Friday, December 18, 2009

Bob's 10 Favorite Albums of the 20-oh's.

What follows is a list of my favorite albums of the last 10 years, sort of. In order to avoid some of my self-admitted myopia, I've only allowed one album per band, with one justifiable exception. For the most part, these are the albums I've listened to the most in the last 10 years, and for the most part I love each entirely. This list has much more to do with love than with greatness (in the rock critic sense), as I am no "expert," if such a thing exists. That said, there is no arguing with me, here.

Honorable Mentions
Toxicity / System of a Down
Rockin' the Suburbs / Ben Folds
Comfort Eagle / Cake
With Teeth / Nine Inch Nails
Them Crooked Vultures / Them Crooked Vultures

10. Speakerboxx/The Love Below -- Outkast
These guys make more interesting sounds than anyone doing the rap/hip-hop thing. I still don't know which half of the double album I love more. Go back and listen to Hey Ya! for the first time in a couple of years and you'll remember how much you loved it before you heard it 47,000 times on 9 different radio stations. Also, if you listen to Ghetto Musick on a decent set of headphones you'll be equally blown away--the high/low dynamics are almost unsettling. Awesome record(s).

9. Demon Days -- Gorillaz
"Feel Good, Inc." is one of my favorite singles of the last decade, and the rest of the album shines just as brightly. Weird, sad, hopeful futuristic pop music at its finest. Great videos, too.

8. The Bedlam in Goliath -- The Mars Volta
The Mars Volta guys apparently don't remember all the details of the experience of recording this album. It explains a lot. The album starts with a scream at a thousand miles an hour and doesn't really let you breathe until halfway through the album, and its only a brief reprieve. If you like this song, you'll like the rest.

7. Elephant -- The White Stripes
Jack White kind of owned this decade, huh? I wanted so badly to not like this band, and in fact avoided liking them until Elephant came out, and with it "Seven Nation Army," the grooviest goddamn four minutes since QOTSA's "The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret." The whole album is terrific. Jack White is an awfully good songwriter, and does a really good job of keeping shit simple.

6. Lateralus -- Tool
Before this album, I thought hard rock meant Godsmack. Needless to say, Tool has enlightened me. Tool fans are among the most annoying in all the world, but this does not change the fact that this is an absolutely remarkable allbum. Parabol/Parabola is a pretty good illustration of the sound of the CD (impatient types should skip to about 3 and 1/2 minutes in), though by no means does it encapsulate everything. The best Tool has yet produced. The follow-up was good, but did not approach the masterpiece that is Lateralus.

5. By the Way -- Red Hot Chili Peppers
For all the continued commercial success of this band, I think people often overlook just how good they are. And I love them. Like a brother, is how I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The moments of transcendence on By the Way are many for me--I still get chills listening to "Midnight" and "I Could Die for You," and "Venice Queen," the last song on the album, is my favorite Chili's song ever.

4. Sea Change -- Beck
Call me crazy, but I think this is Beck's best album yet. He's a crazy scientologist type, maybe, but he's a brilliant dude, too. The saddest, most beautiful 50 minutes of his career. So good.

3. Songs for the Deaf -- Queens of the Stone Age
In terms of just straight rock records, this is the best one of the decade, hands down. Start to finish fast, hard, and with all the requisite kinetic QOTSA energy, it's still their best effort. Besides, is there anybody any fucking cooler than these guys?

2. Kid A/Amnesiac -- Radiohead
It's cliche to say these guys are the Pink Floyd of our generation, but that's what they are. I include the two albums as one because I don't think I could choose Amnesiac without giving credit to Kid A, too. They were made at the same time, released less than a year apart--and both brilliant. Maybe my favorite song from both albums, but hard to say.

1. Machina/The Machines of God -- The Smashing Pumpkins
This is my favorite album of all time, so of course it tops this list. The album opens with a kick in the face and closes with one of my favorite songs ever, "Age of Innocence." I guess I understand why people didn't appreciate this album, but I don't understand the hate so many people have for Billy Corgan now. I don't know if anything will ever replace this album on my favorites list, because I don't know that I'll ever again be in such a position to be so affected by an album as I was when I heard this one. It's kind of hard to explain, but if you know what I'm talking about than I guess you know what I'm talking about. Man, do I love me some Pumpkins.

Pretty solid list, if I may say so myself. Let me know what you think!

Later,
-Bob.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I mean, come on! Really!

I don't have time to allow my simmering outrage to boil over just now, but this is ridiculous.

Ben Bernanke is Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

This is the despicable marriage of corporate, media, government and banking interests at work.

Best quote from the stroke-piece:
So when turbulence in U.S. housing markets metastasized into the worst global financial crisis in more than 75 years, he conjured up trillions of new dollars and blasted them into the economy; engineered massive public rescues of failing private companies; ratcheted down interest rates to zero; lent to mutual funds, hedge funds, foreign banks, investment banks, manufacturers, insurers and other borrowers who had never dreamed of receiving Fed cash; jump-started stalled credit markets in everything from car loans to corporate paper; revolutionized housing finance with a breathtaking shopping spree for mortgage bonds; blew up the Fed's balance sheet to three times its previous size; and generally transformed the staid arena of central banking into a stage for desperate improvisation. He didn't just reshape U.S. monetary policy; he led an effort to save the world economy.

No wonder his eyes look tired.

Aside from the fact that it's a weird lie that turbulence in the U.S. housing market was the cause of the global financial meltdown, why are we praising this guy for the actions delineated? He's the frontman for the most dangerous and powersucking criminal organization with which the world is currently confronted. "No wonder his eyes look tired."

Assholes! I knew it! I'm Surrounded by Assholes!

Later,

-Bob.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obama's 60 minutes interview

This past Sunday, I watched the latest episode of '60 minutes'. Though it is one of my favorite tv shows, I rarely ever watch it in its original broadcast (usually catch it online). But, this week it just kind of snuck up on me. The show featured an interview with President Obama and then a celebrity profile of Ricky Gervais (that guy is rich!).

The interview with the President was your run-of-the-mill kind of interview. It wasn't a bad interview, just a predictable interview. But what caught my attention was Obama's answer to an otherwise tame question. Steve Croft asked what the President thought of the bailed-out companies paying back their loans faster than many expected. I figured he'd say he was pleased that the taxpayer-funded loans were being paid back, with interest. But that's not what he said.

The President seemed disappointed that they were in fact paying back the loans so quickly. His take was that it was an effort by those companies to avoid having to abide by certain restrictions. Chief among those restrictions are caps on executive pay as well as bonuses.

Now, I could've swore that the main purpose for the TARP program was to prevent companies from collapsing. And though a few have gone into bankruptcy, most have managed to stay afloat long enough to weather the financial storm. Some can argue weather or not the loans had any effect, but on the surface this is a program that served its purpose, and the President and his minions should be touting the rate of repayment. Not complaining that the companies have gotten out of the grasp of the government's restrictions. But I guess that wasn't the 'intended purpose'. Not according to the President's remark. It seems that the intended purpose all along was to gain influence over private companies and how much they pay their top guys.

