Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New Addition

Not to be confused with New Edition, of course.

We're adding Glenn Greenwald to the list of links. He's always got good stuff, and today's is no exception.

Go read about the
death of the conservative belief in "personal responsibility," if you've got a few minutes to spare, and check out Unclaimed Territory from time to time.

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King George's Folly

I've liked Barbara Tuchman's The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam ever since I first read it. It's more approachable than, say, her examination of the start of the First World War (The Guns of August) or her in-depth exploration of The Zimmermann Telegram. Of course, one can marvel at the folly of the European heads of state in 1914 and 1916, but the first book contains the better overall account, I think.

Naturally, that look at folly has never been far from my mind when considering the current misadventure in Iraq--or the looming debacle over Iran. It would seem that I have some company in this respect. Digby at Hullabaloo points us to Arthur Silber's Once Upon a Time..., where Mr. Silber is kind enough to illustrate clearly the folly of our current foreign policy honchos.

It's well worth your time, as is Dr. Tuchman's book. I can loan it to you, if you'd like.

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Monday, February 27, 2006


I've been insanely busy. My annual comedy show ran three nights last weekend and was seen by almost a 1000 people. A great success.

I would have more free time, but I have 3 papers, 2 class presentations, and an exam before I graduate and I'm trying to bust my ass to do well.

I read Jude's post on the war on choice and have some comments on that and this article in the washington post. They'll be up tomorrow.

The Wonders of Probability

Odds of having twins (or greater): 32 to 1.

Odds of having twins who aren't of the same "race": 1,000,000 to 1.

Standard disclaimer: Race is not a biological reality, but a social classification. Still, it's a really neat story.

Link found at Daily Kos.

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The War on Choice, Missouri Edition

Attention Missouri women: All your uterus are belong to Matt Blunt.

It's not just abortion they're after. They want to own your sex life.

We found the link at Eschaton. Light posting today from me. And where, oh where, has my Jonnyboy gone?

I'll assume he's mourning the passing of Don Knotts.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

More Damn Good Food

You like that gumbo recipe? Here's something else for yo' ass.

Jude’s Ass-Kicking Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Pots and shit:

  • 8-quart or larger stock pot or Dutch oven, with a lid
  • Prep bowls for meat and vegetables
  • Knives and cutting boards
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 ½-2 lbs chicken meat—I like thighs—cut into smallish cubes (1" or less)
  • 1 lb thinly-sliced sausage (I like andouille, but whatever works for you--just no silly shit like turkey sausage)
  • 2 lbs (~4 cups) regular long-grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-3 tsp dried parsley
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 8 cups chicken stock (or water + salt)
  • Worcestershire sauce (however much you like—none at all, if you don’t)
  • Salt to taste
  • Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Liberally season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, or Creole seasoning, and let them stand at room temperature about 30 minutes.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. When hot, fry up the sausage pieces until they cook through & remove them.

Cook the chicken next in the hot oil and rendered pork fat, and remove.

Fry the onions, garlic, bell pepper, celery, and green onions until the onion is clear.

Add the chicken, sausage, spices, stock, tomatoes, Worcester sauce, and rice, and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, stirring frequently, until almost all the water is gone.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least 45 minutes. DO NOT lift the lid during this time. If you see anyone trying to lift the lid, you chop their goddamn hands off.

Serve hot. Feeds a whole mess o’ people.

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Scalito, Roberts, and the End of Choice

It's not just an intellectual exercise, you know. This shit is happening, and it's not going to be good for us. When I say "us," I mean any of us. All of us.

The dipshits in South Dakota (I almost typed "Carolina" automatically) have recently decided that now is the time to fire another salvo in their War to Own Women, and have passed a law banning almost all abortions.
"It is a calculated risk, to be sure, but I believe it is a fight worth fighting," State Senator Brock L. Greenfield, a Clark Republican who is also director of the South Dakota Right to Life, told his colleagues in a hushed, packed chamber here.After more than an hour of fierce and emotional debate, the senators rejected pleas to add exceptions for incest or rape or for the health of the pregnant woman and instead voted, 23 to 12, to outlaw all abortions, except those to save the woman's life.

They also rejected an effort to allow South Dakotans to decide the question in a referendum and an effort to prevent state tax dollars from financing what is certain to be a long and expensive court battle.

To be enacted, the bill, the most sweeping ban approved in any state in more than a decade, requires the signature of Gov. Mike Rounds, a Republican, who opposes abortion.


In an interview this week, Mr. Rounds said he had doubts about whether now was the time to make a "full frontal attack" on Roe v. Wade, as opposed to pressing for more laws that restrict abortions — setting limits, for instance, on their timing, methods or the requirements for parental notification.

Those restrictions, he said, have immediate effects on preventing abortions in South Dakota.

Mr. Rounds suggested that the two approaches might be possible simultaneously, particularly as a way to keep opponents of abortion rights from splintering over strategy questions. The key, he said, was in "saving lives while at the same time appeasing a segment that says you won't know unless you try the direct frontal attack."

Lawmakers opposed to abortion rights here — and advocates opposed to abortion rights around the country — have been split over timing questions. Some argue that the arrivals of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the Supreme Court and speculation that Justice John Paul Stevens might soon retire, made now an ideal time to challenge Roe.

Others, however, have said a challenge should wait, for the arrival of additional justices who might be open to overturning Roe and for a shift in public opinion.

Nancy Northrup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the South Dakota action — similarly broad bans have recently been proposed in at least five other states — reminded her of a wave of state challenges to Roe in the years just before 1992, when the Supreme Court reaffirmed a core right to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

"People have this sense that the court is in flux and is shifting so they want to try to test out how far they can go," Ms. Northrup said. "The answer will be in how the new justices vote."

