SPOON, FULL OF TRUTH
A heavy dose of truth, humor, and political activism.
- Name: D. Jacob Miller
- Location: Phila, Pennsylvania, United States
Monday, August 28, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I CAN SING A RAINBOW, SING A RAINBOW TOO
FOILED BRITTISH TERROR PLOT HAS AMERICANS SEEING RED Here we go again. Just as the Senate primaries are starting to heat up, and Joe Lieberman (a “war on terror” supporter) lost the Connecticut Democratic nomination to Ned Lamont (who has taken a stance against the war) the color coded terror alert chart has made it’s triumphant return! We all remember the good old days of elementary Bert (yellow) and Ernie (orange) fear. “Be afraid, but not too afraid, and stock up on duct tape”. Republicans in recent years have relied on fear to win elections. The color coded terror chart is a major weapon in their arsenal. The sad part is, the colors don’t correspond with how fearful Americans should be of a terrorist attack, but with how fearful Republicans are of losing an election or their stranglehold of fear on the public (see chart at top of post from 2004 election). So it comes as no surprise to those of us with a brain that today, just days after Joe Lieberman (who has been so close to Bush that he could lean over and kiss him, literally) lost the Connecticut primary, the terror alert was raised to red. It is the first time the red alert level in the Homeland Security warning system has been invoked, although there have been periods in the past when the orange level was applied (green and blue, have never been used). Homeland Security defines the red alert as a “severe risk of terrorist attacks”. “We believe that these arrests (in London) have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted,” head of the department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said. He added, "However, there was no indication of current plots within the United States". It’s more of the same old GOP rhetoric. “Be afraid! Not of any specific threat, but just to be safe, we want everyone constantly on edge and scared all the time. We’ve been focusing too much on Iraq and Israel and Lebanon. It’s time to bring the fear back home where it belongs. We might have disrupted the latest terror attack…but who really knows for sure?” As an added indication of just how low the GOP is willing to sink, Dick Cheney criticized voters in Connecticut for voting against Joe Lieberman. Cheney went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Lieberman might encourage al Qaeda types as Republicans began a concerted effort to use Lieberman's defeat to portray Democrats as weak on national defense. You know what really makes us weak when it comes to National defense? A loose cannon President who blindly starts a war with Iraq that totally destabilizes the mid-east and gives new fodder to our enemies. This is the same clown who sat frozen in a classroom full of children while planes were being flown into skyscrapers in New York City. Our government had been warned about the events of 9/11 and chose to ignore them. Why? So they could scare Americans into letting the Patriot Act pass (giving Bush the power to break the law in the name of defense) and starting a war with Iraq that has made Bush and his friends very, very rich. What's a few thousand lives when compared to a few billion dollars? When a Democrat like Ned Lamont takes a stand against the war, the GOP calls him weak on defense. Part of me doubts whether there was actually a thwarted plot in the UK. It all seems a little too well timed. We all know that British Prime Minister Tony Blair, (vacationing in the Caribbean) and George Bush (vacationing on his ranch in Crawford, TX) are in bed together. We all know they’ve been taking a lot of heat lately for their actions in Iraq and with the situation on the Israel/Lebanon border. With a broad and open ended term like, “war on terror,” a foiled terror plot is just what they need to give credence to their actions. The foiled terror plot can help further their agendas here at home (keeping the GOP in power in the Senate) and in the Middle East (keeping