And that's kinda fucked up.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just a quick thought...

No time for a lengthy diatribe today, as it is about 4:30 and I just found out that I'm supposed to be at work in 30 minutes. Bummer. Quickly, then...

I listen to a lot of radio. Today, I heard a Public Service Announcement brought to me by the Department of Education, the Ad Council, and My Local Station. The speaker was trying to reinforce the importance of education in the lives of the listener's children, which was my first problem. What sort of a person needs to be told that an education is important? And given that there are people out there who do in fact need to be told that an education is important, what the fuck makes anyone think that a radio PSA is going to be just the moment of enlightenment and elucidation that these retarded parents need to realize the error of their apathy? How fucking stupid do you think we are? And if we are that fucking stupid, what makes you think you can possibly make any difference at all? More nanny state nonsense.

And then the ad got interesting: "Remember to instill in your children your own values: tolerance, honestly, and fair play."

Seriously? Now you're going to tell me to remember to instill my values in my children, as though I need a reminder from you, and then you're going to tell me what my values are? I've discussed tolerance here before, in case you don't remember, and you can check that out, here. I'll decide what my own values are, and I'll decide how and when to pass them on to my kids. Fuck you, PSA.

This is what we spend our money on in this country? This is what we commonly accept as the appropriate role of government in our lives? Stop trying to baby each other, world. Grow up.

Later,
-Bob.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The good ol' government teat.

Apparently the average pay of a federal employee is not over $70,000. That is nearly double the average pay of a non-government employee. To an extent, that's all good, right? I mean, these are no doubt long-serving government bureaucrats with specialties and niche-type jobs who are valuable assets to the function of our massive federal government, whether you agree with its size or ends or not.

I'm struck by the story, which can be found here, because of a slightly different reason than the typical outrage about the story will be, I think. My issue is this: We are increasingly a nation employed by or otherwise receiving a check from the federal government.

It's nearly to the point where as many people receive money from the IRS every year than actually pay out into the system. If you add in those receiving federally paid welfare or other social spending, plus the huge number of federal level government jobs--not to mention the millions of teachers in this country who may work for the state, technically, but are accountable to the federal government for performance if not being outright paid by it--we are a nation that will never choose to reduce the role or size of government.

This is because so many of us are on the payroll, or otherwise on the government dole. Who would vote to make it harder for themselves to maintain their lifestyle? Not too many people. The U.S. government is too big to fail, I suppose, and the tyranny of the majority will ensure the final nail in the coffin of the experiment that was limited government with enumerated powers.

We'll probably be talking about this on the show next week--post away and let us know what you think so we can include your thoughts.

Have a great weekend!

Later,
-Bob.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thoughts with Abe (12.10.2009)

Alright, it's time for some good old random thoughts, with Abe! 

Earlier this week, the Bob and Abe Show discussed the whole Tiger Woods fiasco. I was out of town, so I wasn't able to comment on it. Here is my take. I'm really surprised that the insurance industry has not come up with 'divorce insurance' policy (don't they have insurance policies for body parts?). Think about it. Tiger Woods is worth, what, $1 billion? And he's likely to make a few more billion in the next decade. A person with that sum of wealth should protect himself against any liability. And you'd be hard pressed to find any liability as great as divorce, especially for someone of Tiger Woods' stature. Now I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it wouldn't be a stretch to think that Tiger Woods' wife would leave him. She has every right to leave him. But if she did, half his money would be gone. He'd stand to lose $500 million. That's $50 million per girl (so far). That's - and I don't mean to be graphic - about $72,524.50 per stroke*! That's, a lot. And yet, Tiger Woods and his financial advisers have no defense for it. 

Speaking of cheating, they really should come up with another term for infidelity, because “cheating” just sounds petty. I always get a kick hearing grown adults accusing one another of “cheating”. Also, if you're in a relationship with someone and sex is not a part of it and you have sex with someone else, is that cheating? And if so, what are you cheating on? To me, cheating is going outside of the relationship to seek goods and services that are already offered by your partner. So, if you are not fucking, what's it to you that your partner is? It’s like with an iphone. If they offered video and mms and backgrounding and all these other features, nobody would jailbreak their phone. But since they don’t, people do 'cheat' by jailbreaking (like yours truly). Same thing with a relationship. If your partner offered sex, and that was a normal part of the relationship, then going outside of that would be an act of infidelity. Otherwise, I don’t see the conflict (note: I am aware that this sounds like i'm blaming the person who gets cheated on. I just want to make you aware that I am aware that you aware what this sounds like).

Why are athletes who use performance enhancing drugs being punished? They’re trying to enhance their performance. They’re trying to put on a better show for the fans. What’s the harm in that? Sure, they put themselves at greater health risks, but that’s a “them” problem. The reaction to the steroid and HGH abuse by baseball players is silly. This whole “It’s not fair that one player is juicing while another is not” is not valid, in my opinion. Some people are naturally stronger or faster or smarter than others. Are we okay with that disadvantage? Some athletes have different training regiments that positively affect the way they play while others do not. Are we okay with that disadvantage? Just because it’s “god-given” ability, it doesn’t make it any less unfair. Just because god jewed me out of a great 40 yard dash speed, doesn’t mean I should leave it at that and move. No, performance enhancing drugs are the great equalizer. They correct what is inherently unfair. I say, if they want to juice, let them juice, statistical records be damned. 

A few months ago I went to go see the latest Harry Potter film. The movie itself was ok, but it probably would've been better had I seen the last three installments. I saw the first two movies, and then the sixth. So, obviously there was a gap in storyline for me. Would it be too much to ask that they attach a “previously on” clip at the beginning of any sequel? I guess I could watch all the movies before watching the 6th, but come on, who has time for that? My suggestion wouldn't take long, just 2 minutes, 3 tops. Just like they do with tv shows, such as “24”. It brings everyone watching up to speed and it makes for a more pleasurable viewing. Or they could show a 10th preview of some movie I’ll never see.

Do you think people who type “lol” or “haha” on their status updates or emails are actually laughing? I don’t think so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been around a person who included that in their message but instead of laughing, they had that “I’m bored” look on their face. People always fake laugh in person. Is this the online version of that? Speaking of which, can we go easy with the exclamation points!!!!! My god, every other sentence you read nowadays ends with an exclamation. It would be very funny if this was a running joke in tribute to that Seinfeld episode where Elaine went crazy with the exclamation point. But somehow I doubt that’s the case here. All I’m saying is, calm down with the exclamations. It’s very annoying!

