Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We're All Snobs.

At least according to John Gibson we are.

Instead of clamoring for new information on Anna Nicole Smith (Who frankly, would have cost me big money in a dead pool--- Who expected her to last this long?), we insist on... You know, real news.

H/T to ThinkProgress:

GIBSON: Now I submit to you that that is a real, honest-to-God drama. Now it may not fit the high-minded views of a lot of news professionals, people who think that their news program is just another part of Foreign Affairs Quarterly. That only a certain kind of news is worthy of their discussing. Those people are snobs. They’re people who, when they see a story, go, “Ew, icky. I don’t want to do that.” I did this for years. I’ve been doing a long time. I’ve approached many stories and said, “That story isn’t worth our trouble.” It has always been a mistake. Always. Every single time I did it. So when I see people like this guy —
[CLIP ANDERSON COOPER] There’s a war on, there’s a war on, there’s a war on.
GIBSON: Oh, there’s a war on, there’s a war on. Maybe, just maybe, people are a little weary, Mr. Cooper, of your war coverage, and they’d like a little something else. Maybe that’s why they all thundered to this story.
[CLIP ANDERSON COOPER] There’s a war on, there’s a war on, there’s a war on.
GIBSON: My complaint about this is what you’re listening to when you hear that guy lecture the audience, is you’re listening to news-guy snobbery. Essentially saying, “I’m better than you. I know what you want to hear about, but I’m better than that story. I’m too high class for that story. I won’t stoop to what you want to hear about.”
I’m not playing that. People want to hear about the Anna Nicole story, I’m happy to tell them.
Incidentally, dumbass--- Foreign Affairs is bimonthly, not quarterly. Then again, why would I expect the "stick your head in the sand and avoid learning anything" crowd to know that? Not saying you have to be an idiot to not realize that--- But when your job is delivering commentary on, among other things, foreign policy, shouldn't you be familiar with the best publication for learning about it?

The Golden Campy Award Goes To...

... who else?

The namesake of this award, Stacey Campfield (Who earned such an honor by outdumbing The Decider) is the best person to break this award in.

Not for his spirited defense of Terry Frank, although it certainly is deserving. Nor is it for his wish to give a death certificate to every aborted fetus.

No, he wins it for the Wife Beater Protection Act. In Campy's Perfect World, if someone files for an order of protection and the order is denied, the person who filed the petition should be responsible for the legal bills of the person they filed against.

This could be devastating to women of limited resources whose abusive husbands have the means to hire good attorneys.

Campfield is pushing for that as part of a legislative agenda that reduces the court system to a gambling parlor. To file anything in court, you would need to be prepared to pay the other party's legal fees if you lose--- Something that would kill any litigation against a corporation for product liability, harassment, or workplace injury unless the case was so tight that there was no way to lose--- And when a David files against a corporate Goliath, there's always a way to lose.
(Hat tip to R. Neal at Knox Views. I got "Wife Beater Protection Act" from the lady that emailed me a link to the bill last night. Turns out she got it here. )

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This Week's Ivins Award Goes To...

Autoegocrat, for issuing the best line possible regarding the Edmund Ford scandal. No matter who writes about it, this line will never be topped:

"And It Happens Every Year" by Newscoma

Everyone should have a look at this one. It's really a beautiful piece of writing.

The Only Member of the Council On Foreign Relations You've Ever Seen Naked...

Okay, once you get past the initial guffaws that reading that Angelina Jolie is now a member of the Council On Foreign Relations will surely inspire, it's not a bad move. Her work on behalf of AIDS orphans, refugees, famine victims, and disaster victims is certainly great, and lends a much-needed layer of activism to a group known primarily for more distanced academia.

Plus, we might finally get some much needed swimsuit pictures in the informative but dry Foreign Affairs.

Now, I will continue on my drive to get her to adopt Britney Spears' children and perhaps Anna Nicle Smith's baby as well.

Said member Carol Adelman: "It's not like Paris Hilton is being nominated."

The Most Insidious of Traitors...

Monday, February 26, 2007


Could Al Sharpton be related to Strom Thurmond? And furthermore, doesn't this sound like the setup to a really bad sitcom or buddy cop movie?

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton said he wants a DNA test to determine whether he is related to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond through his great-grandfather, a slave owned by an ancestor of the late senator...

...Professional genealogists, who work for, found that Sharpton's great-grandfather Coleman Sharpton was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed...

And we already know that the Thurmond family tended to get busy with help now and again, don't we?

Al Gore Wins the Oscar!

At least until the Supreme Court takes it away from him and hands it over to George W. Bush. Now let's draft Gore and keep this one out of stealing distance.

Kibitzer did a great writeup on Tennessee's favorite son that should be seen by all.

Have You Seen Her?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The New Republican

The New Republican has been sold. I'm sure this isn't new knowledge--- It's been reported everywhere. Except, of course, The New Republican.

Peter Beinart uses his last editorial at the magazine to do what he's been doing for years--- Trying to play it both ways regarding the war in Iraq.

A couple of years ago, TNR ran the landmark "We Were Wrong" issue which, despite the cover, was short on mea culpa and long on excuses. Instead of the John Edwards-type confessional we were led to expect, we were treated to a Hillary Clinton-esque hodgepodge of excuses, all of which sidestepped the issue of TNR's refusal to question the drivel we were hearing out of Washington.

While the White House was banging war drums, TNR was singing harmony vocals. Perhaps new editor Frankin Foer will be at least a little more discriminating than Beinart was.

Friday, February 23, 2007


My father loved the old TV show "Married With Children". There was an old episode of the show where Al and Peggy Bundy went to a hotel that their neighbors Marcy and Steve used in an effort to"spice up" the old marriage. After having sex, they popped in the complimentary porn video the hotel managers gave them as they signed in, and saw that it was Steve and Marcy. Unwittingly, every person that stayed there had been videotaped in their rooms. Both couples sued the hotel. Steve and Marcy got damages, but Al and Peggy got nothing--- The sex act was so brief that no one could verify that it actually happened.

So... Does Vilsack's candidacy even count as a campaign? Or just an idea?

Update: I should have looked before I posted. Brother Cracker got there a little bit ahead of me. Despite his kindness in the comments here, his is better.

Weapons of Mass Deception...

... or "How To Turn 600 Pounds Into One Million pounds In Three Easy Steps".

In the interest of disclosure, this message is here because, like Stacey Campfield, Terry Frank has felt the need to make my latest response to her blather go away rather than face up to it. My response broke no rules. There was no profanity. I didn't call her an idiot in it--- Of course, I proved her to be an idiot, which is perhaps just as dreadful to a blogger whose existence seems to take place entirely in a vacuum of "attaboy" taps on the ass from a fawning group of sycophants who cling to her blather as dogma.

For now, we have the meat of her story. She defends her "discovery" of this massive, one million pound stockpile of nuclear materials this way:

While my numbers most likely include some that you have referenced, exclusive is my reporting of UF4–known as “green salt.”

