Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Yes, that photo shows two mice, riding on a cat, riding on a dog.
I can't think about anything else today. This hurts my head.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Why does Baby Jeebus hate James Brown?
That ain't right.
Labels: Fair winds and following seas
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Happy holidays to everyone from both of us here at Punch & Jude.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy yourselves.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I took a microbiology course in high school (long ago). I really, really enjoyed it, except for one thing: The smell.
Hot agar stinks all to be damned, and I've never forgotten that smell. Ugh. Agar is a nutrient used in microbiology labs that's basically a sugar extracted from the cell walls of certain red algae. It's the yellowish goo in petri dishes upon which you grow cultures. The cultures themselves are often stank, but the agar itself is nasty enough.
My dear friend Bethel got a degree in biochemistry, and I don't know how she stands that stench. She's made of stern stuff.
But Jude, you ask, what does this have to do with an office?
There's someone in my office who's eating something that smells very much like agar. It's gag-worthy.
I'm sure you have someone like this in your office--the person who eats stank-ass food, and never begins to notice that everyone around is having trouble breathing and, oh, not puking.
Got a good story to share? Leave it in the comments.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Yes, Jesus is coming--but in the form of a Komodo dragon.
CHESTER, England - In an evolutionary twist, Flora the Komodo dragon has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. She is carrying seven baby Komodo dragons.Fuckin' killjoy herpetologist.
"We were blown away when we realized what she'd done," said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora's home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. "But we certainly won't be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus."
Of course, if my job title made it sound like I was an expert in STD's, I'd probably be a bit dour myself.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I've heard political science types say that "People get the government they deserve," but I don't ever remember fucking up badly enough to get Sam Brownback as a Senator.
Senator Removes His Block on Federal Court NomineeSweet crap.
By NEIL A. LEWIS
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who blocked the confirmation of a woman to the federal bench because she attended a same-sex commitment ceremony for the daughter of her long-time neighbors, says he will now allow a vote on the nomination.
Mr. Brownback, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said in a recent interview that when the Senate returned in January, he would allow a vote on Janet Neff, a 61-year-old Michigan state judge, who was nominated to a Federal District Court seat.
Mr. Brownback, who has been criticized for blocking the nomination, said he would also no longer press a proposed solution he offered on Dec. 8 that garnered even more criticism: that he would remove his block if Judge Neff agreed to recuse herself from all cases involving same-sex unions.
In an interview last week, Mr. Brownback said that he still believed Judge Neff’s behavior raised serious questions about her impartiality and that he was likely to vote against her. But he said he did not realize his proposal — asking a nominee to agree in advance to remove herself from deciding a whole category of cases — was so unusual as to be possibly unprecedented. Legal scholars said it raised constitutional questions of separation of powers for a senator to demand that a judge commit to behavior on the bench in exchange for a vote.
Mr. Brownback said that he believed Judge Neff’s attendance at the 2002 ceremony merited further investigation, but that he had not meant to set any precedent with his proposal. “It was the last day of the session and I was just trying to provide some accommodation to see if we could make this thing go forward,” he said.
He said that “this is a big hot-button issue” and that Judge Neff had not made it clear that her presence at the ceremony did not mean she could not rule without bias in deciding cases involving same-sex unions. “I’d like to know more factually about what took place,” he said.
What a moron. However, if he were just a moron, this story would, sadly, be unremarkable. No, Brownback is a lunatic.
But Jude, I can hear you asking, how do you know?
Well, Jesus told us that "Ye shall know them by their fruits," and Sam Brownback hangs out with some fruit loops of the highest order.
Via Unclaimed Territory, I direct you to the story of the Family. You have got to read that article. I can't find an excerpt that will do it justice. If this shit doesn't frighten you, then you must be one of them. Brownback is a member in good standing, and there's nothing more I can say about that.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Former U.S. Detainee in Iraq Recalls Torment
By MICHAEL MOSS
One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military’s maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.
American guards arrived at the man’s cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.
The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.
Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon’s detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.
The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.
But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.
At Camp Cropper, he took notes on his imprisonment and smuggled them out in a Bible.