On a related thought, I always thought it’d be funny if there was a commercial where they showed two people exchanging texts. One person is describing a festive and fun environment, and the other is sitting at home filled with jealousy, enough to where he alters his plan just so he can attend. But what the jealous friend doesn’t know –but will soon find out – is that his buddy is committing the cardinal sin, “textaggeration”. That’s when there’s a huge discrepancy between what is actually happening and how the person attending describes it as. This may be hard for you to imagine in writing, but I think if this concept was more developed, I think you’d have a solid 30-second spot.

Speaking of which, do you ever lie just out of pure lazyness? Like, someone asks you a question, and instead of answering truthfully, you choose the answer with the least chance of generating a follow-up question? For instance, if someone asks, “so, what did you do last night?” I will usually just say “oh, nothing”, because saying “I went to play poker at some random bar” will automatically generate a follow-up, such as “oh, really? Which one? Who did you go with? Did you win anything? Have you been there before? Is there a buy-in?” Most of the time, I have no problem going with the honest route and fielding follow-up questions, but some days, I just say “oh, nothing” and move on. I can’t imagine I’m alone in that.


And that my friends, is all.

-Abe


*Stroke average based on the commonly accepted stroke-per-sex-session average of american atheletes (49.5). 


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

For the BCS, it's all about the money, and nothing but.

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Tampa, Florida. I am there to watch the ACC title game at Raymond James Stadium. It’s late in the fourth quarter, and Georgia Tech, down one point to Clemson, is driving down the field. During a television timeout, I look over at one of the flat screen TV sets in one of the suites behind me. They’re showing the Nebraska-Texas game. It is also a close game. Nebraska, the heavy underdog, just kicked a go-ahead field goal with only a minute left in the game. Texas, the team many predicted would ease into the title game, needed to drive down the field and kick a field goal to win the game. With one-second left, they did just that. They kicked a field goal. Texas wins, and they are headed to the title game. Nebraska loses, and so do all the undefeated non-BCS teams that could’ve played in the national title game instead of Texas. ‘damn it!’, I yelled. ‘TCU was that close to busting up the BCS monopoly’. I turned back from the television set, and apparently Georgia Tech won the Also-ran championship. Oops!

With the best-case scenario – TCU playing the winner of the SEC title game (Alabama) – out the window, I figured TCU, the team many think has the best chance of beating a top-tier BCS team, would get to prove their worth in one of the four BCS bowl games. I figured a Florida-TCU matchup, or an Ohio State-TCU matchup, would make for interesting game. After all, the biggest knock on these mid-major type teams and their undefeated records is that ‘they never play anybody good’. This was their opportunity to play 'somebody good'. Surely the BCS bowl committee would factor that into consideration, right?

Well on Sunday night, the BCS committee made their selections for the five bowl games. The national title game, as predicted, pitted Alabama against Texas. Then TCU’s opponent was named. And what do you know, it was not Florida, and it was not Ohio State or Oregon. It wasn’t even Georgia Tech (sorry, Tyler). The BCS selection committee decided to have TCU play Boise State. Boise State! Boise State? Yeah, Boise fucking State.

The one other non-BCS team. The worst case scenario for TCU and Boise State came into being. They get to play an inconsequential game, and the BCS proponents can continue to spew their idiotic 'who have they played to earn a spot at the top' talking point.

After I went through my usual college-football-is-a-fucking-joke diatribe to one of my friends, I recalled what a taxi driver told me in Tampa. It’s all about the money. It’s all about what match-up in what venue can generate the most money for the respective teams. Who is deserving to play against the top opponents is secondary. And I don’t care how much I love football, that is the absolute worst system in the history of any sport, at least when it comes to crowning a champion. To not be even remotely interested in finding just who are the best teams in the country, boggles the mind. At least my mind. What the fuck is the point? It's like the NFL going off SI's pre-season prediction to determine who plays in February.

I don’t have a problem with college football using a bowl system in lieu of a playoff system. I have a problem with college football, which does not pay its talent their market value, favoring a bowl system that only exists to manufacture hype and generate revenue.

If the objective of the BCS bowl system is to reward teams with winning records to showcase their football program during the holiday break, then I'm fine with it. If it's designed to determine who the best team in the country is, then it fails miserably.


Abe.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lori: On Christmas.

Where are the Grinches who yell every year about taking the Christ out of Christmas? "Blah blah blah it's too commercial blah blah blah Jesus is the reason for the season, blah blah blah Santa is Satan!" Where are they? Maybe I'm just not listening to enough talk radio but it seems to me like there used to be a lot more noise from the Crazy Christians about keeping Christmas Christian. Did they all get Wal-Marts and Best Buys for Christmas last year?

They must have, cause since we're all poor, they're pretty quiet.

Sure--the Christian Christmas Crusaders could be spouting their bullshit again this year if they wanted to. The silence can't be because they feel like it's different this year, like it has suddenly become less commercial and more Jesus-y. I'm also pretty sure that it's not because they've finally come to terms with Christmas being inclusive and welcome to everyone, regardless of religion. I'm pretty sure the "Culture Warrior" types hate my participation in my favorite holiday this year as much as they always have. Why do they hate my participation? I'm such a dick I put up a Christmas tree RIGHT NEXT TO my menorah. My favorite Christmas music CD is “A Very Twisted Christmas” by everybody's favorite Christian band, Twisted Sister (you know some of those turds in the PMRC hate my Christmas tree). But they're quieter about it this year, and I think it's because they've realized something.

America needs Christmas. This is true every year, but this is the first year (so far) in a long time that businesses are depending on the days between Black Friday and Christmas (probably Jan 7, actually) just to keep their doors open. Even if we assume that these anti-Christmas fools would be OK with only the true believers buying iPods and PS3s for each other, there just aren't enough of them to save the day. These stores are relying on people like you and me and the rest of the country to buy things we don't need in the spirit of giving. Buying your kid a Bop-It! because a savior was born 2000 years ago doesn't make any sense. Buying your mom a Kindle because the point of Christmas is to give our loved ones gifts makes sense. We don't do it because of Jesus. We do it because it's what we've been doing, and because it's nice.

ANYWAY, if the wackos are successful in making the rest of us feel guilty for running our asses all over town looking for the latest incarnation of Tickle Me Elmo or whatever the hip thing is this year (please see aside below), we might stop. We're already poor, we already can't afford the Cabbage Patch Kids we're putting on the MasterCard. If you tell us that not only can we not afford it, but we shouldn't do it because it hurts God's feelings, nobody wins. We'll spend our money on something else, and Target's and what not all over the country start closing down, taking along with them millions of jobs. Cats and dogs, living together--mass hysteria! The Noel Nay-sayers may not own these stores, but you can bet your ass they depend on their survival as much as the rest of us do. And if we don't all buy our shit, we're all fucked. And they know it.

Merry Fucking Christmas.

-Lori.