On Wednesday in the Senate chamber, any division about strategy among opponents of abortion rights seemed to have vanished.

"This state has a right and a duty to step up to the plate," Senator William M. Napoli, Republican of Rapid City, told his colleagues before he voted for the ban.

It passed by a margin larger than many on both sides had predicted.

Opponents, meanwhile, questioned the purpose of such a law and the potential costs of the litigation, and they recited harrowing stories of women who had become pregnant, for example, after having been raped.

"What can we as a state possibly gain by passing a bill that is unconstitutional?" asked Senator Clarence Kooistra, Republican of Garretson, who added that he represented the "silent majority" of South Dakotans who would not approve outlawing abortion nearly entirely.

Leaders of a movement against abortion rights in this state said they had raised $1 million in donations to help pay for the legal fight ahead.

"I didn't want money to be the reason people wouldn't vote for this bill," said Leslee J. Unruh, founder and president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, who said she could not disclose the identities of those who had pledged money. "We're concerned with the 800 children aborted here every year."

Emphasis mine.

Yes, yes. The All-Your-Uterus-Are-Belong-to-Us crowd is ready to go to the mattresses (ha ha) because they think they've got the Supremes on their side (and they're probably right). I like how they don't want a referendum on the issue, also. Why not? What's to fear, South Dakota legislators? And the military terminology? Come on. "Full Frontal Assault"?

If you are so interested in full frontal assaults, oh virile men of South Dakota, then you might consider looking here. 0300, bitches! The Marines are unparalleled assault troops, and full frontal assaults are part of the job. I understand that the Marines could use some extra bodies these days, too.

And, now, we turn to Mr. Brock Greenfield. TBogg was kind enough to provide us with his picture and resume. Stellar, indeed. It turns out that, since he's only 30, if the doughy fucker would lose a little weight, he could go enlist in the armed forces himself. He's a member of PRO Pheasants, so I assume he can handle a weapon at least as well as Vice President Dick Cheney. (Who recently blasted a 78-year-old-man in the face with a shotgun. While drunk.)

Jesus, he's one sad looking bastard, isn't he? A gas station attendant who moonlights as a state senator and arbiter of all things uterine. Think he might have issues with independent women, maybe?

ReddHedd at FireDogLake reminds us of some things that we should never forget. She shares a moving, personal tale that leads into a very important point. I couldn't do her story justice, so please go read it yourself.

Finally, what the fuck? The "Abstinence Clearinghouse"? Wouldn't you be pissed if they showed up at your door, and you thought it was gonna be Ed McMahon? I would.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Party Gras Food

Don't forget about that Party Gras!

And what would be some better food to serve than gumbo?

What's that? You don't know how to make gumbo? Well, let Jude help you out. Try this on for size:

Jude’s Ass-Kicking Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Pots and shit:

  • 8-quart or larger stockpot or Dutch oven
  • Large skillet
  • 3 quart or larger saucepan for rice
  • Several prep bowls for meat and vegetables
  • Knives and cutting boards
  • Wooden spoons (a fucking must-have)
  • Patience

For the roux:

  • ½ cup canola (or other good vegetable) oil
  • ½ cup flour

The rest:

  • 2 ½ to 3 lbs of chicken (I like boned, skinned breasts and thighs, in equal amounts), cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 lb. andouille or other quality smoked sausage (Klement’s Polish sausage works well), sliced thin (about ¼”) on the bias
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or water (stock makes a much better gumbo), at room temperature
  • Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s, which you can get at Woodman’s or specialty markets)
  • Salt, Black pepper, Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • ½ bunch scallions, sliced (optional)—just the green parts
  • Filé powder (optional)

Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized chunks. Throw it into a bowl and season generously with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning, and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Get a big skillet, add some olive oil, and heat over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the red pepper flakes and sausage, and brown the sausage. Remove with a slotted spoon, keep in a bowl.

In the olive oil/rendered pork fat skillet, brown the chicken pieces on all sides (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). Remove with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl.

Make a roux. Here’s how:

In the good, heavy Dutch oven or stockpot you’ll be using, heat the ½ cup of oil over medium to medium-high heat. When it’s good and hot, add the flour, a bit at a time, and STIR STIR STIR with a wooden spoon (I have a wooden spoon that I only use for stirring roux). Keep adding the flour until you’ve added the entire half-cup. Keep stirring, and don’t forget about the corners of the container. Stirring prevents the roux from burning. Burnt roux is a sin. If you see black flecks in the roux, it’s burned and ruined. Throw it out and start over. Keep stirring, and watch the roux change color. It will go from white to blonde to caramel to peanut-butter to brick to dark. When it’s good and dark, about the color of milk chocolate, it’s ready. It smells great, too. It takes between 20 and 60 minutes to do this, depending on how high you keep the heat. When you’re new at this, I wouldn’t suggest using any higher of a setting than medium. If you think it’s about to burn, take it off heat and keep stirring. Then put it back on when you think it’s safe. I realize that these instructions are subjective. Deal with it.

Be very fucking careful when stirring roux. It makes a hot oil/flour paste. If you splash some on you, it burns all to be goddamned. So watch it.

Now you got a roux. What to do with it?

Take the pot off heat and throw in the chopped vegetables, and keep fucking stirring. Add the thyme and bay leaves to let them bloom in the hot oil. Keep stirring. Put the pot back on the heat when it’s safe, and keep cooking until the vegetables are soft, between 4 and 8 minutes (depending on the mass of your cooking pot and how hot it was).