600 pounds of uranium tetrafluoride, aka "green salt". Not anything you would want to sprinkle on your fries, mind you. It's not fissionable material in and of itself, but is used to convert uranium hexafluoride into either a uranium oxide or uranium metal. But saying it's a weapon of mass destruction is akin to saying the gas can you've got out in the shed is actually a car.

The problem is that one important piece is missing for this to have actually been a justification for the war in Iraq--- An effort to refine and enrich uranium. Uranium enrichment doesn't take place in an EZ Bake Oven. The Al-Qa'im plant that was used for that purpose was destroyed by coalition troops in 1991. Every discovery made at that plant dates back to the pre-1991 efforts. At one other plant, Ibn-Sina, we discovered a few kilograms of uranium-bearing waste, but it was the byproduct of phosphoric acid production.

And lest any right wing dogma-types start fretting over phosphoric acid--- It's a chemical compound that removes rust and is also found in soft drinks (Which is kind of a scary thought in and of itself. Which flavor of rust remover would you like with your fries?).

Even this is far afield. For as interesting as this edition of "better living through chemistry" has been, it still does nothing to justify the war. For none of this is the reason we were told we were going in (As I pointed out in a missive to the Frank blog that has disappeared down the memory hole).

Where are the 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin we were told of in the 2003 State of the Union? What of the 25,000 liters of anthrax referenced in the same speech?

How about the 10/7/02 speech in Cincinatti where the president used the phrase "9/11" or some variation on it in reference to Iraq a dozen times, then told us that Saddam had nuclear mujahedeen--- "Nukyaler holy warriors", as the president called them--- That were willing and waiting to go carry out nuclear attacks in the name of Saddam Hussein?

The American public was misled constantly during the buildup to this war. Misleading it again in a futile attempt to retroactively justify it is simply wrong on every level.

Unlike Madam Censor, I don't delete attempts to show me up on my own site. To the contrary, I invite it. People that have nothing to fear from the truth don't feel the need to suppress dissent.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Terry Frank Story Unravels.

Not that she's copped to it, mind you.

The startling discovery she's made was, in fact, in the Iraq Survey Group report. In fact, it's inventory that we already knew about. It's inventory acquired between 1979 and 1982 that we already knew about and was already under safeguard or deemed not weapons grade.

We should all congratulate Terry Frank for discovering what we already knew. Following her fine example, I'm going to the river so I can look across and discover Arkansas (Not that I think anyone will thank me for it).

**It should be pointed out that the amounts were matched up to the ISG report by a commenter on Franks' blog calling him/herself Gattsuru that was attempting to defend Franks.

Terry Frank Document Watch, Day 1

Terry Frank at rightwing blog Frankly Speaking claims to have unearthed documents that will turn the world upside down--- She claims to have evidence of one million pounds of uranium were in the possession of one Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Of course, for her claims to have even a passing resemblance to reality, you have to believe a few things which are, at best, leaps of logic that not even Evel Kenievel in his prime would have dared approach:

  1. The White House enjoys being a laughingstock so much that it wouldn't even bother making an announcement that could help it shed its reputation as an outfit so incompetent that it couldn't find nipples in a titty bar.
  2. The smartest place to store sensitive documents related to weapons of mass destruction held by a foreign power is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a government facility with a largely civilian workforce and 3000 guest researchers that stay for two weeks or more per year.
  3. The first call when it comes time to disclose the discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, one of the thorniest issues to ever face this White House or any other is not one of the friendly media outets such as Fox News or the Washington Moonie Times. Nor is it the New York Times, home of Judith "I ask no questions" Miller, who actually spent time in jail covering up secrets for this White House. It's not even to male prostitute Jeff Gannon, who had wider access to the White House than most of the senior staff (Not to mention a three hour jump on the beginning of "Shock and Awe"). It goes to Terry Frank, a blogger from East Tennessee.
  4. Terry Frank is in possession of these documents, but can't find anyone with a scanner willing to help exonerate the White House.
  5. The White House was so concerned with keeping the secrets of Saddam Hussein (Despite being unable to keep video of his hanging or pictures of him in his tighty whities off of the internet) that even now, they can't talk about a massive nuclear stockpile that would boost Bush's approvals by at least 20 points.

Of course, we'll never actually get the answers to any of these questions, will we? Nor will we ever see a verifiable scan of said document--- And by "verifiable", I mean one that will get the White House to say "Yes, it's true".

So today is Day One of what will be a very long wait. There will be, at a bare minimum, one post a day on this site goofing on Terry Frank until she either posts verifiable documents or gets over her delusions of grandeur.

And to show you just how credible this report is--- Stacey Campfield, winner of yesterday's Golden Bushie (I think I gave it out a day too soon) thinks it's true (Via Pesky Fly).

The McCain vs. McCain Debate

Fact: John McCain wants to be president.

So much campaign rhetoric has been thrown about over the last few months that it's only fitting to go ahead and kick off debate season now. And I'll be moderating the first debate.

In one corner, we have Maverick Senator John McCain.

In the other corner, we have the only man bold enough to stand up to Maverick Senator McCain--- Presidential Candidate John McCain.

Maverick Senator McCain, you won the coin toss, so you get to start things off. Tell us what you think of the evangelical movement in America.

Maverick Senator McCain: Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right. (2/28/00)

Me: Very good, Senator. Presidential Candidate McCain, you may now rebut.

Presidential Candidate McCain: I met with Rev. Falwell. He came to see me in Washington. We agreed to disagree on certain issues, and we agreed to move forward. (4/2/06)

Me: Clearly, our two candidates disagree. Now, I'll ask our two candidates: Has the war in Iraq been properly managed? Presidential Candidate McCain, I'll let you start this one.

Presidential Candidate McCain: We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement — that's the kindest word I can give you — of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war. The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously. (2/19/07)

Me: Well, you can't get more clearly stated than that. Shades of the "Straight Talk Express". Maverick Senator McCain, your response?

Maverick Senator McCain: While Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had our differences, he deserves Americans' respect and gratitude for his many years of public service. (11/06)

Me: Straight talk indeed. Maverick Senator McCain, I'll allow you to start this one. Where do you stand on Roe vs. Wade?

Maverick Senator McCain: I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to illegal and dangerous operations. (8/24/99)

Me: Presidential Candidate McCain, your rebuttal?

Presidential Candidate McCain: I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned. (2/18/07)

Me: Short and straight to the point. Since the Clinton years, the Republican Party has been on a bit of a tangent against adulturers, and rightly so. With the entrance of Rudy Giuliani in this race, who was so bold that he moved his mistress into Gracie Mansion, it's bound to come up again. Presidential Candidate McCain, you're scheduled to give a talk to South Carolina students advocating that they forgo sex outside of marriage, right?

Presidential Candidate McCain: [Silence] (2/17/07)

Me: Wow. Even shorter, even more to the point. Maverick Senator McCain, your views on sex outside of marriage?

Maverick Senator McCain: Let me say that I am responsible for the breakup of my first marriage. I will not discuss or talk about that any more than that. If someone wants to criticize me for that, that's fine. (2/12/99)

Me: Not... Exactly what I was shooting for, but I admire Maverick Senator McCain's willingness to own up to his mistakes. Maverick Senator McCain, could you tell me your views on the "surge" in Iraq?

