September 2009

By Wink

I expect this topic to be a little touchy, but stay with me here.

Why do churches get a pass on paying taxes?

Churches do lots of good work. I get that, but lots of people and organizations do good work and STILL pay tax.

I hate to pick on the Scientologists here, but….why not? A very good science fiction writer just MADE UP Scientology, and now it is a religion? Complete with tax-preferred (exempt?) status?? Shouldn’t I start my own religion?

Precious little else is tax-exempt anymore, so why are churches?

I can’t even think up a logical reason for this. I suppose it all comes down to this: Every elected official on the planet is afraid to raise this idea. It would be political suicide. Certainly large numbers of church-goers from many faiths would align to destroy the “anti-God” candidates.

Occasionally the best ideas have to be proposed by those with the least to lose, politicians who are not running for re-election. It is still a brave move, but you see it sometimes, a retiring congressman will speak up and say the most logical things, knowing they can refuse to answer questions the rest of their lives if they so choose.

Reporter: “Congressman, you ran on an anti-gay platform your whole life. Why do you now support lifting the ban on gay marriage?”

Congressman: “Cuz (1) the ban never made any sense, (2) preventing two gays from getting married doesn’t really ‘protect’ my marriage in any way, and (3) I ain’t running for office anymore, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!

So how to tax the churches? We will have to get a coalition of retiring curmudgeons, who don’t give a damn what YOU think. Even then they won’t get it passed, but at least they can get the idea under discussion. This is long-long overdue.

What is the drawback? Would this stop people from going to church? Why?

Churches provide excellent support to those who go to the church, but are donations to a church the most cost-effective way to help the needy? Really? Wouldn’t a direct contribution to the American Lung Association (or any legit charitable organization) be the most effective?

Please, please don’t wish me dead (some churches DO that). I am not talking about closing churches, and I am not saying ‘there is no God.’ This is just a tax issue.

Maybe we can prevent every man, woman and child from declaring themselves to be churches….
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By Wink

So your child becomes sick, or gets hurt in an accident. You don’t have health insurance and the bills are mounting up. What do you do?

You have a pancake feed or a spaghetti dinner, that’s what.

Have you gone to the pancake feeds and spaghetti dinners? I have. Sometimes they raise more than $1000. If the patient has lots of friends and family, they might get $2000.

How much was that hospital bill again?

I am sure you can get dialysis or chemotherapy for $2000.

And doesn’t the average heart surgery or skin graft cost around $2000?

Do you have ANY IDEA what the medicine costs for a transplant? It can be tens of thousands of dollars … monthly … for the medicine. I am not talking about the surgery or hospital charges here, that would be more….way more.

This, my friends, is the current state of health insurance in America.

Are you a little down on your luck? Did you get laid off and lose your health insurance? Are you among the millions that have a job that doesn’t even provide health insurance?

Don’t sweat it! You don’t have to fear having a stroke or getting H1N1.

With enough spaghetti you will make it through!
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By Wink

I grew up surrounded by all kinds of music: big band, pop, soul, country, jazz, blues, classical, metal, disco, and so on. Beatles? Mozart? Hendrix? John Philip Sousa? Aretha? I heard it all, and then some..

The music that still ‘drives’ me, to this day, is rock and roll.

But I do have one question for the rock and roll world…

Why can’t you guys (and gals) say ‘thanks’ once in a while?

Rock stars frequently take up big issues, like hunger and AIDS, and pollution. Good causes, all. I imagine there are a lot of big-hearted rock and roll stars out there. I don’t know any personally, so I have to assume…

But still, when I see an awards show, the rock stars always seem to try to act ‘too-cool-for-the-room.’ Think I am exaggerating? Watch the Grammys the next time they roll around.

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (Steely Dan) finally won a Grammy a few years ago. I am a huge fan of theirs, and this seemed long overdue, so I was very excited about it. A lot MORE excited, apparently, than Fagen and Becker. They were at the awards ceremony, and did not appear drunk or stoned, so they had no excuse for their total lack of interest.

After all these years, are they still trying to be cool? So cool they don’t care about awards?

Hey Fagen and Becker, if you don’t like the awards, just don’t show up. If you DO show up, and win, show a little damned gratitude. At least thank your fans. Without them you wouldn’t have your multiple houses, your swimming pools and your diamond-covered stretch limos. You would have nothing.

Maybe, in their humble opinions, they thought the Grammy voters waited too long to acknowledge them.

It is painful to think your musical idols may just be jerks. Are you guys just jerks, or was your too-cool posturing just a poor decision on your part?

