OK, first things first:
This is not a hoax. Time to immediately register your phone numbers (you can register up to three) with the Do Not Call Registry, which will keep your phone(s) off the call list of telemarketers in the US.
This isn't a scam; our home number was registered years ago, and it really does work. Telemarketing calls stopped, period. Thanks to the heads up from amigo John Rovnak, I renewed our placement on the "Do Not Call" list by re-registering our phone number(s) last week, including the two cell numbers (Marge's and my son Dan's) acquired since the old registration in the late 1990s. So I can personally recommend this service, which really does work, and it's easy pie. I recommend the online option: go to www.donotcall.gov (link is provided below), register your number(s); you will then receive one email confirmation per number registered, and once you click on the confirmation link, you're set -- and off telemarketer lists until 2011.
There's a certain urgency to your acting on this today. Starting February 1st, all cell phone numbers will be released to telemarketing companies and you will begin receiving sale calls -- that you will then have to pay for.
This is a new wrinkle from the old telemarketing routine, which was merely intrusive. This could be intrusive and expensive, elevating telemarketing to a new circle of hell.
So, what are you waiting for? To keep telemarketers in their place -- away from you --
The last time someone in comics casually tagged me 'liberal' as a pejorative was Gary Groth with a stealth-editorial phone call out of the blue back in the early 1990s; Gary called and the first words out of his mouth after "hello" were, "So, Steve, would you consider yourself a liberal?" Gary pretty much ignored the conversation that followed, since the sole purpose of the call was to snag a sound byte or two to justify Gary's forthcoming Comics Journal editorial in which he villified yours truly and my devotion to horror (read, in Gary-speak: endorsement of violence) as a means of 'elevating' the Fantagraphics Eros line by arguing that the only detrimental effects possibly attributable to sexually-explicit comics might be excessive masturbation.
Well, now, rather than referring to me by name to lovingly jackboot my satiric Santo post of yesterday, the great cartoonist and grand fellow Mark Martin has on his own site instead obliquely referred to/linked to yesterday's "Myrant" post as a "liberal Santo review," all to further service his own devotion to Condi Rice (who is presently dashing around Europe rallying for economic boycotts against Hamas and Palestine because, uh, democracy did not yield the government our "democracy" prefers, which pretty soundly deflates the latest bullshit reason given for our pre-emptive war against Iraq, "to promoted democracy and the march of freedom in the Middle East" -- so, if democracies don't yield the results "we" wish, those democracies are to be undermined with all due speed; same as it ever was). Touche.
But let's get beyond the ongoing fashionable wielding of the "L" word whenever one wishes to caricature an oppositional political view -- or at least apply the correct "L" word.
I consider myself a libertarian by nature, and not Libertarian in party terms. Live and let live; don't foist your will upon me, I shan't foist mine upon you; freedom of expression, in word and deed, is an absolute, until/unless it causes genuine harm to another (thus depriving that person of their liberties).
Webster's New World Dictionary definition:
lib-er-tar-i/an...n. 1 a person who believes in the doctrine of the freedom of the will 2 a person who believes in full individual freedom of thought, expression, and action -- adj of or upholding either of these principles
Ya, that sums it up. You got a problem with that, fine, let's talk.
I might add, however, that I do not consider the legal definition of corporations as individuals anything more than the legal sleight-of-hand it is, a core issue in all that's detoured America from a true democracy to a plutocracy. Corporations are abstractions, business entities that are neither persons nor individuals, nor even collectives of individuals; they are something else, amoeba-like business organisms that shouldn't have the Constitutional protections extended to true citizens (particularly in the current global corporate environment). But that we can get into another time.
The caustic redefinition of "liberal" as a perjorative has become the most knee-jerk abuse of the English language to gain political and moral capital in my lifetime. That this is most often venom fomented by those who claim to be conservatives further confuses the issues into incoherence, as neither word seems to mean any longer what they once meant -- or still, according to all English language dictionaries, still mean. It behooves those who so freely indulge in such slagging to take a hard look at the actual meanings of words. "Liberal" and "Conservative" bely the political realities at work, as do such opportunistic revamps of "Free Market" (particularly given the very real oligarchies these "free markets" function in, our own included) and the like. The careful skirting of loaded terminology of prior generations -- like 'radical,' the term most applicable to the current Administration in all its permutations -- has been a calculated factor, as precise in its way as the euphanisms applied to the concepts and acts that would be abhorred by the masses if they weren't so lovingly redefined as something other than what they are. Thus, 'downsizing,' torture referred to anything but torture (under the current definition the Administration has defended, nothing short of death-inducing agony is "accepted" as being in fact 'torture' -- and even those deaths are being sidestepped), etc.
That much of this has been done under the faux-umbrella of a corporate-sanctioned theocracy -- claiming a devotion to Christian faith clearly at odds with any form of known Christianity -- overtly repositioning 'conservative' as a synonym to 'Christian' and thus demonizing 'liberal' as, by proxy, that which opposes conservatism and Christianity, and you've got as neat a feat of wolves pulling the wool over the sheep-populace for ongoing fleecing as one can imagine.
We now live in an Orwellian realm where political and corporate reinvention of the English language has further eroded meaningful discussion of anything of substance in available (corporate-owned) public arenas.
Which is, of course, why I brought the clear, clean, sanctifying persona of Santo into the fray, handily demonizing Condi Rice with sadistic glee.
This serves the current environment in its way, too, trivializing completely everything I've just said above.
Thus, I have done my duty as a servant of the ruling oligarchs and as a devotee of Santo!