Aside:

When I was four, I wanted a Dozzy Doll. It was like Teddy Ruxpin but it was a boy, and his stories weren't all about him. It was WHAT I WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS. And it was one of those highly sought items that was always out of stock. On Christmas Eve, my dad went all over Fairfax to find me a Dozzy. Why did he wait until Christmas Eve? Because it was only then that he discovered that I wanted the Dozzy Boy, not the Dozzy Bear. He went all the fuck over the place looking for that god damn doll, and he found me one. And I loved it. It's probably still in my Mom's basement somewhere. He didn't tell me what a pain it was to get Dozzy until many years later, and I can't put into words the gratitude I still feel.

Check out Dozzy Doll here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Just another weird piece of the puzzle.

Within the last couple of weeks an Australian researcher combing through the raw data from the "black box" (obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request) from American Airlines Flight 77, the 9/11 flight that is supposed to have crashed into the Pentagon, discovered what he believes to be proof that the narrative about 9/11 provided by the U.S. government and the media cannot be true.

He claims that there is evidence in the flight data recorder that suggests that the cockpit door was never opened at any point during the flight. This, of course, would be impossible if the door was kicked in by two terrorists who killed the pilots before flying with great speed just above the ground into the Pentagon.

I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the data or of the researcher, as I have never seen a flight data recorder report, nor would I know how to interpret such if it were presented to me. I can, however, say with some confidence that you will never hear the first thing about this in the mainstream media, and if you do it will be dismissed out of hand as a lie or some weirdo's fantasy.

No matter what you think about 9/11, it seems to me that if you can't admit that we haven't been (and probably never will be) given the whole story, you're willfully ignorant. There is far too much evidence out there to suggest that something more was going on than 18 Saudi Arabia nationals and one dude from the UAE armed with box-cutters kicking in doors and crashing planes into buildings.

Here's where I found the story.
Worth checking out, anyway.

Again, I still don't know what to think about 9/11. One thing I'm sure of is that the official story is far more fantastical than most of the conspiracy theories I've heard about it.

Later!

-Bob.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little more on the minarets...

It's been a while since we last posted an update on the old Bob and Abe Show blog, but that's something I'd like to remedy. I wouldn't bet the farm on us updating every day, but I would like to make this blog a more important part of the entire Bob and Abe Show experience--both yours and ours. Besides all that, a little blogging never hurt anybody in terms of web exposure and maybe pulling in a few eyeballs that could in turn drive traffic to the show, which can be found here.

In the spirit of all that, I wanted to clarify my position on the Swiss minaret controversy. Granted, I made my position pretty clear on Friday's episode,
but after receiving an e-mail from a listener I wanted to reiterate a few things and make a couple of new points.

There are an estimated 13,000 Catholics and an estimated 25,000 Jews in Iran. This is in a country of 75,000,000 people. Needless to say, this statistic does not engender in a person the notion that people of non-Muslim belief are particularly welcome there. In Saudi Arabia, there are about 8 million foreign workers that live and work in Saudi Arabia (a country of about 30 million people), and it's a pretty safe bet that about 1 million are Catholic. They are not allowed to practice their faith at all--they may not have a church, they may not wear a crucifix, they may not publicly show their religion in any way. Every citizen of Saudi Arabia must be a Muslim, and conversion from Islam to any other religion is punishable by death.

There are an estimated 400,000 Muslims in Switzerland, a country made up of fewer than 8,000,000 people. They are permitted to freely exercise their faith with virtually no interference from the government, with the exception of the recently instituted ban on minarets, which are a feature of only some mosques, and certainly by no means a feature required of the structure.

Muslim immigration into Switzerland, especially from Kosovo, Bosnia, and Turkey, has brought this influx of Muslims. The Swiss seem to have adopted the mindset that the Muslim immigrants should have to conform to certain aspects of Swiss society if they are going to live there. For whatever reason, they believe that the construction of more minarets will have a detrimental impact on their culture and their history. It seems to me that this is their decision to make. They are not infringing upon anyone's basic human rights (legal, innate, supernatural, or otherwise) and they aren't preventing the free exercise of the Muslims' religion.

I gave an example on the show that I would like to flesh out a little bit more. The neighborhood in which I live has a Homeowner's Association that does not allow basketball hoops to be constructed in driveways. This could be construed in (at least) two ways. First, it could be that the addition of basketball hoops, which could be poorly maintained, unsightly, or even an insurance liability for the community, might have some sort of an effect on the property value of all the houses in the neighborhood. Or, it might be said that basketball, which is a sport currently most popular among young urban males, is not the sort of thing the Homeowner's Association wants to make available because of the type of people it might attract to live here, which could also conceivably have a negative effect on property values. The real reason is, of course, the first one, but this will never stop certain individuals from screaming "discrimination." People always see the explanation they most want to see. The only thing being discriminated against in my example is lower property values.

I don't know why each individual that voted to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland did so. Some might be bigots, and believe that their vote is a way to tell Muslims to jsut fuck off already. Some might be really, really into Swiss architecture. If I had to guess, most of them did so because of a certain patriotic love they have for their own culture, their own way of doing things. Can an immigrant really demand absolute free reign, to be allowed to write their own rules in a country that is not their homeland? In reality, Switzerland and much of Europe represents a much more flexible, much less unbending sort of tolerance than any of the cultures of the Islamic world generally stand for. The minaret seems like such a small sacrifice to be asked to pay in return for not having to live in Kosovo or Bosnia anymore.

I'm sure this wouldn't fly in America, and that may be just as well--though it may be because we value Twilight: New Moon more than any sense of our own history, but that's another story for another day--this is not a fight I'd like to see happen in the grand ol' U.S. and A. Religious freedom is a birthright in this country, and an adopted right of those that choose to come here from all over this goofy planet, and I'm all about it. But I do worry that we might let a little political correctness, tolerance, and multi-culturalism get in the way of our overall progress--not just as a nation, but as a species.

Thanks for reading along. It's off to work I go. Certainly hope everybody out there has a great weekend.

Later,
-Bob.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Listener Generated Content

A listener calling himself "The Fareed" has written in to the show and taken umbrage with something Bob said in the most recent episode of The B & A Show.


With Bob on your stance of racism.
Specifically with the 3/5s rule and the 'people in the past were not racist/ the slave traders were not racist'.
I disagree based on the fact that the justification for the action was that the darker skin was a punishment from God.

Or

The fact the people selling the slaves in Africa were black...soooo we can't be racisit. Horrible arguement dude.

Ok well. That's all.

The fareed.
Bob's Response:

The Fareed,

By no means am I suggesting that there were no racist people back in the day, or that elements of racism did not, in some fundamental way, contribute to policies or laws enacted on the state or federal level, such as the 3/5's clause. As you no doubt know, the 3/5's clause was a compromise between the northern and the southern states in terms of determining representation in the House of Representatives in Congress. It was an economic decision, and while revolting, disgusting, and shameful, cannot be said to have been a fundamentally RACIST policy. Slaves were not to be counted as 3/5's of a person because of their race, but because of their legal status as slaves.

