Wednesday, May 31, 2006


As can be determined by decoding my sidebar, where linkers to me are listed in vaguely chronological order within arbitrary categories, the first male blogger outside Texas to cite something here was the Vermont Quaker NTodd, of the site Dohiyi Mir. (I think that means "world peace", but there are limits to even my polyglotism.)

He is now showing typical Yankee ingenuosity by staging an NToddathon, attempting to get up to a landmark (for him) number of visitors. In his case that very arbitrary number sought is 419,067. Why? Je ne sais pas. Now he's very close, and begging the blogoblatespheroidversetopia to point visitors his way to help.

Of course, it would be nice if he bothered to, like, permalink me on his sidebar, like he did two other personal friends of mine, at least one of whom hasn't posted in, like, forever? But we must be understanding. He's so busy winning his Perranoski prize, and being a finalist for Koufaxes (should that be Koufaxi?) that he can't get around to listing all of his unrequited blogrollers. We little people will just have to go thankless again. *sob*.

From These Roots

Israeli scientists said on Wednesday they had discovered a prehistoric ecosystem dating back millions of years. The discovery was made in a cave near the central Israeli city of Ramle during rock drilling at a quarry. Scientists were called in and soon found eight previously unknown species of crustaceans and invertebrates similar to scorpions. ...

The cave was completely sealed off from the world, including from water and nutrients seeping through rock crevices above. Scientists who discovered the cave believe it has been intact for millions of years. "Every species we examined had no eyes which means they lost their sight due to evolution," said Dimantman.
Scientists are fighting one more battle against efforts of the Bush administration to prevent studies which seem to confirm the theory of evolution. In an excavation during refurbishing the foundation of a building in Washington, D.C., diggers found a self-contained cavern containing several previously unknown species. The cave had been bricked over many years ago beneath an office building whose current address is 310 First Street, SE, apparently to entomb a skeleton found chained to the wall within. There were also a variety of strange creatures which seemed to be ancestors of current residents of that location. That claim has become a source of heated controversy.

All of the new species were completely blind, due to countless years of not venturing into the light of day. Their lack of vision does not seem to have prevented their ability to detect metals, perhaps by smell. One colony had acted similarly to dung beetles, in gathering a huge pile of gold and silver. There seemed to be no functional purpose to this activity, leading to the suggestion that it was a form of conspicuous collection, perhaps intended to win mates by display.

Biologist Paul Myers, called in to study the discoveries, said that these organisms were also very primitive, so much so that they actually managed to live without any form of modern forebrains or hearts. "They seem to operate on a base reptilian level, without any emotional empathy even for each other", he said. "It's a classic example of Hobbesian war of all against all."

Many fundamentalist religious groups have called the discovery a hoax, and called for the cave to be sealed again or even exterminated. They have been angered by DNA tests which seem to demonstrate that current occupants of the site overhead have a closer ancestral link to these species than to primates. "They are claiming that these blind, brainless, heartless mockeries changed over time to become some kind of monsters walking among us", said Sam Wilberforce of the Prediscovery Institute. "We reject this as one more bit of monkeyshines by the godless left."

Meanwhile, noted blogger Extraneopundit charged that the whole project was dishonest and motivated by partisan considerations of trying to attack the administration, noting that the building overhead currently serves as the headquarters of a certain current political party. "Heh", he noted, "indeed."

Accent Grave

This is the birthday of Alida Valli.

Make a movie that Alberto Gonzales will try to ban.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rehabilitation With A Vengeance

This is the day that Jeanne d'Arc was burned at the stake.

Keep your voices to yourself.

Teaser And The Amstreet

Since it's Tuesday, it's time for my humble contribution to American Street, today entitled Loonshadow.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tome of the Unknowing

Today the only President we've got signed a bill outlawing protests at military funerals, then drove past competing demonstrators from Fred Phelps ("God hates fags") and FreeRepublic ("only traitors question Bush") to Arlington. There he spoke and laid flowers.

One of my close relatives is buried there. At the funeral they handed me the flag from the coffin. I am sure he would not want me to disrespect the Commandante of Grief's token effect in tribute to many who didn't pull strings or have other priorities. Very well, I'm glad el jefe paid the lip service.

I'll say instead: that bill violates the Constitution all those underground died to uphold. Those protesters should kill each other off and make this a better world. The most recent additions to those hillsides never should have been placed in harm's way at all, much less with insufficient armor and support from the great brothel just across the river from their resting place. I'm not ashamed of the flag that flies over them. I am sickened by its abuse by puny politicians unworthy of its traditions.

