Saturday, February 25, 2006

Droit Du Seigneur

slacktivist tells the tale:
The cost for residential heating oil is still well above what it was last year -- which is a source of real hardship for many Americans this winter. And they're not getting any help from Congress, which still isn't funding LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, at a level that would allow all families that qualify to receive assistance. ...

Venezuela's Citgo Petroleum Corp. is offering heating oil at a 40 percent discount to low-income families throughout the American Northeast. ...

Citgo is being investigated by the GOP Congress for helping low-income American families. Joe Barton seems to think launching such an investigation -- trying to stop, or at least interfere with, such assistance -- is his job as a member of Congress.

Meet Our New Stevedores

Blue Gal reports:
Number one is we don't have to worry about any actual citizen of Dubai working at one of our ports. They don't work. Work is for Pakistanis and East Indians, who are shipped into Dubai to do the work. Dubai citizens shop, because they have lots of money to shop with. There's a reason Calvin Klein opened a private boutique in Dubai. He can make money there. Lots of it. ...

So I don't think we have to worry about any Dubai war on Christmas.

The First One Falls....

Molly Saves the Day is there to help, with For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual.
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
--Arthur C. Clarke, "The Nine Billion Names of God"
Now there are only 49 left....

Insider Trading

Lambert at CorrenteWire thinks someone knows something:
Maybe Bush is selling the ports because he expects to lose them? ... Yeah, that's the ticket. Get the cash to the Caryle [sic] Group now while the price is high. 'Cause it's hard to sell off a port when it's radioactive...

Please DO Let The Door Hit You

My grandfather used to say the only way he would ever agree to be President of the U.S. was if you threatened to make him Mayor of New York instead. I think we've found a way to make him willing to move into Gracie Mansion. Tell him otherwise he'll be President of Harvard, and if he totally messes up and gets deservedly kicked out he'll be defended by people like the target of Doghouse Riley's skewering at Grade Inflation:
I grant you that Townhall's readers have no interest in accuracy, let alone complex explanations to life's little differences of opinion, and no doubt Benji knows his audience. But sheesh, kiddo, unless you're planning to become Attorney General after you graduate, you're gonna have to deal with somebody's else's version of the facts someday.

With An Unarmed Person

Trish Wilson makes a point:
In another example of "Studies Whose Results I Pulled Out Of My Ass", some "people" who took a survey believe that larger breast sizes correlates to lower IQ. ... I am between a C-cup and a D-cup, depending on the brand of bra. I ain't stupid. I don't recall my specific grade point average, but it was high. I was also in a gifted and talented program in high school. I alone prove that the impressions "people" have of women based on their breast sizes is completely fabricated.
A mad professor takes a larger view:
Warum ich Einiges mehr weiss? Warum ich überhaupt so klug bin? Ich habe nie über Fragen nachgedacht, die keine sind,—ich habe mich nicht verschwendet.

Revelation 3:16

Jane Hamsher is angry about being taken for a sap:
South Dakota has now passed legislation making it illegal for a woman to have an abortion even in the case of rape or incest. It's a law perfectly timed to test the new Supreme Court now that Samuel Alito has joined their ranks. How exactly did we get to this place?

Ask Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

They sat back, bilked their membership like an ATM then didn't show up to fight Alito's confirmation, frolicking in their mountain of hoarded cash even as they pissed and moaned. Worse yet, afterwards they told their members to thank those in the Senate -- like Joe Lieberman -- who cast their votes to let this happen.

Daniel 5:27

R. J. Eskow takes a holiday from his usual bashing of the Democratic establishment to hurl angry calculations about the frequency of Muslim terrorists at the eminently bashable unholy duo of Alan Dershowitz and Bill Bennett in Muslim Haters, Fun With Numbers, and Sex With Animals. Unfortunately, he destroys his own numeric credibility by adding this attempt at humor:
Wherever they live or whatever they believe, though, most people have sex with other people - which, we've learned, is 400 times more satisfying then [sic], uh, sex by yourself.
Sadly for his repute, the link says:
Surprisingly, after orgasm from sexual intercourse, the increase in blood prolactin levels is 400 per cent higher in both sexes compared with after orgasm from masturbation (Biological Psychology, vol 71, p 312).
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't that mean four times, not 400 times?