While I'll admit the statement is a little controversial, I'm simply trying to say that EVEN slaveholders or slave traders were not NECESSARILY themselves racist. The slave trade was (largely) an economic alliance between black African Muslims and their white European and New World customers. Slavery was a crime against humanity in so profound a way that I think simply writing it off as a vestige of a more racist time does not do justice to the injustices perpetrated against those human beings, and in so doing we risk not really learning anything from our terrible history. What should be gleaned from what happened is not: "gee, those were some racist fucks back then, can you imagine really believing that you're better just because of the color of your skin," but instead: "holy shit, look what they did to their fellow human beings for nothing more than money." Racism is a convenient excuse, obscuring the horror of what was going on--wholesale human trafficking for something so base as wealth.

Without a doubt, some people on both sides of the slave trade believed that they were fundamentally superior to the "brutes" in which they were dealing. But you could be a slave owner without being a racist. You could just be an asshole. In fact, I would probably argue that if you were not a racist and still had slaves than you were an even worse kind of slave owner. Not only did you recognize the humanity of your property, but you continued to perpetuate their bondage. This is, in some ways, a worse crime than simply holding a belief that they were an inferior breed.

The point, I guess, is that we learn nothing by calling people 300 years ago racists, and we learn nothing more by throwing the term or the accusation around today. It's a lot like calling someone stupid, or mean--even if it's true, so what? So far as I can tell, talking with one another, having conversations and arguments, that's the only way to overcome stupidity, racism, or hatred. Simply shouting Racist! or Stupid! is a way of stopping those conversations, and therefore stopping the learning process.
Thoughts, Legion?

-The Bob and Abe Show.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Thoughts with Abe (9.17.09)

Back again with some more random thoughts.


Back in 2005, I made a proclamation. Having watched the courthouse shooting incident unfold on television, I stated that the case would not last very long. It was clear to me, as it should have been to everybody, that Brian Nichols was guilty of killing 4 people in the courtroom. There was, to put it mildly, a plethora of evidence against him. That was 4 years ago. Guess what? Nothing happened with that case. The prosecutors couldn't somehow connect the dots. I've seen people go to prison for life on hearsay and a dumb jury. It was then that I realized that no matter how obvious a person's guilt may be, the justice system is so ineffective and corrupt, that it would be impossible to predict any outcome. So, I haven't made any other proclamation about any crimes in the news since then. Until now. With limited facts currently known, I can conclude that this Yale murder suspect is clearly guilty. It is so painfully obvious. There is no other person who is remotely linked to this murder. There is a ton of evidence that indicates he was at least somehow involved in the murder. I can't imagine how this story can end in any other way. That is my criminal lock of the year. This guy is guilty.

Speaking of crime on campus, this Hofstra gang rape story is rather amusing. This woman claimed she was raped by 5 guys (one named Jesus, and another named Stalin) after a party on campus. The guys were arrested and their names and photos were published in the papers. They were held in jail for 3 days. Then, the woman recanted her story and admitted that she was in fact not gang raped, but instead had consensual sex, with 5 guys, at once. The judge downgraded the gang rape to merely a gang bang, which is not even a misdemeanor. Now, these guys were accused of a serious offense, and for the most part, their names will be linked to this rape case. Sometimes, that's all it takes to sully a good name (though one of the guy's name is Stalin, but you know). I bet you a couple of them will be fired from their jobs simply for taking part in this whole incident. I mean, they were, after all, involved in a 5-on-1 sex encounter, known as the ultimate 'power play' up north (hey, an insensitive hockey reference!). So, what recourse do these guys have in the eyes of public opinion? I guess they can sue in civil court for defamation of character or something, but how far is that going to go. This woman is clearly troubled, and if I can play psychologist for a minute, she probably has had some sexual trauma in her childhood. But that still doesn't mean you can go around accusing guys with a healthy appetite for a gang bang with such a heinous crime as rape. That would be like being accused as a racist whenever you object to or disagree with somebody outside of your race.

Speaking of which, former President Jimmy Carter decided to chime in on the whole health care debate earlier this week. The conclusion he reached was simple: the main reason why there are so many people who disagree with the president on issues such as health care, has all to do with the president's race. That's right, the same country that elected the first black man as president, by a 200 electoral vote margin over a white man, has now turned on the president. It somehow slipped their mind that he was after all, black. Those sneaky blacks. Even Bill Cosby, who conservatives often applaud for his stance against some elements of the black culture, agreed with President Carter's assessment. I was actually surprised by that. Now, don't get me wrong. There are plenty of bigots and xenophobes and even racists out there. And some of them are in those tea-party events and marches down Washington, DC. But to say that the primary reason why there is a significant uprising from the opposition is based on the president's race is not only wrong, it's also very dismissive and counterproductive. It's good to see that the White House is staying away from this land mine of an issue.

I will fault the conservative movement in one respect. It's the same issue I have with Muslims. Why isn't there a stronger push by conservatives to distance themselves from those within their camp that are bigoted, xenophobic, and oftentimes outright racist? Muslims always stated that they are a moderate and peaceful people. That extremists are but a small fringe group that do not represent the whole. Yet, whenever some crazy shit happened by Muslim extremists, you never heard any "not in our name" kind of statements from the Muslim communities. And the few times they did come out against it, they would throw in a bunch of caveats that offset the denouncement (e.g. it sucks, but those Jews deserved it). The same thing is happening with the tea party protests and other conservative gatherings. There's always a bunch of racially motivated banners among the masses, but nobody calls them out on it. Nobody says "hey, that's not what we're about. you don't represent us". They accept them like they do the rest. They implicitly give them credibility, and the end result is the liberal side lumping all of them together, mostly for political gain. They all become 'those racists'. It's not right, but it's like that expression goes, it's the company you keep. And if you have no problem with tea partying with blatant bigots, then what does that say about you? Is all I’m saying.

One last thing. Maureen Dowd. Really? When Joe Wilson, the now infamous congressman from South Carolina, shouted "you lie" to the president, you instead heard "you lie, boy"? That's what we in the business like to call a stretch. I know the argument you were trying to drive home - that there was some racist undertone behind the heckle – but come on. Any statement ending with ‘boy’ towards an adult black male, as history has shown us, has some racial implications. So to suggest Joe Wilson meant to add ‘boy’ to his statement suggests that he is being dismissive of the president because of his race. Unless it can be proven, that sort of salacious accusation should be beneath the New York Times editorial page. Or so I thought. But I digress.

If you can control the news cycle, you can control the debate. With the rising popularity in aggregate news sites, what stories get plucked from the obscurity of the AP wire and local newspapers often shapes the national debate. There is an article on Huffington Post that makes the claim that the conservative-leaning news aggregate Drudgereport.com, especially recently, selects news stories that drive a singular point home: Obama is a failing president, who is black. The author of the article draws this conclusion because of the stories that are in heavy rotation on the website - the firing of Obama’s black adviser, an op-ed article about how bad the president is doing, and the ACORN controversy, just to name a few. Even seemingly non-related stories, such as the video of the school bus fight that shows a white student being beaten by a couple of black students, is a featured story on the website. The reason for all of these story selections, according to the author, is to paint a negative picture of the president as well as to de-legitimize his efforts. Now, I don't necessarily agree with the author's point on this. I frequent the web site, and though I've seen those aforementioned stories featured, I have also seen many other stories featured that do not fit that characterization. But I will say this, I do agree with the general theme of his message. News aggregate website and the stories they feature more often than not align with the ideology of those who make the decisions. But as long as people know that going into, I have no real problem with it.