Just turn away and pretend the man in the limousine isn't unfit to set foot there.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Your Answers Do Not Meet Our Needs At This Time

From Democracy Now:
AMY GOODMAN: I remember when you were last here, you were headed off to an interview with Charlie Rose. And so I looked to see you on Charlie Rose, and I waited and I waited, and I never saw you. What happened?

ARUNDHATI ROY: Oh, it was interesting. He -- well, when the interview began, I realized that the plan was to do this really aggressive interview with me, and so the first question he asked was, "Tell me, Arundhati, do you think that India should have nuclear weapons?" So I said, "I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons. I don't think anyone should have nuclear weapons. It's something that I have written a lot about." He said, "I asked you whether India should have nuclear weapons." So I said, "Well, I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons." Then he said, "Will you answer my question? Should India have nuclear weapons?" So I said, "I don't think India should have nuclear weapons. I don't think the U.S. should have nuclear weapons. I don't think Israel should have nuclear weapons." And I asked him, I said, "What is this about? Why are you being so aggressive? I have answered the question, you know, clearly. And I think I made my position extremely clear. I'm not some strategic thinker. I'm telling you what I believe." So after that it just sort of collapsed into vague questions about world poverty and so on, and it was never shown. I mean, I wouldn't have shown it if I were him either, but -- because it was, you know, I don't know, treating me like I'm some kind of politician or something.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

As Berdache As Ya Wanna Be

Just because someone agrees with you on issues doesn't mean they are a nice person, or that they like you one bit, or even that they don't have a fierce prejudice against you that they won't even admit to themselves. When someone "on your side" spews out crap that reveals they harbor such bigotry, you need to let them know that is unacceptable. If they persist, you need to insist. A house divided, and all that....

The latest such brouhaha was started by John Aravosis at AMERICAblog. He posted this:
Senator Pat Robert (R-KS) is nothing more than a big girl. ...

How else to see it when someone like Roberts will send US soldiers to their deaths to defend our freedoms abraod, but then will gladly trade away those freedoms at home in order to avoid getting hurt.

Is there any other definition of "big girl" than that?

Pat Roberts is a coward.
The insulting macho sexism is all too obvious for anyone awake. When it was pointed out to him, he denied it. Then the defense (yes, others chimed in as well to say this anti-female viciousness was fine) went even further, claiming that "big girl" (especially if written with extra "r"s -- at last glance the title of the post now says "big grrrrl") was okay, because it was a standard insult in the gay community. Not among civil people, it isn't. No one gets a free pass to belittle another group, even if that terminology is only used as a pejorative among their own, even if they have been oppressed. "Groupism" of any kind denies individuality -- which of course is its whole point.

I'm delighted to say that someone has had the Voltairesque sense to mock this unrepenting idiot. A new parody site has gone up, called ARAVOSISblog. It started like this:
Now, you may asking, Johnny, isn't there more important stuff you could be doing with your time than going through a bunch of posts and looking for rude comments (and comments which happen to be next to rude comments) and banning people? As a world-class blogger and activist, don't you have better things to be doing?

Here's a straight answer for you, friend: No! What could be more important than this? The country is having an important dialogue right now. As one of the very highest trafficked liberal bloggers, I play an important part in shaping and controlling that dialogue. If I let the discussion on my site veer off into nonsense about, say, I don't know... degrading a group of people that throughout history has had to fight for equality under the law and equality in the eyes of their fellow human beings... or.... my willingness or unwillingness to admit when I'm wrong--well! You get the point. We can't have that.
(No, I had nothing to do with this -- I'm never anywhere close to being that subtle.) The site does link to lots of people who have been rightly dumping on Little John the Denier, but I prefer the parody. Since he is too busy banning commenters at his own site to admit error, I guess they will have plenty of material to work with for a long time to come.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Plague Warning

(To the tune of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now".)
Reps were known to pinch a cent.
A balanced budget? Heaven sent!
Corruption -- they'd eschew the scent.
They stood for something then.
But that was ere their Satan Newt
Tempted them with his power flute,
And now they only lust for loot:
Hot air-pumped hollow men.
It is no more the old "Stand pat!"
Now neocon and theocrat
Slink in the seat where Lincoln sat.
Republicans have fallen flat.

Dems once stood for civil rights.
Their R.E.A. turned on the lights.
Their pensions eased our elder's nights.
They tried to help the least.
But now consultants make them quake,
And wealthy pollsters their nerves shake.
No longer brave, they try to fake
More anger than the Beast.
Opposing war would terrify
Contributors, so they don't try
To fight for peace, or call the lie --
The Democrats gave Bush a bye.

