Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Book Recommendation

Then read it. You'll enjoy it, I promise. Irrespective of your feelings about trivia, TV game shows, or people named "Bob," you'll like this book. And you'll recommend it to your friends.

It is, without question, the finest book I've read all year*.

*I should note, however, that I am a graduate student, and a good 50% of what I read can only have come into existence due to some sort of forest-thinning program gone berserk. That being said, I do manage to slip in books I like when no one's looking, and this little volume is the cream of the crop this year.

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No Sex for You!

Not just in here

Hey hey, everyone! Happy Halloween. Here's something that should scare the pants off of you:
The federal government's "no sex without marriage" message isn't just for kids anymore.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

"They've stepped over the line of common sense," said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. "To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health."

Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex.

The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse.

But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children.

Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19-29, the ages with the most births to unmarried women.

"The message is 'It's better to wait until you're married to bear or father children,' " Horn said. "The only 100% effective way of getting there is abstinence."

The revised guidelines specify that states seeking grants are "to identify groups ... most likely to bear children out-of-wedlock, targeting adolescents and/or adults within the 12- through 29-year-old age range." Previous guidelines didn't mention targeting of an age group.

"We wanted to remind states they could use these funds not only to target adolescents," Horn said. "It's a reminder."

Last year, 46 states applied for the federal abstinence-education money, to fund programs in schools, neighborhood clubs and faith-based organizations.
If this has scared the pants off of you, then for the love of god, pull them back up! You can't have your naughty bits out, or you might use them. God forbid.

Yes, yes. As we've noted before, the Republicans are waging a war on sex. Not just gay sex, or underage sex, but all sex. It makes them feel all icky, so they don't want you to have to feel that way, either.

How charitable of them.

If they need to find ways to pass the time, can't these assholes take up knitting or stamp collecting, rather than interfering in the private lives of adults?

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Apocalypse Averted

Not this week

Well, the Detroit Tigers ended up losing in five games to the Cardinals. So no Apocalypse just yet, people.

However, just because it's not imminent, doesn't mean it's not coming.

Here's another sign.

That's right. Fried Coke.

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Smart and Effective

Not so much.

So I was enjoying the nice weather and the last of the farmers' markets this weekend, when I saw a group of people protesting China's occupation of Tibet.

Without irony.

Now, whether or not you're sympathetic to the idea that the PRC should get out of Tibet is beside the point. Here's what struck me as being really stupid about this protest: It seems that. about three and a half years ago, we here in the US gave away our right to bitch about any military occupation of one country by another. Kind of hard to hold the moral high ground on such an issue when you're doing the same thing, no?

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Katie Couric

Dumb as a box of rocks

I saw Katie Couric interview Michael J. Fox on the CBS Evening News last night, and it amazed me. Does she ever do any research about her interviewees?

During the interview (only a portion was broadcast on TV last night--the whole thing is even worse), she asked Fox, "Would you ever campaign for Republicans?"

Of course, he has. He's supported Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter (oh, by the way--none of the gasbags & douchebags who are currently up in arms had a problem with that). Five minutes with a search engine would have showed Couric that such was the case. Fox quickly responded that he had, but I'm not sure if she absorbed that information.

She then misquoted Fox while asking him a question, and it was just generally an awful interview. I can't believe this continuing bullshit circus. Other people have better rundowns of just how awful the whole affair has been. I can't be too eloquent in my criticism, because this whole shit just makes me too fucking angry to craft good prose. And, speaking of angry, enter Matt Lauer, stage right:

Katie Couric, for all her flaws, is no Matt Lauer.
LAUER: And you brought up Michael J. Fox. Let me just ask you: You know, Rush Limbaugh started a lot of controversy when he said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease in that ad promoting stem cell research. Didn't Rush Limbaugh just say what a lot of people were privately thinking?
Well, gee, Matt. He might have said what you were thinking, but don't project that sick shit onto the rest of us.

Matt Lauer is a tool.

Matt Lauer, publicity photo.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Links!

We've added a bunch of new links over to the right. Check 'em out. Especially Jon Swift, which, for obvious reasons, you'll find under the heading "Be Merry," going by the title of "Modest Proposals."


More on Fuckface Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh: Ten pounds of shit in this sack. No matter how you stuff it, it still spills out.

So we mentioned Asshole Rush Limbaugh yesterday, and his comments about Michael J. Fox.

You need to see this asshole in action, mocking another human with a debilitating disease. It'll make you wanna puke. But you need to see it.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Still Busy

So here's some more YouTube stuff.

First, if you've got ten-and-a-half minutes, check out Keith Olbermann. He's the only worthy heir to Edward R. Murrow on cable news.

Then, in case you haven't seen it, here's Michael J. Fox's ad for Jim Doyle, who's running for re-election here in Wisconsin. It's hard to watch.

