Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Doesn't Look Good

In case you had somewhat of a bumpy ride in your life the past couple of weeks, some people think it was due to the planet Mercury going through a retrograde. A retrograde is when a planet appears to reverse the direction of its movement through the sky as seen from earth for a short period of time. Normally planets move in a west-to-east direction but due to their differing orbital speeds around the sun, and the fact that our earth is moving around the sun in its own orbit too, sometimes things line up so that it looks like a planet is doing a small loop-de-loop in the sky. This does not happen immediately but over a couple of weeks or months, depending on the planet.

(Click on the above picture to view a larger version)
Astrologers tell us that bad things happen during Mercury retrogrades. The good thing about these retrogrades is they only last a couple of weeks at a time. The bad thing is that that happen fairly often, usually every 3-5 months because Mercury zips around the sun every 88 Earth days. Whether the bad karma of a Mercury retrograde is true or not is debatable, but let's take these things at face value and rejoice in the fact that the latest retrograde ended yesterday, September 29th. Don't get too comfortable because the next retrograde starts the day after Christmas and goes to January 15, 2010.

But whoever is running the Great Karmic Universal Drama that is our lives decided to throw in a whole bunch of bad stuff right at the end of the retrograde. This is some of the stuff we have to deal with, now and in the future, in no particular order:

1) Nuclear Iran - The revelation that Iran has built a secret underground lab in the mountains in the middle of a military base camp - quite the unusual site for what they claim is a commercial power-generation station - is very bad news for an area of the world already critically unstable. One slip-up anywhere and oil gets shut off to the world, immediately scuttling whatever kind of tepid economic recovery we're seeing. That, coupled with Iran's missile capabilities and the completely batshit-crazy Ahmadinejad, who looks like a homeless person who has been huffing paint thinner for 20 years, does not auger well for anyone who has even a passing interest in living on this planet.

2) Earthquake/Tsunami - People always love to blame seismic activity on astrological alignments, and the end of the retrograde gave them a great chance to write off the tsunami that hit American Samoa and the monster quake in western Indonesia yesterday as more evidence that the gods are angry with us. I'm not so sure, because sometimes things just happen in the same time-frame and don't have a causal relationship. That brings up the old adage of there are no coincidences in the universe, stuff always happens for a reason. Maybe they do and maybe they don't, I don't know.

3) Butt bombs - Terrorists have come up with a new, fiendishly effective and wildly bizarre way to blow up people. They have taken to inserting explosives in their rectums along with a detonator that operates like a cell phone. The bomb can be triggered remotely by texting something to it. Recently a terrorist with an implanted bomb got past extremely tight security and nearly assassinated a Saudi prince. Security experts worldwide are fretting that such a bomb is pretty much undetectable by current security measures, and that alone should give everyone pause. Such an explosion in an airliner at 36000 feet would be catastrophic. This is an extremely unsettling and dangerous escalation in the war on terror.

4) Double-dip recession - Economists have been cautiously optimistic that things have been turning in a better direction recently, and we may officially be out of the recession and heading toward positive economic growth. But before we break out the Andre champagne and the Dixie cups, we need to remember that this "recovery" appears to be weak and fragile, and easily reversible. Lots of people don't have jobs and are afraid to spend money, and if people don't start buying stuff companies will not start to create jobs, and around and around it goes. The big fear is that this will be a jobless, double-dip recession, in which the economy will appear to start to recover but then crash again and hit another bottom, before limping back to another weak recovery. Economists put the odds of such a double-dip at 50/50. It looks like we will be dealing with the bad effects of a very sick economy for a long, long time.

Well, there you have it, your entire ration of depressing news in one place, you can thank me later. If you can stand it, throw in the stuff we've been dealing with for a much longer time, such as global warming, environmental degradation, an interminable, rancorous heath care debacle, the looming H1N1 virus season coming soon and the future bankrupting of Social Security and Medicare, and we have a whole plateful of nasty, unpleasant events to contend with. It seems as if this current decade has been one of very drastic, permanent, negative change. Starting with the 9/11 attacks and continuing through the collapse of the U.S. economy and the recession, things in our lives are changing at warp speed, and definitely not for the better.

Monday, September 21, 2009

When We Lose One...

