Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Way To Go, Jonnyboy!

It's good to see you back.

I don't have time for much comment on not-so-Intelligent Design today, but I would like to note two things.

1) RIP, Mrs. King.

2) There's one thing I don't get about Brokeback Mountain. It was directed by Ang Lee, who is responsible for the crime against cinema also known as The Hulk. These two products do not seem like they could have come from the same mind.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Super Blog

Chuck Klosterman is blogging on ESPN's Page 2. I love it.
But regardless of how you feel, one question demands consideration: What does the Super Bowl mean to me? What does the Super Bowl represent to Chuck Klosterman, a random writer you have never met and (in all likelihood) have never even heard of? That is the quandary that has America talking. And that is the quandary I will attempt to answer through this sporadically updated weblog, a process Arctic Monkeys fans like to call "blogging."
And that's the least amusing paragraph I could find.


The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a couple of interesting releases today.

1) Not only does DePaul university think it's ok to censor an Affirmative Action bake sale, but now it thinks that the organizer is harassing . . . um . . . someone by staging a legitimate (though juvenile) "satirical" protest of a highly debated practice.

2) This analysis reaffirms the above. It's not harassment just because your feelings got hurt or, heaven forbid, someone supports a controversial propostition that you disagree with.

Wait. Aren't people supposed to get angry and argue in college?
Intelligent Design II

The discussion by Professor Wexler was enjoyable. He began by saying that he doesn't think that the Establishment Clause problem posed by the intelligent design debate is an easy one to answer. And I agree. Whether or not ID is science that should be taught is a question that doesn't bear heavily (if at all) on whether ID is enough of a religion that it's teaching violates the Constitution.

For the science question, I spent some time reading Michael Behe's testimony and his arguments aren't easily dismissed. He's an intelligent, reputable scientist who believes that Darwinian theory cannot adequately explain many aspects of life (blood clots being the famous example). But, in my opinion, ID fails as a science because it looks to a supernatural explantation for data, rather than a natural one.

For the Constitutional question, Wexler comes down on the side of ID being unconstitutional. The problem with this though is that the Court is now in flux and the endorsement test used by O'Connor might be in jeopardy and Scalia and others have expressed willingness to reevaluate establishment clause doctrine.

After the Dover case, it looks to be ID's move -- it will be interesting to see how they proceed. I might be writing a paper on the topic soon, so we'll keep you posted. As will Panda's Thumb, ThomasMore and others.

Intelligent Design

I'll be attending a talk by Boston University Law Professor Jay Wexler this afternoon. Professor Wexler is one of the more vocal, and eloquent, Intelligent Design critics. He's also BU's resident funny man. Hopefully I'll have plenty to say this afternoon.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Slow Death of New Orleans

In case you hadn't been keeping up, it continues apace. Check out this article, from Yahoo News. The headline says it all.

New Orleans May Lose 80 Percent of Blacks.

Jesus. Of course, the article also says that 50% of whites wouldn't return. According to the US Census Bureau, New Orleans, in 2004, was home to 484,674 people. 325,947 of those people identified themselves as Black/African American, while 135,956 identified as White. That leaves 16,570 others, most of whom are Asian (there's a pretty large Vietnamese population in the area). When you put the numbers together, not counting people of Asian descent or other racial groups, the population of New Orleans would drop from almost 500,000 to about 130,000.

That's a 75% population loss
. Those are the kinds of things that happen during and after wars. I mean, Berlin, which was largely destroyed during World War Two, suffered a 36% population loss. And that was after years of round-the-clock bombing by the British and the US, and after the full-scale battle over the city between the massive Red Army and what was left of the Wehrmacht. Jesus.

But, as for New Orleans, there hasn't been an invading army. And the people of New Orleans are very attached to their city. Do you think this is going to happen? Do you really think these people are going to give up their homes without a fight? This is bad, bad, bad.

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

We all might soon.

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A Bit More On Today

The Poor Man has a great piece on this bullshit. Since I can't even begin to be as articulate, comprehensive, or hilarious as The Poor Man Institute is, I simply direct you to the post.

And, to borrow a phrase from Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake, when will Matt Lauer's and Katie Couric's chins be dusted for George W. Bush's ball prints?

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Who's Loathsome?

The folks over at the Beast have a list of the fifty most loathsome Americans of 2005.

And it's a pretty good roundup. I especially like the inclusion of the odious "Larry the Cable Guy." Can't someone take a bat to this prick?