On a related side-note, once people accept the fact that they seek news stories that reinforce their beliefs, I can finally go ahead with my news website that caters to that type of readership. It'll either be called echochamber.com or filter.com. The main page will have a blue pill (liberal slant) and a red pill (conservative slant). Depending on which pill you take, the news stories will be suited for that ideology. At the bottom right, where it will be hard to see, I will have a black helicopter icon, for those wacky conspiracy theory types. And to top it all, I will have one main forum for everybody to debate/argue the stories of the day. I think it could work.

Earlier this week, Bob sent me a link to a story about this guy who was severely beaten by 10-15 guys. The reason for the attack had all to do with the victim’s race, and that of his girlfriend. He was a white guy. His girlfriend was black. Not an ordinary pairing, but it happens. The 10-15 guys were black and I guess they disapproved of the interracial couple. They felt that this white guy was taking one of their precious black women from them, which puzzled me. I mean, what’s it to them? It’s not like any of those 10-15 guys were going to marry her, or at least stick around for any length of time. The rate for single-mothers in the black community is what, 70%? That figure is especially staggering when you compare it to any other group. So why would a bunch of teenaged black kids, who as the stats show are notoriously against committed relationships, want to break up a seemingly happy couple? I would be okay with this sort of degenerate behavior if, after they beat the poor guy to a bloody pulp, one of the guys asked her hand in marriage, or at least out on a date. But that wasn’t their objective. They were just looking for a reason to beat up on someone. And we cannot stand for that. The other great thing about this story is how it didn’t gain any traction with the community or the media as far as outrage goes. The father of the victim made that obnoxious “if it were the other way around, if a bunch of white guys beat up a black kid” argument. Still, many people didn’t care.


And lastly, I cannot wait until this whole Ramadan thing ends. I have had to eat out for breakfast and lunch for the past 3 and a half weeks. This is due to the fact that I cannot prepare any food to take to work, which I ordinarily do. This, in turn, is due to the fact that nobody in the house can eat because of the 'holy' month of fasting during the daylight hours. I usually budget for eating out each month, and so far I have gone $100 over my usual monthly spending. That would pay for a paramore concert and two week's worth of gas. Thankfully, the 'holy' month comes to an end this weekend, so I can resume my modest eating habits at work. I sure as hell hope that come Ramadan next year, I am out on my own somewhere in the city of Atlanta and not have to abide by these silly rules.

And that my friends, is all

-Abe

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Random thoughts with Abe (9.3.09)

I am back with some more random thoughts.

The Obama administration really needs to consult with conservatives to gauge their reaction about their initiatives before rolling them out to the general public. Between the flag @ whitehouse program and asking school children how they can help the president, it seems Obama's 'deciders' don't have a clue about the political landscape in which they roam. Are these people inside the administration that stupid? That myopic? That ignorant to not see what is so plainly obvious? How can they sit there over at the west wing and come up with these idiotic plans and think nobody will make a big fuss about it? We are, after all, dealing with a general public that stews in paranoia. Overreacting to otherwise innocuous programs is a pastime to many people. So, even if these programs are harmless (which I think they are), they are still not wise moves to pursue politically. I really do think the president should seriously consider my suggestion, and hire some conservative types and see what they think of these proposals. Kind of like President Clinton did with Dick Morris. If he can't find anybody willing to take on that role, hire me. I promise you, the rate of back-tracking from ill-advised initiatives will decrease significantly.

The New International Version bible is going through a revision so that it can be gender-neutral. They’re replacing expressions such as “sons of god” with “children of god”. They say they’re doing this so that the bible reflects the changes in “language usage” that has taken place recently. I think that’s great and all, but why stop only at gender? Why not have a major revision and adopt other changes in ‘language usage’? Wouldn’t it be cool if the bible read “and Moses said to his people, brb”? I think they not only should religious texts be revised, they should have different editions, targeting different demographics. Throw in a little comedy and ‘insider’ lingo for the youth, and play it safe for the adults. I think you could see more people fall back into religion if they did this. Hmm…. Maybe I should offer up my consulting services to churches. I’ll give a 10% discount on my fee, as long as you pass along the savings to Jesus, provided that money goes through me first (I’ll expedite the transfer process).

I never thought I’d agree with Audrey O'Day (random singer/reality TV hack), but she is right about one thing. Evil people are generally smart. Recently on Hannity's TV show, Audrey O'Day said that 'evil' dictators like Adolf Hitler and - to a much lesser extent - Fidel Castro were "brilliant men". Umm... okay? Where's the controversy? How could anyone deny this fact? Adolf Hitler was practically a genius. He and his minions were one pesky Island (the brits) and one ill-advised attack on Russia away from conquering Europe. A stupid person would never be in such a position. Now, does genius and brilliant equate to good? No, and I think that's the problem people like Hannity's sheep have with these statements. They, in their childish wisdom, conflate intelligence with good. Intelligence has very little to do with morality. What smart people do with their intelligence dictates which side of good/evil they fall under. A good smart person becomes a doctor or teacher. An evil smart person becomes a dictator or banker. Their morality doesn't negate their brilliance.

The "sending the wrong message" doctrine is, ironically, sending the wrong message. The social conservatives need to sit down and think through their stance on sex education. What is more important: kids having unprotected sex and the consequences that come from that (kids born out of wedlock, abortion, STD's)? OR curbing those trends by allowing sex education in the classroom and in effect condoning kids having sex? Because, trust me, in either scenario, kids will be having sex. Pretending it's not happening and promoting "purity rings" will not and has not solved the problem. So, at some point, social conservatives will have to give up the delusional notion that abstinence-only is a realistic goal and combat the issue head-on by teaching these horny rug rats a thing or two.

Having said that, the Duggard family -- who are having a 19th child in a few months -- is sending the wrong message. We already have a crapload of kids in this country, so do we really need to cheer on a family that is trying to single-handedly fill a 53-man NFL roster? Why not instead promote adoptions? Like an "infant recycling" initiative, with tax cuts and everything. Or you could hold baby-drafts, where people can scout and select babies based on whatever traits they deem desirable. Shit, you could even spring up a couple of match-making websites such as babymatch.com or infantharmony.com. Any of these ideas are preferable to the ‘crank out as many kids as your lord will allow for’ theory. Oh, and one last thing. We seem to be ok promoting "buy american" initiatives with the auto industry. Why not hold the same views with adoptions?

