot the living piss out of him. It had to be done. He needed killin’. Besides, it gave us great shooting practice on a moving target. You can shoot all your life, but it’s damn hard to hit a moving animal.

For once, that liberal Hell-bound hole of a town that thinks it’s a city, Springfield, is finally stepping up and doing the right thing: passing a pit bull dog ordinance. But of course the Nancy-boo-hoos and Sally Soggy-Bottoms are pitching a fit, crying foul over the rights of these killer dogs. You won’t find nowhere in the Constitution about the rights of dogs, cause they ain’t got none, dumb-asses.

In reality, this ordinance doesn’t go far enough. I say yank out all their teeth. That’s right. You all can pitch a fit, what with your nasty case of vaginitis, and protest for the dogs. But I say, so long as a race, any race for the matter, is a burden to our society and is maiming and killing our children, then kill them all and let God sort them out. But I ain’t risking my own for some idealistic belief in puppy rights.

I don’t see how no dog is going to eat no babbies if he ain’t got no teeth. While you’re at it, declaw them sons-a-bitches too. The drug addicts and lazy welfare users, who are the ones drawn to them killing dogs, won’t want them no more if they ain’t got teeth or nails.

If you want a fighting animal, then get a fighting rooster. No one ever heard of a kid getting killed by a cock, now have they? Cock fights are safe and them little devils are kept in cages the rest of the time.

Problem solved.

(That reminds me, I need to write Sen. Bullfinch and see if he can help me get that stupid anti cock fighting law repealed. Seems a shame when the government takes away a man’s right to make his living and feed his family.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Cure For What Ails Us

by JB Coffelt, Owner/Instructor
Jim Bob’s School of Welding & Taxidermy
Lampe, MO

Poor, poor Fat-N-Fluffy, he is so confused with his head so full of liberal hogwash that he can’t even post a simple blog on most of these issues. So it’s up to me, his hometown friend JB to let you what for.

From our national plagues of oil to immigration, the world is full of problems, the biggest one is this Bleeding Heart Flu, also known as Mad Liberal’s Disease. If these spongy, spineless weasels, such as good old Fat-N-Fluffy, would quit ranting about things they don’t know anything about and let those of us with common sense fix (if they do, indeed, even need fixing) then things would work out just fine. But those fancy educations have to go toward something. Unfortunately they usually go to screwing up something that is already working just fine.

If y’ins would just listen up, I have the cure for what ailes us:

Invade Mexico. Oh, I mean liberate Mexico. That makes those liberals happier when we use our fluffy politically correct words. We should liberate Mexico. There’s oil in there down South and plenty of it. Yes, we could drill in Alaska, but that only fixes one problem. Drilling in Mexico: two birds, one stone.

We take our troops, take over the Mexican government and beginning drilling for oil immediately, We use a portion of the profits to set up a new, more “democratic” government (like we really care what kind of government they have anyway). By seeing up the oil industry, it ensures there is plenty of work to be done, which creates more jobs and thus helps their economy. Let’s face it, those wet backs are used to working long hours and living in shit-stained squalor. So they still won’t have to pay them much. If there are jobs for them, they will stay in their own country.

Then we build our fences and don’t have to depend on foreign oil from those damn terrorist Muslims over there. And they all are terrorist, anyone with half a brain and one eye can see that. The liberals know that too, but they are so hell-bent on patting everyone on the back and holding their hands that they won’t use their spines to actually protect Americans. Big bunch of weak-kneed Nancy’s.

We get our oil, deport all the immigrants, and Americans get their jobs back. Best thing, is that when we pull out of Iraq (to liberate Mexico) we simply nuke the shit out of them and Iran. Problem solved. All those Muslim, towl-headed terrorists might think twice before pissing with us again, and North Korea will see us for the global power that we are and should be. We will keep them in their place.

I’m writing my Congressman right now. Sen. Leonard K. Bullfinch seems to be the only one with any amount of sense in Washington these days.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Who Are We Christians, Anyway?

