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Quips and Jabs — 2005-2006

David E. Ross

An unorganized collection of wry humor, short comments on politics, jabs at commercials, predictions, et cetera. This page is always being updated, with new entries at the beginning. There is no table of contents.

Not everything here is original with me. Those items that are marked with © are original, and I own the copyright. Those items that indicate contributed by might not be original creations of the contributors.

Current Quips and Jabs

Quips and Jabs 2003-2004

Quips and Jabs 2001-2002

Quips and Jabs 1999-2000

Quips and Jabs 1997-1998

You're Pre-Approved for the American Express Preferred Rewards Green Card

This was sent to my daughter at my address. The problem is that Heather moved away to Canada almost ten years ago! How well did American Express check her credit if they are using an address where Heather has not lived for a decade?

© 2006

As a member of my county's Grand Jury, I visit various county departments to be briefed on what they do and how they operate. One such department is the computer crime lab operated by the district attorney. Much of the briefing there dwelled on the risks to children from "meeting" strangers over the Internet, strangers who are not really who they claim to be.

Yes, predators do lurk in chat rooms and seek victims through social networking sites. However, the solution is not to ban those aspects of the Internet, which would put politicians in the role of the parents who are failing to parent.

Today, parents have no idea what their kids are doing. Parents won't let their 7-year-old child wander the mall alone, but they let their child wander the virtual mall of the Internet alone. Thus, real protection requires better media education not only for children but also for their parents. Parents must learn how to teach their children to be careful and how to exercise some judgement.

Both my children established relationships with strangers through the Internet — strangers who then become their spouses.

© 2006

Michael J. Fox was featured in a political TV ad for Claire McCaskill, the Democrat candidate in the November 2006 election for U.S. Senate in Missouri. Fox's career as an actor was cut short by Parkinson's disease — diagnosed 15 years ago — which not only caused the tremors visible in the political ad but also impaired his ability to memorize his lines when performing in the TV show Spin City. Fox did the political ad because McCaskill supports expanded medical research using stem cells, which might lead to a cure for Parkinson's.

Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh claims that Fox was either overacting or without his medications in order to magnify the tremors that were visible in the ad.

My former college roommate was diagnosed with Parkinson's over 15 years ago. A good friend of my wife was diagnosed with this disease about 10 years ago. My wife herself was diagnosed with Parkinson's almost three years ago. They all take their medications, but they still exhibit the characteristic tremors. They are not acting.

Rush Limbaugh is an asshole!

(When I told my wife what word I was going to use in that last sentence above, she said that I was being too kind to Limbaugh.)

© 2006

The Hizbollah terrorists setup their rocket launchers in residential neighborhoods. Then, when Israel mounts a military operation to stop the rocket attacks on Israeli cities, everyone decries the horrific loss of civilian lives. Why is there no outrage when the terrorists use civilians as a shield?

cartoon showing terrorist shooting at an Israeli who is shooting back, baby carriage in front of terrorist, another baby carriage behind Israeli
Letter to the Los Angeles Times

Assessing blame over Middle East conflict

Why doesn't The Times do a story on the phone calls Palestinian suicide bombers make to Israeli cafes before blowing them up? Oh, that's right, no such phone calls are made, maximizing the number of civilian casualties. I guess that wouldn't make much of a story, would it?

David Doughty
Fullerton, CA
5 Aug 06

© 2006

In vino veritas.

Cited by Pliny the Elder,
lived 23-79 CE

The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.

Mel Gibson, 28 July 2006,
upon his arrest in Malibu for DUI

Yes, I believe Gibson is an anti-Semitic bigot.

While being taken into custody, Gibson threatened the Los Angeles Sheriff's deputy who arrested him. Claiming that he "owned Malibu", Gibson said, "You're going to regret you ever did this to me." The only thing Gibson owns is an excessively inflated ego. Others with far more money and much better political connections have sadly learned that Malibu belongs to the California Coastal Commission.

Various news reports quote Gibson as saying to a female deputy, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?" The deputy's hand-written arrest report (which was suppressed by the Sheriff's Department) cited Gibson using such profanity that the Los Angeles Times only used initial letters when quoting the report. Yet Gibson presents himself as a highly moral person with very traditional religious beliefs. Do you smell hypocrisy?

