Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein's Dead

Undead Undead Undead.

This is going to be an annoying week coming up. We are going to get a bunch of articles by Conservatives congratulating themselves on ridding the world of this murderous tyrant and castigating Liberals for not wanting to rid the world of the murderous tyrant. So that will be fun.

Juan Cole has an interesting article on the death over at Salon, in which he talks about how the Bush Administration and the new Iraqi administration may have bungled this (at least from the point of view that it would be better to avoid sectarian violence).
The tribunal also had a unique sense of timing when choosing the day for Saddam's hanging. It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs. This weekend marks Eid al-Adha, the Holy Day of Sacrifice, on which Muslims commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Shiites celebrate it Sunday. Sunnis celebrate it Saturday –- and Iraqi law forbids executing the condemned on a major holiday. Hanging Saddam on Saturday was perceived by Sunni Arabs as the act of a Shiite government that had accepted the Shiite ritual calendar.

The timing also allowed Saddam, in his farewell address to Iraq, to pose as a “sacrifice” for his nation, an explicit reference to Eid al-Adha.
So that's nice. Of course some people in this process might be in favor of sectarian violence (at least until their side wins) and others, presumably, just don't care.

Friday, December 29, 2006

David Limbaugh Condemns the Democrats for Being Right

No, seriously. He's upset that Democrats were apparently correct in the run up to the Iraq war, and their accuracy during the run up to the Iraq war proves that they don't have what it takes to deal with Iran.
Remember that Democrats were the last to believe (and probably never did believe) we should take action against Saddam Hussein. They opposed the war until the last minute, when they were coerced, through public opinion, to support the war resolution.

It's easy to dismiss their appeasement mindset now since we haven't confirmed Saddam had new stockpiles of WMD and because we've had so much difficulty in the post-regime-change phase of the war. But don't forget that Democrats were initially opposed to the war even when they were thoroughly convinced Saddam had WMD and was pursuing more .
Let's see do we have any lies? Yes. Democrats obviously favored taking action against Saddam Hussein, they just felt that that action didn't need to be a mindless rush to war. Distortions? We've had the country and scoured it for several years now - if there were stockpiles of WMD we would have found them, dimwit.

Finally how many Americans today believe that Bush made the right call on Iraq? Does Limbaugh really want to hold up Iraq as an example of how we need to trust Republicans on how to handle Iran?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Website Update

This is been a more difficult than normal holiday season because I have found out that I am being moved across town work wise. Also I made a mistake in publishing this blog and lost a lot of my format. Hence all the madness last week, and the very mild design today (and the total lack of update over at Seventy Sketches).

All that is behind me (well sort of). This weekend I will be updating this websites look, and if you have any recommendations, by all means put them in the comments section. And hopefully we can enter the new year meeting all of your blogging needs. Or at least a certain percentage of them.

Godless

That's the song I happen to be listening too, off of The Dandy Warhols' "Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia." Good song. Eclipsed by "Bohemian Like You," of course, but still a nice album opening.

I suppose it could tie into the subject of this post, one of the more bombastic "War on Christmas" articles I've had the Misfortune to read, by Emmett Tyrell.
Ah, the Christmas season is about over, and soon I shall be liberated from the alarm I experience every time some benevolent authoritarians accosts me with the line "have a happy holiday." . . . These are the moralists who somehow always manage simultaneously to identify iniquity of one sort or another in conventional behavior and stamp it out good and hard. Some years ago they discovered cruelty and intolerance laden in the term "Merry Christmas," and now the term is gone or nearly gone.

It has been replaced with "happy holiday," and anyone who stands by the term "Merry Christmas" is immediately marked down as a provocateur, probably a bigot and possibly a cigarette smoker. At this time of year the use of the term "Merry Christmas" is viewed by the politically correct as a rude and aggressive act. Oddly enough it just might be by now. The politically correct have an inordinate influence over our language and manners. They have lured enough politically innocent Americans to their view that "Merry Christmas" is indeed a term of controversy and a consensus has probably formed. "Merry Christmas" is at least bad manners.
Laughable, really. I mean there's barely any point to refuting this, because if you believe this is what is happening, you are so deluded as to make rational discourse pointless. I might as well call you an artichoke and be done with it.