Maverick Senator McCain: Took us a long time to get in the situation we’re in, and to say that — and somehow assume that in a few months, that things are going to get all better I think is not realistic. (2/4/07)

Me: Presidential Candidate McCain, your response?

Presidential Candidate McCain: I think in the case of the Iraqi government cooperating and doing what’s necessary, we can know fairly well in a few months. (2/4/07, 47 seconds later)

Me: I want to thank you both for showing up today. We'll see you on the campaign trail.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Golden Bushie Award For Accomplishments in Assclownism...

... goes to Representative Stacey Campfield, whose recent efforts could very well earn him the right to have this award renamed in his (dubious) honor.

He laments the return of the term "baby killer" into the American lexicon while conveniently sidestepping of the fact that it's the rightwing, anti-choice dragoons that have brought it back (Anyone heard it used in any other capacity lately?).

And of course, as documented here, he recently tried to put over the myth that Partial birth abortion is legal in Tennessee, despite the passage of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003, which actually made it illegal in all 50 states [Note: At the same time, he made me feel wholly justified in my blog post about it by feeling the need to remove my much nicer comment from his blog]

But now, he has descended into not just right wing dogma--- But right wing dogma that no one with sentient brain activity can actually buy into.

Is the left so invested in failure that they will do any thing or say any thing to demean the president or our troops? Will they take glory in every misstep? Every Death? It is beginning to appear so.

First, I wouldn't exactly define attempts to prevent future American deaths sacrificed in a cause that helps this country in no way as taking "glory". Personally, I'm pissed off about every one of those deaths. Had any of the president's supporters used any deductive reasoning whatsoever, the most dangerous thing our soldiers would be facing (Outside of Afghanistan, anyway) would be undercooked food at the mess hall. For while a soldier must be prepared to sacrifice his life, we have a responsibility to never throw it away on WMD snipe hunts.

What is this glory and who really revels in it? Is it "the left", as you seem to label all but the persistently vegetative rightwingers that want to keep throwing American lives down the drain? Or is it Mr. "I'm a war president"?

This nation has been failed. Honest and sober assessments regarding war strategy have been met by simpleminded dogma such as "I'm the decider". The counsel of the Iraq Survey Group has been met with--- Well, not much of anything.

So no--- I will not hide my loathing for a president that thinks the best thing to do about the American lives he's already thrown away is to throw away more. It's not hard to find the "alternative plan" you asked about. There are many out there, and a more logical one could be devised by asking questions of a Magic Eight Ball.

So you, for your lack of legal knowledge, your abortion hackery, and your mindless repetition of talking points that still don't make sense even when smarter people than you try to advance them, are the winner of the Golden Bushie.

This Week's Ivins Award Goes To...

Bill Maher for this nugget on "Real Time" Friday night, referring to Ted Haggard:
"You can't be "cured" of homosexuality by meeting with ministers for less than a month. Particularly a month that has Fashion Week in it."

"I Told You Once, You Son of a Bitch, You're the Worst There's Ever Been."

Just shut up and sing.

Isn't that the advice Republicans tend to give to celebrities that voive their opinion about politics, right? (Well, at least as long as those celebrities aren't Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, Ted Nugent, Tom Selleck, or Toby Keith back when he was still in the disagreeing-with-the-war closet.)

Then again, maybe there's a loophole. Maybe the loophole is that you have to use the word "celebrity" pretty loosely to make it apply to Charlie Daniels. After all, the surviving guy from Milli Vanilli had one hit, but I wouldn't call him a celebrity, and his was certainly more recent than "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

So old Charlie's issued a new fatwa rant against Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi (I do love saying that). This, combined with his earlier admonition to celebrities who disagreed with invading Iraq that they should "get your head out of the sand and smell the Trade Towers burning" , demonstartes why Republicans tend to think celebrities are idiots---

All the ones that they know are.

Of course, I think you should remember that when the terrorists follow us home from Iraq and start their attacks on American soil it’s too late, so you’d better have a plan to deal with it. Do you have a plan?
And if Iran goes into Iraq and makes it a staging ground for Al Qaida to plan and carry out attacks all over the western world you’ll need to deal with that. Do you have a plan?
And if Iran decides to go into Kuwait and cut off the oil flow from the Persian Gulf, you’ll need a way to make up for the shortfall. Do you have a plan?
The world would look at us as a country that has not finished a commitment to war since 1945. Do you have a plan for dealing with that?

I do. I have a plan. We post one American soldier at every border crossing between Iran and any other country and have them blast over a powerful PA system anything of Charlie's other than "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".

I know what you're thinking. The plan certainly has some flaws.

One is that the American soldier forced to carry out such a task is surely on a suicide mission, as even a brief exposure to Charlie Daniels songs would either cause the human skull to explode or to make the bearer of said skull wish it did. But hey, it's a tough job. Sacrifices have to be made. One soldier wishing his head would explode sure beats sacrificing another 3000 just to protect a strategy that consists of "Let's send everyone but Laura, Barney, and the White House Chef overseas so we can move the Halliburton executive liquor cabinet six feet closer to the front line".

The second flaw is that prolonged exposure to Charlie Daniels songs is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, or at the very least, would leave us subject to UN sanctions. But hey, haven't we already proven that we can go to the UN and shovel some horse shit? I think we can beat the rap.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Has Tennessee Seceded From The Union Again?

I just wanted to check after reading this drivel from Representative Stacey Campfield:
Is a death certificate worse then [sic] the fact that partial birth abortion is legal in Tennessee? If you had a choice to end one or the other, what would you put your effort behind stopping? Have you?
Now, the last time I checked, Tennessee was still a part of the United States of America, right? Granted, I had a few beers last night, but I didn't think I was out that long.

So, unless we have, in fact, seceded, then we are still subject to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003, are we not? I think most people that have so much as a glancing familiarity with law are at least vaguely aware of its passage, although I could be wrong. I would certainly expect more out of an elected official.

They're Coming To Get You, Barbara...

Soon, very soon, they will be marching on Memphis... And as my friend FearlessVK pointed out, "Brains will be eaten..."

So Jake Ford is safe.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Comedy Ain't Easy.

Really. I assure you. The best practitioners make it look easy, but it's really so very not.

Tiger Woods makes golf look easy. But as I prove when I get the clubs out of the closet and rack up a score on the front nine that rivals the national debt, I'm reminded how terribly not easy it is.

This guy makes playing guitar look easy. But I assure you, even getting close to playing the solo from "Under a Glass Moon" will result in hand cramps that last for days.

Apparently, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make comedy look so easy that Joel Turnow, producer of "24", has decided to try his hand at it.

And you know what? "24" is funnier.

In fact, the humor falls so flat that I can easily imagine Jack Bauer forcing someone to watch it as part of a torture scene.

