Wednesday, August 31, 2005

His Movies Stink

Ben Affleck has signed a £1million deal to be the new face of Lynx deodorant in the UK.
-- Ananova, August 31, 2005

I hate him.

Slap in the Face

The president's 35-minute Air Force One flyover of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama was the perfect metaphor for his entire presidency: detached, disconnected, and disengaged. Preferring to take in America's suffering -- whether caused by the war in Iraq or Hurricane Katrina -- from a distance. In this case, 2,500 feet.

...He also unleashed a torrent of facts and figures.... It was as if by piling so many disparate numbers so high he might be able to block out the two most significant numbers of all: the number of National Guardsmen unable to help out in Louisiana and Mississippi because they are deployed in Iraq, and the tens of millions of hurricane and flood-control dollars that never made it to Lake Pontchartrain because they had been diverted to Iraq.
-- Arianna Huffington, August 31, 2005

I Feel Bad

Relief

From here:
Americans are pouring in millions of dollars in donations for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rescue organizations said Wednesday.

The Red Cross said it had so far raised $21 million, a figure comparable to the response for tsunami victims following the devastation in Asia earlier this year. Nearly $15 million of that has come from individual donations through its Web site, with the rest representing corporate contributions.

..."The response is right up there with the calls we had after 9-11," said [Catholic Charities USA] spokeswoman Shelley Borysiewicz. "The American public is quite generous and they will rise to the occasion."
USA! USA!

Good News

From Red Herring:
In the largest study of its kind to date, scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have found that cellular phones do not increase the risk of cancer of the nerve that links the ear to the brain
Good news to hear when I'm finally getting a cellphone today.
The paper does report a higher risk of developing a tumor on the same side of the head that people use their cell phones, after at least 10 years of use. However, the researchers conceded that there is little information on which long-term effects can be judged.
Wha? Dammit.

Baghdad Stampede

From The Guardian:
About 650 people - many of them women and children - were killed in a stampede Wednesday when panic engulfed a Shiite religious procession after rumors spread that a suicide bomber occupied the bridge they were crossing, officials said.

Scores jumped or were pushed to their deaths into the Tigris River, while others were crushed in the crowd.

The deaths appeared to be the single biggest loss of life in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite, declared a three-day mourning period.
This is crazy. Stuff like this just doesn't happen in America. Not to undermine the destruction that Hurricane Katrina has caused, but at least ten times as many people died in this stampede. Not a hurricane, not an explosion, just a group of scared people was able to kill 650. Crazy.

UPDATE 9/1: death toll up to 1,000

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Up in Here, Up in Here

According to the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, bad, bad news abounds for the president. But congressional Democrats don't get away unscathed.
Fewer than four in 10 Americans -- 37 percent -- approve of the way the Republican-controlled Congress is doing its job, the lowest rating for lawmakers in nearly eight years.

The survey also provided bad news for Democratic leaders, who are judged as offering Bush only tepid opposition. Slightly more than half of those surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with congressional Democrats for not opposing Bush more aggressively.
Wha wha what? Americans are looking for someone to get all up in the collective Republican's face. Sounds like a country miffed and frustrated with the politics as usual crowd in the White House.

Oh, and 52 percent of Americans say President Bush should meet with Cindy Sheehan.

Name That Quote

Who said this?
[The President] is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He is yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And, he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home.
Why, it's the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, of course. Only, he wasn't talking about President Bush's ill-defined objective and lack of an exit strategy -- that would be too unpartisan for him. Or even Congress not knowing how much this operation will cost, or how long the armed forces will be away from home in Iraq. That's Rickie talking about President Clinton and Kosovo. You know, the conflict without a single American combat casualty.

Pennsylvania has more National Guard members in Iraq than any other state. Pennsylvania also has the fourth most troops killed in Iraq of any state –- 92 Pennsylvanians have been killed in Iraq. In total, 1,879 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq.

Partisanship, ahoy.

Movin' On Up

President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned...
-- Associated Press, August 30, 2005

His handlers claim that he's moving back to Washington in order to get a better grasp of what's going on in New Orleans and the affected areas of the hurricane.

But who are they kidding? For the war and the battle over the Iraqi constitution and the violent run-up to the Afghan elections and the buildup to the John Roberts confirmation battle, it was just fine for him to be in Crawford. For this, though, he has to be in D.C.

I'm not buying it. I think I found the real reason.
A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" and insured for $1 million is missing from a Grand Rapids museum.
Now we're cooking with oil! Hell, he was perfectly willing to stay home and monitor the world sorting out the Tsunami mess almost a year ago in the south Pacific. What's a hurricane to him? These ruby slippers, however... There lies the rub!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Think of That

From the BBC:
John Brogden stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party in New South Wales state after insulting the wife of former state premier Bob Carr.

"I acted dishonourably and now is the time to act honourably," he said.
Wow, a politician not only apologizing for saying something innappropriate, but actually resigning.



Aww don't be grumpy, come ooon.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Stop the Presses

The notion that we ought to now go to Baghdad and somehow take control of the country strikes me as an extremely serious one in terms of what we'd have to do once we got there. You'd probably have to put some new government in place. It's not clear what kind of government that would be, how long you'd have to stay. For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern in Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire.
-- Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney speaking on NPR in 1991
[at approximately 3:22 in the audio file]

Confusing Their Own

At the pro-Bush rally, there were some heated moments when two members of Protest Warrior, a group that frequently holds counter protests to anti-war rallies, walked in with a sign that read "Say No to War -- Unless a Democrat is President."

Many Bush supporters only saw the top of the sign and believed the men were war protesters, so they began shouting and chasing the pair out. One man tore up their signs. When Will Marean of Minneapolis kept repeating that he was on the Bush side and tried to explain Protest Warrior's mission, one Bush supporter shook his hand and apologized.
-- Associated Press, August 28, 2005

Well, in their defense, no one ever accused them of being the sharpest tacks in the box.

Keeping the Faith

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in remarks that he would not sign a death sentence against his ousted predecessor Saddam Hussein even if it costs him his job.

"Once his (Saddam's) interrogation is over, he will go before a tribunal," Talabani told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel in an interview.

..."I am a man of principles. I cannot forego my principles for the sake of my post. If there is a clash between the post and the principles, I will give up the post and keep the principles," Talabani said in a snippet aired in advance of the full interview broadcast.
-- Agence France Presse, August 29, 2005

I have to give the man props for sticking to his principles when every part of his being tells him that Saddam deserves death. I don't believe in the death penalty either, and I'm torn on this issue. As I've said before, I can't see the world in black and white, and this is an issue where some monochrome would be nice. Killing to punish killing just doesn't make sense to me.

What a Dick

Reign Them In

Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq.

The church members were met with scorn from local residents. They chased the church members cars' down a highway, waving flags and screaming "God bless America."

...The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.

The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."
-- Associated Press, August 29, 2005

They are filled with Christ's love. But the absence of the right's denunciation is deafening. Where are they now to question Phelps' patriotism? Where are the calls for him to stop aiding and abetting the enemy with this obvious hatred of the troops? It stinks of hypocrisy.

-------------------------------------

Update:

Exactly what kind of people are we dealing with? Who are these Phelps, anyway? Well, here is a picture of Shirley Phelps-Roper holding a sign showing her love for God, America and apple pie. Shirley is Fred's daughter. What a wonderful bunch of people. What a wonderful bunch of conservative Americans. And yet, we hear nothing from the right in terms of denunciation, for this or for anything else. The talking heads can't get the spittle out of their mouths fast enough when they denounce a mother whose son died in Iraq. But when it comes to one of their own, someone who thanks God for 9/11, you hear nothing. They speak for America?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Teeth Betterfication

Americans have healthier teeth than they had a decade ago.

The number of cavities in the average mouth is down and people are keeping their teeth longer, according to a federal study released Thursday.

