Friday, December 30, 2005

Around the Horn. A Space Lobster Joint

Yes, it turns out I am not dead, after all. Stupid Humans. I was participating in the ritual of Mock T'All brought on by drinking the . . . soy sauce, apparently. I had entered a deep meditative trance in an attempt to understand my role in the universe. I was just about there when my crate was lowered onto a tramp steamer bound for Tasmania. They dropped me pretty roughly (thanks for the Fragile Stamp, gang. Oh wait, there wasn't one), and the impact woke me up. So I burst out of the box and jumped over the side. I just got back a few hours ago, and I know Bryant won't be in till noon. So I'm going to pretend to be dead again just to teach him a lesson.

Anyway here's this weeks links; and I'll try to do a few more than I did last week.

Dodecahedron has
a story on Medical Marijuana that doubles as an article on drug legalization in general. He makes a good argument; but I warn any lobsters that marijuana is difficult for us to enjoy. Your best bet is to sprinkle the flakes over a rice cake and eat it, rather than trying to smoke it.

Not that I've ever tried it. I just heard some guys talking about it. Some lobster guys.

correntewire has
a piece on the President's decision to use legally questionable wiretaps. Specifically it covers the arguments conservative flacks are making on the President's behalf. The few and brief times I ruled a society, I enjoyed keeping tabs on people. It helps you know who is plotting against you (although in my case, I basically knew it was Captain Starfaller). Anyway the first rule of being a despot is never stop talking about yourself. The second rule is don't explain yourself. You'll be doing it all day long.

T. Rex's Guide to Life
also deals with Conservative defenses of President Bush's illegal wiretapping plan. This defense revolves around former President Clinton who is accused of doing the same thing. Every time I tried to get out of Captain Starfaller's wrath by saying that all us evil space monsters were doing it, he just punched me.

And continuing in the same theme, Scrutiny Hooligans has
a piece on how Congress may not have intended to let President Bush do whatever he wants, whenever he wants when they passed that bill on September 18, 2001. Having a congress is a real hardship when you are a tyrant.

Liberty Street
writes on this issue as well, discussing how information gained through this illegal wiretapping method will make it harder to prosecute suspects captured based on information gathered through illegal wiretapping. That last sentence could have been worded better. But Lobsters never look back!

Rook's Rant has
the news that what's sauce for the goose is not, in fact, sauce for the gander. Or, to put it another way, the Vice President is fine with spying on other people, but would rather not be spied on himself. I guess that makes sense. I like crushing people with my mighty pincers, but I do not think I would enjoy being crushed by somebody else's mighty pincers.

a story on how President Bush may have just happened to have nominated someone to the Supreme Court who is cool with him wiretapping and spying on Americans. That's convenient.

a piece on the differences between why men and women use the internet. According to news reports about a survey, Men like the internet for "the breadth of experiences it offers" (mostly porn experiences, one assumes), while Women like the internet "for the human connections" (mostly porn connections, one assumes (and if one doesn't assume this one and does assume the other one, isn't that an interesting insight into how one thinks?)). Echidne has explored the internet and discovered that the survey may not be as cut and dry as one thinks. Few things are.

Musing's Musings has
a story about people who were convicted in 1918 under the sedition laws of the time (for praising the Kaiser). It's too bad I'm doing it this week and not McIckleson, actually. Be interesting to hear what a fictional 1910's plutocrat thinks of that story.

Science and Politics has
a piece on how Norwegian Cops are too weak to tip a cow. Or, alternatively, Norwegian Cows are mightier than other Cows. Either explanation is possible.

And that's it. I think we are going to be light posting on Monday; but I will return eventually to comment on your comments and mail on your mails. Well read your mail and then respond to it. Never look back!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Two things I am Tired Of

1. Republican / Conservative pundits giving Democrats political advice.

2. Republicans pretending that that democrats are the source of the mean-spirited partisanship in the capital.

Emmett Tyrell's latest column has both qualities in spades. The core point is one that a lot of conservative columnists are going to be making over the next couple of days i.e. "Things might seem bad for President Bush and Republicans, but they are really great. Who you going to believe, me or your lyin' eyes?" This is a popular variation on that theme, "Yeah things might look not great for us, but have you checked out the Democrats? What a bunch of losers." Or, to put it another way,
The reason for this is that the Democratic leadership is fractured and dominated by people who are hysterical, abusive and oblivious. The things they have called George W. Bush this past year are as excessive as anything Joe McCarthy ever called his opponents, but without the charm or, for that matter, the factual basis.
According to Tyrell, Democrats have one chance. Emulate good old Joe Lieberman. Loudly support whatever President Bush wants to do in foreign policy and keep our mouths shut on domestic policy. That's the way to win supporters and fans.

Well except for this troubling question. Given a choice between Conservativism and watered-down Conservativism, which do you choose? If you like Conservatism presumably you for the full throat kind, and if you don't like Conservatism presumably you stay home on election day.

Or at least that's how it looks to me.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Sorry for the low updates today. Very busy here. We are still trying to figure out what to do about Space Lobster. I really really want to get this figured out before Cheery gets back. Anyway our analysis leads us to believe he may or may not be dead. So we are going to put him in a box. Because that's what you do with things that may or may not be dead.

I am very traditional.

But then I have to figure out what to do with the box.

One Blog To Rule Them All and In the Darkness Bind Them

Kathleen Parker's latest article is entitled Lord of the Blogs. Unfortunately, it is not a take off of Lord of the Rings as I initially assumed. Rather it is a take off of William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

First of all let us note this astonishing paragraph on the news organs of the day from a conservative writer (and increasingly, a partisan of either stripe).
Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.

That a Jayson Blair of The New York Times or a Jack Kelley of USA Today surfaces now and then as a plagiarist or a fabricator ultimately is testament to the high standards tens of thousands of others strive to uphold each day without recognition. Blair and Kelley are infamous, but they're also gone.
It is truly amazing that a conservative would admit that newspapers generally try to get it right. Maybe Ms. Parker needs to listen to Rush Limbaugh more to get an idea of how Journalists really work.

The rest of Ms. Parker's article is on Bloggers and how we are generally a bad thing.
What Golding demonstrated - and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply - is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves. Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.

. . . I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there - professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.

We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.
I'm tempted to suggest that Ms. Parker means that Conservative Bloggers are ok and Liberal Bloggers are monsters; but the tone of her article is such that I really don't think that's what she is going for. Rather these are similar complaints to what Tom Tomorrow has brought up from time to time.

Blogs represent a democratization of the opinion page. In the old days, you got to write an op-ed piece because you had a reputation or had achieved a certain status or just wrote a damn good piece (or the editor was short a few inches and needed something). There was a filter in place to ensure that those who contributed to the national conversation had earned that right. Tom Tomorrow earned that right through laboring as a cartoonist (a very good cartoonist I must add) for many years. Kathleen Parker earned that right through writing talented columns that editors liked.

I have not earned that right, and nor have many of my fellow bloggers. Under the old system we would not participate in the national conversation except through letters to the editor or getting off of our behinds and becoming columnists ourselves.

So looked at a certain way, Blogging gives us something we don't deserve. It gives us a power we haven't earned. Ms. Parker is correct about that. She's also correct that many Bloggists don't display the most noble of characteristics. That said, I would argue that the national conversation isn't going to be that hurt by a few relatively low powered voices joining in. I would argue that the tendency to determine truth by lining it up against our partisan beliefs is probably a far more corrosive and destructive tendency, for example.