But I will point out one niggling point. The War on Christmas is not being fought by the hated mavans of political correctness; it's being fought by right wing pundits, who want to convince Christians that they are being persecuted because it suits their political ambitions (and cause writing articles of this strip is dead easy, and many of them are very lazy).

Beware of Republicans Bearing Gifts

The recent election indicated, to those with brains, that America may not be as rock ribbed conservative as some of our friends on the right would like us to believe. This revelation has cracked the worldview of many conservatives. Some paint fantastical mythologies in which right wing militias take over. Others, of a more practical bent, want to give advice to the Democratic Party.

One such advice giver is Donald Lambro. His advice? Remember that America is Rock-Ribbed conservative.

Yeah, apparently he slept through the last election.

He also apparently thinks that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are far leftists. It's hard to tell what Obama is exactly, but certainly there's just as much evidence that he's a centrist as there is that he's a liberal. With Hillary Clinton though, the evidence is clear - she's a moderate liberal at best. I think Mr. Lambro's confusion comes from where he stands on the left right spectrum. The further right one moves on that spectrum, the more even moderate liberals look like crazed extremists.

I remember Rush Limbaugh saying being a proud Democrat was equal to being a liberal extremist. I guess a moderate liberal would have to be an ashamed Democrat.

Anyway I'd look for a lot of these articles over the next two years; Republicans love to give the Democrats advice. But when evaluating that advice, I'd advise you to consider the source.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Now for something completely different

Here's an article at Townhall that's not about war. Well it is about war. But not the war on Liberals. It's on the Iraq war and the Vietnam war.

Rich Lowry points out that one of the big lessons conservatives have taken from the Vietnam war may not be accurate. Specifically he references that the civilian leaders over managed the Vietnam war and should have left things up to the Generals.
The true lesson of Vietnam is that the civilian leadership should exercise close supervision of the military and ensure that, when fighting an insurgency, it acts in ways that don't come naturally to a U.S. Army that is most comfortable when smashing a conventional enemy.
He makes a pretty convincing argument - but of course it helps that this war is pretty much entirely a Conservative war. It's hard for them to blame this war on the civilian leadership when they are the civilian leadership.

That said the article is pretty good and worth reading, even if I totally disagree with Lowry's conclusions (we should send a bunch more troops to Iraq).

Black Hole Sun

Dennis Prager also sees a war brewing between Conservatives and Liberals, although he sees it as a culture war. Culture war is conservative slang for "We wish we could start a real war over this, but we're cowards, so we are going to stick to a war of words." In this case, Dennis Prager believes that the war is over the divinity of the Bible; specifically the Torah.

The Torah is the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Carl. No just kidding. The last book in that set is Deutoronomy. Leviticus is the most boring, and the one that calls for you to kill your kids if they are disrespectful. Genesis is the one that most people get to because it contains a lot of the classic bible stories. Exodus has the Ten Commandments and the Plagues.

I just wrote that bit because of course Mr. Prager believes that you can't be a Liberal and reverence or even know about the Torah.
What matters is not whether people believe in God but what text, if any, they believe to be divine. Those who believe that He has spoken through a given text will generally think differently from those who believe that no text is divine. Such people will usually get their values from other texts, or more likely from their conscience and heart.
Of course this implies that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, and other believers who don't happen to follow the Torah line up automatically on the wrong side of the Cultural war. But of course I believe in the Torah (although I think you have to read it through the lens of the New Testament (for example, considering the Prodigal Son as more important than the suggestion that you off your disobedient children)), but I'm also on the opposite side of the cultural divide. So I guess it's not so much that you believe it is divine, you also have to believe a specific interpretation of it.

Dennis Prager has already made it clear what he's looking for with his article on the Second Civil War. We'll have to see if he gets his way. But Republicans have believed they were dominent for a long time, and now that the recent midterms have hinted that they may not be, they are getting a little angry. And a little violent, at least in their rhetoric.