The tooth decay decline was greatest among kids but holds "across every group," said Dr. William Maas, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Oral Health. The unit's study compared U.S. dental health in two periods: between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002.
-- Knight Ridder, August 25, 2005

Yay for dental health!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Robertson for Whackos

The slippery serpent Pat Robertson and ethically-challenged, former bug exterminator House Majority Leader Tom DeLay should start travelling around the country together; they're the Christmas that comes at least 365 times a year, often more. I just came across this juicy little tidbit:
Charles Taylor, the Liberian president who has been indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity, has few remaining supporters in the United States. But one prominent American who has stuck with the West African leader is religious broadcaster and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

In recent broadcasts of his cable TV show "The 700 Club," watched by an estimated 1 million households, Robertson has defended Taylor as a fellow Baptist and Liberia's "freely elected" leader. The "horrible bloodbath" taking place in Liberia, he has repeatedly said, is the fault of the State Department.

"So we're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country. And how dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,' " Robertson said to his viewers on Monday.
-- Washington Post, July 10, 2003

Unemployment

Both the president and Sheehan returned to Crawford on Wednesday to find the protests larger and more organized than when they left.

The focus of antiwar activity has moved to "Camp Casey 2," named after Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year in Iraq. It is a large tent complex erected in Sheehan's absence on private land, with several portable toilets, a stage, a hot buffet and parking attendants.

Meanwhile, dozens of Bush supporters are camping along the perimeter of the president's ranch, opposite the tent Sheehan used when she first arrived. More supporters of the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" tour are expected to arrive in the next few days.
-- Washington Post, August 26, 2005

Does no one have jobs anymore?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Uglier Cindy

Damn That's Harsh

We won't even pretend to have given television evangelist Pat Robertson's latest obnoxious utterance much thought, considering his long history of pious bloviations that have made him come across to most Americans as, well, witless. Were it not for the widespread attention being given in Latin America to Mr. Robertson's call on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, we would have preferred to allow the Christian Coalition's founder to continue his slide from America's mainstream into the obscurity he has so richly earned. But his latest bit of foolery is worth a comment or two -- if for no other reason than Mr. Robertson, in an act of stupidity only he could outdo, has handed Fidel Castro's acolyte a propaganda gift of immeasurable value.

...It's a pity Venezuelans don't know that "The 700 Club" broadcaster is a fading shadow of the Republican Party figure he once was. That Mr. Robertson once ran for his party's nomination, built a conservative religious advocacy group that had aspiring office-seekers quaking in their boots and -- entrepreneur that he is -- befriended every sub-Saharan kleptomaniac he managed to meet.

But Mr. Robertson's slide from the mountain peak of evangelical pontification was not because of his politics but because of his mouth. When his words were not ill-advised, they were moronic; when not callow, downright loopy, as in: predicting God would curse Orlando with a hurricane if gay-pride events were celebrated at Disney World; wishing a nuclear bomb would be dropped on the State Department; and suggesting that America had it coming on Sept. 11 because God had been insulted "at the highest level of our government." Venezuelans just may not know the Pat Robertson that America knows. Yesterday, Mr. Robertson apologized. We are used to that, too.

...The Family Research Council and Traditional Values Coalition spare no moments in rushing forth to denounce irresponsibility on the part of those they dislike. Not so with Mr. Robertson, who only called for the United States to murder a foreign head of state. Even the Bush administration can't bring itself to censure a fellow conservative who publicly calls for his country to break the law. "Inappropriate," the State Department managed to say. The White House, embarrassed by Mr. Robertson yet again but too afraid to mix it up with his narrow but loyal base of support, simply averts its gaze.
-- Washington Post Editorial, August 25, 2005

Part of the Liberal Conspiracy

A federal judge has told an Ohio school district it can no longer bar a middle school student from wearing a t-shirt with a Christian message.

Judge George Smith has ruled that Sheridan Middle School in Thornville violated the constitutional rights of student James Nixon by prohibiting him from wearing a t-shirt bearing a quote from the Bible verse John 14:6. The front of the shirt reads: "Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'" The back of the shirt contains the statements: "Homosexuality is sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder."
-- Agape Press, August 19, 2005

Judicial Activism! < /smug sarcasm>

Yummy

I'm in Love

After the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the Magdalene laundries, turning a blind eye to the Nazis, the pedophilia scandal, etc, etc, etc, you’d think the religious right would be chomping at the bit to convince those of us here in the modern world they’re, well, not insane. I mean, give us some good spin, even if you don’t mean it. Fake a makeover or something. Even McDonald’s is smart enough to dress up selling heart disease and obesity in clown makeup.
I want to marry this man.

(Sorry Flamingo)

Bad President

Thursdays can be kind of boring. But I've got something that will just fry your noodle. On the day of his impeachment (December 12, 1998), when supposedly regular Americans were disgusted by his actions, President Clinton's approval rating was 72 percent. President Bush's approval rating, seven months into his second term, is exactly half (36 percent) of the supposedly worst day of Clinton's career. Bill Clinton's approval rating when he left office was 66 percent -- thirty percent more than Bush's current number.

To be fair, the Wall Street Journal has Il Bush at 40 percent. (At the same time, Vice President Dick Cheney's approval ratings slipped to 35 percent from 38 in June, while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's approval ratings dropped to 40 percent from 42.)

Quote of the Day

"We should be nervous."

-- Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, on the rising gasoline prices and the Republican majority after the midterm elections in 2006.

Cowardly Lion

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, only hours after he denied saying Chavez should be killed.

"Is it right to call for assassination?" Robertson said. "No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."
-- Associated Press, August 25, 2005

What a loser. If he really wanted to off Chavez, he should stick to his guns. Turning back and being a wimp about it does nothing for his image; granted, that image kinda sucked anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well, I'm back (?)

Looks like I've missed a few things.

LiberaLoather's gone, oh well. I have to say that I might miss him some. There was something like going down the rabbithole whenever reading one of his comments, filled with incomplete sentences, random tangents, logic jumps a mile long, referencing "bullshit" or "circle jerk" at least five times a post, making funny claims with no support, insisting he had supported his arguments when he could give no evidence, saying that he doesn't trust anything a non-creationist scientist says...generally making me glad that I don't live in the South. But at the same time, I don't know why I cared so much. It's pretty clear that he's set in his views which, although wildly crooked and ignorant, aren't affecting me. Why should I care if a morally-defunct bigot disagrees with me? I'm not seeing a convincing answer.

It feels like I should be going on a tirade based on what I've been reading but I don't even think that there's anything worth saying. Politics is a dirty, amoral business and is only moving more and more toward entropy, just like arguing about said politics.

In other news, a big deal around town here is the Brunswick Naval Air Station closing. It's a big base with a huge brand new hanger and tons of new and newly-renovated housing...good call there, government spending. Also the only one in New England. It'll certainly mean a different town atmosphere, but I think overall it will be ok. Slight dip in the town's economy, then...hey, this is the only airfield in Maine big enough to take in large commercial aircraft...hmmm...$$$...

Why it is strategic to close the easternmost base beats me. If I were a little more partisan I'd look at the closings and realignments and see an overall shift from blue states to red states. But I'm not, so I won't.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Anorexic Protests

Jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky lashed out at the Kremlin and announced a hunger strike to support his business partner, who was moved into an isolation cell last week, according to a statement Tuesday.
-- Associated Press, August 23, 2005

Really, there aren't enough hunger strikes in the world. We need more of them.

