2013

Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus Is Black As Hell

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As a child growing up in the 1970’s, I heard evangelical Christians on the religious TV channels complain about the commercialization of Christmas as mass-market retailers emphasized the importance of giving—and receiving—gifts to the extent that God was often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Unlike the Puritans who actually cancelled Christmas for two decades in the 17th century, these Christians wanted people to slow down, consider the birth of Christ and their relationship with God.

Never mind that Christmas was a Roman pagan festival called Saturnalia that celebrated a weeklong period of lawless, as the courts weren’t open and no crime committed during that time was punishable. Some communities even designated an unfortunate soul to become the “Lord of Misrule,” encouraging that person to indulge in all kinds of pleasure, and then brutally killing that person at the end of the holiday. Which, ironically, is what Black Friday has become these days with all the mayhem over getting the best holiday deal.

Fast forward a generation, evangelical Christians on Fox News are complaining the mass-market retailers are removing Christmas from the holidays by changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” in their greetings. There’s a “war on Christmas” to prevent evangelical Christians from shoving the spirit of Christmas down everyone else’s throat.

Did that make your head spin like the little girl’s in “The Exorcist” movie? Mine did too.

Now it didn’t help that Fox News host, Megyn Kelly, proclaimed that both Santa and Jesus were white and tough luck for anyone who wanted to believe otherwise. Saturday Night Live has a great skit about Santa Claus being black as hell. I wrote a tanka poem about Santa Claus being black from climbing down so many chimneys that his old lady called the cops because he forgot his keys.

Of course, this nonsense had to spill over into the real world. A white teacher told a black student that he couldn’t play Santa. A black Santa was shot in the back with a pellet gun at a toy drive. The famed Macy’s of “Miracle on 34th Street” has a white Santa in front for everyone to see, and a black Santa hidden away in the back, where you need to ask an elf inside the Santaland maze for to find his secret location. Seriously. I even wrote a tanka poem about that.

Did anyone noticed that the controversy of a white Jesus was quietly dropped by the news media? No one wanted to open that particular can of worms. Most evangelical Christians haven’t read the whole bible and memorized only certain scriptures on sin to hurl into someone’s face. That Jesus was a Jewish carpenter might unsettle some folks. Fox News published an article that the race of Jesus is unknown.

As a white Christian who read the bible from cover-to-cover six times, I’m going to have a very Jewish Christmas by seeing “47 Ronin” at the movie theater and eating orange chicken from Panda Express. On that note, happy holidays!

Shipping Wars Delivers The Star Trek Bridge

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One of the highlight of the 2013 Las Vegas Star Trek convention was the display of the Enterprise-D bridge that Houston Huddleston, founder and CEO of New Starship, has touring around the country before the bridge eventually goes into a permanent museum. My friend already had a “Captain, I saved the bridge!” t-shirt before we arrived at the convention. We met Houston, sat down in the chairs and had our pictures taken. The latest episode of the reality TV series, “Shipping Wars,” shows how the bridge got shipped to the convention.

If you’re not familiar with the show, a motley group of transporters bid on moving a shipment from Point A to Point B without loosing money. Chris and Robbie won the bid to deliver the bridge to Las Vegas and deliver the Doctor Who TARDIS console to California from the same science fiction convention in Texas with a four-day deadline. Jarrett won the bid to deliver five giant pumpkins from Ohio to Kentucky in one day. Meanwhile, the other transporters deliver their colorful commentary as events unfold on the show.

Chris and Robbie are perhaps the most clueless people ever to walk into a science fiction convention without knowing anything about Doctor Who and Star Trek TV series. The bridge arrived in Las Vegas without incident. The lid for the disassembled crate to ship the TARDIS console in got tossed en route because it kept falling on top of the bridge. Worst, they demanded full payment even though they failed to deliver the entire shipment to the customer. The stopped by the convention in Las Vegas on their way back home from California.