Don & Walt, you are both around 60 years old. Do you still feel the need to show us how cool you are? Isn’t trying to look cool kind of a ‘junior high’ thing?

This does not only apply to Steely Dan, this happens all the time in the rock and roll world.

By contrast, watch any country music awards show. Each and every award winner will thank their fans. Most seem sincere, but it doesn’t matter even if some aren’t. They owe their success to their fans, and they know to say thanks.

Go back and watch Bonnie Raitt accepting her first Grammys (about 10 years ago). Like Steely Dan, she waited decades to be acknowledged for her efforts. Unlike Fagen and Becker, she was totally blown away and effusively grateful. I guess, maybe because she is more blues-oriented than rock, she didn’t feel she had to show how cool she is. Now THAT is cool…

Finally, a tip of the hat to Green Day. They have been around many-many years and they never ‘phone in’ a performance. Because they have punk roots, you would think they would act like they don’t care what the audience thinks about them, or what ANYBODY thinks about them. Nope, they don’t pretend they are too cool. Each show is an audio-party. The band is always extremely gracious and they never fail to thank the crowd, again and again, for supporting them.

A rock band who cares about their fans? Thank you Billie Joe, Mike and Tre.
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By Wink

In my September 1, 2009 article I made a perfectly rational argument that members of the U. S. House of Representatives are morons, compared to those who reside in the Senate.

I would like to update you on that, and let you know that I was mistaken, and the House members have really shown me the error of my ways.

I would LIKE to tell you that, but that would be inaccurate. Instead, I have more evidence of the IQ vacuum in the House.

As you know by now, during President Obama’s health care address to Congress Rep. Joe Wilson (Idiot-SC) shocked many observers when he shouted, “You lie!” after the president denied that health care legislation would provide free coverage for illegal immigrants.

There is protocol for how to behave when the President of the United States addresses a joint session of Congress. When he says something you like you applaud (standing is optional). When he says something you DON’T like, you sit, stony-faced. We adopted this concept from the British for whom (aside from soccer riots) protocol and proper behavior are extremely important.

Many members of the House, because they are not bright as a rule, are a little out of touch with the concept of proper behavior.

Afterward, according to Wilson, Republican congressional leaders told him that they wanted him to contact the White House and indicate that his comments were “inappropriate.”

Yes, he had to be told to apologize. Maybe he would have thought of that on his own. Maybe.

Republican John McCain called Wilson’s outburst “totally disrespectful” and added there was “no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately.”

McCain, a Senator, gets it. He has the requisite IQ and comportment to be a Senator.

Need more evidence about the IQ of House members? During the same speech, Rep. Louie Gohmert (Dufus-Tx), wore a hand-drawn sign around his neck that said, “What bill?” Congressman Gohmert, did you get that cute idea from your nine year-old grandson? Maybe next time you can wear Mickey Mouse ears!

Watch the tape. No Senators wore hand-drawn signs around their necks.

More than one Congressman was seen sending text messages DURING the president’s speech. You would never, ever see a Senator doing that.

Other members of the House, when Obama asked Republicans to share their ideas, waived a stack of papers above their heads. What a great stunt! How long did it take you guys to come up with something that clever?

Were any Senators waiving stacks of paper? No.

Do you wonder why the audiences at the town-halls are so disrespectful? Why do they shout each other down and threaten those who disagree with them? Their congressmen lead the way.

House members aren’t bright enough to insist on civil discourse. They don’t even understand civil discourse.

Dear members of the House: Watch how the Senate works. It won’t fix your IQ problem, but you might just learn some manners.
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By Wink

Opinions are like aardvarks, everybody should have one, but they are mostly useless.

Winkest Link is and always will be fact-based. Disagree with us if you wish (in fact, we encourage this), but please try to stick to facts.

“Obama is a commie who is trying to ruin the country” is fact-free sentiment, and therefore idiotic. Functionally, it serves the exact same purpose as saying “Bush was a fascist dictator.”

All heat, no light.

Well, to rescue comes PolitiFact.com.

This is a website dedicated to skewering those (on the left and on the right) who tend to exaggerate or just plain make stuff up. (Winkest Link hates liars. We hate them.)

It rates statements on a scale of true, mostly true, half true, barely true, false and (our favorite) ‘Pants-on-Fire.’

“Pants-on-Fire” is reserved for statements that are intentionally and outrageously misleading. They don’t just fling out the “Pants-on-Fire” rating willy-nilly. You need to REALLY earn it.

“Pants-on-Fire” ratings have ‘awarded’ to statements by Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill & Hillary Clinton and to Planned Parenthood. Our brief review shows this rating was deserved in each case.

