Monday, July 31, 2006

Rest In Conflict

I'm sorry to see that Murray Bookchin has died. He tried to do much, and did much more good than harm. Let us all hope for at least that as our legacy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

In Counting There Is Strength

Following the brouhaha over Howard Dean's alleged comparison of Katherine Harris to the former soviet dictator ("Thank God for Bill Nelson, because we'd have another crook in the United States Senate if it weren't for him. He is going to beat the pants off Katherine Harris," Dean said. "She doesn't understand that it's ... improper to be chairman of a campaign and count the votes at the same time. This is not Russia and she is not Stalin."), Water Tiger at Dependable Renegade has done a brilliant illustration.

Rumsfeldism Infects The Church

With tens of thousands of U.S. nuns over age 70, the Roman Catholic Church is facing a massive financial shortfall for the care of retirees in religious orders — a gap that over the long term dwarfs costs from the clergy abuse crisis. ...

Sisters, who make up 82 percent of retirees, are especially vulnerable. ... With far fewer younger novices being recruited, the majority of sisters are now more than 70 years old....

Briggs writes that the looming financial threat "sapped the creative energies of communities." But Sister Andree Fries, the 64-year-old executive director of the U.S. retirement office, disagrees.

She says "the impact is more minimal than one might think" because members of orders "are very much about mission" and not worrying about their future needs. Also, orders are "spending their future retirement money for current bills" — so they are not uncomfortable at the moment.

What about the projected multi-billion-dollar gap? "Is it a big number? Yes," Fries said. "Am I discouraged that we'll ever get there? I'm sobered, but not discouraged, because religious are can-do people."
They are eating their seed corn with both hands.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Exporting Delay Tactics

As Katherine Harris fails to overwhelm the youngest Floridians above, dark rumors abound that her state Republicans are is picking up campaign ideas from Texas:
It may be a case of wishful thinking, but some Florida Republicans are contemplating what could be the most bizarre turn yet in Rep. Katherine Harris' beleaguered run for the U.S. Senate.

According to their speculation, Harris would withdraw from the race if she wins the GOP primary Sept. 5.

State Republican Party executives would then appoint a replacement for Harris, an option under Florida's newly revised election law. That replacement would face incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, in the November general election.
The big difference is that in Florida, unlike Texas where Tom Delay is trying this, they changed the law last year to allow this dodge.

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

Just in case a smidgen of sanity erupts among Florida Republicans, and they actually reject Katherine Harris (now down 30 points in polls against the Democrat) as their Senate nominee, we might start watching the other GOP flakes opposing her. One of these might be their candidate. For instance, there is this man:
To his father's dismay, Collins Jr. said, he switched to the Republican Party in 1988.

"I was very inspired by (President Reagan) bringing the Berlin Wall down," Collins said.
That event was so impressive that it actually went back in time from November of 1989 to inspire him a year before it happened. This guy might be nearly as much fun as she is.

Another Common Household Accident

This is the birthday of Charlotte Corday, the woman who assassinated Jean-Paul Marat.
A political cover-up was attempted prior to the trial; Claude François Chauveau-Lagarde, who previously had represented Marie Antoinette, was appointed as defence for Charlotte Corday. The president of the Tribunal ordered him to enter a plea of insanity on his client's behalf, in order to remove any notion of patriotic idealism from the act.
In her memory, this is to the tune of Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me":
They say I'm not to blame
They claim I'm only mad
So he gets martyr's fame
And no one recalls that he was bad

The way he led the ring
That brought us tyranny
The way he killed our king
Is forgotten if they slander me

If the people's hand is just a nut, then the terror can go on
Better let them pity me than think upon

The way I held my knife
The way his blood ran free
The way I took his life
Will be remembered well in history

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On Thin Ice

Today I've revived my intermittent Birthday Blogging. But, since the accompanying photo of today's honoree was too long for Blogger to easily handle, I have instead posted it at The American Street. Go read a poem to one of America's skating stars at "Razzle Drizzle 'Em".