A Machoist Proposal

I have been inspired by this news item:
A pair of deer died in a northern Indiana pond after their antlers were locked during combat. ... "They broke through the ice," Bessinger said of the bucks. "Their horns was locked and they stumbled down to the pond and the ice broke through and they drowned." ...

The antlers would have to be cut or broken to be separated. Bessinger is having them mounted in their fighting posture and plans to exhibit them at the wildlife park.
Now with the wonders we're hearing about the possibilities of gene therapy, how about whipping up a batch that will make George W. and Osama Bin both grow great big sets of deer antlers on their heads? Then we can pit them against each other in a steel cage death match. Gasp in awe at the worldwide ratings! Think of the fortune in pay-per-view profits! And finally, at least one of them will be eliminated -- and with luck, we'll never have to deal with either one again.

Hollywrong Rears Its Head

Those conservatives who doubted that the deal allowing US port facilities to be controlled by a Dubai company would be safe can now pat themselves on the back. The final evidence is in of just how horribly anti-American that firm must be. Just look at who those vicious monsters have hired as a spokesman:
A DP World executive said the company would agree to tougher security restrictions to win congressional support only if the same restrictions applied to all U.S. port operators. ... "Security is everybody's business," senior vice president Michael Moore told The Associated Press. ..."But anything we can do, any way to improve security, should apply to everybody equally."
If you wouldn't want your children to sit in a darkened theatre watching this bloated leftist's disingenuous propaganda, how can you trust him to check cargo containers for dirty bombs? Oh, it's clearly an insidious plot by the Axle of Evil!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lessons In Politics

Over and over again I've seen it happen: a good candidate relies on mere ads and endorsements, but loses badly to a seemingly less notable person, just because that opponent gets out and works their tail off. Phone, walk, mail: the basis of GOTV, or Get Out The Vote activities. Even total unknowns can beat the front-runners if they will only campaign hard and ask for their votes.

It works on the web, too. A certain fright-wing site is running an on-line poll for the worst college professor in America, meaning, to them, the most dangerous leftist on campus. Just guess who they'd pick. Noam Chomsky, fierce opponent of US military policy since the sixties? Nope, as I write he's only tied for 18th place (at a mere 680 votes) with Howard Zinn of the People's History. Ward Churchill, with his criticism of people killed in the 9/11 attacks? Oh no, he's even further down at 20th with only 434. The one on top is probably not someone you would have thought of in the first dozen tries: Michael Bérubé of Penn State. In fact, he now has the gigantic total of 159,545 votes (while the also-ran in second is behind by over 70,000).

How on earth did this cheval noir run up such an incredible lead? By GOTV. Unlike his competitors, he is actually campaigning, asking for votes, to seize this title and (presumably) claim the prize in a scathing and hilarious acceptance posting on his blog. His appeal for support is at Citius, altius, fortius. He's also been endorsed by the usual suspects you would predict, such as World O'Crap at The Worst Professor Ever!, Sisyphus Shrugged at hee, and Sadly, No! at On a Happier Note... Add me to his supporter list as well, just so I'll get to read that victory rant. Vote early and often!! Accent marks über alles!!

Creative Destruction

If an Ohio lawmaker's proposal becomes state law, Republicans would be barred from being adoptive parents. State Sen. Robert Hagan sent out e-mails to fellow lawmakers late Wednesday night, stating that he intends to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents." ...

Hagan said his "tongue was planted firmly in cheek" when he drafted the proposed legislation. However, Hagan said that the point he is trying to make is nonetheless very serious. Hagan said his legislation was written in response to a bill introduced in the Ohio House this month by state Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, that is aimed at prohibiting gay adoption. ...

To further lampoon Hood's bill, Hagan wrote in his mock proposal that "credible research" shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."