When you think of the word “Christian”, what words come to mind? For me, I think of my faith and what that means to me. I also think about my very fundamentalist background, leaving me with two distinct set of words to describe the same label.

Today, in terms of my own faith, I think of words such as:
  • Love
  • Faith
  • Understanding
  • Compassion
  • Tolerance
However, when I separate myself and think of Christianity as a whole, a conglomerate of all Christian faiths including protestant and Catholic, my own definition of my faith changes radically. If I think back to my more fundamentalist roots, this other definition is further, and sadly, solidified. When I think of the corporate Christian conglomerate of today, the same one that elected President Bush on pseudo-Christian values) my list of defining words change:
  • Faith
  • Judgmental
  • Hatred
  • Intolerance
  • Uneducated
  • Rage
I wonder how the rest of the nation, the world, how others, perceive the group known as Christians? Do they use the first group of words or the second? I am fearful that the second group of words more closely define us as a people of faith.

I know who I am and what I believe, yet sometimes I forget that many who claim my faith, do not believe as I do. In fact, there is a quite a rift between the now mainstream fundamentalist Christian and the rest of the Christian world. Much like the Muslims, their extremist brethren are defining the whole and it is a shame. There are many Christians out there who share my belief, in fact Larry over at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind is one such Christian who believes in love and faith as opposed to judgment and rash rage. In fact, Larry and I have spoken many times about the term fundamentalist and how that term angers him. He is a conservative (political and spirtual) but he rejects the fundamentalist belief. (Larry, if I mis-speak, let me know and I will edit the post asap.)

I mention all of this not as a criticism of fundamentalist, but more as a critique of the rest of us Christians. Why is it that we, like the Muslims, allow our fundamentalist extremes to continually define us? Why do we let this small group speak for the rest of us? Maybe it’s the same reason that only a small percent of our nation votes in an election. Interestingly enough, both Larry and I vote every election. I think, perhaps, our fear of action comes from our fear of being labeled a heathen or “bad Christian” if we take a stand against the very political savy corporate Christian conglomerate. The Jerry Faldwells, Pat Robertsons, Jim Hagees and the rest have convinced us that their way is the only true way. Where have we heard that before? And that to challenge this believe is to reject our faith and God himself. In fact we are lead to believe that any question of the religious machine’s beliefs is to lose our way and damn ourselves to an eternal Hell. And we take it lying down, afraid to be judged by the judgmental and hate-filled masses of the church. Once again, the church has become corrupt, drunk on it’s own power of salvation.

Take heed, my friends. Not all Christians (not all Muslims) are the same. The true believers are out there, flawed, scared, yet full of love and faithfulness and compassion. We just don’t speak up enough. Thanks to my pastor this morning who spoke these thoughts, with a much better presentation, I might add. It was he who posed these questions to us and asked the congregation what we might do about that. I decided to blog on it and put it out there for everyone else in the world.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

AFI's Top 100 Screw-Ups

In 2005, the American Film Institute announced its list of Top 100 Movie Quotes. AFI distributed 400 movie quotes to 1,500 jury candidates made up of film artists. The criteria used is as follows:

A statement, phrase or brief exchange of dialogue spoken in an American film.* (Lyrics from songs are not eligible.)

Movie Quotes that viewers use in their own lives and situations; circulating through popular culture, they become part of the national lexicon.

Movie Quotes that viewers use to evoke the memory of a treasured film, thus ensuring and enlivening its historical legacy.

For many of us, that list was quite lacking. Speaking for myself, there are many movies on that list that neither I, nor my more cinemaphile friends have ever seen. Certainly, many of these movie quotes are not what I would call part of our popular culture or national lexicon.

I have never seen “Gone with the Wind,” but I am very familiar with the quote: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” That is, in my opinion much deserving of it’s number one slot. Or take the movie quote (which I haven’t seen) from “Network”: “I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” That is another very deserving quote from a movie that I have never seen (number 19 on the AFI list.) But quotes from the movie “Grand Hotel,” “Now Voyager,” or “Little Caesar?” Are these really movies that should make the top 100 list? Thus began our search for what we consider many of the quotes that did not make “the list.”