“Sick, very. Vomited,” he wrote July 3. The next day: “Told no more phone calls til leave.”
Nathan Ertel, the American held with Mr. Vance, brought away military records that shed further light on the detention camp and its secretive tribunals. Those records include a legal memorandum explicitly denying detainees the right to a lawyer at detention hearings to determine whether they should be released or held indefinitely, perhaps for prosecution.
The story told through those records and interviews illuminates the haphazard system of detention and prosecution that has evolved in Iraq, where detainees are often held for long periods without charges or legal representation, and where the authorities struggle to sort through the endless stream of detainees to identify those who pose real threats.
“Even Saddam Hussein had more legal counsel than I ever had,” said Mr. Vance, who said he planned to sue the former defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, on grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated. “While we were detained, we wrote a letter to the camp commandant stating that the same democratic ideals we are trying to instill in the fledgling democratic country of Iraq, from simple due process to the Magna Carta, we are absolutely, positively refusing to follow ourselves.”
A spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s detention operations in Iraq, First Lt. Lea Ann Fracasso, said in written answers to questions that the men had been “treated fair and humanely,” and that there was no record of either man complaining about their treatment.
Held as ‘a Threat’
She said officials did not reach Mr. Vance’s contact at the F.B.I. until he had been in custody for three weeks. Even so, she said, officials determined that he “posed a threat” and decided to continue holding him. He was released two months later, Lieutenant Fracasso said, based on a “subsequent re-examination of his case,” and his stated plans to leave Iraq.
Mr. Ertel, 30, a contract manager who knew Mr. Vance from an earlier job in Iraq, was released more quickly.
Mr. Vance went to Iraq in 2004, first to work for a Washington-based company. He later joined a small Baghdad-based security company where, he said, “things started looking weird to me.” He said that the company, which was protecting American reconstruction organizations, had hired guards from a sheik in Basra and that many of them turned out to be members of militias whom the clients did not want around.
Mr. Vance said the company had a growing cache of weapons it was selling to suspicious customers, including a steady flow of officials from the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The ministry had ties to violent militias and death squads. He said he had also witnessed another employee giving American soldiers liquor in exchange for bullets and weapon repairs.
On a visit to Chicago in October 2005, Mr. Vance met twice with an F.B.I. agent who set up a reporting system. Weekly, Mr. Vance phoned the agent from Iraq and sent him e-mail messages. “It was like, ‘Hey, I heard this and I saw this.’ I wanted to help,” Mr. Vance said. A government official familiar with the arrangement confirmed Mr. Vance’s account.
In April, Mr. Ertel and Mr. Vance said, they felt increasingly uncomfortable at the company. Mr. Ertel resigned and company officials seized the identification cards that both men needed to move around Iraq or leave the country.
On April 15, feeling threatened, Mr. Vance phoned the United States Embassy in Baghdad. A military rescue team rushed to the security company. Again, Mr. Vance described its operations, according to military records.
“Internee Vance indicated a large weapons cache was in the compound in the house next door,” Capt. Plymouth D. Nelson, a military detention official, wrote in a memorandum dated April 22, after the men were detained. “A search of the house and grounds revealed two large weapons caches.”
On the evening of April 15, they met with American officials at the embassy and stayed overnight. But just before dawn, they were awakened, handcuffed with zip ties and made to wear goggles with lenses covered by duct tape. Put into a Humvee, Mr. Vance said he asked for a vest and helmet, and was refused.
They were driven through dangerous Baghdad roads and eventually to Camp Cropper. They were placed in cells at Compound 5, the high-security unit where Saddam Hussein has been held.
Only days later did they receive an explanation: They had become suspects for having associated with the people Mr. Vance tried to expose.
“You have been detained for the following reasons: You work for a business entity that possessed one or more large weapons caches on its premises and may be involved in the possible distribution of these weapons to insurgent/terrorist groups,” Mr. Ertel’s detention notice said.
Mr. Vance said he began seeking help even before his cell door closed for the first time. “They took off my blindfold and earmuffs and told me to stand in a corner, where they cut off the zip ties, and told me to continue looking straight forward and as I’m doing this, I’m asking for an attorney,” he said. “ ‘I want an attorney now,’ I said, and they said, ‘Someone will be here to see you.’ ”
Instead, they were given six-digit ID numbers. The guards shortened Mr. Vance’s into something of a nickname: “343.” And the routine began.