Fox, of course, has Parkinson's disease, and is a supporter of stem-cell research. He's also a very well-known and well-liked celebrity. So, naturally, the GOP slime machine has turned its guns on him.

Fox has recently been slandered by Rush Limbaugh (R-Pharma) for his participation in producing campaign ads (there are several spots featuring Fox running around the country).
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."


"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself."

That's right, folks. He's mocking someone with an awful disease--the sort of physical malady that you wouldn't wish on people you hate. But does it really surprise you?

When the reaction to Limbaugh's disgusting comment came swiftly and severely, the fat load of shit backtracked just a bit, but still showed his true colors. He offered a half-assed apology, but continued to attack Michael J. Fox:
"Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial," Limbaugh said, according to a transcript on his Web site. "All right then, I stand corrected. . . . So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act."

Then Limbaugh pivoted to a different critique: "Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democratic politician."

The word "disgusting" doesn't begin to describe Limbaugh. I'm pretty sure that there's no level of depravity to which he won't sink. However, he'll still be allowed to interview Cheney, and he'll still be treated as a member of the club by the corporate (and quite possibly coprophagic) American press.

Because to call him out for what he is--a disgusting, immoral scumbag who isn't fit to breathe the same air as decent humans--would be too angrily liberal. Too bad for all of us that, as Rob Corddry has taught us, "the facts themselves are biased," and the reporting of those facts would violate the precious objectivity of journalists.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Busy Week

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Lookit the cute bunny.

It's a busy week for me, so please check out any of our fine links to amuse yourselves.

I'll be back with more soon.

Oh, and congratulations to Jeff Skilling on that new apartment he's gonna have for the next 24 years.

Heh heh.



Friday, October 20, 2006

Penile Code, Indeed

Another interesting legal matter from How Appealing. Here's the AP account.
A judge dismissed an indecent exposure charge against a woman accused of
disrobing in front of a 14-year-old boy, saying the law only applies to men.
Superior Court Judge Robert W. Armstrong said earlier in the week that the law
only mentions someone who "exposes his person."

"It's gender specific," Armstrong said.

He dismissed a misdemeanor charge against Alexis Luz Garcia, 40, of Corona,
who was cited in May after parents of a neighbor boy said she showed him
full-frontal nudity as he played basketball.

Obviously having a law like this that only applied to men would be unconstitutional. I just thought it was funny that this lady was pissed off at the basketball playing and her first instinct was to take her clothes off. I missed a lot not growing up in the city.
It's Coming

This is what you'll see after the Tigers win the World Series.

Well, the Mets couldn't get it done last night. They shouldn't have had a chance, but they turned the NLCS game seven into a helluva show.

So the Cardinals won. Now they get to go to Detroit to have the Tigers put an old-school ass-whuppin' on them.

After that, look for partly cloudy skies with a high chance of Apocalypse.

I warned you several times this year about how well the Tigers were doing. Did you take that opportunity to repent your sins? Probably not. Now it's time to pay. Oh, well. You've had a good run.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Is It Just Me?

Or does it look like Honest Abe is taking a dump on Bush's head?

I guess he's expressing his disapproval with what Bush has done to the Party of Lincoln. I mean, he's partly (by which I mean mostly) responsible for this:
With congressional elections less than three weeks away, the Republican party's approval ratings are at an all-time low, with approval of the Republican-led Congress at its lowest point in 14 years, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday.


The poll numbers and President George W. Bush's own job approval ratings, which have been mired in the 30 percent range, are an ominous sign for a party trying to maintain control of Congress, NBC said.

Bush had a job approval rating of 38 percent, down 1 percentage point from a previous NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this month after the Foley news first broke, NBC said.
Old Abe's probably still more than a little pissed about that "Mission Accomplished" stunt that Bushie pulled on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

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I Forgive You for 1986. It Was a Long Time Ago. I've Gotten over It.

Come on, Mets.

You can do it tonight. I know the odds are against you, but you're at home. Feed off the Shea energy. One more, and you're back in the World Series.

Also, do it just to piss off the Yankee fans.


'Cause fuck the fuckin' Yankees.

That's why.

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The Stupidest Thing You'll See All Day (Barring a Presidential Press Conference)

Compared to the stupidity you're about to read, trying to sail around the world in this would be Einsteinian genius.

In today's LA Times, courtesy of acknowledged moron Jonah Goldberg, we get this:
We know now that invading Iraq was the wrong decision, but that doesn't vindicate the antiwar crowd.
You know I didn't make that up, because I don't have the time or the energy for shit like that.

I'm sure he thought he was being clever when he wrote that.

It's not buried in the column. Oh, no. That's the subheader. He was proud of that puppy.

What could you say that would approach that level of stupidity?

