Archive for August, 2007

Thoughts on Politics: Old and New

August 30, 2007

If I had to identify what I considered to be my best personality trait, I would answer with one word: cynicism.

Below is a collection of quotes from the two men that I admire for both their cynicism and their insight. Unfortunately, most readers will be unfamiliar with both authors. It is the purpose of this post to bring to the reader’s attention these two giants of both cynicism and American literature.

***

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?) is, in my personal opinion, one of the most underappreciated figures of American literature. Bierce is widely held to be the father of the modern short story as well as being the first author to make use of the concept of a “psychological thriller” over 100 years before Stephen King et al. For those that would like more information concerning Bierce, here is the obligatory link to the Ambrose Bierce page at Wikipedia.

CONGRESS, (Noun), A body of men who meet to repeal laws.

CONSERVATIVE, (Noun), A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

POLITICS, (Noun), A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

REPRESENTATIVE, (Noun), In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.

SENATE, (Noun), A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

VOTE, (Noun), The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880-1956) is another literary figure that has drifted into relative obscurity. In this writer’s opinion, Mencken should be considered as one of the true giants of American literature because it was Mencken that more or less created the cynical editorial style that influenced a full century of commentators. Even today, his 1925 reports on the Scopes trial (“The Great Monkey Trial”) are considered to be among the classics of journalism. Once again, here is the link to the H.L. Mencken page at Wikipedia.

As an aside, in the movie Inherit the Wind (which borrowed heavily from the Scopes trial) Gene Kelly plays the character E.K. Hornbeck, which was modeled on Mencken.

Whenever “A” attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon “B,” “A” is most likely a scoundrel.

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

H.L. Mencken
***

OK, I’m not in the same class as the 2 gentlemen mentioned above but it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want. The following are a few definitions that I came up with over the years that I hope you will enjoy. Look on the bright side; you don’t get another link to Wikipedia but one to my personal web site.

ACTIVIST, (Noun), One seeking to advance either a personal or group agenda by being as obnoxious as is humanly possible.

ENDANGERED SPECIES, (Noun), A species that, having outlived its biological utility, is attempting to self-destruct.

FORMER, (Adjective), An adjective used to denote one who, having lost an election, is actively conspiring to regain public office.

INAPPROPRIATE DECISION, (Noun), A mistake brought about by one’s own stupidity.

INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDING, (Noun), PORK BARREL SPENDING that occurs in your Congressional district.

INJUSTICE, (Noun), That which has occurred when your candidate is defeated or your client is convicted.

POLITICS, (Noun), The methods and practices used to gain, and hold, access to the public treasury.

PORK BARREL SPENDING, (Noun), INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDING that occurs in someone else’s Congressional district.

RECOUNT, (Noun), A more sophisticated technique than voter fraud for stealing an election. (Verb), to reexamine and retally the votes cast until you are certain that your candidate has won the election.

REFORM, (Verb), To change an existing law in order to maximize your position and/or minimize the position of your opponent.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, (Noun), An illegal alien.

UNSUBSTANTIATED STATEMENT, (Noun), A lie.

Wayne McDonald, Chat Rooms in Wonderland

“Hoss the Dog:” Tireless Guardian of Parliamentary Procedure

August 30, 2007

One of the advantages in being a second-class citizen in the People’s Banana Republic of New Mexico (PBR-NM) is that I never run out of things to write about. In fact, all I have to do is get out of bed and read the front page of the Albuquerque Journal (known locally as either Pravda on the Rio Grande or as the “Official Newsletter of the Richardson for President Campaign Committee”). Consider, if you will, the following front page headline and lead paragraphs from today’s (August 29, 2007) issue.

Hoss The Dog Had Heard Enough:

Terrier Restores Order at Meeting

Maybe the conservancy district should give the gavel to Hoss.

 

The spirited, white and brown Jack Russell terrier restored order to a heated Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District meeting when he charged to the front of the room and barked at growled at bickering board members…

“Hoss” had accompanied his owner, Valencia County farmer Mike Mechenbier, to the above-mentioned meeting. Before continuing with the story, it will be necessary to explain exactly what the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District is.

