Sunday, July 25, 2004

What The Hell?

Jon, what the hell are you doing?  Jeez, I go away for a while, and this place just goes to pot.

In other, more amusing news, 27-year-old douchebag Ricky Williams has retired.

Ha ha ha ha! 

This amuses me greatly, and for many reasons. 


Friday, July 23, 2004

Pardon our template problems!
Obligations, Moral and Otherwise
I was just reading an article by Cass Sunstein in the Minnesota Law Review entitled Moral Heuristics and Moral Framing, 88 Minn. L. Rev. 1556.  I didn't read the whole thing because I keep going back to an illustration that he used to begin the article.
When you have been a fan of a sports team, you have a moral obligation to continue to be a fan even if the team is now terrible.  It is disloyal to cease being a fan merely because the team keeps losing. 'Once you're a fan, you're a fan for life.'
He goes on to say this claim is "absurd," but the problem is that he is making (at least) two diffent claims.  The first is that supporting a team creates a moral obligation and the second is that failing to support a team is disloyal.  I's still not sure if the obligation to support one's team despite years of losing could be called a moral obligation, but I'm pretty sure that most true sports fans would say that abandoning a team because they're losing would in fact be disloyal.
But back to the first claim, what is that obligation called that makes people want to support the same losing team year after year?  Growing up, lots of my friends loved the Dallas Cowboys when they were winning Superbowls.  I had other friends that spontaneously became Florida State fans even though we lived in Mississippi and never knew anyone who went to school in Florida. 

I always considered these people morally inferior.  Seriously, I look down on them.  But I guess I should rethink that idea.  Perhaps they aren't morally inferior, but just plain inferior.

Perhaps I will post more on this later this weekend, but for now, I invite your thoughts.


Thursday, July 22, 2004


Billmon has a great post.  Truly excellent.

That guy's so damn smart.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

News From The Department Of Ignorant Shit

Bush's Anti-Labor Department establishes a website for the homeless.

No, I am not making this up.  A website for the homeless.  Launched with all sincerity, even.

That's a real way to further that War On Poverty, no?


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Birthday Celebrations Begin
Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now July 21st (Eastern Time) and the festivities have begun.  One of the first ladies of Punch and Jude, the Punch gal, is insisting that: A) I stay out of the kitchen as she bakes something fanciful. The bedroom smells of the kitchen's goodness and cheap mexican beer is the only thing keeping me from violating her policy; and B) I open a present. I'm not a fan of birthday/Christmas Eve present openings so I'll have to decline that one.

I've yet to receive any of my listed presents, but I reckon that's alright since they were silly anyway. What I really want is to appear on TLC's "What Not to Wear" so I can have Clinton and Stacy judge my sub-par wardrobe and give me money to go shopping.

further updates:

Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong

Just watched Outside the Lines and I have to say that I think Armstrong is a doper.  My prediction: history will show that the science and efforts of the governing bodies were behind the science and efforts of the cheaters. In case you missed Bob Ley, he had a former doctor/trainer/someone semi-important on the Postal Team that says he refused to dope and was fired. He later got a letter from the Postal Team's law firm threatening to sue if he told an an ugly phone call from Lance himself. Ouch.

Baseball, unlike cycling, doesn't even give a shit. And for that I hope the BALCO trials expose a subculture of widespread steroid use that destroys baseball's reptation. I stand by my earlier convictions that MBL is worthless as long as they take it easy on steroids.

A former professor of mine is a cycling fan (an even rarer breed than the endangered species of American Formula One fans) and I think I might ask him what he thinks about the cycling issue.

Jude promised long ago to come if I was in town for the DNC. I am and he isn't.  I even promised to support his alcoholism.

Kevin Garnett
In the new Adidas commercial themed by "He's got the Whole World" .  I kinda want to condemn this one for being sacreligious - but he isn't portrayed as being God-like. He just has lots of pedestrians jumping on his shoulders (literally dozens).  So I like the literal image that is gives - Garnett carries everyones' hopes on himself, fitting for the reigning MVP. Plus the shoes are really nice - the best basketball shoes since... Jeez, the best in the 21st century no doubt. Put 'em on the birthday list. Hot damn.

No Law Review
I didn't make it guys. My new plan is to work out constantly because my self-worth has deteriorated significantly now that I realize I'm not smart. Maybe I can still be beautiful!

I'm having bacon.

Here. Don't know why he doesn't have Tristan's massacre after his little brother is killed in Lengends of the Fall or Tristan's massacre after his wife is killed in Legends of the Fall.

Michael Jackson Needs to stop Breeding
Seriously. He used to be awesome, awe-inspiring. Then he was gross. Now he's sad. But if he has four more kids something is wrong with the world. Even if he isn't a child molester - these kids should never be handed over to him. Hopefully the ones he already has won't be too disturbed.


Happy Birfday
Hi, everyone.  No news, no commentary from me today.  I just want everyone to wish Jon a happy birfday tomorrow.  He'll be 24.
Somehow, no one has snuffed out that punk's life yet, and he's almost a quarter-century old.
Have a drink for me, buddy.

Monday, July 19, 2004

I'm Worthless, I know
You don't even have to tell me Jude. But in my defense - I have a virus that is making the ol' Dell (again, I know) run real' slow-like. I think it might be a Trojan Horse. Any advice Errol?
I have to go to work but I want to remind everyone of the impending birthday and reiterate my wishlist.
Ann Coulter Action Figure
Lesnar makes the Vikings
Mahoney returns to the Police Academy franchise (along with Tackleberry and Hightower, right Collin?).