Bauer: Tell us where the bomb is!"
Terrorist: Never! I'll never tell you anything! Die, you American pig!
Bauer: We have ways of making you talk. (Hits "play" on the remote control)
Terrorist: Stop! Stop! NOOOOO!!! Okay, the bomb is in Rush Limbaugh's stash box!
Bauer: Impossible. He never goes long enough without opening for you to plant it there.
Terrorist: I swear it! It's all the way down in the bottom! Just please turn off that infernal video!!!

I don't even want to embed video of it here--- It's THAT bad. And it's not that they're conservative--- It's just that they suck that bad.

Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher--- They may all be liberal. But that's not what makes them funny. What makes them funny is that they're firing off shots at all targets. It's not completely driven by ideology. They'll make fun of Hillary Clinton just as easily as they make fun of George W. Bush.

I can understand thinking that the humor is ideologically driven--- Like it or not, Republicans do a lot of dumb things. The president has a way with words that only Yogi Berra could love, and the party as a whole is trying to put across the idea that a cloture vote is "stifling debate". It's hard to even talk about what's happening without it coming across like a joke. I told a friend of mine about Campfield's bill the other day, and he looked at me like he was waiting for a punchline.

But there's a narrower focus to the "Half Hour Comedy Hour. The jokes are about pushing an agenda.

To quote the Jedi Master Yoda, "And that... is why you fail."

I don't even want to embed videos of this, it's so bad. Instead, I'll link to Brittney Gilbert over at Nashville Is Talking and Adam Kleinheider over at Volunteer Voters. You can see--- One thing in this world that is truly bipartisan is the consensus that this show sucks.

And yes--- I know my friend Pesky Fly talked about it too. But the way I see it, the vast scope of this show's abject suckiness is too big to be contained in just one post.

The Life and Death of a Fake Quote

So when Frank Gaffney of the Washington Times, the Moonie-Wingnut joint business venture that is responsible for more political fiction than David Borowitz, wanted a heavyweight quote for his anti-anti-escalation editorial, he looked no further than our sixteenth president, Honest Abe:

Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged. — President Abraham Lincoln

Of course, there was just a slight hiccup with that: Lincoln never said any such thing. Or for that matter, anything even remotely close enough to create confusion.

Strikingly, it was the lead to another op/ed piece they ran in 2003 in their Insight magazine:

"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged," that's what President Abraham Lincoln said during the War Between the States.
-J. Michael Waller, "Democrats Usher in An Age of Treason." Insight magazine, 23 Dec. 2003.(Courtesy of

After that piece ran, the quote was passed around from rightwing blog to rightwing blog. Most likely, Gaffney picked it up from one of them and put it in his article.

But the excuse story still fails the sniff test. When Fact Check first tried to put a long overdue death to this last hear, this is what Waller had to say:

The supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one. It was my lead sentence in the article that a copy editor mistakenly turned into a quote by incorrectly inserting quotation marks.

-J. Michael Waller, email to, Aug. 21, 2006

What happens if you take out the quotation marks? You still have him attributing something to Lincoln that Lincoln never advocated at all.

But even this is not the greatest problem with it. To quote Waller:

I'm surprised it has been repeated as often as you say. My editors at the time didn't think it was necessary to run a correction in the following issue of the magazine...
And there you have the greatest problem with The Washington Times. It seems that Reverend Moon and George W. Bush are not only equally delusional, but also equally reluctant to admit mistakes.

The New York Times is far from perfect. Almost every day, they run a ton of corrections. And when someone peddling fiction such as Judith Miller or Jayson Blair comes along, they eat their crow prepared well done over a flame pit.

But when someone at the Washington Times makes up drivel out of whole cloth, it goes unmentioned. Even now, there is no correction on their website regarding the Gaffney article. It's still there in its original form.

Untouched by truth, unblemished by well-deserved humiliation, the words of Gaffney and Waller are still there, uncorrected and unacknowledged.

Thank you, Jackson Baker.

For making this happen.

I Just Read It For the Articles.

Dana Goldstein over at Campus Progress posted a piece a few days ago taking Jon Zobenica to task for an essay in The Atlantic that said that Playboy Magazine wasn't as mysogynystic as it was reputed to be.

From her essay:
...The essay is entertaining reading, but I think it's obvious why it's especially appealing to sensitive young men. Zobenica makes them feel like it's not only okay to read Playboy, but that it's mature and heck, even feminist. Fundamentally, this is just a rehashing of the infamous male excuse--"Hey, I was reading it for the articles!" I'm not an anti-porn feminist by any stretch of the imagination. But when I pick up Playboy, it's hard for me to take seriously the "Advisor" column's advice about sexually respecting your real-life girl when the centerfolds, month after month, have obviously fake gigantic boobs, identically hairless and child-like vaginas (Playboy seems to have a policy to never show women with visible vaginal lips), and completely flat stomachs. Women get upset by this because 99 percent of us can't live up to this standard and are bothered by the idea that the men in our lives find it attractive. And many of us, myself included, don't even find these women beautiful.
So I think that when talking about Playboy, it's always pretty disingenuous to overlook the pictures. Because really, when reading the magazine, nobody ever does.

Here's the thing--- Yes, Playboy does have pictures of naked women. I'm sure I'm not doling any new information out to people by saying that. There's not someone out there reading this that thought "I had no idea where to turn to for pictures of naked women, but thanks to Freedonian, I do now!"

Know why that is? We're in the internet age. There's not a single sexual proclivity imaginable that you couldn't find pictures of out there by turning off "Safe Search" in Google and simply typing in the phrase. It's a sign of the times that I had to tell my email filter to automatically delete any email that uses the word "barnyard" in its subject line.

So yes--- If I buy an issue of Playboy (I haven't in a long time), I will most certainly look at the pictures--- For about thirty seconds. I'm a man, so I'm wired that way. Naked woman within reach-- Yes, I will look.

When mankind first discovered fire, we didn't think "Let's cook some steaks". We thought "Hey, we can now see naked women in the dark". The first thing to roll off of a printing press was not, as rumored, The Holy Bible--- It was a set of naughty drawings. And yes, in this modern age, the internet has been turned into a vast database of naked women.

So if you want to objectify women, you're certainly not short of options. And frankly, most are going to be more graphic than Playboy. If anything in any given issue of the magazine is to hold my attention enough to actually make buying it worthwhile, it's going to be the articles.

That inevitably leads to the magic question: What would Playboy be without the pictures? Certainly, they would have to work a bit harder at putting out a quality magazine. I checked into what was in the current issue (Research, you know. Although I can honestly say that I saw nothing in my research beyond lingerie pictures), and I can say that as much as I may like the TV show "Entourage", I'm not willing to pay six bucks to read an interview with Jeremy Piven. Next month--- Who knows? They're interviewing Bill Maher. I might get it, give my thirty second glance at the pictures, and spend a half hour or so reading the Maher interview.

And while Dana is discomforted by the ideal of beauty presented in the magazine, common sense should tell you that it's not what men are looking for in real life. Very few women look very much like a Playboy Playmate (And having seen a couple up close, I can tell you that not even Playmates tend to resemble Playmates all that much)--- Were they the only ones with dates last night? Men aren't "settling" when they date a real woman, are they? Speaking from the male side of this particular coin, I feel safe in saying "of course not". A woman can be the most beautiful woman in the world to a man (And I don't just mean in a biological sense--- I mean a real man) without ever having anything more in common with a Playmate than "Yes, they're both women".