Parties were to mediate
Between the public and the state
And help us to control our fate --
At least that's what they claimed.
But now they mostly help themselves.
Our freedom they put on the shelves.
They act like greedy evil elves.
Their leaders are Teh Lame.
Though it is true that one is worse,
The beltway has both in its curse.
The rush to empire they rehearse.
The Constitution? Bring the hearse.
(Cross-posted to American Street.)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Aurora Assoluta

This is the birthday of Margot Fonteyn.

If you can't dance, then who wants to be First Lady of P-P-Panama?

Patrolling The Edge Of Your Seat

Sister Nancy Beth Eczema brings you
this lovely Michelle Malkin toilet paper cozy, who will safeguard your precious Charmin from jihad-waging illegal aliens and their sympathizers in the MSM with her trusty M16. Load, lock, & roll, Michelle. Praise Him!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ho Jo To Ho!

Today is the birthday of Birgit Nilsson.

Buy yourself some very comfortable shoes.

A Little Eschatology

News Hounds spotted this:
This morning the FOX & Friends First trio interviewed Scott Silverman, Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital, a company that provides microchips to help people find Fido and Fluffy when they're lost. The company manufactures a variety of tiny location devices that are implanted under the skin. Currently such implants are widely used in the veterinary and medical fields. However, it now seems that Mr. Silverman wants to expand his business by microchipping immigrants who cross our borders. ... Additionally, some of the chips can be fitted with a GPS locator, although Silverman claimed that this application would not be used in the immigrant scanning chips.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. --Revelation 13:16-17

A Cornered Fossil

According to USAToday, New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states that prohibit self-serve gas stations. This is a bad idea imposed on the public by lobbyists for special interests. It is one more remnant of many such absurd or oppressive artificial requirements which used to dot the legal landscape before mass communication held them up to nationwide mockery and comparison. Most of these ridiculous archaisms have fallen, and these two should also be consigned to the ash heap.

What is amusing is reading the predictable defenses of this indefensible nonsense:
Critics of a shift to self-service say pumping their own gas would be especially hard on the elderly, could create a safety hazard as inexperienced motorists try to fill their tanks and cost many station attendants their jobs while doing nothing to lower prices. ...

"If I'm in a tux going to a black tie (event), I don't want to stop and handle a gas pump."

Bill Dressler, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Retailers Association and Allied Trades, says there are safety concerns. While attendants are trained, many motorists would be novices. "It could be put in the wrong container," says Dressler, whose group represents about 2,200 of the state's 3,800 gas stations. There could be "somebody getting out and smoking and they didn't turn the engine off." ...

Louis Rivera, 29, an attendant who has worked at the Sunoco station for three years, says self-service could put "a lot of people ... out of jobs."
You know, of course, of the thousands of old people out there in our other 48 states who can't ever drive anywhere because they can't pump their own gas, right? And the tens of thousands of incidents outside the Garden State and Oregon where people blow themselves up smoking while they pump gas? With this epidemic, shouldn't there be a national effort to pass "no self serve" laws in the rest of the union? Have have we survived so long?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Seize The Style

This is the birthday of Tamara de Lempicka.

Leave a request for your ashes to be scattered over Popocatéptl.

The Lone Star State's Black Hole

The formal name of this terrestrial phenomenon of cosmological astrophysics is The Legislature Of The State Of Texas. Like its massive brethren at the centers of galaxies, it swallows everything near and emits no light of any kind. For most of its existence it has been dominated by corrupt and incompetent conservatives reactionaries. Only on rare occasions has public outcry forced the emissaries of the elite to pander to the public with token trickles down (you know, the kind where they then tell you "It's raining"?) The fact that it is currently gerrymandered to have Republican majorities really alters the dynamics very little.

They just got through with a special session. This was only called at all because the courts finally told them what anyone with an IQ above freezing has known for decades: the way Texas finances public schools is unconstitutional, and if it isn't fixed, it will be shut down. Mostly this is because of the intentionally regressive tax system here (by some figures high among the ten worst states), which includes no state or local personal or corporate income tax. Underpaid, overworked teachers are leaving in droves; those dedicated ones still barely hanging on are having to pay for school supplies and classroom needs out of their own pockets. Meanwhile the only bright thing about the failure to fund enough textbooks for all the students to use is that the theocrats on the committee that approves them have so intimidated publishers that the newer ones would be even more full of lies than the old ones which are wearing out.

Unfortunately for the future of the people here, at the start of this special session the Comptroller (who is the state tax collector, the mother of George Bush's just-departed Press Secreter, and running for Governor herself this year as an independent because she knew she couldn't beat the incumbent in the Republican primary with all of those bible-brandishing "women in their place, far behind me" types voting there) announced that there would be a big budget surplus. In blessed relief, the pols promptly threw planning in the pissoir, and started scrambling for ways to shuffle formulae and give a property tax break to their favorite contributors. Demain le déluge.