Add the chicken and sausage back to the pot.

Add the stock and stir, goddammit, stir. If you don’t, the roux will be all clumpy and shit. You don’t want that. If you add cold stock, you’ll get the same problem. It’s got to be lukewarm.

Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer for at least one hour. Two is better, but me, I can’t ever wait that long. Don’t fully cover; if you want, you can keep a lid tilted. Stir occasionally.

If using scallions and parsley, add 5 minutes before you serve.

Cook up some white rice (if you don’t know how to do this, don’t ever talk to me again); serve the gumbo in bowls over the rice.

You can add filé powder (ground sassafras leaves) to the rice in the bowls right before you pour the gumbo in—just a sprinkle.

I didn’t tell you anything about okra because it’s hard to get it around here. But if you did want to use it, you slice about a pound of that up and add it to the pot when there are about 30 minutes left to go. If you use okra, don’t use filé, and vice-versa.

This is some good goddam food, let me tell you.

It makes enough to feed a big party. If you don’t give a damn about anyone else, it freezes up real good, too.

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More Crazy Shit from Florida

Sorry, everyone. I'm drawn to these stories like a moth to a flame.

In the same county where we encountered the hammer incident, we have another violent murder over a minor aggravation. This guy is accused of killing his neighbor over her slamming of doors.


I mean, damn. Is there something in the water there?

I'm passing up on talking about the insane port security deal for the time being. I can't believe, among other things, how politically deaf Bush is being on this thing.

Also, I'd like to remind everyone that the Vice President of the United States of America, Dick Cheney (R-Lupara), recently blasted a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I know I said I was busy, but . . .

This is hilarious. From the sports guy, as usual.
"I'm sure he is embarrassed by the situation. There's nothing he can do about it now except to make sure that he is aware of where his weapons are." -- Nate McMillan on Blazers' PG Sebastian Telfair's concealed weapons charge.
Really? Nothing else he can do about "accidently" carrying "his wife's" pistol on a plane in a pillowcase?
What Do You Get?

What do you get when you cross Elmer Fudd and Otis Campbell?

Dick Cheney, the Vice President of the United States of America, who recently blasted a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun.


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Oh Holy Shit

Earlier, in the Ya Allah post, I referred you to a Knight-Ridder article about Samarra.

Something very, very bad happened there today. Someone blew up the Golden Mosque in Samarra. Samarra is a Sunni city, but the mosque is of special importance to Shiite Muslims. Tradition holds that the Imam Mahdi ("the Guided One") ascended to Heaven from that spot, and that he will return when the end of the world is at hand. Well, in Iraq, it just might be. This, as noted, is very bad.

Unbelievably bad. Imagine if, say, Catholics had blown up Westminster Abbey during the reign of Henry VIII. Only much, much worse.

The building was gorgeous before the blast:

And here it is after:

I don't know what else to say, other than, as usual, thanks to Errol for hosting our images.

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No Time to Talk

I'm in the middle of an insanely crazy week. But check this out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Second Daily "What the Fuck?"

Courtesy of Errol, we direct you to Moss Bluff, Florida.

That's right. One dude killed another guy with a pair of hammers. Why? Because there was no toilet paper in the house. I'm just curious as to what the argument sounded like, pre-hammertime.

So, naturally, we must ask: What the fuck?

And why is it always Florida?

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The Daily "What the Fuck?"

I mean, seriously--what the fuck?

Are these people terrified of any transparency or public information whatsoever? Birth and death records kept under lock and key? What the fuck?

I know a few people who have successfully tracked down their birth parents, thanks in part to these records.

And the public health implications really are frightening.

So, again, I ask: What the fuck?

Link via Atrios.

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Commit It then to the Flames

For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

So wrote David Hume, the brilliant and eloquent Scottish philospher. I always liked reading Hume. His eighteenth-century writing style can occasionally be pretty dense, but I can't expect to be completely intellectually lazy all the time, so I forced myself to read and reread his works until they made sense. I think. Anyway, the guy had some really, really impressive insights. Among him, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Hobbes, it's hard for me to pick my favorite. Suffice it to say that some of Hume's works grace my personal collection, and I doubt that I will ever commit them to the flames.

Anyway, speaking of intellectual laziness, I'll let you look at Leon Wieseltier, who recently reviewed Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell for the New York Times. Via Brad DeLong, we are directed to Brian Leiter's complete dismantling of Wieseltier. It's worth the time it takes to read, and you'll understand where Hume comes in. I wouldn't begin to claim mastery of Hume's work, but Wieseltier's grasp of the essentials is shameful--that doesn't stop him from writing a crappy review, though! Also, cheers to DeLong for his title for the post: "History of Philosophy Cage Match."

That's pretty damn funny.

Finally, apologies to all for the many times I wrote that "the Vice President of the United States of American blasting a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun." I included an unforgivable typo. What I meant to say, of course, is that "the Vice President of the United States of America blasting a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun." I offer my sincerest apologies to you all.

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Who's Got It Better than Me?

It's Tuesday, and I've got red beans & rice, French bread, and king cake.


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Monday, February 20, 2006

Damn, That's Hateful!

That's quite a list. Comments?

Personally, I like how it ends "AND MORMONS." Just in case you were thinking that he'd forgotten about them.

Image hosting, as usual, courtesy of our good friend Errol.