There's a vast chasm between pretty and beautiful. Pretty is an accident of genetics that arranges features in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Beauty is all about who a woman is. It's in her intellect. It's in her sense of humor. It's in how she carries herself, how she presents herself to the world.

Those aspects of a woman are harder to spot visually, granted. No woman has ever walked past a construction site and heard catcalls of "Nice sense of humor, baby" or "Show me your brains!" But at the end of the day, it's what we look for.

I can certainly understand Dana's feelings about Playboy. Once upon a time, you picked up a magazine with pictures of naked women, and there just happened to be a short story by T Coraghessan Boyle and an interview with Bob Dylan within the same magazine.

In this modern age, when Playboy-type content and much more graphic content are mere keystrokes away, men pick up a magazine with a short story by T. Coraghessan Boyle and a Bob Dylan interview in it, and there are naked women within the same magazine.

Yes--- We buy it for the articles.

Hat tip to Matthew Yglesias.

How Much Are You Willing to Believe?

Once when I was about seven years old, I told my best friend that I was in training to become a Jedi. It wasn't a childhood delusional thing--- I wasn't trying to actually get over with the lie--- I was just seeing how long it takes people to catch on to the fact that whatever I'm saying is pretty preposterous.

Anyway, that day, at age seven, I told Danny how the Jedi thought I was too little for holding a lightsaber at that point, but that if I got a little taller the next year, they'd teach me to fly X-Wings. Just enough detail and even humility to make the ridiculous story seem a little more grounded, but a hell of a long way from making it believable.

What does this have to do with anything? Not much--- Directly.

It's just that when I look at those sad, twisted souls with the once ubiquitous "W" stickers still adorning those cars, I think of Danny--- For just like him, there seems to be no limit to what these people will believe as long as it's a friendly face telling them the story.

It would be easy to look at them and say "These people are dumber than an Elvis movie". And that certainly may be true of some of them. They have, after all, been fooled twice by a man who claims to live by the words of Gomer Pyle, yet is stymied by any attempt to repeat them.

But it's not stupidity, or anything even closely resembling it. It's a lethal mixture of wishful thinking and good old-fashioned gullibility.

The time has come for these people to come in from the cold. I certainly recognize that reality isn't as attractive as the utopian world built upon the fertile ground of the Republican imagination, where fallen American soldiers exist only as an abstract, deficits truly don't matter, and congressional oversight exists in name only. In fact, to borrow the title of perhaps the most overrated film in living memory, reality bites.

But it has one advantage over Iraqi WMDs and ties between Iraq and al Qaeda--- It exists.

The time has come for even the most staunch of Republicans to admit that the war in Iraq is a failure beyond what even the makers of "Waterworld" and the taste engineers behind New Coke could imagine--- For their failures, grand though they may have been, were not accompanied by a high and steadily rising body count.

The question is this. How many more American lives are we to throw away on an ill-planned, misbegotten misadventure that has proven to be a failure on every level? And exactly what is it that you hope to accomplish by sending more Americans to their deaths?

And now, the White House is cranking up Ye Olde PR Machine for an invasion of Iran. Because, you know, things are going so swimmingly in our other war zones. Last month set a new record for civilian deaths in Iraq, and John McCain, a member of the party that complains any time we talk to the UN, has just complained that NATO isn't doing enough in Afghanistan to avenge an attack on our soil. Because, you know, it's their responsibility to pick up the slack pursuing the people that attacked us so we could move personnel and equipment into a nation that had nothing to do with it.

Attacking Iraq as a response to the 9/11 attacks makes every bit as much sense as if FDR had attacked Pago Pago in response to Pearl Harbor. The only question is how many lives we're willing to throw away simply to avoid admitting that this nation made a mistake that cost the first 3,113 their lives.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've been told that if I save the cheerleader, I can save the world. I really must figure out what that means.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Al Franken

As I write this, he's wrapping up his final Air America show and announcing his candidacy for the US Senate in 2008. He'll be running against Norm Coleman, who likely wouldn't have had a job these last six years had Paul Wellstone's corpse been allowed to stay on the ticket (It certainly could have beaten Fritz Mondale had there been a primary).

I wasn't the biggest fan of his (Or any other) Air America show, But I'm looking forward to his Senate run. I'm particularly interested in watching the Republicans try to play the "celebrity" card--- You know, where they villify a Harvard graduate radio host, yet fail to see a problem with an Austrian born movie star as governor.

Go Al.


Campfield Part II

After seeing my post about Rep. Campfield's insane idea to issue death certificates every time there's an abortion (Has he given any thoughts to what name to put on them?), my good friend The West Tennessee Liberal sent me a clip of our new state song.


The Golden Bushie Award For Outstanding Acheivement in Stupidity...

... goes to Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO-2) for the "Davy Crockett" argument against the anti-escalation bill.

In the future, Akin would do well to remember that, when you're looking for an argument to make, and you find one that hasn't been made before, there's sometimes a good reason.

Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his Blackberry getting a message from Congress? “Davy Crockett, we support you. The only thing is we are not going to send any troops.” I’m sure that would really be impressive to Davy Crockett.

Now, please join me in song...

Davy, Davy Crockett

King of the wild frontier...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Because Every Sperm Is Sacred, Rep. Campfield.

Sometimes, you just read something that leaves you laughing uncontrollably.

The Bush Administration's rationalization of... Well, anything.

The phrase "Poo Poo Platter" on a Chinese restaurant menu.

Or, for me, it was the post "Compare and Contrast" by the lovely Brittney over at "Nashville Is Talking".

It seems that State Representative Stacy Campfield's bill to require a death certificate to be issued every time there's an abortion has actually shown not only the state how foolish he can be--- But even the national blogosphere has picked it up.

I want to like your bill requiring that death certificates be issued for aborted embryo-Americans, but I don't see the logic behind it. Why limit it to the aborted? Don't miscarried embryo-Americans and blastocyst-Americans deserve death certificates too. And what about those little snowflake-Americans? Shouldn't the little frozen bastards get death certificates when someone drops their petri dishes? - Jesus General
Personally, I think Campfield's bill demonstrates not just a fanatical devotion to one issue--- But it also demonstrates a lamentable lack of ambition.

I mean, why stop there? Why not issue one for every spermatazoa spilled in a way that's not conducive to insemination?

We could require last rites to be administered every time a thirteen-year-old spanks the monkey. The crime scene tape industry would benefit big time-- They could develop and market crime scene tape small enough to wrap around condoms and Kleenexes.

But hey, don't think all the legal burden is on men too. What about women that allow unfertilized eggs to die every month? Yes, part of the new monthly ritual can be calling the coroner out to process the paperwork.

Okay, everyone sing the new state song with me!

Every sperm is sacred...
Every sperm is great.
If a sperm is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

The Story of A.H. and J.G.W.

