Friday, April 03, 2009

American Heartland Values

Iowa's Supreme Court says that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. And note that that's under Iowa's State Constitution, so the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to review it. Federalism and all that.

Of course, there's the immediate push-back:

...opponents wasted little time in pushing for a state constitutional amendment that could send the issue to voters.

Hey, I've got a great idea for a Constitutional Amendment:

In matters of sex, romance, and/or domestic living arrangements between consenting adult humans, the Legislature shall mind its own goddamn business.

How's THAT for a classic American value?

Liberal Media?

This is an actual question. I really don't know the answer, so I'm depending on the memory of the assembled Hellions:

Does anyone remember if Newsweek or Time or U.S. News or any of the major alleged "news" magazines ever ran a cover saying "BUSH IS WRONG". Like when the Iraq War was being (mis)planned, did anyone put a picture of General Shinseki up saying "Bush is Wrong, We Need More Troops?"

Note: I'm sure the comments will end up being another debate about whether Obama is right or wrong. Nothing I can do about that. But I'd appreciate it if someone, especially any of you die-hard proponents of the whole "the media is controlled by liberals and is in the tank for Obama" theory could answer the question of whether or not any of Bush's critics ever got a full-face cover blaring that "BUSH IS WRONG". Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Guest Blogger Jack Kilborn Saves the Economy!

Ladies and gentlemen, What Fresh Hell is pleased today to host a writer who needs no introduction to most of you. Raconteur. Beer Connoisseur. Provocateur. Above all, a man who's always been a good and generous friend to me. The one, the only...Joe Konrath, er, Jack Kilborn.

My name is Jack Kilborn. My new horror novel, AFRAID, comes out today. Many people are saying it's the scariest book ever written.

It's not the best time to be a writer, because of the recession. Books, even paperbacks like AFRAID that are reasonably priced at $6.99, aren't selling very well.

This is a shame, because a good old-fashioned buying frenzy would help stimulate the economy.

In fact, I've crunched the numbers, and if only 1,889,011 people buy AFRAID, it will result in the creation of 23,007 new jobs, the DOW will climb by 949 points, gas prices will drop to 83 cents a gallon, and herpes will be cured.

Naturally, I want to see this happen, and I want to do my part. So here's what I'm proposing. If you follow these simple instructions, you will be personally rewarded, while also helping to stimulate the economy. Win win. Plus it's easy, fast, and fun.

Here's what you can do:

1. Buy AFRAID. You can buy it online, or in a store. Or you can borrow it from the library and then steal it (it's okay, they'll order a replacement.)

2. Save the receipt.

3. Scan the cover of Afraid and print out one hundred copies of the cover.

4. Handwrite on each of these flyers "This book is the greatest book ever written" and place them on the windshields of every car you see. (helpful hint: make sure the cars are stopped first)

5. Turn to page 54 of Afraid and circle the ninth sentence on the page.

6. Take the third letter from each word on the ninth sentence and rearrange them, Boggle-style, to form a new word that has never been heard before. Define this word as "Afraid is the greatest book ever written."

7. Handwrite this word on 250 Post-It notes, and hand draw the cover of Afraid on each, making sure the title and author are legible and the colors are correct.

8. Place these Post-It notes on the backs of homeless people, turning them into walking billboards. Also, maybe you can buy them a sandwich. And deodorant. Make sure you videotape this.

9. Pick up your local phone book and randomly call 50 people and/or businesses and read them the first six chapters of AFRAID. If they hang up, call them back.

10. Visit your local community college and enroll in a pottery class, then make a large vase with the words "AFRAID by JACK KILBORN" glazed onto the side. Fill this vase with healthy "green" snacks, like radishes, or buckwheat, and go on a cross-country bus tour, handing out handfuls of green goodness to people you sit next to, and to the bus driver, who sits on his ass 14 hours a day and could use something healthy.

11. When you return from your trip, Fed-Ex me the vase, the video footage of you tagging homeless people, your phone bill, and the license plate numbers of all the cars you put flyers on.

12. I'll send you a one dollar coupon, good toward the purchase of the next Jack Kilborn book.

It's that easy.

You can enter this contest as many times as you like, as long as you meet all the requirements for each copy of AFRAID you buy.

I know you care about the economy as much as I do. It's time for both of us to stop talking about it, and actually do something.

I'm doing my part. I urge you to do yours.