Bread and powdered drink for breakfast and sometimes a piece of fruit. Rice and chicken for lunch and dinner. Their cells had no sinks. The showers were irregular. They got 60 minutes in the recreation yard at night, without other detainees.
Five times in the first week, guards shackled the prisoners’ hands and feet, covered their eyes, placed towels over their heads and put them in wheelchairs to be pushed to a room with a carpeted ceiling and walls. There they were questioned by an array of officials who, they said they were told, represented the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
“It’s like boom, boom, boom,” Mr. Ertel said. “They are drilling you. ‘We know you did this, you are part of this gun smuggling thing.’ And I’m saying you have it absolutely way off.”
The two men slept in their 9-by-9-foot cells on concrete slabs, with worn three-inch foam mats. With the fluorescent lights on and the temperature in the 50s, Mr. Vance said, “I paced myself to sleep, walking until I couldn’t anymore. I broke the straps on two pair of flip-flops.”
Asked about the lights, the detainee operations spokeswoman said that the camp’s policy was to turn off cell lights at night “to allow detainees to sleep.”
A Psychological Game
One day, Mr. Vance met with a camp psychologist. “He realized I was having difficulties,” Mr. Vance said. “He said to turn it into a game. He said: ‘I want you to pretend you are a soldier who has been kidnapped, and that you still have a duty to do. Memorize everything you can about everything that happens to you. Make it like you are a spy on the inside.’ I think he called it rational emotive behavioral therapy, and I started doing that.”
Camp Rule 31 barred detainees from writing on the white cell walls, which were bare except for a black crescent moon painted on one wall to indicate the direction of Mecca for prayers. But Mr. Vance began keeping track of the days by making hash marks on the wall, and he also began writing brief notes that he hid in the Bible given to him by guards.
“Turned in request for dentist + phone + embassy letter + request for clothes,” he wrote one day.
“Boards,” he wrote April 24, the day he and Mr. Ertel went before Camp Cropper’s Detainee Status Board.
Their legal rights, laid out in a letter from Lt. Col. Bradley J. Huestis of the Army, the president of the status board, allowed them to attend the hearing and testify. However, under Rule 3, the letter said, “You do not have the right to legal counsel, but you may have a personal representative assist you at the hearing if the personal representative is reasonably available.”
Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel were permitted at their hearings only because they were Americans, Lieutenant Fracasso said. The cases of all other detainees are reviewed without the detainees present, she said. In both types of cases, defense lawyers are not allowed to attend because the hearings are not criminal proceedings, she said.
Lieutenant Fracasso said that currently there were three Americans in military custody in Iraq. The military does not identify detainees.
Mr. Vance and Mr. Ertel had separate hearings. They said their requests to be each other’s personal representative had been denied.
At the hearings, a woman and two men wearing Army uniforms but no name tags or rank designations sat a table with two stacks of documents. One was about an inch thick, and the men were allowed to see some papers from that stack. The other pile was much thicker, but they were told that this pile was evidence only the board could see.
The men pleaded with the board. “I’m telling them there has been a major mix-up,” Mr. Ertel said. “Please, I’m out of my mind. I haven’t slept. I’m not eating. I’m terrified.”
Mr. Vance said he implored the board to delve into his laptop computer and cellphone for his communications with the F.B.I. agent in Chicago.
Each of the hearings lasted about two hours, and the men said they never saw the board again.
“At the end, my first question was, ‘Does my family know I’m alive?’ and the lead man said, ‘I don’t know,’ ” Mr. Vance recounted. “And then I asked when will we have an answer, and they said on average it takes three to four weeks.”
Help From the Outside
About a week later, two weeks into his detention, Mr. Vance was allowed to make his first call, to Chicago. He called his fiancée, Diane Schwarz, who told him she had thought he might have died.
“It was very overwhelming,” Ms. Schwarz recalls of the 12-minute conversation. “He wasn’t quite sure what was going on, and was kind of turning to me for answers and I was turning to him for the same.”