Don't get me wrong. I'm in favor of tough child pornography laws. I love watching the pathetic pervs get busted on Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" series. And if you are an adult exploiting children, I'm much, much happier with you behind bars. In fact, if you even feel the slightest temptation to sexually abuse a child or give money to the producers of child pornography, I would humbly invite you--- Nay, beg you to take one in the head for the team and enrich this planet by departing it immediately.

But surely, child pornography laws were not intended for this.

A.H. (So identified because court documents include only initials when dealing with minors), a sixteen-year-old girl, and her seventeen-year-old boyfriend identified only as "J.G.W" took nude photos of themselves engaged in an unspecified sex act at her house and then sent them to his personal email address. Neither showed the pictures to anyone else.

Court records don't indicate just how they were caught, but they were---And they were both charged with producing, directing or promoting a photograph featuring the sexual conduct of a child. J.G.W was also charged with possession of child pornography because of the contents of his email account.

Under Florida law, a teenager cannot be declared a delinquent for having sex with another teenager. No matter how you may feel about teen sex, that law is just. The law is designed around preventing, and failing that, punishing the sexual exploitation of a child by an adult.

The Florida State Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the charges against A.H. and J.G.W. should stand. Judge James Wolf wrote in his majority opinion that "the reasonable expectation that the material will ultimately be disseminated is by itself a compelling state interest for preventing the production of this material" despite there being no evidence that either party was trying to disseminate the photographs. More people saw the photographs because these two children were dragged through the court system than would ever have seen it had they been left to their own devices.

Funny how that worked out, huh?

From Judge Phillip Padovano's dissent:
"If a minor cannot be criminally prosecuted for having sex with another minor, as the court held in B.B., it follows that a minor cannot be criminally prosecuted for taking a picture of herself having sex with another minor. Although I do not condone the child's conduct in this case, I cannot deny that it is private conduct. Because there is no evidence that the child intended to show the photographs to third parties, they are as private as the act they depict...

The critical point in this case is that the child intended to keep the photographs private. She did not attempt to exploit anyone or to embarrass anyone. I think her expectation of privacy in the photographs was reasonable. "

Padovano gets it right.

This Weeks Ivins Award Goes To...

Every week, we here at The Freedonian will present the Molly Ivins Award for excellence in verbal wit.

This week's winner is Representative Gary Ackerman (D-NY). During a recent hearing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was bemoaning the shortage of Arabic, Farsi, Pashtun, and Urdu translators. The military, of course, felt like it had such an embarrassment of riches in the translation department that they could expel 37 Arabic language translators for being gay.

And so Congressman Ackerman came up with this Ivins Award-winning quip:

For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are the terrorists. They’re very brave with the terrorists, and if the terrorists ever got a hold of this information, they'd get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.”

Congressman, this blessed award, named in honor of one of the greatest friends and practitioners that free speech has ever had, goes to you.

I Can't Tell--- Does This Look Like Farsi?

Sean Paul Kelley at The Agonist raises an interesting question about the "evidence" being presented that implicates Iran in smuggling weapons to Iraqi insurgents...

Wouldn't the numbers be in Farsi? According to my research, the number "81" in Farsi would look more like "^|". (The characters in the lower right corner of each key in the picture below are the Farsi characters).

So... Why would Iranian munitions manufacturers write in English when manufacturing mortars for fellow Farsi speakers?

Later versions of the story are saying that the mortar in the picture might have come from Pakistan. Looking at the picture of a Pakistani mortar, it makes sense.

"It's Not the Jeans That Make You Look Fat. It's Your Ass That Makes You Look Fat."

Russert: Howie Kurtz, I want to ask you about the Scooter Libby trial. William Powers in the National Journal has an interesting column where he thinks that the fact that journalists have to testify is good because it will open up, in terms of the public being able to see how reporters cultivate relationships to get information. You have a different view of that.

Kurtz: Yeah, I certainly don’t think it’s a good thing at all and I think the reputation of journalists in this Libby trial have taken a hit. I was in the courtroom when you testified Tim, and you looked uncomfortable during five hours of cross examination, cautious, hesitant, as anybody would be. No journalist likes to be on the witness stand, when, in this case, Libby’s lawyer was trying to take small statements you had made and find discrepancies and ask you why, on the one hand, you were willing to talk to the FBI about your conversation with Scooter Libby but you resisted a subpoena. You said that it was because you didn’t want to get into a prosecutorial fishing expedition.

The problem for us, as a profession, is this: When journalists get up there and testify, leaving aside the First Amendment question, it looks to people like, out there, like we have become too cozy with Senior Bush Administration officials, not so we can ferret out information about national security, not so we can find out about corruption, but in this particular case, in some cases, acting as a conduit for White House efforts to put out negative information about Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame’s husband, a big critic of the prewar intelligence. And I think that the people out there who don’t follow this all too closely think that we have become part of the club, too much the insiders, and that is a problem for journalism.

Meet the Press, 2/11/07

Gee… How could the American public get so mistaken a notion? Whatever would give them the idea that the media is in bed with the Bush Administration?

Could it be that Vice President Cheney’s office saw “Meet the Press” as a friendly venue where Cheney could “control the message”? That’s hardly a surprise to anyone that pays attention. Most people I know already refer to the last half of the show as “Russert’s Republican Roundtable”.

Could it also be that Judith Miller’s slavishly taking dictation from the vice president’s staff and Ahmad Chalabi led her and the New York Times to publish the only pieces they’ve ever run that were more fictional than a Jayson Blair piece? Couldn’t be that, could it?

Don’t be absurd. Despite Howie’s assertions, the Libby trial does nothing to undermine the credibility of journalists. Journalists did that to themselves.

You see, the problem is not that Judith Miller talked to Darth Halliburton’s office on WMD--- It’s that she never bothered to look any further. A guy that’s been exiled from Iraq for forty long years claims to know the inner workings of its weapons programs?

Not that she was the only one--- Far from it. I’m not sure anyone in the press as a whole bothered to question the WMD Scavenger Hunt until six months after the invasion, when we still hadn’t found any WMD.

And one thing that has remained constant throughout--- The White House has always known that a lapdog media was only a phone call away. Whether it’s passing along Valerie Plame’s name or trying to control the message on any given issue, they’ve never had any difficulty finding a willing accomplice in the media.

We would be talking about President Kerry right now had the New York Times, the epicenter of what conservatives whine about as a “liberal media”, had disclosed what they knew of the illegal wiretapping program when they first learned about it in mid-2004. So the idea that this trial somehow creates the impression that the media is in bed with the White House is more than a little bit of wishful thinking on the part of Howard Kurtz, David Broder, and the rest of the roundtable on Meet the Press last Sunday.

We need journalists. Not stenographers.

Monday, February 12, 2007


The Dixie Chicks managed to win the Album of the Year Grammy last night, despite most Grammy voters having functioning hearing. It was most likely the backlash against the backlash for singer Natalie Maines speaking out against the war.

The tide has turned. Now that the majority of the American public feels as Maines did four years ago, the Grammy feels like a long overdue apology.