That lazy sack of feed, Larry, over at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind took on the chore of collecting our quotes. He was supposed to do something with them, but I guess his reviews of the television show 24 have taken precedence. Amazing.

By the way, AFI has many lists that we could criticize, but I will start with this one. Maybe another faithful reader will take on the others? Hey, maybe Larry … oh, right. Never mind.

Your job, you big bunch of blogstards, is to send your quotes to me. I will add them to the list and when we finally reach our 100, I will publish them. AFI allowed multiple quotes from one movie. Casablanca had the most, with seven quotes. We could debate that allowance all day, but we will stick with the rule since they allowed it. So send the quotes my way.

Fat Jack’s List of Movie Quotes that AFI Annoyingly Left Off The List:
(These are not in any particular order … yet.)

"You'll shoot your eye out." – A Christmas Story

"I have a bad feeling about this" – Star Wars

"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? I always ask that of my prey." – Batman

"Son, you got a panty on your head" – Raising Arizona

“I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies” – Gone With The Wind

“Have you ever seen a grown man naked?” – Airplane

“I am Spartacus.” – Spartacus

"I want my two dollars" – Better Off Dead

"Have fun storming the Castle!" – The Princess Bride

"If you gotta go, go with a smile" – Batman

"I am a Mog, half man and half dog. I am my own best friend." – Space Balls

“Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy mother-fuckers.” – Pulp Fiction

"I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park, and you wanna bail out! Well, I'll tell you something, this is no longer a vacation . . . it's a quest! It's a quest for fun! I'm gonna have fun, and you're gonna have fun! We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our G**damn smiles! You'll be whistling Zip-a-dee-doo-da out of your assholes! I've got to be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose! Praise Marty Moose!" – Clark W. Griswold, National Lampoon's Vacation

"Wax on, Wax off." – The Karate Kid

"Them syreens did this to him. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad." – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

“I’m your Huckleberry.” – Tombstone

“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” – Star Wars Episode 3

“A liger … It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic.” – Napoleon Dynamite

“Yeah Baby, yeah.” – Austin Powers

“Did you see the size of that chicken?” – Young Guns

“Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends.” – Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring

"Squeal like a pig" – Deliverance

“I’ll be back.” – Terminator

As an aside, have you noticed that the way we frequently misquote many of these quotes? At least I do. I found it interesting how we bastardize the quotes. Interesting. That would be a funny list too: Quotes We Frequently Misquote.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

… with peppers and maters and cilantro galore. I planted my first garden today, April 22, 2006, which just so happens to also be the 36th anniversary of Earth Day.

I don’t much like yard work. I have no interest in digging in the Earth nor for growing things, although I am a Hobbit in almost every other way. All of this is much to my grandmother’s chagrin. Gardens and growing things bring her so much happiness, probably because they put up with her pissing with them constantly without any fuss.

But this year my daughter is five (six in a month) and she brought some plant home from Sunday School for Easter (I have been informed that it was an Easter Lilly, so I don’t know need a gush of emails informing me of such, thank you very much.) She watered it everyday and loved watching it grow. That is until she got bored with it, but that’s just how kids are. I can’t really fault her for that. There are other ways to spend time with your child than watching movies and reading books. So this summer, Sophie and I are tending garden.

Thus the vegetables. I got vegetables because we are soon to be down to one income and I’ve been told that growing your own veggies is much cheaper and healthier than the store bought variety. Although I am wondering about that seeing how much I spent doing all of this (and I bought cheap.) Plants, pots, steaking sticks, potting soil and manure, gloves, a watering hose and spray nozzle. Some of this are items that a household needs anyway, so I can’t baulk too much.

I will say that I refrained from the high priced soil with fertilizer in it. I went granola and bought plain potting soil and mixed it with manure. By the way, that is very cheap. Sophie and I mixed the manure (manure, can you believe that … shit?) That’s right, I told my daughter that it was manure, which is cow poop. And she said it was gross and stuck her hands in it anyway. I was so proud.