She had already been calling members of Congress, alarmed by his disappearance. So was Mr. Ertel’s mother, and some officials began pressing for answers. “I would appreciate your looking into this matter,” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois wrote to a State Department official in early May.
On May 7, the Camp Cropper detention board met again, without either man present, and determined that Mr. Ertel was “an innocent civilian,” according to the spokeswoman for detention operations. It took authorities 18 more days to release him.
Mr. Vance’s situation was more complicated. On June 17, Lt. Col. Keir-Kevin Curry, a spokesman for the American military’s detention unit, Task Force 134, wrote to tell Ms. Schwarz that Mr. Vance was still being held. “The detainee board reviewed his case and recommended he remain interned,” he wrote. “Multi-National Force-Iraq approved the board’s recommendation to continue internment. Therefore, Mr. Vance continues to be a security detainee. We are not processing him for release. His case remains under investigation and there is no set timetable for completion.” Over the following weeks, Mr. Vance said he made numerous written requests — for a lawyer, for blankets, for paper to write letters home. Mr. Vance said that he wrote 10 letters to Ms. Schwarz, but that only one made it to Chicago. Dated July 17, it was delivered late last month by the Red Cross.
“Diana, start talking, sending e-mail and letters and faxes to the alderman, mayor, governor, congressman, senators, Red Cross, Amnesty International, A.C.L.U., Vatican, and other Christian-based organizations. Everyone!” he wrote. “I am missing you so much, and am so depressed it’s a daily struggle here. My life is in your hands. Please don’t get discouraged. Don’t take ‘No’ for answers. Keep working. I have to tell myself these things every day, but I can’t do anything from a cell.”
The military has never explained why it continued to consider Mr. Vance a security threat, except to say that officials decided to release him after further review of his case.
“Treating an American citizen in this fashion would have been unimaginable before 9/11,” said Mike Kanovitz, a Chicago lawyer representing Mr. Vance.
On July 20, Mr. Vance wrote in his notes: “Told ‘Leaving Today.’ Took shower and shaved, saw doctor, got civ clothes back and passport.”
On his way out, Mr. Vance said: “They asked me if I was intending to write a book, would I talk to the press, would I be thinking of getting an attorney. I took it as, ‘Shut up, don’t talk about this place,’ and I kept saying, ‘No sir, I want to go home.’ ”
Mr. Ertel has returned to Baghdad, again working as a contracts manager. Mr. Vance is back in Chicago, still feeling the effects of having been a prisoner of the war in Iraq.
“It’s really hard,” he says. “I don’t really talk about this stuff with my family. I feel ashamed, depressed, still have nightmares, and I’d even say I suffer from some paranoia.”
Yes, Mickey hate you.
When James Worley paid a visit to Disney World in Florida his portly frame and white beard soon had kids asking: "Are you Santa Claus?"Fuck Disney, and fuck Mickey too. I hate Santa Claus bullshit, but this is ridiculous. Disney owns Santa Claus? Since fucking when?
Not wanting to disappoint, Mr Worley, 60, played along with some "ho-ho-hos".
But Disney officials descended, telling him to stop the impersonation or get out of the park. They said they wanted to preserve the magic of Santa.
Mr Worley took off his red hat and red shirt but said: "I look this way 24/7, 365 days a year. This is me."
Even after bowing to the request to alter his appearance, Mr Worley, from Tampa, said children continued to ask if he was Santa.
"How do you tell a little kid, 'No, go away, little kid'," Mr Worley told local television.
He said Disney had told him "Santa was considered a Disney character".
I shouldn't be surprised that they'd say such a thing, though. Their whole scheme for years has been to appropriate public-domain figures as their own, prevent anyone else from using them, and then make a shitload of money off of, say, Grimm's fairy tale characters.
Fuck Disney. I hope Mickey carries the plague.
Labels: General stupidity
Saturday, December 16, 2006
I meant to put something up about this yesterday, but other things took up my time.