In theory, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District is supposed to manage a particularly valuable resource: water from the Rio Grande River that is used for irrigation of farmland. In actuality, the Conservancy District has proven to be a boon to the Albuquerque legal community since the board members spend most of their time suing the chairman who, in turn, sues the board members. It was when the Monday night meeting degenerated into a shouting match (or as the late, great Sheriff of Warren County Georgia, Rodgers Dye, once said “There was a vigorous discussion that resulted in the identification of several sons of bitches”) over who was responsible for a six-figure legal invoice that the great “Dog Day Evening” incident occurred.

According to eyewitnesses, after about a minute of shouting, name calling, and other forms of lively discussion “Hoss” had apparently grown tired of watching a pack of humans act like, well, no pun intended, a pack of wild dogs and responded by running down the aisle where he began barking and growling at the members of the commission. The end result of “Hoss’” display of vocal displeasure is best summed up by Journal reporter Juan-Carlos Rodriguez:

“Hoss’ protest effectively put an end to the loud scene, as most of the room could not help but laugh.”

Your humble correspondent has begun a “Hoss for Congress” campaign. I will keep you advised on how this true grass-roots movement is progressing.

Michael Vick Wins August “Stupidest Thing of the Year” Nomination

August 29, 2007

Soon to be former Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick, by demonstrating that he can still snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, has come from behind to win the August nomination in the 2007 “Stupidest Thing of the Year’ competition.  Vick, who was felt to have effectively removed himself from competition by accepting a plea bargain, overcame a strong challenge from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to capture the title.

The story behind Vick’s come-from-behind effort to win this month’s competition could be used as an example of why a “never give up” attitude can still triumph, even late in the game.

Vick appeared to have borrowed the time-tested “I’ve turned my life over to Jesus” strategy from the playbook of perennial powerhouse Paris Hilton when he attempted to explain exactly how he planned to con the National Football League out of banning him from football until the beginning of Jimmy Carter’s second term.  Most observers, however, feel that the Jesus story has been used so many times that the NFL would only consider it if Jesus Himself were to appear before the league’s disciplinary committee to confirm Vick’s claim.

There has been no independent confirmation to the rumor that Vick’s agent has been engaged in securing a starring role for Vick in the rumored upcoming movie The Longest Yard, Part III.

“Jesus of Nazareth” Arrested, Held Under Tight Security at Area 51

August 24, 2007

The international ecumenical community was reported to be in turmoil following yesterday’s unconfirmed report that Jesus of Nazareth had indeed returned to Earth in 2005 but had been arrested by agents of the US Homeland Security Administration and had been held a virtual prisoner since that time at the top secret Air Force/CIA facility known as Area 51.

No word was immediately available on just how the identity of Jesus had been confirmed but, according to sources close to both the Israeli Mossad and the American Central Agency, best selling author Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) was brought in as a consultant and issued an opinion that the man “was indeed Jesus of Nazareth.”

An informal telephone survey conducted by the Caca Del Toro news agency of Seville, Spain reported that Christian clerics and laymen alike were pleased that “Jesus has returned, but not exactly according to schedule.”  Some American clerics, however, decried the reported arrest.

“What about all this ‘separation of church and state’ crap that we’ve heard so much about?” asked noted televangelist John Boy Peterbuilt of Mobile, Alabama.

The reaction outside the Christian sphere of influence was more restrained, with the Jerusalem Council of Rabbis demanding that a recount of the single vote cast be undertaken immediately while Islamic leaders meeting in Tehran issued a fatwa ordering that Jesus be killed “for the crime of insulting Islam”   although the exact nature of this “crime” was not given

When asked about the reported fatwa, Rev. Peterbuilt replied “I’ll worry about it if Jesus does.  The first attempt to kill Him didn’t meet with much success, did it?”

According to a source within the highest circles of the Homeland Security Administration, Jesus’ return had been detected using “classified monitoring technology” that had been deployed along the American border in October, 2003.

