Friday, April 28, 2006

You cannot outsource child-rearing...

And when you try to, you get overworked educators, bloviating politicans, or the kind of half-bright militaristic bullying thugs who want to work for a "juvenile detention boot camp". And then they beat kids to death.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Couldn't have said it better meself...

Ex-CIA and State Department employee and current counter-terrorism consultant Larry Johnson takes it right down to the bone:

There is a fundamental moral and ethical difference between someone who leaks information in order to serve the public good and someone, like George Bush, who authorizes leaks only for the purpose of saving his sorry political ass.
Couldn't have said it better mself.

WSJ: Benedict the Inquisitor wears Prada

That fucker. Long way away from "sell all you have, give it to the poor, and follow me", huh?

Translation: don't use inhuman Martians to shill your products...

The best con of all is that the following have managed to persuade ad executives, and corporate sponsors, that being associated with them actually helps sell products:

Sexpot Anna Nicole Smith, hotel heiress Paris Hilton, pop tart Britney Spears, supermodel Kate Moss and real estate mogul Donald Trump were all examples of celebs whose association made it less likely a person would buy a product, the study said.
Wrong! The fact that too many Americans will watch the above-cited Martians, with sick fascination like a bloody car wreck, does not translate to persuading them to open their wallets.

In a more just world, every single one of the above assholes would (a) have to endure anonymity, and (b) get a Real Job. But that ain't how it works in America, folks.

Instead of jobs, such jackasses get reality TV shows.

Delusional Pat strikes again...

I'll give 3-to-1 odds that Pat Robertson has never read either Mein Kampf or the Holy Qu'ran cover-to-cover.

But if he has, and continues to equate the two, he's spending even longer in Hell than I thought.

Another "slam-dunk" exploding in their faces...

The GOP is caught in a cleft stick of their own making: ever since 1996 they've pandered to the worst, most hate-filled elements of their far-right constituency ("God hates fags", "Let's assassinate abortion doctors", "Terry Schiavo's life is Congress's business", "Saddam flew the 9/11 jets", "Saddam has WMD's", "They hate our freedom", "Whaddya you mean, I can't cite Jesus in the courtroom?" etc ad nauseum) in order to get 'em out to vote. But this time, Turd-blossom Karl Rove picked the wrong fuckin' wedge issue: targeting illegal immigrants.

You can't pander to conservative, anti-abortion/anti-gay marriage Latino Catholics on one hand and then damn them as "illegal immigrants" to your redneck in-bred deep-South fundamentalist bible-thumping base, and not have the Latinos catch on.

THREE-QUARTERS of American citizens favor legalizing illegals' status, because THREE QUARTERS of Americans are decent people who still believe in Emma Lazarus's phrase "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Those contemptible scumbags have once again stepped in the shit, and the American public is repudiating their hate-mongering. Serves 'em right.

Researchers Probe Ghost Sightings on Ship

Mystic, Connecticut.

At Mystic Seaport Museum, my old stomping grounds, 3 different groups of people touring below-decks on the whaler Charles W Morgan see a pipe-smoking man in 19th-century garb who nods at but does not speak to them. Museum officials insist no-one was below at the time. Paranormal experts now investigating.

I grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, folks-founded in 1629 by the foul-mouthed fishermen and disreputables who later crewed the first ships of the US Navy and who saved George Washington's ass and army by schlepping both across the ice-laden Delaware in December, 1776.

Across the harbor from Salem, Massachusetts, where they crushed young girls to death as "witches."

There's 400 years of history in my home town and a lot of houses still standing that have been there just as long--and there are places and houses I sure wouldn't visit overnight.

I don't have to believe or not believe in ghosts--but if there is anywhere I think past persons have present echoes, it's there.

You best believe those folks on the Morgan weren't "imagining things."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bill O'Reilly is a liar and a coward


Mr O'Reilly's statements about Massachusetts and Vermont being "sympathetic" to child molesters are cheap lies. As usual, Mr O'Reilly abandons any pretense to the truth in order to pander to his shrinking demographic. I'm a Massachusetts native and I am telling your management, and Mr O'Reilly himself, that he is a liar and a coward.