Point for Point

President Bush took on the California mother who has been defiantly protesting outside his Texas home...
Now he decides to take her on? When he's in Idaho and she's in California? HAHA. An aging, grieving mother scares the living bejesus out of the President of the United States of America. I have an unearthly fear of ventriloquists, but this is a lot more amusing.
Bush said he understood the anguish of the woman whose son was killed in Iraq last year.
Hmm.. "Before Bush left the meeting, he paused in the middle of the room and said to the families, 'I will never feel the same level of pain and loss you do. I didn't lose anyone close to me, a member of my family or someone that I love.'" Liar.
"I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States," Bush said.
And Bush's pick to head the CIA thinks that those who've gotten us into the Iraq War are advocating a policy that has already weakened the United States.
The president said U.S. troops in Iraq are keeping Americans safe...
Wrong. If anything, President Bush is keeping Americans safer by offensively using our troops as bait. As long as Americans are over there, the terrorists can shoot at them instead of coming over here. That's not a strategy for combatting terrorism; that's playing with the lives of innocents.
...and that Iraqis are making progress toward democracy. He urged patience as officials in Baghdad struggle to complete a constitution.
Of course he means a constitution based on Islamic fundamentalism, which was the same type of government set up by the Taliban in Afghanistan. And we all know how well that worked out.
"The fact that they're even writing a constitution is vastly different from living under the iron hand of a dictator," Bush said.
Tell that to the women.

Kill, Kill, Kill

I don't know which is worse; being so thickheaded that you openly call for the assassination of the leader of a sovereign leader on public television, or that the United States State Department had to publicly distance itself from you and your comments.

Sure, "Rev." Pat Robertson has every right to call for the overthrow of anybody, but I find it more humorous that the State Department had to comment on it like he was someone important or something.

But what do I care? We're at war.

-------------------------

Update:

The Defense Department has felt the need to comment on Robertson's comments. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld himself, no less!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Message from the Management

So there is no misunderstanding: I didn't create this blog to have complete strangers call me derogatory names because I'm gay. I don't care if they are intentional or words in "common usage"; slang referring to homosexuality or supposed acts thereof are not going to be tolerated any longer.

One commentor is now banned because he did not heed my continuous warnings against using such disgusting and unneeded vocabulary. His email to me this afternoon defies all words of description, and I wish to forget about the whole thing. After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion of his exile.

I started a blog because I like to voice my opinion. It sounded fun, intriguing, and most of all challenging. I won't have a foul-mouthed bigot spoil my fun. Don't get me wrong -- words like asshat and douchebag are quite acceptable, and fun for the whole family. But when a reader starts using words like faggot and threatening personal violence, it's got a lot more personal.

It is my blog, and I will write what I see fit, how I see fit. That freedom does not extend to those who wish to call me names for whatever reason. If you feel the need to insult someone with an opposing view, go to the Democratic Underground or the Free Republic. Your comments aren't worth so much to me that I will tolerate words that have no place in the English lexicon and those that certainly don't have a place in the comments section of my blog.

I'd appreciate that no one who disagrees with me makes a big deal out of this -- especially if I consider you a friend. I've been hurt bad enough for one day, thank you.

They Love Islamic Extremists

The United States has eased its opposition to an Islamic Iraqi state to help clinch a deal on a draft constitution before tonight's deadline.

American diplomats backed religious conservatives who threatened to torpedo talks over the shape of the new Iraq unless Islam was a primary source of law. Secular and liberal groups were dismayed at the move, branding it a betrayal of Washington's promise to advocate equal rights in a free and tolerant society....

According to Kurdish and Sunni negotiators, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, proposed that Islam be named "a primary source" and supported a wording which would give clerics authority in civil matters such as divorce, marriage and inheritance.
-- Guardian, August 22, 2005

The Bush Administration: Giving aid and comfort to Islamic fundamentalists since, well -- How long have they been in power? This is a sad, sad day for neoconservatism. :(

Journey to Negative Numbers

If you thought it couldn't get much worse for our dear, embattled president, you'd better think again. CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll has President Bush's approval rating at a low, low, low 45 percent. But it gets worse. American Research Group, Inc. found today that a very minute 36 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of his job as president. A full 33 percent approve of President Bush's handling of the economy.

Among Republicans (35% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 77% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 18% disapprove. Among Democrats (37% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 15% approve and 81% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. More Republicans disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job than Democrats who approve. That's just sad.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Something I Hate

I don't hate much; I'm usually a pretty pleasant guy. But I can admit that I hate the coupons you get in the Sunday paper. Don't get me wrong -- I like saving my hard-earned money on groceries as much as the next guy. But when I run the risk of having a hernia carrying it to the recliner, I can do without the added weight.

Globalist Left-Liberalism

With the transformation of neoconservatism into a new kind of globalist left-liberalism backed by American patriotism and firepower, and with the takeover of the conservative movement and the Republican party by this transformed neoconservative ideology, and with the conservatives’ abandonment of one conservative principle after another, climaxing in their support for a Supreme Court nominee who has helped advance the leftist agendas of homosexual rights, racial preferences, and judicial usurpation, we could fairly conclude that the conservative movement as we have known it no longer exists.
-- Lawrence Auster, View From the Right Blog

This most certainly isn't the Republican Party of Lincoln. In fact, can it not be concluded that the Republican Party is Democrat Lite: a little bit of what's right with liberalism with a little bit of the worst of proto-conservatism?

Neoconservatism: Liberalism with a grimace.

Imaginary Dates

W. says he can't set a deadline to bring the troops home. But he started the war on an artificial deadline; he declared a "Mission Accomplished" end to major hostilities on an artificial deadline; he was inflexible on deadlines for handing over Iraqi sovereignty and holding elections. And he tried to force the Iraqis to produce a constitution on his deadline when the squabbling politicians of the ethnic and religious factions hadn't even reached consensus on little things like "Do we want one country?"

It isn't only the left that is invoking Vietnam. You know you're in trouble when Henry Kissinger gives you advice on how to exit a war.
-- Maureen Dowd, New York Times, August 20, 2005

Amen, Brother Cleland

...the Bush Administration's plan for victory is not working.

There is no strategy to win. The President disregarded the advice of top military brass who said that at least 500,000 troops were needed to secure Iraq. The President committed only one-fifth of that force to the war. Consequently, our military is completely overextended. Many servicemen and women are returning to Iraq for their third tour. The all-volunteer force is suffering -- not only in the active force, but also in the Guard and Reserves.

Iraq is still not secure and we don't have the forces there to make it secure.

Furthermore, Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist cadre who did attack our country on September 11, 2001 are still on the loose.

We are running out of time. We need a strategy to win in Iraq or an exit strategy to leave. The present course will lead us to disaster. More of the same just means more precious blood spilled in the desert....

The Bush Administration needs to step up the plate. It's time to face the truth. It's time for a strategy to win in Iraq or a strategy to get out....
-- Max Cleland, giving the Democratic response to President Bush's radio address

That's from Max Cleland, someone who actually served in Vietnam instead of ducking out in National Guard duty.

President Hear No Evil

The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq —- well over 100,000 —- for four more years, the Army's top general said Saturday.

So much for the President's alleged compassion for the troops.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Prepare Thyself

The title of this Associated Press piece is "Armstrong Prepares for Ride with Bush." But I wonder, how much does bicycling superstar Lance Armstrong have to prepare to ride along side Biking Boy Wonder?

Even God Needed Seven

With anti-war protesters continuing their vigil outside President Bush's ranch, the commander in chief began a five-day push Saturday to tell Americans why he thinks U.S. troops must continue the fight in Iraq.

But I have to ask: What exactly does he expect to accomplish in five days when three years on more Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq than ever before? It's reminiscent of his push for Social Security Privitization, and we all know how that panned out. Giggle giggle.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Don't Let Them Plan Your Party

With the apparent, egregious errors in pre-Iraq planning, I can't help but wonder if someone -- anyone -- at the Pentagon had warned a superior of the travesty that is known as "our strategy" or did everyone believe we'd be greeted as liberators and live happily ever after?
The State Department warned U.S. Central Command before the invasion of Iraq of "serious planning gaps" for postwar security, according to newly declassified documents.

In a memorandum dated Feb. 7, 2003 -- one month before the beginning of the Iraq war -- State Department officials also wrote that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally."
Wow. Were their predictions correct? Did the failure of the Bush administration undermine an otherwise successful military campaign? Yeppers. Did the failure of the Bush administration and its supports undermine our reputation internationally? Oh you bet your ass. But no one ever listened to Colin Powell.

