Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Curious Case Of Rand Paul

There is a man in Kentucky named Rand Paul that is running for US Senate. He is a Republican. He is backed by the Teabaggers. He also has such a huge hard on for the rights of private business, that he will risk being labeled racist, bigoted, and anti-civil rights to make a philosophical point. The point being that though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was correct in criminalizing discrimination in the public sector, it should not have necessarily criminalized discrimination in the private sector. Oh, Rand. You dumb bastard.

The primary issue for Republicans, Teabaggers, Libertarians, and such is allowing for unchecked, unregulated, free range for businesses. This is the centerpiece of American Conservatism. That sounds good for small businesses, at least in theory. But this lazze faire approach for businesses really only benefits corporations.

Rand Paul, being the brand new, “young,” face of the Teabagger conservative Republican movement wants people to know that he is without a doubt a firm believer in the rights of business, that he openly said on numerous occasions that parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were wrong. Once again; oh Rand, you dumb bastard.

Rand does not flat out say that private businesses have the right to discriminate. I want make to make perfectly clear that I do not think Rand Paul to be a racist, or bigot. But he sure does infer that private business have the right to discriminate. And some can make the argument that that is just as bad.

Private businesses do not have and should not have the right to discriminate based on race. Obviously, this is a very important measure of the Civil Rights Act. Private property rights do not come into play as Dr. Paul suggested could be the case.

So how in the world did this come up? I’d like to think that the great state of Kentucky is not so ass backwards that civil right debates are common. Hell, I’ve got a huge city crush on Louisville. It’s an awesome city. I don’t know how this came up. I didn’t even know who in the world Rand Paul was last week. But the two major references for Rand Paul and this Civil Rights debacle, prior to the Rachel Maddow interview was an interview Paul gave to the Louisville Courier Journal and an interview he gave to All Things Considered on NPR.

Two ways this could have gone down. One: Rand Paul brings up civil rights in an attempt to make a point about the rights of business. If this is the case, than Dr. Paul is a complete idiot! It speaks volumes of his inexperience in politics. Maybe he’s a bit of a politico-phile as I and many others are and got too comfortable with a philosophical discussion about Civil Rights and the rights of business. Lord knows I’ve gotten excited about a philosophical discussion on interstate commerce law once. I love interstate commerce law. (Don’t judge me.) In any case, Dr. Paul played this VERY BADLY and in the end, it is his bad. Two: Someone poses the question to Mr. Paul about how he feels about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If this was the case, than why in the hell was his answer not, “I whole heartedly believe in every aspect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discrimination of any kind is wrong then and is wrong now. Next question.” If his answer is not some version of this, than Mr. Paul is a complete idiot and this also speaks volumes of his inexperience as a politician. I’ll say again, it’s his bad.

Listen Rand isn’t a bad guy. He’s just an idiot. The major concern for all of us is Dr. Paul’s views are a microcosm of, not just the Teabagger movement, but of conservatism at large. I’ve said this before. Privatization breeds segregation. This whole debacle with Dr. Paul and civil rights is hard evidence to that. This is the danger of deregulation. Allow big business to run amuck and bad things are sure to happen. We are in a recession and unemployment is over ten percent. Millions of Americans are underemployed. Millions of Americans do not have access to health insurance. All this is because of a three decades plus wave of conservatism that has taken over our country. It is clear that “The Invisible Hand of the Market” does not provide for us. We must provide for ourselves. And this free range for business, anti-tax, small government ideals of conservatism only sinks us in deeper. Now we see that even civil rights is (philosophically) in danger of being privatized. It’s not evil racists that are sinking our society. It’s idiots that think they can benefit by giving more and more power to business, while less and less power is being saved for us.

russ kelly.
(It’s good to be back!)

Rand Paul Sets The Record Straight (
Rand Paul confuses supporters, spurs anger with comments on Civil Rights Act (
Paul’s Views on Civil Rights Cause a Stir (
Rand Paul Underscores the Tea Party's Connection to Race (

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Whole Bunch of Crap.