I am a college professor in Texas, Mr O'Reilly, but I come from your own original stomping grounds, and I remember you when you were a cheapjack pandering regional "news personality". You were a liar and a coward then, Mr O'Reilly, and you're a liar and a coward now.

And yes, I will be delighted to debate you, sir. But if and only if you have the courage to engage in that debate outside the realm of your program. Do you have the fundamental guts to engage in a debate on NEUTRAL territory? No? I thought not.

You are a liar and a coward.

Most sincerely,

Dr Coyote

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Al Gore becomes a hero

He was a doofus as a campaigner, and his wife is a meddlesome bimbo, but Al Gore has become Righteous. Speaking on gay marriage to the Human Rights campaign, he said:

Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you are, and loving who you love, is a form of tyranny over your mind. And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated.
After all the cowardly waffling of just about every goddamned elected Democrat, this is fucking heroic. And this is not isolated. It's almost as he needed defeat to break him out of the wooden consultant's mode and speak his heart.

Please run, Al. As of right now, you've got my vote.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

We conquer hate with forgiveness, not vengeance

Relatives of 9/11 victims are testifying for the defense in the Zacarias Moussaoui conspiracy trial. It is obvious, and has been so testified by psychiatric experts, that Moussaoui is delusional and psychotic, the product of years of childhood abuse. Of course, that won't stop the Bush White House and Abu Ghraib Gonzales from gaining the death penalty: they need a body to stand in for Bin Laden and all the other terrorists they've been incapable of capturing. But the relatives of the victims understand that vengeance heals nothing.

Anthony Aversano lost his father:

"How I fight the terror in me is to live my life well," he told the jury. "If I
let myself succumb to the fear, that will lead to fear and anger and hatred," he
Donald Bane lost his son:
"Every day we miss him," he said. "To do things that promote a celebration of
life, whether a colt, or Keep The Music Going, or people talking to each other
and trying to solve their problems without killing each other, that's what I
think our lives ought to be about," Bane said.
Marilynn Rosenthal lost her son:
"We're not going to get caught up in a whirlpool of frustration and sadness and
anger," she said.
Forgiveness heals. Vengeance destroys.

Secretary of Torture, not Defense

Dear God.

AP is now reporting that Donald Rumsfeld personally took part in the "interrogation" (read: "torture") of Abu Ghraib detainees by videoconference. This is the sickest manifestation yet of the corporate inhumanity which has been made official policy by this Administration.

These people are monsters.

Kansas BOE member fears the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Dedicated to Mrs Connie Morris:
The Flying Spaghetti Monster, is the creation of Bobby Henderson of Corvallis, Ore.

The FSM was created by Bobby Henderson of Oregon to spoof Kansans' recent debates about "intelligent design" versus evolution (a false dichotomy if ever there was one--what we're really talking about is fundamentalists' attempts to ban the teaching of evolution entirely). "Mrs" Connie Booth, member of the State Board of Education, has infringed on academic freedom by insisting that teacher Randy Mousley must remove an image of the FSM from his office door. Herewith a response:

Dear Mrs Morris:

I am appalled at the recent report in the Wichita Eagle that you requested of Randy Mousley's principal that Mr Mousley be forced to remove an image from his office door. This is no part of your mandate as a member of the Board of Education and you have no right to make such intrusion. This smacks of the worst kind of paranoid repression. If you are concerned about others' response to Mr Mousley's artwork, you have a responsibility to make that concern known in a public and appropriate forum. You further have a responsibility to stand by your actions and return telephone calls by reporters seeking elaboration. Your action was repressive and your response since then has been cowardly.

You should be ashamed of yourself.


Dr Coyote

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Boy Dictator

This is just sick. After futzing the start times of the White House East Egg hunt so that the gay parents who stood in line all night wouldn't get in for the photo-grin, they roped in a bunch of little kids to have them sing a "Katrina song" in tribute to Junior and FEMA:

“Our country’s stood beside us/People have sent us aid./Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade./Congress, Bush and FEMA/People across our land/Together have come to rebuild us and/We join them hand-in-hand!”

Jesus. This is the kind of sick, staged photo-op that dictaters engage in.