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Bad News in Pakistan

Seems that people there aren't happy (duh). And Musharraf is probably living on borrowed time. That little airstrike we pulled off a few weeks ago certainly didn't help things.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a government that was actually concerned about not letting a state that possesses nuclear weapons come to be run by unhinged religious lunatics? 'Cause that's who's gonna take over if things get uglier.

Oh, well. Since Jesus is coming soon and all, I really shouldn't worry, right?

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Something Fun

Yes, loyal readers. Today, we have something fun for you. Something fun that just happens to revolve around the Vice President of the United States of American blasting a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun.

I give you Episode 12 of the Keyboard Kommandos, courtesy of the Poor Man Institute.

Enjoy, and don't forget to duck!

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Ya Allah

I don't have any news today about the Vice President of the United States of American blasting a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun.

Instead, I thought I'd showcase something from Iraq, which doesn't resemble Vietnam at all, I tell you.

Anyway, I direct you to this Knight-Ridder article written from Samarra (link via Atrios).
Five days after the grenade attack, Lt. Call and his men from the 2nd platoon were planning an afternoon "hearts and minds" foot patrol to hand out soccer balls to local kids.

As Call sat in the schoolhouse, preparing to go out, he heard two loud bursts from the .50-caliber machine gun on the roof.

Specialist Michael Pena, a beefy 21-year-old from Port Isabel, Texas, had opened fire. Boom-boom-boom. Boom-boom-boom.

Call and his men dashed out the front door. Pena had shot an unarmed Iraqi man on the street. The man had walked past the signs that mark the 200-yard "disable zone" that surrounds the Alamo and into the 100-yard "kill zone" around the base. The Army had forced the residents of the block to leave the houses last year to create the security perimeter.

American units in Iraq usually fire warning shots. The Rakkasans don't.

A few days later, Call said his brigade command had told him, "The Rakkasans don't do warning shots." A warning shot in the vernacular of the Rakkasans, Call said, was a bullet that hit one Iraqi man while others could see.

"That's how you warn his buddy, is to pop him in the face with a kill shot?" Call said incredulously. "But what about when his buddy comes back with another guy ... that and the other 15 guys in his family who you've made terrorists?"

Looking at the man splayed on the ground, Call turned to his medic, Specialist Patrick McCreery, and asked, "What the f--- was he doing?"

McCreery didn't answer. The man's internal organs were hanging out of his side, and his blood was pouring across the ground. He was conscious and groaning. His eyelids hung halfway closed.

"What ... did they shoot him with?" McCreery asked, sweat beginning to show on his brow. "Did someone call a ... ambulance?"

The call to prayer was starting at a mosque down the street. The words "Allahu Akbar" - God is great - wafted down from a minaret's speakers.

The man looked up at the sky as he heard the words. He repeated the phrase "Ya Allah. Ya Allah. Ya Allah." Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.

He looked at McCreery and raised his finger toward the house in front of him.

"This my house," he said in broken English.

McCreery reached down. With his hands cupped, he shoved the man's organs back into his body and held them in place as Call unwrapped a bandage to put around the hole.

"He's fading, he's fading," McCreery shouted.

Looking into the dying man's eyes, the medic said, "Haji, haji, look at me," using the honorific title reserved for older Muslim men who presumably have gone on Hajj - pilgrimage - to Mecca.

"Why? Why?" asked the man, his eyes beginning to close.

"Haji, I don't know," said McCreery, sweat pouring down his face.

An Iraqi ambulance pulled up and the Humvees followed. They followed the man to the hospital they'd raided a few days earlier. The soldiers filed in and watched as the man died.

Call said nothing. McCreery, a 35-year-old former foundry worker from Levering, Mich., walked toward a wall, alone. He looked at the dead man for a moment and wiped tears from his eyes.

A few days later, Call's commander asked him to take pictures of the entrails left by the man Pena had shot, identified as Wissam Abbas, age 31, to document that Abbas was inside the sign warning of deadly force.

McHenry, who was driving, told him, "There's not going to be much left, sir. The dogs will have eaten all of it."

Pena was up on the schoolhouse roof manning the same .50-caliber machine gun. He didn't say a word about the man he'd killed. As he stared at a patch of earth in front of him, at Samarra and its wreckage, he couldn't contain his frustration.

"No one told me why I'm putting my life on the line in Samarra, and you know why they didn't?" Pena asked. "Because there is no f------ reason."

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Kinder. Gentler. Dead-er.

Steve Gilliard, whose site I read every day (you should too) has something up from the subscription-only Wall Street Journal online about how the Army is making boot camp a place to fit new soldiers for body bags. Well, that's essentially what's going on.
In recent months, the Army has told drill sergeants to back off the recruits in the dining halls as well. A few months ago, sergeants would hover over new recruits, rushing them through meals, quizzing them about Army regulations and chastising them for minor infractions like carrying their drinking glass with one hand instead of two.

The dining hall still is far from relaxing. But drill sergeants no longer shout at recruits. They aren't allowed to order overweight privates to skip dessert. At first, some drill sergeants refused to embrace the new directive. "There was a lot of balking on the dessert rule," says Capt. Meng, who oversees 11 drill sergeants. "I have had to say, 'Don't even mention it.' "

The Army also has cut the amount of running troops do in boot camp by more than 60% in the past three years. "A lot of these kids have never done P.E. or sports. We were injuring too many by running too much," says Col. Greg Jolissaint, an Army physician with the command that sets baseline standards for boot camp.