However, Hagan admitted that he has no scientific evidence to support the above claims. Just as "Hood had no scientific evidence" to back his assertion that having gay parents was detrimental to children, Hagan said.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Counting Chromosomes

Shakespeare's Sister is excited by some Presidential remarks:
"Roof makers will one day be able to make a solar roof that protects you from the elements and at the same time, powers your house," Bush said.
Wow! Are you telling me that “roof makers” might someday be able to harness the power of the sun using solid matter? That’s fucking amazing! I had no idea that the roof of my childhood friend Susie’s house, which was covered by solar panels by her science teacher dad 30 years ago, wasn’t actually able to protect them from the rain and snow all these years! You’d think I would have noticed how we weren’t protected from the elements any one of the nine gazillion times I spent the night at her house, but silly old me, I never did. It’s probably because I’m a girl, and girls are bad at sciencifying and stuff.

Aggression Ad Ignorantiam

Jorge Hirsch writes:
The U.S. has declared that Iran will not be allowed to have a "nuclear weapons capability." How? Perhaps the CIA will supply Iran with misleading documents indicating that E=m²c rather than E=mc²?

Skating Away

Silly doubters, we all should have known that Our Noble Lame Duck really understood the big picture and was looking out for us all. Global warming? Don't you see, we had to bring that about. Not to open lots of new uphill real estate markets, but to plug a natural loophole that allows unstopped border crossings, i.e. smuggling. The G.G.W. told us yesterday:
For the first time that anyone in Put-in-Bay could remember, the Great Lakes were ice-free in the middle of winter. Even Lake Erie, the shallowest of the five lakes and usually the first to freeze over, was clear.

"There's essentially no ice at all," said George Leshkevich, a scientist who has studied Great Lakes ice for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, since 1973. "I've never seen that."

The unusually warm weather has upset the routine for hundreds of people who live year-round on islands in Lake Erie. ...

Once the lake freezes, islanders organize impromptu ice rallies. Families gather to drink hot wine and race all-terrain vehicles across the lake. ...

"We'll drive across the lake to Canada, have a cocktail, then turn around and come home," says Kendra Koehler, editor of the monthly Put-in-Bay Gazette.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Naval Observatory Blues, or, My Aim Is Truthy

"Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, accidentally shot a man in the face with a shotgun while hunting for quail on a Texas ranch."

(With apologies to Johnny Cash and John Nance Garner.)

I watch his plane at landing.
He's waving out the port.
He's unaware as always
How his time is short.
Right now I'm still a bucket,
Full of old warm piss,
But that plane holds the power
That damn fool thinks is his.

When I was still a student
We heard the prez was gone.
Rumors first were saying
A hunting trip gone wrong.
So I shot a man in Texas
Just to test my aim.
But that time was only birdshot.
This load is not the same.

I hear Fox News is sayin'
That he saved us all from doom.
The sycophants are swayin'
'Cause he raised them up from gloom.
Well I know that I asked for it.
I picked me for this spot;
But that moron thinks he runs things --
That's why I'll take my shot.

So when we have to end this hunt trip,
And when Air Force One is mine,
My wife will write new textbooks
And then it's my name that will shine.
No more second fiddle --
I won't be undisclosed.
And I'll ride that great big airplane
Bombing all my foes.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Karma Reptilian

Spotted by Attaturk, more proof there really IS a Goddess:
Lawyers for a death row inmate, including former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, sent fake letters from jurors asking California’s governor to spare the man’s life, prosecutors said Friday.

The jurors denied they thought Michael Morales deserved clemency because some of the testimony at his trial may have been fabricated, said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

“We showed each person the declaration on their behalf and they all said they didn’t say that,” Barankin said.

Slick As A Brick

Always fantasizing about an Edenic past, The Telegraph is consistent about figure skating:
Whatever happened to ice-skating? You have to be over 35 now to have much memory of those heady 1980s when Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were hardly off television, turning the winning of Olympic medals into experiences of unspeakable delight. You have to be over 45 to remember the greatest ice artist of all, John Curry.... Curry made enemies when he went beyond merely demonstrating that skating could be an art, and started talking about it, incorporating routines by classical ballet choreographers into his work. ...