Ethically Challenged Conservatives

If his granddaddy's pants didn't fit, you must acquit.

But Franklin County Municipal Judge Mark Froehlich didn't acquit. He picked up a rather large book and chucked it at Ohio's Republican Gov. Bob Taft, finding him guilty of -- shock, shock -- state ethics violations. It seems the governor failed to report 52 gifts worth about $5,800, including 47 golf outings.

The ethics violations were another blow to the GOP in the Republican-controlled state that won President Bush re-election. Democrats have found hope for the 2006 midterm elections in the investment scandal and a surprisingly close congressional race this month for an open seat in a GOP stronghold.

There's a saying in Ohio -- it's in Pennsylvania, I'm sure it's in Ohio -- that says, "The longer Republicans stay in power, the more bullet holes they get in their feet." It couldn't be truer.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Is My Child... a Fruit?

There is no longer a need to stay up all hours of the night worrying about the well-being of your child. Focus on the Family has come out with a checklist of what to look for to ensure that your child will not become.. a homosexual.

Bad (and Unpopular) to the Bone

When one sets his mind to name the worst of the worst in the U.S. Senate, a few names immediately come to mind. But perhaps none as bad as the man with the lowest approval rating of any U.S. Senator in Congress. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the third-ranking Republican in Congress, comes out dead-last according to SurveyUSA, with seven of the top 10 in the survey being Democrats.

At a time when the senator faces an uncertain reelection against a popular Democrat in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, promotes a new book highlighting his beliefs as a pussy, and shifts his values toward the center in an unflattering effort to shore up moderate voters who've since jumped ship, Senator Santorum just can't get no satisfaction, though he tries and he tries and he tries.

Move on Back

Check out the separate entrances to the Web site of the right-wing Christian group Repent America. I've read the Bible from cover to cover, and I didn't realize Jesus was all about segregation.

Alright Kiddos

I'm taking a leave of absense again. Tomorrow morning some friends and I are taking a roadtrip southbound with stops in New Jersey, Front Royal VA, Philadelphia, and Boston. So if you're in the projected path and see a white '87 Volvo with six college kids in it, smile knowing that, chances are, the car won't be making it all the way back.

If it does, I'll be back Tuesday night. Behave until then.

Coolest. Idea. Ever.

From the BBC:
If a group of US researchers have their way, lions, cheetahs, elephants and camels could soon roam parts of North America, Nature magazine reports.
Wha?
Once, American cheetah (Acinonyx trumani) prowled the plains hunting pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) -- an antelope-like animal found throughout the deserts of the American Southwest -- and Camelops, an extinct camelid, browsed on arid land.

But man's arrival on the continent - about 13,000 ago, according to one prevalent theory - pushed many of these impressive creatures to extinction.

Their disappearance left glaring gaps in the complex web of interactions, upon which a healthy ecosystem depends. The pronghorn, for example, has lost its natural predator and only its startling speed -- of up to about 60mph -- hints at its now forgotten foe.

By introducing living counterparts to the extinct animals, the researchers say, these voids could be filled. So, by introducing free-ranging African cheetahs to the Southwest, strong interactions with pronghorns could be restored, while providing cheetahs with a new habitat.

...

Other living species that could "stand in" for Pleistocene-era animals in North America include feral horses (Equus caballus), wild asses (E. asinus), Bactrian camels (Camelus bactrianus), Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants and lions (Panthera leo).
Ok, so not really the coolest idea ever, but pretty damn interesting. I shot off a quick email to my Tufts conservation biology professor to see if he had run into this idea.

I think it's pretty safe to say that this isn't going to happen. Firstly, if conservation biology and population biology and ecology have taught us anything, it's that people generally aren't too good at foreseeing the long-term effects of species introduction. I mean, cane toads were introducted to Australia to try to control the beetle problem, and we all know how that went (short version: the toads decided to eat birds' eggs and native frogs and insects instead of the beetles). Granted, this introduction failed because of too much sugar industry lobbying and too little scientific input, but the point stands with this example and many others. You'd still run into trouble trying to model how lions and cheetas would affect bison, deer, etc. Similar to how cane toads decided not to go after the beetles in question, perhaps the cheetas would decide to go for easier prey too. So, although we can be pretty sure how introducing such megafauna would affect the native creatures, we can't be positive.

Although, on the other hand, the reason that the cane toad situation and others got out of hand was that the creatures were small, very adaptable and bred like mad, all characteristics not shared with any of the animals in question. So maybe it is a scientifically possible idea.

I'd still say it would never happen though, considering the fuss ranchers and others have given about having wolves and even coyotes around. Can you imagine the fun they'd have with having to worry about lions and cheetas, plus elephants possibly competing with the cattle for food? Wouldn't work too well.

But yeah, fun idea. And to their credit:
"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," said Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, US.

"But if people hear the one-hour version, they realise they haven't thought about this as much as we have."
Plus, who could be against it with their artist's depiction?



Sweet.

I Feel Your Pain

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down to read a little bit of Newsweek while I waited for a friend to call to go running. I paged through the magazine looking for a short article to peruse and found the piece on page 36: "I'm So Sorry."

I read it in its entirety, finding obvious slants to the left as well as the right. But the thing that struck me wasn't what the authors of the article wrote, but a quote given by the president.
Before Bush left the meeting, he paused in the middle of the room and said to the families, "I will never feel the same level of pain and loss you do. I didn't lose anyone close to me, a member of my family or someone that I love."
I couldn't get the quote out of my head. It's not all that eloquent. It's not all that rememberable. So what gives? Finally, tonight, after much deliberation, I came up with my answer.

He's either lying, or he's cold and heartless. Okay, so it may not be all that cut and dry, but it is rather interesting that he would use the words he chose. "I didn't lose anyone close to me, a member of my family or someone that I love."

When President Bush was seven years old, his younger sister died of leukemia -- a truly traumatic experience for any family member and one that devastated his mother. He said, "I will never feel the same level of pain and loss you do." What gives? I joke that he's detached from the real world, but I didn't realize how close to the truth I actually was.

Nonsense

Wow. Newt Gingrich is talking sense about health care, and now he's talking sense about Iraq. If only the Republican leadership would heed his words.
"Any effort to explain Iraq as 'We are on track and making progress' is nonsense," Newt Gingrich, a Republican who is a former House speaker, said. "The left has a constant drumbeat that this is Vietnam and a bottomless pit. The daily and weekly casualties leave people feeling that things aren't going well."
Who are you and what did you do with the real Newt?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Great Moments in Posting

Who's the man? Ian's the man.

Republican Hypocrisy ^ 10

Ruben hits it out of the park in this post.

Lest We Forget

When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones" where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.

When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us." The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, "As far as I'm concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind."

At Neel's trial, police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine "people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views" in a so-called free speech area. Paul Wolf, one of the top officials in the Allegheny County Police Department, told Salon that the Secret Service "come in and do a site survey, and say, 'Here's a place where the people can be, and we’d like to have any protesters put in a place that is able to be secured.'" Pennsylvania district judge Shirley Rowe Trkula threw out the disorderly conduct charge against Neel, declaring, "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"

Similar suppressions have occurred during Bush visits to Florida. A recent St. Petersburg Times editorial noted, "At a Bush rally at Legends Field in 2001, three demonstrators—two of whom were grandmothers—were arrested for holding up small handwritten protest signs outside the designated zone. And last year, seven protesters were arrested when Bush came to a rally at the USF Sun Dome. They had refused to be cordoned off into a protest zone hundreds of yards from the entrance to the Dome." One of the arrested protesters was a 62-year-old man holding up a sign, "War is good business. Invest your sons." The seven were charged with trespassing, "obstructing without violence and disorderly conduct."


-- James Bovard, The American Conservative, December 15, 2003

The Wind and the Sun

Back in the days when the elements talked to one another, the Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. The Sun looked down upon the earth and saw a traveller coming down the road, and said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You can begin."