Jarrett was no better. Being the less experienced transporter out of the group, he finds himself in trouble when he comes around a corner too fast and a 1,000+ pound giant pumpkin goes flying off the trailer into a ditch to make pumpkin. He abandons the destroyed pumpkin, buys a similar giant pumpkin and almost gets away with not telling the owner what happen. Of course, the owner does figure out that this particular giant pumpkin wasn’t his. But Jarrett insisted and got full payment because the owner was in a bind, surprising himself that he can actually make money doing this.

While my friend and I were at the convention, we noticed quite a few camera crews running around the place. The end credits for the episode shows Chris in a Federation shirt and Robbie in a Federation skirt uniform and Vulcan ears, walking through the dealer room and sitting on the bridge with Houston. We may or may not have seen them being filmed.

Has Koch Brothers Infiltrated The Huffington Post?

Commenting On Huffington Post ArticleAs a long-time political junkie since I watched Richard Nixon resigned the presidency on live TV in 1974 as a toddler, I subscribed to a number of political emails. A few days ago I received an email that the Sierra Club was endorsing Congressman Mike Honda for his 2014 re-election bid in the California 17th congressional district. That’s odd, I thought. Congressman Honda has a safe seat. Since the California GOP has more in common with the spotted owl than one-sixth of the U.S. population, they’re not mounting a challenger.

I later read on the Huffington Post about the Sierra Club endorsement. Congressman Honda has a Democratic primary challenger, Ro Khanna. Now that’s really odd. Democrats don’t challenge veteran incumbents unless their districts get merged or a scandal blows up. Neither has happened to Congressman Honda. Although some people think the Democrats need a tea party to push it further to the left (oh hell no, we need more moderates than extremists in politics), I don’t think that’s what happening here.

Khanna has a more pro-business agenda than the progressive agenda that California Democrats support, raising more money than Congressman Honda from the top CEOs and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. If Khanna ran as a Republican, this would make sense. Being a Democratic challenger is something of a head scratcher.

If you look at the political leanings of the CEOs supporting Khanna, you might think that the Koch brothers—the billionaires behind the tea party—might be trying to undermine the Democrat Party from within. The Republican Party had run fake Democratic primary challengers in California and across the country to confuse the voters. With President Barack Obama enacting much of the Republican agenda over the fierce objections of extremists on the left and the right, the Republicans can no longer run on ideas and must resort to electoral trickery to stay in power.

Which is why I’m a Democrat again.

As for the Huffington Post article, I tried to leave a comment that this particular House race was a head scratcher and maybe the Democratic challenger had indirect support by the Koch brothers. The comment got deleted before being posted. I tried again, deleted again. As a computer programmer, I recognized that an automatic word filter didn’t like what I wrote. No moderator can humanely delete my post the moment I submitted it.

I changed “Koch brothers” to “K-o-c-h b-r-o-t-h-e-r-s” in the comment, where it appeared for a few hours before a moderator manually deleted it. Tried a few variations, same result. If I toss in “brown shirts” and “jackboots” (an indirect reference to far right extremism in the 1930’s), those comments were automatically deleted. I’ve seen other people use “Koch brothers” in their comments, but for some reason it was taboo on this particular post.

This begs the question: Has the Koch brothers infiltrated the Huffington Post?

Probably not. While the Huffington Post is a liberal bastion for news, it’s also a corporate entity with close ties to the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. God forbid if any unwashed commentator links the uber-rich Silicon Valley CEOs to the political underbelly of the tea party movement. Especially on a post that no one else is reading.

Black Friday 2013 (From The Sidelines)

Coming of Black FridayI’m not sure why anyone would go out on Black Friday—or, lately, Thanksgiving Day—to brave the mayhem, riots and crowds for a few door busters that could be bought online. The last time I physically prowled the stores on Black Friday was for the mythical Wii-Beast when the Nintendo Wii first came out in 2007, which I didn’t get then and never got after it became widely available. A few years before that, my father and I arrived at the Wal-Mart in Mountain View to find 16 police cars in the parking lot after a riot broke out over a flat screen TV.