The new points system aims zealously towards transparent and unemotional appraisal. Points pile up for each and every move, for their inherent difficulty and for the executor's skill. "Artistic" questions are marked in terms of whether, say, a skater is "in time" with the music or not, and costumes must be eye-catching. A step-by-step print-out proves to each skater the minutiae of the judging (including objective scoring of their dress sense, one supposes). Whether this favours stunt-quantity or quality we can see at the Turin Olympics ... judges will have to be wizard arithmeticians, handling, say, 200 points in a five-minute routine.... To me this system sounds practically Soviet in its ruthless suppression of individuality. ...

Dean told me once: "The beautiful thing about skating is that you can take a pose and move it in space, make it endless, then turn it into something else." The modern dance choreographer Twyla Tharp, who choreographed for Curry, found that "[skating] is a different and wonderful medium in its own right. Ice can be as beautiful, moving and meaningful as you want to make it." Tell that to the Olympic judges.
Even those wearing ideological blinders can be correct sometimes, and this may be their first token moment of accuracy for the year. I love figure skating, and was disgusted at the open dishonesty in the old Ice Dance "judging", but this ongoing effort to be more "objective" turns the choreographers into calculating machines. Like so many Tin Men from Oz, they "could be kind of human" if they "only had a heart".

By contrast, Curry, who had the sense to use my favorite modern choreographer, once was observed by a writer meeting a possible new skating student. He gave his own kind of test to the child. He said "Show me something beautiful." I wish he were still with us in Torino.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I Am Not A Number

Mathematician John Allen calculates:
The volume of the information generated by them would make it essentially impossible to follow up on the "leads" generated. There isn't the manpower to investigate more than a tiny fraction of them in real time.

Yet another problem is the perennial problem of false positives....

For illustration, let's further assume that one out of a million American residents has terrorist ties — that's approximately 300 people — and the profile will pick out 99 percent, or 297 of them. Great. But what of the approximately 300 million innocent Americans? The profile will also pick out 1 percent of them, "only" 3 million false positives, innocent people who will be caught up in a Kafkaesque dragnet.
And I would add further that if the process is 99.9% effective, that still leave 300,000 falsely accused. Even 99.99% leaves 30,000 innocent people hauled off to Guantanamo, strapped down, and force fed with tubes down their throat when they shout out they've done nothing wrong. That's still ten times the number supposedly killed on 9/11.

Does anyone think those victims would ever be set free to tell their fellow citizens how they were treated?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Divertissement Deux

A few more interesting notes from recent reading:
On the backstretch early each morning men guided teams of horses on circuits of the barns, shoveling the mucked-out manure into wagons and driving the teams up the hill behind the backstretch, where they would dump it. The pile had been accumulating since 1917, and because the city received little rain to wash it down, it was enormous. ...

Sometime in the late 1920s, after extraordinarily heavy rains, swollen streams running off the nearby mountains backed up into a ravine, then exploded over the banks. Howling through Tijuana, the wall of water crashed into the racetrack, hurling houses, barns, and bridges along with it.

... the irresistible force of the flood met the immovable object of the manure pile. The water won. The mound, a marvel of solidity for a decade, was uprooted whole and began to shudder along in one murderous mass. It rolled over the San Diego and Arizona railroad tracks that fed the racetrack, tearing them out. Moving as if animated with destructive desire, it gurgled down the backstretch, banked around the far turn, bore out in the homestretch, and mowed down the grandstand. It made a beeline for the Monte Carlo Casino, crashing straight through its walls and cracking it wide open. Then, like a mighty shit Godzilla, it slid out to sea and vanished.
--Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit
(The book is much better than the movie, partly for the fascinating sidelights such as this.)
You might sometimes see a mother dancing behind a casket containing the body of her own dead son, with tears of grief running down her face. Most funeral traditions in our society are there to remind us that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. In New Orleans the funerals remind us that Life is bigger than any individual life, and it will roll on, and for the short time that your individual life joins the big stream of Life, cut some decent steps, for god's sake. ...

They say nothing lasts forever, but how, one might ask, do they know? ...