I am very proud of the work that Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue does in the community, saving the lives of innocent rabbits, one bunny at a time. Since 2000 we have adopted close to 1300 rabbits. If it wasn't for the Rescue and all the hard-working, dedicated and loving volunteers I work with, I don't know where those 1300 rabbits would be. I like to think we make a difference for these sweet, gentle creatures and have saved the lives of so many, both literally and figuratively. But sometimes things don't work out so well and we cannot save the life of a bunny. This is the true story of one of them:

The call came to me Saturday afternoon from a shelter in town, they had a rabbit who had been turned in as a stray with a severely broken front leg. Apparently the broken leg bone was visible and poking out of the skin. Their vet staff declined to do anything for the rabbit, and they asked us to take it. I told them we would, but they need to do something now for that rabbit in terms of heading off infection in the wound and giving it a pain reliever. I had seen severely injured rabbits before, in fact one of my bunnies, Nevaeh, came to us with a very similar injury to her back leg. She had surgery and a metal pin was placed in her back leg, and several months later she was as good as new, and to this day shows no ill effects from her ordeal. So it was with a lot of hope that I picked up the unfortunate little bunny and resolved to do whatever it took to help her.

What I found was a beautiful light brown female with gray markings, probably less than a year old. Her fur was clean and soft and she was not skinny or malnourished, undoubtedly she was someone's companion animal until very recently. The leg injury was certainly serious. Her front left paw was broken about halfway up to her body. The lower half of the paw dangled limply, and the broken end of the bone was clearly poking out. The shelter people were charmed by her, and said she was very friendly and easy to handle but I sensed a different situation. I found a rabbit who was so terribly and totally traumatized, she was barely aware of her surroundings. She was easy to handle because she was too injured and traumatized to resist. Her body was limp and her eyes dull and unresponsive. She was alive, but she wasn't there.

I scooped her out of there, got her home and set her up in my injured bunny cage, gave her subcutaneous fluids and put the cage in the living room where I could monitor her constantly. She just laid on the soft towels and padding of the cage and did not move at all. She did not lift her head to look around her new environment, she just stared blankly ahead. I went to her and stroked her little head and spoke as gently as I could. She did not react or acknowledge my presence. I placed water, plenty of food, hay and treats within easy reach of her and she did not move or eat anything. Only after a couple of hours did she move around just a little bit. But she just kept staring ahead with tired, glassy eyes. She was alive, but she wasn't there.

The game plan was to take her to the bunny shelter Sunday morning so she could be transported to the vet's office first thing on Monday. I gently placed her in the carrier for her ride to the Rescue. When I got there, she was laying on her side. She did not look good. We held her as she began to gasp for breath. Erika and I knew she was leaving us and there was little we could do for her. You could tell there was fear in her eyes. She knew her life was coming to an end, and she was afraid. We did everything we could to comfort her and let her know she was with people who loved her. She would not die alone.

I could tell she did not want to live anymore, but she was also afraid to let go. We kept telling her over and over again, it's okay if you have to go, it is okay to leave. It will be all right very soon, there will be no more pain and no more fear. Her gasping breaths eventually became shallower. We held her gently and cradled her little head and stroked her cheeks. Her breaths became shallower and quieter, and soon they stopped. Her eyes relaxed and a look of peace crossed her face. Seconds later, she was still. Her life on earth was over, and her new life at the Rainbow Bridge was beginning.

We tried to make her passage to the next world as quiet as possible. It was very peaceful, there was no struggling or panic or blind, uncontrolled fury, which happens to some rabbits who are not ready to leave this life but are forced to. Her death was gentle and soft, like the morning breezes that swirled around her. She did not die alone, in a cold empty cage or on a garbage-strewn street. She was with Erika and me, and we poured as much love as we could into her, filling her with light and caring, and let her know that her short time was not in vain. She was loved and appreciated, and I hope she knew her life had value.

I don't know what kind of horrific, unbelievable trauma this sweet little creature had to endure, and I never will know. All I know is that it was something so bad and so awful that she could not live with the memory of the experience. Her spirit had already moved on when I picked her up the day before, her body just took a little longer to make the transition. She was with me less than 24 hours but she made a huge impression on me.

She did not have a name when I picked her up and she did not have a name when she died, so I will give her one now. Danika is derived from the Slavic word for "morning star." Like the morning star, visible in the cool blue of dawn, she shined bright, pure and clear before fading into the morning light. Danika's life on earth may have ended harshly, but she moves in beauty and grace now, all sweet silvery light and surrounded by more love than we can imagine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Time For A Bunny Break!