So John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, does not agree with the Obama administration’s healthcare plan. So what. Neither do I. Though we both have concerns about the president’s agenda, we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. The sweet sweet irony in Mr. Mackey’s economic opinions is that his business caters to people who are probably more to the left than he apparently is. This isn’t uncommon. Who makes the “environmentally friendly” Toyota Prius? A car company known as Toyota, who is not in the ecology business, but the auto business, and they are in the auto business to make money. It’s the same with Whole Foods. Whole Foods exists to make money. It’s a business. The fact that it’s a business is evident in Whole Foods recent merger with Wild Oats Market and the legal back and forth Whole Foods has gone through with the Federal Trade Commission to finish the deal.

What’s the point? The point is that it should not come as a surprise that the CEO of a big corporation personally supports other big corporate entities. In this case, John Mackey supporting big insurance companies. Is Mackey off the hook then? Nope. Make no mistake, John Mackey’s health care opinions are wrong. His anti-health care opinions are pretty standard. (Don’t take my word for it. click here ) But the real reason why John Mackey is such a dumb ass is that he alienated his consumers. What was this guy thinking!?! You are the CEO of a posh organic grocery store chain. Why piss off the hipsters?

So the fallout is that many people who disagree with Mr. Mackey’s views are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods. Oh no! We’re looking at a full blown hipster civil war. How will they be able to stick it to the man and still buy organic sorghum from the cool corporate chain store? What are the hippies to do?

And did you hear about the fallout from the fallout? You are not going to believe this. Looney tune right wingers are now calling for a Whole Foods “buycott.” I’ll say that again. Right wing groups are urging people to shop at Whole Foods Market in opposition to the boycott. Talk about weird political activism. In St. Louis, this “buycott” is being coordinated by… THE TEABAGGERS! Who could forget about those lovable patriots that think they don’t have to pay their fare share in taxes. They have returned in the form of anti-health care reform jokers that are no longer dumping tea into the Mississippi, but feasting on overpriced health foods despite the left.

Honestly, it’s freaking genius. Because, like I said before, Whole Foods is not in the change the world/ do good things for the environment business. They are in the selling food business and they are selling food to make money. It’s good old fashioned capitalism. The words “whole”, and “organic”, and “natural” are descriptors used to move product. This isn’t exactly a criticism of Whole Foods. It’s just how it is. They market themselves as a health food store and they do a fantastic job of delivering on what they are advertising. It’s a wonderful business model and they do great things for local growers. But it’s still a corporation. They still use predatory tactics like opening stores next to small market vendors and drive down prices to put them out of business. What I’m trying to hammer away at is the bottom line is NOT a healthier lifestyle, it’s robust profits.

So, the “buycotters” are doing what comes naturally to them. They are supporting big business. Only this time, it’s not a big box store that’s sells junk; it’s a specialty foods store that sells high quality food. But it’s such a show of disgusting, middle school bullshit. These people don’t believe in anything. Most of these buycotters have never set foot in a Whole Foods, and now they’re urging people to go there. Why? For the better quality products that Whole Foods sells? Nope. It’s because they heard on television that the CEO opposes Obama’s health care plan. These people have no life. They have no moral or ethical standards whatsoever. It’s truly sickening.

Like I said, I’m not criticizing Whole Foods for being an efficient corporate business model. I don’t think you should boycott Whole Foods because of the personal opinions of the CEO. That’s ridiculous. If you are really serious about ethical food purchases, join a food co-op, shop at independent markets, or buy direct from the farmer. If this isn’t practical, then go ahead and shop at the damn Whole Foods Market. You’re the consumer. How can you possibly be blamed for what is presented to you? This “buycott” won’t last long and these idiot right wingers will move on to the next outrageous stunt. And don’t worry about this jack ass, John Mackey. He is just expressing his beliefs as a business man. Though, perhaps it was bad business to piss off his customers.

"Whole Foods Caught in the Crossfire."
By Georgina Gustin

"The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare
Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit."

By John Mackey
Wall Street Journal

"Michael Pollan Weighs in on Whole Foods Boycott."
By Andrew Price

Monday, June 15, 2009

No Picture of Obama at the Missouri Veterans Home.