troops in Iraq and proving that the war was not a mistake). What can we do to prevent this? Be brave. We’re not the ones who should be afraid, Bush and his goons are. We cannot let an alleged foiled terror plot and a little red color coding keep us from recognizing what is really going on. We are all being duped. Even some of these idiots in the red states are starting to realize the war in Iraq was a mistake (some of us have known since before it began) and that could mean election year woes for the GOP. It could also mean (gasp) that there could be public outcry to bring our troops home before anymore lose their lives. This has Dubya, Cheney, and the rest of the goon squad, seeing red. MASSACHUSETTS TEACHES SOLIDERS A HARSH LESSON IN HIGHER EDUCATION What would be enticing enough to convince someone to join the U.S. military these days? A college education. Army and Air National Guard soldiers expecting to be rewarded for their war duty under Massachusetts’ Gov. Mitt Romney’s “Welcome Home” bill found that welcome mat ripped out from under them last week by the Legislature as it ended its formal session without approving money for the waivers. “One of the main reasons I joined the Army was to get money to go to college,” said David Cowing, 23, of Rockland, an Iraq war veteran who is taking out at least $3,500 in loans to cover tuition for his first year at UMASS-Boston because his benefits won’t take effect in time to pay the first round of bills. “I went and fought in Iraq. I shouldn’t have to worry about tuition. I should be able to go wherever I want,” he added. The Legislature did find the time to vote on much more important issues like tuition breaks for illegal immigrants. They also have found plenty of money to fund the “Big Dig” (the most expensive highway project in American history). The Big Dig, which was originally estimated to cost $2.5 billion in 1985, has ballooned to a cost of over $14.6 (in federal and state tax dollars). Just last month, part of this construction project collapsed, killing a woman passenger in the car that it crushed. So where is the welcome home for these brave soldiers? National Guard officials say the bureaucratic red tape has left some soldiers scrambling to meet tuition costs. “It appears that some schools are honoring the tuition fee waivers and some are not,” said National Guard spokesman Maj. Winfield Danielson. “We remain hopeful that the Legislature will fund the tuition waiver in an informal session.” If someone is so desperate to go to college that they are willing to join the Army or Air National Guard and become a slave to George Bush and his self-righteous agenda, they shouldn’t be denied it after serving their tour of duty. As an added slap in the face, Massachusetts was able to approve money for a construction project that will be outdated by the time it’s finished and had the time to vote on tuition breaks for illegal immigrants. Who’s running this state? I attended University in Massachusetts and I can tell you, it’s a bunch of morons. I urge all of you voters in Massachusetts to get out and support your hometown heroes by making sure that these members of the Legislature do not get re-elected (or at least are forced to take classes in prioritizing). Maybe then, “no mah” soldiers will be denied what they have fought so hard to earn. THANK YOU, AND GOOD NIGHT I hope you all enjoyed your truth today. I know sometimes it can be a little hard to stomach it all and that’s why it’s best to digest it one Spoon, Full of Truth at a time. I look forward to continuing to provide you with all the truth I can, and I hope you all look forward to returning to the Spoon. As always, the power to share the Spoon and the truth is in your hands. Please forward the link to everyone you know. They might enjoy it so much that they take you out for ice cream.
Friday, August 04, 2006
THE FOLLOWING IS THE FOURTH INSTALLMENT OF MY GUEST COLUMN SEGMENT. THE VIEWS ARE THOSE OF THE WRITER AND NOT THOSE OF D. JACOB MILLER OR SPOON, FULL OF TRUTH (ALTHOUGH I MIGHT AGREE WITH THEM). PLEASE ENJOY! CHECK BACK SOON FOR ANOTHER OFFICIAL SPOON, FULL OF TRUTH POST.