So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely the traveller wrapped his cloak around him, until at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

The Sun, who found that persistence triumphs over violence, won. The Wind only found that he was full of, well -- hot air. Aesop rocks.

Hitching a Ride

"Typically the left really is a cult of denial. Let’s look at their mantra –- 'war is not the answer.' Are you just mentally ill to think that? The Concord Bridge. The Alamo. The French Revolution. The response to Pearl Harbor. You don’t wage war against evil? What's plan B? Letting the emperor enslave America? Of course war is the answer."

-- Ted Nugent, August 16, 2005

"He claims that 30 days before his draft board physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days, he ingested nothing but Vienna sausages and Pepsi; and a week before his physical, he stopped using bathrooms altogether, virtually living inside pants caked with his own excrement, stained by his urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment, he says."

-- Ted Nugent, 1990, recalling the Vietnam years

How did Tom put it? Let me substitute the essentials. "That's the horse the pro war right has hitched its cart to, good luck with that guys."

More Unpatriotic Losers

The day after burying their son, parents of a fallen Marine urged President Bush to either send more reinforcements to Iraq or withdraw U.S. troops altogether.

"We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out," Rosemary Palmer, mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II, said Tuesday.

Schroeder, 23, died two weeks ago in a roadside explosion, one of 16 Ohio-based Marines killed recently in Iraq....

Palmer accused the president of refusing to make changes in a war gone bad. "Whether he leads them out by putting more troops on the ground or pulling them out - he can't just let it continue," she said....

The Ohio couple have long opposed the war and tried to dissuade their son from joining the Marines, but have made their views public only since his death. On Tuesday they urged Americans to voice their opposition to the war....

The couple applauded Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier who has camped out in protest near Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, for bringing the war to the public's attention.

"We consider her the Rosa Parks of the new movement opposing the Iraq war," Palmer said.


-- Associated Press, August 17, 2005

How dare they speak against the president?! We're at war! This is no time for dissenting opinions! This is not time for questioning the motives and planning of the president and his staff. Burn in the fiery pits of hell for all eternity, they shall.

Another Monkey in a Flightsuit

President Vladimir Putin flew in Russia's most potent bomber on Tuesday and took part in the launch of cruise missiles in the Arctic, dusting off a military image he cultivated when he first came to power.

The TU-160, or Blackjack, took Putin to major naval exercises in Russia's frigid north just days after the country's second most senior admiral accused the navy of bungling the rescue of seven submariners.

Itar-Tass news agency said Putin's plane was accompanied by two TU-160s during the flight. Interfax said there were three Blackjacks altogether on the mission....

Smiling Putin, dressed in full pilot's gear, said in televised comments after landing he enjoyed the flight....


-- Reuters, August 17, 2005

Does President Pooty-Poot remind you of anyone in particular?
< /smirk >

//Update:



"Strange fossil defies grouping"

From the BBC:

A strange fossil creature from the early Cambrian Period is baffling scientists because it does not fit neatly into any existing animal groups.

ah ha! those atheist scientists have finally been put in their plac!1! they would LOVE to lead you with their lies but obivously this fossil shows that they no nothing but eating babies!11!1 the answer is claer: WHENEVER YOU RUN INTO A PROBLEM, SYA GOD DID IT AND FORGET IT!1!

The 525 million-year-old soft-bodied animal might have belonged to a now extinct mollusc-like phylum, scientists from America and China say.

Teh scientists are COMMUNISTS TOO!!! the american "scientists" (notice the quotes because anyone but a commie can see that they don't do real science) are workign with the enemy and should be arested for their treachery!

besides, anyone besides a libral can see that any REAL "science" proves that the earth can't be nearly that old!

However, Dr Todd is reluctant to create a whole new phylum to accommodate Vetustodermis; that, he thinks, would be premature.

Not as prematur as the children evolutionists like to rape!1111!!!

"We don't really know the phylo-genetic relationships between the extant phyla," he said.

He's LYING!!! everyone knows that "scientsist" think they know EVERYTHING and hate everyoen who disagrees! he THINKES he knows but the Truth has shunned him!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Only In Bushworld

Wait. You mean to tell me that four-star Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, was sacked because of an extramarital affair, but Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of US forces in Iraq, is being considered for promotion to four-star general, and Maj Gen Barbara Fast, his head of intelligence-gathering in Iraq, has been given command of an Arizona army base where soldiers are taught interrogation techniques?

You can't make shit like this up!

Hitler vs. Stalin

I don't feel much like writing, least of all about politics. So here's something entertaining:

Hitler vs. Stalin

I'm Sore

And I'm back from three days of hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains, so yeah, now to see what I've missed.

It's Been Real

Thanks for you help, Tom. I'm back, so your assistance won't be needed any longer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Next up: RoveTV

NEW YORK -- Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News Channel, has been named chairman of News Corp.'s group of television stations, a post recently vacated by the sudden departure last month of Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's eldest son.

Ailes, a former Republican party operative, has overseen the growth of Fox News Channel into the biggest cable news channel on television, overtaking rival CNN. The chief executive of the station group, Jack Abernethy, will report to Ailes.


Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. Only through the shameless exploitation of grieving mothers will you have hope of surviving!

Shooting the Peaceniks

Anti-war protesters outside President Bush's ranch were startled Sunday by gunshots fired by a Texas rancher frustrated by the group's presence.

"Well, I'm getting ready for dove season," Larry Mattlage, 62, told reporters of the shots fired around 10 a.m. (noon EDT).

Dove season! HAHA!

Barefoot

No woman for the Supreme Court, but President Bush shows that he's all about the women -- women in the kitchen, that is.

The search for a new White House chef took six months and then ended right where it began: in the executive kitchen. Cristeta Comerford was chosen from hundreds of applicants to head the executive kitchen. A naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines, she will be the first woman and first minority to hold the post.

-- Associated Press, August 15, 2005

Armstronging the World

Well, well. The for-hire "journalist" formerly known as Armstrong Williams is at it again, only this time no amount of money is going to hold him to lies and misinformation. I don't agree with him -- surprise, surprise -- but I do find it amazingly humorous that the Bush administration was unable to name a price that would keep him from writing what he really felt. Is that any way to run a fascist government?! He writes about pulling out of Iraq, which I've said is a mistake.

We cannot win this kind of war of attrition. US soldiers are dying at a rate of one per day. Meanwhile the rest of the world is having trouble supporting the United States. You cannot lead in a global democracy, if people do not trust you. It is undeniable that we went about this in a very flawed manner. We need to admit that. We cannot solve the problem of terrorism by asserting our will on the world. Meanwhile, the deterioration of Iraq continues, serving as a sad reminder of the failed promise of this mission, and the need to pull out.

-- Armstrong Williams, August 15, 2005

No, we don't need to pull out. We need to finish what we started. A more apt and possibly better opinion piece would've addressed the fact that a majority of Americans are disillusioned with the reasons behind why we're there and, more importantly, what we hope/hoped to accomplish. Even yesterday, we're getting word that the Bush administration is dumbing down its expectations of what's going to happen in Iraq in the near future. But how do you dumb down expectations nobody knows about? How do you expect people, typical Americans, to know when those dumbed-down expectations have been met or exceeded? To the Average Joe, our expectations in Iraq are simple: beat the insurgency, give the Iraqis a president (Condolleezza, preferably), and get the fuck outta there. But what does that look like? When will we know that the insurgency is beat? Can it ever be beat? Like terrorism, can it really ever be quashed, or should we look for an insurgency that's on the fringe of existence, like flies on a summer day?

We need definitive answers. We need to know where we're going and what it's going to look like when we get there. Telling us that success is going to look like Iraqis greeting us as liberators isn't helping. We need to get serious, and the time is now.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Low Lower Lowest

President Bush's standing with an American public anxious about Iraq and the nation's direction is lower than that of the last two men who won re-election to the White House -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton -- at this point in their second terms.