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not The Solution I Expected

Iddybud suggests Al Gore should be the next candidate for Vice-President, and makes a compelling argument.

Know Thy Foes' Selves

Since it's Tuesday, it's time for my weekly posting at The American Street. This time I've started the ball rolling for a future on-line quiz. Go see if you can make suggestions to expand "What Kind Of Con Are You?"

Monday, July 24, 2006

Still So Stories

Suzan Shown Harjo tells animal tales:
The appeals court handed the judge's head to the united snakes on July 11.

The court says the judge was way harsh when he wrote that Interior was the "morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind."

The court wrote that the judge went "beyond historical racism and all but accuses current Interior officials of racism."

Here's lesson one about Washington. You cannot under any circumstances call a snake a snake, a dinosaur a dinosaur or a racist a racist, or you'll be booed and hissed - sssssss.
(Found by Wampum.)

News Flash: Water Is Wet

Glenn Greenwald reviews John Dean's new tome at great length:
Dean contends, and amply documents, that the "conservative" movement has become, at its core, an authoritarian movement composed of those with a psychological and emotional need to follow a strong authority figure which provides them a sense of moral clarity and a feeling of individual power, the absence of which creates fear and insecurity in the individuals who crave it. By definition, its followers' devotion to authority and the movement's own power is supreme, thereby overriding the consciences of its individual members and removing any intellectual and moral limits on what will be justified in defense of their movement.
Gee, do you think he might have learned that from observing, say, a previous employer of his? What possesses him to think this is a change from the way the rightwingnuts always were?

The Grey Lady Shuffle takes a lesson from Judy Miller's employers:
I've decided to adopt the methods of the New York Times so I can, in all honesty, claim to be honest. In other words, I'm starting a corrections page. I feel that this will allow me to maintain my integrity and hold myself up as a beacon of ethics, fairness, and unbiased, factual reporting. ...

Correction: It was erroneously reported to Citibank at various times during the 80s that "the check was in the mail." It was not. ...

Correction: In various internet comments where stated "I hear what you're saying" please read "obviously you can't be reasoned with." Please replace "we'll agree to disagree" with "you're an asshole" and "I admire your passion" with "you're a flaming asshole."

I apologize for any inconvenience these errors may have caused.

How About "All Of The Above"?

Slacktivist reduces Bush to absurdity:
"There is no ban on embryonic stem cell research," President Bush said yesterday.

Why not? Why is he not actively, tirelessly campaigning for just such a ban?

If he truly believed that such research involved "the taking of innocent human life," then he would be obligated to stop it using every means at his disposal. "I won't fund it, but it's fine if others do," doesn't cut it. All such funding, all such research, would have to be outlawed -- with severe criminal penalties for the mass-murdering Mengeles who violated this ban. The fertility clinics, also, would have to be shut down. The innocent human lives imprisoned in their liquid-nitrogen charnel houses would have to be made wards of the state until such time as they could all -- in their many thousands -- be placed into snowflake foster care.

I am not suggesting that this is what President Bush's position implies taken to its logical extreme. This is what it demands as a bare minimum response. It is not possible, in any meaningful way, to believe that embryonic stem cell research is "the taking of innocent human life" unless you also advocate all of these steps.

President Bush does not advocate any of these steps. If he is not a liar then he is a fool or a monster. There is no fourth option.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tuning Up For November

It seems that soon-to-be-unlamented Joe Lieberman's opponent is a capable musician. Reports from Poisonville has posted a video of the evidence at "Ned Lamont rocks!"

Why They Fight

Arthur explains:
...the government takes your money through taxes -- it then gives some of your money and that of other taxpayers to other nations, such as Israel -- and then other nations like Israel use that money, i.e., your money and that of other taxpayers, to buy weapons from companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.

And then those weapons -- that were paid for in part with your money -- are used to kill, among others, innocent civilians in Lebanon. At this moment and for the last several years, your money also pays for the killing, maiming and torturing of innocent civilians numbering in the tens of thousands in Iraq.