The "underprivileged" people of New Orleans spun a culture out of their lives -- a music, a cuisine, a sense of life -- that has been recognized around the world as a transforming spiritual force. Out of those pitifully small incomes and crumbling houses, and hard, long days and nights of work came a staggering Yes, an affirmation of life -- their lives, Life itself -- in defiance of a world that told them in as many ways as it could find that they were, you know, dispensable.
--Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters
(A delightful book for his gushing memories of food and fun in his adopted home, but the essence of his argument is above: one you will either feel or not, and which will not convince you if you lack breadth of soul or a sense of joy.)
Whether I liked it or not this was determined by those who carried guns. He who carries a gun always has the right to give orders, and the one who has no gun always has the damn duty to obey. And that has been the law since that memorable day when the archangel Gabriel with his flaming sword in hand chased two naked people out of the Lord's vegetable garden. Had they had a machine gun, everything would have turned out entirely different and giving orders or obeying them would have taken a different road. ...

Of course I knew quite well that a real doctor would have done everything I did entirely differently. For that reason he has a license and a partnership in an undertaker's establishment.
--B. Traven, "Midnight Call", in The Night Visitor and Other Stories
(Fascinating tales, two of "magical realism" and the others of the plain old cynical realist variety, from an author I hadn't read before but certainly will explore more of.)

What He Said

TBogg makes a generous offer:
If it will make the folks on the right feel any better about people not acting WASPY enough at funerals, I will gladly volunteer to appear at any one of their funerals to stand up and applaud. I'll even pay my own way.

I think this is very white of me.

Unintended Consequences

Fafnir works it out:
"When Mohammed goes missin his mom can't put his face on a milk carton," says me.
"Instead of a photo she gives the police a collection of ornate arabesques," says Giblets. "The resulting tri-county search for lost and wayward calligraphy is slow and inefficient at best."

On The Scale Of Horror

Shakespeare's Sister rants:
Of course, the whole point of the story is not that Nia's madness was beautiful; it's that she was. And that when the effective antipsychotic drug with which she was treated made her gain weight, she suddenly wasn't beautiful anymore. Nia didn't care; she was just happy to be well again. But everyone else around her, including her doctors, were fretting endlessly about her having to give up her beauty for her sanity. So much so, that they took her off the drug and replaced it with a different one that didn’t have weight gain as a side effect. When she slipped back into psychosis, only reluctantly did they put her back on the original drug. ...

Give me a fucking break. The girl went from standing for five hours, not moving a muscle, to mental healthfulness. Perhaps the most devastating part of this article is the final salvo, in which her newfound sanity is actually questioned because she doesn't care that she's fat.

The Founding Falters

Attytood corrects history:
In a related development, the president also revealed for the first time that a crude device invented by Benjamin Franklin using lightning-generated electricity had picked up Redcoat "chatter" in 1778, thwarting a sneak attack on Valley Forge that would have utilized so-called "dirty cannonballs."

We Didn't Start The Pyre

Altmouse advises:
But I would sternly warn gays not to make a big partisan stink about the "Brokebutt" jokes. That would be very dorky and not cool or hip, because right now the Muslim world is incensed by cartoons that appeared in a Danish newspaper. The connection between the two phenomena is crystal clear. Nobody wants to see gay Wyoming cowboys burning down the Danish embassy in Cheyanne! [sic]
Meanwhile, alicublog tempts death with his own cartoons of the Prophet (OWHN).

GIGO On Canvas

The G.G.W. reports
A physicist who is broadly experienced in using computers to identify consistent patterns in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock has determined that half a dozen small paintings recently discovered and claimed by their owner to be original Pollocks do not exhibit the same patterns.
That's right; these weren't done by Jackson Pollock, but by another artist with the same name....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Chutzpah And Gullibility

Here's how our foreign policy is manipulated:
Two Americans who played a major role in exposing Iran's secret nuclear weapons plans have been nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. United Nations Ambassador John Bolton and longtime Iran investigator Kenneth R. Timmerman were nominated for their repeated warnings and documentation of Iran's secret nuclear buildup and revealing Iran's "repeated lying" and false reports to the International Atomic Energy Agency. ...

Bolton and Timmerman were formally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Sweden's former deputy prime minister and Liberal party leader Per Ahlmark. Ahlmark is meeting with journalists, opinion leaders and policymakers in Washington this week at the invitation of the Jewish Institute for National Security Afffairs (JINSA).