How about "We know now that smoking causes cancer, but that doesn't vindicate the people who told you not to smoke," for starters? Not stupid enough? You're right.

Maybe "We know now that repeatedly punching yourself in the balls causes incredible pain, but that doesn't vindicate the people who told you to put down the brass knuckles."

Nope, still not stupid enough. I guess I'll go read an Ann Coulter book while listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio and watching Sean Hannity on TV. While pounding a fifth of Wild Turkey.
Perhaps then I'll be up to the challenge.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

File Under "Better You Than Me"

Not always your friend.

This may be the worst headline I've ever read.

Austrian nails testicle to roof.
An Austrian roofer who slipped on the job ended up nailing himself to the roof - through his wedding tackle.

According to Ananova, 59-year-old August Voegl of Jennersdorf "shot the four-inch nail into his left testicle with the compressed air nail gun" and was thereafter "unable to extract it or pull himself away from the roof".

It was left to emergency medics to separate Voegl from the building and, after being whisked to hospital by air ambulance, he's reportedly "recovering well" following surgery.
And you thought you were having a bad day at work.

Update: Thanks to Scout at First Draft for the link. And welcome to everyone who clicked over! Look around, check us out. If you like what you see, stick around!



Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Legal Issues

Punch and Jude's Legal correspondent now reporting from New Orleans: I guess this is what you were looking for, Jude.
NBC is fighting a lawsuit over a scene from the new drama “Heroes”.

If you haven’t seen the first episode, we’ll explain. The series features a cheerleader who finds out she’s indestructible.

To test this power that she has discovered, she puts her hand in a garbage disposal, she pulls her mangled, bloody hand out to watch it heal itself right before her eyes.
Apparently the name of the manufacturer of the disposal was visible in the scene and they're all pissy about it. As a fan of the new show, I caught this scene as it aired a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, it was gruesome. But I can't imgine that viewers would have actually noticed the maker of the garbage disposal. And how would you prove your losses? Is there anyway to show how many people decided not to buy a garbage disposal because of a scene in a TV show?

And to be honest with you, it was kind of hot. Nothing turns me on like mangled cheerleader. In fact I bought 7 garbage disposals today because of that scene.

And in other legal news:
A woman who was ticketed for having an obscene anti-Bush bumper sticker filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday against a county in the state of Georgia and its officials.

Denise Grier, 47, of Athens, Georgia, got a $100 ticket in March after a DeKalb County police officer spotted the bumper sticker, which read "I'm Tired Of All The BUSH**."

A DeKalb judge threw out the ticket in April because the state's lewd decal law that formed the basis for the ticket was ruled unconstitutional in 1990.

Grier is seeking damages from the county for "emotional distress," according to the lawsuit.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Nothing gets my goat like police officers who ignore the constitution and abuse their power. I only wish that she could actually bankrupt these fuckers for this ridiculous abuse of power.This is basically the equivalent of arresting someone for burning the flag or a woman for getting an abortion. If the US supreme court decides an act is constitutional, everyone should be allowed to do it immediately. There shouldn't be any grace period for officers who don't realize that a criminal statute has been declared unconstitional.

But really that's all beside the point. These fuckers didn't arrest her for violating an unconstitutional law, they arrested her because they disagreed with her political speech. And using the law enforcement power of the state to silence someone's free speech is heinous shit. If we still execute people in this country, let's execute these assholes. Oh I'm being over the top? Sorry, I have no patience for this shit. In a free orderly society there aren't many things worse that blatently violating the law that you've sworn to uphold and are charged with enforcing.

Any Given Monday

It's easier to understand him than to figure out what happened last night.

What the hell went on in Arizona last night?

First, that the Cardinals could be up 20-0 on this year's Bears.

Second, that those same Bears would only score three (three!) offensive points.

Third, and most shockingly, the Bears won.

Could someone please explain this to me? None of the above statements make sense individually. When put together, I think they are portents of doom for us all.

However, no matter what happens this year, I do hope that we are spared anything like this:

Please, not that.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

A Little Help Here?

Has anyone seen Jon?

That boy hasn't said anything for over a week now. And there's all sorts of legal-type things that could use some interpretating. He's good with that.



Friday, October 13, 2006

These People Are Fucking Crazy

The next neo-con weapon for deployment. In their fucking fantasyland.

What the hell is this all about?
Writing in publications from National Review Online (NRO) to the New York Times, neo-conservatives claim, contrary to the lessons drawn by "realist" and other critics of the George W. Bush administration, that Monday's test vindicates their long-held view that negotiations with "rogue" states like North Korea are useless and that "regime change" -- by military means, if necessary -- is the only answer.

"With our intelligence on North Korea so uneven, the doctrine of pre-emption must return to the fore," wrote Dan Blumenthal, an Asia specialist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who worked for Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld during Bush's first term, in the NRO Tuesday. "Any talk of renewed six-party talks [involving China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the two Koreas] must be resisted."