We planted our veggies in pots and put them out by the back fence. I choose potting them rather than a tilling the Earth because I am lazy and it’s a small garden and I don’t’ have a tiller, and I’m lazy, and I don’t really like gardening anyway, and I hate weeding and I am lazy.

We planted six bell pepper plants: yellow, red and purple. (I’ve never heard of purple bell peppers. They also had chocolate peppers too, but I didn’t get those.) We got five tomato plants: four roma and one beef steak as well as one poblano pepper, also known as ancho. She and I also planted a pot full of cilantro. The poblano is the pepper used to make chili rellenos and is one of the most popular peppers used in Mexican cooking.

So help me God, if those hairy, lop-eared little bastard bunnies get into my plants, I’m going to shoot them with my .22 and have us some roast rabbit with veggies. That sounds good, I might do that just for the yumminess of it. I may see if What-A-Crock has a slow cooker recipe for rabbit.

Friday, April 21, 2006


If you are a paranoid freak, such as myself, you may find that you acquire a large amount of bills and documents that contain personal information, afraid to throw any of it away. If you as lazy as I am, then you may also find that you don't shred them as often as you should. Help, my dear bloggers, is on the way.

Great Southern Bank is hosting, as a public service to the community, a Free Shredding Event tomorrow. That's right. Bring your shreddable documents (paper only) to the Great Southern Operations Center on North Glenstone. It is the old Smitty's.

Free Shred-A-Rama
Saturday, April 22
9 am - 1 pm
Great Southern Operations Center
218 S. Glenstone

'Faith Is Not A Tool'

Former Senator and vice-presidential candidate, John Edwards, was at MSU on Wednesday talking about morality and ethics among politicians, according to the Springfield News-Leader. He also talked of faith stating that while he embraces faith: “Faith is not a political tool.”

Kudos to him. That is a risky statement these days. Christians, especially those of the uber-conservative evangelical sort, may take offense to that statement as they were the driving force in electing our: I’m a Christian so if you really love God you will forward this mail to 10 people you know, and you have to vote for me, President Bush.”

In other news, Granny Geek received an email with this picture of a protestor at some rally, somewhere. I just thought it was clever and had to pass it on.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Learn Me A Thing Or Two

As you probably already know, I am starting back to school this summer to be an elementary teacher -- I want to teach forth and fifth graders. I have always believed that children should read and have an interest in literature. Afterall, a child who reads can do anything. With the current curricula centered around standardized testing, many teachers have forgone reading to their children and chosen, instead, to teach our children how to be good test takers.

Well I am taking a stand now. I am committed to surrounding my students with literature, ensuring that there is proper time for them to read. I am also committed to reading to my students everyday.

The canon of children’s literature is very large and it can be hard to pick a small set of books from the sea of literature to be read by students and read aloud by the teacher. I am starting my list of books that I treasure, but I am looking for your input.

  • What is your personal canon of children’s literature?
  • What books do you consider to be very important for children?
  • What children’s books do you treasure?
  • What books would you pick out for your child to read?

After gathering your responses, and comparing the information, I will post Fat Jack’s Canon of Children’s Literature for your pleasure. For the next year, I am reading (almost exclusively) children’s literature. If you are extraordinarily obsessed with one particular book, be sure to specify that and I will try to add it into my rotation.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't Tread On Me

You should watch the evening news tonight. There will be a story about a raging pick-up driver who ran down a bicyclist at the intersection of National and Woodland. The Ford pickup, turning West onto Woodland (from National) side swiped the bicyclist who was headed North in the Southbound lane.

The Ford battering ram sent the man flying into the light pole. Purple-headed as he was, the hillbilly driver came out of the pickup and preceded to pound the head of the bicyclist-turned-rag-doll into the curb. Apparently, the goal was to further punish the idiot bicyclist by beating him stupid.

Or so I fantasized, while watching this scene at 4:30 pm this afternoon. The bicyclist wasn’t really hit by the Ford, but he damn near was and the pick-up driver was pissed off to no end. I really expected him to hit the bicyclist, who was obviously not following any laws of the road.

