Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More fun with talk radio

(8:30 a.m. "Panera Bread Bakery-Cafe", north of Des Moines, Iowa.)

People here are so nice and clean-cut, "All American"! Smartly-dressed professionals on their way to work. Lots of blonde hair. I was a bit surprised to hit rush hour traffic on I-80 well north of the downtown area. Big city blues. I don't like being reminded of what many in our society have to endure.

Delighted to learn Panera offers free wi-fi and plug-ins, so that encouraged me to retrieve the computer from the truck, and indulge in a couple of pastries and some decent coffee. Again, there is no rush to move on, so perhaps I’ll do a little catching up here. The restaurant is fairly large and the numerous computer-users scattered about do not encroach much (though the log-in screen advises us to be considerate during the lunch hour, and to not occupy the large tables.)

From being in the driver’s seat so long, I still feel a swaying motion and a slight dizziness, reminiscent of coming ashore after being on a ship.

***

This morning, I awoke in the dark, uncertain how long I had slept. It could have been minutes or hours. But I was awake, so there was no point going back to sleep. Dressed and crawled out of the box. Went into the visitors’ center to use the bathroom, wash my face and brush my teeth. A wall clock showed it was almost 6:00 a.m. I had slept perhaps three hours. The vibration and noise from all the nearby parked trucks, their engines running through the night, made it difficult to rest. (Such an amazing waste of energy!) First light on the horizon, Venus high in the eastern sky. I paused to read an historical marker telling the story of the nearby Amana Colonies. Back out on I-80, I was surprised by the heavy truck traffic at such an early hour.

Trying to reach Des Moines, I nearly ran out of gas. I hadn't anticipated the countryside being so sparsely populated. Fortunately, I found two gas stations standing all alone about 20 miles east of the city. The BP station offered gas at $2.59, while the “Kum and Go” just up the road offered it for $2.25. (It seemed crazy, but I guess you pay extra for BP's ANWR lobbying efforts.) The gas tank sucked up over 30 gallons.


LATER

I couldn't resist tuning into the Christian Nation once again. The preacher says “I hope God will save me.” What kind of a god would save some, but not others? A loving god? "He" sounds a bit corrupt to me. As though he might be open to bribes. The folks at “lifeandliberty.org” claim President Obama is “terrorizing” the country. (I think these critics should spend a bit of time in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Perhaps they would then better understand the term.)

On the Mike Gallagher Show, I learned about "keepamericasafe.com", created by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney, two of our most enlightened and unbiased champions of "freedom"! The same lineage that brought us The Unnecessary War in Iraq. Without the psychological weapons of fear and panic, conservatives are impotent. Both Mike Gallagher and Dennis Prager spoke on their broadcasts about losing a loved one recently and how they are dealing with that loss. They use the loss to generate sympathy in service to their agenda, and in so doing, cross a moral line.

And then I listen to Rush Limbaugh, who now comes across as merely irrelevant and hateful. “El Rushbo” claims that with Obama, “it’s all about him.” The pot calling the kettle black? He talks mockingly of “Our Supreme Leader, Barack Hussein Obama”. I listened to Rush for three hours (well, about half of that was cheesy commercials targeting a gullible audience with various scams.) For someone who has been doing this so many years, Rush seems remarkably uninformed. Perhaps it has something to do with the old adage “we have two ears and one mouth that we might hear twice as much as we speak.” In Rush’s case, he clearly speaks much more than he listens.

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t want to be a trucker. (Occasionally I have thought "it would be fun.") The delays due to road paving are wide-spread and aggravating.

Each crossing of the U.S. reveals more windmills – dramatically more.

75mph speed limit in Nebraska!

At exit 314, I stopped at a remote “Dairy Queen”. Ice cream sounded good. (Seems I’m indulging every instinctive whim on this journey!) As I sat in the cab with my chocolate-dipped soft serve, taking in the pleasantly warm and breezy afternoon, I thought “this is pretty good!” (Definitely better than the “creemees” I had in Vermont.)

Out here in the Midwest, I hear many radio ads for Monsanto, touting new and more productive “Round-Up Ready” seeds.

***

The “talk radio” jocks are quite a tag-team, all ripping on Obama, all covering the same talking points, with almost identical scripts. Each expresses outrage that President Obama would travel to Copenhagen to lobby the IOC for Chicago as the 2016 Summer Olympics venue! “Where are his priorities? Why isn’t he here fighting for health care?" (Would that be the health care overhaul you’re doing your damnedest to torpedo?)

"Obama has only met with General Stanley McChrystal once!" (The outrage!)

Laura Ingraham employs the “America in Decline” tagline for her show. And (Michael) "Savage Nation's" tagline: “Twilight Zone of American culture.”

Sean Hannity refers to all the “czars” in the current administration. He (erroneously) describes the health care bill as carrying an “abortion mandate”. He asks his audience “aren’t you horrified? Isn’t it sinful?"

(Like all the others,) John Gibson asked how Obama could go to Copenhagen. But Gibson focused on a different angle of attack. A “YouTube” video is now "going viral”. It apparently shows a Chicago student, Darien Albert, being beaten to death. Showing appropriate outrage, Gibson asks “shouldn’t Obama instead be going to Chicago?”. And he then rolled out Chicago's murder statistics. Just to emphasize the point, the audio from the beating was replayed over and over again. It was sadistic, using the violence to serve himself and his agenda.

Of course, they all had a field day with the arrest in Switzerland of Roman Polanski. (And we all know Lefties love and defend Roman!) Polanski symbolizes the immorality of Hollywood's Liberal Elite.

These shrill and hysterical voices berate President Obama every hour of the day. He can do absolutely nothing right. He is a complete failure, and must go. It is simply amazing that anyone voted for him!

They are all hateful. And yet each claims to speak for the values of a “Christian Nation”. They exemplify duality: free to say anything they want, and be completely contradicted by their actions. There is no accountability here. These are the same people who played cheerleader to an illegal war in Iraq that killed over 100,000 people and sank this nation.

As if to proudly proclaim their hypocrisy and absence of ethics, they personally read product advertisements, offering personal endorsements, no doubt in exchange for free goods and services. It is difficult to tell where the show ends and the commercial begins. Unless they’re lying (which would be incredible,) it seems each of these characters is not immune to a little harmless graft.

***

At Sydney, Nebraska, I passed the world headquarters of “Cabela’s” outdoor shops, and finally the flat landscape slowly gave way to rolling hills. Winds from the south or southeast made driving today fairly easy. (Like the song,) the skies were cloudless all day.

Crossing into Wyoming, I was greeted with sparse pine forests and rough pavement.

Throughout today, I felt a slight twinge when seeing eastbound motorcycles. I wish I were out there. A couple days ago, given the rough weather, I was not so envious of the few bold riders I had seen.

How refreshing to occasionally turn back to NPR programming. I listened to the “World Café” program a few times during this trip. It was nice to hear some new musical voices (including the bands “The Flaming Lips” and “Camera Obscura” which I found enjoyable.)

Reached Cheyenne around 7:00 p.m. Refueled ($2.179/gallon) then pulled over to the “Sonic Drive-in” that had closed just as I arrived here last time. I learned it wasn't really worth the effort. The food is barely passable.

The weather forecast warned of a cold front moving in and bringing snow to higher elevations and to Western Wyoming. I decided to camp at a rest stop in Elk Mountain Pass. This way, if snow did move in, my escape would at least be downhill.

After 5,000 miles, I am just learning how to drive these trucks. (Yes, I'm a little slow.) Shifting into “drive 3” allows me to maintain momentum on the uphill grades.

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