The Red State calls their three tax monte game "putting a band-aid on a bullet hole", and links to an analysis from the Center for Public Policy Priorities: "Special Session Tax and School-Finance Package Creates $10.5 Billion Deficit". Just Another Blog says "That Giant Sucking Sound You Hear is the Future. The Legislature has dug itself into a huge hole."

Southpaw writes "Can we now bury the myth that Republicans are better at managing money?", and quotes the Dallas News (historically an apologist for the powers that be, segregation and all): "The new state business tax doesn't raise enough money to pay for promised property tax cuts -- in fact, it falls $5 billion short. Lawmakers are counting on a booming economy to make up the difference, but if it turns sour, the crisis could be more immediate." Capitol Annex summed it up with The Fix Is In, But Will It Work?. He earlier did a longer analysis of Why ‘Tax Relief’ Is And Always Will Be Bogus In Texas.

What are our silly sub-solons spending their semi-salaries on instead? (Remember, these clowns once considered a resolution thanking the Boston Strangler for population control.) How about trying to intimidate one state university by threatening to withhold funds because it put up 123 different world flags to brag about how many countries they had students from? Unfortunately, one of those places was Vietnam. So the right-wing thugs who got out of Saigon early before the commies took over proceeded to demonstrate and demand and finally the enablers of eternal enmity in the legislature turned on the heat (in a cooperative, bipartisan way, of course). The offending institution decided to take all the flags down. The screechers still want an apology. The details are at jobsanger.

You get what you pay for, and our legislators make less than their own aides -- in many cases deservedly so, but still.... If you want to see in pictures a summation of the whole episode, check out two photographs. The first is of the Republican Governor and his associated shell gamers, and the second is of some of the people their political Ponzi program will oppress (with a little help from The Decider). Go ponder PinkDome's Lookin' Back.

(Oui, yet another Tuesday cross-post to American Street.)

C'est Magnifique, Mais Ce N'est Pas la Guerre

Just how demoralized are the far wrong-wingers these days? Enough for major theocratic players in their Coalition of the Wailing to begin saying they will sit it out this fall, just to sink the Bush Bad Bouys. Knowing the Reps are going to lose, these Dominion-mongers think if they jump ship now they can take credit for the unavoidable defeat. Meanwhile, others are trying to find a platinum lining in the impending Democratic Congressional takeover.

Just yesterday, The Anchoress praised as "funny but all too true" the diagram of a clever plan at the Point Five blog. Entitled "A Fiendishly Simple Path To Republican Victory In 08", it is subtitled "An in depth analysis of how a Republican loss in 2006 midterms will be the best strategy for winning control in 2008." The expandable flow chart is loaded with alternate paths, many winding up with "Hillary 08! OOPS!" Across the board are frequent repetitions of boxes labelled "McCain Appears On Meet The Press" and "Dean Says Something Stupid". Like a maze, it only has one path that ultimately leads where he wants to go, and in this case it requires passing through a box for "Dems Control House". If you can ignore the repeated spelling of "concensus" [sic], you finally make your way to a GOP win.

It is neither sad nor tragic, but rather a confession of ideological and moral bankruptcy that he can only picture one path for their recovery. After the House Democrats ignore the Iranian nuke threat, Iran bombs Tel Aviv, then "Israel/US Joint Retaliation", followed by "Iranian Sleeper Cells Activated", with "Massive Casualties Throught [sic] West", "Middle East In Ruins", "Worldwide Depression", then "America Demands Strong No-Compromise Republican Leadership To Continue The New World War". The final comment as the plan reaches Victory is "Except For The Millions Dead, A Perfect Ending To A Perfect Plan".

When it gets to the point that the bad guys can't think of any other way to win short of mass death in a world war, we don't have to worry about them claiming to be a party of ideas. They are now the party of idées fixes, following their leader over the cliff like lemmings. The new American political Edsel: not available in stores for long, because, just like the Hummer, it is about to be discontinued by the manufacturer. Let's try not to gloat too much, because we're going to be cleaning up their mess for years.

(Another Tuesday cross-post to American Street.)

The Soothe Operator

(To the tune of Chuck Berry's "Memphis Tennessee".)
Go on, Gen'ral Hayden, find out who the traitors are --
The ones that always question, even though you wear a star.
Don't need to hear them talking, it's enough to track their call,
So no one will complain or see it's the writing on the wall.

Do it, Gen'ral Hayden, you are authorized to spy
With telcos' own call loggers and with pictures from the sky.
They may not call Al Queda, but from only six degrees
You can mine their data patterns, and we'll send them cross the seas.