Another that she deserves, but will most likely never get, is from Toby Keith. Despite the recent revelation that he opposed the war along, he was all too happy to kick Maines when she was down in order to advance his own career. He triangulated his position and decided that standing by a fellow singer was nowhere near as lucrative as selling himself as Mr. "I love America so much that even when it's wrong, I'll pretend it's not.

He even went so far as to show this image at his concerts.

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(Image via Eschaton)

Grammy voters sent a message last night. And that message was "FUTK".

Friday, February 09, 2007

My Conversation With God

Someone hit me at the Freedonian Mailbag (More from the Freedonian Mailbag later) to tell me this:

“You’re a disgusting person. You need to worry about your relationship with God.” – Name withheld by request

So I was thinking “You know, despite the asshattery expressed elsewhere in the email, maybe this irate man of letters (A few of which were actually in the proper order to spell words) is onto something.

As it so happens, I am a resourceful, well-connected man. So I called God up on my cell phone (I got the number from Isaac Hayes, who was obviously under divine inspiration when he wrote “(The Theme From) Shaft”. The following is a transcript of our conversation.

God: This better be important.

Me: Hey, chief. It’s me. The Freedonian.

God: Please be brief. There are big things going on.

Me: I’ll get right to the---

God: For the duration of this conversation, would you please get the sordid thoughts about Scarlett Johansen and baby oil out of your mind?

Me: Um, yeah. Sorry.

God: If you don’t, I’ll put Kathy Bates in there. I can do it, you know.

Me: I beg your mercy. Now, may we please talk?

God: If it pleases you. Besides Kathy Bates if you’re not careful, what’s on your mind?

Me: I just wanted to chat about politics for a bit. There are a lot of conservative Americans that feel like they speak for you. I just wanted to get some answers. Do you hate gay people?

God: There seems to be a new disaster every day. Despite rumor to the contrary, I don’t create them--- But I do have to manage them. Think of me as a Michael Brown that actually does something. The streets of Iraq are awash with American and Iraqi blood. And if that’s not enough, Anna Nicole Smith arrived yesterday, and she’s trying to give lapdances to the angels. Does it sound like I really have the time to be angry at people for being as I created them?

Me: Does that mean there are no lapdances in heaven? Can it be heaven without lapdances?

God: [Groans] Next question, please.

Me: Okay, since you brought it up. George W. Bush said you told him to invade Iraq. Is there any truth to this?

God: It figures he would be looking for someone to blame it on. Think of all the wars I directed the Israeli army on in the old days. Wanna know what they all had that you don’t have in Iraq? An exit strategy.

Me: Do you believe in the separation of church and state?

God: Hello? Did you actually bother to read my book? Didn’t my son say “Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God?” If we thought they were supposed to be the same, wouldn’t this have been a convenient place to say it?

Me: Well, I suppose. Then again, I’ve also heard it said that if you render unto God that which is God’s, there’s not really much left over for Caesar.

God: Ah, Dorothy Day. She’s made this a better place since I called her home, although I fear the Earth is much the worse for it. My book is a general guide for living. If you glean from it anything other than respect and kindness for your fellow man, the earth I created, and the animals and plants I populated it with, then you have a problem with contextualizing.

Me: What about economics?

God: Reread the Book of Luke and pay attention this time. Do I sound like a supply sider? Is the Laffer Curve in the sidebar of your Bible?

Me: Not in mine, no.

God: While we’re on the subject of people not being able to grasp context, can we please talk about the Book of Leviticus? Sound environmental doctrine throughout the book, and all people remember are the crazy parts about homosexuality and selling your daughters into slavery. What is with you people? I swear, at times, I think you’re my worst creation. Ever. And I don’t say that lightly. Try holding down a conversation with a Neanderthal.

Me: Yes, okay. While we’re on the subject--- Evolution, right?

God: Why do people think it has to be either/ or? Fine, acknowledge my existence. But don’t ignore scientific data. Following the Bible’s timelines rigidly would lead you to believe that the Earth is 5000 years old. Yet there are cave drawings older than that. Use your brains, people! I gave them to you for a reason.

Me: Does evil really exist in the world? Does Satan walk among us?

God: Well, someone had to design the butterfly ballots in Florida.

Me: Capital punishment. Whaddya think about it?

God: My son was the victim of capital punishment. What do you think I think about it?

Me: Okay, silly question.

God: When I told you to get the impure thoughts about Scarlett Johansen out of your head, I didn’t mean “replace them with Naomi Watts”.

Me: Sorry! I’m trying. But you have to admit, that was a rather good creation. If I die and go to heaven, can I watch her shower?

God: Slip again, and I’ll be upgrading you to the “Janet Reno topless in a hula skirt” plan.

Me: Whoa! No need to get THAT mean. You really ARE vengeful!

God: I’m in a bit of a hurry here. Anna Nicole just flashed John Paul II.

Me: Okay, final question: Is Ted Haggard really cured?

God: I had no idea he was sick.

Me: Aren’t you all-knowing?

God: I am indeed. Haggard is not sick; Merely human. He believed himself to be more than a man, and he felt that way because he condemned others. Something that, if he was really as familiar with my book and my doctrine as he believes, he would know is reserved for me and me alone. He had more than a little schadenfreude coming to him, don’t you think? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to defuse this Anna Nicole Smith thing before “Scrubs” comes on.

Me: Now I know how that show stays on the air…

God: [In a voice so angry I don’t even know how to describe it] For that, you will pay and pay dearly. Three words for you… “Introducing Janet Reno!”

Me: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! You've got no sense of humor!

God: How can you say that? I made George W. Bush and Jake Ford.

There you have it. Now that I’ve had a few hours to recover, I can finally report what he said. I had fun (Except the Janet Reno part, obviously), so I think I’ll call him again soon.

Thanks for the suggestion!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Our Loss is DC's Gain.

Tonight at Drinking Liberally (6:30 til whenever at Dish), we will be bidding a fond farewell to a good friend.

Liz Rincon, former Field Director for Congressman Steve Cohen, will soon be departing our fair city for greener pastures in Washington DC.

She's a truly remarkable lady and a really good friend. Her departure is a sad and joyous occasion all at the same time--- Sad that we'll be losing her here, but joy that she's getting an incredible opportunity.

I know I speak for Pam when I say thank you, Liz, for all that you've done ofr our city, and for being such a great friend.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

He's Been HEALED! Hallelujah!

Reverend Tim Ralph, one of the four evangelical ministers that has been supervising the intense counseling of the defrocked Reverend Ted Haggard, has pronounced him "completely heterosexual".

Apparently, Jesus is okay with banging a male prostitute, just as long as there's meth involved. And having sex with male prostitutes doesn't mean you're gay, right?

It's not like Haggard helped the guy get a White House press pass or something, right?

Haggard and his beard wife Gayle are planning to move to another state and pursue psychology degrees. I suggest a few courses in human sexuality. Or at least a refresher course in Shakespeare so he can finally figure out what the Bard was getting at when he wrote "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

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Thank You, Senator Kyle.