Ahmet Ertegun, legendary record producer, died Thursday. The man founded Atlantic Records, and produced some of the greatest singles in the 20th century. He just had an ear. Ray Charles, the Drifters, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Professor Longhair, Led Zeppelin, Dr. John, the list goes on. He also partnered with Stax Records in the 1960's. And I don't need to tell you how great Stax Records' artists were.
Here are some great Ertegun-produced tracks. He even wrote "Mess Around." The track that says "Go to the Mardi Gras" is "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" by Professor Longhair. Enjoy!
Here's the story.
The US government has been in the process of building fences along the US-Mexican border.
To keep out illegal immigrants.
So they contract the work out to private companies.
Some of whom hire illegal immigrants to do the work.
I promise you, I am not making this up.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Was Keely Smith whacked out of her mind here, or what?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Honestly, the right wing religious types are really, really losing it.
A devil food is turning our kids into homosexualsWow.
There's a slow poison out there that's severely damaging our children and threatening to tear apart our culture. The ironic part is, it's a "health food," one of our most popular.
Now, I'm a health-food guy, a fanatic who seldom allows anything into his kitchen unless it's organic. I state my bias here just so you'll know I'm not anti-health food.
The dangerous food I'm speaking of is soy. Soybean products are feminizing, and they're all over the place. You can hardly escape them anymore.
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.
Doctors used to hope soy would reduce hot flashes, prevent cancer and heart disease, and save millions in the Third World from starvation. That was before they knew much about long-term soy use. Now we know it's a classic example of a cure that's worse than the disease. For example, if your baby gets colic from cow's milk, do you switch him to soy milk? Don't even think about it. His phytoestrogen level will jump to 20 times normal. If he is a she, brace yourself for watching her reach menarche as young as seven, robbing her of years of childhood. If he is a boy, it's far worse: He may not reach puberty till much later than normal.
This douche needs a nice, long rest somewhere.
Link found at TBogg's.
Too much soy makes your penis small and makes you gay? Methinks Mr. Rutz (I'll pass on the gratuitous commentary on his name) hasn't seen many gay guys sans breeches. He might have to reconsider his theory.
Here's something classy for you today: Yundi Li playing Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 2.
I like how, just before his fingers touch the keys, some shmo in the audience says "You're the man, Yundi."
I think Leopold Stokowski would've killed someone with his baton if anything similar had happened to him.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Christ. What the fuck is this all about?
Gay and Evangelical, Seeking AcceptanceEvangelicals are the public face of homophobia in America. They elevate the "sin" of homosexuality above pretty much all others (save abortion). You know, irrespective of the fact that, according to other Protestant teachings, sin is sin is sin, and it doesn't matter which sin you commit--they're all an affront to god. Homosexuality (assuming, as most evangelicals do, that such behavior is a sin), according to all the Protestant theology of which I'm aware, is no more distasteful to god than, say, lying. Or murder. Or adultery. But evangelical rhetoric conveniently ignores that, and goes after homosexuals with a
By NEELA BANERJEE
Published: December 12, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. — Justin Lee believes that the Virgin birth was real, that there is a heaven and a hell, that salvation comes through Christ alone and that he, the 29-year-old son of Southern Baptists, is an evangelical Christian.
Just as he is certain about the tenets of his faith, Mr. Lee also knows he is gay, that he did not choose it and cannot change it.
To many people, Mr. Lee is a walking contradiction, and most evangelicals and gay people alike consider Christians like him horribly deluded about their faith. “I’ve gotten hate mail from both sides,” said Mr. Lee, who runs gaychristian.net, a Web site with 4,700 registered users that mostly attracts gay evangelicals.
The difficulty some evangelicals have in coping with same-sex attraction was thrown into relief on Sunday when the pastor of a Denver megachurch, the Rev. Paul Barnes, resigned after confessing to having sex with men. Mr. Barnes said he had often cried himself to sleep, begging God to end his attraction to men.
His departure followed by only a few weeks that of the Rev. Ted Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and the pastor of a Colorado Springs megachurch, after a male prostitute said that Mr. Haggard had had a relationship with him for three years.
Though he did not publicly admit to the relationship, in a letter to his congregation, Mr. Haggard said that he was “guilty of sexual immorality” and that he had struggled all his life with impulses he called “repulsive and dark.”