And lastly, the Atlanta mayoral race is getting pretty 'racy'. For the first time in over 35 years, the city of Atlanta could elect its first white mayor. And that thought doesn't sit very well with some in the black community (read: irony). Currently, there are three viable candidates for the upcoming election on November 3rd, and two of them are black. The lone white candidate, Councilwoman Mary Norwood, has a decent chance of winning. The primary reason for that - according to the Black Leadership Forum - is the belief that the black vote will be split between the two black candidates, resulting in no one receiving a majority of the votes and forcing a runoff. That scenario, again according to the Black Leadership Forum, would be disastrous for the black candidates. As a political science professor put it, "blacks do not return to the polls in a runoff, historically". In other words, a runoff will result in a Mary Norwood victory. So to prevent this from happening, the Black Leadership Forum sent out an email urging black voters to only back one of the two black candidates, and their preference is with City Council President Lisa Borders (her grandfather is of significance in the civil rights movement). This solution would likely avoid having to hold a runoff. The reason I bring this up is to illustrate one of the main gripes I have with 'minority groups'. They never seem to realize the absurdity and hypocrisy of their positions and beliefs. And this is not limited to black people. Women do the same thing (by the way, when did women become a protected minority?). Foreigners do the same. And oddly enough, white males do the same. You no longer even have to be technically a minority anymore. It's a mindset. Those that feel they are disenfranchised, past or present, hold firm to the belief that it's not wrong when they do it. It's a pretty interesting phenomenon.

And that my friends, is all.

Later

-Abe


change you can believe in.

The Bob and Abe Show is transitioning to a two shows per week format! Starting with next week's episodes, you'll get that which you crave twice as often, and with roughly 3.5 times more enthusiasm, and 1.7 times the incisiveness. Sadly, we've had to sacrifice the humor, of which you will be getting only 70% of previous levels, which is still pretty damn funny.

Don't worry, you won't be expected to listen to three hours of Bob and Abe every week. We're going to be producing two 40-minute (or so) podcasts every week to ease consumption, digestion, and, um, processing. Hopefully now you'll be less reticent to tell all your friends about us, given the new less bulky packaging we come in.

Keep the feedback coming! This may not be a democracy, but we are weak-willed when we hear the pleas of our mouth-breathing serfdom.

Also, this here is getting a little ridiculous, no? I mean, come on, we're biting now?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Random thoughts with Abe

For as much as we talk on our weekly show, we still don't cover all the newsworthy issues that interest us. So in lieu of having a 4 hour weekly podcast, we will, from time to time, post links and random thoughts about the world at large on this here website.

 

For this week, I (Abe) will go over some topics I found interesting. It will simply be called “random thoughts with Abe”. Enjoy.

 

 

Town hall meetings over health care are taking place all over the country, and boy are they contentious. Already, there have been many protests against the democratically-led plan for health care reform. I’m sure you’ve seen the images on television by now. Politicians, home for august recess, are getting an earful from their constituents. The interesting part in all of this is the claim made by many on the left who say the protests are artificial and staged. That a bunch of people go from town hall to town hall for the sole purpose of disrupting the event and creating the impression that there’s a groundswell of opposition to this health reform. And to counter this effort on the right, the democrats are now mobilizing to get some of their people in these town hall meetings to offset some of the rhetoric. Hopefully a brawl breaks out at one of these meetings.

 

And speaking of town hall meetings, this whole issue of a "death panel" is about as absurd a talking point as I've heard in some time. Nowhere in the proposed legislation (which I oppose, by the way) does it saying anything about there being a panel which determines who lives and who dies. I wouldn't personally oppose such a measure for old people, mind you (it fits right in with my “phase out” plan that is still in the works). But to have people running around spewing absolute lies won't help the cause. Or maybe it will.  

 

The unemployment rate has finally gone down, not up. First time in a long while that the unemployment rate has gone down. It went from 9.5 to 9.4 (very minimal shift). New unemployment claims have also gone down. Are we nearing the end of the recession or is it still inevitable that we hit 10% unemployment. It will be interesting to see how the next couple of months fare with these figures. I have a sneaking suspicion that the unemployment rate will go back down some more.

 

With schools starting up for the fall semester, the swine flu hysteria resumes. Is there more to it than we're led on? For such a highly feared virus – at least by the scientific community – it’s not getting a lot of respect by the general public. In fact, some even suggest that there are those out there who are stirring up the hysteria in order to profit off the medicine. I, as you probably have guessed, don’t share that delusional concern, but I do find this whole swine flu “pandemic” amusing. Probably won’t be funny in two years when 2 million people have died. But for now, I’m amused. 

 

New York is implementing a new program to solve the homeless problem. They are giving them homes They are buying them one way plane tickets to go elsewhere. Already, they spent $1 million for 550 homeless families to go bum elsewhere. Is this a great idea, or bad idea? On one hand, you are getting rid of the eyesore that is a homeless person. Finding suitable housing, after all, won’t be an issue with them. But on the other hand, is the problem of panhandlers really that bad to where you’re going to spend millions of dollars to get rid of them? And is this really solving anything? You’re basically dumping the problem elsewhere. It kind of reminds me of that episode of “the Simpsons” where the city of Springfield, strapped for cash, agrees to take in the garbage of nearby towns to generate some revenue. The town is eventually overrun with garbage. I wonder if the city of Detroit would be interested in taking in the nation’s homeless population. They already have a head start. 

 

 

 

And that is all for this week. As always, feel free to post comments and direct us to any pertinent links.

 

Later.

 

-Abe

Thursday, July 23, 2009

new youtube video.

We've got another video up over on the YouTube. Abe put together a little photo montage to go along with Bob's "Happy Thoughts" essay on tolerance from week 2 of the show. Pass it along to your friends...it's a rather appropriate introduction to "The Bob and Abe Show" for anyone wondering what we're (or at least Bob is) all about.

Thanks!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

health care reform reading material

With the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor set aside for now, the focus of congress is now squarely on health care reform. Already, a Senate bill has made it out of two committees and a House bill has cleared an important committee as well. So, before bob and abe give their take on this critical issue, here's a few interesting articles detailing the events of this past week. 



Friday, July 17, 2009

but was it worth the wait?

Apologies are in order for the legion of "The Bob and Abe Show" fans that have had to endure an unreasonable wait for this week's episode. Technical difficulties, the somewhat unwieldy length, and some other unforeseeables delayed the posting of this episode.

The good news is that you get a bonus 20 minutes of Bob and Abe. The bad news is that you have to endure 20 minutes extra minutes of Bob and Abe. We'll try to keep future episodes down to the more manageable 60-65 minutes, but we rambled a bit this week.

Further good news is that I hereby promise that we will have this coming week's episode up absolutely no later than 4 a.m. 22 july 2009. Srsly.

Let us know what you think over at bobandabeshow@gmail.com

Thanks!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

no news is...good news?

