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Frankie Say Politics (1997-1999)

PARENTAL ADVISORY: contains rabid attacks on many sacred cows. CLICK HERE to avoid this page.


Dividing Microsoft

1999 August 1
Column A
System
Column B
Office
Column C
Side Dishes
MS DOS
Win3x
Win9x
WinNT
WinCE
Win2000
etc.
IE
Word
Excel
PP
Outlook
Access
Exchange
etc.
MSN
games
Encarta
Map
etc.

Various organizations are proposing ways to split up the Microsoft Monopoly, suggestions ranging from three to six subunits. I don't see why it needs to be so complicated. The complaint is that MS uses its OS monopoly to dominate the applications market. So I'd just do a "chinese menu".

Any company or individual with control* of any products in Column A may not have control of any products in Column B, or vice versa. The side dishes may be divided as they see fit.

* = I'm no lawyer. I would roughly define "control" as being a stockholder of > 5%, board member, and/or senior executive.


About Senator Hilary...

1999 March 12

...why is it that absolutely no one in the news media has mentioned the small fact that Hilary Clinton is not a New York state resident? When exactly did the concept of representing your local citizens become irrelevant?


Stupid Speechifying

1999 February 10

I find it absolutely hilarious and disgusting that our Senators continue to speech at each other during their private impeachment session. No cameras, no press, no spectators at all, yet they blather on for an entire week. They could have just handed in paper copies to be included in the Congressional record, it would take 10 minutes.

I thought they were just doing it for the public media, for the spin. But no, they're doing it because they really believe it's the right thing to do. That's so fucking scary.


Vote!

1998 November 3

I know it's been said many times before, but it's still valid. If you didn't vote, don't complain.


Some perjuries are more equal than others

1998 Septempber 22
The US Congress is up in arms about perjury. "No one is above the law", they chorus. Well, in that case, I have a suggestion. A few years ago, several guys came before Congress and blatantly lied through their teeth. They used legal mumbo jumbo to conceal evidence. They make Bill's lies look like a grade school fib. I refer, of course, to Big Tobacco. For decades the cigarette makers have claimed repeatedly that cigarettes are NOT addictive and smoking does NOT cause cancer. They've said it in print, on TV, in court, and directly to Congress itself. Then suddenly the whole group did an about face, saying "well of course tobacco is dangerous, you've all known that for 30 years, it's your own damn fault if you die". Excuse me? I call that Perjury, Obstruction of Justice, and Racketeering. Strangely, our dear legislators haven't done anything about it, when they could very easily throw EVERY tobacco CEO in jail immediately for Contempt of Congress. I wonder why not?

Bill Clinton made a dumb mistake (aside from that other stuff)

1998 September 17
I don't understand these people-on-the-street who keep saying they're so disillusioned in Bill Clinton. Face it, we've all known that he's a sleazy philanderer since before we elected him the FIRST time (in 1992). Remember Gennifer Flowers? And all the others? It shouldn't surprise anyone that he STILL can't keep his pants zipped properly.

Also, everyone wearing moral outrage about "adultery in the White House" should take a look inside their wallets -- notice the faces on the $1 bill, $2 bill, and 50c piece. Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Kennedy all did the exact same thing, yet they are considered worthy of eternal honor. And if you want to talk about lies, here's two phrases to remember: "Gulf of Tonkin" and "Iran-Contra". At least Bill's lies didn't kill thousands of people. But I digress.

The key indictment of The Starr Report is that Bill committed perjury (and related offenses) during the Paula Jones lawsuit. In particular, he lied about Monica's hum jobs. So here's where he messed up big time -- Monica would not have mattered if Bill hadn't delayed the trial so damn long. Paula filed suit in 1994, but Bill's lawyers postponed the proceedings repeatedly for four years. Meanwhile, he's fooling around with Monica from November 1995 to March 1997. Paula's lawyers learn about Monica in late 1997, and add her to the witness list in December 1997.

The smart move would have been to complete the whole trial quickly, back in his first term. But instead he kept stalling, and basically handed a huge weapon straight to Starr.

Gifted and well educated, but no common sense and no backbone.


God Hates Bible-Thumping Protesters

1998 March 3

One of the most annoyingly stupid groups of people in the world are protesters marching around with Old Testament phrases on their signs, claiming that the Bible (and implicitly God) is on their side. Bull. The Bible says lots of things, and I've never seen a single protester who followed the very rules they're trying to enforce. Here's a list of things they wish were not in the Bible, but are:

Sound Bite Source Text   (as translated in the Jerusalem Bible)
God hates pork chops. Lev 11:7 "You will regard the pig as unclean, it is not a ruminant."
God hates cheesburgers. Deut 14:21 "Do not eat anything you find already dead. [...] You must not cook a kid in its mother's milk."
God hates Maryland.
(God hates crabs)
Lev 11:10 Pinch the Tail, Suck the Head, Burn in Hell "But anything in sea or river that does not have fins and scales, you will regard as detestable."
God hates poly-cotton blends. Lev 19:19 "You will keep my laws. You will not wear a garment made from two kinds of fabric."
God hates shaving. Lev 19:27 "You will not round off your hair at the edges or trim the edges of your beard."
God hates tattoos. Lev 19:28 "You will not gash your bodies when someone dies, and you will not tattoo yourselves."
God hates Psychic Chat Lines.
God hates David Copperfield.
Lev 19:31 "Do not have recourse to the spirits of the dead or to magicians; they will defile you."
God hates the handicapped. Lev 21:17-19 "None of your descendants, for all time, may come forward to offer the food of his God if he has any infirmity, for none may come forward if he has an infirmity, be he blind or lame, disfigured or deformed, or with an injured foot or arm"
God loves slavery. Lev 25:44-46 "The male and female slaves you have will come from the nations round you; from these you may purchase male and female slaves. As slaves, you may also purchase the children of aliens resident among you, and also members of their families living with you who have been born on your soil; and they will become your property, and you may leave them as a legacy to your sons after you as their perpetual possession."