NOTE TO EDITORS: For further information or interviews with Ahlmark or Timmerman, contact Francie Israeli at 202-737-8400.
And here's evidence that this strategy works:
A recent poll showed that 57 per cent of Americans favoured military intervention to stop Iran building a bomb.
I guess a good stock tip would be companies that make coffins and body bags. Just one minor note: the Romans fought with the Persian empire for centuries. Rome never won, and lost a lot of troops and treasure in the sand. A mighty nuclear-armed American empire may kill more of them, but it won't conquer them either. Please give us commercial space travel soon, so that we can get very far away from all this madness.

Intelligent Résumé Design

The G.G.W. reports
George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said. Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted. ...

Mr. Deutsch, 24, was offered a job as a writer and editor in NASA's public affairs office in Washington last year after working on President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee, according to his résumé. No one has disputed those parts of the document. According to his résumé, Mr. Deutsch received a "Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Class of 2003." Yesterday, officials at Texas A&M said that was not the case. ...

A copy of Mr. Deutsch's résumé was provided to The Times by someone working in NASA headquarters who, along with many other NASA employees, said Mr. Deutsch played a small but significant role in an intensifying effort at the agency to exert political control over the flow of information to the public.

Such complaints came to the fore starting in late January, when James E. Hansen, the climate scientist, and several midlevel public affairs officers told The Times that political appointees, including Mr. Deutsch, were pressing to limit Dr. Hansen's speaking and interviews on the threats posed by global warming.

Monday, February 06, 2006

And The Pedestal You Rode Up On, Too

If you insist, as so many have, that the story of Jack and Ennis is OK to watch and sympathize with because they're not really homosexual — that they're more like the heart of America than like "gay people" — you're pushing them back into the closet whose narrow and suffocating confines Ang Lee and his collaborators have so beautifully and harrowingly exposed. --Daniel Mendelsohn

Life Beyond The Bubble

Last Friday President Bush dropped by Dallas, Texas, to visit Townview magnet school, looking at moss through a microscope for a photo-op. The Dallas News reported "While 13 handpicked students shared a few memorable minutes with the president in a biology classroom, other students were locked in their classrooms as a security measure for the president."

Thankfully, no fire broke out in the building while he was posing for the media. Those children he feared enough to lock up were a particular threat. After all, one of them might have recalled the story about the Emperor and his new clothes.

The other pupils were not the only ones Bush's minions made sure he would not be exposed to. One teacher wrote "Notice he didn't want to have teachers protest, so they kept the visit quiet until the last minute!!! We can't take off because WE ARE TEACHING THE TAKS TEST!!!!!!!"

Outside, more voices were kept away by force. The News barely noticed that "Down the street from the school, a smattering of protesters stood outside in the rain Friday morning to await the president." One woman who was there wrote
Security, black cars and cops everywhere. We proceeded up the main drag in front of the school and started chanting about education for all. Cop #1 approached. "You can't do this here. You need to go to the 'free speech zone' at the bottom of the street or across the freeway way up the street, but you can't walk on this street. You have to go a block over." Okay. I rounded 'em up and off we went to the freeway.

Enter Cop #2."You can't do this here. You have to be down at the 'free speech zone' or I'll arrest you." "I'm sorry. We were directed to come here, sir." "I'm telling you you have to go back down the street or I'll arrest you right HERE." "This is infringement of our First Amendment Rights, but we wish to cooperate. Would you escort us down the street please?" So we SLOWLY marched down the street (again) in front of the school with our signs, chanting and singing and chatting with media who were filming us.

More frenzied cops every minute.We must have looked pretty scary, particularly the coeds. They shoved us about 4 blocks away from the school and held us for c. 3 hours with 20-30 armed agitated cops next to a cemetery behind trucks and motorcycles. No one could go to their car; no one could use the bathroom or go get water."
There was nothing special about this trip. All over the country this President has gotten authorities to herd protesters into those Orwellian-named 'free speech zones' so that he can't even see them. This detention being illegal is no problem to the man who claims he can ignore any law he disagrees with, like the Fourth Amendment or the Geneva Convention.