I'm not sure Donovan McNabb belongs on the list, but just about all of the other honorees deserve their spots. Especially #4.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Morbid Fascination

That's what I have with morning "news" shows like Today. For some reason, even though they are insipid and maddening, I just can't stop watching them. Longtime readers may remember that I've bitched about NBC's morning schlock-fest before.

Anyway, this morning, on the Today show, Katie Couric was interviewing DNC chair Howard Dean. And she was, probably predictably, full of shit. I know, I know. What a surprise.

I can't find a transcript of the interview on the Today show page (indeed, I can't even find where they admit to having the interview); however, our good friends at Think Progress have a streaming video and transcript available. Nice work.

What the hell, Katie Couric? "Democrats took money from Mr. Abramoff, too," huh? Good job by Dean on calling her out. I mean, Abramoff is a Republican. So of course he's not going to contribute to Democrats. Does Michael Moore send money to Republicans? No.

I wouldn't have been as nice to her as Governor Dean was. I probably would have said something like, "You know, Katie, if you spent less time looking at the inside of your own ass, and more paying attention to what was going on around you, I wouldn't have to call bullshit on you like this. Better luck next time, lady."

I might have even wondered why, for her colon-gazing expeditions, she even needed a camera on a tube, since she has her head lodged in her ass. I guess, in her defense, that it's pretty dark in there, and it must be hard to put on a miner's helmet before the rectal-cranial inversion.

Any thoughts, Jon?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Little Something Fun

Here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there are two student papers put out daily.

Of the two, I prefer the Daily Cardinal. Props to you, Emily.

Both papers appear daily (as I said), both are free, and both have crossword puzzles, so those are pluses. But the Cardinal has better stuff, usually. And it's more compact. And they've added a daily Su Doku puzzle.

Anyway, on rare occasions, the crossword clues don't match the printed blanks. Today was one of those days. However, all is forgiven, thanks to the clue for 28 Down.

What is it, you ask?

I'll tell you: "Eat beaver style."

Thanks, Daily Cardinal!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stupid-Ass Shit

It may surprise you guys that I'm a bit of a nerd. In fact, I'm so nerdy, I often watch public TV--although, in my defense, I should say that the PBS channel I get represents 17% of my available menu. Yes, I tried to put that in the nerdiest possible way.

Anyway, I was watching NOW on PBS a little while ago, and David Brancaccio, the host who replaced the venerable Bill Moyers, was interviewing Mary Kay Culp, the head of Kansans for a Return to the 14th Century Life. Anyway, here's a bit of the transcript:
BRANCACCIO: I don't understand how Kansas wouldn't-- ban abortion quit quickly after [Alito's confirmation]. What do you know about the state of that debate in your state...

MARY KAY CULP: It isn't that. It's just that I know how the political system works. Then you can have real discussion. Then every-- both sides are gonna get aired, and if the media's fair about it, both sides are gonna get aired. That-- you know, that's a question. But at least democracy will have a chance to work on it. But, that doesn't necessarily mean anything either way.

But, well, I do know what might happen in Kansas. We have late term abortions in Kansas, and we're known for having late term abortions in Kansas. Those, yes, we might be able to get rid of right away.

BRANCACCIO: But, really there are two questions here. There's the political calculation that I did ask you about. Do you think that Roe v. Wade's going to be overturned and therefore abortion will become illegal? You don't think so. But, what about your goal? Would it make you happier? Is this your vision of America where abortion is illegal.

MARY KAY CULP: It would be nice to know that tomorrow morning no knives are gonna be taken to unborn babies. That'd be a nice thing. But, in order for that to happen and for it to-- to stay in place, I mean, if you just boom turn it around-- without people really understanding the issue, it's not as-- certainly not as satisfying as it happening for the right reasons.

Because, the media in this country becomes unafraid to actually hear both sides of this issue, 'cause that hasn't been the case for 30 years. It's been getting better. But, really it's kind of an interesting dynamic, because-- I didn't notice really a change until a partial birth abortion issue came along in Congress, and that really earns you a lot of credibility. And, then people start to look and listen. And, as we got stronger politically, it's really-- it's amazing how a political win really can draw peoples' attention to an issue.

BRANCACCIO: You know, Mary Kay, from your discussion, though, there are a lot of people who do not like abortion, who want to reduce the number of abortions I America--


BRANCACCIO: But are very concerned about an America where if a woman chooses to do this for whatever complicated reason that they have that choice. You could have some of these States deciding based on a different Supreme Court, "We are gonna outlaw it." And, that means if you got the money, you go to another state. If you don't got the money and your (sic) poor, terrible things could happen.