The Revolution

Some conservatives fantasize about revolution as much as far leftists these days. Douglas MacKinnon has written a book called America's Last Days fictionalizing this fantasy, and Townhall gave him room to write about his book. He's surprised that anybody would be critical of a book in which a conservative militia takes over America (yeah, who could have seen that reaction coming). But he says that his book explains why such a revolution is plausible and quotes two passages from his book. Here's a bit of one of them.
"How did we get this way, John? Why are they forcing us to do this terrible thing?"

"Why did the Roman Empire crumble, sir? Complacency, ignorance and lack of a moral compass. They lost it all because they took the things that really count for granted. They became fat, lazy, and sinful. They were overcome by lust, greed and a gradual lowering of standards. The United States of today is exactly the same. We have lost our moral compass. Our country has become more classist, elitist and separatist. Political correctness prevents us from targeting the enemy within our own borders who harbor the very Al Qaida terrorists who attacked us. We can’t protect our own borders with Mexico and Canada. In a country that is over eighty-five percent Christian, those very same Christians can no longer say 'Merry Christmas,' and can barely celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We’re on the verge of a race war, our inner-cities are on the brink of collapse, our educational system is a joke, teachers are not held accountable, affirmative action has destroyed trust and self-esteem, the growing rich are walling themselves off from the ninety-five percent of other Americans, our politicians are all corrupt, stupid, taking bribes, or shunned by the few honest ones.
The Second American Civil War indeed. Let's start stringing up liberals, that'll solve America's problems.

While the author claims that this is simply a work of fiction, he ends by saying that those few who care about America (i.e. have his opinion on political matters) are running out of options and ends with "Beware the Revolution."

Part of me wants to be amused at the fantasy (and at the idea that our politicians are "corrupt, stupid, taking bribes, or shunned by the few honest ones." I think what the author meant to say is "corrupt, stupid, taking bribes, or shunned for being one of the few honest ones." But what do I know?). Mostly it just depresses me. Because the fact that such sentiment exists and the fact that it's encouraged by Townhall, makes the possibility of violence plausible. I doubt there will be a successful revolution, but some nutcases might well read this sort of fantasy and decide to pitch in.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My Platform

Mike S. Adams is considering a run for the presidency, and has written an article about a big new entitlement program he's proposing.
So, clearly, if elected president, I must wage my war on liberalism with the goal of somehow getting these liberals to listen to what I'm saying. That is why I plan to provide (at government expense) an unlimited supply of Murine Ear Wax Removal Drops. This Carbamide Peroxide Ear Wax Removal Aid will be given to every man, woman, and child in America upon request. We will even give them to illegal aliens if our budget permits.

I predict that when these stubborn liberals get the wax out of their ears, they will subsequently be able to pull the corn cobs out of their (backsides).

. . . Whoever came up with such a grand idea clearly deserves to be President. I thank you in advance for your vote.
Well first of all I think it's nice for a man wanting to be President of the United States to describe himself as at war with half of us. But let that slide, because I hav even more visionary program. How is it more visionary? It's much cheaper for one.

Let's give Mike S. Adams a hug.

It's clear that poor Mr. Adams feels picked on for his conservative opinions - he feels persecuted like he doesn't have any friends. Well we need to change that! A daily hug will help poor Mr. Adams feel more secure and be less inclined to see enemies everywhere. And the price of paying a designated hugger to hug Mr. Adams would be far less than his ear drop solution.

Oh and I'm not interested in the presidency, although I can see why you might think I'd be a good candidate.

Everything changed and then it changed again

This is what we will be using for the next week, as I work up the new format.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hillary in '08

I'm not keen on Hillary in '08. I think her candidency will galvanize the Republicans and discourage Liberals, who see her (rightly) as a moderate Democrat at best who's done little to deserve her reputation as a far-leftist. That said I'm not sure how to take this article over at Townhall, by Donald Lambro.