Tell me, Gen'ral Hayden, if subversives want to know
Where Chinese food delivers and where pizza orders go.
Do they subscribe to cable? Does their plumbing need a fix?
Do ads in home-thrown papers tell them how to do their tricks?

Please say, Gen'ral Hayden, if they need to clean their rugs.
You can find out by computers and not plant any bugs.
This program's less than five years old; Guantanamo's not filled,
But you were working hard on that until the beans were spilled.
(Cross-posted to American Street.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Not So Fast....

For those all excited at the prospect that Rove will be indicted, perhaps you should reconsider. Wouldn't you be willing to give that up, in exchange for this:

Friday, May 12, 2006

If It Quacks....

Capitol Annex, doing his ever-helpful daily Texas "From The Blogs" (and thanks for the link to my versifying, Vince), spots a truly weird blog that not only comments, but takes pictures of toy ducks around and about the capitol in Austin. It's just what they deserve as they try to cut education loose and let it drift away on the water. Go peek at Lobby Duck.

Three Hundred Million Terrorists

(To the tune of Three Dog Night's "Liar".)
"Do not be afraid. I will stand in their way.
I will protect you every night and each day."
Trusting my President,
Assuming his good intent,
Gullible child.
"Your secrets are safe; judges stand guard."
So you told us, and so we took your word.
"We can only tap phones
Of the really evil ones.
So FISA does say."
Is that not the law?
Is that not the law?
Is that not the law?
Spier! Spier! Spier!

"We'll only listen to calls made overseas.
I would not ever abuse your liberties.
We would not data mine
For that would be a crime.
Security frees!"
You won't break the law?
You won't break the law?
You won't break the law?
Spier! Spier! Spier!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Unwilling Expatriate

(To the tune of Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You".)
I dream of Stars and Stripes --
But don't say that here.
The other exiles would
Turn red, shout, and sneer.
I want to say the Pledge --
But some might throw stones,
Or punch in honor of
All our martyr's bones.

When our flag meant
Justice and right,
Before George Bush
Doused the Statue's light,
We all were proud
Of Red, White, and Blue --
Now it has become
The badge of his coup.

I think of Lexington --
And the Fourth of July.
But in this distant land
They just make me cry.
Where Lincoln freed the slaves,
And King opened cells,
A perfect silence reigns --
Just ignore the smells.

We waited till
It was much too late
To stand up and try
To bar the gate.
In graves or jails
The outspoken lie.
We lucky ones,
Wonder, guilty, why?

I loved America --
Not for rocks and trees,
Nor wealth or happiness,
But for Liberty.
I miss my native land --
But I can't go home
Until its chains are smashed,
To be free, I'll roam.
(Or, for an old variation on the theme in prose, read Ward Moore's brilliant "It Becomes Necessary".)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Make A Start

This is the birthday of Sophia Magdalena Scholl. Condemn L'empereur Nu while you still can.

Herroner Da Mare

Blue Gal, noting the number of bloggers who seem to just give up after a while, does some positive reforcement to urge web posters not to give up raging against -- whatever irks them. You can find the morale-building piece on Daily Kos at Can a blogger get a little respect around here? An excerpt:
Without the lefty blogs, MSM (and by the way, folks, nobody even SAID "MSM" before we came along, they were just the "M" and they got away with a lot more than they do now) would never have covered the Kaloogian fake photo of "Baghdad," Bush's fake "interview" with our troops, and, um, don't get me started about you-know-who. And you also know I'm just scratching the surface here. Needless to say Joe Lieberman wishes we would just go away.
(Interestingly, she fails to mention two other great examples of good done: the eviction of Lott from the Majority Leadership because of his praise of Thurmond's segregationist campaign in 1948, and the total destruction of the other Lott for his lies about gun control. And there are more.)