MARY KAY CULP: You know, terrible things are happening right now-- terrible things. But, nobody knows about 'em, because nobody's really looking at the other side of this issue. Terrible things can happen on both sides of this issues, if it's recognized for what it is and the way it impacts a woman's life and impacts society. And that's what I think we need to look at.

There are a lot of mainstream Americans out there that care about this issue. It isn't-- you know-- people can stereotype us and call us names if they want to. You know what? We don't care, because there's just more and more of us, and we're having more of a political effect. And, I hope we'll get some credibility with the media only so that we can look at these issues in a-- in a real way.

BRANCACCIO: Well, Mary Kay Culp, Kansans for Life, thanks for coming in to help us understand where you're coming from and possibly understand where the ascent of Samuel Alito came from.

MARY KAY CULP: Thank you for allowing me to come. I appreciate it.
Emphasis mine.

A couple of things:

Who thinks that anyone is taking knives to unborn babies? That's pretty melodramatic, even for the All-Your-Uterus-Are-Belong-To-Us crowd.

And second, What The Fuck? David Brancaccio, you fucked up. When you tell her that "Terrible things could happen," and you let her get all weepy and sanctimonious, and let her say, voice cracking with emotion, that "Terrible things are happening right now," without calling her out, you've fucked up.

Why did Dave fuck up? Well,we know that terrible things WILL happen. How do we know? 'Cause they happened before! Isn't history neat, kids? Also, David fucked up by letting her get away with that phony sanctimony. If you're opposed to abortion, and you have more than three working neurons, you should know that making abortion illegal will not stop it--see above statement about history. What will happen is that you'll have about the same number of abortions, but the fatality rate among women who get them will skyrocket, as will the number of women who will have to deal with sepsis, infertility, and other problems that come from unsafe abortions. It's just that simple.

And, while we're talking about abortion, and under the general heading of Stupid-Ass Shit, I'd like to point this out to you:
Return of the sidewalk chalk

I can tell the semester has begun because the sidewalks are covered with chalk.

I may be very ignorant, but can someone explain to me why there are a bunch of symbols that appear to exhort, "No clotheshangers?" I saw an announcement next to one that said something about abortion rights, but I'm not seeing the connection between abortion and clotheshangers. If the things in the drawings are clotheshangers. They sure look like clotheshangers. I wish I had my camera.
This stupid shit was written by a graduate student at one of the (drumroll please) top programs in the country. Man, that makes me feel good about America's best and brightest. How about you?

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Oh well looky loo

Guess who's back in the mother fuckin' house
With a fat dick for your mother fuckin' mouth
Name that tune, suckers.

Anyway, thanks to Judy-boy for slappin' this bitchass blog back into gear. I'll be bringing the pain as often as possible. Just like Mamba.
Sweet Jesus

So that's where my $700 million went. Our Bush-run government is, apparently, conspiring with oil and energy company insiders to cheat the taxpayers (that is, you and me) out of $700 million. That we know about.

Will you tell me again why a couple of furtive, consensual blowjobs were such a threat to the Republic? I seem to have forgotten.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Talk Radio Blows

That's hardly breaking news, I know. But, earlier today, I was flipping around the radio dial in the car, and came across Randi Rhodes on the local Air America affiliate.

And the show was god-awful. We all know that Rush Limbaugh is a boil on society's ass, and that right-wing talk radio in general is a vast and stinking cesspool, but, in case some of you thought that liberal talk radio would be an immense improvement (I confess that I once fell into that category), you were wrong (so was I).

Here's what happened: she was talking about the Abramoff debacle, which is looking very, very bad for DeLay and company. But she veered into a mistake-filled minefield, and started discussing the genesis of the K Street Project. She talked about how the Republican congress defeated the Clinton health-care plan in 1993-94--Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and Dick Armey, with their lobbyist cronies, ran the idea into the ground. It's true that Republicans were instrumental in defeating the plan, but get this--the Republicans didn't win control of the House until January 1995--that's when the "Republican Revolutionaries" who won the 1994 mid-term elections were sworn in. The Clinton health care plan died a bloody death in 1994--before the GOP took control of the house (there's a great timeline here). At that time, the Democrats controlled the House and Senate. The Republicans, by themselves, could not have killed the plan. So get your goddam facts straight.