In other news, for those interested in Space Lobster's condition, we are unfortunately 99% sure he has passed on. Our Marine Biologist, Puke, has gone out to do some research at the university library; hopefully we will have confirmation shortly.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Horde and Shifting Morality

First of all a quick update on Space Lobster. He smells bad and he's not responding to outward stimuli. Not much progress then.

I do want to point to an article on World of Warcraft entitled "The Horde is Evil." The initial article (by Edward Castronova) is O.K., but the comments to it are really good. There are a few of the "Shut up stupid" responses, and more than a few of the "It's just a game" responses (which I don't see as much better), but there are also a lot of really thoughtful responses.

Many of you know that I play World of Warcraft myself. I play both Alliance (the good guys), and the Horde. My main character has been Strillix, a Night Elf Druid. Night Elf Druids are Good! As you can see he has a cute little pussy cat, thus proving his Goodness.

However, recently I've been playing Gravesilence a lot more (mainly because he joined a good guild), who is my Undead Warlock. Undead Warlocks are Evil (and doesn't he look it?).

This is my Tauren Shaman, Angushin. Tauren Shamans are Good! But they are members of the Horde and the Horde is Evil. After all my Tauren Shaman has visited the Undercity (home of the Undead) many times. So maybe he isn't Good.

This is Siljinia my Troll Hunter. Trolls are Evil. And Siljinia has a very mercenary attitude I've always assumed. In it for the money.

Anyway I don't want to make light of the question of whether playing an evil character (and there is no doubt that Gravesilence is pretty evil) is a morally questionable act. On the other hand, this posts main point seems to be that traditionally Orcs and Trolls and Undead are evil, so in this game they must be evil too. That works for the Undead (because there is lots of in-game evidence that they are evil), but not as well for the Orcs and Trolls (who are playing a redemption arc.

For Mr. Castronova, the image or the idea of an Orc or a Troll cannot be redeemed. That may be true for him, and if so, perhaps he would be better off not playing on the Horde side. But I don't think he has complete say over what those symbols mean.

At any rate the discussion is interesting (if long), and should be of interest to Roleplayers (this means you, Random Goblin), even if they don't happen to play World of Warcraft.

And to be honest, this post was also a good excuse to post cool screenshots of my characters.

An Update on Space Lobster

I was able to get an Ichthyoligist to come in on short notice. And by an Ichthyologist I mean Puke. It turns out Puke has a masters in Marine Biology. Anyway after a careful examination Puke came to the conclusion that Space Lobster smells bad.

He really does. It is a reaction of his favorite aftershave lotion (Canoe I believe) with his natural lobster smell. But he doesn't smell unusual; he smells bad in quite a normal way.

Anyway she is continuing her investigation. Puke says that the information she is gleaning may be able to advacne human knowledge by a couple of minutes.

If Space Lobster is in fact dead, we will inform you of it immediately.

Another Piece of the Puzzle

Apparently Space Lobster referenced getting a bottle of wine sent to the office. Actually it was a bottle of Lee Kum Kee Mushroom Flavored Dark Soy Sauce I ordered from Amazon. I'm not sure what possessed him to drink it; but I can't think that much salt in his innards would be good for him.

Wikipedia to the Rescue

I just pulled up the Wikipedia article on Lobsters. It's quite long. Let's see what it says on Lobster anatomy.
Like all arthropods, lobsters are largely bilaterally symmetrical; clawed lobsters often possess unequal, specialized claws, like the king crab. The anatomy of the lobster includes the cephalothorax which is the head fused with the thorax, both of which are covered by the carapace, and the abdomen. The lobster's head consists of antennae, antennules, mandibles, the first and second maxillae, and the first, second, and third maxillipeds. Because a lobster lives in a murky environment at the bottom of the ocean, its vision is poor and it mostly uses its antennae as sensors. The abdomen of the lobster includes swimmerets and its tail is composed of uropods and the telson.
That doesn't seem like that will help me check his pulse.

Oh by the way, those of you who were upset about Space Lobster eating at a Sushi place, check out this note on the diet of a lobster.
Although many studies suggested that lobsters are primarily scavengers, feeding on molluscs and decaying animal matter, recent studies have shown that they primarily feed on live fish, dig for clams, sea urchins, and feed on algae and eel-grass. They occasionally eat other lobsters, too.
Anyway anybody out there who knows about lobster circulation please drop a note in the comments section.

A Medical Question

Hey I just noticed that Space Lobster, who manned the office over the break is in the same position he was in when I came in yesterday. I went over and shook him, but he isn't responding. Does anybody know anything about checking a lobster's pulse?

Educational Values

Cal Thomas has an article worth considering this week. He covers the recent court case involving teaching Intelligent Design in the schools.
The decision by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III to bar the teaching of "intelligent design" in the Dover, Pennsylvania public school district on grounds it is a thinly veiled effort to introduce a religious view of the world's origins is welcome . . .

. . . Judge Jones rebuked advocates of "intelligent design," saying they repeatedly lied about their true intentions. He noted many of them had said publicly that their intent was to introduce into the schools a biblical account of creation. Judge Jones properly wondered how people who claim to have such strong religious convictions could lie, thus violating prohibitions in the Book they proclaim as their source of truth and standard for living.
So that sounds pretty good, I guess. Cal Thomas seems to support a separation of Church and State. But then you read a little more.

It turns out that Thomas doesn't support a secular education program because he thinks it is a good idea; rather he thinks it's a waste of time to try to reform it. The rot is too deep in Thomas's mind; so rather than fixing the educational system, Thomas encourages his readers to remove their children from the school system, through Home Schooling and/or Private Schools (Thomas helpfully mocks those who would be worried about the cost of such options).

I don't really know what to make of this argument. If Thomas intended this as a "live and let live" argument, I could see it. Certainly I have nothing against taking kids out of the public schools if you choose to and can afford it. But given Thomas's comments on our society, I don't take him for a live and let live kind of guy; more of a live and let die kind of guy, I'd think (at least based on his comments on Islam).

So I'm not sure what this particular strategy would lead to.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Value of Democracy

What is the value of Democracy?

What is the value of letting people make the wrong decision?

This is the question Diana West asks in her latest article. The recent Iraqi Elections showed strong gains for the United Iraqi Alliance, a party with close ties to the Shi'ite state of Iran. This is obviously disturbing on a couple of different levels. For one, if we liberate Iraq and they ally with Iran, how much of a victory is that? For another, the debate of imposing sharia will tilt towards imposing those rules. Which means at least half of Iraq will lose some freedoms.
All of which is why I beg to differ when the president says, "the terrorists know that democracy is their enemy." From the PA, where sharia-supporting terrorists are winning primaries, to Egypt, where sharia-supporting terror-ideologues are being elected, to Iraq, where sharia-supporting terror-state-allies are being elected, democracy is not their enemy. It is vox populi. And just because the people have spoken doesn't mean we should applaud what they say.
We don't have to applaud it, but do we have to respect it?

Anyway it's an interesting puzzle, and not one I have an immediate answer to. I'm tempted to suggest that the Republicans wanted this war and now have to live with the results; but that's not a very positive way of looking at it. So I don't know.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

New Format, New Quote!

Hey all.

Kind of behind today. I was supposed to update the site earlier, but didn't do it 'till now. I have been out walking around - it's so peaceful on a day like today. Anyway we got some free wine from someone, so I'm going to update the website and stuff. And catch up some reading.

So Merry Christmas all and enjoy yourselves.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Round the Horn. A Space Lobster Joint.

Hello all.