The North Korean test "has stripped any plausibility to arguments that engaging dictators works," according to Michael Rubin, a Middle East specialist at AEI, who added that the Bush administration now faces a "watershed" in its relations with other states that have defied Washington in recent years.

"This crisis is not just about North Korea, but about Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba as well," according to Rubin. "Bush now has two choices: to respond forcefully and show that defiance has consequence, or affirm that defiance pays and that international will is illusionary.

"...(He) must now choose whether his legacy will be one of inaction or leadership, Chamberlain or Churchill," he added in a reference to the pre-World War II debate between the "appeasement" of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the war policy of his successor, Winston Churchill.

Are they fucking kidding? "Chamberlain or Churchill"? What kind of shit are these people on, and where can I get some? And just what goddamn military do they think they're gonna use for this grand scheme? The three brigades that the US military has left to respond to crises in the world? Total, that's about 15,000 troops at full strength. The North Korean army has 1,000,000 soldiers. You do the math.

Hold on, it gets better:
They are opposed by the "realists" who are concentrated in the State Department and also include former secretary of state Colin Powell; his chief deputy, Richard Armacost; and a number of top national security officials in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush, such as former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, and secretary of state James Baker, who just last weekend publicly called for Washington to directly engage its "enemies", including North Korea, Syria and Iran.

That stance is anathema to the neo-conservatives and their right-wing allies, such as Cheney, who, at one national security council meeting on North Korea several years ago, was reported to have said, "We don't negotiate with evil; we defeat it."

The neo-conservatives' main area of concern has historically been the Middle East -- indeed, their central focus in recent months has been publicising the threats to the U.S. and Israel allegedly posed by Iran and Hezbollah and opposing any realist appeals to engage Tehran and Damascus in direct talks. But they have also been warning for some time against "the appeasement" of North Korea and its chief source of material aid and support, China.

In their view, Beijing has always had the power to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms programmes, and the fact that it has not done so demonstrates that China sees itself as a "strategic rival" of Washington, a phrase much favoured by administration hawks during Bush's first year in office.

Indeed, in the most prominent neo-conservative reaction to the North Korean test to date, former Bush speechwriter David Frum called in a column published by the New York Times for the administration to take a series of measures designed to "punish China" for its failure to bring Pyongyang to heel.

Among them, Frum, who is also based at AEI and is sometimes credited with inventing the phrase "axis of evil", in which North Korea, Iran, and Iraq were lumped together, for Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, urged the administration to cut off all humanitarian aid to North Korea, pressure South Korea to do the same, and thus force China to "shoulder the cost of helping to avert" North Korea's economic collapse.

Frum, who is also based at AEI, urged that Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to be invited to join NATO and that Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, to send observers to NATO meetings.

Frum, who in 2003 co-authored "An End to Evil" with former Defence Policy Board chairman Richard Perle, also suggested that Washington "encourage Japan to renounce the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and create its own nuclear deterrent."

"A nuclear Japan is the thing China and North Korea dread most (after, perhaps, a nuclear South Korea or Taiwan)," he asserted.

"Not only would the nuclearization of Japan be a punishment of China and North Korea," he wrote, "but it would also go far to meet our goal of dissuading Iran (from trying to obtain a nuclear weapons)... The analogue for Iran, of course, would be the threat of American aid to improve Israel's capacity to hit targets with nuclear weapons," according to Frum.
A nuclear Japan. That's a smart idea. Fuck all that nonproliferation bullshit that's worked well for the last sixty years. 9/11 changed everything!

But punish China? Punish China? Who the fuck do they think is financing our debt right now? Santa Claus? Stupid fucks. The Chinese could crash our economy whenever they feel like it.

There's even more stupidity, though:
At the same time, former House Speaker and DPB member Newt Gingrich, who is also based at AEI, said he favoured continuing shipments of U.S. food aid but through a covert delivery system "consciously designed to undermine the dictatorship".

"Food might be parachuted into the country, delivered from submarines and small boats by clandestine services, shipped in from China and Russia through anti-regime middlemen and delivered in every way possible to divert energy and authority away from the government and toward an alternative organising system of individuals dedicated to a better more prosperous life," he wrote.
Leave it to Newt to say the craziest shit of all. What happens when a team of SEALs gets caught? What happens when an big-ass C-17, while violating DPRK airspace to drop in food, gets downed by a SAM? And just where are these gigantic cargo-carrying submarines Newt thinks we have? I never saw one. I suppose you could take the Trident missiles out of the Ohio-class boomers and fill the tubes with frozen turkeys. That might work.

Yet these people are taken seriously when it comes to foreign policy. That should keep you up at night.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Body Counts

We dance in Iraq these days.