Instead of running, privates do more calisthenics and stretching. They also are spending more time learning the basic combat tasks they will need in Iraq or Afghanistan, such as how to spot a roadside bomb. Last month, Sgt. First Class Kevin Staddie, who spent a year in Iraq, was teaching soldiers how to move through a city under enemy fire. Suddenly he called a halt to the exercise. A private who was slithering on his belly lost his only canteen. Sgt. Staddie asked the private if he knew the temperature in Baghdad in August.

"It is 115 degrees," the sergeant said in an even voice. "Will you give me a solemn promise that you'll do a better job securing your canteen? You'll get a whole lot further."

The private nodded and rushed to continue the exercise.

Soldiers also get a few more chances to succeed, say drill sergeants. Not long after she arrived at boot camp, Pvt. Starr Mosley was accused by another soldier of writing letters home when she was supposed to be training. Her drill sergeant ordered the 18-year-old private to crawl on her belly through the barracks and chant: "I will not write letters in the war room."

Pvt. Mosley, who said she wasn't writing letters, refused. The Army offered her a fresh start in a new platoon.

Check the whole thing out--I'm only excerpting a little bit.

I think this is a Very Bad Idea.

Boot camp is supposed to do several things; combat training is not, I repeat not one of them. The most important thing Basic Training teaches you is that you had goddamn jolly well better listen when you are told to do something by, specifically, an NCO. Yeah, you're supposed to listen to officers, too, but recruits do not have much contact with commissioned officers (at least not in my experience, or that of anyone I've ever known who's gone to or served at a recruit training center). That way, when you're told, some time in the future, to "Get your fucking ass down right the fuck now!!!," you do it, without hesitation or discussion. It might just save your goddamn life. You don't get a chance for a fresh start in another platoon after your ass has been tagged and bagged. (For the record, I also have a problem with the recruit who ratted on Pvt. Mosley--you don't do that shit.)

I have no fucking idea why the Army would ease up when you can be abso-fucking-lutely certain that if you have an 11B MOS (or just about any other one, for that matter), you will see a tour in The Sandbox before your EAOS.

That don't make no sense.

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Signs of the Apocalypse

  1. Thunder. Lightning. Snow. What the fuck? Snow? Yeah, a snowy thunderstorm greeted me this morning.

  2. Dick Cheney (R-Smith & Wesson), who recently blasted a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun, said that, gee, he might be responsible. That doesn't seem like a big revelation to those of you with more than three functioning neurons, but, trust me, it's unusual in the extreme.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Holy Crap!

We got mentioned in Slate!

Way to go, us. At least they quoted me using a swear word. As you all know, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Welcome to all of you who clicked through, and a big thank-you to Michael Weiss of Snarksmith.

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News from Oz

The Sydney Morning Herald has published 15 of 60 photos taken inside Abu Ghraib prison that the US is fighting to keep secret. The slideshow is just fucking awful, so don't click through if you're eating anything.

Christ. This was done in my name, with my tax money. And probably yours, too. Unless you're one of our international readers.

I don't have anything funny or cute to say about this topic--it's simply not possible for me to be sarcastic about this article or slideshow. I would, however, encourage you to remember that this is exactly the sort of thing that the President says he has the power to authorize. I, for one, do not agree.

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Oh Yeah

I just thought I'd remind everyone, in case anyone has forgotten, that the Vice President of the United States of America recently blasted a 78-year old man in the face with a shotgun.

I still can't believe that.

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In the Washington Post there is a report about Scalia's judicial philosophy. Here's an interesting bit:
"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.
Um, is Scalia refering to himself in the third person? Because that's awesome!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

If Only Dick Cheney Had Been There

He could have saved Lincoln:

Image hosting courtesy of our good friend Errol.

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Just a Little Reminder, and a Speculation

The Vice President of the United States shot a 78-year-old man in the face. With a shotgun.

Damn. That's the sort of thing that usually only goes on on The Sopranos.

Bob Harris has a list of things we've learned recently, and it's worth a look.

I had a thought about all of this. Cheney just shot a titular friend and big-ass donor in the face. He has issued no personal statement, hasn't apologized, hasn't accepted responsibility, nothing. If Cheney knew about street shit, I'd say that he was sending a strong message to "Scooter" Libby, who apparently just told his grand jury that Cheney and other superiors told him to leak Valerie Plame's name to the press. That message? This is what I did to a friend. No remorse, no nothing. What do you think I'll do to you and your family?

But Cheney probably doesn't know anything about the street. Probably.

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My Sins

Take a look at my sins.








Thanks to The Fabulous Nate for the link.

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

As if the Islamic Cartoon Rioting (that is rioting over cartoons, not animated riots) wasn't ridiculous enough, CNN has a picture on its homepage of riots in Pakistan where Muslims are burning American flags. The only explanation I have is that the Stars and Stripes is more readily available on the market that the Dutch flag. Maybe there are vendors on the street that sell the American flag for people to burn, and these guys were caught unawares by the Dutch Cartoon issue.

Mr. Flag Burner: "Pardon me sir. Do you have any flammable Dutch flags ?"

Mr. Flag Vendor: "Why no, unfortunately I am all out."

Mr. Flag Burner: "Why how unfortunate. I did have my heart set on flag burning today."

Mr. Flag Vendor: "Well sir, if that is indeed the case, why not try the good ol' stars and stripes. Nothing burns like red, white, and blue. And I have plenty in stock today."

Mr. Flag Burner: "Hmm, I dunno. America didn't really have much to do with this Cartoon thing."

Mr. Flag Vendor: "Oh, come on. An infidel is an infidel."