When the next terrorist attack takes American lives -- and perhaps the attack will be led by an Iraqi or a Lebanese who had never had any sympathy for terrorists, at least not until the U.S., directly or indirectly, killed his entire family and most of his relatives -- I suppose our government will tell us once more that "they hate us for our freedom," and many Americans will again enthusiastically believe this self-justifying, self-flattering load of bullshit.
--" They Hate Us Because We Kill Them"

What Is It Good For?

Roy Edroso totally pegs
Billy Kristol is going "Vrrrrow, Vrrrrow, rat-tat-tat-tat" and dive-bombing his shampoo and conditioner bottles in the tub;

Friday, July 21, 2006

Time To Celebrate

A judge has thrown out a 201-year-old North Carolina law making it illegal for unmarried couples to live together.
Just to make this even more lovely, the precedent that the judge cited was Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws. Once again, freedom for minorities means more freedom for the majority as well. Of course, the theocrats disagree:
"I think it's terrible," said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. ... "What the judge actually did was undermine marriage"....

Preemptive Assimilation

Balkinization offers a Stem Cell Compromise:
Seems to me that the perfect compromise that might resolve the stem cell controversy is for the scientific community to agree to do research only on embryos that could possibly mature into terrorists. ...

Blaming La Víctima

El Machete 2006 continues to report on the great Mexican election theft:
Loret de Mola, echoing an argument that critics of López Obrador have voiced, asked the candidate of the left why his representatives in those polling places where the "actas" were altered didn't complain or why they signed those "actas" if they were so irregular. ...

A few days before the election, I denounced on a Mexican Internet forum that López Obrador's web sites had been hacked. For some reason I don't understand, López Obrador's team didn't denounce that attack publicly.... A serious poster on that forum replied saying that the blame fell on López Obrador's computer team, because they didn't have the security expertise required to do their job right. ... So I replied ... saying:

"If your young sister is raped by a thug, instead of condemning the rapist, would you take it against your sister because she didn't carry a gun in her handbag or because she didn't learn martial arts to defend herself?"

I got no reply.

Mississippi Madness

Activists from Operation Save America, formerly known as Operation Rescue, have been in Jackson since Saturday for eight days of protests against the state's only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization in the Fondren neighborhood.

During a demonstration at the Capitol on Tuesday, anti-abortion activists tore up pages from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, along with a gay pride flag and copies of six U.S. Supreme Court rulings related to religion in public schools, sodomy and abortion. ...

Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe behind the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion who later became an anti-abortion activist, lit the match, McEwen said. McEwen said the Quran was burned because it condones violence.

Imam Shaheed Muhammad of Masjid Muhammad in Jackson said Islam opposes abortion. "We don't support abortion," he said. "I don't know why they would attack us on that issue." For Muslims, desecrating the Quran or any holy book is the "highest degree of insult," Muhammad said.

When It Reigns, It Pours

According to the dubious source of Time mag:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave Sunday night for a week of diplomacy in the region and will go with the modest goal of forming an "umbrella of Arab allies" in opposition to the militant group Hizballah ... Officials were using the word "umbrella" instead of "coalition" to avoid reminders of the struggling coalition the U.S. led into Iraq.
Nah, "Umbrella of the Willing" doesn't quite cut it. How about "Bumbershoot of the Bumblers"?

The Week In Review

Shakespeare's Sister summarizes:
The Pledge Protection Bill (*ack gag retch*) is just another plank of Congressional Republicans' "American Values Agenda," which also includes, in addition to the marriage amendment defeated yesterday, "a ban on human cloning, a bill requiring women seeking late-term abortions to be informed that the fetus feels pain, an Internet gambling ban bill that has passed the House and several gun rights bills." Because what Americans are really worried these days is making sure they have guns to fight the married gay clones who convince women to have whimsical late-term abortions so they can dedicate their days instead to online gambling. Fucking tools.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The Republic of T on Bush's manhandling of German Chancellor Merkel:
As a gay man, I've had my share of unwelcome gropes. (And I've been know to grab a groper by the wrist, turn him to face me, and ask him what he thought he was doing.) It's not funny or flattering. At best it's assuming a familiarity that doesn't exist between two people. At worst it's a way of dehumanizing someone reducing them to a body part to be groped, and it's a way of asserting dominance; an unspoken way of saying "I can put my hands on you any time I want, and there's not much you can do about it."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Walkyries Wide Once Again