I admit I've been on a blogging rampage recently. Temperamentally unable to let stupid people skate by unchallanged, I am compelled to take to task idiots who wear their profound lack of intelligence like some bizarro-world badge of honor. My blog posts practically write themselves, what with conservative Republicans - always my target of choice - working harder than ever to serve up gigantic, humongous, festering, steaming piles of stupid, of every stripe and variety. And it never ends! Just today on the news they showed some dried-up, puckered old woman at the "Values Voters" confab who said in all seriousness that she "gets her news from the Fox News Channel because they give you both sides of the issue, and the mainstream media only gives you the liberal view." Stupidity of that magnitude is simply a force of nature, like an earthquake or an F-5 tornado. Awesome and appalling at the same time, you tremble when you see it but still can't get out of its way, like a freight train bearing down on you. Witnessing it is like falling into a toilet. Not only is the actual experience pretty awful, but afterward you feel dirty and disgusting and soiled for a really long time.

So I figured it's time to stop taking cheap shots at the terminally ignorant (for a little while), and wallow in some of the finer things of life - rabbits! There is no better remedy for the corrosive effect that mass stupidity has on your soul than to contemplate the beauty, perfection and sweetness of the rabbit. These, then, are some of the wonderful bunnies who have come into my life recently, some for a short time and others for a bit longer, and have done much to renew my faith that there are some good things in life worth appreciating.

This is Gunnar, a super-sweet little guy whom I captured as a stray in a backyard in south Phoenix. A very nice elderly couple called our Rescue and said they needed help catching a bunny who had been in their yard for the past three weeks. I went to their home with a humane trap and was explaining to them how to set it up, when they mentioned that the bunny is out in their yard right now. I went out to see and spotted this cute little guy hiding under a bush. He allowed me to come up to him and pet him, and as I did I grabbed him. He was very frightened and let out a loud scream, but he soon calmed down and relaxed in my arms. I have him home with me now in foster care and after some initial shyness, he is blossoming and becoming very friendly. He is incredibly beautiful, full of sweetness, and docile. He will make someone a fantastic companion some day.

Minnie is a very interesting and beautiful bunny. She appears to be a breed called Champagne d'Argente, a very old and popular breed in Europe but not very common in the U.S. Her fur coloring and markings are breath-taking, and people cannot stop looking at her and marveling at her. She's had a pretty tough life so far, being innocently and unfairly victimized by a hoarder who kept her and nearly 60 other bunnies in horrible conditions. But as all bunnies seem to have, she has a remarkable capacity to get past her terrible treatment and learn to love and trust again. She is a very exceptional, and exceptionally beautiful girl.

This is Talia, whom I featured in an earlier post on this blog, entitled "Talia's Dance of Joy". Talia came to us with a horrendous, awful and nearly unbelievable infection of her face, due to being bitten by another animal. Her face was so swollen and the pain she experienced must have been horrific. Now, months later, she is an extremely happy, playful and active girl. She loves nothing more than to come out of her cage for some free run time in the house. She absolutely cannot help but jump, spin and dance in the air out of sheer joy.

This is Mr. O'Reilly, a nine-and-a-half year old Holland lop who came to our shelter when his elderly owner passed away. Unneutered, he was the horniest old geezer you've ever seen. Talk about a one-track mind, even at his age. And he most definitely did NOT need any Viagra. In fact he was so unrelentingly, inappropriately horny all the time I began to call him "Senator." He is happily living in foster care with another volunteer, but he is such a memorable, lovable guy, and I hope he lives a very long time.

These are just some of the bunnies I feel so very blessed, honored and privileged to have gotten to know. Their good, pure and beautiful souls are a never-ending source of joy to me. They are truly some of the wonderful things in life that are easy to overlook, but can bring such a wealth of inspiration and love to anyone willing to open their hearts to them.

You can find out more about these lovable buns at the Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Voter "Values"

The conservative movement in America is in full hysteria mode and can barely speak without sputtering and fulminating like they are having a collective grand mal seizure. Some news pundits are referring to it as a death spasm for a political movement coming to the end of its existence (we should be so lucky) as its own extreme-radical right-wing takes over like a virulent, all-consuming cancer. Conservatives have jumped on the health care "debate" like a fat kid on a case of Hostess Ho-Hos and are shrieking and screaming like a senior citizen at a cafeteria who missed out on getting the last bowl of lime Jell-o.