While debates over homosexuality have roiled many Christian and Jewish congregations, gay evangelicals come from a tradition whose leaders have led the fight against greater acceptance of homosexuals.
Gay evangelicals seem to have few paths carved out for them: they can leave religion behind; they can turn to theologically liberal congregations that often differ from the tradition they grew up in; or they can enter programs to try to change their behavior, even their orientation, through prayer and support.
But as gay men and lesbians grapple with their sexuality and an evangelical upbringing they cherish, some have come to accept both. And like other Christians who are trying to broaden the definition of evangelical to include other, though less charged, concerns like the environment and AIDS, gay evangelicals are trying to expand the understanding of evangelical to include them, too.
“A lot of people are freaked out because their only exposure to evangelicalism was a bad one, and a lot ask, ‘Why would you want to be part of a group that doesn’t like you very much?’ ” Mr. Lee said. “But it’s not about membership in groups. It’s about what I believe. Just because some people who believe the same things I do aren’t very loving doesn’t mean I stop believing what I do.”
The most well-known gay evangelical may be the Rev. Mel White, a former seminary professor and ghostwriter for the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Mr. White, who came out publicly in 1993, helped found Soulforce, a group that challenges Christian denominations and other institutions regarding their stance on homosexuality.
But over the last 30 years, rather than push for change, gay evangelicals have mostly created organizations where they are accepted.
Members of Evangelicals Concerned, founded in 1975 by a therapist from New York, Ralph Blair, worship in cities including Denver, New York and Seattle. Web sites have emerged, like Christianlesbians.com and Mr. Lee’s gaychristian.net, whose members include gay people struggling with coming out, those who lead celibate lives and those in relationships.
Justin Cannon, 22, a seminarian who grew up in a conservative Episcopal parish in Michigan, started two Web sites, including an Internet dating site for gay Christians.
“About 90 percent of the profiles say ‘Looking for someone with whom I can share my faith and that it would be a central part of our relationship,’ ” Mr. Cannon said, “so not just a life partner but someone with whom they can connect spiritually.”
But for most evangelicals, gay men and lesbians cannot truly be considered Christian, let alone evangelical.
“If by gay evangelical is meant someone who claims both to abide by the authority of Scripture and to engage in a self-affirming manner in homosexual unions, then the concept gay evangelical is a contradiction,” Robert A. J. Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said in an e-mail message.
“Scripture clearly, pervasively, strongly, absolutely and counterculturally opposes all homosexual practice,” Dr. Gagnon said. “I trust that gay evangelicals would argue otherwise, but Christian proponents of homosexual practice have not made their case from Scripture.”
In fact, both sides look to Scripture. The debate is largely over seven passages in the Bible about same-sex couplings. Mr. Gagnon and other traditionalists say those passages unequivocally condemn same-sex couplings.
Those who advocate acceptance of gay people assert that the passages have to do with acts in the context of idolatry, prostitution or violence. The Bible, they argue, says nothing about homosexuality as it is largely understood today as an enduring orientation, or about committed long-term, same-sex relationships.
And these people think they're going to be accepted by most evangelicals? Homophobia (again, along with abortion) is the goddamn sine qua non of political evangelicalism. That's what gets the religious right base all fired up to go vote, and to pray for "proper" judicial appointments, and to open their fuckin' wallets--the deep desire to keep dicks out of asses.
If you spend thirty minutes listening to Christian radio, you are guaranteed to hear something about the Evils of Teh Gay. This shit isn't going to change anytime soon. I'm glad that these individuals are making their stand, but the mountain's gonna come to Mohammed before the bulk of US evangelicals change their mind about homosexuality.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Click on this photo to enlarge it. Sure, it looks like a standard Bush family portrait, and you can say a lot about what a slap in the face this picture is to American ideals.
But check out the President's shoes.
That's right. He's got the Presidential seal on his goddamn boots.
Kee-rist. We've got two more years of dealing with this fake-ass cowboy. That's a long, long time.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Ok so maybe I've had a glass of wine and I shouldn't be blogging. But Bill O'Reilly is a Penis. This is something I meant to address last week, but never got the chance, so now I'm a week late, I have no link and you have to take my word for it.