Considering the current madness in the middle east, and the far-wrong-wing reaction to it here, I thought it appropriate to honor what is widely regarded as the greatest animated cartoon of all time by inviting one of the bellicose bloggers' more scholarly spokespeople to make a guest post at The American Street. You can attempt to read the latest contribution to the debate by Wictow Elmew Hanson, PhD., at Ingwatitude.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Peace In Our Time

Kevin Drum, formerly of "Calpundit" and now of "Political Animal", posts another of his typical waffling uncertain "don't expect me to take sides" jellyfish rambles. This time Kevin is explaining why he seldom says anything about "Israel-related subjects". Shorter Kevin: I don't know enough to wade through all that hatred, because everybody'll call me names.

Right, so let's just say nothing about any crimes by any side, or about US government involvement in them. This is the kind of fawn-like flight which caused me to generally stop reading him years ago, and which drives me instead to turn to almost any kind of moral certainty and fearless taking of stands, such as Arthur Silber.

But the good news is found in one of the comments, which actually has a great, albeit likely an impossible, solution to the whole affair. Unfortunately, A) it doesn't go far enough, since it should be applied to the entire Holy Land instead of just one city, and B) the anonymous poster can't spell for crap. But go enjoy it anyway at this link.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Even Witches Stumble On Some Truths

skippy actually finds something not horrible to write about Florida's Disenfrachiser of Democrats:
...katherine harris may be a lot of things, and she may be totally unhinged, but not because she suspects there's more than meets the eye to the death of lori klausutis.
To which I have to quote (once again) this gem from Nietzsche:
--as if a blind hunter fired hundreds of times in vain and finally, by sheer accident, hit a bird. A result at last, he says to himself, and goes on firing.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Cons

(Following secret orders from the Great and Powerful Kos, I have set the classification of conservatives from Crashing The Gate to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells". Now he may let me live for another year.)

     Shun such shouting silver cons,
Their cloud-castle arguments resemble wild put-ons!
     Watch them ponder, ponder, ponder,
          Long into and through the night!
     As they theorize and wonder
     How to justify the plunder
          Of the world that's theirs by right;
     Crying free, free, free,
     That is all we need to be!
That's the ratiocination their ivory tower spawns
     For these cons, cons, cons, cons,
          Cons, cons, cons --
     For the Freedom First (And Only) Libercons.

(There's more, of course. You can read the whole thing at The American Street.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blast From The Past

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast asks:
So does Bill Napoli think that Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi qualified to have an abortion had she not been shot to death?

Un candidato estúpido se aproxima.

The mayor of a small Bergen County town is calling for a McDonald's boycott if the fast-food chain does not take down a Spanish-language billboard advertising iced coffee.

Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan said the advertisement is "offensive" and "divisive" because it sends a message that Hispanic immigrants do not need to learn English.
I think we need to give hizzoner the Voight-Kampff Test, because his bigotry is sending the message that elected officials do not need to be human beings.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

That's Some Catch, That District 22

A federal judge ruled today that Republicans cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race. ...

DeLay had sought to have state Republican Chair Tina Benkiser declare him ineligible by moving from Sugar Land to his condominium in Virginia. But Sparks said that would not make him ineligible because the requirement under the Constitution is whether DeLay is an inhabitant of Texas on election day.

Sparks said contradicting evidence raised questions about whether DeLay planned to remain a resident of Virginia, but he said that did not matter because DeLay could not say where he would be on election day. ...

DeLay, dressed in shorts and a baseball cap, answered the door at his Sugar Land house this afternoon, but declined to talk with a Chronicle reporter.

"I don't do this (interviews). Not at my house," he said as he closed the door. "Goodbye."
"There are some things I don't do."
--Frank White, in King of New York