The latest manifestation of this death rattle is something called the "Values Voter Summit" unfurling in all its rancid glory in Washington DC this weekend. A quick perusal of the list of speakers on their website (click at your own risk, you are warned) is like a college-level anthropology-class listing of the most reactionary, backward-thinking dinosaurs of the past 60 years. From the ancient, brittle and desiccated Phyllis Schlafly to the mummified remains of Ed Meese (Ed Meese is still around? Seriously??) to the batshit-crazy Rep. Michele Bachmann to the Howdy-Doody-on-heroin visage of Gary Bauer, the speakers' list looks like a summit meeting of every bigoted, racist, and homophobic old crank that they could drag out of the cultural toilet of modern-day America. The only one prominently missing is methed-out scarecrow Ann Coulter, who presumably couldn't make it because she's at the Goodyear Tire Factory getting her throat re-treaded.

This Values Voter Summit seems to be obsessed with "taking back their country" from the godless legions of the liberal elite who are nipping at their orthopedic shoes at every turn. They profess to be Christians but typically, so many of them are doing such incredibly un-Christian things. At their march on Washington last weekend, signs were visible everywhere which showed Obama made up to look like Hitler or the Joker from the Batman comic books. There was a sign proclaiming "No Communist Health Care!" Um ... Communist health care?? What is that? Do they even know what the word "Communist" means? Ignorance of the most profound kind was on display everywhere, with the shamelessness of a mob mentality. One woman was interviewed on National Public Radio and whined, "I'm here because I want my country back. The country that my parents left to me, I want to leave to my children."

Well, guess what, lady? That country is gone. Times have changed, and this country is a radically different place than it was even a half a generation ago. The world has never been so interconnected (due to the global economy and the Internet) and polarized at the same time. The glaciers are melting and sea levels rising. Gasoline reached over $4 a gallon before receding, and only when a global recession and the near-collapse of the US economy caused energy demand to fall through the floor. Unemployment has soared to 30-year highs and has not finished rising yet. The economy has lost over 6 million jobs in the past year, most of which will never be replaced. And the America of a generation ago came to a crashing, horrific end on September 11, 2001. Absolutely everything changed, permanently and irretrievably, on that awful day and no amount of wishful thinking will ever restore it.

But, in spite of all the evidence staring them in the face, we have the spectacle of tens of thousands of people marching on the Capitol, blaming all the awful things that have happened to this country on the fact that godless liberals took prayer out of the schools, and the homosexuals and fornicators are trying to make bestiality legal. How they managed not to run each other over in their walkers and their scooters is beyond me, but one thing was clear: this is all the fault of "others," i. e., people who don't share their conservative and fundamentalist views. Never mind that eight years of the Bush administration got us into two costly, interminable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - the Iraq war based on total fabrications and falsehoods regarding WMDs - and other wars looming on the horizon with Iran and North Korea. Never mind that conservative control of Congress has exploded the deficit and saddled future generations with crushing debt. Never mind that the institution of marriage is much more threatened by the over-50% divorce rate than it ever would be by the marriage of the lesbian couple who have been together for over 40 years. Never mind that the greedy bloodsuckers of Wall Street very nearly caused the ruination of the American economy and destroyed the domestic automobile industry, along with many other job opportunities and have caused thousands of people to lose their homes and everything they own. Never mind that the policies of the Bush administration sent millions of jobs overseas to India, China, Malaysia and other places and flooded the American job market with foreign workers willing to work for a fraction of the pay it takes to have a decent standard of living in the U.S.

Never mind that conservative principles are at the very least equally, if not more, culpable than liberal philosophy in destroying the America of twenty years ago. Never mind that in the past twenty years Republicans have held the power in Washington more often than Democrats. The only thing that matters to these "Values Voters" is the fact that they are right and everyone else in the world is responsible for all the bad decisions, poor choices, and outright lies that have taken this country down the path to dissolution. They don't realize that the "moral decay" they incessantly decry found its highest expression in the Bush White House. They are happy to listen to an endless stream of double-talking, crotchety hypocrites who tell them how right and noble and good they are, all the time laughing at them behind their backs and regarding them as ignorant, mindless dupes.