© 2006

Your call is important to us. Please wait until the next available representative can take your call.

What a pile of crap! First of all, with a queue of 20 calls ahead of me, the "next available representative" will not be taking my call. If my call were really important to them, they would hire enough representatives to avoid this.

Voice mail in a large organization is just as bad. While the "representative" is dealing with 10 other clients, I leave a message asking for a call-back. Apparently, 30 others left voice mail ahead of me. If I ever get the call-back, it might be three or four days later, again indicating that there are just not enough representatives.

Companies that solicit you to send E-mail instead of calling and then never reply to your E-mail are another bane.

© 2006

figure skater

My wife and I were watching the 2006 Winter Olympics when she commented that the athletes were doing things the human body was not really intended to do. As someone who did not see snow fall out of the sky until I was 34 years old (and do not want to see it again), I commented that they were doing those things in a place no sane person would go.

After watching figure skating, I lifted my tired, old body off the couch with a triple klutz and a double toe-stub.

© 2006

dead mouse

I found a dead mouse in my office!

No, I did not call the exterminator. Instead, I went to the computer store and bought a new one. Now my PC works again.

© 2006

You Decide

Which mayor of New York City is a greater threat to the institution of marriage?

Actually, the greatest threat is from politicians who want to define marriage according to the dogma of their own religion without any regard for differing dogmas of other religions.

© 2004, 2006

A Danish newspaper published a political cartoon condemning Islamic terrorists. The cartoon depicted the prophet Mohammed with his turban in the form of a bomb. From northern Africa to Indonesia, Moslem riots broke out. Although the Danish government has no control over the content of Danish newspapers, Danish embassies in at least two Arabic nations were torched.

Why are there no riots when Arabic newspapers under the control of their governments publish anti-Jewish cartoons? These hate-filled caricatures have been regular features of those newspapers for years.

The Danish government is being held responsible for something they cannot legally control. Then, when newspapers in other European nations reprinted the cartoon to show journalistic solidarity with the Danish newspaper and to demonstrate in support of freedom of the press, leaders across the continent fell over each other trying to apologize. Yet no one wants to hold Arabic newspapers or the governments that rigorously control them accountable for their anti-Jewish cartoons. One word describes this situation: HYPOCRISY.

© 2006

'Sorry We Missed You', from various spy agencies

In the current uproar over President Bush's administration spying on U.S. citizens without court-issued warrants, an old question is again being asked:

If you have done nothing wrong — if you are not involved in any criminal activities — why should you care if the government taps your phone or intercepts your E-mail?

This is really the wrong question. The correct question is:

If the government does not have a reasonable suspicion that I'm involved in criminal activities, what right does it have for snooping into my private life?

… we firmly believe that the president does have a legal authority to authorize electronic surveillance in order to gather up foreign intelligence … of the enemy in a time of war …

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
16 January 2006

This assertion should disturb conservatives and liberals alike. In justifying unwarranted wiretaps and E-mail interceptions involving Americans, Gonzales implies that our government is at war with its own citizens. We are the enemy!

When a government ignores its own laws and constitution to protect itself against its own citizens, that government has lost its legitimacy.

© 2006

My dear wife Evelyn saw an advertisement for a memory foam matress, which is supposed to remember and conform to your body characteristics.

"With my luck," she said, "the matress would have Alzheimer's."

© 2005

First, there were news reports that the CIA had established prisons in Asia and eastern Europe, beyond the control of U.S. courts and where laws against torture were weak (if they exist at all). Rather than investigate this horrific violation of human rights, the Republican House of Representatives has launched an investigation of the newspaper that broke this story and the security leaks that prompted it — another case of shooting the messenger.

Then President Bush attacks Congressional Democrats for their constant demands for an investigation into how intelligence reports were twisted to justify war against Iraq. Bush claims the Democrats are undermining the war effort, but the Democrats are merely telling the truth. (It's important to remember, when Bush tells us that several of his critics originally supported the war, they were then relying on intelligence reports from the President's administration.)

Too much like Nazi Germany or Stalinist Soviet Union, the Bush administration and his party in Congress place a higher priority on self-serving political expediency than on principles of truth and human decency. For the Republicans, the only thought is "cover your ass".