Via Memphis Flyer:

IDear «FirstName»:
Today I write to you not as the Senate Democratic Leader, but rather as a fellow Democrat that feels the need to communicate to you the facts regarding Senator Kurita’s recent vote for Senate Speaker, which ultimately tipped the scales to elect Republican Ron Ramsey. I know she will be communicating with you in the future and may even ask to come speak to you and I simply wanted you to have this information, so you may digest and use it as you see fit.

Since her vote, Senator Kurita has only communicated with Democrats through the media. She has told our citizens a tale of how she will bring both sides of the aisle together in a bipartisan way to better the Senate and the state. Kurita’s remarks from January 11th Chattanoogan article state, “I voted Tuesday for a genuinely bipartisan Senate that will provide clear direction and be held accountable to the voters of this state.”

Two years ago, when Senators Mike Williams and Tim Burchett voted for John Wilder, the Republicans were appointed four chairmanships by then Lt. Governor John Wilder, but when Kurita split ranks in an attempt to create her “bipartisan Senate”, the Democrats were appointed only two chairmanships.

“I told her that I would be fair to the Democrats to prevent the same kind of slash-and-burn atmosphere that we see in Washington D.C. right now” Senator Ron Ramsey told The Associated Press. However, every Republican, with the exception of one, got the maximum number of committee appointments while the maximum number of Senate Democrats were appointed the minimum. Of the 85 committee positions available, Republicans, along with Kurita, received 50 of those positions, leaving only 33 slots for the Democrats, in a Senate that holds only a one-vote majority by the Republicans.

The Governor made a statement to The City Paper on January 17th saying, “Senator Kurita said she voted her conscience, and I accept that. I presume if that is the case, she’s not going to take some reward out of that vote.” She did in fact accept a reward that has cost some long-time state employees their jobs in order to make room for partisan Republican staff.

The blunt truth of the matter is that Senator Kurita lied to me and she lied to her fellow Democrats. For months, Senator Kurita told me and John Wilder she was going to vote for Wilder for Speaker. She never told any Democrat of her decision to change her vote. She blindsided the very Senators who supported her and compromised the ability of Senate Democrats to have their voice heard. This is not about who sits in the Speaker’s chair, this is about trust, confidence and moral character. I’m sure Senator Kurita believes people will soon forget what she did and will not hold her accountable for her actions. I hope you help prove her wrong.

Thank you.


Jim Kyle

The Republican War On Reason

In their drive to make a more godly nation (Aka "shoring up the religious right after a disappointing midterm"), the Republican Party has once again declared war--- Not just on science, but on reason itself.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas seems surprisingly willing to break that mold by requiring that all girls entering the sixth grade receive the HPV vaccine. Roughly a dozen strains of Human Papillomavirus are known to cause cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, anal cancer, head and neck cancers, and penile cancer.

The Texas GOP has decided to fight Perry on this, stating that an HPV vaccine "encourages premarital sex" (As if anything is stronger than the human sex drive). At this point, three Texas GOP legislators have filed bills that would block Perry's mandate.

Junk sociology is new for them. They generally rely only on junk science.

You know, the kind of science that says "If Exxon pays us to say global warming doesn't exist, then it doesn't". The kind that says "Hurricanes are well known to be the result of higer ocean temperatures, but there's no link between global warming and Katrina".

It's the science of wishful thinking, where if it's "good for the Republican Party (In other words, the corporations that bankroll not only it but its sycophantic apologists), then it's good for America". In such a fantasy world, oil flows endlessly and never creates smog. Teenagers pay attention to whether or not the HPV vaccine is available when making crucial choices about sex. Those animal-shaped things sticking out of the ground are not skeletons of animals not mentioned in the Bible--- They're simply rocks.

In such a world, not only is the answer to any yet-unanswered scientific question "because God wanted it that way", but "because God wanted it that way" is actually supposed to be taught in science classes. When they force churches to teach biology, then perhaps they'll have a point. Until then, science should be about the pursuit of knowledge rather than an excuse not to seek it.

At this point, I now understand why no Republican president has ever parked a space shuttle outside the Republican convention. It's not because doing so would be an abuse of power, devoting government resources to partisan aims--- I don't think that would stop them. I think it's because deep down, they know that part of their base would step outside to beat it with sticks and throw rocks at it.

I know there are Republicans that break the mold. Obviously, Rick Perry (Or as the late, great Molly Ivins called him, "Governor Good Hair") proves that by having the courage to treat a health issue as a health issue rather than a rallying cry for Bible-thumpers.

But just look at what his own party is doing to him for it.

All who believe in the existence of a God, of a creator, would do well to ask--- "Why did he give us inquisitive minds that thirst for knowledge if he didn't intend us to use them?

Pesky Ralphs!

Unsafe at any speed indeed, my friend.

I wish I could remember what blog I read this on so I could properly attribute it, but I think this says it best.

"If the Green Party screws up another election, I'm going to go start chopping down trees."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Stop the Escalation Super Bowl Ad

Sadly, we're not in the right market to see these...

VoteVets will be airing these ads in the home districts of Sen. Norm Coleman (Likely to be running against Al Franken next year), Sen. Susan Collins, and Sen. John Warner, all of whom have said they oppose escalating the War in Iraq yet have not signed onto the anti-escalation bill sponsored by Senators Biden and Hegel.

The Separation of Church and... Football???

I always knew the NFL were hardasses about protecting their "intellectual property", but... This is ridiculous.

From the LA Times:

Churches routinely draw hundreds of fans to annual Super Bowl parties; some denominations openly use the events as tools for evangelism. The Christian magazine Sports Spectrum even markets a Super Bowl party kit for churches. This year, however, a celebration sponsored by Falls Creek Baptist Church in Indianapolis caught the attention of a National Football League attorney, Rachel L. Margolies.

She ordered the church to cancel its party and remove the trademarked Super Bowl name from its website. The Indianapolis Star picked up the story Thursday — and by Friday, pastors across Indiana and beyond were scrambling to yank down their Super Bowl banners and give away their trays of burgers.

The churches are apparently in violation of a copyright law designed to keep large gatherings from affecting the Nielsen ratings of NFL games. The law states that any public place (Sports bars are exempted) exhibiting an NFL game must show it on no more than one TV, and the TV must be "living room size", defined as no more than 55 inches.

In recent attempts to enforce this law, the NFL has actually sent TV Nazis investigators out to troll casino floors in Vegas, Detroit, and Biloxi, MS to make sure the TVs weren't too big.

Ironically, one of the churches that has been forced to cancel its Super Bowl party is Northside New Era Missionary Baptist Church (Try saying all that in one breath) in Indianapolis--- The church of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Is the NFL having such a hard time financially that overbearing enforcement of this law is something that actually makes sense?

Washington Monthly gets it right--- Democrats oppose the idea of corporations getting to write their own laws. Republicans claim to oppose government intrusion. An overhaul of this law might well be a good opportunity for them to team up and score some points with all of their constituents.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Remember What I Said About the Comma?

Joe Biden didn't just pause between “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American" and "who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"... He paused long enough for the reporter to interrupt.

You don't have to believe me. You can listen to it.


Ared these the values our soldiers are being taught these days? Has the new casual attitude about life and death led them to think throwing rocks at a badly wounded dog is "the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life"?