Let's have a show of hands. How many of you thought that Mel Gibson (Hi, my name is Mel Gibson, and I am a raging anti-Semite) and Fidel Castro (My kid brother Raoul will be filling in for me) would be sharing the spotlight at a time when Iraq is on the verge of civil war with all the sectarian violence, and the middle east war between Israel and Hezbollah is threatening to engulf the entire region? That’s what I thought. No one. What to make of all this craziness? Well, surprisingly, I think both situations can end up with a positive resolution. Hear me out. First, Mel. He is begging for forgiveness. He is asking Jews to help him through this crisis. For those of you living under a rock, Mel, after being stopped by a police officer in Malibu, California, allegedly lashed out at the officer with a scatological anti-Semitic diatribe. Mel, who was allegedly driving under the influence, perhaps realizing that his career could be jeopardized by his revealing his true feelings, apologized and tried to put the beer back in the can (so to speak). All of us, at one time or another, have said something or done something we have regretted and wished we could erase. Maybe it was something like saying, “girls aren't good at sports,” when choosing sides in the playground. Maybe it was blurting out a racial epithet, or locking the car doors when driving through a "bad" neighborhood. As soon as we said it or did it, we recognized how inappropriate it was. So I would say, let us forgive Mel, but don't forget what he did. If he does it again, then I say let us boycott his films or whatever else he undertakes. Oh yeah, I would also ask Mel to contribute mucho $$$ to a charity that fights anti-Semitism. And, finally, as Joy Behar suggested, ask Mel to publicly get circumcised. Now to Fidel. This is a momentous opportunity to modify our relations with Cuba. The embargo in my opinion has failed. Castro has been in power longer than any other person. I don't count Queen Elizabeth, whose reign is mostly ceremonial. I know there are many Cuban Americans who hate Castro and his regime. I suspect that they will continue to hate Raoul or any other successor(s) chosen by Fidel. Nevertheless, I think this a perfect time to relax the embargo and take that weapon out of Fidel's arsenal. He has often railed about the injustice of our embargo. Remember, it was Tricky Dick Nixon who, much to the shock of most Americans, opened the door to renewed relations with China. We need to open the door, not continue to isolate Cuba. The true victims of our policy are the Cuban people who are denied the opportunity, by and large, to engage us one to one. So there they are, my proposals to fix the Mel and Fidel problems. Please comment on this post and let me know what you think. -Jay Fanyal
Thursday, August 03, 2006
THE TRUTH (AND ALL THAT JAZZ)
GRUB IN AN ELEVATOR Last night I had the pleasure of being treated to dinner by my cousin Hilary. Hilary (who lives in California with my cousin Kevin), Julia (my wife), and I chose a jazz restaurant in Philadelphia called Zanzibar Blue. When we arrived, the band wasn’t scheduled to go on for about 45 minutes so we started off with some drinks and took the chance to catch up. I have to tell you, the bartender at Zanzibar makes one hell of a mojito. The appetizers we ordered were also wonderful. I had the calamari. I’d highly recommend it. About the time our meals were being served, the band began to play. The opening number was quite good. I can’t pretend to tell you what song it was, but I enjoyed it. When the first song was over, the bass player thanked the audience and welcomed the front man, saxophonist Andrew Neu, to the stage. I was pretty shocked when he walked onto the stage. Andrew New was not at all what I had been expecting. Andrew was a white guy, probably about 30 years old, with some of the worst hair I’ve ever seen. Imagine Kenny G’s white-boy Jheri curl with bleached blonde highlights. Now imagine it’s ten times worse than that. In addition to his bad hair, he had this look about him like he thought that playing the saxophone instantly made him cool. It did not. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself: http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j94/spoonfulloftruth/SPOON%20FULL%20OF%20TRUTH/andrewneu_wall_bk.jpg) He announced the first number and they began to play. My wife instantly leaned over to Hilary and called him a cheese-dick. If the reference cheese-dick is unfamiliar to you, Andrew is the dictionary definition. If there was a world’s biggest cheese-dick’s book, he would grace the cover. Determined not to let his appearance ruin my appetite, I turned my attention to my meal. While the tasty food was easily able to avert my eyes from the stage, my ears were not as fortunate. Hilary commented that she felt like we were on an elevator. To me, it felt more like I was enjoying a good meal while I was stuck on hold. “Thank you for calling. Your call is very important to us, and will be answered in the order in which it was received. Your approximate wait time for decent music is: the rest of the evening”. We were seated very close to the stage and the music was loud enough to make conversation virtually impossible so I did my best to enjoy my dinner. Between numbers, Andrew announced that they would not be selling Andrew Neu Group CD’s that evening because they had sold out of them. The CD was available however on I-tunes. I had two