But he's the best president ever!

Outside Baltimore

I made it. It's beautiful, as well as the ma'am I'm visiting. She would like me to point out that by "old friend," I mean "hot and young friend." I concur, but we all know that's not going to get either of us anywhere! :)

Daytripping through La-La Land

Hello mortals, your friendly neighborhood Hegemon here. Dearly departed Zachariah has entrusted me to carry the load around here until he gets back (sorry Kyle, he said you are fired, turn in your keys to the ZacAttack Porsche). Some of you may know/hate me, I run my own blog at www.Aldaynet.org, otherwise known as that place that is better than here. Don't run away crying like a little bitch though, Zac will be back as soon as he gets laid in Baltimore. I thought I'd dedicate my first Zac Attack posting to, of course, making fun of the bottom layer of the internet, yes my friends, liberal forums/blogs. Let's start:

1. The DUmp: A favored watering hole of far left nutbags, hopeless fanatics and haters of everyone that doesn't get frequent abortions. The site is run by an effeminate man that goes by the name Skinner. Skinner likes to occasionally beg and plead for donations to keep his cesspoll running, and amazingly after each donation drive Mr. Skinner suddenly has enough money to take long and relaxing european vacations. Sadly they fall for it every year though.

2. The Mike Malloy forums: Mike Malloy is apparently a dj for something called Air America, an outfit that seems to function solely to steal money from inner city children. This is the forum for the people so crazy that the crazy-loving DU has banned them. I posted there for a month or so, I was the only person there daring to pierce the echo chamber. The regulars there don't appear to talk to anyone outside their ideology much, whenever I'd post something I'd get gangbanged by every liberal talking point available, irregardless of it's utter irrelevance to the discussion. A typical post went about like this:

Hegemon: Hey guys have you heard about Air America stealing from children to keep their network running?

Insane Liberal #1: Oh yeah what about Emperor Bush stealing OIL from peaceful old Saddam? What about the Enron/Haliburton imperialist cabal stealing the fetuses of milking cows and sacrificing them to the Gods of Kobol??!?!!?!?!

Hegemon: uh, what?

Insane Liberal #2: Haha you got him Insane Liberal #1, his Reich-Wing Rethuglican mind can't counter your super logic!

Followed by pages and pages of other idiots giving Insane Liberal #1 virtual fellatio for putting the evil Rethuglican "in his place". Read only if you no longer care about the general well being of your brain cells.

3. The Neowin.net forums: Now you must be thinking "Surely a site dedicated to tech news can't be a haven for liberal idiots" but oh let me tell you, it is. Hidden deep within it's bowels is a subforum called "Real World Issues" which is populated by the most ignorant of liberals, the european liberal. A large portion of posters there hail from parental basements in merry 'ol England, despite that fact they still seem to think they know what goes on over here. A regualr day finds clueless pubescents ruminating about how us evil American's can walk around with Uzi's strapped to our hips like cowboys in an old western. I'd tell you to stay away, but where's the fun in that?

4. The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: I saved the best for last. Like a festering sore on the ass of the internet M. Dixon's blog refuses to go away. After once trying to actually get me fired from my job for refuting the garbage he posts on his blog he actually camer here to Zac's blog demanding Zac ban me from commenting. Quite the nutbag. He's done other amazingly idiotic things I've been informed of recently that I would love to post about, but privacy issues prevent it.

Well that's all for now, I had planned at least 10 spots but time, like Senator Clinton, is a bitch, not to mention Blogsnot froze my PC up and I lost my first draft of this.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Leaving in a Cavalier

After an exhausting summer of endless running, both figuratively and literally, I'm heading out of town for a few days to visit an old friend. I will be leaving tomorrow morning, which is technically this morning, and returning Tuesday evening. Like I was able to do in Philadelphia last year, I hope to find a quiet time in a public library or so and post about my travels. It's just Baltimore, but I'm sure they have something exciting.

Until then my faithful reader[s], I bid you adieu.

//Update, 1:31 AM

I have found a friend to help Kyle fill in the gap while I'm busy playing it up in Baltimore. I think you all know him, so be nice! :)

Mobster Money Rocks

A top aide to potential Republican challenger Jeanine Pirro accused Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp on Friday of being the source of reports the Westchester County district attorney had taken campaign donations from firms with alleged ties to mobsters.

As it turns out, Perro's aide was wrong. The source was a 23-year-old college student in New York City who said he did not work for Clinton and independently researched the information on Perro's donations. Google, it's fan-freaking-tastic.

Among the contributions at issue are $2,000 given to Pirro since late 2001 by Worth Construction Co., a Connecticut-based firm. The firm was disqualified in 1998 from bidding on New York City school projects because it refused to answer questions about its possible mob ties.

So not only is the top aide to Perro -- strategist and campaign spokesman Michael McKeon -- wrong, and not only is there substance to the claim that Perro accepted donations from firms with alleged ties to mobsters, but McKeon slung the first mud. Yes, New Yorkers, Perro is the choice for you.

Republicans Closing Shop

A group that had hoped to build two museums to rebut the displays at the Clinton Presidential Library is folding. "I'm giving up," said Houston businessman Richard Erickson, who established nonprofit Counterlibe Inc. last year to fund construction of a Counter Clinton Library in Little Rock and another in Washington.

In a separate e-mail Wednesday, Erickson informed one of his key supporters, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., that he couldn't raise enough money to continue.

With all the rabid anti-Clinton fans out there, he can't raise enough money? This blows my mind.

Friday, August 12, 2005

"God Hates Fags"

In other news, these people have moved to Maine, where my dad spotted some.

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, found at www.godhatesfags.com. It's not a small church. And yes, they think September 11th was the holy work of God. And yes, they picket funerals of those who die of AIDS. And yes, they have a running count of how many days Matthew Shepard has been in Hell. And yes, they rejoice in the death of American soldiers in Iraq. Feel free to look around yourself.

You will recognize that every human, at the moment of birth, utterly deserves to go straight to hell. Even so, in his justness, God had mercy on some, and named some his children, whom he will lead to glory. Your best hope is that you are among those he has chosen.... And if you are not, nothing you say or do will serve as a substitute.

Why do you say "Thank God for AIDS"?

Because God is a sovereign God, and should be thanked for all of His righteous judgments, whether you like them or not. Everyone who gets AIDS gets it as a direct result of God's will (including babies and people who get it from blood transfusions), and He should be blessed for it.

...

As far as innocent people who get AIDS, God isn't bound by your humanistic standards of justice. Throughout history, He has killed innocent people to punish those people who are still living (e.g., the innocent first born of Egypt). And He's doing it today. God's wrath is being poured out on this world in many forms, including AIDS, and part of that wrath is the destruction of innocent people (including babies).

Do you ever pray for the salvation of those who you feel are condemned?

Of course not! For, if we follow (as we ought) the example of our Saviour and the clear commandment of God, we would not dare to do so.

What do you think about the Tsunami that hit Asia on December 26, 2004? Was it God's wrath? What about the children who were killed?

The tsunami was an adumbration of the wrath of God, a harbinger of things to come: that Great Day of Judgment.

...

Filthy Swedes went to Thailand - world epicenter of child sex traffic - to rape and sodomize little Thai boys and girls. 20,000 dead Swedes is to Sweden's population of 9 million as 650,000 would be to America's 290 million population. We sincerely hope and pray that all 20,000 Swedes are dead, their bodies bloated on the ground or in mass graves or floating at sea feeding sharks and fishes or in the bellies of thousands of crocodiles washed ashore by tsunamis. These filthy, faggot Swedes have a satanic, draconian law...America, who is awash in diseased fag feces & semen, and is an apostate land of the sodomite damned. Let us pray that God will send a massive Tsunami to totally devastate the North American continent with 1000-foot walls of water doing 500 mph -- even as islands in southern Asia have recently been laid waste, with but a small remnant surviving. And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?