I can't find a link at the moment, so if someone else does, drop it in the comments, but Bill decided to talk about charities last week. He mentioned that religious people donate 4 times as much to charity as atheists. Wow. What a statistic.
He did not address, however, whether this amount donated to "charity" included amounts donated to CHURCH! Obviously Christians and religious people donate tons to "charity" because that includes donations that support and perpetuate the teaching and sustaining of religion and has nothing to do with actually contributing aid and real charity to society.
Of course, Bill never addressed this issue, instead attributing the disparity to the fact that "secularists" want the government to provide aid, while reasonable religious people understand the importance of independant charitable organizations in fighting poverty and addressing social needs without government intervention. I'm pretty sure that at least 75% of my offerings to church go to sustaining the religous organization, paying for ministers salaries, cantors, etc. It has nothing to do with soup kitchens, homeless shelters and the like.
So Bill, lets look at a real study controlling for donations which contribute zero to social ills and see if the religous still donate less. No spin my ass. Fucker.
For the first time EVER I won't be in the fantasy football playoffs. Instead I'll be rooting for spoon holding it down in Beantown, to beat Jude and all the rest of the Badgers.
In the meantime I'm watching The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Which certainly lives up to its name.
It's Pearl Harbor day. For what is probably the final time, survivors of the attack are congregating to mark the occasion.
Here's the USS Arizona prior to the attack:
Here she is after her forward magazines exploded:
Finally, here she is today:
For what is still the best account of the Pearl Harbor attack, read this book.
Wikipedia has a surprisingly thorough and accurate entry, if you don't feel like picking up a whole book. And National Geographic has a good multimedia presentation you can find here, if you're interested.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What is the sound of one hand slapping the shit out of Ann Althouse?
I can't believe this moron is a tenured law professor. Padilla could've been blinking in fucking code? He ain't Jerry Denton, and he's not being put on TV. He was videotaped by the goddamn guards, not by a news crew. It was for internal use, not broadcast. And that shit was in May. May!
If you're unfamiliar with what this is all about, look here.
If you're a normal human, you'll be disgusted by what's going on. If you're Ann Althouse, who is supposed to teach Constitutional Law, you'll come up with excuses for why this unecessary bullshit might possibly be justified, if you squint really hard with one eye closed and turn around clockwise four times on the Winter Solstice.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Oddly enough, this story doesn't come from Florida.
Child Arrested After Opening Holiday Gift Early
What is the penalty for opening your Christmas presents too early?
For one South Carolina 12-year-old, the penalty was arrest.
A Rock Hill, S.C., woman called police and asked them to arrest her son who opened a Christmas present early after being told not to, the Rock Hill Herald reported. Police went to the house and arrested the boy and charged him with petty larceny.
The paper reported that the boy's great-grandmother had specifically told him not to open his present, which contained a Nintendo Game Boy Advance. It was wrapped and lying under the Christmas tree, the police report stated.
But on Sunday morning, the gift was unwrapped and the box was empty. So when the boy's mother found out, she alerted police, the paper reported.
"He took it without permission. He wanted it. He just took it," the 63-year-old great-grandmother told the Herald.
The women said that the boy lied to them at first, saying he was unaware of where the video game system was. After threat of calling the police, the boy apparently gave the toy back to his mother, the paper reported. But the upset mother called police anyway.
Two officers responded and charged the child as a juvenile with petty larceny, although he was not jailed.
The mother told the Herald that she didn't know what else to do with her son, so she called police. The paper reported she is a single mother and has been struggling with constant behavior problems from the boy. She said her son still showed no remorse when the police came.
"I'm trying to get him some kind of help," the 27-year-old mother told the paper. "He's the type of kid who doesn't believe anything until it happens."
She said he has shoplifted, stolen money from her, punched a police officer and is nearing expulsion from school. She told the paper that she hopes this arrest will be a wake-up call for her son, because she worries about getting a call someday telling her he's been killed.
The mother plans to have her son placed with the state Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia at his court appearance, the Herald reported.