Mr. Flag Burner: "Word. Alright I'll take a half dozen of those, two pictures of Bush, and a bearclaw."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Holy Shit Dick Cheney Just Shot Me In The Face

Well, no not really, but don't you think that's what the guy said. This article has some precise details of how it went down, thank goodness for ESPN's outdoors section. But here's my favorite bit:
"Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."
Seriously? The Vice President has an ambulance on call. There is a crew of EMTs somewhere and their only job is to be ready if Dick Cheney's heart gives out. I have so many questions about this: Who are these people? Is it always the same ones? Did they follow him from DC for this hunting trip? Were they out in the woods with the diesel engine running? Does he also have a cardiologist "on call?" An operating room? Why isn't there a reality show about these guys? I would totally watch VP-EMT.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Spread This Idea Around

Okay, everyone. Mardi Gras is coming soon (28 February). If you can't throw down on a Tuesday, consider having a get-together some time before (hell, even after, if you don't care about Lent) Tuesday. Kegger, barbecue, wine-and-cheese, pokerfest, whatever--just have some sort of social event for the Carnival season. Call it, say, a Party Gras.

At your Party Gras, have a donation jar out in a prominent location. You might even want to encourage people to chip in. And then send the money to a Katrina Relief fund.

The Red Cross isn't taking money for this endeavor anymore--they say they've raised enough. However, there are plenty of other organizations that need the money to help our brothers and sisters in Louisiana and Mississippi. So chip in. And have a party while you do it. Your fellow citizens will thank you, but your liver might not.

Here are some useful links:

Humanitarian Organizations
Go do some good.

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More Lies about New Orleans

Shocking, I know. But, again, the Bush administration failed to level with us about what they knew and when they knew it. Would it be that hard to tell the truth about something? Anything?

I'd write more, but I'm just sick of thinking about how callous these assholes in charge are.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just in Case You'd Forgotten

The American Gulag is still operating. I know that it doesn't make much news anymore, but, yeah, there are still about 500 people being held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The New York Times had a story today about how the number of hunger strikers has dropped dramatically lately, and with good reason: The prisoners are being force-fed through tubes. It's sickening.

Check out Jeanne d'Arc's take on the whole thing (cross-posted at This Modern World, where I found it). It's definitely worth the time it takes to read. It should turn your stomach.

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Okay, Mr. Libby. Your New Nickname Will Be "Tricycle." Don't Forget.

It looks like I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is flipping, big-time. Also, he's flipping Big Time, as in "Big Time" Dick "Dick" Cheney (R-Undead), his former boss.
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.
Oooh, snap! I hope Mr. Libby is good at checking his rear view mirrors for, oh, say, the rest of his life. Shit, could Witness Protection even handle anything this big?

Pass the popcorn, please!

Update: Forgot to add link to original post. D'oh, etc.

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Today Begins the Plague of Frozen Raccoons

Seriously. Thanks to our good friend Errol, we have this bit of absurdity:
TOWN 'N COUNTRY - Hillsborough sheriff's deputies are investigating a bizarre act of criminal mischief that may also be a sickening act of animal cruelty.

It was 2 a.m. when Lynnette Brooks says she heard a crash at her front window. There, in the middle of the night, in the middle of her living room, she got the shock of her life.

"We saw the raccoon. A frozen raccoon," she recalled.

A vandal had apparently used a dead frozen raccoon as his weapon of choice. What's worse, roommate Gary Hogan said, it was one of the largest he's ever seen.

"It was about that big. About that big around," he said, holding his hands far apart.

Gary and Lynnette say the hole the frozen critter left in the screen even shows the silhouette of a raccoon -- with legs pointed skyward.

The shape of the raccoon -- with legs pointed upwards -- is visible in the screen.
"I mean, I've done some bad things, but nothing like that," Gary observed.
Wow. It's a shame Moses didn't have this one at his disposal. You wouldn't have needed ten plagues--just the one. I guess tossing a frozen raccoon at the Pharaoh would be less inspiring than parting the Sea of Reeds, though.

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Dear New York Times

A dynasty, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a succession of rulers of the same line or family."

So, you see, it's kind of hard to talk about the Clinton "dynasty," especially in the same sentence where you talk about the Bush dynasty.

The Bush family has produced a powerful Senator (Prescott, the current President's grandfather), a Congressman/Ambassador/CIA head/Vice-President/President (George H.W., the current President's father), governors of two large states (George W. and Jeb), and the current President (George W.). And that's just the big political accomplishments, and not all the Barbara-Bush-is-distantly-related-to-Franklin-Pierce nonsense, or the plum appointments given to cousins and the like.

The Clintons? Bill has the longest resume: governor of tiny Arkansas, President for two terms. Hillary is a first-term Senator, albeit from a large and powerful state. And that's it. Period.

These two lists of political achievements are hardly equivalent. It would be like comparing, say, Oliver Cromwell's "dynasty" alongside the Tudor Dynasty. It's just stupid.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why I read the Sports Guy

He's got a great NBA column out today that assesses every team's chances of winning the title this year.

Here's a sample:
22. Chicago
Here's one of the underrated sports stories of 2006: What about the Bulls' acquiring Tim Thomas, burying him on the bench, then telling him to just go home while they try to trade him ... even though he's making $14 million this season. Has anyone ever made more money for doing nothing? Shouldn't magazines be assigning writers to hang out with him, just to see what he does every day? If he's making $14 million, that means he's getting a check for about $525,000 every two weeks (minus taxes). Would you even work out if you were him?

(Note: I would go back to Villanova, start taking second-semester classes, join a frat and throw lavish keg parties every weekend. In fact, why couldn't they remake "Back to School" about an NBA player making $14 million a year who gets buried by his team, then decides to go back to college to finish his degree? Somebody get Omar Epps on the phone!)