Inherited millions make you stupid: Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes was a laughable caricature of privilege even in the 1996 and 2000 elections, when he used millions of his inherited money to lend a false aura of "legitimacy" to presidential campaigns that were never more than elaborate exercises in vanity. Aside from his visual and behavioral resemblence to the kind of Upper-Class-Twit-of-the-Year Steven Fry has made a speciality of playing (Dietrich, Jeeves, Protheroe the Zookeeper), Forbes has always seemed bloviate but harmless:

But now, Solon-like, he's arguing that the "inevitable" "confrontation" with Iran will bring the price of oil down:

But the bottom line with Iran is, when we have the confrontation, which we will
have, we can really deal with that crisis. Then the price of oil will come down.
The longer we let it fester, the higher the price of oil will stay.

Never mind that virtually every other scholar, observer, soldier, and pundit has realized that Iran would (a) be a much tougher nut to crack, (b) is probably ten years away from practical nuclear weapons, (c) would likely lead to a pan-Middle-East insurrection, and (d), oh, yeah, hasn't committed any acts of war, there's the fact that Forbes knows fuck-all about the subject. Yet Fox News will have him on to mouth the talking points of whose meaning he has no grasp.

He's another one like Tom Cruise: someone with more money than brains who's been insulated from any responsibility for the imbecilities that come out of his mouth for so long that he's come to believe, all evidence to the contrary, that he actually knows something.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Joe Klein: liberal chickenhawk

Joe Klein wants so badly to differentiate himself as a "good liberal" from all those wimpy peacenik "leftists" that he pontificates about the viability of "tactical nukes":

Klein: We should not take any option including the use of nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons off the table...

Stephanopoulos: Keep that on the table?-That's insane...

What a fucking asshole. Who died and made you a strategy-and-tactics expert, Joe?

As the great Ross Thomas wrote "liberals were the kind of people who'd march into the corporate concentration camps wearing buttons saying 'We meant well.'"

That damned librul Hollywood...

Ever noticed that, since Chimpy's numbers have been going into the shitter, not only are the generals speaking out, and the occasional Democrat actually expressing a smidgeon of backbone, that damned librul cable starts running all the "President is an idiot and a liar" films?

A quick scan of cable movie offerings for the last 24 hours reveals :

Wag the Dog
Apocalypse Now Redux (arguable--but you could sure cast Kurtz from within the Bush White House)

Coincidence? I think now. Damn liberals.

Another combat soldier outs the Chickenhawks: "I will never trust any of them again"

Christopher Sheppard was a Marine captain in Iraq serving with the combat engineers--the bravest of the brave, the guys who go out onto "hot" roads or into unknown buildings to find the IED's before the IED's find the grunts following up behind--and he has joined the other brave vets outing the Chickenhawks, from the draft-dodgers Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld on down the line, in a special to the Times:

I now know I wrongfully placed my faith and trust in a presidential administration hopelessly mired in incompetence, hubris and a lack of accountability. It planned a war based on false intelligence and unrealistic assumptions. It has strategically surrendered the condition of victory in Iraq to people who do not share our vision, values or interests. The Bush administration has proven successful at only one thing in Iraq — painting us into a corner with no feasible exit.
I will never trust any of them again.
Thank you, Captain. It took more guts than are found in the entire Bush administration for you to speak out like this, and the nation is in your debt.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Penn State College Republicans: WATB

Penn State College Republicans propose a "Catch an Illegal Alien" game and then whine when they are castigated for the idea:

"You have to be creative to get students to listen to you," sophomore Chuck Knight wrote in a letter to the editor published recently in the student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. "For that matter, you have to be creative anytime you are trying to raise concern about something."
OK, Chuck. So here's a creative idea: let's paint a picture of the typical College Republican:
  • Marketing, business, communications, or public-policy major
  • Is not paying for his own schooling
  • Did not pay for his own car
  • Moves, dresses, speaks, studies, and thinks in packs
  • Thinks that the only wrong part of cheating is getting caught
  • Looks on former College Republicans like Ralph Reed and Nixon's ratfuckers as role models
  • Uses college experience primarily as a means of padding resume (with bullshit "activities" and generic classes) and making contacts
  • Kowtows to authority
  • Turns off brain any time politics arises, mouthing platitudinous truisms that Dad and Mom (no great thinkers themselves) have drummed into him
What? It's an exaggeration? No, Chuck, it's "creative"; to "get your attention."