As we mentioned earlier, good old McIckleson is on the road because of holiday stuff; so we switched duties for the next two weeks. And Cheery is gone too. So I have total control over the website. Ha ha ha ha ha.

For those who don't know, my name is Space Lobster and I was a Space villain on a kids tv show back in the sixties. I fought the evil Captain Starfaller (evil in the sense that he kept me from doing what I wanted to do at times (which was conquer earth and subjugate all humans under my control and have a lot of money)). Anyway after languishing in the wilderness for quite a long time, I'm back out there where my fans can find me.

Normally I answer the mail on Monday; but today I am doing the blog around. So let's see what's out there.

firedoglake has an article on how Democrats should not praise President Bush as a good man. It's an interesting theory; I guess the key question is what is the most important thing to Democrats.

The News Blog has a story about how a Fox Affiliate ran a positive story about the racially superior organization Stormfront. Maybe I didn't say that right. They are an organization dedicated to the proposition that white humans are better than other humans and are threatened by other humans.

You know who is a racial supremacist? Captain Starfaller. For thousands of years the world has been run exclusively by humans. So when some other races show up, like the Space Lobsters or Solar Wasps or Venusians, ready to take their turn running things, he tries to prevent it.

And some people call him a hero.

rubber hose has news on those executive orders that the Republican National Committee has signed. Apparently there is more to those orders than the Republican Party is saying.

The Yellow Doggeral Democrat has a picture which may have at one time involved a person less than completely dressed. And also the obsession of cats with running water.

Speedkill has some commentary on this wire tapping business. Apparently the question is why didn't President Bush just use the procedures in place.

Anyway that's probably enough. Have a nice day everybody in the world!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Spielberg Should Stop Making Movies

Emmet Tyrell believes that the man behind a string of hit movies, including Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Arc, E.T., Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Minority Report, and so on, namely Steven Spielberg, should take up sculpting rather than movie making.

I get the impression Tyrell thinks movie making should cease altogether. What is one to make of this sort of passage, for example.
Actually it is just another example of the camera's lies. Aided and abetted by sound effects, it jolts the senses with huge hands or other appendages thrust across the screen, towering men and women filmed from the ground up, from other weird angles, all to convey impressions that are dramatic but very unreal. Colors are brighter than real or darker than real. Sounds shriek, howl, and explode at the viewer. My friend from law enforcement has covered crime scenes and crimes themselves. She assures me the real thing is much less entertaining.
The problem is that movies are more interesting than real life?

Of course the centerpiece of this discussion is the movie Munich, which is about robots beating people up for no good reason. No wait, it's really about a terrorist strike at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich and Israel's response to that attack. Tyrell's big problem with the movie is that it isn't a boring documentary, but he also disagrees with the suggestion that Israel might bear even the slightest responsibility for the problems their nation faces. "Those who know the history of this conflict understand that the Israelis are defenders. The terrorists are aggressors and particularly brutal aggressors at that."

For a more reasoned look at Munich and the controversy surrounding the movie, you might check out this examination by Michelle Goldberg at Salon (warning, you'll have to watch an ad).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Carnival of Liberals 2

Hello everybody. Cheery asked me to inform you when the Carnival of Liberals 2 was put up (not in the least because this blog is among the blogs highlighted). I would advise reading all the blogs, as they are very interesting, despite the lack of references to Space or Lobsters.

In bad news, I found out today that Captain Starfaller is playing the Nutcracker in the play of the same name. Not the famous version, but a small off-Broadway production of a play attributed to David Mamet called the Nutcracker. It sounds dreadful (and I, personally, don't believe that David Mamet was involved at all). Still it's better to be working than not working, and since Captain Starfaller is my mortal enemy this news is kind of a blow. Still I suppose I should be happy for his success; it will make my inevitable success all the more sweeter.

Your Hourly Rush - Sabotage

This just in, Rush is fine with people calling liberals traitors. He's cool with that. He prefers the term saboteurs, but he approves of people calling liberals traitors.

Treason is a crime punishable by death or imprisonment.

Sabotage is a crime punishable by imprisonment (and possibly death if the crime leads to death of innocents).

Perhaps Rush wasn't using the terms to refer to the crimes with those names. Still, I feel a bit of a chill.

Who Watches the Watchmen?

There is no need to watch the watchmen; they have the authority to do whatever they want. Horace Cooper, in an article at Townhall, argues that President Bush has the power to do whatever he wants if he deems it to be in the interest of protecting the United States.
The Iraq War resolution gives the President the authority to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." And the Patriot Act, among many significant changes, included enhanced FISA surveillance of foreign nationals. Combined with his constitutional powers, the president clearly has the legal authority to carry out this surveillance.
One thing my clever readers will note is that the quote from the Iraqi War Resolution is not in fact from the Iraqi War Resolution. It is rather from a joint resolution "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States. NOTE: Sept. 18, 2001 - [S.J. Res. 23]" Something to keep in mind.

That said, it certainly is optimistic of Mr. Cooper to assume that the legality of the President's actions are not in question. This is, of course, the old "pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain" strategy. Not always successful, and it doesn't seem like it will work in this case, except on those already inclined to give the President the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Finger Puppet Theatre 4

OK. By popular demand, here's the next bit.

Anyway we will pobably have one or two more in this series. Have to see how things go.

Your Weekly Rush - The relevant Quote

For those of you who wondered about my earlier post, here is the quotation from Rush Limbaughs Website.
RUSH: But prior to that, there was the initial resolution shortly after 9/11 -- and I wrote a bunch of op-eds about this, and I was summarizing one of them here in this bite, again from August 29th of 2002.

RUSH ARCHIVE: I think it's amazing that the president got this from Congress, but I know why. It happened in the heat of the moment three days after September 11th when everybody wants to show unity and resolve and all that. But here: Let me just read the relevant section here from the op-ed itself. "Clearly Congress has an important role. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress has power to declare war," and on September 14th, 2001, Congress passed a joint resolution which states in part that, quote: "The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines, planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States." Now, what is that if it's not a declaration of war? And let me read to you the part of this that really is the final nail in the coffin. "The president," singular, commander-in-chief, one person, "is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001 or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States." [Italics added] There's nothing -- I mean, look, I know it offends some of you to point out, but it's true. There's nothing in here that says the president has to prove it to anybody.

RUSH: Now, the question is, is that a declaration of war? It was. If you go to the Constitution, you will read and read and read and read, and you will find nothing about the language of such a declaration.
Some phrases jump out at me. The last sentence of the middle section, for example. The President doesn't have to prove it to anybody; he can just do whatever he wants. Kind of nice for President Bush; but I suppose Rush will be fine with a Democratic President having the same kind of power.

Or will he??

Your Weekly Rush: The President has the Power

I was listening to Rush as I was driving around at lunch. It's always very educational. Rush is of course upset that anybody would question the President's right to spy on whoever he wants. And he referred back to a Joint Resolution passed September 18, 2001.
That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
According to Rush Limbaugh this act authorized the Iraq war (and he was one of many conservatives who opposed the President working with congress before invading Iraq. In the war on terror, in Rush's mind, Congress has already done their part, by authorizing the President to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against those who, in his determination, helped plan 9/11 or would support Terrorist actions against the United States.

Who determines who our enemies are? The President does. And who ensures that these powers are used appropriately? The President does. Who has a right to question how these powers are used? Nobody. Or at least that is Rush's interpretation. The President is not required to explain himself to anybody; he can simply do as he sees fit to protect America.