As far as God killing children in His wrath, have you ever heard of the great flood? God destroyed billions of people in His wrath, including billions of children. Have you ever heard of Sodom and Gomorrah? God destroyed all of them in His wrath, including children. Have you ever heard of the plagues of Egypt? God killed the firstborn child of every family in Egypt in His wrath. Have you ever heard of the Babylonian Captivity? God destroyed countless people in His wrath, including children. Have you ever heard of September 11, 2001? God destroyed thousands in His wrath, including children. Filthy fags and pedophiles have been going to Asia for many, many years to have sex with little children - and suddenly you're worried about children? Shame on you. It is God's prerogative to kill children to punish their evil, Godless, vile, filthy parents who were raising them for the devil anyway. He always has done that, and He always will. Deal with it.

So anyway, Maine's Congress has already passed a bill that makes it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit, similar to those laws already in place to protect according to race, sex, religion, etc. Some people haven't liked that though and have gathered enough signatures to force a state-wide referendum on the issue this fall (they would argue against gay marriage, when the bill isn't even about marriage, to get people to sign, see the sleight of hand there?). Anyway, this has happened twice before and Maine voters have knocked down the anti-discrimination bill. I'm not too proud about that.

So these people from Kansas have come to Maine and are campaigning against the bill, some of whome were seen by my dad. They hold up signs or wear shirts that say "AIDS CURES FAGS", "THANK GOD FOR AIDS", "FAGS BURN IN HELL", etc.

It's pretty ridiculous that this anti-discrimination bill is even an issue. I choose to believe that if the religious right in this state didn't frame it as a gay marriage bill (which it most certainly is not), voters wouldn't support discrimination. It just doesn't make sense. There's no prerogative to like homosexuals, become one, support homosexual marriage, etc. It's just saying that Wal-Mart shouldn't be able to fire a guy because he requests to work in the home decorating department.

Ruminating

Quote from Panda's Thumb, "One Reason Evolutionists Are Losing the PR Battle":

So the situation is this: The political Right in this country is pulling out all the stops to introduce a load of religiously motivated nonsense into science classes. They launch elaborate public relations campaigns designed to distort modern science, mislead people about the evidence for evolution, and challenge the integrity of scientists. Their attack is continuous, relentless, and never once interrupted by a moment of self-reflection.
(emphasis mine)

Hear hear! Besides being a concise and pugnant articulation of the "controversy over evolution", I think one of the main differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party is illustrated above. It has to do with self-reflection.

I know it's been said before, but the GOP is much better at formulating a hard position and sticking to it. They leave very little room for positional disagreement and certainly strive for unity amongst the ranks. Despite Frist's recent turncoat activity over stem cells and Santorum's laudable (in word if not in motivation) rejection of Intelligent [sic] Design, the Republican Party is amazingly monolithic in the best sense of the word.

This makes for great politics. You fight and fight and fight and don't give an inch. You voraciously defend your every position as if those who disagree were complete morons, and evil too.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is much less so. Although probably as many different interest groups comprise the Republican Party as the Democratic Party, for some reason it seems like the groups in the latter are less able to adhere to a standard line. While maybe with the Republicans, some interest groups will quietly abstain from objecting if it makes the party line stronger, that ability doesn't seem nearly as strong with the Democrats.

Thus, I think it's safe to say that the Democratic Party is less potent politically. They aren't able to adopt the same arrogant and dismissive righteousness that serves the Republicans so well.

At least part of that comes down to self-reflection, which is a moral virtue. However, in the game of politics, the success of the Republican Party demonstrates that the self-reflective juice is simply not worth the political squeeze.

The Republicans take a straight course and barge forward, meaning when they're right they're damn right and when they're wrong they won't budge an inch if it means losing face. The Democrats move much more cautiously, which is ripe for ridicule in the political arena, although I think morally it makes the better approach.

I see this play out in national politics and I also see it among my friends. I find it hard to believe that my more conservative friends are also the ones least likely to admit they're wrong or even entertain the idea that they could be wrong. Maybe then this difference in self-reflection really isn't about the different parties at all, but is something inherent in conservatism/liberalism. That's kinda hard for me to believe, but my own ambivalence supports the theory.

Conservatives are arrogant assholes and liberals are hesitant hippies. It doesn't seem like arrogance and hesitancy would have to be an inherent part of the respective ideologies, however.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thy Name is Heartless

Cindy Sheehan's eyes well with tears when she talks about her oldest son, Casey, an easygoing young man with a quiet wit. Casey joined the Army in 2000, never imagining he would see combat. Five days after he arrived in Iraq last year, the 24-year-old was killed in Sadr City.

Sheehan knows nothing can bring back her son, but she wants to talk to President Bush. The Vacaville, Calif., mother has been camping out along a road near his ranch since Saturday, vowing to remain until his Texas vacation ends later this month.


-- Associated Press, August 11, 2005

She just wants to talk to the president. What's the big deal? Pat Robertson can.

You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them.
Jerry Falwell can.
Homosexuality is Satan's diabolical attack upon the family that will not only have a corrupting influence upon our next generation, but it will also bring down the wrath of God upon America.
Why can't a woman whose only want is to talk to the President of the United States. Is he so cold and heartless that he can't take five minutes out of his busy brush-clearing day to speak with a grieving mother?

"And I thought long and hard about her position," President Bush said. "I've heard her position from others..."

What a fucktwat.

Christmas in August

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday a state district judge refused to dismiss charges of money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions against two associates of Herr DeLay. The charges stem from the 2002 Texas legislative elections. John Colyandro worked for DeLay's fundraising committee Texans for a Republican Majority, and Jim Ellis worked for Americans for a Republican Majority.

The money laundering charges are based on $190,000 in corporate money that was sent to the Republican National State Elections Committee. That committee then gave the same amount of money in donations to seven Texas House candidates.

Then today, a federal audit of a political fundraising committee founded by Herr DeLay -- Americans for a Republican Majority -- found that it failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to vendors and incorrectly paid for some committee activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee. The Federal Elections Committee's report made no mention of possible law enforcement action against the group. But then again, Herr DeLay is the federal government.

And like icing on a cake, federal prosecutors are seeking bank fraud charges against lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a key figure in investigations involving Herr DeLay. The charges stem from the 2000 purchase by Abramoff and his partners of SunCruz Casinos and the alleged use of a fake wire transfer to defraud two lenders out of some $60 million to finance the deal, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Though I'm not, I wouldn't be more proud to be a Republican today than any day in the history of the world!

Perro Stumbles

How to start your campaign out, GOP-style.

She paused awkwardly for 32 seconds while reading her kickoff speech as she searched for a page of text, finally asking an aide, "Could I have Page 10?"

-- Patrick Healy, New York Times, August 11, 2005

Go anti-Hillary, go!

And the campaign's decision to keep her husband, Albert, away from the announcements only seemed to invite questions.

Mr. Pirro, who was said to be working at his lobbying practice yesterday, has proved to be a liability at times in Ms. Pirro's 30-year career. He fathered a child with another woman in the 1990's and served 11 months in federal prison for his tax fraud conviction over returns Ms. Pirro also signed. (She was never charged with any wrongdoing.)

Facing reporters, Ms. Pirro ignored a question about whether she would take campaign donations from her husband, who is a prominent Republican donor, or let him raise money toward her goal of at least $30 million for the Senate race. Some political candidates rebuff donors with criminal records.

By day's end, a Pirro aide, Michael McKeon, said Mr. Pirro would not play a role in fund-raising, but Ms. Pirro would accept his money. Mr. McKeon said donations from people with criminal records would be reviewed "on a case by case basis."


Michael McKeon, that sounds familiar.

There was some competition for which reporter would first draw the epithet "asshole" from Mike McKeon, the tough former Pataki aide who is now Pirro's spokesman. And I won! The distinction came in response to a question about if, at some point, Pirro would learn about the issues. "Don't be an asshole," McKeon said. "'At some point.'"