I'm suprised they didn't propose a paintball safari. This is what happens when PAC's and other biasing agencies recruit adolescents to promulgate political beliefs they don't understand on college campuses. And it's been going on since the 1980s at latest: see the persecutions of African-American professor Bill Cole and many others on the Dartmouth campus--a seedbed for these College Republican punks.

Counterpunch: hyperbole don't help

Counterpunch has a great post up about the distorted and one-sided nature of the coverage of the Cynthia McKinney incident. I haven't blogged about this because I don't know the facts of the case and because, absent that, I can imagine a couple of different scenarios, equally likely, in which either Rep McKinney or the Capitol cops are most culpable.

But Counterpunch headed the post "the Lynching of Cynthia McKinney," and I have to call them on their language. Lynching is the unlawful murder (often preceded by torture) of an individual or individuals exerting mob justice. It was bullshit when Clarence Thomas claimed during his confirmation hearings that those investigating Anita Hill's allegations were guilty of "a lynching", and it's bullshit for Counterpunch to use the term now.

Because it cheapens and appropriates the horror of lynching's reality for the sake of a shakey and inflammatory analogy. Let's ask the families and friends of those who were lynched whether what happened to Clarence, or to Rep McKinney, qualifies, shall we?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Yes, there is literal blood on his hands...

Not only did Rumsfeld know of the abuse of detainees--which he's denied--but now Salon's Mark Scherer is reporting that he was "personally involved":

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in the late 2002 interrogation of a high-value al-Qaida detainee known in intelligence circles as "the 20th hijacker." He also communicated weekly with the man in charge of the interrogation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the controversial commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center. During the same period, detainee Mohammed al-Kahtani suffered from what Army investigators have called "degrading and abusive" treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved. Kahtani was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women's underwear and to perform "dog tricks" on a leash. He received 18-to-20-hour interrogations during 48 of 54 days.

Delta Force vet Eric Hines said it simply and best:
The only reason somebody tortures is because they like it.
Jesus. These people are true psychopaths. They don't just enable torture--they participate themselves.

David Horowitz is a WATB

[Blog-speak: "Whiney-Ass-Titty-Baby"; translates as "Keyboard commando who loves to rant hatefully about people he disagrees with but veers toward infantile self-pity when called on his lying, ignorance, and ego"]

Horowitz wrote The Professors: The 100 Most Dangerous Academics in America, about which I've posted before (specifically about regretting I didn't make the cut). No link because I'm damned if I'll help him sell this piece of falsified, paranoid, self-pitying crap. However, I will link to Jesus's General's amazon review; gives the book every bit of credit that it deserves.

Michael Berube and Aldon Nielsen thump him resoundingly.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another avocation that seems more fascinating than its reality...

1923 Ford TT truck.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
(Owned by
William Gabriel of Holliston, MA; photo courtesy of Model T Ford Club of America)

Another ill-advised fascination. But, no less practical than a bicycle or a treadle sewing machine (both of which, be it said, require little or no fossil fuels, do their required job with great economy, and are beautiful in their elegant simplicity). My younger brother collects push-lawnmowers, for precisely the same reason--but he's got 4000 square feet of shop space, mechanical aptitude, and patience...all of which I lack. Seems fascinating from a distance, but up close it would surely raise my blood pressure and lower my life expectancy.

Down, boy, down!

IRA disavows violence one more time

IRA apologises for the apparently-accidental killing of civilian Eugene McQuaid, victim of what they claim was a premature bomb explosion. Small comfort for Mr McQuaid's family, I'm sure, but what seems perhaps more significant than that is the statement that accompanied IRA's annual Easter statement:

The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann believes that it is possible to achieve the republican goal of a united Ireland through the alternative route of purely peaceful and democratic means.
They've got almost no control over the gangsters who make up the splinter groups (e.g., the "Real IRA" and others), who are determined to sink the peace process because of the fortunes they've been making out of extortion, smuggling, drugs, and guns. It's almost certainly gangsters from the splinter groups who tortured and murdered British spy Denis Donaldson.