The President could arrest this author right now, and in the mind of Rush Limbaugh, he would not be required to ever explain his actions. Obviously I don't think Rush Limbaugh is the last word in how this act is to be interpreted; but he is a key voice in the Conservative movement right now, and so his opinion does matter.

And his opinion is, in my opinion, quite chilling.

Monday Mail Bag

Hello all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson. I intend to be traveling this Friday so I requested that I and Mr. Space Lobster exchange places for this week and next. I will do his mail bag feature and he will do my round the horn feature.

Oh Miss Pinksington is working out very nice. She can be a lively conversationalist, but also understands when I need to read or focus on work while we are traveling.

At any rate our first comment is from Kenneth Quinnell, which I must say is a nice respectable name. He was responding to
a feature involving finger puppets, which he apparently likes.
I'm not really sure why I like this, but I do. I find myself actually looking forward to the next one, so keep 'em coming.
I am reasonably well assured that Bryant does intend to continue the series this evening if possible.

The second comment comes from Random Goblin which is not a very respectable name. It puts one in mind of a little bundle of destructiveness. Randomness is the enemy of the modern man and so is mythicism! At any rate he was responding to a post about how President Bush may be out of touch with reality.
Of course Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Bush. You would, too.

And honestly, Bush isn't necessarily the human embodiment of Republican ideals, although they may have painted him as such in the past. Fact is, he never was.
This is an interesting point. Certainly it is wisdom to distinguish oneself from failures. In the few cases where my companies have had setbacks, I have always been careful to lay the blame at the feet of a sacrificial lamb of some sort. And the truth is, it is usually justified; most managers are flawed. Most people are flawed. So you just highlight their flaws and the situation resolves itself, without you having to take personal responsibility for your failings.

On to the mail. Our letter this week is very interesting. It is from Muniakin Andrey, who is the General Director of Novokuibyshersk Oil, which I assume is a Russian oil company.
I have sent you this mail because of the need to lopen discussions with you. I don't want you to misunderstand this offer in any aspect, if it is okay with you I ask for your full cooperation. I am Andrey Konovalov, the General Manager of Novokuibyshersk Oil an international affiliate of Yukos Oil and Gas Company based in Russia. Due to ill Health I have esophageal cancer, it has defiled all forms of medical treatment and according to the medical experts it is a terminal illness so I do not know how much longer I have to live.
That is very sad; but you can die assured that you have been successful in life having risen to the post of general manager.
I never had any real Friends in my lifetime because I never really cared for anyone but my business. But now I know that there is more to life than making all the money in the world. However, certain unfolding events has made it very necessary for me to seek your help, my company is fighting investigations and bankruptcy due to the Yukos Oil problems in Russia, most of my assets were seized due to this case.
This is a turn for the worst. Take pride in what you have accomplished and do not pine for what you do not have. You chose to focus on becoming a powerful plutocrat and you succeeded. You should feel a feeling of triumph at your success, not this self pity!

Although I guess it is normal for those weakened by sickness to seek out for others.
Recently I received a bulk payment from South Africa Ministry for my last contract there. I instructed them specifically not to send the funds to Russia because of the problems, but that the funds to be deposited with a Finance and Security company in Europe on hold. A huge cash deposit of Twenty-Five Million dollars was domiciled with a finance/Security Company overseas to my knowledge only. This is the last of my assets, now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself anymore, I therefore need you as a partner because you are a neutral party to help me collect this funds deposited with the security company and disburse it secretly based on instructions.

Because my time is short I have decided to give most of this money to charity organizations, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth. For all your good efforts you will receive 30% of the Funds and must disburse the rest based on instructions. I want you to understand my seriousness in this case and if you canhandle the job kindly contact me on this email for security purposes. I have all the necessary documents on hand; please contact me ASAP so we can discuss more.
Ah you wish me to acquire the money and hold it for you. This I can do. Simply have money wired to the First Morovingian Bank of New Bedford, account number MC341104999L!, and I will arrange for the disbursement of the funds as you require. I am quite used to handling such funds and will assure that it finds its way into good charities. I look forward to doing business with you.

And that is all for this week. I would imagine next weeks mail bag will be sparse due to the holiday season, however I will be here anyway. Enjoy Christmas all!

Microsoft may be Nazis

I just finished reading the first two volumes of Mike Mignola's Hellboy which had a lot of Nazis in it (as did the movie). So naturally I'm pretty receptive to the suggestion that Microsoft is secretly a Nazi organization.

But, apparently, I'm not quite receptive enough, as I find this particular argument not entirely believable. Anyway those controllers look more like a flower than a swastika.

Just Do It!

Go check out this post by Random Goblin. Do it now! Or the terrorists have already won.

A Humorous Column

Are you ready to laugh? I can't hear you, I said are you ready to laugh? Tom Delay is a corrupt jerk. Ha ha ha ha. Corrupt Jerk.

Karl Rove walks into a bar. He goes up to the bartender and says "Give me a whisky. It's thirsty work outing CIA agents and betraying the principles on which this country was founded." Ha ha ha ha. I gotta million of 'em.

Ready for some more? Donald Rumsfeld is testifying before congress and, get this, he says "Look, any discrepancies in what I predicted before the war and what happened can explained away very easily. I was drunk!!!" Ha ha ha ha ha. Drunken Donald. That's hilarious.

If this is the sort of joke you like, but you are a Conservative, well maybe you would enjoy the website "It's All George Bush's Fault!!!" He's even funnier than I am, pointing out the foibles of Democrats. Do you know that some Republicans think that John Kerry flip flops a lot? It's all George Bush's Fault!!! gets a lot of mileage out of that. And apparently Dean is the devil. Nothing like photoshopping your enemies red and putting horns on them to make a satiric point.

Ok ok ok one more. That guy who runs "It's all George Bush's Fault!!!" is standing up on a comedy stage. And he's bombing, right. Just nobody is laughing. So he figures he'll go out on a limb, and says, "Hey I'm just crudely ripping off Rush Limbaugh."

Thank you, you've been a great audience!!!

Oh and any further promotional posts from It's All George Bush's Fault!!! will be deleted; I'm willing to have a dialogue, but I see no value in subjecting my loyal fans to additional advertising.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Did Everybody have the Same Intelligence going into Iraq?

A report put together by the Congressional Research Service suggests that perhaps not everybody had the same intelligence. But I'm sure that those of you who wish to believe President Bush's innocents will not bother to read this report, but just assume it is tainted.

Because anybody who looked at the issue honestly would agree with President Bush.

In other news I lost most of the day getting my car repaired (and spending a lot of money doing it), and Cheery is off visiting reletives so the office hasn't been open, and there have been no updates. I don't feel like hanging out to process the Monday Mail Bag, so we will do that tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hi all

Hope you are all doing super good. I am doing well; not happy about this weeks quote but Space Lobster picked it out so we are stuck with it. Space Lobster has agreed to handle some of my duties during the christmas season, so I'm being nice. Have a nice Christmas all : )

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Link!

Hi all!

Added a new blog to the Liberal Coalition Blogroll; harry dogwater )~. This person was previously a member of a blog allied with the Liberal Coalition; and so his new blog is also allied with us. Anyway go check it out!

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

Hello, this is Irwin J. McIckleson, fictional 1910's plutocrat, and I am supposed to apologize for being late this morning; Cheery was quite clear on that score. I find, however, that apologizing is quite bad for my digestion and so I will simply offer condolences to those who's lives were upset by my failure to appear.