But far and away the most “Pants-on-Fire” ratings have been awarded to an unending onslaught of borderline-insane statements by conservatives. Losing political power has really ratcheted up the frequency and intensity of ‘sky-is-falling’ statements.

A recent example: In response to the announcement that the president will address school children on self-reliance and the importance of education, Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer issued a statement saying….

“President Obama has turned to American’s children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American’s youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves, schoolchildren across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies,” etc, etc…

(Reminder, the speech will be about self-reliance and the importance of education, not government takeover of auto companies. Ugh.)

This is not simple hyperbole on Greer’s part. He is not just ‘stretching the truth’. It is all made-up and it is intentionally inflammatory, so it easily fell into the “Pants-on-Fire” category.

Do yourself a favor and check out PolitiFact.com once in a while.

Other Winkest Link web favorites…

FactCheck.org – More political facts checked
Snopes.com – Again, to debunk rumors, although more oriented toward urban legends
Awkwardfamilyphotos.com – Funny family photos and stories, NOT photoshopped
Rottentomatoes.com – Great for movie ratings & reviews
TheOnion.com – All the gnus that’s print to fit. A ‘must’….

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By Kasson

The state legislature of Massachusetts is working on a bill to allow the Governor to appoint an interim Senator so that their state is fully represented in congress until the special election takes place on January 19, 2010.  This bill was one of Ted Kennedy’s final wishes.

It seems logical that the state legislature should pass this law to allow their state to be fully represented, and to grant Ted Kennedy his wish.

Here is where the problem lies…

Massachusetts used to have a law allowing an interim appointment to a vacant Senate seat. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that this was the norm in Massachusetts.  You only have to look back to 2004 and two familiar names. John Kerry was running for President,  Mitt Romney was the Governor. The vacancy created by John Kerry would have allowed Republican Mitt Romney to choose the temporary replacement.

So the state legislature took those powers away from Romney, preventing him from seating a presumably Republican interim replacement.  This was highly partisan and should never have been done. It was stupid then, and makes them look a lot worse now.

It seems logical to want your state to be fully represented, but you can’t keep changing the laws based on your partisan “wants.” The people elected Mitt Romney and that showed they trusted him enough to pick some guy to sit in the Senate for a few months.  You are elected for the people, not for yourselves.  Make up your mind and stick with it, even if it isn’t convenient in your partisan little world.

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By Wink

In my August 28 article I mentioned (in passing) that the IQ of the average U.S. Congressman is 20+ points lower than that of the average U.S. Senator.

My opinion on this has not changed, although I constantly wonder if I am being too generous to the Congressmen. Another case in point…..

Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins said at an August 19 forum in Kansas that the GOP needs “to find the great white hope” to help the party succeed in the future.

The exact quote is “Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope, I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington.”

I laughed my butt off when I heard this.

I have no reason to think Congresswoman Jenkins is a racist. I still don’t think so. She just tossed out this racist statement because she is stupid. Just another example of how stupid your average congressperson is.

This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. When it comes to congressional IQ’s, ‘average’ is about as good as you can hope for. What we usually get is ‘below average.’

‘Great White Hope’ is not just a figure of speech. It is not about a knight in shining armor.

When a black boxer named Jack Johnson destroyed the (white) world champion Tommy Burns on December 26, 1908, racial animosity among whites ran so deep that the call went out for a “Great White Hope” to take the title back and return it to where it supposedly belonged, with the “superior” white race. Johnson was crudely caricatured as a subhuman “ape.” As the title holder, Johnson had to face a series of fighters billed by boxing promoters as “great white hopes.”

Slavery had been outlawed for about 40 years by that point, but white America still had a vision of how a ‘negro’ should behave.

Jack Johnson just did not fit that mold. He wasn’t subservient, he was loud and proud. He wore fancy clothes, drove fancy cars and (no doubt worst of all) dated white women. Also, he beat the crap out of all the white guys he faced.

Can you guess that he was not popular in white America? Good for you!

Can you see how the phrase ‘Great White Hope’ might seem a touch racist?

Anyway, I don’t expect everyone to know where that phrase came from, I just expect a little common sense. When talking about inanimate objects, feel free to say ‘great white.’

“Those are great white sheets, Marge!”

With regard to living creatures you can even say…

“Moby Dick was a great white whale.”

But when you are specifically talking about humans, as Congresswoman Jenkins was, you should know better than to say ‘great white’ anything. Pretty dumb.

I promise to keep beating this drum. I love to show off how stupid congress is, both individually and collectively.

Feel free to contribute evidence that senators are morons also. I am well aware that they screw up too, but you will need mountains of evidence to bring them within 20 IQ points of The House.
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