Friday, May 27, 2005

You're kidding, right?

OK, OK, let me see if I have this right... Tom DeLay is complaining because a fictional TV show suggested he disapproves of federal judges? [pause] aHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHHA! HAha! Oh, my. Wow. Thanks, I needed that.

(Plus, the producer's comment at the end of the story is truly rich.)

"what if I had taken the blue pill, Neo?"

I'm sure everybody else has beaten me to the "turns out it can make you blind" joke, but, wow: it appears that trying to outwit the evolution of sex may have a high cost.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Regarding Kansas

If evolution is outlawed, only outlaws will evolve.

Speak truth to power

Molly Ivins reports that there's a woman in Austin who tells it like it is. "Here is [Senfronia Thompson, a black representative from Houston,] speaking against the Legislature's recent folly of putting a superfluous anti-gay marriage measure into the state constitution:"

Members, this bill is about hate and fear and discrimination... When I was a small girl, white folks used to talk about 'protecting the institution of marriage' as well. What they meant was if people of my color tried to marry people of Mr. Chisum's color, you'd often find the people of my color hanging from a tree... Fifty years ago, white folks thought interracial marriages were 'a threat to the institution of marriage.' [...]

I have served in this body a lot of years, and I have seen a lot of promises broken... So... now that blacks and women have equal rights, you turn your hatred to homosexuals, and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag -- brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what? [...]

I have listened to the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap... I want you to know that this amendment [is] blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Darth Sidious, the real hero?

Lance Mannion destroys the right-wing noise machine's attack on George Lucas. Complete with People's Re-education Court!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I used to care, but things have changed

I was musing on music and realized that the soundtrack (insignificant as it is) of my life is stuck largely on "D". If I was absolutely forced to choose just one musician as the most important so far in my life, it would be challenging to select from Dave Mathews, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, and Dire Straits (and a couple of non-Ds: the Nylons and Beethoven). But for the nonce, I'll go with Dylan, who today turns "when I'm" 64. Here's a toast to Lucky Wilbury.

Signing away our freedom

In order to get Republicans to agree to abide by the rules, Democrats agreed not to use or enforce the rules and backed off on three of the most anti-rule-of-law judges ever. This is poor principle and poor tactics. Br'er Lieberman just threw Br'er Frist into the briar patch. (Looks like at least one Senator agrees with me.)

Update already: This Space For Rent says it all much more better than I possibly could.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The Ultimate Playpen

I can't even imagine being in a Wal-Mart at 3:30 a.m., but if I were, I'd want something like this to lighten the mood.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Proud menu

P.J. chose the salad bar tonight. He started with lettuce topped with shaved carrots and cheese, bleu cheese dressing, side of sunflower seeds, and a little pudding. He had a few of my shrimp, then the next trip to the salad bar was four orange quarters, a roll, and croutons to re-top the remaining salad, plus the fruit off Sally Ann's plate. I wish I had been this smart nutritionally when I was 6!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


My sister just phoned me from inside the IMAX theater in Dublin, California, where she's seeing the ads before the start of Episode III. Damn her.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Because we must oppose every lie

The facts are simple, but the White House spin is (as ever) winning.

Muslims throughout the world are hating the United States because we've invaded and ruined Afghanistan and Iraq. They might have let us get by with Afghanistan, because our cause there was justified; but because we bungled the occupation there, took over Iraq on false pretences, and continue to mangle both countries, they're rioting in protest.

They also hate us for our treatment of innocent captives, both in those countries and at Guantanamo Bay. We are, without doubt, torturing people, principally because of their nationality and religion, who have nothing to do with terrorism or armed conflict.

Newsweek published a two-paragraph item on that torture, including a detail that had been published many times over the past year or two, namely that interrogators at Guantanamo were vilifying Islam as part of their interrogations and had flushed a Koran down a toilet. Riots grew in Afghanistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff specifically said that the riots weren't due to the Newsweek item.

And now that Newsweek has backed off that part of the note (6 words out of 300), the White House wants to make their retraction the story; they want us to believe that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is a liar, and they want us to think that somehow it's more evil to publish common knowledge than it is to conduct a Crusade against millions.

Keith Olbermann calls bullshit on the whole affair.