I'm sure you've heard about the study in The Lancet (subscription required) concerning the "excess mortality" in Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
The crude mortality rate in the pre-invasion period was 5·5 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 4·3–7·1) and for the overall post-invasion period was 13·3 per 1000 people per year (10·9–16·1)...


Post-invasion excess mortality rates showed much the same escalating trend, rising from 2·6 per 1000 people per year (0·6–4·7) above the baseline rate in 2003 to 14·2 per 1000 people per year (8·6–21·5) in 2006 (figure 2 and table 3). Excess mortality is attributed mainly to an increase in the violent death rate; however, an increase in the non-violent death rate was noted in the later part of the post-invasion period (2005–06). The post-invasion non-violent excess mortality rate was 0·7 per 1000 people per year (−1·2 to 3·0).

Of the 302 conflict-related violent deaths reported, 300 (99%) were post-invasion (table 4). An increase in violent death rates was seen in the post-invasion period (figure 2). Analysis for trend showed that this rate for violent deaths increased significantly in every period after the invasion (p<0·0001)>--snip--

Most violent deaths were due to gunshots (56%); air strikes, car bombs, and other explosions/ordnance each accounted for 13–14% of violent deaths. The number of deaths from gunshots increased consistently over the post-invasion period, and a sharp increase in deaths from car bombs was noted in 2006.Violent deaths that were directly attributed to coalition forces or to air strikes were classified as coalition violent deaths. In many other cases the responsible party was not known, or the households were hesitant to specifically identify them. Deaths attributable to the coalition accounted for 31% (95% CI 26–37) of post-invasion violent deaths. The proportion of violent deaths attributable to the coalition was much the same across periods (p=0·058). However, the actual number of violent deaths, including those that resulted from coalition forces, increased every year after the invasion.

Using what appear to be solid methods, the researchers claim that, since the March 2003 invasion, there have been 655,000 deaths that can be attributed to said invasion.


Here's a Washington Post article that sums up the major points.

If there had never been an Iraq invasion, by this count, then 655,000 people would not have died.

Of the total 655,000 estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.

The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are being published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet.

The same group in 2004 published an estimate of roughly 100,000 deaths in the first 18 months after the invasion. That figure was much higher than expected, and was controversial. The new study estimates that about 500,000 more Iraqis, both civilian and military, have died since then -- a finding likely to be equally controversial.

Both this and the earlier study are the only ones to estimate mortality in Iraq using scientific methods. The technique, called "cluster sampling," is used to estimate mortality in famines and after natural disasters.

While acknowledging that the estimate is large, the researchers believe it is sound for numerous reasons. The recent survey got the same estimate for immediate post-invasion deaths as the early survey, which gives the researchers confidence in the methods. The great majority of deaths were also substantiated by death certificates.

This is what we've done in Iraq, folks.

Just something to think about.

Glenn Greenwald, as always, has excellent analysis. Ditto Juan Cole.

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Local News

When I left the house this morning at oh-dark-thirty, there was snow on the ground.

SNOW! What the fuck? It's not even mid-way through October. There's not supposed to be any snow yet. That's some bullshit.

But it's not nearly as much bullshit at this: A Wisconsin Assemblyman wants to give teachers and principals guns. So they can stop school shootings. Makes sense, right?

Well, it does to Frank Lasee. Just so you know that his idiocy isn't confined to the area of firearms, I'll point out that he's also for the dumbass "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" (ask someone from Colorado how that's worked out).

Also, to compare US schools to Israel's and Thailand's--that's just stupid. There's a Muslim insurgency in Thailand that targets teachers (because they're government employees). And Israel? Did he mention that there's a goddamn war going on over there, and that the risk of violence against schools is much, much higher (we won't get into why just now)? Also, the teachers in Israel don't actually carry guns. They have security guards for that.

Not that you'd expect any intellectual honesty (or any intellect, for that matter) from a guy who supports TABOR.

I suppose it goes without saying that Rep. Lasee is a Republican. I'm sure you've already come to that conclusion.

Whee! Armed teachers! That'll make everything better!

That and some more goddamn tax cuts.

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So It's Come to This

He pities the President.


'Cause Bush is a fool.

Don't believe me? Check this out:
This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th.
(Found at First Draft.)

That's right, my fellow Americans. Hang your heads in shame. There's so much wrong with that sentence, I don't know where to start.

Although I do have a wonderful idea for 2008.

T for President!

I think that's something we can all get behind.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Wrath of Wolcott

Uh-oh. Jim Wolcott is pissed again.

James Wolcott, in his inimitable style, takes Dinesh D'Souza to the woodshed for a beating of truly legendary proportions.
As when yesterday I received the galley of Dinesh D'Souza's new book from Doubleday, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, to be published in January 2007.