It occurred to me, though, that the pick-up, while in the right, never stopped or swerved to try to avoid the bicyclist. In fact, he sped up on him as if he was trying to punish the idiotic bicyclist, who did, admittedly need a lesson in road etiquette.

As I witnessed the event, I wondered if there would be an altercation over the event. It amazes me that we are so inconsiderate of others that we seem to delight in the pain and punishment of others, assuming that they really deserved it. Then I realize that I am not exempt. I am exempt this time, because I wasn’t involved. Had it happened many years ago, in my more aggressive youth… I don’t know. I might just have invited an altercation to somehow prove that I was in the right. I’m glad I’m older and wiser and more patient. By the way, these two men appeared to be in their 30’s or 40’s.

We are entirely too pissed off for our own good. Bastards. I should have run them both down (the pick-up first, because you can always catch up to a bicycle) and learned them both a lesson in common sense and consideration of others.

Piss On The Poor Huddled Masses

On April 16, The New York Times reported that 50 million Medicaid recipients will have to produce proof of citizenship in order to continue to be eligible. This new requirement was signed into law by President Bush early this year and will take effedct on July 1. The controversy stems from concern that many people were never issued a birth certificate, including African Americans and Native Americans.

In fact, it was not uncommon for rural Americans to have babies at home, rather than a hospital, and thus a birth certificate was never issued. And while slavery was abolished, many African Americans in the 1900s had few rights and were not allowed in public. Thus, that population may have an increased amount of persons who were born in the fields and never issued birth certificates. Native American culture will also experience issues with birth certificates.

Estimates on how much this will save the government and how many people will be negatively affected vary widely depending on the partisan think-tank composing the data. But there is no dispute that money will be saved but that many people will also be adversely affected. I guess it all comes down to which you consider of more value? As a good Demublican, I am still very baffled by the whole immigration issue. I do believe that illegal immigrants are problematic for public entities such as public schools and other state and federal services, such as Medicaid. However, I also know that all of these services and programs (schools and Medicaid) have many more problems not related to immigration.

But what of the “poor, huddled masses yearning to be free?” When I ask the question “What would Jesus do?” I am not convinced that he would want us to box up all these people and mail them back to the Hell-hole of a squaller that many of them risked their lives to get away from.

I do know one thing, despite the easy answers that our extremes shout, there is no easy answer. Seems to me a middle road will be the best place to start. And I think we would all be served well by constantly asking ourselves: “What is the right, good, ethical and Christian thing to do here.” But maybe many of us would not like that answer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

MO Ethics Commission Out-Of-Commission

According to Fired Up! Missouri, which broke the news, the Missouri Ethics Commission is out-of-commission due to a lack of action on the part of Governor Blunt, as he refused to fill three seats on the Commission. In March, three of the board members’ terms expired. Per state statute, it is the Governor who appoints members to the Commission, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

So far, Gov. Blunt has refused to appoint those members, leaving the Commission without an ability to hold quorum. Most governmental bodies can keep a member past his or her term until a replacement is found, not so with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Now the Ethics Commission cannot conduct business: prosecute ethics law violations.

Interesting enough, this is not the first governmental body that he has refused to appoint members. The Missouri Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities (MPC) is seeing a similar problem.

Why, exactly, would Governor Blunt refuse to appoint members to these bodies, and are there other groups that are experiencing the same problem. When it comes to the Missouri Ethics Commission, it appears there is a political gain involved.

Fired Up! Missouri reports that back in July 2005, the Missouri Ethics Commission found probable cause for violations of campaign finance law against Gov. Blunt, and referred those complaints to the Attorney General.

From the Missouri Ethics Commission website: “The commission is composed of six members, not more than three of whom may be of the same political party. These members must be from different congressional districts and no more than three can be from an odd- or even-numbered congressional district.”