I love it.

Deutsch-bag Update: Flushing a Turd

Why would you want to fuck with a group of people who have spent $23 million on a toilet? You would assume that they know how to get rid of a piece of shit. And they do.

NASA just relieved itself (get it?) of worthless little shit George Deutsch, the 24-year-old pissant who thought he would tell a bunch of career nerds what they could and couldn't say about, oh, the fucking facts of the universe. Well, unfortunately for him, Deutsch-bag never got his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M. So the little prick lied on his resume. I'm sure that the Intelligent Creator and Designer would wholeheartedly approve, right?


Tristero over at Hullabaloo has a much better take on this news item. Deutsch-bag is just a minor symptom of a much larger problem, as Tristero elegantly notes.

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Wow, if ever there was a good idea

The Onion AV club interviews Dan Savage today. I disagree with Dan about 50% of the time, but I usually read his column every week. But here is one awesome idea that we all need to get on board with.
There's this movement to form a day called Steak And A Blowjob Day, which would be the male version of Valentine's Day, where women would come through with a steak and a blowjob in return for the chocolate and flowers that guys come through with, and I support that holiday.
Let's get the word out there people!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stupid Shit Tuesday

Here at Punch and Jude, we round up stupid shit so's you don't have to go looking for it yourself. Community service, that's what we're all about.

We've been talking a lot about not-so-Intelligent Design lately, and that is one giant, steaming heap of stupid shit. That shit's so stupid, it's hard to understand how it continues to be a topic of contention in the public sphere. Seriously. And, Jon, all due respect, but ID is so transparently based on the idea of the Christian God as the designer that it's just not funny. In fact, that's exactly what Judge Jones said in the recent Kitzmiller case (the Dover, PA one; this is on page 25 of the PDF):
The only apparent difference between the argument made by [William] Paley and the argument for ID, as expressed by defense expert witnesses Behe and Minnich, is that ID’s “official position” does not acknowledge that the designer is God. However, as Dr. Haught testified, anyone familiar with Western religious thought would immediately make the association that the tactically unnamed designer is God, as the description of the designer in Of Pandas and People (hereinafter “Pandas”) is a “master intellect,” strongly suggesting a supernatural deity as opposed to any intelligent actor known to exist in the natural world. (P-11 at 85). Moreover, it is notable that both Professors Behe and Minnich admitted their personal view is that the designer is God and Professor Minnich testified that he understands many leading advocates of ID to believe the designer to be God.(21:90 (Behe); 38:36-38 (Minnich)).

Well, that pretty much nails that.

As for other stupid shit today, there's this, from the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette:
The last time 1st Lt. William “Eddie” Rebrook IV saw his body armor, he was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his arm shattered and covered in blood.

A field medic tied a tourniquet around Rebrook’s right arm to stanch the bleeding from shrapnel wounds. Soldiers yanked off his blood-soaked body armor. He never saw it again.

But last week, Rebrook was forced to pay $700 for that body armor, blown up by a roadside bomb more than a year ago.

He was leaving the Army for good because of his injuries. He turned in his gear at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was informed there was no record that the body armor had been stripped from him in battle.

He was told to pay nearly $700 or face not being discharged for weeks, perhaps months.

Rebrook, 25, scrounged up the cash from his Army buddies and returned home to Charleston last Friday.

“I last saw the [body armor] when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter,” Rebrook said. “They took it off me and burned it.”

But no one documented that he lost his Kevlar body armor during battle, he said. No one wrote down that armor had apparently been incinerated as a biohazard.

Can you believe that stupid shit? Way to shit on the vets. And this was a Pointer. An Academy guy, who did really well--even volunteered for infantry instead of some candy-ass REMF job. And still he gets the shaft. That's some stupid shit.

But, topping all of the other stupid shit, we have something special. Shit so monumentally stupid, it's hard to believe that a conscious human being could utter these words without being immediately seized by demons and dragged straight to hell for being so stupid and such a liar. I speak, of course, of the testimony yesterday of Bush lickspittle Alberto Gonzales. While speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales, in between rounds of torture-photo-inspired masturbations, actually said the following stupid shit:
GONZALES: I gave in my opening statement, Senator, examples where President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance of the enemy on a far broader scale -- far broader -- without any kind of probable cause standard, all communications in and out of the country.
God damn, that's some amazingly stupid shit. Aside from the obvious hilarity of the idea of President George Washington engaging in electronic surveillance, President Washington didn't fight a war. General Washington, on the other hand, did. Before there was a Constitution, you see, during that whole "revolution" thing you may have heard about. Also, it's kind of hard to hold Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt to the standard of a law that was passed in fucking 1978. And this guy is the Attorney General? That, also, is some stupid, stupid shit.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Deutsch Update

World O'Crap has a collection of other ideas by Mr. Deutsch here.

Also I'm wondering if this memo was inspired by someone or spontaneously generated by his own intellect. By mentioning a "Creator" he makes a departure from ID rhetoric which doesn't make any claims at all about a designer. The designer of intelligent design could be a Creator, aliens, or even people that traveled back in time.

By saying, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator," he fails to account for the fact that the evidence of the Big Bang doesn't discount intelligent design by a creator.

I've been reading about ID for a week trying to get ideas for a paper, and I know more about it than this guy. That's a little sad. But I am looking for a job, so maybe I could apply to NASA.
More Changes

We're linking to people we know. Yay. If you'd like a link, send us your URL, and we'll happily add you to our sidebar. If you wanna be removed, Jon will cry. Don't do that to Jon. Please.