I went to see my dad this past Saturday. My father is a disabled veteran that lives at the Missouri Home for Veterans. (A great facility) When you (usually) walk into the Home, immediatly to the left of the front doors are pictures of the President and Governor. When I walked in Saturday, the home was displaying a picture of the new Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, but in place of where the picture of Mr. Bush was was not President Obama, but a small, slightly askew picture of another man. I didn't give it much thought, at first, but my irritation has steadily grown through Sunday, and now I can't get it out of my head. This is the letter I emailed to the Missouri Veterans Home. I'll keep you posted as to what unfolds.

My name is Russel Kelly. I am the son of Steven P. Kelly, Navy Veteran and resident of the Missouri Veterans Home. I visited my father on Saturday June 13th for the first time since December. I would love to see my father more often, but I attend school out of state. One of the things that I always notice apon entering the home is the prominent display of our president and governor. I was happy to see that the home is prominently displaying the picture of our new governor, Jay Nixon. I was concerned, however as to why a picture of our President was not displayed in the Veterans Home. My question is why is there no picture of our pesident in the Missouri Veterans Home? I am very proud of my father's service and the service of all Missouri Veterans. Displaying a picture of our president in our Veterans facilities shows support for our nation and honors our brave men and women who have served to protect our freedom. Thank you for your service to Missouri Veterans, inparticular, my father. The Missouri Veterans Home is a wonderful facility with an outstanding staff. I look forward to working with you to get our Commander and Chief back on the walls of our Missouri Veterans Home.

God Bless,
Russel Kelly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From the Archives: My Marian Devotion from March 3, 2009

I thought I'd repost this since I am back home watching TV with my mom full time. I think this is one of my better preaches. You gotta love existential theology with hints of marxism. (work=love)

Original post was 4 March 2009 on facebook.

This is my reflection from Tuesday for all to see. Thanks for everyone that was there. The impromptu Q&A was great.

1. I’m not a big fan of miracles. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why would God come out from the sky and start breaking the laws of physics, laws that God put in place to begin with. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There has to be an explanation for everything. There has to be a clear answer to the question of how. How does water boil? Heat is causing a chemical reaction to the water causing the molecules to speed up. Why is the water boiling? Because I want some tea. There is a reason why we do things. And there is an explanation to why whether or not we know what that explanation is. I don’t know why some people find it so hard to believe that Jesus is present in the eucharist. Years ago when I was working at a restaurant in St. Louis, I had a young woman from England asked me, “So you believe in transubstantiation?” And she asked me in a very “that’s a very ignorant thing to believe” tone. I didn’t know how to respond to her. It just doesn’t occur to me that the eucharist to some people is this fanciful happening that doesn’t make any sense. So I just said to her, “yeah.” My sense of God has taken a very Thomist turn in the past few years. I try to see God in the world and in the natural occurances in the world. God is present all around us. God is present in air we breath. The water we drink. God is present in our very existence. God made everything of this world and stamped it all with the presence of God’s approval. God has created wheat and grapes. We take those gifts and make bread and wine and on the instruction of Jesus, offer this bread and wine up to become his body and blood. It isn’t so much a miracle as it is work. God’s work on earth. And what is work, but an expression of love. How does the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus? Through the epiclesis the priest begs the father to send the holy spirit, the sanctifier, so that the offering may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful, by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God (1105) Why? So that God can be physically present to us. So that God can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard. A tangible being that connects heaven and earth.

2. I’m not a big fan of the concept of hell or evil; satan. I don’t understand why some poeple have such faith in these things. You better do this or that, because if you don’t, you’re going to hell. If you don’t vote a certain way you are aiding evil. I don’t have much use for what is essentially negative reinforcement. These concepts are used today to further agendas, and create fear, hate, and division. Also, such things were destroyed once and for all on Calvary, never to return again. For me, to say that evil and satan and hell still exist is to say the Crucifixion didn’t work and we all know that the crucifixion is the bright shining moment of the human race for we were set free by the son of man’s great sacrifice We are a post-crucifixion society; the wind is at our back. And in this season of Lent we look back at our time in the desert so that we can appreciate our life of abundance. Of Christ’s redeeming abundance. So what are these things that we call evil if evil was destroyed over two millennia ago? It is the feeling of absence. A void. Not acknowledging the grace that we all have already. God is not some genie in a lamp granting wishes. Each and everyone of us has every single grace and favor from God. Sometimes we forget that. We forget for whatever reason that God is present to us always.

3. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you feel blue. When it’s hard to feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes, you can’t see the graces God puts right in front of your face, but they’re there. This Christmas was the first time I spent time with my mom in a long while. I hadn’t been home since march. It was the first time in years that I was in the presence of my mom for a significant amount of time. She doesn’t have much money. Her home is poor but it’s hers. It’s my mom’s house. One day we made cookies. She made peanut butter cookies from scratch and they were terrible! I made chocolate chip cookies from a mix and they were delicious. We went to applebee’s one night. Mom took home half her dinner and told me I could have it. Mom’s got a husband that is not my father and he is a pretty cool guy. He backed up all my music files. Mom’s got a little dog that only likes a handful of people. I am one of those people. Mom’s not the most educated Catholic. She’s got all these watchtower pamphlets all over the place. And sure enough Jehovah stopped by. Mom let them in. They told us what they were sent to tell us and then we got to know each other. I told them all about living in New York and passing by the watchtower in Brooklyn all the time. Most of the time I spent with my mom was spent watching tv. She has every single movie channel, and we watched a lot of movies. Me watched this movie from the eighties about escaped mental patients running around New York City, starring Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd. We watched The Last King of Scotland. We watched Elf. We must have watched Coming to America at least three times.

4. Never before had it been so apparent that my mom was a gift. A grace bestowed apon me by God to comfort and sustain me. A little old gray haired sign of God’s presence on earth. A testament to God’s work of love. A presence that can’t be denied. The clouds of absence parted and out from the sky shown down on me the rays of God’ sun. I can see it. I can feel it. I can hear it, touch it and taste it. It is tangible. It is present to me. And it came from such a familiar ordinary place. On the couch watching tv with my mom.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ok. I want start out by saying that I loved it. I thought it was bad ass. I loved all the special effects. The future Robocop looking dude on a hover police bike pulling over a young Jimmy Kirk driving through Iowa in a mustang rocking out Beastie Boys was great. The homages to the old TV show and movies were awesome. I loved that they had Jimmy Kirk sexing up a hot co-ed with green skin. Spock repeating verbatim lines he said in previous movies was so cool. McCoy’s old one liners were funny and didn’t come off as cheesy. Also, Zoe Saldana is a spot on Nichelle Nichols.
I was totally convinced when Uhura was in the elevator with Spock. The guest appearances were cool too. (Pay close attention to Spock’s mother…) It was a great movie.


From a Star Trek fan’s view, they totally destroyed the Star Trek story line. The biggest is obviously Spock and Uhura. That was not expected. What about destroying Vulcan? You can’t destroy Vulcan! What the hell!?! It was all very Star Warsy, what with Jimmy Kirk being born like some chosen protagonist from Heaven. Vulcan being destroyed by that big ship was totally an Alderaan being destroyed by the death star rip off.

Also, Romulans are supposed to look like this.
Almost exactly like Vulcans. These Romluans look more like the Remans from Star Trek Nemesis (R.I.P. Data)

Also, what’s up with old Spock traveling through time again? Leonard Nimoy has done more time than Michael Vick. First he goes back to the 1980’s for humpback whales, now he has to go into the future over a hundred years only to watch his own planet get destroyed? For God’s sake, let Spock rest! He’s an old man for crying out loud.

And is it important to have a representative from First Gen Star Trek christen new Star Trek franchises? Remember McCoy was in the first episode of The Next Generation. He was like 200 years old or something? And wasn’t it a corn ball fest to have Jimmy Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard swashbuckling side by side in Star Trek Generations? Old Spock was not necessary, and the “passing of the torch” scene between Nimoy and Quinto at the end was most def not needed. Lame!

But that’s through the lens of a nerd. If you are a Trek Nerd and you come into the movie wanting to hate it, you probably will. But if you have heeded the warnings of J.J. Abrams and accept the fact that, “This is not your dad’s Star Trek,” and just take it at face value, you’ll at least think it’s ok. Like I said before, I for one thought it was bad ass.