© 2005

Torture of prisoners by U.S. troops in Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison —

An isolated incident.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan setting the bodies of Taliban fighters on fire and then filming the burning bodies for use in propaganda —

An isolated incident.

Prisoners abused at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base —

An isolated incident.

There are too many isolated incidents. Add them up, and they are no longer isolated.

© 2005

As desperate residents of New Orleans tried to flee their dying city just after hurricane Katrina, the police of Gretna barricaded the bridge connecting their small suburb with New Orleans across the Mississippi River. The citizens of Gretna did not want "that kind of people" in their city. At the same time, officials of St. Bernard Parish used wrecked automobiles to barricade the road east out of New Orleans.

As New Orleans rebuilds, the infrastructure repairs will include traffic signals. It would be justice, not revenge, if commuters from Gretna and St. Bernard Parish suddenly found themselves held up by very long red lights and very short green lights when trying to enter New Orleans. After all, if the residents of New Orleans are not welcome in Gretna and St. Bernard Parish, why should the residents of those suburbs be welcome in New Orleans?

© 2005

Almost 100 years before Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, another natural disaster devastated another great city. At 5:13am PST on 18 April 1906, a major earthquake shook San Francisco, then the most important city on the Pacific coast of the United States. Many buildings collapsed, trapping hundreds of people who could not be rescued because of the fires that were fed by broken gas mains.

A modern re-evaluation of the disaster concluded that over 3,000 persons died. Damage is estimated at $500,000,000 in 1906 dollars, which (at current long-term inflation rate of 2.5%) would be about $5,620,000,000 in today's dollars.

A timeline of the response by the federal government on 18 April is significant. All times are Pacific Standard Time (with time elapsed after the initial quake in parentheses).

All this happened on the same day as the disaster. Compare this federal response — in an era of slower communications and much slower travel — with the response in New Orleans.

Timeline source: Timeline of the San Francisco Earthquake

© 2005
(My copyright excludes the facts in the timeline.)

According to the Los Angeles Times (9 August), Prolacta Bioscience, Inc., is starting a new business selling human milk. Collected from nursing mothers, the milk will be distributed to hospitals with neonatal intensive care units for babies who cannot tolerate formula and whose own mothers cannot provide milk.

Prolacta intends to make a profit from this business. The hospitals to which Prolacta distributes human milk will charge fees to the families of the newborns who receive the milk.

The strange part of Prolacta's business plan is that they expect to obtain the milk free, donated by generous nursing mothers. Why would a woman donate her milk so that Prolacta can profit? There are plenty of non-profit milk banks across the nation that would willingly receive such donations, milk banks that charge families much less than they would have to pay for Prolacta's milk.

This concept is very similar to doing volunteer work for a for-profit hospital. The hospital avoids paying employees to do the work done by the volunteers, whose charitable efforts thus serve to enhance the hospital's profits. The real beneficiaries are the hospital's executives and stockholders. Similarly, the real beneficiaries of nursing mothers who donate their milk to Prolacta will be the owners of Prolacta Bioscience, Inc., not the babies who need the milk.

© 2005

The letter from American Express to my mother began:

Dear Ms. Ross:

Based on your exceptional record of financial responsibility, American Express would like you to consider Cardmembership.

My mother (who just turned 95) lives in a skilled nursing facility. Mom has no assets. Her bills there are paid by an assignment of her Social Security benefits, Medicare, MediCal (California's version of Medicaid), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Mom's money is all gone!

This is a clear example of why the bankruptcy law had to be changed this year. Rather than exercise some care in screening credit applicants, banks and credit card companies spew out pre-approved applications (as was my mother's), inviting those who really should not have credit cards to spend, spend, spend.

© 2005

Aquarium Shouldn't Serve Fish, PETA Says

The animal rights group wants the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to gut its cafeteria menu of fish and seafood.

Source: Los Angeles Times
28 June 2005

And what does PETA propose they feed to the live fish at the Aquarium of the Pacific? Generally, fish are either carnivorous or scavengers, feeding on other fish either live or dead.

To me, if fish are on the menu for the inhabitants of the Aquarium, they can also be on the menu for the visitors.