“Our technology detected ‘unusual’ activity indicating that some type of paratroop activity seemed to be in progress. An alert team comprised of operatives from the elite special forces unit Delta, under the command of Col. Jack Ripper, was scrambled from its staging area at Burpleson Air Force Base to investigate” said the source, speaking under a promise of guaranteed anonymity.  Air cover for the operation was rumored to have been provided by elements of the Royal Air Force under command of Gulf War fighter ace Group Captain Lionel Mandrake.

“When the patrol returned, they had in their possession a single prisoner that they had observed making a descent without a parachute. Naturally, we were very concerned that if terrorists had mastered the ability to descend from aircraft without a parachute, that this would constitute a significant danger to American national security.”

There were unconfirmed reports that several suspected terrorists, possibly an advance patrol, had escaped by helicopter.

“The guys were smart,” said another source. “They were actually blowing trumpets, playing harps, and generally raising Hell in an attempt to distract our response team from the guy that was descending without using a parachute.”

Other sources, however, were skeptical of reports concerning the incident.  Burpleson AFB Public Affairs chief Maj. Howard “King” Kong denied that anyone at the base had participated in the alleged events.

“’I’ve been to one world’s fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard” Maj. Kong replied when asked about the reported incident.

In a related incident, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a suit with the 9th District Federal Court claiming that the detention of Jesus at taxpayer expense was unconstitutional on the grounds that it “amounted to a clear endorsement of religion and was thus in violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution’s Separation of Church and State doctrine.”

The presiding judge postponed a hearing on the matter “until such time that this honorable court can read the plaintiff’s petition without collapsing into hysterical laughter.”

“Stupidest Thing of the Year” Race is Still Too Close to Call

August 23, 2007

The race to decide the August entry in the First Annual Stupidest Thing of the Year competition is growing closer as one candidate removed himself from contention by copping to a plea bargain with Federal prosecutors, another candidate made yet another stupid statement, and a host of new contenders for the title emerged from the sidelines.

This week’s update d list of contenders includes:

Michael Vick, the soon-to-be former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, accepted a plea bargain negotiated by his attorneys and Federal prosecutors. Vick, by having done the smart thing by copping a plea, is removed from contention for the month of August.

New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential hopeful Bill Richardson has strengthened his position in this month’s competition. At a forum with gay rights activists Richardson replied “It’s a choice…” when asked if he believed people were “born” gay. Immediately, the governor attempted to cover this breach of political correctness by adding “you know, I’m not a scientist…”

 

Governor Richardson also appeared to prove that he definitely isn’t a political scientist by admitting that “I screwed up…” when he named arch-conservative Byron White as a model for future Supreme Court justices.

 

Another Democratic Presidential hopeful, Sen. Barrack Obama of Illinois, has emerged as a contender. At a campaign appearance in Virginia he said that, as a result of a springtime tornado in Kansas “… ten thousand people died … an entire town was destroyed …” According to news reports, the actual number of fatalities was 12.

 

Apparently not wishing to concede the race for this month’s winner, the pack of howling wolves known as several Republican Presidential nominee-wannabes are now vigorous contenders.

 

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in an attempt to explain why none of his 5 sons had enlisted in the military, said “… one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected…” He later claimed that he had “misspoke.”

 

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani claimed that, following the 9-11 attacks, he was at Ground Zero “… as often, if not more, than most of the workers …” and was thus exposed to the same health risks. He later admitted that “I could have said that better … What I was saying was that ‘I’m her with you’”

With a week to go in this month’s competition, it’s still a wide-open race.

This Week’s Most Misleading Headline

“‘Dangerous’ Dean Poised to Hit Mexico”

The above headline referred to a hurricane named Dean and not to former Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean.

In a related incident, Mexican President Felipe Calderón cut short his Canadian summit talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President George Bush in order to return to Mexico to personally assess and monitor relief efforts in regions that would be hit by Hurricane Dean. The storm has thus entered the record book as the only hurricane that has caused a Mexican national to return home.

Another “Titan” of Journalism Bites the Dust

August 21, 2007

The turbulent economics that have buffeted the publishing industry for the decades claimed yet another victim this week when the venerable Weekly World News published its final edition.