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Poker is obivously getting more popular here in the U.S. Turn on ESPN, ESPN2, Bravo, or the Travel Channel any night of the week and you're likely to find yourself watching texas hold 'em, one of the more popular poker games. My pal Nick won $157 bucks at Foxwoods Casino last weekend after reading bits of Poker for Dummies.

None of that has anything to do with this.

Thanks to Theresa

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

It's Go Time, Punk-Ass

Jude here, checking in.

Jon, I am so going to own your ass in football this year. In honor of my imminent triumph on the virtual gridiron, I have chosen an Atilla the Hun-inspired team name:

The Scourge of Jon.

Feel it!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Most Painful Injury Ever

8 people were gored in Pamplona but this guy got it the worst.

"Another American, from Georgia, was gored in the scrotum, in the bullring, in what the government spokesman said was a 'slight injury.'"


Friday, July 09, 2004

This is hilarious

Why on earth would you call a preschooler a "stupid dirty girl"? This is like something from Kids in the Hall.

Read it for yourself.

Thanks to Marisa.


Sorry I missed the really funny part. From Rebuttable Presumption (via - as always - Volokh) we get this pearl.

Could it be that this chap jumped to conclusions because the girl's name is Isis?
Operation Football Justice

Thanks to Errol for the league name. We are now set up on Yahoo kids. Get ready for another action packed season. Among the questions to be answered - Will Tim's first selection be a quarterback with a broken leg? Will Clay and Nabil's hatred for one another blossom further? Will Jude get tired of losing and trade all his players to someone else? Will Tim get tired of losing? Ever?

I have sent out an email to a few of you and hopefully last year's ten will all get the word. The Draft is scheduled for the first friday in September at 2:45 CDT. I wanted a weekend but they didn't have any weekend draft dates after the preseason ended. So that's what we get.

Stay tuned for further information.

PS - my team name is "Poopoo Mcgoos".

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Fantasy Football

I'll have a more extenisive post on this topic soon, since it has become a complete obsession for me as of late, but for now just a couple of comments to the usual suspects.

As I remember last year's league included:

Clay's friend that I didn't know
Tim's friend that I didn't know

This year I guess we'll do the same thing on yahoo (since it's free) and I'll set it up soon. What I need from you suckers are some good ideas for our league name.

And Jude, how can you talk smack about somebody else's team when you picked players because they had cool names (i.e., Plaxico)?
The "Oh Shit" News of the Day

Here from CNN. Here from FOXNews.

And the Steve Guttenberg News of the Day

Here from CNN.

Altogether, the franchise brought in more than $230 million at the domestic box office. Maslansky also serviced the small screen with "Police Academy: The Animated Series" in 1993 and "Police Academy: The Series" in 1997.


I also want to mention that Steve's participation in this project as the lovable Mahoney is now on my birthday wishlist.
A Few Thoughts About the Election

Well now that the Dem ticket is set, voters will start solidifying their choices. Slate has a great grass-roots type piece that examines the voting situation in Tennessee.

The political energy of the state is in Middle Tennessee, particularly the "ring" of suburban counties around Nashville. I drive 15 miles south of Nashville to Williamson County, the ground zero of Tennessee's—and the GOP's—boom. Twenty-five years ago, Williamson County was rural and Democratic. But Nashville white-collar workers moved out there. Country music and health care created a cadre of rich suburbanites. Williamson County's population quadrupled from 34,000 in 1970 to 126,000 in 2000. Now it has topped 140,000. The county adds two schools a year. A massive mall, the Cool Springs Galleria, gushes sales tax revenue, allowing Williamson to repeatedly cut taxes. Real estate dealers fill developments—like "Fountainhead" and "The Manor at Steeplechase"—as fast as they can be built. Country stars such as Brooks & Dunn and Tim McGraw have moved in. NASCAR stud Darrell Waltrip is in Williamson as well.*

"This is Eden," says county GOP chairman Hugh DuPree with a big grin. "It is not a big city, but it has all the amenities of a big city. There are no slums, no inner city. And we have the best schools in the state." In Williamson, DuPree says, people hate taxes and favor the war. It's the kind of place where you don't make plans for Wednesday evening because that's church night.

The county's new residents—white, prosperous, religious, and economically conservative—are quintessential Republicans. When USA Today was looking to profile the ideal Republican community in 2002, it came to Williamson County.
"It's not a question of whether President Bush will win here, it's by how much," he says. "In 2000, Bush won the state by 80,000 thousand votes. This county—just one of 95 counties—provided a quarter of that margin. He won here by 20,000 votes."
I do find an undecided voter in Williamson County—the only one of three dozen Tennesseans I accost who hasn't made up his mind. He is Tom Taylor. I meet him on Main Street in Franklin, right outside his law office. Taylor is a moderate Republican, he says. He voted for Bush, in part out of disgust for Clinton. "But now I am really disappointed." Bush has dragged the party too far right, has governed poorly. Taylor is pessimistic about the country. Still, he says, "if there is any light at the end of the tunnel, if—let's say—there is any sign someone is listening to Colin Powell, then I will vote Republican. You see, there just isn't anything to like about John Kerry."