Perhaps I'm judging too harshly--maybe I'm just not hearing the good bits on liberal talk radio. And I am glad that the dial is no longer completely ceded to the rabid blatherings of Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, and the lesser jagoffs that follow in their repugnant wake. But come on. You don't need to lie (or misquote, or whatever) to make the Republicans seem evil. They are evil, end of story. They oppose any idea that might help ordinary people, protect the environment, promote smarter consumption, get medical services to people who need them (e.g., the 15.2% of Americans without insurance), give women control of their bodies, or anything else that's decent. They are all for cutting taxes on the wealthy, making everyone else shoulder the burden, raping the planet, weakening the country, cutting funding for veterans' care, or anything else that's obscene.

You don't need to make shit up about them--they're awful as is.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Funny Shit

One intentionally; the other, not so.

Check out Jesus' General's take on the Washington Post (if you don't know what's been going on with the WaPo recently, this won't be as funny, but it will probably still draw a chuckle).

Also, check out BAGnewsNotes catch of Dick "Dick" Cheney's choice of shoes when he met with Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. What the fuck?

I guess, in "Dick's" defense, that it is rather difficult to fit a cloven hoof into a wingtip.

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Something I Like

I like to read James Wolcott. Everyday.

And man, I hope he's never pissed off at me. He has a talent for making the people he dislikes appear to be utter buffoons--exposing their inanities, deflating oversized egos, and the like. I suppose it helps that many of these people are, in fact, buffoons to begin with, but the point remains--he will provide a written beatdown of epic proportions should you ever be foolish enough to step to him. He will also grind you into the dust if you just really deserve it, as does prominent tongue-clucking tool Michael Medved.

With its win at the Golden Globes, Brokeback is now projected on a stronger Oscar path, and that's what's bothering Medved and likeminded lightweights, the growth of gay acceptance. Making the same pained, turd-squeezing facial expression he always makes when relieving himself of a more-in-sorrow-than-anger sentiment, Medved lamented that the other winners at the Globes included Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote and Felicity Huffman for Transamerica.

What's his point? Is he saying that Hoffman (brilliant in Capote) shouldn't been nominated, or won, or both? who was better? Hoffman's main competition in the category was Brokeback's Heath Ledger, and his win wouldn't have made Medved happy either. Does Medved think that Capote's screenwriter should have erased its protagonist's sexuality from the script (never mind that it's given from less stress in the story than Capote's friendship with Harper Lee, beautifully embodied by Catherine Keener), or is he saying that the movie shouldn't have been made at all? Are gay characters only permissable if they stay on the margins of movies, and become problematic when they occupy the heart of the screen? (Because putting them at the center confers a legitimacy homosexuals don't deserve because their behavior isn't normative, according to the Gospel according to Medved.) As for Transamerica, I haven't seen it, aren't much inclined to (I'm not that keen on "road" movies apart from Paul Mazursky's Harry & Tonto), but Felicity Huffman is a proven quality as an actress, and there's no reason she shouldn't earn as much praise for playing a transsexual as Tom Wilkinson did playing a family man pursuing a sex change operation in the moving HBO film Normal.

I mean, really, what's Medved's point? That it's okay for gay-themed works to win awards as long as they don't win too many? Is there a gay-content quotient he'd find acceptable, or is it permissable for gay-accented movies to win prizes as long as they don't Flaunt Themselves at the podium?

Man, that's bloody. I almost spit out my coffee when I got to the "pained, turd-squeezing facial expression" bit. Okay, so that's a lie. I didn't have any coffee at the time. But, had I a cup of joe in hand, rest assured I would've been spewing the life-giving elixir over the screen. Or at least seriously thinking about it.

Wolcott's got quite a talent for writing, one I could never hope to have. So I'm glad he uses his superpowers for good, not evil.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Case You'd Forgotten about Clusterfuck Central

Lately, in Clusterfuck Central, or The Country Formerly Known As Iraq, things are still in the shitter.

Well, that might be an insensitive thing to say, given a bit of news that's come out of CC lately. In Iraq, in case you haven't been following, Americans aren't particularly popular. In fact, Americans are so unpopular, that anyone who even works for them does so at his or her own peril. For example:

Recently, the insurgents murdered a man whose only connection to the US was that he cleaned latrines on a base. Let me say that again:

The insurgents beheaded a man who cleaned shitters for the Americans.

Incredible, isn't it? I suggest that you read the entire article, though it is, as are most things related to Iraq these days, pretty goddamn depressing.

But hey! We'll be greeted with flowers! As liberators!

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Anomaly? Hardly

Whenever I hear about something like this, I'm not surprised to find out that it happened in Japan. If the story came from anywhere else, I'd think that something in the universe was amiss. However, a byline of "Tokyo" reassures me that the laws of nature have not been violated.
A rodent-eating snake and a hamster have developed an unusual bond at a zoo in the Japanese capital, Tokyo.