Since I’m still unemployed, I had to make every Black Friday purchase worthwhile.

A big-ticket item I would have gotten if Newegg had it at the right price was an Acer 23″ monitor to replace my eight-year-old Samsung 19″ monitor that recently died and match the Acer 23″ monitor that I already have. My right price was under a hundred bucks with free shipping. Didn’t happen. Newegg had that monitor listed with the suggested retail price of $199.99 USD and sold it for $129.99 USD with free shipping. Alas, $129.99 USD has been the regular price for many months. Even when the price dropped to $119.99, it still wasn’t a Black Friday deal.

An email from OfficeMax arrived the night before Thanksgiving Day. One item that popped out was the Skullcandy earbuds for $4.99 (50% off). I listen to audiobooks on my iPod Touch while walking, working out or waiting for the light rail. A pair of earbuds can last three months before disintegrating from wear and tear. I tried to order four pairs of the black earbuds, but the website limited me to two pairs of any color. So I ordered two pairs each of black and purple. Since I was four cents shy of getting free shipping, I added a canister of Clorox disinfecting wipes for a buck.

I downloaded “The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition” by William Peter Blatty at $1.99 USD for the Amazon Kindle. Despite being a short story writer who published in a dozen horror anthologies over the years, I haven’t read the classic novels that defined the genre. After watching horror movies since I was a toddler in the 1970’s (I’m a big “Creature Feature” fan), and reading almost everything that Stephen King wrote, I knew enough horror tropes to wing it without being widely read. Reaching the next level of writing requires some extensive reading.

My final Black Friday purchase was the “CCNA In 60 Days” program for $70 USD (30% off). This is the first time that the author, Paul Browning, has ever offered a discount for his 60-day program on getting the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification. After building out an equipment rack of Cisco routers and switches, and reading every available study book, I haven’t committed myself to knowing the certification beginning to end between my ears. If everything works out, I’ll take the first exam in January and the second exam in February.

The Great Butterball Turkey Shortage 2013

iStock_000018159844XSmallButterball announced that there will be a shortage of large fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving this year, implying that the national holiday was in jeopardy if the American family couldn’t buy a large fresh turkey the day before. Not quite. Most families buy a frozen turkey and thaw it out in the fridge for a week. The turkey shortage, which affects only Butterball and no other turkey producer, may have come from cutting back on a growth hormone that is banned in China, Europe and Russia.

Butterball exports 10% (~100 million pounds) of their turkeys to the world. (Since Butterball owns 20% of the market, the total market is five billion pounds of turkey each year.) If these countries are refusing to accept any product containing these growth hormones for their citizens, why is Butterball still selling turkeys with this growth hormone to American consumers?

As my late father like to explain every holiday season about cattle ranching in the old days, it took two years to raise and fatten a calf to go to the market. With modern antibiotics and growth hormones, it takes six months to get a calf to the market. I’m not sure how long it takes a turkey to get fattening up for Thanksgiving Day, but I’m sure the process is similar. Without the growth hormones, Butterball might have to allow nature to run its course and let the turkeys have more time to fatten up.

My observation at the grocery stores in Silicon Valley is that the frozen commercial turkeys are on the slim side, in smaller quantities and in fewer varieties than in recent years.

My roommate and I picked up a hormone- and antibiotic-free frozen turkey from Whole Foods, which is about three times more expensive than the hormone- and antibiotic-laden frozen turkeys found at the other stores. I normally wouldn’t pay $45 USD for a turkey under any circumstance, especially if I’m out of work for six weeks. My roommate insisted on having an organic turkey—and paid for the privilege. If an organic turkey is similar to the organic cheeses I have eaten, the turkey should taste better, have nicer texture and give me less gas than a Butterball turkey.

The Apocalypticism Of American Politics

Hourglass on the duneAccording to this article on The Daily Beast, the Tea Party is practicing a self-destructive form of American politics.