I am in a horrible mood having had to fire my chauffeur of nine years for getting an inconvenient cold. I suspect my soft heart will cause me to find him some other job to do; possibly in the foundry. Very few colds in there. And my new chauffeur is, believe it or not, a female! I can hardly believe it myself; but I believe in the managing of vehicles there is no logical reason a female should not be as capable as a man. And the girl, Helen Pinksington, comes recommended. So we shall have to see how she does.

Anyway to work.

first post comes from archy who discusses some of the justifications for the casualties in the Iraq War. He also discusses "Werewolf" units that existed in Germany after the Second Great War. One would have thought those would be more prevelent in Eastern Europe.

Bark Bark Woof Woof has
some news on the long term viability of some of President Bush's advisors and supporters. It's a mixed bag, apparently.

Iddybud also has
a discussion of the President and his inspirational leadership. Or the lack thereof. Apparently John Edwards ha suggested that Americans are hungry for something; a Bush supporter responded that they were being filled with the inspirational War on Terror. I must say that I don't see much evidence of that inspiration from my vantage point.

I'd like to congratulate The Countess on
joining the investor class. Apparently she has bought a Certificate of Deposit, a form of investment I am not entirely au corrente on. I can say, however, that thinking about investment is something more royalty should do, if they wish to survive the coming ages. Nobility is all very well, but having lots of servants and scented baths is better (not that I would indulge in such things, of course).

Sooner Thought has
a discussion of the fact that the Government may be spying on its citizens. Of course the government is spying on its citizens. That is what governments do; it is about maintaining control. As for how deep this surveillance goes or how many people it affects; don't expect to ever find out.

The Podunt Press has
an article on how the two parties seem unable to get along; and how the political philosophies attached to those parties may be changing.

At any rate, that is enough for today; I want to see how my new chauffeur works out, and I wish to do some Christmas shopping. Have a productive day and weekend.

A Message from McIckleson

We are experiencing a short delay with our Round the Horn feature. We just got a telegraph from McIckleson, explaining the situation.
So there you have it. Of course some of you might be wondering how Mr. McIckleson can send us a Telegram from 1910. Well if you've ever seen Back to the Future II or III you might have an idea. In actually we have a pile of telegrams in one corner, in order. We have to open them in the right order or time will stop and all mankind will be consumed by Temporal Phantoms. So we are being careful. Which is hard because one of the ones down in the pile has what looks like blood spilt on it.

Anyway I assume we'll have our trip round the horn later on.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Finger Puppet Theatre 3

Here's our next episode - looking into why Red thinks that Christmas is threatened by Happy Holidays.

Tune in tomorrow for more stuff. Maybe.

The Pentagon has Agents spying on Peace Groups

You probably already know this, but it has been revealed that the Pentagon is monitoring the various peace groups in the United States.
The military's domestic surveillance was disclosed this week in a report on NBC Nightly News, which obtained a 400-page Department of Defense document outlining the surveillance of peace groups. Acting on a complaint from the Truth Project, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson posted a letter Wednesday to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, demanding an accounting.

"I am very concerned that the military's apparent expansion of domestic intelligence gathering could lead to unprecedented invasions of privacy of lawful citizens simply for exercising their right of free speech," the Democratic senator wrote, citing the NBC report as well as "other major media services" as the source for his concern.
We live in interesting times. I look forward to conservative pundits defending this position by painting people opposed to the war as natural criminals.

The War on Christmas - A Handy Scapegoat

For those of you who long for the good old days when Henry Ford blamed Christmas bashing on the Jews, well, Burt Prelutsky has written a pair of articles that blame the current "War on Christmas" on the Jews. But it's ok because Mr. Prelutsky is a Jew, so he's allowed. And if he just happens to say what a lot of White Anglo Saxon Males think, well, that's just lucky for him (and, one presumes, his checkbook).

He wrote his first article last week and today's article is a follow up on that. It's theme is that Christians are great and Jews should be grateful to them. He uses this odd example.
I was lucky to have been born to a Jewish family in a Christian nation. It was, in the main, Christian soldiers who liberated the Nazi death camps. Even if I'm not as Jewish as some of my critics would like, I still believe it behooves us to be openly grateful to our Christian neighbors -- not because we fear future pogroms -- but because it's the decent thing to do.
Of course it takes but a moment to point out that the people who staffed and ran the courts described themselves as Christians too. And many Jews served honorably in the military (they often had the nicknameBrooklynyn" if movies are to be believed).

Then he compares the ACLU and other "secularist" forces to terrorists.
Many of us, Jews and Christians alike, have been annoyed with American Muslims because they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time whining about racial profiling at the airports, instead of condemning the world-wide butchery of Islamic fascists or passing the hat to place a reward on Osama bin Laden's head. Well, to me, the silence of American Jews when it comes to Christian-bashing has been equally deafening.

What truly astonishes me is the patience and good grace with which Christians have dealt with this attack on so many things they hold dear.
Yeah, cause when I think of Bill O'Rielly I think of patience and good grace.

Mr. Prelutsky's article does seem to assume that being Jewish in America (or any other religion) makes one a guest here. This is a Christian Country, and anybody who chooses not to be Christian should be prepared to put up with the Christian Religion being respected and their faith not being respected. I am a Christian (although there are those who would disagree), and I'm not comfortable with that. Rather let us say that this is an American country, and all Americans regardless of their religiopersuasionion are entitled to a certain amount of respect.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Finger Puppet Theatre 2

Introducing Part 2 of our exciting (in a wierd way) series.

What does Little Red Riding Hood mean? Tune in tomorrow!

A Catalogue of Commentators - Issue 5. Cal Thomas

Bonjour Mes Amis!

I am stranded in Romania and bored, so I found an Internet Cafe and checked in to see if there was any thing I could do. Apparently Durango is a bit out of it this week due to an altercation / sing along with a TrashCo Waste Disposal Unit, so I have volunteered to take his place. Durango has a fine voice, incidentally, I am thinking of writing a song we can duet on for a future album.

This weeks selection is M. Cal Thomas. M. Thomas
does not like people who follow the faith of Islam. He really doesn't like them.
Here's what Blair should say to the Muslim leaders: "The onus is on you guys. You find and shut down the terrorists and their network. You turn those who incite, plan and encourage violence over to the authorities. If you don't act, we will by closing and bulldozing the mosques and schools that incubate and instruct the killers, prosecuting the terrorists we find and deporting them and their clerics, and closing our borders to anyone from countries that harbor and teach terrorists. Those who are British citizens will be stripped of their citizenship."
Quelle racisme. M. Thomas apparently feels that the Muslim community in Britain could simply destroy all terrorists should they choose to. This may not be true. As I should know from my troubles with the Hoary Cultists of Abeg-Nero, the Dark Lord of a Thousand Tentacles, many times people are completely unaware of the evils that lurk in their communities. Tarring all Muslims with the same brush (the "terrorist" brush) is both evil and stupid. Evil because it hurts innocents. Stupid because it pushes potential allies away.

But M. Thomas
believes that all potential allies have already declared their allegience to the right side (by choosing to be Christians and Western).
There will be no detente, entente or peace treaty between the forces of darkness and those of light. As much as Western politicians may wish to avoid the true root cause of this war, they do so at the peril of their citizens. This is a religious war. The terrorists understand it as such. Too many in the secular and wimpishly religious West do not.
M. Thomas actually admires the Muslim extremists willingness to see this as a war of extermination; a war to eliminate the other side. He wishes we saw Muslims through a mask of hatred as they see us. This also explains his wish that American Troops would adopt the bloodthirsty methods of the Islamic Terrorists; rather than worrying about torture.