-- The Politicker, New York Observer, August 10, 2005

Oh yes. Also in true GOP-style. All we need now is invite-only speaking engagements, a general disregard for human life and a willingness to exploit minorities for political gain, and she's good to go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Speaking Of... My Turn


...Which brings us to evolution. Advocates of teaching creationism (or its twin, intelligent design) have adopted the slogan, "Teach the controversy." That sounds eminently sensible. But it is disingenuous. Virtually no area of science is free of doubt or debate or gaps in understanding.

"Every scientific theory is constantly under scrutiny and has unknowns at its edges," says physicist Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. "Singling out evolution makes it appear that evolution is suspect, which it isn't."

For instance, you can start a bar fight if you ask astronomers what the dark matter that pervades the universe is. But up-to-date textbooks rightly note that dark matter exists, even though its composition remains an enigma.

Physicists have been known to sputter in rage over the interpretation of quantum mechanics, which underlies all of modern electronics and often is called the most successful theory in the history of science (physicists aren't known for low self-esteem). Yet quantum mechanics also says the subatomic realm is inherently uncertain. It is impossible, even in principle, to predict when, say, a radioactive atom will decay. All you know is the probability, perhaps 50-50, that it will decay in the next hour. What has happened to the atom after an hour?

One camp holds that it exists in a fuzzy, indeterminate state until you peek at it, arguing that no phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is observed. Another holds that the atom decays in this world but remains intact in a new, parallel world. Controversy galore, but not enough to make anyone seriously doubt quantum theory.

Even some basics of physics are disputed if you dig deep enough. Introductory courses teach that mass is conserved, for instance. "But that couldn't be more wrong," says Frank Wilczek of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics. "Massive particles such as protons are built of quarks and gluons, which have zero mass [unless they are moving]. Mass is far from conserved."

The law that "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" isn't universally true either." It fails for magnetic forces between charged particles," Prof. Wilczek says.

Teach the controversy? Then try the one over water. After the assertion that water's formula is H2O, add an asterisk: There is (controversial) evidence that it is sometimes H1.5O.

The funny thing about demands to "teach the controversy" in evolution is that creationists are focusing on the wrong things. They argue that evolution is wrong because there are no transitional fossils showing how one species evolved into another, for instance. But paleontologists have found fossils that are transitional between whales and their terrestrial ancestors, and between finned creatures and limbed ones.

Creationists also claim that evolution can't explain how small genetic changes could produce new species (rather than the same species with new traits, such as bacteria resistant to antibiotics). But the new field of "evo-devo" shows how minor genetic changes can lead to major structural ones, such as the presence or absence of wings or legs, notes biologist Sean Carroll of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Gaps in knowledge? Of course. Every ongoing field of science has them. Physicists can't explain why elementary particles have the masses and other traits they do, but that doesn't invalidate the basic theory of matter. It just means scientists have to keep trying. Say "God did it" if you like, but that isn't science.

Evolution is as well-established by empirical observation as other sciences. There is no serious debate that evolution happens, only deeper questions (left to college and graduate school), such as whether it proceeds gradually or in spasms. "It's dishonest to single out evolution," Prof. Carroll says, "when the very nature of science is to have unresolved questions."


-- Sharon Begley, Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2005

Speaking of...



Sept '05.

The book is not a general attack on Republicanism, but it argues that the “antiscience right wing” of the party is currently setting the agenda, to the detriment of both the party and the country. As Mooney notes, “Encouraging the electoral success of Republican moderates with good credentials on science could potentially have just as constructive an effect as backing Democrats.”

No Doubt, Dowd

The White House used to be able to tamp down criticism by saying it hurt our troops, but more people are asking the White House to explain how it plans to stop our troops from getting hurt.

-- Maureen Dowd, New York Times, August 10, 2005

Well, It's News from Iraq

Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.

The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'état.

The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri. The militia has been credited with keeping the peace in heavily Shiite areas in southern Iraq but also accused of abuses like forcing women to wear the veils demanded by conservative Shiite religious law.


-- New York Times, August 10, 2005

The insurgency is in its last throes.

No Cause

In defending the indefensible, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. explained that attacking Iraq was necessary after Sept. 11. "You do not defeat al-Qaida until you stabilize the Middle East, and that's not possible as long as Saddam Hussein is in power."

The Middle East doesn't look stabilized to me, and it doesn't look stabilized to most of America.

Did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction? No. Did Saddam Hussein pose an imminent danger to America? No.

Does Iran have weapons of mass destruction? Possibly soon, especially after today. Does North Korea have weapons of mass destruction? Most possibly.

Saddam Hussein was a bad, bad man, but when it comes to making America safe and taking care of the bad guys who could quite possible hurt me and my family, Saddam was very low on the list. Am I disappointed that Bush took the War on Terror to a country half-assed backwards and in no position to wage any kind of attack on my friends and family? Yes. Am I disappointed that Bush ignored relatively more dangerous jokers in his blinded ambition to attack Iraq just like his daddy? Disgustingly disappointed.

He's sent my friends and my relatives to war in a country that posed no threat to neither me, my friends nor my family, while he left North Korea free and capable of constructing a nuclear weapon. Many words can describe President Bush. Dumbass is at the top.

Thank You Homophobic Group!

A conservative group in Virginia -- Public Advocate of the United States -- said Tuesday it was withdrawing its support for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' confirmation because of his work helping overturn a Colorado referendum on gays.

Hahahahahahahahahaha. I was having a good day up to this point, but this just put me into the stratosphere. Thanks!

Shut Up, Al

Jeanine Pirro's campaign Web site announcing her bid to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton features more than 100 photos -- none of which include her husband.

There's Pirro with singer Tony Bennett and the late actor Ossie Davis; with Republican Govs. George Pataki of New York and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; and with Democrats including Bobby Kennedy Jr. and the Rev. Al Sharpton. There's even one of Pirro with a monkey.

But none shows the Westchester County district attorney with her husband, Albert, a lawyer-lobbyist who spent 11 months in federal prison on a tax fraud conviction.

Albert Pirro also isn't mentioned in his wife's biography posted on the Web site.

Clinton's campaign Web site, http://www.hillaryclinton.com, offers an album of 15 slides, nine of them with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Pirro was re-elected district attorney in 2001 while her husband was in prison on the tax fraud conviction, and he has been an issue in most of her campaigns. In 1997, he was fighting a paternity suit, which was ultimately successful. In 1986, he refused to release information about his law practice and she had to withdraw as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor.


-- Associated Press, August 10, 2005

And, for a better read, check out the usually conservative New York Post's take on the lack of an Al Pirro footprint on his wife's website. What's Rupert thinking?

Crizazy

From this article about the 123 Chinese miners trapped in a flooded mine:

Xinhua news agency recently reported that about 2,700 workers have been killed in mining incidents in the first half of this year alone.
Crizazy. That's so many people. I think it's safe to assume that all worker deaths aren't reported as well. I mean, this is just in mining, in half a year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Well Lookie Lookie

Hey, They Just Gave Orders

The administration implicitly knows that Iraq is not going well, and it is trying to shape the inevitable postwar debate about who lost Iraq -- laying the groundwork for its own version of the Dolchstoss, the post-World War I myth fabricated by German nationalist extremists that the German army was not defeated in World War I but rather was stabbed in the back by treasonous elements at home. Already administration officials are implying that those who question the wisdom of its strategy are undermining the morale of the troops. The clear implication is that open debate about the Iraq War is unpatriotic. When things end badly in Iraq, the White House will claim that the U.S. could have won but its policy was undermined by domestic critics.

-- American Conservative, Christopher Layne

Christopher Hitchens has become a player in laying the groundwork to blame the left for the poor planning done by the right.

None of the many blunders in postwar planning make any essential difference to that conclusion. Indeed, by drawing attention to the ruined condition of the Iraqi society and its infrastructure, they serve to reinforce the point.

-- Losing the Iraq War, August 8, 2005

Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left. Blame the Left.