There are two sides to every such conflict. Not "right" versus "wrong", not "strong" versus "weak", not "Catholic" versus "Protestant".

No. The two sides in any such conflict comes down to those who'll kill versus those who will not. Color me "Not."

Rumsfeld the chickenhawk, whose ego kills grunts...

Major General Charles Swannack (82nd Airborne) says

"Specifically, I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces there," Swannack said in the telephone interview. And I believe he has culpability associated with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and, so, rather than admitting these mistakes, he continually justifies them to the press ... and that really disallows him from moving our strategy forward."
He also makes it clear that Rumsfeld has promoted yes-men as generals who share his contemptible willingness to advance their careers by supporting strategies that kill soldiers unnecessarily.

He joins Anthony Zinni (2 tours Vietnam, operations & tactics instructor at Quantico), Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton , Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, former Marine Jack Murtha, WWII dogface Albert Sobol, Delta top sergeant Eric Haney, and hundreds of other combat soldiers who believes that Rumsfield neither knows nor cares about the reality of any war on the ground.

Rumsfeld is a chickenhawk, a theoretician, a liar, a civilian, and an egomaniac. He has no business serving at Defense, and he insults career soldiers and kills kids every time he gives an order or fakes a statistic.

Even more brutal condemnation of Rummy on NYT site. Look at the faces and the service records of the six generals who are now calling for his ouster. No matter how much Cokie Roberts pandered to his "toughness"--these are the soldiers who know how much he's full of shit.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cavs at Pistons

Blogger ate the first half of this post, where I predicted Detroit, at home, by at least 10 over the Cavs. It's even worse than I predicted:


56-29 at the half.

73-49 at end of the 3rd, when Lebron hurts his ankle and exits the game.

You know it's bad when they cut away to "Bonus Coverage" of other games because Cleveland's getting blown out so bad.

Pistons the best team in basketball, no doubt about that.

Bullies got no brains, less balls...

The Washington Post confirmed that Bush was lying when he said the trailers found in 2003 were "mobile weapons labs" and that he knew he was lying. And the only response the White House can come up with is to send pitiful Scottie McClellan out to demand that the Post "apologize".

They'll lie, cheat, steal, defame, leak, betray, kick-back, character-assasinate, intimidate, payoff, and otherwise bully...but when someone calls them on it, all they can think of to do is "demand an apology." They've got no better strategy than that--just to yell louder and threaten more viciously.

The thing is, it's not working anymore. And they're too stupid to find alternatives. And they've haven't got the balls to stay the course.

Corruption corrupts all who touch it

Junior's amoral corruption really is contagious. There was a time when Colin Powell was an honorable man, a brave soldier, and a dedicated public servant. But he let himself get sucked in and he lied repeatedly to support the Shrub. Robert Sheer of reports:

On Monday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told me that he and his department's top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the president followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim. Now he tells us...
Here's the thing: Powell knew in 2003, when he testified before Congress, that Junior and the Dick were lying--and he lied to support them. And he's not the only fundamentally decent person who has been similarly contaminated.

Telling us now that he knew they were lying then is not good enough. He's going to carry that guilt for the rest of his life (and it certainly doomed his presidential aspirations).

Jumped for your love...

This is sad. June Pointer, the youngest and sassiest of the Pointer Sisters, and the lead singer on the titanic "Jump for your love" (easily the funkiest and most soulful techno-disco hit of the 80s), has died. She was beautiful and talented and it's a goddamned shame that cancer took her only age 52.

Sad day.

The Phantom Prof hates sorority girls...

...and I'm right there behind her.

It's not just the cookie-cutter outfits, phones, language, inflections, or priorities. It's the cookie-cutter minds.

And it's not like these girls are actually that mindless and conformist. Mostly, they're not stupid: they're good kids, often with very small horizons, whose minds have been conditioned and limited by a mass-media, dumbed-down, mass-consumption culture.