It isn't rare that I take instant animus against a book like this. But I don't tend to react right away. The responsible thing for me to do as an occasional book critic is to wait until the official pub date, find a suitable venue for review, and thrash the book based on its merits.

But this is a special book, deserving special mistreatment. With The Enemy at Home, I prefer to do the irresponsible thing and declare war on Dinesh D'Souza and his stinking mackerel of a book starting now. I intend to pound this scurrilous piece of scapegoating at every convenient opportunity. It is long past due that the likes of Ramesh Ponnuru (Death Party A-Go-Go), Jonah Goldberg (Hillary Clinton Was Himmler's Mistress), and now D'Souza be put on notice that they are not going to get away with vilifying liberals, mainstream Democrats, radical thinkers, academics, and entertainers as traitors and terrorist sympathizers. They want to wage culture war? Then, to quote Nabokov, they should brace themselves and prepare for the next crash. They want to practice character assassination? They've picked the wrong time, the wrong adversary.
D'Souza will probably respond with some smart-ass statement, but he shouldn't do that.

You do not ever, ever want to cross swords with Wolcott. He'll leave you wondering where that razor-sharp rhetorical blade came from, how it moved so fast, and why you're standing there holding your intestines in with your bare hands.

I'd wish D'Souza good luck, but fuck that asshole.

Here's some more of Wolcott's beatdown:
The theme of the book is quite simple, and vile.

"In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11."

Then the qualifiers begin multiplying. The term 'cultural left' doesn't refer to the Democratic Party, nor to all liberals. (Peter Beinart presumably gets a pass.) Nor is he saying that cultural lefties actually brought the towers down. He isn't so rash as to suggest Molly Ivins piloted one of the planes, parachuting to safety before impact. So what is he saying?

"I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector [profiteers are always patriots, of course], and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world."

Note well: the primary cause. Not the treatment of the Palestinians, the caging and starving of those on the Gaza Strip, the hundreds of thousands of clusterbomb droplets left behind in Lebanon, the U.S. military bases on Arab soil, Abu Ghraib, the Mideast tyrannies propped up by American money and influence--these are secondary. Muslims are angry, D'Souza concedes, but they are mostly angry because their anger has been fueled and fanned by the cultural left.

"Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened."

I like that "Thus," as if he's actually proven something.

"I realize that this is a strong charge," D'Souza writes, "one that no one has made before."

The reason it hasn't been made before is that it's a sleazy, shameless, ignorant, ahistorical, tendentious, meretricious lie, one that was waiting for the right brazen liar to come along to promote it, and here he is, and his name is Dinesh D'Souza, who's fatuous and fuddy-duddyish enough to think that it's Britney Spears, the rap lyrics of 2 Live Crew, and the buggering photographs of the late Robert Mapplethorpe that have Islam in a tiz.


How inept is he?

At the end of the book he rises on his hind legs to confront the enemy within and name those doing America dirt and making life easier for Al Qaeda. He breaks the enemy within down into categories. The Congressional Left. The Intellectual Left. The Hollywood Left. The Activist Left. The Cultural Left. The Foreign Policy Left. And so on.

He puts Gore Vidal in the Foreign Policy Left. Doesn't Vidal--novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, TV performer--more properly belong in the Cultural Left? And what is Joe Conason, whose work is 99% pure political, doing in the Cultural Left with Eve Ensler and Tony Kushner?

Moreover, how can George Galloway, Robert Fisk, and Arundhati Roy be considered the "enemy at home" when they don't even live in this country? To D'Souza, being dead (Edward Said) or politically defunct (Cynthia McKinney, defeated in her reelection bid, is nonetheless listed in the Congressional Left alongside such Bolsheviks as Ed Markey and Patty Murray)* is no disqualification for treasonhood.

There is no Democrat, living or dead, D'Souza won't stoop to slime. When a Sunni Arab speaker of the Iraqi Assembly says that his dream is to be the Tip O'Neill of Iraq, D'Souza snarks, "Recalling O'Neill's resemblance to our federal government--big, fat, and out of control--I am not ordinarily excited to find a man who wants to emulate Tip O'Neill. But I wish al-Hassani good luck." D'Souza is such a patronizing little shit, such an odious shyster that he disparages John Murtha--whose heartfelt anger and grief over how the mishandled war in Iraq is mauling our military ought to shame D'Souza--as a sockpuppet for Osama bin Laden. "Hey, this man served his country! Don't question his loyalty, even when he makes the same arguments as Noam Chomsky and Osama bin Laden."

The call-to-arms conclusion of D'Souza's book:

"There is no way to restore the culture without winning the war on terror. Conversely, the only way to win the war on terror is to win the culture war. Thus we arrive at a sobering truth. In order to crush the Islamic radicals abroad, we must defeat the enemy at home."