Update: Time declared its Blog of the Year. In a May 15 "Footnote" entry at Power Line, the lie that Newsweek's reporting is worse than torture was made explicit:

I really think that calling Newsweek's blunder "the press's Abu Ghraib" is unfair to the low-lifes who carried out the Abu Ghraib abuses. After all, they didn't even hurt anyone [lie], let alone kill them [lie]. And the people they abused were almost certainly terrorists [lie].

Bracketed notes mine, mendacity in the original. Bonus evil points for the pass-the-buck meme that Abu Ghraib was just the work of a few bad apples...

The handmaiden's tale

I'm shocked... find out that Congress cares more about the unborn than the born. OK, I knew that the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act is, in essence, an attempt to force doctors to tell women seeking abortions, "Congress says you're evil." But I didn't know that among its definitions is this:

WOMAN - The term 'woman' means a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant, whether or not she has reached the age of majority.

Sisyphus Shrugged calls this the "trophy wife creation act" (and what a fine piece of coinage that is). Marriage is only betwen a man and a woman, and "she" is only a woman if "she"'s ovulating. I can't tell who this is more of a slap at, females past menopause or the ever-increasing number of third-graders who get their periods.

They keep coming up with ways to make American society look petty and decadent, and this is a self-fulfilling goal. As Steve Gilliard says (of Wal-Mart), "A race to the bottom eventually gets there."

Monday, May 16, 2005

Joe Satriani weather

Beneath, the rolling hills like a backup ensemble: a piebald pattering of dun and olive drab, constant and muted but rolling and firm, grounded in every sense as the season stands on edge.

Above, clouds race south led by harsh white wisps running faster than the wind, their pre-gain set slightly lower than it should be; below and behind them the grey-to-black bass and mids swoop along the hilltops giving the real meaning of melody.

D'y'know Joe? Can you see it?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Your churchful state

Before you get your back up at the idea of people being thrown out of their church because of their political affiliation, ask yourself: are you really surprised that a church might have rules about acting and believing a certain way in order to stay a member? Since Europeans starting coming to North America, churches have enforced political views and actions on their members. They justify doing so via quotes from the New Testament.

Atrios joined the lefty chorus singing, "I'm sure the Justice Department will get on revoking their tax-exempt status any day now." Wrong. A religious organization won't lose that status for enforcing theological positions. And that's what these are. No matter how horrified non-churchgoers are at the idea that religion might trump politics, the faithful see no obstacle because they don't make a distinction; if it's a question of faith, you act it out in every aspect of your life. Hey, nobody has made the Roman Catholic church taxable, right?

Now, yes, in this case the pastor resigned. He was too heavy-handed even for a Baptist congregation in North Carolina; but his mistake was not in preaching support for Bush, rather he miscalculated the dogmatism of his church.Don't be deceived: This same kind of preaching and excluding goes on all the time, both formally from the pulpit and informally as members gossip about one another.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The workers are revolting (to some)

Attaturk, pinch-hitting at Eschaton, accurately summarizes the priorities of the modern American government-media partnership: "Workers are now described as an impediment to corporations and a burden to their own government."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Fear factor

Dave Niewert's post today about 1984, totalists, and religion in America is long, heavily linked, and frightening. I read it; go thou and do likewise.


I've always been puzzled about this. Name each country and match it with the foreign policy treatment given to it by the U.S.:

  • Country A monitors, regulates, and oppresses its people completely. By combining slave labor, a huge military, and government management of all information, the regime is able to make selected people rich in order to enlist their assistance in keeping everyone unfree.
  • Country B lets its people pretty much go about their business. By combining high standards for health and education with government ownership of all major enterprises, the regime is able to keep most people healthy and happy, although nobody outside of the government becomes wealthy.

  • Policy 1 is complete opposition. Any form of business, travel, or interaction is criminalized, and the country is denounced repeatedly on the world stage as an oppressor.
  • Policy 2 is complete partnership. American businesses are encouraged to invest and import, given huge tax advantages to make the American economy depend on the country. Human rights abuses and authoritarian policies go unmentioned.

Yes, you guessed it. We have a partnership with totalitarian China and enmity with the much less distasteful Cuba. Our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, have priorities that are the reverse of what they should be.