Rather, like their over-testosteroned backwards-baseball-capped pickup-driving shower-clog-wearing "dude"-spouting light-beer-chugging "whooping-at-every-available-opportunity" red-necked pack-mentalitied group-cramming-at-the-last-minute exam-stealing mass-cheating date-drugging male counterparts, they're afraid they won't fit in.

So they go for the nearest, safest, most predictable, most-frequently-ratified-by-peer-group models, and act much dumber than they are. These kids are this way because they've been programmed to be this way.

That's why I don't like fraternities and sororities.

Monday, April 10, 2006

They try to divide us

Fantastic essay by DailyKos guest-blogger SusanG which nails the way wealth seeks to divide:

Leveraging xenophobia, and every other incidental difference between individual Americans, is the heart and soul of nearly all Bush administration's policies, foreign and domestic. This constant appeal to our most primitive fears - of scarcity, of violence, of foreigners, of our neighbors - is a calculated manipulation designed to divide Americans against each other, and it is destroying the very premise upon which this country was founded: E Pluribus Unum, "out of many, one."
She calls them divide-and-conquer tactics, and she's right. I would expand on this, though, to make explicit that these tactics are not unique to the Bush Administration. Every oligarchy has done the same thing--using race, moralities, ethnicity, and any other markers to divide the poor from one another so that they cannot unite against the rich who rip them off.

In the "weeping bitter tears" department...

You know what? I'm not weeping over the plight of the poor lobbyists who Tom De Lay took to the cleaners so as to pump up his legal defense fund:

A few lobbyists who helped raise money for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) — all of them outside the inner circle of the former Majority Leader — say they'd like the outgoing Congressman to offer them their money back. […]

His re-election kitty, probably worth upwards of $1 million, is widely expected to be shifted into a fund to pay his mounting legal bills. While these lobbyists didn't mind cutting checks to the Majority Leader, or even a member of the Appropriations Committee, they aren't so energized about spreading their generosity to DeLay's legal team because, well, what's in it for them?

"If I wanted to give to a legal fund, I would've done it directly," snarled one GOP lobbyist who refused to have his name attached to such callous-sounding sentiments, even if DeLay is leaving Congress.

Another lobbyist who gives to Members on both sides of the aisle said, "It's nauseating to think about" his campaign contribution going to fund DeLay's legal team. "I'm realistic about it. He wouldn't resign for no reason," this lobbyist said, noting that the timing of DeLay's departure came awfully close to the announcement of a plea agreement by his former aide Tony Rudy. "That all this money will go to the legal defense fund, it sickens me," he added. "I have to pay for that?"
Yes, that's it. I'm weeping bitter, bitter tears. Those poor rich white lobbyists. The horror! The horror!

Further to Benedict the Nazi

Well, we're making good progress here.

In addition to reinstating the Crusades and dumbing down the Pontificate, Benedict the Nazi's henchmen--specifically Father Gabriele Amorth--are now confirming that Harry Potter is actually Satanist recruiting material:

"By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil," he was quoted as saying. "You start with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil. "There is no doubt that the signature of the Prince of Darkness is clearly within these books."
It's also confirmed that Their New Pope fully supports Fr Amorth:
In 2003 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) reportedly wrote two letters to a critic of the Harry Potter series. "It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly," he wrote.
There is no way on Heaven or Earth that this sort of medieval dim-wittedness is going to fly. Who the hell does he think he's catering to? Not the new Catholics in the 3rd World who hate the idea of female priests, homosexuality, and abortion--they've never heard of Harry Potter and don't give a shit. Not the N American and European Catholics who are still hanging on within the church--this is the kind of shit that's chasing them out by the 10s of thousands.

They're going to be sorry they did this: not only in terms of history (by which perspective they're already damned) but in terms of politics. It's stupid politics.