Good point - there isn't much to like about Kerry if you are a Tennessee voter. He's not Southern, he's not protestant, he's not conservative. So the question is... did the Kerry campaign pick Edwards because they realized that Kerry is a foreigner to much of the country? If they did, will he make a difference? And how the hell did Edwards not win the nomination himself? I still think an Edwards Dean ticket would have easily beaten Bush.

Last point - my opinion, people don't vote on issues or voting record. They vote for the guy (or gal) that they LIKE - if you have a likable candidate it doesn't matter what he says or how he's voted (or what grades he made at Yale). Bush is the kind of guy that lots of American voters like. I don't think Kerry is.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

On The Road Again

I'm going out of town for a while; I'll have an occasional post or two, but I'm afraid I have to deprive you, our four loyal readers, of my commentary/blathering/linkage for a while.

Jon, I'm afraid you have to step up to the web logging plate for a bit. I know you're up to it, man.

Oh, and when does fantasy football start this year? Is Tim gonna get another roster full of crippled players? Ha ha!
Granddaddy Ghenghis

I thought this was an interesting story from CNN.

Oxford Ancestors, the firm doing the testing, says 16 to 17 million men in Central Asia share a pattern of Y chromosomes within their genetic sequences that indicates probable descent from Genghis Khan, who conquered vast tracts of Asia and Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries and sired many offspring.

"He was an all-conquering tribal leader," said David Ashworth, a geneticist who is Oxford Ancestors' chief executive. "He took their cities, he took their land, he took their women."

Took their women. Damn.
If I Were To Advocate Any Sort Of Abstinence

I'd tell people to abstain from voting for Bush. In yet another big, big reward to the fundamentalists and evangelicals, Bush's CDC head has put out the word: tell people about safe sex, and you lose your federal funding.

In effect, Bush has told young women, gay men, and the entire continent of Africa to piss off. Which is not that unexpected, given the racist, sexist, and homophobic nature of the radical "Christian" right. (Not that all young women are at risk of HIV infection; however, "abstinence-only" nonsense does guarantee more teen pregnancies.) I guess these upright, godly citizens missed that "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me" and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" stuff that you find in the Gospel of Matthew. I can see how you'd skip the first book in the New Testament; you guys really wanted to get to the good stuff in, say, Philemon. Oh yeah. Who reads the first chapter in a book, anyway?

But back to the article at hand. It's a damn good read, though you may want to have a shot of whiskey handy to dull the headache you'll have. It's okay--that's empathic cognitive dissonance you're feeling. Someone has to feel it, since it doesn't seem to affect right-wing types.

[T]he Bush administration wants AIDS fighters to tell people: Condoms don’t work. This demented exigency flies in the face of every competent medical body’s judgment that, in the absence of an HIV-preventing vaccine, the condom is the single most effective tool available to protect someone from getting or spreading the AIDS virus.

Moreover, the CDC will now take the decisions on which AIDS-fighting educational materials actually work away from those on the frontlines of the combat against the epidemic, and hand them over to political appointees.

This is done by requiring that Policy Review Panels, which each group engaged in HIV prevention must have, can no longer be appointed by that group but must instead be named by state and local health departments. And those panels must then take a vote on every single flier or brochure or other “content” before it is issued.

This means that, under the new regs, political appointees will have a veto and be able to ban anything in those educational materials they deem “obscene” or lacking in anti-condom propaganda. With Republicans controlling a majority of statehouses, and having handed over control of the health departments to folks deemed acceptable to the Christian right and cultural conservatives in many Southern and Midwestern states — and the rest of public-health departments notoriously subservient to political pressure from the state and local legislatures that control their appropriations — anti-condom junk science that plays politics with people’s lives will rule the day.

Under the new regs, it will be impossible even to track the spread of unsafe sexual practices — because the CDC’s politically inspired censorship includes “questionnaires and survey materials” and thus would forbid asking people if they engage in specific sexual acts without protection against HIV. For that too would be “obscene.” (Questions about gay kids have already disappeared from the CDC’s national Youth Risk Survey after Christian-right pressure).

So what will be left? Why, the abstinence-only ed programs dear to Bush’s heart and to the Christian right. A third of all federal HIV-education money — some $270 million more in Bush’s latest budget — now goes to abstinence-only programs, almost universally to Christian groups as part of Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” (no Jewish or Muslim groups receive any funds).


Teaching about condoms doesn’t increase sexual activity and certainly doesn’t increase unprotected sex, but abstinence-only ed does both. For example, a Minnesota Department of Health study of the state’s five-year, abstinence-only program found last year that sexual activity by students taking the program actually doubled, from 5.8 percent to 12.4 percent.

Even more alarming, a study by Columbia University Department of Sociology chairman Peter Bearman of the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents from 12 to 18 years old over a five-year period found unsafe sex much greater among youth who’d signed pledges to abstain from sex until (heterosexual) marriage (a key component of most abstinence only–based education programs, which leave gay kids, who can’t get married in 49 states, to face a lifetime of chastity).

The Columbia study, released last March and financed in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, showed that while 59 percent of teenage males who did not pledge abstinence used a condom during sex, only 40 percent of abstinence-pledging boys used a condom. As Bearman told The New York Times, telling teens “to ‘just say no,’ without understanding risk or how to protect oneself from risk, turns out to create greater risk” of HIV and other STDs. In his study, 88 percent of those who’d pledged chastity reported having sex before marriage. The large Bearman study confirms one published in the American Journal of Sociology in 2001, which showed that pent-up sexual desire and failure to realize risk exposure among students in abstinence-only programs made them a third less likely to use condoms than others, even if, on average, they began having sex a year and half later.