Long a staple at supermarket checkout lines, laundromats, and bail-bondsman waiting rooms, the Weekly World News and easily recognized by its banner “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper,” WWN was known for its no-nonsense editorial style and its willingness to publish stories that other newspapers were afraid to carry.  During its all-to-brief, but distinguished, history the WWN could proudly claim that:

Its front-page news stories had aided the Central Intelligence Agency in recapturing the Space Alien after no less than his 17th escape from Area 51.

 

It had facilitated a reunion between the last known male Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot) and his prospective bride after the latter was kidnapped during the Space Alien’s 15th escape attempt.

 

That its discovery of Bat Boy (the world’s only half human, half bat) would forever change the way mankind viewed its relationship with the Earth’s environment.

 

And, but by no means least of all, its pivotal role in the outcome of 2000 US Presidential Election when its lead story “BAT BOY ENDORSES AL GORE!” was credited with insuring the Bush victory in the crucial Florida vote.

 Soon the Weekly World News, along with such staples of American journalism as Ed Anger, “Horse Sense by Lester the Typing Horse,” and “Monkey Business (Astute accounting advice from Sammy the Chatting Chimp)” will be no more.

Even in its death throes the WWN, ever the one newspaper to offer helpful advice to its loyal readers, gave one last piece of advice.

“Buy today, sell on eBay tomorrow!”

In lieu of flowers, the staff (http://www.weeklyworldnews.com) suggests stocking up on ammunition since “the 2008 election is just around the corner.”

Balancing the Federal Budget with an Exise Tax on Stupidity

August 20, 2007

I long ago reached the conclusion that the dream of every political hack and influence-peddler since the days of the Roman Senate is to find something to tax that is both abundant and something that no one would miss, even it were taxed into oblivion.  After years of searching for such a commodity, I have discovered that it would be matter of exquisite simplicity to balance the federal budget and replenish the Social Security Trust Fund, by imposing a federal excise tax on stupidity.

Why would you want to tax stupidity?

In the above paragraph I noted that what is needed for a tax base is something that is both plentiful and present in unlimited amounts.  Obviously, only stupidity meets both criteria.

How would such a tax be levied?

If there is one thing that Congress has perfected to an art form, it’s levying taxes.  All that is needed is to determine the amount of tax to be assessed and then define what constitutes stupidity.  Once those minor details are taken care off, all we have to do is sit back and watch the money start rolling in.

Any tax on stupidity would, of course, be progressive.  This means that each subsequent incidence of stupidity would be taxed at a higher rate than the previous incident.  The trick would be to maximize revenue without encouraging a reduction in the amount of stupidity.  Given the current state of American politics, and society in general, this shouldn’t be a major problem.

Can you explain that “progressive” part again?

A progressive tax is one that increases in proportion to the amount present of whatever it is that you’re taxing.  Under the current system, the more money you have the more you have to pay.  At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Under the new system, you would still have to pony up more money for each act of act of stupidity but each act is going to cost you more.  For example, say that the first act of stupidity results in a tax of $1,000.  The second act of stupidity would cost you, say, $2,000; the third $4,000; the fourth $8,000 and so on.  Simple mathematics demonstrates that, after about the 20th act of stupidity, not even Bill Gates could afford to be stupid.

Who decides what is stupid and what isn’t?

Stupidity will be defined, and the appropriate tax levied, by a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Identification of Stupidity that will consist of 18 members. 

The 9 Permanent Members of  the Commission will be  the 9 currently-sitting Justices of the Supreme Court, with the Chief Justice acting as the Presiding Chairman (or Chairwoman) of the Commission. 

Three members will be chosen by the Permanent Members from a list of candidates submitted by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate being duly noted, considered, and then ignored. 

The final three members will be selected at random from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area telephone directory and serve until the publication of the following year’s directory.

All members of the Stupidity Commission will be paid a salary that is based on the average income (for the preceding three years, and after deduction of the necessary stupidity taxes) of Sean Penn, Paris Hilton, and a member of the Kennedy family to be chosen by lot.