Thomas's position on the place of Christianity in America does seem more nuanced than some of his colleagues. Just this morning Bryant quoted an article decrying the war on Christmas, and in 2004 he
berated Pat Robertson for mixing politics and religion.
The idea that God would reach down and prophesy an election outcome to one man, who then says President Bush could even do wrong and God would keep him in office, offers joke material to Leno and Letterman and brings the Christian Gospel into further disrepute before unbelievers.
On the other hand in dealing with Harriet Miers he criticized the idea that her religion should help her get confirmed while being irrelevant on the bench. So his position seems a bit nuanced, to say the least.

Apparently Cal Thomas has been a reporter for nearly 40 years and is the most widely syndicated columnist in America. I suspect that many columnists would make that latter claim.

Here's what Bryant has to say about Cal Thomas.

Rereading Thomas's words on Islam always gets my blood boiling. He commits us and our children and our children's children to war with neither mercy nor end. Just more blood forever and ever. Or until we kill them all or they kill us all. It doesn't appeal to me. But then I step back, think for a moment, and realize that Thomas is full of crap, and we aren't doomed to follow his genocidal path.

Here are a few favorite posts about Cal Thomas.

October 30, 2003, Bryant responded to M. Thomas's suggestion that higher taxes made people into tax evaders by comparing to the conservative ridicule of the theory that poverty and desperate circumstances might push a person to committing crime.

August 24, 2004, Bryant responded to complaints that the budget had too much money for museums by pointing out what percentage of the budget such items covered.

August 23, 2005, Cheery took on Thomas's suggestion that Muslims are basically the same as Crocodiles in a James Bond Movie.

Anyway that's all for M. Thomas. Hope you enjoyed this, but I must fly. It's started to rain outside and I am worried that Melishiak the Watery Bull will find me if I am on the streets too long. Farewell, mes amis!

Cal Thomas sez something I agree with

Cal Thomas's latest article is about the "War on Christmas," and it makes a lot of sense.
I have never understood why so many Christians feel the need to see and hear "Merry Christmas" proclaimed to them at stores by people who may not believe its central message. While TV personalities, junk mail letters and some of the ordained bemoan the increasing secularization of culture; perhaps some teaching might be helpful from the One in whose behalf they claim to speak.

Jesus - the real one, not the Republican-conservative-Democrat-liberal one made in the image of today's fractured political culture - said His kingdom is not of this world. Why, then, are so many who claim to speak for Him demanding that this earthly kingdom celebrate Him and His Kingdom?
Yep, Mr. Thomas, for a change, is right on the money.

One of the points in The Godless Constitution (my review of which I hope to combine in one page sometime in the future) is that combining religion and politics will have a bad effect on politics and it will have a bad effect on religion. This is a case in point; fighting over the words Merry Christmas can be just as distracting from the message of the season for Christians as anything secularists are doing. In my mind it's even more damaging, because it is purposefully seeking out a spirit of contention and anger which are antithetical to the spirit of the season.

Something to think about.

Also we'd like to note that Christmas is a scant 11 days away, thus there will be only 11 more days of posts on the "War on Christmas." Presumably I'll find some other obsession in the New Year (the "War on Arbor Day").

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Finger Puppet Theatre

We'll see if this works out ok. We now present the first issue of Finger Puppet Theater.

Tune in tomorrow for the exciting continuation of this saga! Such as it is.

The War on Christmas - The Fog of War

Sometimes, in order to publicize this war on Christmas, the right wing resorts to shading stories a little bit, like in the piece earlier about Pittsburgh's Sparkle Season. Figuring out that particular story took a little work. And who wants to work at this special time of the year?

So, in a gesture of peace and good will to people fact-checking him, including the hated website Media Matters for America (where I got this story), Bill O'Rielly has started telling lies that are ridiculously easy to debunk.
Yeah. I think it's the first time in my lifetime that the United States Postal Service has not had a spiritual stamp for people like you who would like them. And, again, disrespectful. Flat-out disrespectful, insulting you and your beliefs
For those of you interested, here is a picture of the religious stamp currently available.

Now of course that is a 2004 stamp. Apparently they overstocked religious stamps last year, and have a lot left over. That plus the fact that stamps are going up in January (to $0.39, which is a whole other story) lead them to use last years stamp in order to not waste a lot of our tax money. Kind of understandable.

But telling the whole story is not as easy as just flat lieing I guess.

Stanley "Tookie" Williams is Dead

For those of you who don't know Mr. Williams was executed last night or this morning at midnight. The New York times reports as follows.
Mr. Williams, 51, a co-founder and leader of the Crips gang of Los Angeles who was convicted of the brutal murders of four people in 1979 amid an avalanche of gang violence there, had become, to his supporters, an icon of jailhouse redemption and a powerful critic from his cell on death row and through his writings of the perils and misguided allure of the gang life on the nation's urban streets.
Obviously a high profile case like this reignites our debate on Capital Punishment. I am going to admit I don't have a firm opinion on this issue.

On the other hand I do want to point out that I find the need to make Tookie Williams a good guy is rather depressing. The News Blog has an article debunking the suggestion that we shouldn't execute Mr. Williams because he's really a nice guy after all.

If you favor abolishing the death penalty, than you favor letting people guilty of brutal murders off the proverbial hook (and,presumably, putting them on the life imprisonment hook). If you favor maintaining the death penalty, you have to know that your policy will lead to some innocents being executed (at least until we get the Justice-Tron 3000 online (although, in movies, super computers don't often work as advertised)).

Anyway like I say I don't know what to think.

Reality Used to be a Friend of Mine

Once again, in my ultra-hipster way, I reference PM Dawn; it's surprising how often this title applies when talking about politics.

Anyway Bruce Bartlett's latest article for Townhall is, believe it or not, about how the President may be disconnected from the world outside his window.
Written by veteran reporters Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe, the Newsweek story confirms reports we have heard for the last five years about Bush's disinterest in the policy process or even the day-to-day politicking that ordinarily goes with the job. He dislikes meeting with members of Congress, is not a big consumer of news that does not come to him through official channels and relies almost exclusively on a small cluster of close aides, ignoring his Cabinet and the rest of the federal establishment.

The result is that Bush appears to live in a sort of fantasy world utterly divorced from reality. For example, Newsweek quotes a senior Republican congressman -- unnamed for fear of White House retaliation -- who was astounded in a meeting with Bush about Social Security at how out-of-touch he was with the political prospects for his reform plan. The congressman and everyone else in the room knew the plan was dead, yet Bush went on and on as if it were on the brink of enactment.
Hmmmmm. That doesn't sound good. It's also unusual that Townhall (very conservative) would print such a critique of President Bush. Complaining that he isn't conservative enough is one thing; you sort of have to expect that. But complaints about his basic disengagement are something entirely different.

If the Bush Administration is deemed a failure, which seems possible, the Republican Party is going to want President Bush to own the failure. The failure will be due to his own mental state and decisions and not due to conservatism or Republicanism. This strategy won't work entirely (people still blamed Carters or Clinton's failings on Democrats as a whole, same with Nixon and Gingrich), but it might help soften the blow. I don't know if that's what Bartlett is doing here; but, well, I assume some Republicans are thinking about the future.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday Mail Bag

Hey spacesters. It's time once again to open up the Monday Mailbag and the Comments Cardbox to select this weeks winners. And what do our lucky contestants win? This weeks prize is the contentment that comes from knowing that we, here at Make me a Commentator!!! acknowledge your existence. Or, to put it another way, nothing.