Such are the values embraced by these "Values Voters." Once again, stupidity reigns supreme in Washington DC, on Wall Street and on Main Street. How much more of this idiocy this country can endure, I don't know, but it does not bode well for us all. And if you think for one second I'm exaggerating about the bottomless stupidity and ignorance of these people, check out this video.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summer Into Autumn

We've started to get the first inklings that the long, hot summer in the desert is finally winding down. This past July was a record-breaker - the average daily high temperature was the hottest ever - and with it record electricity bills to keep the A/C running. The monsoon turned out to be another "non-soon," the eighth-driest on record, with us receiving barely a fourth of the normal rainfall we should have gotten. Violent monsoon thunderstorms were harder to find than Sarah Palin's brain. But we're relatively certain that 110-plus temperatures are behind us until next June and the daytime highs hover at or slightly above normal, which is around 100 degrees for this time of year.

But I've also noticed that it is getting darker a little earlier in the evenings. The sun used to still be up after 7pm, but now doesn't make it past 6:30pm. I leave the gym about the same time every visit and when I pull out of the parking lot, which faces due west, the sun is right there in front of me in my eyes, as it continues its inexorable drift southward.

Things are changing up in the nighttime sky, too. The great square of Pegasus, the constellation representing the Winged Stallion of mythology, is large and prominent in the eastern sky around 10pm. Hanging off one side is the constellation Andromeda, the maiden, and a quick look around with binoculars will reveal a smudge of grayish light, which is our neighboring galaxy aptly named the Andromeda Galaxy. The light that enters your eyes and registers in your brain left the vicinity of Andromeda over 2 million years ago, long before mankind made its appearance on Planet Earth, and it traveled 12 quintillion miles to get here. I don't really know how to explain what a quintillion is, other than to say it is the number 1 followed by 18 zeroes. Imagine you have twelve of those lined up end-to-end and that's how far Andromeda is in miles. Scientists believe Andromeda is barreling toward our galaxy and the two will collide in a couple billion years. When galaxies collide they basically pass through each other, the distances between individual stars are so vast, but the immense gravitational forces end up blowing huge streamers and tails of gas, dust and stars out into interstellar space. Eventually our Milky Way and Andromeda will merge into one huge supergalaxy, but that's many billions of years away, about the time everyone will be sick of reality TV and Paris Hilton will finally get some sense.

In the next couple of weeks the stars of winter will gradually make an appearance in the sky, and the stars of summer will disappear into the twilight glow in the west. The first thing to notice will be the tight star cluster of the Pleiades, climbing up the eastern sky barely ahead of the horns of Taurus, the Bull. The large, perfectly beautiful constellation Scorpio the Scorpion is skittering off toward the southwestern horizon, being chased to warmer climates by the advent of autumn. On the other side of the sky, Orion the Hunter is rising sideways over the eastern horizon, locked in a perpetual pursuit of the Scorpion, always trying but never catching up to it. Poet Robert Frost mentioned the rising of Orion in his work, "The Star-Splitter":

You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains
And rising on his hands...

Orion is quite the magnificent constellation and a true harbinger of the winter months. It houses the Great Nebula of Orion, an enormous, relatively close-by star factory where inconceivably large clouds of gas and dust are collapsing under their own gravity and igniting nuclear fires in their cores, giving birth to more stars which will ornament the skies millions of years from now. Underneath Orion is Lepus, the celestial Hare, a humble, unobtrusive collection of stars. As time goes on Orion will rise high in the southern sky, right-side up, and when it does you can finally spot the star Canopus, the second-brightest star in the night sky after Sirius the Dog Star, glittering low in the south. Canopus is so far south as seen from here that it is only above the horizon for a couple of hours each night. It barely clears the southern horizon and is up for a short time before it curves right back down and sets again. That star is a herald of the approaching spring season for me.

I feel that I am only doing what many generations of people before me have done - measure the passing of the seasons by changes in the sky. And it comes so very naturally and easily - almost as if we are genetically pre-programmed to observe what happens up above and correlate what we see to events on Earth. The stars and the planets are my oldest friends in the world, and it's comforting in an odd way to know they will be around long after I have moved on to the next world, becoming lifelong friends and companions to generations of natural-born astronomers yet to be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This has really been the political Summer of Stupidity in this country. It's so depressing to see so many people being as stupid as they can possibly be, and not having one whit of shame or regret about it.