All those numbers help explain why the new CDC regs are causing outrage and anguish among leaders in the AIDS community. “Kids are being taught that condoms don’t work, while real life-saving HIV education is being eviscerated across the board,” fumes Sean Strub, founder of POZ, the magazine for the HIV-positive community. And, Strub points out, the Bush administration has hamstrung AIDS organizations, “which are faced with the terrible choice of prioritizing care for existing HIV-positive clients over speaking out against the new CDC rules and risking losing their federal funding.”

There’s only a tiny window of opportunity to try to get the new CDC censorship rules changed before they go into effect (the deadline for public comments is August 16 — they may be e-mailed to or faxed to 404-639-3125.) But when the regs begin to be felt, just watch already-rising AIDS infection rates really soar.

Note that e-mail address--you've got just over a month to tell the Bush CDC that they need to act right.

Would someone explain to the radical religious right that closing your eyes, holding your hands over your ears, and screaming "lalalalalalalala!" isn't going to make AIDS, other STD's, teen pregnancy, or (gasp!) sexual intercourse go away.

The way these abstinence-only advocates think astounds me. Would disbanding the Army lead to world peace? Would eliminating seat belts make automobile accidents disappear? How about getting rid of antibiotics? Would that ensure that we'd have no more bacterial infections in the world? No. Obviously not. But that's the sort of logic abstinence-only types employ, and they never get called on their bullshit.

Oh, and can someone please tell the Log Cabin Republicans to wake up? Please?

Thanks to the guys at Pandagon for this article.
Politics and Potter

Here and Punch and Jude we like to keep our readers abreast of political dicussions across the globe. So it should come as no surprise that I feel the need to alert you to this bit of information.

Here's a taste:

The five Harry Potter books - enormously successful in French translation - are stiffed with "neo-liberal stereotypes" which caricature approvingly the "excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model", Yocaris said.

Thus all representatives of the state (the Ministry of Magic) are lampooned as ridiculous, or incompetent or sinister. Harry goes to a "private" school, whose "micro-society" is a "pitiless jungle" which glorifies "individualism, competition and a cult of violence".

Thanks to for the pointer (and don't ask how I came across that one).
The Sudan

Kudos to Nicholas Kristof for being one of the few voices in mainstream American journalism to draw attention to that country and the horrors going on every day there. By some estimates, as many as ten thousand people are dying there every day.

Kristof has posted a slideshow of his photos from the Sudan. The pictures are accompanied by short descriptions; some are quite pithy: "The desert is littered with the carcasses of donkeys, goats and even camels. When even the camels are dying of hunger and thirst, you know that waves of humans will be dying soon."

To find all the news about Africa that you won't see in American press, you can try It's an invaluable resource.

That's how many US soldiers have died in Bush's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Four Marines were killed in Iraq on the sixth, bringing the number of US troops killed in Iraq to 871 (by Pentagon totals). In addition, there have been 128 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan. If my math is correct (I did go to public schools), that makes 999 soldiers killed for Bush's wars.

Originally, I thought that intervention in Afghanistan was a good thing--for a lot of reasons. Unlike anyone in the Bush administration, I I was aware of the repressive nature of the Taliban regime in Kabul; I was also aware of their harboring of and agreement with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. However, the way the Bush team failed to effectively prosecute the war in Afghanistan (see Tora Bora; see also the rotation of Pashtu- and Dari-speaking special forces out of the region to prepare for the invasion of Iraq) has, ultimately, meant that the deaths of American troops in Afghanistan has, unfortunately, been in vain. That's right. The 128 US soldiers killed in Afghanistan, because of the Bush Administration's incompetence in prosecuting the war there (or their refusal to do so meaningfully), have been, as much as it pains me to say it, unnecessary sacrifices.

So that makes 999 dead US soldiers. Tomorrow will, unfortunately and undoubtedly, bring 1000.

A thousand lives gone. For what?
Things That Piss Me Off

I check the server logs occasionally--to see who's been by, and, if they got here through an internet search, to see what particular search brought them here.

Sometimes, the search string that brought a visitor by really throws me for a loop. More rare, though, is the search criterion that seriously angers me. We had one of those recently.

Somehow, we came up on someone's Google search for "Audie Murphy was a child molester."

Since Audie Murphy never was even accused of such a thing, that search bothers me. Why would someone say such a thing? It's like those god-awful rumors spread a few years ago about Fred Rogers being a pedophile. Who the fuck enjoys propagating such a terrible and false story?

It really sickens me.

Audie Murphy was not a perfect man--no one is. But why impugn someone's reputation for no good reason?

People piss me off.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Rumsfeld Syndrome

Tony Blair has caught it.

Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, America's closest ally in Iraq, said today that the unconventional weapons cited as a justification for the war against Saddam Hussein might never be found.

It was the closest Mr. Blair has come to acknowledging that his central argument for last year's invasion in the face of widespread public opposition may never be proven true or false. Mr. Blair's handling of the weapons issue has damaged his credibility and his popularity with voters, while his decision to support the American-led war is depicted as the defining event of his premiership.

"We know Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but we know we haven't found them," Mr. Blair said, addressing senior government and opposition legislators at a routine meeting. "I have to accept we have not found them, that we may not find them."