Their relationship began in October last year, when zookeepers presented the hamster to the snake as a meal.

The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe.

"I have never seen anything like it," a zookeeper at the Mutsugoro Okoku zoo told the Associated Press News agency.

The hamster was initially offered to Aochan, the two-year-old rat snake, because it was refusing to eat frozen mice, the Associated Press news agency reports.

As a joke, the zookeeper said they named the hamster Gohan - the Japanese word for meal.

"I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much," zookeeper Kazuya Yamamoto told the Associated Press news agency.

The apparent friendship between the snake and hamster is one of many reported bonds spanning the divide between predator and prey.

Well, it's not a lion laying down with a lamb, but it seems a promising start.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More New Links!

We've added links to BuzzFlash, Cursor, Firedoglake, News from Underground, First Draft, and the Whiskey Bar.

Unfortunately, we had to remove the links to Ms. Eula Savoie's recipes and products, since they haven't worked in a while. We also deleted BartCop, because that guy just got on my nerves.



Attention NASA

It's cool that you're sending a probe to Pluto (sorry about the delays), and the specifics of the program are really, really astonishing. I mean, nine hours to the moon--the friggin' moon! It took about three days for the Apollo crews to travel the same distance. Just over a year to Jupiter? I mean, it's just over 525 million miles from the Earth to Jupiter right now.

Wow. That's speedy. So speedy, in fact, that it will only take the probe nine and a half years to cover the three-plus billion miles from Earth to Pluto. Amazing.

So why would you give such a neat piece of equipment such a crummy name? New Horizons?

Christ! That sounds like a new line of minivans.

Space probes have traditionally had cool names--Pioneer, Voyager, Mariner, Viking, Galileo--what's the problem? Couldn't just a little of the 700 million bucks that paid for this damn thing go towards getting a sweet name? Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. The recent trend in space-probe-naming has been awful. Pathfinder? Clementine? Spirit? Opportunity? Opportunity? What dipshit came up with that one?

There are plenty of cool names left in the world. Try, would you?

I shouldn't bitch too much. Given the mission's object of study, and the proximity of Cape Canaveral to the Most Evil Place On Earth, I should be happy that they didn't give it some cutesy-ass, disgusting, Mickey-related name.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

New Links!

Yes, new links for a new year. We've added Altmouse, TBogg, Spamusement cartoons, and a link to the One True Faith, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Enjoy, folks. More link changes/additions to come soon, I'm sure.


A Nice Diversion

If you don't like Ann Althouse (and you shouldn't like Ann Althouse), then you should check out Altmouse. It's funny. In a completely nonpartisan sort of way.

I'm sure it gets under the leathery skin of the Shrieking Harpy of Wisconsin.

UPDATE: Edited for spelling. Me not smart.

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Dear NFL:

What the fuck? I mean, really, what the fuck?

A blind Martian could have made the right call on that play. What the fuck?

Because of this stupidity, the NFL was almost indirectly responsible for the death of a Steelers fan. You see, after the bullshit interception-into-incompletion call, the Colts scored to finish the drive that Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu should have ended, and pulled to within three points. Pittsburgh got the ball back, ran three plays, used up almost two minutes of game time, and punted. Indianapolis started the ensuing drive from their own twenty, and the kick-ass Steeler D backed them up 18 yards on two sacks. Indy turned the ball over on downs at their own 2 yard line with 1:20 left on the game clock. Now here's where the possible death occurred.

Longtime, dependable, and popular Steeler running back Jerome Bettis took the ball from Ben Roethlisberger and headed for the goal line, as he's done so many times in his stellar career. Indy linebacker Gary Brackett made a perfect hit, and, in an extremely unusual turn of events, Bettis fumbled the ball. Colts' DB Nick Harper picked up the fumble and ran for daylight--he was stopped by an ugly but effective TD-saving tackle by the Steelers' QB.

When Bettis fumbled, Steeler fan Terry O'Neill had a heart attack. He got to the hospital, and is recovering. So NFL official Pete Morelli almost ended up killing a guy.

Yes, yes, I know that Bettis is the one who fumbled the ball. But he wouldn't have been in that position if Morelli hadn't made his bizarre call, overturning what was clearly an interception, fumble, and recovery by Polamalu.

So the Steelers won, anyway. Woo. But Christ. What a stupid call. And props to Joey Porter for calling the refs on their bullshit. Of course, the league will fine him for saying this, but I'm glad he said it.

If you don't like football, and don't like this post, that's too bad. Cheer up--football's postseason is nearly at an end. Then it's sports drought until March.

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