Even more fun are the comments on her own site, where there is a ground swell that she really does need to become Mayor of Blogospheria. I don't know where one can vote for this, but each day does give more evidence that she is right and we all need to keep slugging, because we are getting under their skin. The clearest example today is a WaPost column by alleged "liberal" Richard Cohen, complaining about the thousands of angry emails he got when he said Colbert was not funny mocking Bush:
It seemed that most of my correspondents had been egged on to write me by various blogs. In response, they smartly assembled into a digital lynch mob and went roaring after me. If I did not like Colbert, I must like Bush. If I write for The Post, I must be a mainstream media warmonger.
(Actually, he really was a warmonger, supporting the Iraq invasion because, as he later admitted, he was scared of biowar.)
The e-mails pulse in my queue, emanating raw hatred. This spells trouble -- not for Bush or, in 2008, the next GOP presidential candidate, but for Democrats. The anger festering on the Democratic left will be taken out on the Democratic middle. (Watch out, Hillary!)
Uh, news flash, The Presumptive Nominatress (is that a word?) continues to prove each day how she isn't even as far left as the middle -- the announcement now that she is going to be recipient of a fundraiser from Rupert Murdock should gag any lefty maggots.
I have seen this anger before -- back in the Vietnam War era. That's when the antiwar wing of the Democratic Party helped elect Richard Nixon. In this way, they managed to prolong the very war they so hated.
Yes, we've all heard these spineless "nice people" before, condemning any "troublemakers" for bringing up points they would rather not face, as they sip juleps at the country club. The word for them is "Enablers". Fortunately, the virtual city that Blue Gal should become Mayor of has jumped on this like an angry metaphor on an exhausted cliché. Perhaps most expressive was Digby at Lapfull of Dick:
Richard Cohen got 2,000 mean e-mails and this signals the end of the Democratic party. I'll leave you to figure out why that should follow. In case Cohen hasn't noticed nobody on the fucking planet likes squishy faux liberal courtiers. ... Where on earth would anyone get the idea that Cohen might be one of Bush's lapdogs?
Then he quotes one of the man's own pieces from before the 2000 election:
Given the present bitterness, given the angry irresponsible charges being hurled by both camps, the nation will be in dire need of a conciliator, a likable guy who will make things better and not worse. That man is not Al Gore. That man is George W. Bush.
P.Z. Myers says Cohen "just can't understand" the anger, and adds that is because he is not very bright:
Because Richard Cohen is ignorant of elementary mathematics, he can smugly tell a young lady to throw away any chance being a scientist, a technician, a teacher, an accountant; any possibility of contributing to science and technology, of even being able to grasp what she's doing beyond pushing buttons. It's Richard Cohen condescendingly telling someone, "You're as stupid as I am; give up." And everything he said is completely wrong.
For the last hilarious word, done with a literal forest of links to counter- counter- counter- etc. posts, Michael Bérubé sums it up:
With the help of polite, respectful, decorous, civil bloggers armed with sarcasm, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes (especially the litotes) and satire, the Democrat Party will take back the House and Senate this fall. And then, finally, we can make the bastards pay! We will launch an investigation into smug, supercilious, clueless wanking, and we will issue our first subpoena to Richard Cohen. Tomorrow: join the Campaign to Prevent Massive Linkdumping!

My Preemptive Resignation

Today's WaPost reports:
According to a new study from the National Education Association, a teachers union, half of new U.S. teachers are likely to quit within the first five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries.
I quit even sooner -- before I ever started. One of my grandmothers had been a teacher before she married. In high school, I decided I too wanted to be a teacher. As I learned more of what went on behind the scenes, I decided I wanted to avoid all that nonsense and teach in college instead.

Once there, I found the garbage behind the curtain was still repugnant. I finally chose to drop the whole idea. It was society's loss, as I think I would have made a very good teacher as far as the actual teaching went. It was just all the other crap that repulsed me -- not the money.

Today conditions are even worse. One young relative in high school here in Dallas spends most of her class time being grilled to pass state tests or college tests. Learning how to learn something for themselves? Not in there. One relative who is a teacher is constantly stressed and frustrated by the non-classroom aspects of her job.

Of course, all these things are worsened here, because in Texas the government at all levels would rather, as Dallas' own Richard Condon wrote, eat their own children than give up any money. They oppose spending for anything, even their own benefit. So students don't even have enough textbooks, and teachers make copies of individual assignments for them. Never mind the inadequate pay the legislature is playing games with now; the other idiocies of those politicians make the job almost impossible.

John W. Gardner wrote "The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."

Here the powers that be insist on shoddiness in public education, not out of inability to afford better, but out of narrow-minded short-sightedness. Everyone is reaping the bitter results of their suicidal political "ethics", and this will only become worse with each passing decade. No wonder the public here is gullible enough to elect people like Bush: they haven't ever been taught to think for themselves.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Reclaiming The Prize

This is the birthday of Elizabeth Becker Henley. Console yourself by making some lemonade.

Stuff Those Inboxes

World O'Crap (at her brand new website address -- please note) is staging the First Annual Write Like a Wingnut Competition. It's now down to six finalists, and voting is in her Comments for a winner to be announced Wednesday. My own choice was the first one, "Tara the anti-social social worker", for a post that begins:
Mr. Jose Garcia, a Mexican and therefore presumably an illegal immigrant and potential terrorist, was spotted at the Quaker party to celebrate the deaths of American soldiers.
Go read them all and vote at "Next Up -- Geechy Guy!"

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Who Was Ann Galt?

Today is the birthday of Anne Baxter. Drain the gas from someone's car.

Paper Shortage

In November of 2005, according to The Rant:
"Mr. President," one aide in the meeting said. "There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution."