Followup 2001: West Wing Remix edition. See also my position on flag burning.


Stupid Olympic "Sports"

1998 January 9

CLICK HERE for the The I Hate Curling Page / NHL Sucks.


Ban Flag Burning? Why Bother?

1997 September 7
Flag Burning is a really Really REALLY stupid political issue. People just don't do it often at all, except in response when people try to ban it. The only real effect here is to start divisive argument and polarize opinions. But what everyone refuses to mention is that flag burning could easily be stopped right now, without resorting to Constitutional Amendment, or any other added laws. Most cities have ordinances that prohibit setting fires in public places. It doesn't matter if you're burning a flag or a dog or an oil-soaked rag; fire codes regulate public safety, not free speech. Of course, using a misdemeanor charge trivializes the flag issue, which neither side wants. Demagogues are much happier yelling at each other than actually solving problems.

Space Aliens are NOT Visiting the Earth

1997 June 24
In my experience, people who believe in alien landings and abductions have no clue how big space is, and how difficult it would be to travel the universe. They're basing their theories on blind faith and Star Trek episodes. Flying all the way around the world, IMO, is about the biggest trip that most people have a decent mental picture of. 25000 miles, it takes a few days by plane, but our fastest rockets can do it in about an hour. Okay? From here to the moon is 100 times farther than that. Make your brain multiply the trip by 100. From here to Mars, you have to multiply by 100 times farther again. To the edge of our solar system is another 100 times farther. And to the nearest stars is yet another 100 times farther. Put that all together, and you're looking at a trip that would take 10000 years with our current technology, or maybe 1000 years if our best theoretical ideas could actually be built.

Don't even try to make wild stupid claims about warp drive or hyperspace unless you've done the physics to back it up, or can give me written scientific documentation. I've done the math myself, and it isn't pretty.

Followup 1999: The Baltimore Sun corroborates this almost exactly.

You Can't Eliminate Soft Money from Politics

1997 June 17
I am tired of hearing critics and polls saying we should ban Soft Money. I wonder if these people even have a CLUE what Soft Money means (in brief, it's donations to political party organizations that indirectly benefit candidates). First off, there's a major Freedom of Speech issue -- the right to give your money away or use it to make political statements.

But more importantly, it is IMPOSSIBLE to prevent rich corporations from spending money to influence elections, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to prevent political groups from using that money to benefit specific candidates. For example, let's say you go all the way and forbid all donations to political parties other than ordinary membership dues. Here's what happens:

  1. Political party staffers go to advertising agencies and mention some ideas for a series of ads favoring their candidates. No money or goods are exchanged. The agency creates the ads on their own.
  2. The party compiles a list of these ads, a list of TV station ad departments, and a list of times to show the ads on the stations. It gives these lists away to wealthy people and corporations that favor their candidates.
  3. These rich folk go to the agency, pay for the advert, take it to the TV stations, and pay them to run it.
  4. Net Result: unrestricted spending on political campaigns, without using political donations of any sort. No hard money or soft money.

Well-coordinated spending by private groups can have identical effects to direct spending by politicians and parties. Remember that you're asking politicians to write a law that restricts their own actions -- obviously they'll figure out the very best loopholes, many of which cannot be closed without violating the First Amendment.


Gen. Joe Ralston should be the Joint Chief

1997 June 10

The Flinn and Ralston cases are utterly different, but the media keeps claiming equivalence without explaining any of the details.

Kelly Flinn Joe Ralston
had an affair last year with a man married to an enlisted subordinate, causing disunity on the airbase. had an affair 13 years ago (while legally separated from his wife) with a woman uninvolved with the military.
lied to superior officers. told the truth.
disobeyed direct orders. obeyed the chain of command.

Nevertheless, the military brought this idiocy upon themselves, and they should have seen it coming. The moment they learned that Lt. Flinn was taking her case to the media, they should have dropped the adultery charge entirely, and prosecuted her only on the more serious offenses of lying and disobedience. But no, they stuck with the adultery thing, and now it's bitten them in the ass. You'd think that the very organization whose JOB is strategy and tactics should know how to avoid getting stuck in a no-win battle.


How to Really Prevent Drunk Driving

1997 January 9
People drive drunk and squish other people because they get away with it over and over. Suspended licenses don't do it -- if inability to walk straight isn't enough, why care about a piece of paper? My alternative:
  1. A first offense will result in a suspended license and mandatory fines equalling 1/10th the blue book value of the vehicle being driven.
  2. A second offense while in your own car will result in revoked license and confiscation of the vehicle (and fines for any unpaid balance on it).
  3. Allowing a prior offender to drive drunk in your car will result in confiscation of the vehicle (and fines for any unpaid balance on it).
  4. Driving drunk in someone else's car without permission (including failure to inform them about your sobriety or legal status) will be considered felony auto theft with mandatory jail time.
  Thus, exactly one of the 3 penalties will always apply on a repeat offense. Someone loses their car or the driver goes to jail. In each case, future offenses are strongly curtailed. This plan is also progressive -- a rich offender with a luxury car suffers proportionally to a poorer offender with a cheaper car. Lastly, the vehicles will be auctioned, helping to pay police & court costs and decreasing local taxes.
Verifiable Voting in Maryland

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