Last month we had the ridiculous spectacle of the town hall meetings held by members of Congress in their home districts during the August recess. Programmed by right-wing talk radio dirtbags such as Rush "Mount Flabmore" Limbaugh and the obviously mentally ill Glenn Beck, the legions of their illiterate followers fanned out across this nation and turned what had usually been a relatively civilized forum for the exchange of ideas into a hysterical shouting match, with fat, sweaty Midwesterners screaming at the top of their lungs to get their own obnoxious ideas across and suppress anyone else with an opposing view. Their conservative puppet-masters conveniently omitted the basic concept that those tactics are barely appropriate for belligerent three-year-olds who have been denied their basic right to Hostess Twinkies, but for adults to indulge in this behavior instead of confronting the deadly-serious issue of out-of-control health care costs, it is not only obnoxious and shameful but also extremely self-centered and disrespectful. How incredibly sad and pathetic those people are, who can find no other way to make themselves heard other than to shout down any opinion other than theirs. They claim to be "patriotic" but in fact what they are doing is a very un-American thing: keeping others from expressing their viewpoint through bullying and intimidation. They are ignorant right-wing dupes with tiny brains and big mouths. Throw in the selfish, piggish attitude a lot of them have about "I have health insurance and I'm sort of happy with it, so screw everyone else" and you become acutely aware of how many idiotic, mean-spirited and utterly classless people infest every town and city in this country.

A by-product of all these loud-mouthed morons is how "socialism" has become such a conservative buzz-word. All of a sudden health-care overhaul has become a thinly-disguised attempt to turn the world's most powerful democracy into a socialist state. Crazed old people are seen carrying signs around screaming "No Government Health Plan!" HELLO? Do any of these senile old geezers even have a clue as to what Medicare is?? Medicare IS government-run health care! You want government out of your health care? Fine - then RIP UP YOUR MEDICARE CARDS! I usually have a fair amount of sympathy for the elderly because I will be one of them very soon. It's okay to be old, but it's NOT okay to be old and stupid, and that's what a lot of them are. They believe whatever nonsensical hysteria they hear on the news media and start stampeding like a panicked herd of lemmings.

Even worse than that was the reaction to President Obama's speech to school students yesterday. The right-wing in this country is so completely obsessed with sabotaging everything that Obama does that they somehow spread the story around that the President was going to talk to school children and indoctrinate them into his "socialistic policies." For God's sake, it was the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES encouraging school children to stay in school and do well! What the hell is "socialistic" about that?? Instead of focusing in on this message, which normal people consider to be kind of important, conservatives made a big to-do about children being "forced" to listen to the speech and how the President was going to use it to make political points. In many places parents were given the choice of sending their children to school or keeping them home, as if the parents were smart enough to make that decision. I heartily applaud a Chicago school official who got on TV and said there will be no "parental choice" when it comes to the speech, children will come to school and they will LISTEN to the speech, and if parents objected they can just get over it. Instead of letting the children see and hear an inspirational message from the very articulate Leader of the Free World, the only thing a lot of them saw was the ignorance and bigotry of their own parents. How freaking lovely.

Then you have the abysmally stupid and detestable Sarah Palin who automatically starts blathering enormous amounts of crap if she gets within ten feet of a media outlet, just like a toilet that keeps backing up sewage into America's bathrooms. On the eve of the President's address on health care to a joint session of Congress, she inexplicably brought up her reviled and widely-discredited notion of "death panels" which in her pathetic little mind will be set up to decide if terminally ill or elderly people will live or die. I'm not going to go into what a despicable, loathsome waste of human flesh Sarah Palin is, because I've made that perfectly clear in at least six other postings on this blog, but if there is any person who deserves to burn in hell solely on the merits of the magnitude and depth of her all-consuming stupidity, she is that one. How someone so incredibly MORONIC can keep spouting her idiocy on a national stage is completely baffling to me, and as far as I'm concerned shows how broken and damaged the national media is, and how very badly it serves to advance informed debate and intelligent reasoning in this country. I rank anything Palin says on a par with those two other pointless media whores, Jon and Kate Gosselin.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, we can throw in the birther controversy earlier this summer, where so many unapologetically misinformed, brainless people got convinced that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. Add to that the usual detritus that regularly washes up on our pop-culture shoreline, where people who should know better insist on doing really ridiculous, embarrassing things without any indication that they've given the slightest amount of thought or consideration for how it's going to look on the world stage. Aided and abetted by a soundbite-driven media who are much more interested in publicizing dumbness and bad behavior instead of reasoned, thoughtful action, it does seem that so often the really stupid, ignorant people are taking over. And that will spell the end to this country quicker than any Al-Qaeda terrorist could ever hope for.