I was on a game show in the sixties called "Who Wants to Eat a Pound of Seaweed?" Turns out I was the only one.

Anyway our first comment is from Earl, responding to
a post by Bryant on Saving Christmas (federal law prohibits Bryant from posting on anything but Christmas, or so I am told (by him)).
Give me a break. Why do you hate Christmas?
Bryant gave his response, but here is mine. I don't hate Christmas; I love trees. Thanks to the power of industry, in my time we have a new appreciation for trees. Every Christmas I like to go to the Tree Shelter and gaze upon the trees and contemplate their wonder.

For those who thought the above response surreal, you obviously missed
this earlier Monday Mail Bag. And, in all fairness, I don't actually go out and appreciate trees. If I'm lucky I think about nature for a moment or so, and feel guilty that I don't go out in it more. But the feeling passes quickly.

Kenneth of
T. Rex's Guide to Life commented on an incoherent story about Christmas. Wait, that should be a story about incoherence and Christmas. My mistake.
The incoherence problem is probably the biggest problem I face in debating or talking about politics -- whether it be in the classroom (particularly grading research papers) or in dealing with conservative commenters online.
I don't know a little insightful confusion can help you get from point A to point B without the necessity of hitting point C. Or something like that. You don't get to be an evil Space Lobster without cutting a few corners.

Turning to the mail bag we have a product guaranteed to make her worship me. I don't know who "her" is, but I certainly like the idea of being worshipped. I was worshipped once on a visit to the Giant Crab homeworld (in Episode 3D11 "Marrooned Beyond the Stars"), and I found it quite enjoyable. So let's see what this is all about.


Yeah I'd better stick to letters of people asking me for my bank account information. Speaking of which, here's one from Mr. Emmanual Edet which promises important information.
Compliment of the season to you. I am sending you this private email to make a passionate appeal to you for assistance. Kindly accept my apology for contacting you this way and forgive me if this is not acceptable to you. My name is Emmanuel Edet: . . .
I'm sorry Mr. Edet, but your anti-Christmas greeting has tainted my feelings about you. Surely if you were a Christian or possessed of moderately good grammar, you would not use the generic greeting "Compliment of the Season to you." If you had said "Christmas Season" we could have done business. Well not really, because I don't have a bank account. But in theory we could have.

Anyway that's it for another week. Hang loose until next time. That's an order! And Merry Festival of Snow!

Carnival of Liberals

Hi everybody!!!

In my duties as Marketing Director for Make me a Commentator!!! (duties I take very seriously I might add), I am always on the lookout for new ways to promote this blog so as to get our message out to the people. Well it turns out there is a liberal
carnival of great liberal blogs starting up. I guess this will be a little like Mr. McIckleson's Round the Horn feature but a bit larger category (as the Round the Horn feature focuses on blogs we believe to be members of the Liberal Coalition.

Anyway if you are interested in this, you might also visit
this website, or click the link down the right side of the blog (right above the Liberal Coalition list of links).

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production

Hello all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, Fictional 1910'2 Plutocrat, bringing you future people links to blogs you might enjoy. A blog is a kind of virtual journal that you let other people read. I keep a journal myself, but I choose not to let other people read it. I am very discrete.

I was supposed to do this on Friday, but the office was shut down. I was in favor of just doing it next Friday like normal, but Cheery feels we have gotten to lax about our regular features, and so required me to do one today. Which I was able to do.

All Facts and Opinion has
a very moving tribute to a singer named John Lennon who was shot some 25 years ago. I don't understand the purpose of shooting singers. Given the tone of this piece, I would gather this singer was quite talented. He sang about love and peace; both of which pay little but have some value.

AND THEN . . . has
information on the uses of chinamen to play computo-mo-box entertainments so that plutocrats have more time to devote to crushing their enemies.

Bloggg has
a collection of pictures of garish light displays for the celebration of Christmas. I told Edison that the lightbulb could be used for evil purposes, but he doubted me.

blogAmy has
interesting pictures of snowy weather. I'm surprised you future people have snow. I thought we are going to build giant bubbles over everything; but I guess you never got around to it.

LeftyBrown's Corner has their
annual awards for best music, movies and comical books. Apparently they are voted on by the fans. Bryant says that Demon Days by Gorillaz really is quite good, but that I would not enjoy it. At any rate, these are the nominees; if you visit the site you can vote for your favorites.

Dohiyi Mir has
an article that suggests that President Bush is isolated in the White House. He does not choose to listen to anybody he does not want to listen to and dismisses all disagreement. That is not a very wise thing for a plutocrat or a president to do. It is gratifying to silence those who disagree with you (or fire them) sometimes they are right. So it's best to give them a listen, write down their ideas respectfully, and then fire them.

Collective Sigh has
a piece on people still displaced and living in tents from the hurricane several months ago. Apparently it puts the current brouhaha over holiday greetings in a proper perspective.

Pen-Elayne on the Web tells of
her adventures in the future medical system. Apparently while the machines and techniques have advanced, the people and their systems for moving people have not advanced, and, in fact, seem to have regressed. Anyway it sounds like she went through quite an ordeal.

The First Draft
reports that most people in Iraq do not want America to continue occupying their country. I guess that shouldn't be surprising all things considered.

The Invisible Library
has suggestions on a revival of a television show called Star Trek. Apparently it would require a new cast and could be quite good. I hope Space Lobster doesn't read this or he will start whining about bringing back his television show.

Words on a Page has
commentary on our current Vice President and his views on the military, which are tainted a bit by his lack of service in said military.

And that is all that we have time for today. Or, to be more accurate, I wish to get on with my day, and so am quitting. Have a nice week, and I'll see you back here on Friday.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Defenders Saturday (A Day Late)

Marvel Feature Presents The Defenders #2

The title of this story is Nightmare on Bald Mountain, which references a famous piece of classical music and a segment of the Disney movie Fantasia. Here at Make me a Commentator we strive to educate as well as entertain. Within reason.

Anyway it starts with a bunch of cultists on bald mountain dancing around enthusiastically. One says gleefully, “The MASTER draws near. I can hear his TREAD – feel his Breath.” The leader replies “Than dance FASTER, brothers and sister – wake HEAVEN AND HELL with your obscene chanting.” So, one has to assume that this is a non-traditional celebration. Anyway they succeed in pulling the Dread Dormammu halfway to earth (specifically they pull his left side to earth).

Dormammu, who apparently hasn’t been attended many management seminars, makes sure his hench-cultists know that he cares nothing for them, but is rather disgusted with them. They do his bidding anyway.

Meanwhile Dr. Strange is trying to figure out what’s going on. Looking up would reveal three cultists looking down on him from his mystic skylight, so, naturally, he stares straight ahead. His mystic charms reveal the potential menace of Dormammu and, forgetting that both had said they were not interested in teaming up again, considers enlisting the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner to help him. Dr. Strange is lured in his psychic form up into the sky while the Cultists capture his physical body. Wong bursts in, prepared to use his Kung Fu to save Dr. Strange; but it turns out his style of Kung Fu (the Useless Chipmunk school) is incapable of dealing with two enemies at once. So they get away. The cultists flee.

Clea, Dr. Stranges wife, wakes up wong, and she uses the Eye of Agamatto to, well, it’s not clear really. But somehow the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner realize that Dr. Strange is in trouble, so they immediately spring into action (they have also forgotten their distaste for team-ups. Then we have a page of exposition on Bald Mountain delivered by a character we haven’t seen before to two characters we haven’t seen before (but who were in Avengers #83). To sum up – Bald Mountain is weird.