In the case of the Missouri Planning Council, there is not apparent strain of relationship and that group is non-partisan as well. Of course the MPC does support positive legislation and policies for persons with developmental disabilities. This does include opposing Gov. Blunt’s signature to cut to Medicaid, and his initial proposal to cut First Steps.

Refusal to appoint members to these bodies certainly questions his own ethical standards for ensuring the quality of our state. Regardless of the case against him, it would seem that the Missouri Ethics Commission would be an invaluable agency to the state. It is obvious that the Governor does not value persons with disabilities as they were the first to see his cuts. In fact, we saw him running from them at the 2005 Disability Rally in Jefferson City. Surrounded by security, he ran out of the Capitol last year when a group of blind college students wanted to speak with him about his cuts. Those blind folks you know are a very dangerous group. Heaven forbid that their blindness might rub off.

(FAT JACK's NOTE: Thanks to The Turner Report for bringing this to my attention on his blog.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Looks a Bit Fishy to Me

My 15-year-old cousin, who is a permit-only driver now, spent the weekend with us. He is an sci-fi, fantasy, horror uber-geek and wanted me to go and see Slither with him. Nothing like two movie geeks hanging out together.

Fat Jack loves his food, my friends and I love nothing more than introducing new foods to people, especially my young cousins, nieces and nephews. Fortunately, Austin is a good sport, so off to the sushi bar we went. We tried a shrimp tempura roll, but what he really wanted was sashimi. So I ordered us some hunks of rice with big, cold, dead fish on the top: salmon and eel.

I was hoping for a bit more resistance from him, but cucumber boy (as in “cool-as-a”) just dropped it down lickity split. I at least got a good laugh that he couldn’t figure out the chop sticks. He had to use a fork.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hack-and-Slash TV

A blood bath is coming our way with the roll out of a new horror cable television channel. Working to appeal to 18- to 34-year-olds, the new horror-thriller channel will feature over 1,000 Sony/MGM movies. As of yet, the channel does not have a name.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Gospel of Judas?

ABC’s Primetime and The New York Times have both released stories on the newly surfaced, 1,700 year-old Gospel of Judas. For years scholars have hypothesized that Judas wrote his own gospel, but that the early church had banned the document stating it was blasphemy.

However, a farmer in England found an ancient, leather-bound text in a cave. The text asserts that Jesus asked Judas to betray him, and they have a subsequent discussion of the ramifications of that act.

"The Gospel of Judas does suggest that the betrayal of Jesus is not a reprehensible act, not the act of a traitor, you know, the worst villain in the history of the world, but that it's a secret mystery between him and Jesus," said Elaine Pagels, a professor at Princeton University and one of the world's foremost experts on ancient religious texts

According to Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the National Geographic Society, “The codex has been authenticated as a genuine work on ancient Christian apocryphal literature.”

Carbon dating has authenticated the Coptic papyri, dating it between the third and forth century. It is believed that it is a copy of a much older text.

Excerpt from the Gospel
, courtesy of The New York Times (pdf)
The Gospel of Judas from National Geographic

If There's Grass In The Outfield, Play Ball!

As a future teacher, I am outraged at the constant barrage of teacher-student sex scandals. Interestingly enough, we are finally discovering that the perpetrators are not just dirty old men, but attractive and … well not so attractive females.

The Smoking Gun has a list of several teacher-student sex scandals. Several of them involve coaches. I guess the new mantra for coaches: If there’s grass in the outfield, play ball. See them for yourself.

Teacher had sex with 13-year-old student 28 times
Girl claims 18-month affair with female basketball coach
Sex a no-no for teacher named Bobo
Gym instructor, 27, charged with raping boy, 13
Hot for teacher du jour
Teacher’s new year starts with bust
Chicago teacher in teen sex bust
Michigan woman joins the sex-with-young-male-student parade
Indiana school aide had sex with special ed students
Coach and Art teacher busted for sex with students

Little Theatre Presents Charlotte's Web

Looking for something great to do this weekend or next? Springfield Little Theatre is putting on Charlotte's Web, which will be presented in American Sign Language. Every performance will be interpreted by characters fully integrated into the stage action. Not only is this a classic tale, but also a chance to expose your child to diversity.