We're not the enemy, and if you engage us as the enemy, all you'll be doing is starting yet another war you can't win.
As always, I stand in awe of James Wolcott. And I don't envy Dinesh D'Souza one little bit.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Actual Good News

Our good friend Aly has beaten the crap out of Hodgkin's disease.

Go Aly!

There's our favorite ass-kicker.
If you're having trouble reading what's on the cake, it says "I kicked cancer's" and has an arrow pointing to a cake ass. We so clever.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

More Good Fucking News

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when.

While our government was fucking around in Iraq, this guy

A sane, reasonable man.

Got one of these:

Ha ha ha! Invade me now, motherfuckers!

God damn, I'm glad the Responsible Adults are in charge of shit. Aren't you?

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Things My Friends Do

One of them is a graphic designer. And a hell of a graphic designer, at that.

She made this.

Click here for a larger image. Do it!

And here's her design site. Need anything designed? She can do it.

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One of Those Days

Sigh, indeed. That religious fundamentalists should have such a voice in this country ashames me. They're also living arguments against the theories of Dr. Leon Festinger.
But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck-and-neck re-election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

“This is Foley’s lifestyle,” said Ron Gwaltney, a home builder, as he waited with his family outside a Christian rock concert last Thursday in Norfolk. “He tried to keep it quiet from his family and his voters. He is responsible for what he did. He is paying a price for what he did. I am not sure how much farther it needs to go.”

The Democratic Party is “the party that is tolerant of, maybe more so than Republicans, that lifestyle,” Mr. Gwaltney said, referring to homosexuality.


David Thomas, a father taking his family to the concert, said that he, too, was leaning toward voting Republican and that the scandal only reinforced his conservative Christian convictions. “That is the problem we have in society,” Mr. Thomas said. “Nobody polices anybody. Everybody has a ‘right’ to do whatever.”
Yeah. Wouldn't it be great if, somehow, some way, we could police each other?

Oh wait. That's some Taliban shit.

Funny how the fundamentalists really all have the same agenda, isn't it?

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Cuteness

'Cuz I don't wanna talk about people stalking teenagers online.

Lookit the cute puppy.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Passing the Buck

Great piece in Slate.

4. Call yourself an alcoholic. Foley adopts the label directly: "I am an alcoholic." This is vital, because when you're also a crook, anti-Semite, or pervert, "alcoholic" sounds so much nicer. Millions of people are alcoholic or love someone who's alcoholic. Embrace the label, and they'll embrace you. Roth adds a nifty twist to this maneuver, calling Foley "a closet drinker." Everyone knows Foley had a closet. The only question is what's in it. Booze is the least shocking answer he can hope to get away with.
Sad but true.

Edited to fix schmuckitude.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

To Catch a Predator

All this craziness in the House with Foley's dirty emails reminded me of the Dateline show where they arrest guys who have dirty chats with underage kids.

If you haven't seen it, the show basically chronicles a police sting. Law enforcement chats online pretending to be underage boys or girls and they wait until someone starts chatting about sex. Then the law enforcement officer, still pretending to be underage, invites the unsuspecting predator over. When he gets there he finds a TV host who asks them questions and then they get arrested. The appeal of the show is watching the predator squirm in his seat while the reporter pulls out chat transcripts and says "Why were you talking to a 13 year old girl about your penis size." And usually they cry or talk about the Bible or act really creepy and sad.

So my question is, how did these people break the law? The show always says that in FL or AZ or whatever state they're in that it is illegal to solicit sex with a minor over the internet. But where's the minor? There isn't a minor in the conversation. It a middle-aged man pretending to be a minor. The guys they are arresting, if they were trying to have sex with anyone, it was this middle-aged man. How can you solicit sex from a fictional person?

Here's an analogy. Police think you're a drug user so they set up a sting. You think you're buying marijuana from a dealer, but the police are pretending to be the dealer. And they don't have real marijuana so they use oregano. If you go and buy oregano, is that a crime? Is it a crime to buy oregano?

Point is these people think what they are doing is illegal, but that's generally not enough to be considered a crime. You actually have to have some conduct that violates the law. Not that these people are scumbags, but the legal issue is interesting to me. I'd love to hear comments or if someone else out there is blogging about this I'd love to read it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What the Fuck?

I ♥ Your Kids

What the fuck is going on?

This sorry motherfucker above is Representative Mark Foley (R-Dateline NBC). The motherfucker got busted for sending sexually explicit IM's to fucking teenage boys. Now you know that's some fucked up nonsense, for true.

But the story doesn't stop there. Oh, no.

The boys were congressional pages. Young kids, away from home, in DC, and ostensibly working for this sorry-ass fool. He wined and dined them, gave them rides in his goddamn convertible BMW, and probably had sex with a few (we'll find out that shit in the days to come). On top of all of that, this sonofabitch was on the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Takes one to know one, I guess.

