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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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03 May 2005

Bob the Galactic Crank

Without obtaining prior written permission from the Vleeptron High Non-Junk-Science Council (our motto: "Of course Natural Selection is how we all got this way, you faith-based moron."), SteveH has posted a new Rant by Bob the Town Crank to a Web List of 13,771 of The Usual Suspects.

No. The Galactic Crank. I don't want to be the Northampton Town Crank anymore. That was too easy.

I once publicly cursed a bunch of administrators of the Veterans Hospital a mile west of me. They announced that as a cost-saving benefit to the taxpayers, they were closing down the alcohol and substance-abuse treatment ward. Veterans with drug and liquor problems would henceforth receive "Greyhound Therapy": free bus tickets to another Veterans Hospital, in White River Junction, Vermont, about a nine-hour ride, with several bus changes, north of Northampton.

So I just cursed the assholes, right there in The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Lacking any power to reverse this vile decision, I curse all those responsible, from the White House to the hospital administrators.

There probably hadn't been a Publicke Curse in a local paper since 1671.

But it worked! They quick-like-a-bunny changed their minds and kept the clinic open -- and even added some beds! They were afraid their scrotums would shrivel up and their cows would stop giving milk.

Also our local US Congressman, Silvio Conte, who had been in Congress since the French and Indian War, called them up and suggested they might want to reconsider their decision, or he would cut them all a new asshole. Silvio was a World War II military veteran.

On Earth, Silvio Conte is dead now, but I managed to shove him into the Zeta Beam at the last instant, and now he is the oldest and most senior Member of the
Vleeptron High Non-Junk-Science Council, threatening to cut new assholes in Vleeptroid bureaucrat butt when he deems it necessary. To be fair and balanced, I should note that he was a Republican, and still is. But just as he did on Earth, he continues to enthusiastically defend women's reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade (which on Vleeptron is Finchley v. Xxøxxø).

Another time, Bob the Town Crank
accused the Northampton City Council of acting like the Taliban for forbidding nude dancing in Northampton. I expected an angry mob on the lawn for that one; just as I had brought back ye Publicke Curse from Colonial Times, they would bring back Tar and Feathers just for me.

I got one phone call. It was from the Clerk of Quaker Meeting, and he said, "You're absolutely right, Bob! They have no right to forbid nude dancing in a free and open society! I couldn't agree with you more!" He is a retired Professor of a Hard Physical Science That Uses Mostly Numbers, and often smells really bad.

Actually what the City Council got all bent out of shape over wasn't nude women dancing for dozens of leering men. This joint, across the street from Smith (All-Women) College, was going to have nude women dancing for dozens of leering women. That's when the City Council went all Taliban.

Please let me know your thoughts on this important artistic and zoning distinction. Just up the pike is the Castaways Lounge, which provides terpsichorean ecdysiasts for a hangar full of leering men, never a woman parking herself on a stool in the customer section, and that place has been here since Eisenhower was president. Northampton is known throughout the Five-Planet System as a North American and world center of Lesbian community and culture. But women here can't leer, or gaze admiringly and respectfully, at nude dancing women. Women can't dance for other women here. Let me know your thoughts. And the Clerk of Quaker Meeting was behind me 100 percent, on the phone.

No, I earned my Northampton Town Crank badge a long time ago. Now I must move on to Larger Things. I intend to become Galactic Crank of the Milky Way/Melkweg.

I will practice here first on Dwingeloo 2.


"Why are you crying?"

"Oh, I was just thinking about my Dad."

"What's so sad about that?"

"Well ... he was the Town Drunk."

"Ahhhh ... lots of people have a problem with drinking. That's no big thing."

"But ... we were from New York City!"


Letters to the Editor
The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)

To the Editor:

Mable Cowgill's letter, "Pro-legalization Letter Writers Don't Live Here" (1 May), certainly misses my reasons for writing newspapers about America's War on Drugs.

I write urging reform of federal, state and local drug laws and policies because they have made my Land of the Free the largest prison system on Earth. The USA has more prisoners than Russia. The USA has more prisoners than China.

According to U.S. Justice Department statistics released 24 April, the USA had 2,131,180 women, children and men behind bars in the middle of last year, a 2.3 percent rise over 2003. Our rate of incarceration is 726 human beings per 100,000 Americans, seven to 10 times as many as most other democracies. The rate for England is 142 per 100,000, for France 91, for Japan 58.

And it's racist to its core. 12.6 percent of black American men in their late twenties are behind bars. The comparable rate for Hispanic men is 3.6 percent, 1.7 percent for whites. Our War on Drugs is a human rights catastrophe and shame comparable to South Africa's long-abandoned apartheid.

Our political dialogue barely notices the racist gulag elephant in our bathtub, but organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have long noticed with disgust and horror. Our War on Drugs makes the world laugh at America's complaints about other nations' human rights practices; we have relentlessly abandoned the moral high ground the world once admired us for.

I lived not far from McAllen while I served honorably in the Army during the Vietnam War. This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the end of that unhappy war. Only our Revolutionary War lasted longer.

But the War on Drugs is a nightmarish War Without End. Mable Cowgill shouts Amen and Hallelujah, and DEA Special Agent Will R. Glaspy, whose career (like Elliot Ness's in our War on Beer) would end without it, writes that "The Drug War Is Working Fine" (24 April).

Wars have foreign enemies. But this perverse war's enemies are our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our sisters, brothers, our neighbors. Our victory has bought us three generations of inner-city minority children growing up without one or both parents -- POWs of the Drug War.

While I was a soldier and Mable Cowgill's neighbor, I often wondered why I was serving. Now, 35 years later, I am horrified, ashamed and disgusted at this reason why I certainly did not agree to serve my country: The War on Drugs, its New American Gulag, and its Jim Crow Nouveau.

Robert Merkin

Northampton, Massachusetts


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