Perhaps, in the face of declining support, PETA is trying to exhibit some relevance by cobbling up a new issue. Give it a break! This is as stupid as PETA's earlier stunt in which they invaded a mink farm to free the minks, which then — having known only captivity since birth — starved to death in the wild.

© 2005

Amnesty International released a report that condemns human rights abuses perpetuated by the U.S. government against prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. President Bush rejected the report as "absurd". Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went further, describing the report as based on lies told by disgruntled former inmates.

Given the lies told by the President's own administration — ranging from the costs of the new Medicare drug benefit to the justification for war in Iraq — I am more inclined to believe Amnesty International. After all, the only reason that Guantanamo Bay is being used to hold prisoners is a legal maneuver to keep them beyond the reach of civil courts and the rights granted under the U.S. Constitution.

© 2005

The U.S. government has expended a large amount of effort, time, attention, and money to restructure and refocus on the fight against terrorism. However, the greatest terrorist threats against the people of the U.S. are ignored. While attention focuses on external terrorists, domestic terrorists within the U.S. have killed more people and caused more property damage than al Qaeda.

For decades, urban terrorist street gangs have been involved in random killings. They also deal in narcotics, prostitution, and extortion to a scale that rivals the Mafia. While common belief holds the street gangs to be merely aimless, local, disorganized teens involved in minor vandalism and occasional internecine warfare, the reality is that they are highly organized, multi-state crime cartels that have made whole communities unlivable.

In the meantime, white supremacist and survivalist gangs now have a role in rural areas that used to be held by the Ku Klux Klan. Unlike the KKK, however, these terrorists are nationwide (just like the street gangs). Such groups as the National Alliance, Aryan Nations, World Church of the Creator (now known as the Creativity Movement), Hammerskin Nation, and various paramilitary self-styled militias target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities for extermination. To finance their operations, some of these gangs have turned to large-scale armed robbery. What makes these groups especially dangerous is that some members of Congress court their support. Perhaps that is why the focus is on external and not internal terrorism.

© 2005

I just don't understand the attack against SpongeBob SquarePants. How can a fictitious sponge be gay? What's next? A gay scouring pad? A gay doorknob?

I also don't understand how a healthy and strong emotional commitment of a married couple — further strengthened by legal recognition — would be undermined if a same-gender couple made the same commitment and received the same legal recognition. It's not a zero-sum game. My wife and I would lose nothing if two men or two women gained.

However, I do understand how both are parts of an ongoing campaign of verbal "gay bashing". Leaders of this campaign include James Dobson (founder of Focus on the Family and the primary attacker against SpongeBob), U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (Colorado Republican who recently re-introduced an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit same gender marriages), and the 21 other Senators who immediately joined Allard to cosponsor his Senate Joint Resolution 1. I also understand that the prominence of these leaders will give support to those who translate verbal abuse into physical. The next time a gay man is the victim of a homophobic murder, his blood will be on the hands of Dobson, Allard, and their supporters.

© 2005

An investment in the Fund could lose money over short or even long periods. You should expect the Fund's share price and total return to fluctuate within a wide range, like the fluctuations of the overall stock market. The Fund's performance could be hurt by stock market risk, which is the chance that stock prices overall will decline. Stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and periods of falling prices.

From a mutual fund prospectus
(emphasis added)

The above statement is required by law. Similar statements are required when new shares in a particular company are issued.

Why then does President Bush promote his private investment accounts as a "cure" for Social Security. Where is the security in this proposal?

© 2005

Hypocrisy Alert

In the November election for Governor in Washington state, the initial count had Republican candidate Dino Rossi ahead of Democrat candidate Christine Gregoire by 261 votes. Rossi proudly claimed victory.

With such a close result, a recount was conducted. Rossi was still ahead of Gregoire, but now only by 42 votes. Rossi still claimed victory and declared the election to be valid.

A second recount, however, put Gregoire ahead of Rossi by 129 votes. Now Rossi denounces the election as flawed and is suing to have the entire gubernatorial election voided. He wants the courts to order an entirely new election.

A win by 42 votes was valid but a loss by 129 votes is not?? Come on Rossi, stop waffling. You almost sound like President Bush trying to justify the war in Iraq. You are also in violation of the fundamental Republican philosophy that denounces attempts by the courts to overturn the will of the voters.

© 2005

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