Without a major national story breaking this week (B&A Show believes this may be a result of the vacuum left by the Jackson Memorial, which sucked all the intelligence and will to live out of our nation's fine reporting pool when it ended) the Bob and Abe Show is left without a lead!

Instead, we'll be doing a quick rundown of the week's headlines, with just a couple of minutes of hilarious insights on each. This got us thinking, and even though it's last second notice, do you have any headlines you'd like to hear our thoughts on? Just comment on this post or send us an e-mail with the link attached one way or another, and we'll check it out, and probably include it in the show.

Hurry up! Let us know!

Some things already on our plate:

Obama says the stimulus is working! Be patient!

HAXORS!!1!!111!

Now Russia wants a global currency, too.

Don't forget about swine flu! Be scared! Stay scared, dammit!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

episode 3!

listen to the new show, here.

a few thoughts on tolerance.

from week 2 of "the bob and abe show." bob had a few things to say on the concept of tolerance, and here it is, in text form.

In the painfully grade-schoolish fashion of rhetorical essaying, I will begin by defining the term that I have placed under attack. Tolerance, as defined by dictionary.com, is:

1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

2. interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.

Tolerance, for lack of a better word or, simple irony, is no longer tolerable, on any sort of grand cultural scale. Tolerance is something I have for a two-year-old child, or a dog. I will tolerate a two-year-old screaming uncontrollably at the table next to mine because the two-year-old lacks the ability to reason or use logic, has precious little language with which to communicate its desires—in short, the child does not know any better. I will tolerate a dog that occasionally shits the carpet because while the dog understands on some level that it should not have shat the carpet, it is, after all, just a stupid fucking dog. Dogs are known to occasionally shit carpets, and so I can be neither surprised nor can I get terribly justifiably angry at the dog's action.

Tolerance is something that is expected, if not demanded, of me as a liberal-minded, undogmatic free-thinking person, according to the definition. If there is a part of another culture that goes against something fundamental about the way I see the world, the only fair and objective reaction is to tolerate it as something just a little different from what I believe, but valid just the same. Just because I don't agree with it doesn't make either one of us wrong—we can live in harmony together as two people who just agree to disagree. According to the definition, by my fair and objective assessment of the differences between me and my subject—let's say, the shitty carpet-shitting dog, I am being permissive of the dog's behavior, and by my recognition that the dog doesn't know any goddam better, I am permitting the carpet-shitting to continue.

But what if, just for, well, carpet-shits and giggles, we exchanged the dog in this scenario, with, say, any major religious or political or governmental organization that discriminates against any percentage of its population for any reason whatsoever. Saudi Arabia, China, or the Catholic church. It doesn't matter—any group that willfully violates the human rights of even its own constituents or those that would oppose them will slide in quite nicely. Women in Saudi Arabia. Or loud-mouthed Chinese. Or Catholic children who slip up and sin every once and a while. These are huge numbers of human beings that are treated like property, or less than, and live in fear that the consequences of their actions can mean execution by stoning, life in prison, or eternal damnation just for attempting to freely express their humanity.

Does an intellectual tolerance of other cultures mean that I have to tolerate the marginalization, propertization, and basic systemic hatred of women by huge swaths of Islam? Or that I should find it permissible for freedom seeking Chinese to be locked up for years simply for expressing their basic human rights? Or that I accept the forever recurring abuse perpetrated upon millions and millions of young catholics in the form of promised eternal pain and torture, in the event that they fail to gain entrance to heaven due to the impossibly high standards set for admission.

I don't think I even need to answer the question. The answer is no, by the way—I should not have to tolerate systemic violations of basic human rights in the interest of not hurting anyone's feelings. If you doubt the systemic nature of these violations, I would simply, if admittedly a touch arrogantly, submit that you need to look closer. If you further think that more evolved versions of these systems—basically less completely fucking crazy versions of these religions, are somehow less unacceptable, than I would ask the following: if you have to leave behind the most fervent adherers to a particular way of life in order to deem it culturally acceptable or even to justify its continued existence, do you think that maybe, just maybe, there might be something fundamentally flawed about the belief structure?

The difference between the dog and the institutions is, hopefully, just as apparent. Perhaps the most important revelation we remarkable human animals have derived from the study of ourselves and the world around us is but the fulfillment of the hypotheses of the greatest philosophers who ever put their thoughts, ideals, and hopes to the page. The idea that all men are equal, utterly regardless of breeding or bloodlines, race, religion, or nationality—a fact as revolutionary as it is blatantly plain and as purely beautiful as it is simple and instinctual—is no longer a mere ideal, or concept. It is a fact of our genetic coding, and as such, should free us all from the primitive barbarians who would divide us with such petty distinctions as skin pigmentation, or place of birth.

Though this is probably no great surprise to you by this point, I will say anyway that I find myself to be a rather remarkable creature. I say that not as a confession of hubris, but as a way of relating the level of respect that I have for you as my fellow human being. I know of no higher compliment than to say that I am that remarkable creature, and that you are my equal.

This is why I cannot tolerate the tolerance, or permit the permissiveness, or accept the idea that I should respect someone else's belief system simply because it is their own, and not mine. Call it whatever you want—intolerance, ignorance, close-minded hatred, freshly shat sanctimonious bullshit—I will happily accept all futile attempts at narrowing my perspective down to anything so easily dismissed. Simple truths are so much stronger than that.

The only moral high ground is the one onto which each and every last one of us is born. It is the space which I am proud to occupy. Tolerate it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

episode 2!

Listen to the Show here.

If you would like to receive an e-mail every time there's a new show available, e-mail Bob and Abe at bobandabeshow@gmail.com with Subscribe in the subject line.

Episode Two of the Bob and Abe Show is finally upon you. You may notice that Abe is, strangely, not a part of the festivities this week, but Augie is here to keep his seat warm and spar with Bob a bit.

On this week's show, Bob and Augie talk about the U.S. health care system, Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford, and Hitler! There's not a whole lot else to ask for, is there? But if that's not enough for you, there's even five minutes of a little segment we'll call Happy Thoughts with Bob.

Don't worry, Abe will be back next week. You may direct your outrage over his absence to bobandabeshow@gmail.com.

Thanks for checking us out, and be sure to check back every week for a new show.

Episode 2 Breakdown:

00:00 Introductions all around.
03:53 Bob and Aug talk ObamaCare, hilarity ensues.
25:20 Bob is allowed to rant for five or so minutes.
31:30 Jack-o Talk. Five whole minutes elapse before the first molestation reference.
44:20 Governor Mark Sanford is banging an Argentinian, and Augie approves.
49:22 Michael Jackson comes back up, and then some weird shit happens. McDo, anyone?
54:09 Bob regales us all with a tale from the wacky world of pizza delivery.

Until next week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

the show!

try that for all your Bob and Abe Show needs!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A great show? Or the greatest show?

Hard to say, just yet. Suffice it to say, we're pretty awesome.