They believe America teeters on the brink of destruction, and hold as an article of faith that liberals, gays, Democrats, atheists and the United Nations are to blame. This “end-times” world-view is a foundational precept of the evangelical movement, from which many of the so-called Tea Party favorites spring. Scholars call it apocalypticism.

Does this sound familiar? It should.

I became a member of an evangelical Christian church in college during the early 1990’s that had the goal of setting up a church in every major metropolitan city in the world before the end of the millennium. That happened with six months to spare in 1999. But the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 came and went without incident. If the rapture did happen, we were all left behind to read the “Left Behind” books and endure the Florida vote recount in the 2000 presidential election. Now that’s hell.

Being an observer of people, I noticed that the church message changed during those years. We went from “being faithful to the end” to “being faithful to the end of our lifetimes” (emphasis mine), which meant the same thing for most people in the church. But some people in the leadership noticed that the spiritual goal posts got moved from the end zone to overflow parking down the street. The church founder that everyone put up with for 30 years found himself out of the church in 2001, as no wanted to put up with him for another 30 years until the end of their lifetime.

No rapture, no job.

The worldwide church movement I joined splintered into regional churches that no longer had a unifying cause with each other. The San Francisco Bay Area church muddle through for several years while looking for a new mission statement. I allowed myself to get kicked out of the church in 2004 after I got too tired to fight the good fight, started questioning the motives of the leadership, and said “no” more often than “yes” when the leadership demanded something from me. In short, I was no longer a team player.

I went on to become a writer, which I always believe is my true calling from God.

The Tea Party cannot exist without numerous enemies (i.e., a black president in the White House, Hillary Clinton and Establishment Republicans), a manufactured crisis (i.e., the government shutdown and a threatened debt default), and sympathetic media outlets (i.e., Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the Internet). If all that goes away, the Tea Party becomes nothing more than a group of angry white people still stuck in the 1950’s—or the 1850’s for those in the Deep South—who can’t accept that the world has moved on without them. Worst, they delude themselves into thinking that God is still with them. Meanwhile, the rest of America continues to suffer because of them.

No Funemployment For Spongebob Squarepants

Spongebob Squarepants Gets FiredSpongebob Squarepants gets fired because his boss figured out that he could make an extra nickel without him. Although his friend explains to him the benefits of “glorious unemployment,” Spongebob wants a new job and not a “funemployment” vacation (i.e., living off of unemployment benefits before looking for a new job). A self-sufficient view that transforms the environmental/gay/liberal-friendly sponge into a new conservative darling. With the economy still in the crapper, getting a new job sooner is more important for a different set of reasons.

Before the Great Recession in 2008, I would apply for unemployment benefits, post my resume on the job search websites, have three job interviews, and get a new job within six weeks. That happened three times over a five-year period. I never got stressed out from being laid off. My monthly expenses were modest and collapsible enough to live off of my unemployment benefits for a short while.

Despite following my previous unemployment routine after being laid off on Friday the 13th in February 2009, I didn’t get a new job within six weeks. The Great Recession was different. I was out of work for two years, underemployed for six months (i.e., working 20 hours a month), and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. After going through all that, I didn’t qualify for food stamps because I still made more money than someone working at Wal-Mart.

I had three jobs in the last three years since then. After my contract ended the first two times, I got a new job within three weeks and drew only one week of unemployment benefits. I’m hoping for a third time in a row. I don’t know if my unemployment benefit will be on my old claim ($293 per week) or a new claim ($456 per week). If I get a new claim, I can probably relax a bit and take my time in finding a new job during the holidays. If it’s my old claim, I’m screwed. I still haven’t financially recovered from the Great Recession.