So he gets busted for IMing boys. Good. Toss the motherfucker in jail after Chris Hansen gets all up in his shit, and Oprah comes by and doles out a cockpunching for good measure.

But the Republican party just can't let that happen.

While this no-good bastard has resigned from the House, the GOP machine has attempted a number of different strategies for damage control. Tony Snow, the President's Press Secretary, originally downplayed the substance of the messages, calling them "some naughty e-mails."

Here's some of the transcripts: Judge for yourselves (warning-will make you puke in your mouth, unless you're a middle-aged child predator, in which case go to hell) whether or not these are simply "naughty." I know that I'd beat the shit out of anyone for talking to a kid like that.

Also, the crazed zealots of the Noise Machine have come out, and, unsurprisingly, they blame a) Democrats, and b) the victims.

Here's Fatboy Limbaugh, laying this at the feet of the Democrats:
LIMBAUGH: I'm just thinking out loud here. What if somebody got to the page and said, you know, we want you to set Foley up. We need to do a little titillating thing here. Keep it and save it and so forth. How would you get a kid to do that? Yeah, who knows? You threaten him or pay him. There's any number of ways given the kind of people that we're dealing with and talking about here.

Now, folks, I don't want to be misunderstood here. I'm not trying to mount any kind of a defense. That's a bad word. I'm not trying to get into a defense of what Mark Foley did. Please don't misunderstand. I'm just telling you that the -- the -- the orgy and the orgasm that has been taking place in the media since Friday and with the Democrats is -- it's all coordinated, and it's all -- it's all oriented toward the election. There's no concern about the kid -- no concern about the children.

There is -- there is -- there's not even any real problem with what Foley did, as we've discussed. In their hearts and minds and their crotches, they don't have any problem with what Foley did. They've defended it over the -- over the years.
Now that's fucked up. In a big way. He should stick to popping the OxyContin.

But it can't compare to what Matt Drudge had to say:
DRUDGE: And if anything, these kids are less innocent, these 16- and 17-year-old beasts. And I've seen what they're doing on YouTube, and I've seen what they're doing all over the Internet. Oh yeah. And you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.


DRUDGE: You could say, "Well, Drudge, it's abuse of power. This is a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17-year-old beasts. Talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the Internet." Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't -- you know, they were talking about how many times they've masturbated, and oh, they didn't do it with their girlfriends this weekend. All this -- all these things and these innocent children. And this poor congressman sitting there typing about, "Oh, am I going to get any?" You know?
God damn. These people aren't even slightly concerned that there might be a hell. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-old "beasts"? Sweet mother of mercy, somebody fucking get this guy some amateur orthodontic work, if you know what I mean.

For those of you who have been keeping up with the Republican party for a while now, it might not surprise you to know that they've been totally incompetent about the Foley affair. For, you see, they knew about him. They knew about him, and they did nothing (kind of an MO for these people lately, no?).
Matthew Loraditch, a page in 2001-2002 and the president of the Page Alumni Association, said a Republican congressional staffer warned him and other pages to not "get too wrapped up in [Foley] being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff." He told the Washington Post that Foley had sent "creepy" messages to three of his fellow pages, but that they were hesitant to report him because they wanted careers in politics and feared retribution — "members of Congress, they've got the power," Loraditch said. Not all pages were warned, however. ABC News contacted several pages who said they were given no such warnings about Foley.
It's fucking unbelievable, isn't it? Then, from the NY Times, there's this:
Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues, Republican lawmakers said Saturday.

The exchanges began with what Republicans now describe as an “overfriendly” e-mail message from Mr. Foley to the unidentified teenager.

But news reports about the exchanges led to the disclosure of e-mail correspondence with other former pages in which the discussions became more and more sexually explicit. Shortly after he was confronted by ABC News on Friday about the subject, Mr. Foley, who represented a south Florida district, resigned from the House.

The revelations set off a political upheaval, with Democrats and some Republicans calling for a full investigation of Mr. Foley’s conduct and whether House leaders did enough to look into it. Members of the Republican leadership sought Saturday to detail how they had handled the case in an effort to defuse the situation, even as it was emerging as an issue in Congressional races.

Among those who became aware earlier this year of the fall 2005 communications between Mr. Foley and the 16-year-old page, who worked for Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, were Representative John A. Boehner, the majority leader, and Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that he had also personally raised the issue with Speaker J. Dennis Hastert.
Weeping Jesus on the cross. Could these people be less capable? A year. A fucking year they knew about this, and they did shit about it. What, did they think no one would ever find out? Were they taking tips from fucking Bernard Law on how to totally fuck up a child molestation scandal?

Anyway, I'll have more soon about how incompetent the executive branch has been about this and other issues (looking at you, Condi).

Now I've gotta go drink this out of my mind. Gah.

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