And now comes a chance for someone in government to start the straightening-out process. Cuba wants to extradite suspected (indeed, likely) terrorist Luis Posada Carriles from the United States. The FBI says, "we know nuttink!" but his presence in Florida is well known. What politician or bureaucrat will have the moral sanity to stand up and say we should ship him out?

In a country where (as I said yesterday) innocent children are held on terrorism charges for no more reason than worshipping in the "wrong" faith—where we bomb one leader and leave others in power entirely based on their oil reserves but shouting publically that it's because of terrorism—it's time for someone in power to actually do something about an actual terrorist within our actual borders. Someone! Anyone! Bueller!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Ashamed of my leaders

Don't get complacent: your government is still locking up innocent children in your name.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Shaolin economics

Paul Krugman goes all Jet Li on Bushonomics, swatting away every stupid presidential move without even breaking a sweat: "To avert the danger of future cuts in benefits, Mr. Bush wants us to commit now to, um, future cuts in benefits." "Mr. Bush likes to play dress-up, but his Robin Hood costume just doesn't fit." Read it; there's serious math in the middle of the appropriate witty disdain.

Update: Josh Marshall noted the same hypocrisy, though he went easy on the guy: "The important point is that for President Bush there’s only one solution—big middle class benefit cuts. [...] For most folks, that’s the problem. For President Bush, it’s the solution."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Quiz time!

I recently took two time-wasting online quizzes...

Surprise, surprise, I am not a Republican:

I am: 2% Republican."You're a complete liberal, utterly without a trace of Republicanism. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure. (You hope.)"

The Dante Inferno Hell Test has banished me to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis. Here is how I matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)High

Friday, May 06, 2005

Unhealthy lifestyle

Did you know that $1,500 of the price of every new GM vehicle goes toward employee health benefits? And that GM has a market value of less than $20 billion, over $200 billion in debt, and plans for declaring bankruptcy? Do you think these might be tied to each other? (Certainly the fat cats think so, although they believe it's the employees' fault rather than management's or the government's.) Do you think that a more efficient, lower-cost health care system might improve the health of GM? Do you think that less polluting cars might improve the health of Americans? Do you think that more efficient cars might improve the health of America's economy?

The Great Diverse Hope

I don't routinely post and link to every little thing written on Hullabaloo, Orcinus, and The Rude Pundit. (Though I should, really, put up a RaptorMagic entry every time Dave Niewert writes something at Orcinus. The man is a national treasure.) But let this serve as the occasional reminder that you should click right through my drivel to those fine sites (standard disclaimer: the Rude Pundit should really be named the Extremely Vulgar Pundit, so some of you should just not Go There).

This week's wisdom: Digby (at Hullabaloo) says that the cave-in Democrats who are running the national party should stop punishing their own left and mimicking the Repos: "What we are arguing about is whether we should all be whores for big business, slaves to the theocrats, or some lukewarm version of both." I'm not a Democrat, but I wish them much luck because the country needs them ("help me Obi-Wan, you're our only hope"), and the construction of that luck will begin with committing themselves to be less like Republicans.

Things that annoy #841

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tearing up the Contract

While I'm quoting John over at AMERICAblog... He also has the exactly correct analysis of the recent Republican takeover of PBS. This attack on independent press and free speech aligns perfectly with the federally-approved religious bigotry I noted yesterday. The Repos hate the First Amendment more than any other authority, because it encompasses so many different realms of life in which they want to dictate to us:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why are right-wing religionists considered pro-America?

Over the weekend, on national television, Pat Robertson and Lou Sheldon said that Muslims are not fit to serve in the U.S. government. This attitude is undemocratic and should be criticized by every politician who has sworn to uphold the Constitution. Any day now, they'll finally admit that they think Catholics, Lutherans, and Unitarians shouldn't be allowed to vote (remember, George Bush Sr. already said that atheists aren't patriots or even citizens). John Aravosis gets this exactly right: "Robertson and Sheldon just made themselves instant pariahs - no politician should ever meet, talk to, or do anything with any organization that has anything to do with either of these two ever again." (Roberson, desperate to emphasize his nut-case status, also says that federal judges are a greater threat to America than the Civil War, Nazi Germany, or Al Qaeda.)