Mr. Blair suggested that unlawful weapons "could have been removed, could have been hidden, they could have been destroyed." But he maintained that Saddam Hussein had been a threat and had been in breach of United Nations resolutions concerning unlawful weapons.

Mr. Blair declined to offer an apology for going to war as the junior partner in an alliance with the United States.

"I do not believe there was not a threat in relation to weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Emphasis added.

What the hell? I do not believe there was not a threat? How much not finding weapons would it take to convince this guy? It's a good thing he doesn't sit on US juries!

"I do not believe that the defendant was not a murderer, despite the state's complete inability to produce any evidence, motive, or witnesses averring that he did, in fact, murder the victim."

Or, to quote from Rummy, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

What he's saying, really, is "Trust us, we're from the government."

I really, really like this guy.

It's sentences like this one that really grab your attention: "[A]fter-tax corporate profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not seen since 1929."


Monday, July 05, 2004

Higher Holier Living Hell

PTSD and other mental disorders at seventeen percent for US combat troops deployed to Iraq. That percentage will likely grow some with time.

Wilfred Owen, the young British officer who composed poems about (and was killed on) the Western Front during the Great War, knew a thing or two about combat stress and what it does to the human mind. As he wrote in "Mental Cases,"

These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.

Simply put, there is no way to convey the absolute nightmare that is combat. It is murder on a vast scale. The military tells you that it isn't but you know what murder is. Seeing a child torn to bits by machine-gun bullets is witnessing a murder. Even the killing of enemy soldiers is murder, and it often happens in ways too horrific to contemplate or describe. That they're trying to kill you, too, usually only provides temporary mental balm. That anyone can return to a normal life after experiencing a firefight is a testament to the amazing resiliency of the human animal; that many never can is all too understandable.

Most people associate PTSD with Vietnam vets: Here's an article from the National Center on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that has some telling data from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjusment Survey concerning rates of PTSD suffered by veterans of that war. However, PTSD has affected veterans of every war ever waged. Audie Murphy himself, the much-decorated hero of World War II and later movie star, suffered from memory of the multitudinous murders he had once witnessed.

But back to Iraq. Remember all of that "embedding" shit that the news networks went so ga-ga over? How they told you they were there "with the troops" and thought they were seeing all the action, and all of that other crap? Yeah. You didn't see any of this from the embedded reporters:

• One in four Marines surveyed reported killing Iraqi civilians.

• About one in five Army members surveyed reported engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

• More than 85 percent of those in Marine or Army combat units said they knew someone who had been injured or killed.

• More than half said they had handled corpses or human remains.

• More than 90 percent said they had been shot at.

• Nearly 20 percent said they saved someone’s life.

• More than 80 percent of Marines said they saw injured women and children who they had been unable to help.

Whoa! Hand-to-hand combat. Twenty percent of Army combat soldiers reported engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Boy, I'm glad those embedded reporters made us aware of that, aren't you? And don't think for a second that many of the 80% of Marines who saw wounded women and children, but were unable to help, don't see them every time they close their eyes.

Young men and women (and a few older ones, too) are being destroyed, both physically and mentally, in Iraq--and for what? Weapons of mass destruction? "Relationships" with al-Qaeda? FREEDOM (tm) for Iraqis? To protect our rights and freedoms? Obviously not.

It does not dishonor the troops, who do the very best that they can under excruciating circumstances, to point out that the people given charge of their lives callously deployed them into combat, and justified that move with a tapestry of lies. The leaders themselves are the ones who dishonor the soldiers, with their casual disregard for the welfare of the men and women they are entrusted to command.

Last night I had the strangest dream: the PNAC delusion of empire was fully shattered, lying in ruins in the sands of Mesopotamia. After Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and Perle and Cheney got their convictions handed down, part of their sentence involved acting as orderlies at VA hospitals--in the burn wards, the physical therapy units, the amputee wing, and the PTSD centers.
High Holy Living Hell

Sixteen thousand wounded.

That's right, it's 16,000.

Fucking Donald Rumsfeld.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

Put out a flag today.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Make Sure You Swallow What You're Drinking Before You Read This

Via Happy Furry Puppy Story Time, we have this bit of hilarity.

The Raving Atheist put up a few of the obligatory Ray Charles obituary-editorial cartoons the other day. Note the extreme honkiness of god in all of the cartoons where he appears.

The really funny bits, though, are in the comments:

Will the same cartoonists have MIchael Bolton in hell with his mouth being sewn shut and colon stuffed with hot coals by a team of demons?


Say, isn't this the same God who cruelly blinded Ray at age 7?

Oh, it shouldn't be so funny, but it is.

Things I Never Thought I'd See

Bush has pissed off the Southern Baptists. Can this be true?

It could be, if it would cost them their tax-exempt status. That's the sweetest plum that they couldn't bear to lose.

Friday, July 02, 2004


This week's Sports Illustrated (thanks for the subscription Mom) has an article about how baseball is sooo great. Yay baseball. And the author (whose name doesn't come to mind and unfortunately for this post I am too lazy to walk over and get it) gives ten reasons why 2004 has such great baseball and we should all watch. And the reasons are pretty good - such as Randy Johnson's stellar play at the age of 40 and the sucess of both teams rich in tradition (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Cards) and relative newcomers (Devil Rays, Marlins).