thoughts. One, congratulations! It’s quite a feat to produce 25 CD’s and sell them all. How long did it take, three years? And two, what has my I-pod ever done to me that I’d want to get back at it by introducing it to the Andrew Neu Group? We finished dinner and decided to check out the dessert selection. Everything looked pretty good but it quickly became apparent to me that nothing they had for dessert would taste as sweet as running on stage with a pair of clippers and shaving Andrew’s awful hair off (lock by lock) so we made the decision to pay the bill, and go for dessert somewhere else. We wound up going for gelato a few blocks away which was a wonderful decision. The gelato was wonderful and I was able to enjoy catching up with Hilary. My call had finally been answered. After waiting for most of the evening, I was finally no longer on hold. ONE MAN’S ILLNESS IS ANOTHER MAN’S GOLD On Tuesday evening I attended a paid focus group for people with Diabetes. They wanted us to share our opinions about new Diabetes products and the thought processes that led to those opinions. Basically, we were paid (quite well) to be used as market research. I figured if I have to live with Diabetes, and someone was willing to pay me to talk about it, I might as well go. Shortly after the session began, it became clear to me and the other diabetics, that regardless of what new products they come up with to treat Diabetes, we were only really interested in a cure. One of the men in the group had been living with Diabetes for 35 years; one of the women for 27. They both mentioned that their doctors had told them early on that a cure was on the horizon and would be developed within a decade or so. I was told the same thing when I was diagnosed 14 years ago. We are all still waiting. When we continued speaking about diabetic products, one of the women mentioned she had no health care coverage (along with almost 50 million other Americans) and talked about the high costs of paying for these items out of pocket. A single test strip used for blood sugar testing costs about a dollar. A diabetic is supposed to use about four of five of these daily. That would cost a person a bare minimum of $1,460 per year, and that’s just for the testing strips. A bottle of insulin can run $300 or more without insurance (and generally lasts less than a month). You can’t take insulin without syringes so add that cost on as well. These are only the bare necessities for Diabetes. While many diabetics do have health coverage, the companies who manufacture and sell these products are still paid by insurance companies. My disease is making some people very, very rich. It got me thinking, do these companies have something to do with a lack of a cure for Diabetes? I know that George Bush doesn’t make decisions for himself, mega corporations, their lobbyists, and checkbooks do his thinking for him. Why would these companies, who make billions of dollars a year (if not more) from diabetic supplies, want diabetes cured? Although it hasn’t been proven that stem-cells will cure diabetes, I’m sure it’s scared these corporations enough to throw some extra money at preventing stem-cell research. If it was suggested that stem-cells could cure runny noses, do you think Kleenex would be for or against them? It makes me sick to think that there are people out there who are more interested in keeping me (and millions of others) ill because it’s more profitable. To these companies I am not a person, I’m just a number (with a dollar sign in front of it). Being a diabetic is like being a drug addict. Our government sanctions these corporations to be legal drug dealers. Without our fix, we will die. We’re hooked. I remember the footage of a man trapped on his roof during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina with a sign that read, “Diabetic! I need insulin”. Many diabetics died on their rooftops. Even though insulin exists, they couldn’t get it. If they had been cured, they might have survived. I appreciate that medical science has come up with products (like insulin) that have kept me alive for the last 14 years, but I know that the technology to cure the disease is being held up because keeping diabetics reliant on these products is so profitable. I urge all of you to contact your Senators and Congressmen in this election year and tell them that you will only vote for a candidate who supports stem-cell research (and has the voting track record to prove it). You may not have diabetes, you may not know someone who does, but that could change. You, your spouse, parent, child, or friend could develop it tomorrow without warning. Please help me and the other diabetics of the world realize our dream of a cure. I THINK I JUST SAW A GUY ON THE STREET BURST INTO FLAMES Yes, it’s that hot. The temps aren’t the only thing heating up, so is the situation in the Middle East (and right here at home). We’ll be looking more into this growing conflict in an upcoming addition of the Spoon, Full of Truth. I am home from Canada (where there was little relief from the heat) working on lots of hard hitting truth, to Spoon feed to all of you next week. There will also be stories of my first experience at Elvis Fest. In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed today’s post and please do your best to stay cool. I’d also like to send out a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my friend Jeff today, I hope you’re having a great one buddy!