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

I've talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper."
Our Canard Boiteux was just carrying Texas values to Washington. Look at the Greedy Ol' Boys in his own backyard, among the Republicans trying to nominate a replacement for Tom "Interminable" Delay's seat in Congress. Vince Leibowitz spotted a report at Fort Bend Now of the questions the Harris County party was asking the wannabes behind closed doors, including these gems:
Will you vote to support a ban on all human embryonic stem cell research?

Will you vote against benefits to same-sex partners of government employees?

Will you vote to eliminate automatic citizenship to children born of illegal alien parents?
Especially note this one:
Regarding the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, does the Constitution require the separation of church and state?
It sort of makes a mockery of the last phrase of Article VI:
... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Capable Of Feeling

Today is Martha Nussbaum's birthday. Let your pet have a vote in family councils.

Clad With Zeal As A Cloak

What do you bet that the far righties upset by using Spanish on baseball uniforms (see the story just below this one) won't have a single complaint about this:

The title of this post is from Isaiah 59:17, which was more famously expanded on at length in Ephesians 6:13-17. Now just in case you didn't have the benefit of a Southern upbringing with such verses drummed into your head from pre-school days, some noble souls have decided to industrialize the method of those gadflys who hold up "John 3:16" posters at events. Roger Ailes (the good one) has spotted this news from deep below the Bible Belt:
For the first time in sports history, a professional franchise will wear Bible-themed jerseys during a game. On Friday, May 5th, the Birmingham Steeldogs arena football team, which plays in the arenafootball2 league (, will don jerseys with the name of Bible hero "SAMSON" embroidered on the front as they take on the Louisville Fire ... On the back of the jerseys, instead of having the player's last name, it will be replaced by a book of the Bible. ...

For example, Steeldogs quarterback Ryan Hawk wears jersey number 12. On May 5, he'll still wear number 12, but the name on his back will change from "HAWK" to "JAMES", referencing the book of James, Chapter 1 Verse 2. The Bible-themed Steeldogs jerseys are the latest creations of Christian Throwback Jersey Company of Birmingham. The idea to wear the Christian jerseys during the game and auction them off with proceeds going to local non-profit ministries ....

The promotion is part of the first of three Barber's Dairy Faith Nights with the Steeldogs. Christian recording artists Audio Adrenaline will perform in a pre-game concert. Free Bibles will be handed out courtesy of Spiritual Outdoor Adventures. The Bibles will come in handy as those in attendance search to find the Bible references on the jerseys of each Birmingham player.
It gets wilder. Literally. Spiritual Outdoor Adventures not only gives out scripture (including "a leather-bound Mossy Oak Camo NKJV Bible" for a donation) but produces programs to further spread the word:
During each weekly episode, the viewer is taken on an exciting adventure such as bow hunting for big game across the world, rifle hunting for whitetail in the southern US, wingshooting for ducks, geese, quail, and pheasant, or fly-fishing for trophy trout. ...SOA takes elements of the outdoor adventure and compares them to the life of Jesus.
You remember the miracle of the Slaughter of the Ducks and Fishes? Matthew 15 and Mark 6 disagree whether it was four thousand men "beside women and children" or about five thousand men who partook of this bounty. I assume that the aptly-named "Christian Throwback Jersey Company" will also produce hunting jackets which read "What would Jesus kill and eat?" Can we lock these people in with the PETA activists for a steel cage death match?

Los Intolerantes

Last night our own local Bush's Boondoggle, the Texas Rangers, lost a home game to the New York Yankees. No news there. Since it was May 5, they decided to celebrate a widely-observed Mexican holiday, Cinco De Mayo, by wearing special uniforms for the night that said "Los Rangers".

This was jumped upon by the hate fanners of the far right. Their biggest blogging star of the moment (you know her, Filipino-American, defends WWII concentration camps for the Japanese, bashes Muslims and Hispanics for disloyalty, that one) portrayed this gesture as, somehow, in some parallel unexplored universe, "racist".

Now you'd think that the Emperor's Tailors would love a holiday celebrating a defeat of those horrid French forces (at the Battle of Puebla in 1862), but no -- someone translated the word "the" into a different language!! Any stick to beat "The Other" with. In fact, this was a well-planned promotion long in advance, with plenty of support from the community and local business.
On Friday, May 5, the Texas Rangers will celebrate Cinco de Mayo by wearing unique, commemorative jerseys. Following the game, each member of the team will autograph their game-worn Los Rangers jersey, and fans will have the opportunity to win the jerseys through a special raffle from the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit Dallas/Fort Worth non-profit organizations that support the Hispanic community. The raffle tickets will be sold for $5 each at Rangers Promotions kiosks and by volunteers during home games through May 5. ...