But the author, even in his Barry Bonds tribute, fails to mention steroids. Even passive baseball followers know that baseball is suffering from the innuedo-plague of drug-enhanced ball players. Perhaps this is not relative to the status of baseball as our national pastime.

Wrong. Why devote time (pass time) to following a sport when the players might not even play by the rules. It's like going to see a basketball game where some of the players get to jump of trampolines or a spelling bee where only half the contestants speak english. It's not fair.

Obviously most fans don't share my opinions and go see the games anyway. And to be honest, I don't think that a large number of players are using performance-enhancing drugs. But I do believe that some players are, and I cannot comprehend why the players' union is sticking its neck out there for those players by refusing to accept random drug testing.

The union needs to wise up and realize that it is damaging the sport as much as the steroid use (that may or may not exist). Remember Michael Jackson's first molestation suit? When he payed the kid's family off. Well that is what this looks like to me. If no one is using drugs then prove it. Until you do, don't expect me to respect the game.

I loved this article on ESPN about WWE (what happened to the "F") wrestler Brock Lesnar. Here are some reasons why.

1. The writer talks about Lesnar's experience acting in the WWE as though it were some sort of sports accomplishment hailing him as "the World Wrestling Entertainment's youngest champion ever." I almost imagined a tough kid rising to stardom because of his God-given abilities and not because someone writing the plot decided he would win before the "match" even happened.

2. The quotes that Lesnar gives are priceless.

"I don't like gays."

"I can fight for real."

"If it was legal and I wouldn't get in trouble, I'd pick a fight on every street."

"You either nut up or you don't."

And on reports that he has taken steroids: "When it comes down to it, bring your little piss cup and I will fill it for you."

3. Having said all that - I'd love to see him play on Sundays. So for my second birthday wish list item, I would like the Vikings to give him a shot.
Esta Loco

It's time to send Big Dick Cheney (R-Insane) to a rubber room. Either that, or remove him from office for blatant lying.

That horse is long past dead, Big Dick. Quit beating it.

This kind of thing really makes "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" look like the triviality that it truly is--no matter what definition of "is" one uses.

July is my birth month (the 21st, thanks for asking) so I thought I would start putting together my wish list. First up - the Ann Coulter Doll. Just don't ask what I want it for.
Home Sweet Home

Many of our readers know that Jude and I, hosts of this blog, are both from the great state of Mississippi. And though we live elsewhere now, we keep abreast of the happenings down South. On that note I would like to point our readers to this post by (the oft criticized) Eugene Volokh regarding a free speech decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court. The post is long but contains an interesting legal analysis. And I am sure many of our readers know how fond I am of letters to the editor which fall on the extreme side of either line.

Nerd Alert

Today's Nerd Alert goes to Africa, to examine fossilized remains of the species that makes eighth graders everywhere giggle: Homo erectus.

I like the extremely honkified artist's rendering of the now-extinct hominid. Of course, since the universe was created 6000 years ago, these poor fools are obviously deluded, right?

There is a runner up for today's Nerd Alert: Spiders plague Kazakh camels.

These aren't camel spiders, which aren't even true spiders, but solifugae. No, the critters in question are actually spiders, and they are aggressive and dangerous little buggers. Karakurt spiders nasty, evil-looking arachnids that occasionally plague the arid plateaus of Central Asia, but this year's crop is particularly bad. No wonder the Cossacks got the hell out of there.
You Don't Want This Guy Mad At You

Retired US Army Colonel David H. Hackworth is mad as hell.

Hackworth is nobody's liberal, that's for damn sure. But he does love the soldiers, sailors, and Marines of the United States--both current and former. He also demands honesty--from himself, his beloved soldiers, and, certainly, from those who are responsible for the lives of those soldiers. Hackworth is an old-school officer. I'm sure he was a total slave driver, but he wouldn't ask anyone to do anything that he wouldn't or couldn't do, and he took very seriously his responsibility for the lives of his troops. He expects the same from the Pentagon and White House. Obviously, he's been more than disappointed lately.

America would be a whole lot safer if the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, was flying for Virgin Airlines, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was competing on “Survivor.” Both war leaders have done so miserable a job honchoing the military side of our critical conflict against global terrorism, and in the process so jeopardized our national security, that they should be sacked for dereliction of duty.

Contrary to continuing political spin, Iraq and Afghanistan both are running sores with little promise of even a long-term turnaround, and our world today is far more dangerous than it was before 9/11. Unless there's a 180-degree change in overall strategy, the USA is doomed to follow the same bloody path through these two brutal killing fields that the Soviet Union took in Afghanistan.

The mighty sword that Rumsfeld and Myers inherited four years ago – the finest military force in the world – is now chipped and dulled. And the word is that it will take at least a decade to get our overextended, bone-tired soldiers and Marines and their worn-out gear back in shape.

Top generals like former NATO commander Wes Clark and a squad of retired and active-duty four-stars warned long before the invasion of Iraq: Don’t go there. It doesn’t involve our national security. It’s not the main objective in our war with international terrorism. Even retired four-star Colin Powell said that if we go to Iraq and break the china, we own it. But know-it-all Rumsfeld and go-along-to-get-along Myers totally ignored this sound military advice.

Before the invasion of Iraq, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, a distinguished soldier with counter-guerrilla campaigns in Vietnam and Bosnia under his pistol belt, was asked by Congress how many soldiers he thought would be needed for the occupation phase in Iraq. His response: A minimum of 200,000.