In the interest of integrity, no member of the Executive or Legislative branch of government may act as a member of the Commission until at least two years after leaving office.

What about those with less financial resources?  Will they be prohibited from doing and/or saying anything stupid?

No, not at all.  The act will contain a provision for what will be known as the Earned Stupidity Credit which will consist of vouchers that will be issued to low-income families at the end of each year and redeemed as needed when a family member commits a taxable act of stupidity.

Who would be stupid enough to agree to such a scheme?

Have you watched C-SPAN lately?

Why America Should Become a Part of Canada

August 18, 2007

A few months ago there was an item posted of several of the political humor and satire sites calling for the United States to revoke the Declaration of Independence, pass a Congressional Resolution in which the United States would apologize to Great Britain over that “little misunderstanding” some 200 years ago, and humbly ask to become a member of the United Kingdom.

Although the item was written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek I think that, basically, it’s not such a bad idea.  In fact, the only thing that I would change is that the United States would petition to become a part of Canada rather than the United Kingdom.  Such a merger would, at the least, be a marriage made in Heaven for both nations.  Among the many virtues of such a union:

1. The goals of the American political left would be met in that the US would finally have socialized medicine, stricter gun control laws, and more taxation extracted from its citizens. The political right would benefit by laughing themselves into a coma when the liberals, now having no agenda to pursue, would be unable to control a single seat in the Canadian New Parliament.

Those that have long pointed to Canada as an example of “compassionate” government-controlled health care would finally get their wish.  Now all Americans would have access to health care. The only drawback to this triumph of compassion over money would be that the citizens live long enough to get an appointment in a system that would combine Canadian inefficiency with good old fashioned American bureaucracy to create a system that would stress death as a cost-containment strategy.  As a side benefit, the economies of Cuba and Mexico would gain billions of foreign exchange dollars as both countries would become “health care Meccas” for those willing to fork over hard cash to avoid becoming a mortality statistic.

Most Americans would have no problem adjusting to Canadian gun control laws since the current American laws are practically identical to those in Canada. A potential roadblock to full acceptance of Canadian laws would be the requirement that, in order to possess a firearm in Canada, one must be either a Canadian citizen or a registered immigrant.  The Canadian judicial system has traditionally been quite intolerant of those who violate the nation’s gun laws.

That portion of the American electorate believing that the answer to any real or imagined “problem” is more taxation would find themselves enveloped multi-orgasmic joy when confronted with the Canadian taxation system.  Or at least they would until it could be pointed out that, under the Canadian system, everyone pays taxes.

Canada, of course, would benefit from gaining the American tax base.  They would also benefit by having some 300 million new citizens to torment with social policies that have already reduced its citizens to mindless automatons that go along with the game just to get their government to shut up.

2.  The American right wing would finally have an effective immigration policy.

In addition to closing the so-called border checkpoints along the current US-Canadian border, the US would immediately benefit from the much stricter Canadian immigration policies.  In summary, these policies state that 1) you don’t get into Canada unless you have a job  waiting on you and 2) if you are in the country illegally and find that you have attracted the attention of the Mounties, you go to jail until you can be deported to whatever third-world cesspool that you came from.  In fact, the only difference between American and Canadian immigration laws is that the Canadians enforce theirs.

And what about all those displaced immigration and customs agents from both sides of the current border?  They would be transferred to the current US-Mexican border to enforce the new Canadian-American immigration policy.  Any agents that are left over would become the staff at the new detention facility dedicated to immigration law violators.  Since no one wants a prison “in their back yards,” this facility would be constructed some 300 miles (~ 500 km) north of Calgary.

Having an effective immigration policy would also deprive the political right of its only platform and would eliminate it from the political theater.  The left would then laugh itself into a coma and thus be unable to control a single seat in the New Parliament.

3. The American public would finally get a real royal family to laugh at and would no longer have to depend on the lower-quality domestic brands.

This would undoubtedly be bad news to the Hiltons, Kennedys, Romneys, Clintons, and other American royalty wanna-be clans but, as citizens of the New Canada, all would be expected to “do their parts” to make the transition from America to New Canada as smooth as possible.