More Bullshit from the Intelligent Design Zombies

Zombies, you ask? Yes. Zombies. They just keep coming, and keep coming, and it doesn't matter how many of them you shoot or dismember--they keep on comin'. Here's some goodness from the NY Times regarding one George Deutsch (insert Deutsch-bag joke here), a 24-year-old political appointee to NASA who, not too surprisingly, is under the thumb of the religious nuts.
The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."

Amazing, isn't it? NASA, last time I checked, didn't give a rat's ass about religious issues. And what qualifications does this prick have? J-school? That means he can tell us about cosmology? Why don't I go ask a fuckin' MBA about quantum physics, while we're at it?

The Bush Administration: turning back the clock on all fronts. Yay!

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Some Covert Sex Ed

That's what happened in England. A woman bought her kid what she thought was a My Little Pony cartoon, but it turned out to be a porno film. Why didn't this shit ever happen to me when I was a kid?

I can understand the confusion, though. I mean, check out this quiz. Can you tell the difference between the My Little Pony and the porn stars?

I only scored five out of twelve. Worse than you'd expect from a coin flip. Damn. I need some tutoring.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Elections, Republican-Style

At least these guys are consistent:
House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting.
And it turns out their new dickhead-in-charge is Ohio Representative John Boehner. That's a funny name. Boehner. It's even funnier if you call him by the nickname "Jack."

Now I'd just love to hear all the TV news types say "Majority Leader Jack Boehner..."

It's little things like that that just make my day.

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Like that grapefruit juice? Sure it doesn't taste just a bit buggy?

The secret ingredient is Dactylopius coccus, the cochineal beetle. Just so you know.


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The Male Psyche

My wife had a conversation with her younger, female co-workers the other day about why men and women choose particular jobs. My wife works in publishing for a company that has far more women than men in entry level positions which are relatively low-paying jobs. She posited to her friends that men are more likely to make career choices based on money while women are more likely to choose based on interest.

The reason: many men feel a drive (social/cultural/biological/whatever) to provide or support a family and women aren't as likely to feel that level of responsibility. Her coworkers were appalled and offended by the idea -- suggesting that it was somehow antiquated or anit-feminist.

But I don't really understand why that has to be the case. Feminism is based on achieving equality for women in a historically unequal society. Feminists suggest that women are burdened, now and in the past, by a male driven system which assigns roles based on stereotypical ideals of gender. Since, under this theory there is exists inequality, why would it be unreasonable that this inequality that disadvantages women by providing fewer opportunities and reinforcing stereotypes (i.e. real women are baby making homemakers), places added responsibilites on men (i.e. real men are providers for their family)?

Furthermore, I would argue that more women than men take the earning power of a prospective mate into account when making relationship choices. Therefore, making career decisions based on a paycheck increases the prospective pool of mates for men and makes the more desirable. Women's desirability as a mate is less of a factor of their earning power than men's desirability.

Of course, I'm not really saying this is how the world should work, I'm saying this is how the world does work.

Does that make me a misogynist? Seriously, does it?


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Word of the Day

This isn't going to be a feature every day, but, on occasion, we'll bring you a Word of the Day.

Today's word is: Milquetoast n. One who has a weak, timid, unassertive nature.

As in, I almost puked up my fuckin' milk and toast when I saw Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, milquetoast extraordinaire, give the Democratic response to Chimpy's bullshit State of the Union Address last night.

I guess that's what I get for having milk and toast for dinner.

And what was with that fuckin' Mr. Spock eyebrow of his? Jesus.

A better response would have been something like this:

"My fellow Americans: What the fuck was that horseshit you just heard? Can you believe this douchebag? First: Stop pissing on Coretta Scott King's grave. C'mon--the GOP hates everything she ever stood for--social justice, racial equality, alleviation of poverty--you name it, she stood for it, the Republicans hate it.

"Second: The word 'history' has three syllables, you moron. If you get a college degree in something, you should be able to pronounce the name of your degree field. I'd walk out of the place if some CEO told me he got a degree in 'bidness.'

"Third: Anybody whose party and minions call Jack Murtha a coward better not ever fucking lecture me about having a 'spirit of good will.' Period. End of fucking story.

"Fourth: When you talk about history, in addition to pronouncing the word correctly, don't insult our intelligence. So in 1945 there were only 'two dozen lonely democracies,' huh? Maybe that's because those two dozen countries (plus a few others) divided up the world into their colonies, and then kept those territories from self-rule, you asshole. You know, like India, which is currently the world's largest democracy? It was a British colony in 1945, you see. And, though Britain was (sort of) a democracy at the time, they didn't extend that to any of their colonies. Dipshit.

"Fifth: Just ignore everything Bush said. He's as full of shit as a Christmas turkey. Or holiday turkey, if you wanna piss off Bill O'Reilly, which is fun and easy to do. You guys know things are fucked up: Good jobs disappearing, you can't afford medical bills, you're worried about retiring, and your kids are driving you fuckin' nuts. You want to address these problems? Vote for Democrats. You want some man-child to give you bromides about freedom while cutting taxes permanently on those who have the most (both in terms of money and obligation to the system that allowed them to achieve such prosperity), invading your privacy, and peeing his pants about 'terra'? Keep voting for Republicans. I know Bush only has the rest of this term, but they'll find someone just as awful to replace him, probably someone handpicked by that odious fuck James Dobson.

"Those are the choices, America. Us or them. Right or wrong. Truth or lies. You know what to do."
That would be a hell of a speech.

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