Your friend in economic recovery,

Jack Kilborn

AFRAID releases today. Some early reactions:

Jack Kilborn's "Afraid" is a true page turner, a novel that offers a million mile a minute action and suspense. Definitely, a must have with constant thrills and chills. (Heather Graham, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author )

Full of colorful characters and dynamic action, this hard-to-put-down page turner will keep readers riveted and squirming in their seats. Hands down, AFRAID by Jack Kilborn is perhaps the best psychological horror novel to come along since Silence of the Lambs. (Michael Laimo, author of DEAD SOULS and DEEP IN THE DARKNESS )

"Kilborn kicks down your psyche's front door and RAISES HOLY EVER-LIVING HELL. Never have I read a novel so gruesome and simultaneously relentless. AFRAID throbs with unmitigated, inexorable. sheer friggin' TERROR." (Edward Lee, author of CITY INFERNAL and BRIDES OF THE IMPALER )

A bloody, terrifying, hurtling assault across a landscape of non-stop mayhem. A guilty, guilty pleasure. (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack )

"The moment I heard about this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it." (David Morrell, NYT bestselling author of Scavenger )

"AFRAID is a bungee jump into pure terror, a story that plays brilliantly on all our primal fears, and stands shoulder to shoulder with the very best of Harris, Koontz, and King. A classic horror novel." (Blake Crouch, author of Locked Doors )

"AFRAID is a masterpiece of unrelenting horror. And I'm not exaggerating. Masterpiece. It's the best piece of fiction I've read in several years. It simply NEVER lets up." (James Rollins, NYT bestselling author of Black Order )

Jack Kilborn's AFRAID is appropriately named. It will scare the hell out of anyone who reads it. Fast and ferocious, this is a dangerous thriller that will take a bite out of you. An absolute must read for anyone who loves the adrenaline rush of a shocking story told with style, speed and savage grace. (Jonathan Maberry, Bram Stoker Award winning author of PATIENT ZERO and THEY BITE )

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The GOP Re-Discovers Free Speech

Barack Obama got elected president, in part, because he promised to bring change to America. One of the major changes he's wrought, one that seems to go unremarked in the press, is this: He's made the Republicans believe in free speech and open dissent again.

Take Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who first came to national attention when she suggested that Barack Obama had "anti-American beliefs" and called for a media investigation of said anti-Americanism. Lest you think that sort of thing was a one-time fluke, Ms. Bachmann has, since that time, proved that she can reliably and consistently bring the crazy.

Recently when discussing President Obama's energy proposals, Bachmann stated, and I quote: "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,' and the people -- we the people -- are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country."

Wow. I seem to remember when even the mildest questioning of the Dear Leader Bush's plans and schemes was described, in so many words, as "treason" and "support of terrorism." In fact, I still have the e-mails people sent me in the run-up to the Iraq War, including a memorable one "reminding" me that "they hanged Benedict Arnold, you know" (thus managing to be both vaguely threatening and historically ignorant at the same time).

Can you imagine if any Democratic commentator, let alone a Democratic member of Congress, had even rhetorically talked about wanting people to be "armed and dangerous" in opposition to a president's legislative initiative? There'd be Republicans calling for their removal from Congress at best and for their immediate incarceration at Guantanamo Bay at worst. Ms. Bachmann should be glad the Republicans aren't in charge any more, I guess.

Then there are the remarks made by conservative author Tammy Bruce who was subbing for nationally syndicated talk-show host Laura Ingraham one day. It appears that Ms. Bruce is, to put it mildly, not a fan of First Lady Michelle Obama.

"You know what we've got?" Bruce sputtered about Mrs. Obama. "We've got trash in the White House."

I was curious to see if any prominent liberal-leaning commentator had referred to former First Lady Laura Bush as "trash." Fortunately, I'm pretty handy with the Google, so I put in the words "Laura Bush" and "trash" and came back with a number of hits. Most of those, however, dealt with various speeches Mrs. Bush had given on the environment.

There was one reference to Mrs. Bush as "trash" in an article entitled "First Lady, or First Slut?" But that was on a self-described "Right Wing Pro-Life Christian Conservative" Web site called that was taking the former first lady to task for supposedly "off-color remarks" made at an unspecified event.

Besides, that was just some nutty blog site, not a nationally syndicated radio show. (It's a favorite dodge of wingnuts to justify the rhetorical excesses of their national leaders by pointing to something they vaguely remember reading in some deleted post by some anonymous commenter on some obscure blog, but that's not the way we roll here in this column.)

Anyway, I couldn't find one example of a published liberal author, or a liberal host or guest on a national broadcast, referring to a Republican first lady as "trash." Not one. Not the much-maligned Keith Olbermann, not MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, certainly not the liberal castrato Alan Colmes, whose sole function on Sean Hannity's show seemed to be to get verbally slapped around by the host and smile about it.

I can pretty much guarantee you that if anyone had called Mrs. Bush, or the other Mrs. Bush (Dubbya's mom), or Mrs. Reagan "trash" in any kind of nationally broadcast forum, we'd still be hearing about it. A lot. We'd also be hearing a lot about how that kind of thing just goes to show how terrible and tasteless and hateful the "angry left" is.

But free and unfettered speech, angry and hateful and tasteless though it may be, seems to be a newly discovered passion for the wingnuttiest of Republicans. Glad they've finally come around to the idea that dissent is important.

Too bad it took them six years and getting their butts kicked in two consecutive elections to do it.