Even at his State of the Union address to Congress, security arrested Cindy Sheehan and forced one Congressman's wife to leave. Their offense was wearing tee-shirts with political messages. The charges were later dropped because the law specifically allowed such apparel there -- but by then the President had made his prime-time TV splash with no competing images.

Former Dallas Judge Ron Chapman passed this on:
"It starts with the highly contested election of an oafish yet strangely charismatic president, who talks like a "reformer" but is really in the pocket of big business.... The president, taking advantage of an economic crisis, strong-arms Congress into signing blank checks over to the military and passing stringent and possibly unconstitutional laws.... Eventually, he takes advantage of the crisis to convene military tribunals for civilians, and denounce all of his detractors as unpatriotic and possibly treasonous." Sound familiar? It's a review of Sinclair Lewis' novel It Can't Happen Here, written in 1935...
A growing number of people in both parties is finally recognizing the unprecedented danger to our institutions posed by this administration's claims to be above any checks and balances. One group educating the public to this threat is MoveOn, which has issued a new TV ad showing Nixon morphing into Bush. You can watch it, and read the evidence for their charges against him, at this website.

Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter has admitted that the remedy for lawbreaking is impeachment. As a sign of how seriously some people are taking this, Dallas Democratic Precinct Chair Tom Blackwell sent out links he found to impeachpac, impeachbushcoalition, and To quote Patrick Henry, "... George III -- may profit from their example."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Shun The Sin, Subsidize The Sinner

Hamas deserves to be recognized by the international community, and despite the group's militant history, there is a chance the soon-to-be Palestinian leaders could turn away from violence, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday.

Carter, who monitored last week's Palestinian elections in which Hamas handily toppled the ruling Fatah, added that the United States should not cut off aid to the Palestinian people, but rather funnel it through third parties like the U.N.
Yeah, that'll show those folks how much we disagree with their calling for the destruction of Israel, if we make them deal with the UN staff to pick up their checks. Actually, Jimmy's just giving a history lesson to all those young people who aren't old enough to remember how he lost to a second-rate ex-actor in the middle of an international crisis. Coming soon to your theatre: The Neville Chamberlain Story, starring J. E. Carter in the title role.

Meanwhile, the Israelis announced they might withhold the customs duties they collect on behalf of the Palestinians instead of paying a government run by Hamas. Can't blame them for not having anything to do with the advocates of genocide, but that isn't Israel's money to decide what to do with. Those taxes belong to the Palestinians, and keeping them is theft, pure and simple. How does stealing the money to pay for their government convince the voters they were wrong to elect the Israel-haters?

What we're missing here is a great opportunity to say "a plague on both your houses" and stop funding either of them in any way. Let them come to their senses or kill each other off. Our subsidies only enable the endless haters to continue in power.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Scalpel Strikes

Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged shows the proper response earned by the blogger formerly known as Calpundit at give credit where credit is due.
ah. I see that four or so years after he moved out on us and the kids, Mr. Drum has finally worked up the intestinal fortitude to formally divorce us.

Gosh, we'll miss you in name only.
(She also does an equally well-deserved bloody blog-by assassination of Joe The Plagiarist at well, no.)

The Heels Dig In

The oxymoronic Christian Science Monitor reports
Michelle Bachelet made history Jan. 15 by becoming Chile's first female president.

Monday, she chalked up yet another precedent: naming a cabinet of 10 female and 10 male ministers. It's the first of its kind in the entire western hemisphere - and one of few examples in the world.

...some experts question whether she'll sacrifice competence for image.

"I think it's a grave error," says Ignacio Illanes, an analyst with the right-wing thinktank Liberty and Development (Libertad y Desarrollo). He puts it bluntly: "There's only one way to have a 50-50 cabinet and that is by lowering the quality of the cabinet."
Let us hear no more from those Friedmanite types praising Chile for its wonderful free market ideas. This sexist reaction is the reality from the economic elite that welcomed the rightist dictatorship there.

Personally, I'm not as generous as President Bachelet. One of the few things I would enjoy about even briefly becoming the Prez here would be appointing a cabinet that was all women. I'm sure I wouldn't have to wait long for a question about this, so that I could listen to the screams when I gave my long-saved reply: "It's just so hard to find a qualified man."