4.  The American “energy crisis” would become a thing of the past.

Once we’ve sucked all the oil out of the Alaskan North Slope oil fields we could then draw from the untapped resources of Canada. And, should those appear to be coming close to depletion, Canada has plenty of uranium that’s just lying there doing nothing.

As a side benefit to such policies, America would be finally rid itself of those tireless; noisy; and generally obnoxious guardians of “animal rights” and of weeds on “public grasslands” collectively known as the “environmentalist lobby.”  In Canada if you ride your bicycle out to the forest to protest old-growth logging, one of two things has been known to happen: you will either be decapitated by a chain saw or be run over by a logging truck.

There are, of course, many other potential benefits to Canadian-American unification and just as many potential shortcomings.  However, this writer is of the opinion that the gains accrued in such a merger would far outweigh any negative aspects.

Note to citizens of California and/or members of the Green Party: Does the word “satire” ring a bell?

First August Candidates for “Stupidest Thing of the Year” Announced

August 16, 2007

I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about the fact that there isn’t some type of weekly, monthly, or even yearly award to recognize stupidity.  Therefore, I’ve decided that I will start documenting some of the more noteworthy acts of stupidity each month, with the monthly winner becoming a finalist for recognition as “The Stupidest Thing from a Year Full of Stupidity.”

The first entries for the month of August are:

1. NASA’s ‘teacher in space,” Barbara Morgan, completed the first of three scheduled classroom lessons that were broadcast back to Earth from the space shuttle Endeavor this week.  Whether the lessons will have a significant impact on schoolchildren remains to be seen since NASA scheduled the broadcast of these lessons to happen when the vast majority of America’s school-age children are still on summer vacation.

2. The Atlanta Falcons football team will start the season without the services of multi-million dollar star quarterback Michael Vick, who is currently under federal indictment in Virginia on gambling and dog-fighting charges.  Since Vick violated the terms of his contract when he was busted by the cops, his inactivity is costing him about $1 million bucks per month. 

Since their previous seasons’ records prove that the Falcons couldn’t beat their own mothers without Vick at quarterback, the Falcons appear poised to become the first team in the history of the National Football League to post a 0-16 record before the start of the regular season.

3. New Mexico Governor and Democratic Party Presidential hopeful wanna-be Bill Richardson has been touring the state of Iowa touting his plans to end childhood poverty.  This seems inappropriate since he is currently the governor of a state that ranks just above Rwanda in the percentage of children living beneath the poverty level.

Use the “Comment” box below to vote for your choice.  As they used to say in Mayor Richard J. Daly’s Chicago: “Vote early and vote often!”

The Laws of Stupidity

August 16, 2007

I think that the best way to introduce a blog dedicated to the study of stupidity is to briefly summarize the current state of knowledge regarding this complex subject. 

In the immortal words of W. C. Fields, let us “take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”

Carlo Cippola’s Five Basic Laws of Stupidity

I. We always under-estimate the number of stupid people.

II. The probability of a person being stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

III. A stupid person is one who causes damage to another person, or group of people, without any advantage accruing to himself (or herself) – or even with some resultant self-damage.

IV. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid people.  They constantly forget that at any moment, and in any circumstance, associating with stupid people constitutes an expensive mistake.

V. A stupid person is the most dangerous person in existence.

Giancarlo Livraghi’s Three Additions to Cippola’s Laws of Stupidity

I. Within each human being, including ourselves, there is a quantity of stupidity which is invariably greater than we suppose.

II. When the innate stupidity of one person is combined with the innate stupidity of others, the product of that combined grows geometrically–by multiplication, rather than the addition of the individual stupidity factors.

III. Since the impact of combined intelligence can only grow arithmetically while stupidity grows geometrically; stupidity will, in the long term, always prevail.

H. L. Mencken’s Axioms of Political Stupidity

If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x times y is less than y.

A great nation is any mob of people which produces at least one honest man a century.

Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.

McDonald’s Internet Corollary

The Internet is the act of running the circus from the clown tent.

McDonald’s Five Classes of Stupidity

Class I is the mildest (or certainly the least pathologic) form of stupidity and is usually indistinguishable from the routine actions of daily living.