Rumsfeld treated this courageous soldier – who left half a foot in the Vietnam Delta – like a leper for telling a truth that was obviously contrary to party lockstep. And Shinseki’s spot-on troop estimate was discredited and ridiculed by senior Pentagon chicken hawks like Paul Wolfowitz, a man who dodged the draft during Vietnam and wouldn’t know a tank from a Toyota.

I don't agree with all or even most of Hackworth's politics, but his concern for the armed forces is unimpeachable. He calls it down the middle when it comes to troop welfare, and he's someone that should be heard.

To sum up: Fake cowboy Bush broke the US Armed Forces.
Bob Herbert

He isn't the most eloquent of writers, but he cuts throught the bullshit like a champ. And that's really what's more important, right? I mean, Safire can throw out fifty-cent words all day, but he couldn't string a group of sentences together to make a coherent, logical argument if his life depended on it.

We're holding a terrible hand. There is no exit strategy for American troops in Iraq. There is no plan in our insane tax-cut environment for paying for the war. The situation in Afghanistan, which is part of the real war against terror, has deteriorated. The U.S. military is stretched dangerously thin, lacking sufficient troops to meet its obligations around the world. Homeland security is deeply underfunded. And with the terror networks energized, the feeling among intelligence experts with regard to a strike in the U.S. is not if, but when.

Just one thing--we're not in a "tax cut environment." We have, rather, shifted taxes from the currently wealthy to the currently poor, and to the yet-to-be-born middle class. Somebody has to pay for the gigantic national debt that is only growing like a weed under the current administration. And the powers that are have decided that your children and, likely, grandchildren should foot the bill.

Now, I'm a simple man. I possess no advanced degrees, nor do I know jack about economics. Yet I can grasp that simple truth. It's wonderful, then, that there are intelligent, educated, committed journalists who explain the impact of economic policies to us.

As long as I'm wishing, I should ask for a pony.
Brando Dead

No word yet on whether or not he collapsed under his own gravity into a space-time singularity. We at Punch and Jude will keep you updated.
But If You're Innocent, You Don't Have Anything To Worry About, Right?

The 1st Circuit Court Of Appeals says that your e-mail is not private. Well isn't that just dandy? I'm sure John Ashcroft (R-Choad) popped wood when this decision came down.

The court ruled that because e-mail is stored, even momentarily, in computers before it is routed to recipients, it is not subject to laws that apply to eavesdropping of telephone calls, which are continuously in transit.

What the hell? My snail mail is stored more than momentarily in sorting centers and post offices, but, for people who aren't imprisoned, no one can open mail with impunity. It's actually a crime to do so, if I remember correctly. Also, if you really wanted to get persnickety, you could argue that the electrons that carry phone messages are "momentarily" not in transit at relay switches. How long does an electronic message have to be stationary, anyway?

I already get enough spam, now I have to be concerned about Yahoo reading my mail? Or, even more ominously, the FBI?

In whatever hell Stalin is in, I'm sure he's pissed that he couldn't get in on one more way to monitor people's lives. And he'll give Crisco Johnny a great big high five one day, and greet him with a "You brilliant bastard!"
Paul Krugman

Weighs in on Fahrenheit 9/11.

The money quote: "[H]is film is a hit because the respectable media haven't been doing their job."


Thursday, July 01, 2004


I finally believe in a curse. The Red Sox lost once again in dramatic fashion. If you follow baseball, if you love the Red Sox, nothing else can explain it. Not psychology, not math, nothing. They're cursed.
How To Construct A Crappy Argument

Noel Koch, former assistant to Nixon and Deputy SecDef for part of the Reagan presidency, tells us, from the comfort of old age, why we need the draft. And he's full of shit.

The subject has surfaced since Vietnam but never, until now, with much force. In fact, there are few good arguments against the draft and a surfeit of good ones for restoring it. The most obvious is that we do not have enough men and women in our armed forces. Reliance on reserves and the National Guard is creating strains along the socioeconomic spectrum and is not an endlessly sustainable expedient. If we are to fight elective wars, as we are told we must, we need more men and women on active duty.

If we do not have enough men and women in the armed forces, there is the option of going to Congress and passing laws increasing the size of those forces. Drafting people is not the only solution. Another one would be QUESTIONING THE ASSUMPTION THAT WE HAVE TO FIGHT ELECTIVE WARS, you dipshit.

Also, we find this bit of sagacity from Mr. Koch:

The draft shattered class distinctions. It mixed high school dropouts with college graduates, rich with middle class and poor.

Is he living in the same country I am? I seem to recall that the sons of privilege, as well as those who were lucky enough to get into universities, usually managed to avoid the draft (Big Dick Cheney himself got five student deferments during the Vietnam years). But he's not through shoveling the bullshit yet, folks!

The military did more to advance the cause of equality in the United States than any other law, institution or movement.

Huh? You mean to tell me that, like you mentioned in the first paragraph you wrote, that the draft was NOT a polarizing issue in America? It actually advanced equality? Then why did the burden of fighting in Vietnam fall disproportionately on the shoulders of poor people, buster? And don't quote Shakespeare to me, either, you dishonest bastard.

The resurrection of the draft, so vitally necessary to restore the depth of ready manpower we need in our force structure, is self-justifying despite the arguments of a succession of defense secretaries who feel obliged to defend our "volunteer military" with technical arguments that mask political squeamishness.