After my last job officially declared a layoff of “permanent” employees, my coworkers bombard me with questions about being a contractor as they been with the company for five or more years. They all thought they could take a six-month vacation, look for a new job before exhausting their unemployment benefits, and get hired immediately. I warned them against doing that. I had several roommates who did that during a normal economy (i.e., between the Dot Com Bust in 2001 and the Great Recession in 2008), couldn’t find another tech job because their programming skills were obsolete, got cashier jobs at a drug store, and are still toiling at minimum wage jobs. My coworkers didn’t get laid off this time, but my contract came up for renewal and that was that for that job.

Outrunning The Busybody Obese Police

No Fat KidsIf you’re an obese child in America today, you have to outrun the busybody obese police (BOP) who sends letters home from school or trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Of course, it doesn’t help if your birth weight matches a bowling ball. Rather than judging you on your character, the BOP will assume things about your weight and make your life a living hell.

Doctors told my mother that she was going to have twins. After one hour of labor and 250 stitches later, she gave birth to a ten-pound bowling ball. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was a boy and not a girl. As a young child, being overweight wasn’t a problem. Although an undiagnosed hearing lost in one ear was enough to declare me mentally retarded in kindergarten, no one mentioned anything to me about my weight.

The BOP didn’t make an appearance until the sixth grade when teasing by the other retarded boys and girls drove me to tears. The principal and my teacher called my parents into the office to scold them for my bad eating habits. They discovered that my parents were skinny people, assuming that I came from a family of fat people who shoveled junk food into my mouth. Shocked and dismayed that they couldn’t scold my skinny parents, I got sent to the doctors for testing to find an underlying medical problem.

After poking and prodding, the doctors determined I was just a big boy. Genetics wasn’t a common word back then, so no one bothered to look up the family tree. Since my parents moved to California from Idaho in the 1960’s, I didn’t know about my extended family until I was an adult. We had some big men and strong women on both sides of the family. I have inherited the “bigness” gene that has skipped my parents.

By the time I graduated from the eighth grade and dropped out of high school in 1984, I haven’t grown to my full height yet, weighed 400 pounds, had the stomach ulcers and high blood pressure of a Type-A businessman, and hated going to school. I became a shut-in for the next four years as I educated myself from newspapers, magazines and books from the library. On my 18th birthday, I got a ten-speed bike that I rode everywhere and lost 70 pounds in a year.

After I became a Christian and joined the campus ministry at San Jose City College (which I graduated four years later with a general education associate degree), the BOP came roaring back into my life with a vengeance, citing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

With that scripture in hand, the brothers would give me “friendly” advice about losing weight. This became the source of many conflicts in the ministry because I wasn’t shy about pushing back, especially if I thought their ideas were impractical or unrighteous. I made many enemies as the leadership always ruled against them. After 13 years of pushing and shoving, I got tired of that crap and let them kick me out of the church.

Before I got kicked out eight years ago, I joined a gym and lifted weights. I’m now 5′-10″ tall with 350 pounds and wearing 2XL shirts. I can easily bulk up to 400 pounds in muscle, but finding 4XL shirts is problematic. I’m focused on trimming down to an XL shirt. Except for the occasional fitness nut at work, the BOP has left me alone because I can physically pound them into the ground without trying. As Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Bigger guys get better respect.”

The Stupidity of Carrying A Toy Gun in Public

toysA teenager committed suicide in Santa Rosa last week. Wearing a hoodie over his head, carrying a pellet gun replica of an AK-47 assault rifle across his chest and a toy gun inside the waistband of his pants, he probably thought he was some badass gang banger. He was walking down the street when a sheriff cruiser pulled up behind him. With light flashing and the siren screaming, the deputies got behind the doors of their cruiser and ordered the teenager—twice—to drop his weapon. He turned to look back with the gun barrel rising towards the deputies.

Seven shots later, he’s handcuffed and declared dead. Suicide.

When I was a child in West San Jose during the 1970’s, my friends and I played with cap guns. Some of the older teenagers had BB guns for shooting small birds and pockmarking the windows around the neighborhood. San Jose was still rural back then, surrounded by orchards and the suburban sprawl that would later become Silicon Valley. Most stores sold fishing gear, department stores sold hunting rifles. All the kids got taught basic gun safety when playing with toy guns. Anything less would get someone hurt.