Charlotte's Web
April 6-9 and April 13-16
Matinee and evening performances

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Oh Look, He Thinks He's People

by Dr. Patricia Baumberger-Tapp
College of Political Science
St. Agnes University

I like my men, soft in the belly and hard in the pants, with a dish rag in one hand and my curly haired child in the other. Men should be at home, raising the children and tending the home. I was educated before I had my doctorate. Men, on the other hand, are prevented from obtaining any maturity until they are at least 30-years-old and then it’s simply luck of the draw which one will have the presence of mind to submit to the smarter of sexes.

Ron Davis had it half right when he talked about men not having the right to argue for pro-life and telling us women what to do with our bodies, because men cannot bear babies. Where he failed, and where all men fail, is that he actually thought he was somehow exempt from his own advice. You see, Davis and the pitiful owner of this blog, Fat Jack, like all men, are idiots. Case in point, Davis assumes that abortion is a men versus women issue: women are pro-choice and men in power are pro-life.

Once again, an idiot man is trying to make a case and he fails. Leave it to us ladies, both pro-life and pro-choice to figure out the abortion issue on our own. We don’t need you, or Fat Jack, or Larry to help us out.

I mean really. The only reason I need you, over a store-bought dildo, is because my silicone unit doesn’t sweat on me and stink up my pillow. For some unknown reason I like that smell. It’s a women’s only flaw. And believe me you three pigs, I could bottle your stupid stink, then your kind would fade away. Men and dogs are a lot alike. I am not the first to come up with that idea.

So thanks for standing up for us, but guess what, sweetie? We women don’t need you to put the boys in their place. You are in their place. Pro-life or pro-choice you dumb-ass, hillbilly, testosterone-driven Neanderthals can just stay out of the abortion issue all together. Let us girls duke that one out. In fact, you really need to let us decide all of the issues. Face it: you are a lot happier when you only think you are the boss.

If only we could teach every man how to please himself orally; he would never leave the house again, and be too busy to bother us with his frivolous attempts at thought.

That's Mighty White of Ya'

Today’s Springfield News-Leader ran an Opinion by James Eden, in which he writes an essay from the pro-life viewpoint. Former News-Leader reporter, Ron Davis, made a rather harsh comment about Eden on his blog, Chatter: “Another white man rants about abortion. Maybe James Eden wouldn't be so quick to type if women were in charge of his testicles.”

There is something much larger at work here and it doesn’t involve Eden or Davis specifically. However, Davis’ comment is a product of the frustration involved in the ever-growing polarization of our nation. This dichotomy is a bizarre creature, as it serves to entertain and disgust evenly. We are increasingly mesmerized by the train-wreck that has become our political, electoral, campaign machine. We want our side to win so badly that we are willing to accept the swift-boating of our opponent for the greater good, yet citizens are disenfranchised by the process and becoming apathetic to the one thing that symbolizes our freedom to live in a free democracy -- voting.

We celebrate the divide-and-conquer method of our extremist politicians and we use a person’s (politician or citizen) viewpoint on one single issue to define the whole individual’s belief system. The schism is furthered by the insistence on using minority status (in this case race) as a tool.

Minority populations such as those defined by race or disability have endured years of abuse and oppression and those populations deserve to be specifically protected those who seek to oppress them. However, the misuse of that status is just another category of the swift-boat phenomenon that leads to more oppression not freedom. (According to the 2000 Census Bureau, persons with disabilities are the largest minority population in the United States.)

Eden’s essay refrained from any swift-boat labeling of the pro-choice liberal opposition such as: “abortion-loving,” “baby-killing” “God-hating,” “Lesbo feminazi” rhetoric that can often occur during an abortion debate. Eden simply put forth some purposefully extremist scenerios to prove his thought. Davis’ response was to negatively label him as “another white man rants about abortion.” There was nothing ranting nor raving about Eden’s essay.