[Update at Dharmonia's suggestion:

"Blimey, I never expected the Spanish Inquisition!"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Studs Terkel: true American hero

Studs Terkel is 94 years old and he's been telling the truth since 1934, when he completed a law degree but chose to go to work for FDR's WPA instead.. One of the great heroes of American hsitory and culture, he's been giving voice to working folks for over sixty years. And here's what he has to say about today's La Raza:

Feelings of self-respect, appreciation and pride do not show up on economic forecasts or on a profit and loss spreadsheet, but they are the result of decent pay for honest work. The security a breadwinner feels knowing a sick family member will receive the care they need. The joy a mother and father experience when they can afford to help send their kids to college. When people come together to join a union, they build something bigger and better for themselves and their families. They create community.
Studs remembers the first advent of the Wobblies, before the fascist minions of Woodrow Wilson broke the law to try to destroy them. And he recognizes that we're coming back.

Solidarity forever.

The cellular umbilical

I'm always struck, in traveling around campus and throughout this college town, by the extent to which the cell phone has become a means of enabling a shortened attention span. Typically, I see students get into their cars, turn on the ignition, and before even pulling out, open their cell phones. And I've overheard dozens of variations of the following conversation:

[Student is sitting in coffeeshop, textbooks open and ostensibly "studying", but in fact staring into space and visibly bored. Student puts down yellow highlighter, delves into Dolce Gabbano-knockoff bag and flips open cell phone]

Student: "Hey, what're you doin'?"

Cell phone: [...............]

Student: "Nothin'. Just sitting here studying."

Cell phone: [................]

Student: "No, I didn't go. That class is totally a waste. He never says anything interesting."

Cell phone: [................]

Student: "Oh, OK. I'll let you go...hey, are you going to the party Saturday night?"

Cell phone: ["Call ended" signal]

Student: [punch mindlessly at phone "Talk" button...pause...sigh; stare into space...punch "Talk" button]

Student: "Hey, what're you doin'?"

[continue ad nauseum]

What I'm now observing is that these kids learn this from their Moms. I've just had the misfortune of being trapped behind a botox-ed mom having a stunningly banal conversation, about clothes, families, and makeup, with her daughter and another mom/daughter combo. Finally, the other three departed, and Botox Mom was left alone.

B-M: [delve into Dolce Gabbano bag, flip open phone] "Hey, what're you doin'?"

Jesus. No wonder George Bush is still avoiding impeachment. These people have the attention span of a fruit fly.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blood sports are for cowards

Only cowards like to watch animals suffer.

Only cowards like to watch animals suffer.

Only cowards like to watch animals suffer.

Only cowards like to watch animals suffer.

There is less than no excuse for deriving "entertainment" from blood sports. I'm not talking about "one shot--one kill." I'm not talking about taking life with respect. I'm not even talking about those who have the raw physical courage to get in the ring with an animal that could kill them. But, that being said:

Only cowards like to watch animals suffer.

Jesus was a Gnostic

Teh National Geographic Magazine has confirmed the authenticity of a c300CE document which represents a portion of the lost Gospel of Judas, and which presents a very different picture of Jesus than the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John--as filtered and bowdlerized by Paul and his minions. In this new document:

Unlike the accounts in the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in which Judas is portrayed as a reviled traitor, this newly discovered Gospel portrays Judas as acting at Jesus' request when he hands Jesus over to the authorities.
This is strong confirming evidence that the actual historical person named Jesus came from a very different philosophical stance, occupied a very different political space, and intended a very different spiritual message: namely that of Gnosis:
Some Gnostics were early Christian sectarians, though Gnosticism predates christianity. Strongly associated with mysticism and more weakly with mystery religions, existing in parts of the Roman empire from the first and second centuries AD, and surviving until the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar group of Gnostics in the twelth century. They were highly concerned with secret, esoteric interpretations of various works, including the teachings of Jesus, and less so with their literal content, which they frequently treated as allegory and metaphor. The New Testament, which contains the Gospels, Epistles, Book of Acts and Book of Revelation, is the portion of the Christian Bible written after the birth of Jesus.
Gnosticism continued as a hidden system of beliefs all through the medieval period and into the Renaissance--and they were always persecuted.

Time to start redressing those injustices.

Libby rolls on Cheney and Chimpy

Scooter Libby, like John Dean before him, has refused to take the bullet for the Preznit. Dean agreed to testify before Sam Ervin's Watergate Committee after HR "Bob" Haldeman and John Erlichman had presumed he would go to jail rather than implicate Tricky Dick Nixon in the Watergate cover-up.