Oh and Dormammu has figured out away around his promise to never again invade earth. He'll posess Dr. Strange and invade the earth that way. I'm not exactly sure how that gets around his vow, but then I'm not the supreme ruler of another dimension.

Anyway we have a few pages of the Hulk and Sub-Mariner arriving in New York. The Sub-Mariner is seen by a woman as he flies around the city. Hulk encounters some cops and leaps over them. The Sub-Mariner is pursued by cops looking for a flying prowler (that the woman above reported). There is a super-hero convention at Bald Mountain without super-heroes (just guys in costumes). The Hulk throws some boxes at the Sub-Mariner – they charge at each other. Unfortunately, once they recognize each other, they regretfully decide not to fight.

Then Wong and Clea (wandering around allies hoping to find superheroes apparently) show up and give Namor a Suit. Then they hypnotize the Hulk to get Dr. Banner and give him some of Dr. Strange’s cast-offs. Suitably attired they set off, and are stopped by some helpful cops who warn of Hulk and Sub-Mariner. One cop helpfully explains “That FISH-MAN isn’t much, out of water – but the HULK”S a mean customer!” Sub-Mariner doesn’t like hearing that, as you might imagine.

They spend a day traveling to rescue Dr. Strange. Speed is not of an essense. They finally get there and see a giant glowing circle in the sky. They get there and fight the cultists – takes a while for Banner to transform into the Hulk, but when he does, his Hulk Logic is astounding. “Still Hulk always KNEW he was stronger than that FISH-Man. And best way to PROVE that Hulk is the strongest of all is to pick up this big ROCK and THROW it like this.” Yeah cause if there’s one thing no other Marvel Superhero can do it’s pick up a big rock and throw it.

Anyway Hulk and Sub-Mariner take out the cultists (who were not chosen for their intelligence). And we find that the Dr. Strange held his mind inside Wong until he could be brought to his body. Anyway Dr. Strange gets back into his body and takes on Dormammu and wins (in one page). The battle wrecks the mountain, and both Hulk and Namor are buried alive!! But then the Sub-Mariner crawls out, and the Hulk, using Hulk logic, gets out too. “And HULK will never die – While FISH-MAN is still alive.” They stand on the mountain in silent contemplation as the narrator says that we should hope those cultists never come back. I hope they don’t come back, because they were kind of boring villains.

The Poetry of Dr. Strange “Thus I have no choice but to throw CAUTION to the whispering winds.”

The Honesty of the Hulk “Bah! Stupid Humans make me SICK!”

The Familiarity with Clothes of the Sub-Mariner. “Namor needs no HELP to don these cumbersome garments.”

New Format

Hey everybody!!!

New Format and New Quote today to show that we have the Christmas Spirit which we do. Even though Bryant is swearing a lot and Space Lobster keeps making wierd jokes about trees I can tell that they both are filled with holiday cheer.

And we updated our Quotes page.

Have a great week!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Low Posting Ahead

Well I am in training all day; so won't be posting very much till training is over. And since by then it will be friday evening (more or less) it's possible I won't be in much of a mood to post even then. But maybe I will anyway.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Eliminationist Rhetoric

Orcinus has a great review of Michelle Malkin's latest book. Well written and insightful; in particular it hammers the nail over the head over what I find offensive in modern conservatism. Eliminationist rhetoric. Conservatives are very comfortable imagining a world with no liberals.

Anyway it's very good; check it out!

A Catalogue of Commentators - Issue 4. Suzanne Fields

Hello all. I'm afraid that this is once again Maple Roberts, Personal Secretary and Mole Dampener to Alaistar Niedenmaker, also known as the Post-Modernist. I'm afraid he has been very busy the last couple of weeks, dealing with an invasion of Hedrix Worshipping Space Tarantulas. He had me hold off doing it, on the hope that he could make it back to earth. Unfortunately he and Nanook of the North have been captured and placed in suspended animation aboard the Tarantula Mother Ship, so it seems like there will be some delay.

This weeks subject is Suzanne Fields. She is a columnist who writes for the Washington Times and she has a doctorate in literature. Her biggest controversy so far has apparently resolved around her comments on a "Harvard-Yale study that suggests a college-educated woman who hasn't married by age 30 finds the odds stacked enormously against her." I'm not sure what that means, nor do I know what her take on the issue was; but it whatever it was it apparently propelled her to center stage.

She seems like the sort of woman who has spent a certain part of her career telling feminists and liberals what woman "really" want, as in
this quote during last years election campaign.
The conventional wisdom is that John Kerry lost female support when he didn't respond quickly to the attacks on the medals won in Vietnam. Women, it seems to me, were turned off more by the replays of his slurs against the soldiers he left behind in Vietnam. It was one thing to attack the war, but quite another to attack the men fighting it.
It is interesting to me that Ms. Fields feels comfortable speaking for a gender. That's not normally something I find appetizing; and I find it no more appetizing when a woman does it compared to when a man does it.

But I do appreciate a certain segment of male conservativism likes to hear a woman tell them they are right about women. And there is presumably a certain amount of money to be made doing just that.

Her literature degree has shown up a time or so in her writing; at one point she was advocating the study of the bible as literature.
No one proposes teaching the Bible as a sacred text or to promote religious faith in public schools. With three kinds of Jews, a dozen varieties of Methodists and countless flavors of Baptists, just for starters, we could never agree on what, exactly, should be taught as doctrine even if that's what we set out to do. But in a less-than-perfect world there can be no harm, and a lot of good, in well-informed surveys of the Bible as literature, showing how the Bible has shaped history, philosophy, the law, art and other subjects, inspiring our earliest settlers, Founding Fathers and presidents unto the modern day.
This seems reasonable enough; but it would require a certain amount of maturity on the parts of both the students and the parents, not to mention the teachers. And it would not take much to derail such a class. I would support such a class; but only for Seniors or Juniors.

And of course it is hard to know what they will teach about how the Bible has inspired Americans throughout the ages. Will they talk about how the Bible inspired slave holders to continue support of slavery while it also inspired abolitionists to press for freedom for the slaves?

Ms. Fields is resolute in her support of President Bush, who she generally
describes in glowing terms.
The Truman-Dewey comparison has its limits, but George W., like Harry Truman, acts as if he understands "the buck stops here." That understanding has shaped his foreign policy and, like Harry Truman, he stands stubbornly by his decisions as the nation faces a new and deadly menace.
Bryant noted that "The Buck Stops Here" theory also implies taking responsibility for the actions and mistakes one has made, so I will not cover that here. I will note that stubbornness is a neutral trait; being stubborn in support of bad policy can hardly be described as a great idea.

Here are some comments by Bryant.
I have to admit I don't have very many. I do think Suzanne Fields plays the same role that Walter E. Williams plays. She's a member of a "minority" telling males that they are just fine. There are some males who really enjoy that message. I don't think she's as cynical about it as Walter E. Williams; but she does it. Beyond that she's just one of the many conservative voices out there.

A few favorite posts on here.

February 26, 2003, Ms. Fields suggested that going to the gym will not actually protect you from Satan. I find myself wondering if any gyms have made that claim.

November 2, 2003, Ms. Fields wrote about how colleges are teaching classes she thinks are not useful. If there is one thing I have learned serving Mr. Niedenmaker it is that all knowledge is useful.

December 7, 2004, Ms. Fields attacked Europe for being insufficiently pro-America. She also made a grammatical error in her title. You can guess which part of the story Bryant found most relevant.

And that is it. Next week Mr. Durango will cover someone new.