The Los Rangers jerseys are made by Majestic and are styled after the Rangers home uniform. Los Rangers will be stitched across the front of the jersey and a commemorative Cinco de Mayo patch will be worn on the right sleeve along with the Texas flag patch on the left sleeve. ...

That night Texas Chevy Dealers will be sponsoring a Los Rangers T-Shirt giveaway to the first 10,000 fans 14 & over. Additional activities on May 5 will consist of musical performances from Mariachi Michoacan and the Latin Music Ensemble from Booker T Washington High School, and Ballet Folklorico de Fort Worth will be performing on the concourse prior to the start of the game.
Token Michelle needs to take her ill-fitting boot out of her mouth once again, and try peddling white sheets somewhere else.

UPDATE: For an incredible example of conservative-friendly jersey alterations, see the very next story.

UPDATE 2: Jack Cluth gets even more pointed with The Blogger from the Black Lagoon over this at "For the ignorant and small-minded shall always be among us".

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Really Invisible Hand Strikes Again

Prairie Angel spotted this:
Religious leaders were to meet in Washington today to pray publicly for gasoline prices to ease, organizers with the group Pray Live said.

"It is our hope that seeing and hearing some of the nation's most powerful preachers gathered around a gas station and the United States capital as a backdrop, will remind everyone who is really in charge of our world -- God," said Wenda Royster....
The story was dated April 27. Curiously, gas kept getting higher thereafter. Perhaps it was another instance of this study:
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and five other U.S. medical centers found, to their bewilderment, that coronary bypass patients who knew strangers were praying for them fared significantly worse than people who got no prayers. ...

The mammoth prayer study cost $2.4 million and enrolled 1,802 bypass surgery patients.

Pour Gomez Addams

Feminist Law Professors spotted a report at an industry site:
A group of atheists at the University of Texas at San Antonio is putting a novel twist on the toys-for-guns programs run by many urban police departments. But instead of toys, they are handing out porn in exchange for bibles.

"We consider the bible to be a very negative force in the history of the world," student Ryan Walker said. ...several students had dropped off copies of the good book and walked away with skin mags.
But this is not a good trade! The articles in those magazines are so dull by contrast to, for example, Song of Solomon. Of course, it reads even better in la langue de l'amour:
Qu'il me baise des baisers de sa bouche! Car ton amour vaut mieux que le vin ...

Mon bien-aimé est pour moi un bouquet de myrrhe, Qui repose entre mes seins. ...

-Que mon bien-aimé entre dans son jardin, Et qu'il mange de ses fruits excellents! - ...

Ton sein est une coupe arrondie, Où le vin parfumé ne manque pas; Ton corps est un tas de froment, Entouré de lis.

Tes deux seins sont comme deux faons, Comme les jumeaux d'une gazelle.
And, just to be universal, it even has passages for fetishists:
Que tes pieds sont beaux dans ta chaussure, fille de prince!


This is the birthday of Virginia Pugh. Inspire a sound bite for a candidate for first lady.

Ibsen With A Texas Accent

In The Pink Texas gives us a delightful Lone Star legislative version of the Norwegian master's A Doll's House.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

One Makes You Small

This is the birthday of Alice Pleasance Liddell. Ask someone to tell you a story.

Situation Normal, All Paid Up

From Counterpunch:
On April 10, at Langley Air Force Base, an F-22 pilot, Capt. Brad Spears, was locked inside the cockpit of his aircraft for five hours. No one in the U.S. Air Force or from Lockheed Martin could figure out how to open the aircraft's canopy. At about 1:15 pm, chainsaw-wielding firefighters from the 1st Fighter Wing finally extracted Spears after they cut through the F-22's three-quarter inch-thick polycarbonate canopy.

Total damage to the airplane, according to sources inside the Pentagon: $1.28 million. Not only did the firefighters ruin the canopy, which cost $286,000, they also scuffed the coating on the airplane's skin which will cost about $1 million to replace.

The Pentagon currently plans to buy 181 copies of the F-22 from Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest weapons vendor. The total price tag: $65.4 billion.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


A full-time stay-at-home mother would earn $134,121 a year if paid for all her work ... according to a study released Wednesday.
The rapid response group from Paternal Primacy quickly announced that therefore full-time stay-at-home fathers should earn at least $176,475.00.

"Great Artists Steal"

In accord with that quote of Picasso's, this week I've "internalized" Golden Earring and Rod Serling:
"You're traveling through another reality, a reality not only of spin and slant but of lies. ... That's the signpost up ahead -- your next stop, the U.N. Zone!"

Go read the whole thing at "When The Bolton Hits The Bone".