Basic gun safety meant you kept the gun barrel pointed to the ground and fingers off the trigger guard when walking down the street. If you’re playing cowboys and Indians, you did it someone’s yard, stay out of the streets and never pointed a cap gun above shoulder height. (Shooting from the hip was popular back then.) And you never ever pointed a toy gun at a police officer under any circumstances. You were likely to get shot—regardless of skin color.

Walking down the street with a hoodie and what looks like an illegal assault weapon in California is asking for serious trouble. I can’t blame the deputies for this one. The gangs are using teenagers to commit murders because the juvenile system provides short prison terms and sealed records. Unless a teenaged murderer gets tried as an adult, he gets a proverbial slap on the wrist and instant street cred with the gang. A bad deal for everyone involved. We don’t need teenagers playing gang bangers with toy guns.

A Lousy Month To Look For A New Job

WTF KeyboardI knew October would become a lousy month at the end of September when my car died from a blown head gasket. The timing was bad. Since my last two non-writing tech jobs ended after nine months or so, and the company I worked for had announced layoffs for its full-time workers, I expected to lose my job. And, not surprisingly, I got my layoff notice the following Monday morning. If being without a car and out of the job wasn’t bad enough, the Republicans shut down the government.

The last two times I looked for work last year, I got a job within three weeks and collected one week of unemployment. Under “normal” circumstances (and nothing has been normal since the Great Recession started five years ago), I could have expected the same success with my current job search this time. But with the Republican shutdown casting a pall over the economy, I wasn’t certain that I could get a job that soon before I ran out of money. If the Republicans were successful in destroying the global economy by defaulting on the good faith and credit of the United States, it didn’t matter anyway.

With two weeks left on the job, I updated and posted my resume to the job search websites, sat back and waited for my cellphone to ring. It didn’t. During the Republican shutdown, no one was calling me back. I scanned the websites, submitted my resumes to interesting positions and continued to wait. Only after the Republicans backed off from the economic cliff, and President Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution into law, did my cellphone started ringing off the hook.

I immediately had two meet-and-greet interviews with local recruiters. They claim to have numerous jobs available, but they never do and were more interested in my interactions with other recruiters. I went to these meetings to dust off the cobwebs and figure out what I need to change from being out of the job market for nine months.

One recruiter suggested that I changed my chronological resume to a functional resume. Since I had so many contract jobs over the last few years, I could highlight the various job skills that I have accumulated over the years (i.e., quality assurance testing, PC refresh technician, network support, help desk/desktop support and data center technician). I spent a day rewriting my resume at work since all my responsibilities got transferred to someone else, uploaded the resume to the job search websites and more phone calls came in.

It’s difficult to look for work while still working. Now that I’m not working, I’m playing the waiting game with recruiters who have submitted my resumes to hiring managers. The clock is ticking down. If I don’t have a paycheck by the end of November, I won’t have rent for December and things will fall apart from there. After surviving two years of unemployment, six months of underemployment (i.e., working 20 hours per month), and filing Chapter Seven bankruptcy, I’m not sure if I can put up with surviving on the edge again.

Please No Talking At The Urinal

iStock_000001699103SmallOne of my pet peeves at work is standing at the urinal in the men restroom when somebody comes up to the urinal next to me, unzips his pants and strikes up a conversation. Not the manly grunts to acknowledge the other person existence, but the “Whazzup!” conversational opener. I cannot talk and pee at the same time, a level of multitasking has always eluded me. Talking at the urinal means I need to stop peeing, think about what I need to say, say my piece and resume peeing again. Talking shop is the last thing I want to do at the urinal.