Well, Scooter's taking a page out of Dean's book (and isn't it curious that Dean testified to the Senate just last week that the NSA domestic-spying scandal was "worse than Watergate"?): he's rolled on Cheney, saying

Libby testified that he was reluctant at first to reveal the information, until Cheney assured him that Bush had okayed it.
Prediction: the White House will deny, endeavor to discredit Libby, and, when more information supporting Libby's testimony comes to claim, claim "executive privilege" allows the Preznit to summarily declassify information by fiat, and even to give that fiat to others: that's what Cheney claims.

Bastards seem to have forgotten that Nixon himself got shot down over executive privilege.

This administration is over. It's just a matter of how many more they kill or ruin before they admit it.

In the "speaking truth to power" department...

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Mr Harry Taylor, who at a presidential "town-meeting" in Charlotte NC had the courage to stand up and tell Chimpie he was an embarassment:

"I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration," Taylor said, standing in a balcony seat and looking down at Bush on stage. "And I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and grace to be ashamed of yourself."
Mr Taylor was more courteous than I would have been, going on to thank Junior for the "right" to express such disagreement. The best that Junior could come up with was "you're welcome."

No date the fascist wingnut Keyboard Commandos (e.g., the right-wing blogosphere) will switch off playing video-games long enough to search for dirt on Mr Taylor, but the fact remains that the man had the courage to speak truth to power. Well done, sir.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This is what patronage and the culture of corruption does

I don't have any comments on this. But there is simply no way that a proper Federal vetting system can work if any time any punk with the right family connections wants a gig the Bush White House or their fellow-travellers like the Post gives it to him. You get felons, plagiarists, religious fanatics, and pedophiles.

Enough is enough.

I'm from Massachusetts, where there's universal health care.

Damn. First in Freedom once again. Makes me proud to be from there.

The bill does what health experts say no other state has been able to do: provide a mechanism for all of its citizens to obtain health insurance. It accomplishes that in a way that experts say combines several methods and proposals from across the political spectrum, apportioning the cost among businesses, individuals and the government.
If one state can do it, then some day they all can. No more excuses.

Sergeant Caviness, we're tired of your BULLSHIT

Denise Grier of DeKalb County GA was ticketed by Sergeant R.S. Caviness for sporting a bumper sticker on her truck which read "I'm tired of all the BUSH--". The department claimed that Caviness had cited Grier under an old law against lewd displays. No one from the department has been able to explain why the good sergeant would have cited a driver for a law that was rescinded in 1990, two years before he even became a cop. Not to mention the fact that it's NOT A LEWDITY. Somebody needs to teach the Sergeant about the letter "L."

Look, let's be honest, here. We had a redneck cop who thought he could mess up the day of a "liberal" who had the temerity to express something derogatory about the Preznit. Grier herself called bullshit on the "legal" excuse: "The officer pulled me over because he didn't agree with my politics."

Somebody oughta explain to DeKalb County that, even in Bush's America, you can't ticket people for opinions. Not that they won't try.

I hope she's sues the County's ass blind. They're already stupid.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The timing of the 9/11 911 tape releases

Let's be clear: the story revealed on these tapes is simultaneously heart-breaking and transcendent. The courage, clarity, and acceptance of so many who suffered and died on that day doesn't need audio evidence (and one more time for the NYC police and fire who charged into those burning buildings).

But can I just observe that the timing of this release--and the absurd, exploitative, necrophilic response from CNN in airing the audio excerpts and re-running ad nauseum the videotapes of the Day--is suspect? What is the point of releasing these to the media? Why not just to the families, who might wish to do their grieving in private?

I can't help but note that the timing of this release, reminding Americans of the human suffering of that day at a time when the Shrub's numbers are comically low, is just the kind of timing a half-bright marketing dweeb like Karl Rove might think was useful.

The irony, of course, is that the anger aroused by remembering that day is not going to be directed at Iraqi guerillas, but at the liars who led us into a war with the wrong nation. Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld/McClellan blaspheme the memories of the 9/11 victims every time they open their mouths.