For the record, South Carolina's really fucked up, too.
Did you notice this? "...the 63-year-old great-grandmother..."
That's right. A 63-year-old great-grandmother. Of a twelve-year-old. Jeezus.
Also, if the kid is such a li'l bastard, why get him a goddamn personal video game system? I'll bet there are some happy goddam holidays around that house.
Thanks to Errol for this jacked-up-ass story.
Why not check out Denmark Vesey? He's relatively new, and it's a good read. Also, there's a permanent link over to the right, under "Blogs and Such." It's "Quiet As It's Kept."
Monday, December 04, 2006
Not that many of you care, but it looks like I'm going to beat Nabil's ass for a second time at fake football this year. I doubt that the Carolina D can score 30 points, so I'm gonna start the gloating now.
Here's an artist's rendering of what happens when I take on Nabil:
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Just when you thought he couldn't get any sleazier, here's the fat junkie sharing his deep insight into women.
From the November 30 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:Wow. There's a lot of hostility toward women evident in that statement. Angry much, Rusty? Maybe you shouldn't blame women for not liking you very much. You know, take personal responsibility for it, rugged individualism, and all that.
LIMBAUGH: My cat -- here's how you can get fooled. My cat comes to me when she wants to be fed. I have learned this. I accept it for what it is. Many people in my position would think my cat's coming to me because she loves me. Well, she likes me, and she is attached, but she comes to me when she wants to be fed. And after I feed her -- guess what -- she's off to wherever she wants to be in the house, until the next time she gets hungry. She's smart enough to know she can't feed herself. She's actually a very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn't have to do anything for it, which is why I say this cat's taught me more about women, than anything my whole life. But we put voices in their mouths.
And, if you feel that maybe you're just not that into women, that's okay. Just don't trash them for not falling for the full court Rush press (I think I just threw up a little in my mouth).
Anyway, should you find that you need to get in touch with your feelings toward men, Mr. October will always be there to help you:
Friday, December 01, 2006
Here's something from the NY Times about the effects of the end Permian period mass extinction on the complexity of marine life.
[N]ew research suggests that [the mass extinction] was followed by an explosion of complexity in marine life, one that has persisted ever since.I know, I know. The Dimetrodon was not a marine life form. But damn, they look cool.
Moreover, it happened quite suddenly, according to the study, which was led by scientists at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and published in the current issue of the journal Science. The shift to complicated, interrelated ecosystems was more like a flip of a switch than a slow trend.
The researchers detected the change by analyzing records of marine fossils from 1,176 sites around the world, which are part of a new international archive, the Paleobiology Database (pbdb.org).
They found that marine life before the biggest global die-off, the Permo-Triassic extinction, was evenly split into two types of communities: simple ones, in which most species were anchored in place and got by without interacting with neighbors (like eating them or being eaten by them), and complex ones, with many interrelationships.
But since then, complex communities filled with grazers, scavengers, predators, burrowers and other mobile creatures have been three times as common as simple ones, said Peter J. Wagner, the lead author of the study.
The shift essentially took the oceans from a norm in which anchored (or sessile) creatures, including brachiopods and sea lilies, filtered food carried in currents to one dominated by roaming (or motile) fauna like snails, urchins and crabs.
Dr. Wagner said it was not clear why this particular extinction spasm had this permanent effect on the character of communities, while others did not.
A 2002 study led by Richard K. Bambach, an emeritus professor at Virginia Tech, found the general shift to a higher abundance of motile fauna from the early Triassic Period onward, but it did not examine patterns in individual communities.
But Dr. Wagner said motility was an enduring characteristic of the more variegated biological webs.
“The increased diversity of mobile species would have contributed to more complex ecological communities,” he said. “With sessile guys, everybody is just living next to one another and that’s it. With mobility and higher metabolism, you bump into each other more often, both literally and figuratively, and you end up with a greater number of potential interactions.”
The end Permian extinction was the most significant one in the history of life on Earth. The dinosaur mass extinction (end Cretaceous) was chump change in comparison.
And when are we due for another mass extinction?
Don't look now, but we're in the middle of it. And guess what else? We're the cause! Woo hoo! Go humans!