To be fair to Davis, he did respond later stating that his use of race was wrong. He didn’t apologize, mind you, but he did take ownership of his mistake. However I take issue with the fact that, in my opinion, he continued his swift-boat labeling by insisting that men who are pro-life should not really have an argument because they cannot become pregnant. Said Davis: “My problem with men arguing against abortion is rooted in one fact: Men can't get pregnant. Why do men (legislatures are almost all male-ruled) insist on trying to tell women what they can do with their bodies?”

I wonder, are there any other issues that I, being born an unfortunate white male, cannot have an opinion on?

It would be mighty white of ya’, Mr. Davis, if you could send me your list of systemic issues facing our nation, in which you feel one particular group or another (minority or majority) should not be able to argue?

(FAT JACK'S NOTE: It should be noted that when I attempted to read Eden's Opinion piece on the News-Leader web site, only half of the article was viewable. I was able to read the entire piece once I clicked on the "Printer-Friendly". I alerted the News-Leader to this error, so hopefully they will fix it.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Election Results Are In

SPRINGFIELD -- Monday night, Kathy and I volunteered for the Springfield Public Schools to call registered voters and remind people to vote in today’s election and we also asked them to support the school bond issue. Not that I like telemarketers. I do not. I do not mind, however, when people call my home and remind to vote the next day. I am forgetful. So I forgive local political phone calls the night before the election. Political telemarketing, by the way, is exempt from the state Do Not Call List.

I was not optimistic about the school bond issue passing. It appeared to me that there was a significant amount of opposition. I started to change my mind after making the phone calls last night. The majority of folks I spoke with were going to the polls and were going to support the bond issue.

I believe many of the concerns that voters had about the bond issue are relevant. Raising taxes is an issue that should be highly considered. Just because a public school asks for money does not mean that we should support it, but this bond issue will help keep the buildings in repair and make needed updates. As one man said last night, “Springfield used to the be the flag ship school district in the area. Now, everyone is going to Nixa, Ozark and Willard.”

So rest assured, Springfield, that this was the right decision. It was also the right decision to elect Andy Hosmer to the Springfield Board of Education. I really believe that he will help the district form a long range plan to address needs and do it by including the community. I, for one, have already contacted him by email and volunteered to be on his long range planning committee., assuming he chooses me and it will fit in my new school schedule.

After all … school always comes first. The results are in (97 percent reporting):

Springfield School Bond Issue
YES – 62%
NO – 38%

Springfield School Board Members:
Andy Hosmer -- 24%
Kris Callen -- 23%
Bruce Renner -- 22%

The Need For Family

My nephew was born on April Fools Day eleven years ago. Our little trio traveled to Tulsa, OK to celebrate his near teenagerness – He turned 11 this last weekend.

My sister and her husband have three children. So compared to our household of one child, their lives are a vortex of energy, confusion and fun. And when we get together, it becomes a full-fledged tornado of twisting and playing children. Sophie slept the entire three-hour trip home.

I really enjoy connecting my daughter with her cousins. I never had a great relationship with my cousins -- the cousins who were near my age. It is very important to me to have my daughter form strong, loving relationships with her cousins in Tulsa and the ones in Branson.

Families are, after all, the most important commodity we have in our lives: blood relations, church family, and friends-who-are-really-family. Family members and friends are like marriage. One must work at them in order to have them thrive. But too many of us do not want to work. We don’t want to work at our job. We don’t want to learn. We don’t want to be inconvenienced. Our world does not want to be bothered by the plights of others. We become so concerned with others’ morality and life choices, rather than focusing on our own personal growth.

My wife and I do not sit back and wait for the public school to fill our child’s mind. We read to her, expose her to new experiences and teach her when she is at home and in our care. Not everyone takes an interest in their child’s education or in their child’s best interest.

I am happy that my sister and I have such a great relationship, and I thankful that our children love to be with one another. I am thankful that my Branson family is supportive and loving, and they see the need for our children to be with one another, despite the fact that there is an age difference.

It is about family and relationships and about making ourselves better, one step at a time. It may be work, but it is worth it.