As a child prodigy tragically misdiagnosed as being mentally retarded (whenever I blew the evaluation exam on the genius side the teacher called it a “statistical fluke” every time), the boys restroom was a dangerous area for a fat white boy like myself in the Special Ed class. If someone turns off the lights, the student next to me always turned sideways to spray me with piss. An accident they told the teacher. Yeah, right. Because I rode the little yellow school bus, my mother didn’t drive and my father worked in San Francisco, I had to sit in piss-soaked pants for the rest of the class day and the two-hour bus ride home. My classmates would taunt me that I needed to wear diapers. I’m surprised that I never developed homicidal tendencies towards my classmates.

When I worked as a lead tester at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crises), we had more testers than the men restroom could accommodate. The custodians had to clean and stock the restroom three times a day to keep up. Someone always “forgot” to flush one of the toilets in the stalls. If you “read” the toilet bowl like tea leaves in a cup, you can figure out what they had for lunch at Taco Bell. The splatter pattern was different each day, as if someone tossed in a cherry bomb for good measure. I wrote up a proposal for management to install Porta-Potties out in the parking lot. The mad bomber of the restroom eventually left the company.

I did a six-week contract at Sony in 2005 to test what later become the Sony eReader. With no possibility of an extension, I looked for a new job while working on this one. I was standing at the urinal when a woman recruiter at Microsoft called my cellphone, answered the call and stepped away as I zipped up my pants. The urinal, of course, had an automatic flush. She asked if this was a good time to talk. I reassured it was, although my voice echoed in the restroom, Indian coworkers gave me strange looks, and toilet seats got plopped down for business. I conducted many interviews there since I couldn’t find a more private spot elsewhere.

My boss recently asked me for a status report while at the urinal. I had a catastrophic brain freeze. A status report meant collecting data, analyzing it and offering an interpretation relative to yesterday’s status report. That wasn’t a yes/no or one-sentence answer. I hemmed and hawed in answering, both verbally and peeing. As we were washing our hands (separately, of course), I stammered out that I would send him an email and ran out of the restroom. I was fortunate that I didn’t piss my pants.

We The People Must Designate The GOP As Terrorists

New York Daily News CoverOne of the best ideas in the run up to the government shutdown was a petition on the White House website to designate the Republican Party as a terrorist organization. Think about it. The Republicans want to force President Obama to give up his signature achievement of changing the healthcare system. That didn’t work. The healthcare exchanges opened for business yesterday because it’s not affected by the shutdown, which is costing the American taxpayers $300 million USD per day. In short, the Republicans are economic terrorists.

Ironically, the petition page got disabled from the Republican shutdown:

Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, We the People has been temporarily disabled.

As a result, you will be unable to create or sign We the People petitions. Once government funding has been restored, We the People will be reenabled. Petitions that were open as of October 1, 2013 will have their deadlines extended.

Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at USA.GOV.

Now would be perfect time for Americans to sign the petition en masse to break the 100,000 signature minimum requirement for the White House to consider the petition. Most petitions don’t get enough signatures to warrant a response, and the few that do often get boilerplate response on why the government can’t do this or that. (The most unique response was for a petition to build the Death Star.) Sometimes a petition with a very good idea gets implemented.

Would the White House designate the Republican Party as a terrorist organization? No.

If the Obama Administration branded the Republican Party as a terrorist organization, it would probably be the opening salvo for a second civil war as extreme conservatives from the southern states will assert their Second Amendment right to bear arms and go to war with the government. To paraphrase the old miner (Mel Brooks) in Blazing Saddles who shouted from the rooftop: “The president is a [church bells pealing]!” That a black man can become president despite their repeated attempts to sabotage the economy galls these angry old white guys like nothing else.

What the country need is a new political party for moderate conservatives to rally around and isolate the extreme conservatives in the Republican Party. (Some liberals will argue that a progressive party needs to split away from Democratic Party, but that’s taking political extremism in the opposite direction.) I recently changed my political affiliation because I don’t feel welcome as a moderate conservative in a party hijacked by the extreme conservatives. Until another political party can replace the Republican Party, we the people must continue to suffer the economic consequences of our duly elected terrorists.