But the nation also needs a draft because it is one proven mechanism to bring unity to our rapidly separating parts. It needs a draft to provide that common civic grammar that encompasses those who have served and their families and friends. It needs a draft to honor, and to even out, the sacrifices we call upon our young to make for our nation.

Finally, America needs this fund of experience to expand the pool of people likely to find their way into the corridors of power and, when they get there, to bring with them a bone-deep appreciation of the true costs of conflict. Thus might we reduce the risks of counsel from those who have never had to learn the difference between a war and a cakewalk.

If the resurrection of the draft is so obviously necessary, so "self-justifying," why was this piece written? In the next paragraph, Mr. Koch throws out the tired old canard of our "rapidly separating parts." What parts are those? Finally, he (whether intentionally or not I do not know) indicts pretty much everyone in the current administration, which doesn't jive with his earlier reaffirmation of the necessity of fighting elective wars (a phrase which makes my damn head spin). He also begs the question: when was the last time an enlisted draftee was later admitted to the "corridors of power," anyway?

I can't believe the Post had the gall to put this on their editorial page. It's so dishonest, so mendacious, and so patently stupid, it hardly qualifies for reprint in the Weekly Standard.

The biggest lie in it, the one on which all the others are predicated, is the aforementioned and dizzying characterization of the necessity of elected war. If we are told we "must" fight these wars, do we have to believe it? I thought that we had a decision to make in this country over whether or not we agreed with an administration's policies--both foreign and domestic. This war was so unnecessary as to be nearly criminal. Throwing thousands of unwilling young men and women into that maelstrom on the pretext that it would be good for America down the road is so dishonest as to also merit the charge of criminality.

Nerd Alert

Today's Nerd Alert, like yesterday's, is astronomy-related. The Cassini-Huygens mission has entered Saturnian orbit, whence it will report back data on the sixth planet, its famous rings, and its gaggle of moons, including cloud-enshrouded Titan, whose surface will be reached if the Huygens craft works according to plan.

It's been over twenty years since the Voyager 1 and 2 missions, and twenty-five years since the visit of Pioneer 11, the first human examination of the ringed planet. Unlike any previous robotic craft, the Cassini probe will actually orbit the planet, giving it much more time to gather information.

The mission, according to reports, is going swimmingly so far. Nerds everywhere are relieved and excited. Or so I'm told.
Mind The Gap

Digby opines on the much-touted "religiosity gap" in American elections. It's a really good read. It's too bad that writing like that doesn't get into newspapers in this country.

While at that site, I found a link to this article in the Guardian about goings-on in Iraq.

The thrust of the story is that US troops raided a building in which Iraqi police were beating the hell out of some prisoners (plus ca change...). In a minor "oopsie," this raid seems to violate even the half-assed "sovereignty" that L. Paul Bremer threw at Ngo Dinh Diem Ayad Allawi while running out the door the other day. Anyway, the Iraqis responsible have admitted that, yes, they were beating the hell out of those men.

A bodyguard for the head of criminal intelligence, Hussein Kamal, admitted that the beatings had taken place.

Nashwan Ali - who said his nickname was Big Man - said: "A US MP asked me this morning what police division I was in. I said I was in criminal intelligence.

"The American asked me why we had beaten the prisoners. I said we beat the prisoners because they are all bad people. But I told him we didn't strip them naked, photograph them or fuck them like you did."

Boy, once you lose that moral high ground, it's a bitch to get back up that hill, ain't it?

The tactics and reality of life under of US-backed strongman Ayad Allawi are just going to be more of the same that we've always gotten out of third-world puppet dictators--brutality, corruption, nepotism, oppression, and the rest of that devil's cornucopia of delights.

This guy will end up being Saddam Lite (tm), without the berets and the fatigues. This fact, of course, is not lost on the people who have to live under the new regime--nor is it lost on one of the Western (most likely British) police advisers: "It sounds rather like the bad old days."

Sidney Blumenthal

Says what I've been saying: Cheney isn't going anywhere.

Of course, more people will listen to Blumenthal.

Speaking of Cheney, he has a lot to do with the New American Empire that has the rest of the world sitting on edge.
Why Does The GAO Hate America?

I didn't post this for a couple of days because, well, I didn't.

But the General Accounting Office says that Iraq is FUBAR. They've gotta love that FREEDOM (tm), right?

Near the end of the article, the reporter talks to some dipshit from the American Enterprise Institute, who tosses out this party-line nonsense:

"It's far better to live in the dark than it is to run the risk that your mother, father, brother, sister, husband or wife would be taken away never to be seen again," Pletka said.

Pletka pointed to a Pentagon slide presentation that detailed increases and improvement in telephone subscribers, water service, food, health care and schools in Iraq.

The schools! The schools! Cell phones! Oh, and it's not the dark that bothers people. It's the 135-degree heat. And the occupying foreign army. And the fact that your mother, father, brother, sister, husband, or wife can still get taken away, never to be seen again (has this woman even read about what's going on over there?). Anyone quoting a Pentagon slide presentation--especially from Rumsfeld's Pentagon--either knows that she is lying or is a complete fool--either way, that person should not be quoted as an authoritative source.
Thomas Friedman On Vacation

Let's hope he stays out to pasture. Meanwhile, Barbara Ehrenreich has a guest column on the opinion page.

Her first one is pretty good--she rips apart the tired notion of the "liberal elite." It's certainly better than any of the junk that Friedman coughs up on a regular basis.