Class II stupidity is an act of personal stupidity whose impact is felt no further than five kilometers distant, and quite often no further than fifty meters, from where the incident occurs.  This type of stupidity is dangerous in that, if the act itself does not prove fatal, it induces a form of amnesia that removes all memory of the act itself and the ensuing consequences, leading to repetition of the act of stupidity for an indefinite and unpredictable number of times.

Class III stupidity is an act of stupidity that is due to stubbornness, religious fanaticism, patriotism, nationalism, or partisan political deal-making that in turn results in a witch hunt, religious persecution, a revolution, and/or an international or a civil war.

Class IV stupidity is an act of stupidity that leads to 1) a direct confrontation with an overwhelmingly superior foe, 2) a situation that can only be resolved by a temporary suspension of the laws of nature, or 3) a frontal assault on the will of God.

Class V stupidity is any act of stupidity that is of sufficient magnitude and posing such immediate, dire, and potentially catastrophic consequences that only the direct intervention of God Himself can avert the impending disaster.

McDonald’s Disease Theory of Stupidity

Stupidity is the only disease that is simultaneously endemic, epidemic, incurable, and practically always fatal.  Furthermore, a non-fatal attack of stupidity does not confer immunity against subsequent attacks.

The Laws of Classic (Newtonian) Stupidity

I. Any stupid object at rest or moving in a straight line will remain a stupid object at rest, or moving in a straight line, until it is acted upon by some external force that may or may not be as stupid as the original object.

II. Any stupidity emanating from, and acting on, another object will cause that object to exert an equally stupid force on the original object.

III. Every object in the universe that has mass (and hence stupidity) will exert a gravitational attraction on very other object in the universe that also has mass (and stupidity).  In the case of gravity, the magnitude of this attraction will vary inversely with the square of the distance separating the objects.  However, the effect of stupidity involving both masses does not decrease over distance and, in certain instances, may actually increase.

The First Law of Thermodynamic Stupidity

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed from one form of energy into another.  Stupidity, however, can only be created and cannot be destroyed.

The Second Law of Thermodynamic Stupidity

You can never take more energy out of a system that was originally used in the creation of that system.  You can always remove some, but not all, stupidity from a system because the supply of stupidity will invariably exceed the demand.

The Third Law of Thermodynamic Stupidity

Entropy, the spontaneous disorganization of matter, is universal and always proceeds from organization to disorganization.  Stupidity will invariably progress from a disorganized state to larger and larger disorganized units that will eventually consume the entire universe.

The Heisenberg Unpredictability of Stupidity Principle

An observer may measure either the location of stupidity or the amount of stupidity present but may not measure both simultaneously because the mere act of measuring one component will alter the value of the other component.

McDonald’s Four Laws of Military Stupidity

I. The warring side that is the first to come up with the “unbeatable” or “perfect” strategy will inevitably lose the war.

II. The officer who is responsible for executing this brilliant plan will inevitably be court-martialed when it fails.

III. The one factor that no one considered when devising the perfect strategy will always arise at the worst possible moment.

IV. The government responsible for transgressions involving either/or Laws I & II will either be unelected (without prejudice), overthrown (with prejudice), or shot (with extreme prejudice).

The Principle of Co-Stupidity

An act of stupidity is rarely an isolated event and, in fact, any act of stupidity can be expected to produce an equally stupid reaction.  This reaction may be of a Class of Stupidity that is greater than, less than, or equal to that of the initial act of stupidity.

The Expansion Principle of Stupidity

In any open or closed system stupidity will increase until it reaches, or exceeds, the level of stupidity that originally existed within that system, in accordance with Livraghi’s Second and Third Additions to Cippola’s Laws.

The Temporal Displacement of the Consequences of Stupidity Principle

The effects of a given act of stupidity do not decrease over time but may first become known at any point in the future.  The individual acts of stupidity bear no relationship to their eventual consequences, but these consequences will almost certainly be of more extensive impact than one might expect if the original acts of stupidity had been identified and dealt with promptly.