He basically argues that there are some real questions about how far Hillary can go. Sure she's got quite a war chest, but that doesn't always translate into victory in the primaries. Another question is how interesting her story is really going to be. She's a well known public figure and she's been on the public stage for years.
"I think the question is, as Clinton continues to grow her support, has she already topped off? Has she already reached her maximum level of support in the Democratic primaries?" said Bud Jackson, a Democratic media consultant. Jackson, who produced a TV video touting Sen. Barack Obama's possible candidacy for the "Draft Obama" committee, said that, although Obama "is far less known than Hillary, he still has room to grow his support."
It's a fair question. I'd say both Obama and Edwards have room to grow - but does Hillary? Hard to say.

At any rate we have some two years to hash this out, so that gives us something to look forward to.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Hulk

In Defenders 22 Hulk made some trenchant comments about racism in America, which I think resonate even today.





I chose to omit the bit where Dr. Strange says "You know, maybe it would be better if I moved out of Greenwich Village and into a gated community." I'm a fair-minded person.

Reality is what Reality does

There do seem to be a run of Conservatives complaining about how stupid we all are. Tony Blankley's latest article is about the democratization of information and how this is a bad thing.
How different, functionally, is the man or woman of 2006 who mentally checks out from the chaos of the world's events and news to that European villager of 1400 who isn't sure who his king is, what he looks like, or what he is doing?

Well, one difference is that today, the people -- whether ignorant or informed, whether wise or foolish -- can strongly influence the state actions of their country. In the 14th Century, kings and princes were free to act unhindered by a public opinion that didn't exist -- although the contingency of riots, rebellions, and revolutions usually hovered at the back of kingly minds.

Of course the sovereignty of the people has -- and I hope will continue to be -- the benefactor of their happiness and dignity. But in the technologically driven growing chaos of public information overload and distortion, the leader must -- by force of mind, word, image and personality -- define for the public some semblance of objective reality. As never before, the leader who fails in that mission will fail in his office.
This is an interesting complaint because Mr. Blankley has been largely supportive of President Bush who, at first glance, would seem to have failed at this task.

President Bush and his advisors claimed we would find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. That proved not to be the case.

President Bush and his advisors claimed that we would find operational ties between Sadddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Again that didn't pan out.

President Bush and his advisors claimed we'd be welcomed as liberators. 0 for 3 so far.

OF course I don't want to make it seem like President Bush is wrong all the time. Just when he speaks.

Anyway I tend to agree with Tony Blankley that we do need to focus on objective reality, but I don't think the way to do that is by supporting an administration that believes it can define the objective reality as it sees fit.

Your Number #1

Time's person of the year is, well, everybody. And Ben Shapiro is annoyed at that. He's so angry that people he doesn't like get the nod. People like drunk girls with webcams and, well, me.
Congratulations, rambling drunk college girl with a Webcam. You're changing the world with your profile on MySpace. Sure, those photos will come back to haunt you when you go job-searching, let alone when your future children Google you. But revel in the fact that you are Time's Person of the Year.

. . . Three cheers for Democratic Underground posters, shaking things up with your regular psychotic breakdowns. Without you, we'd never know about the threat of President-select Smirky Chimp Bushitler.
Psychotic breakdowns eh? I think saying mean things about President Bush doesn't quite qualify as a psychotic breakdown. But perhaps those charming lads at Free Republic, one of whom turned out to be guilty of causing the Anthrax scare, would know better than me.

If you are wondering who Make me a Commentator!!!'s person of the year is, once again it's me. I've won four years in a row, which is pretty impressive, you have to admit.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Did you know?

If you click on the recent posts along the right there you can see the recent types of templates we've used.

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

But why would you want to?

Actually years ago I came up with a simple foolproof way to keep myself from setting forest fires. I rarely if ever go to the forest. Because of this I have not set a forest fire since 1987.

Yeah me.

Assimilation

I gave up on that last skin quick, didn't I?

Henry Edmonson has just written an article entitled "It's all about assimilation." Apparently these Borg chaps have a plan that will make things better for all of us. No actually it's about . . . well a few things. It starts out being about how we should teach those Mexicans to learn English, but then shifts gears and complains about how college students aren't as well informed as they should be.
Thus we have the bizarre situation today in which students are today coached to think "critically" - in the absence of civic and historical knowledge. This means that they have little to think critically about. Anyone who doubts that this is the case need only listen to students-high school or college-debate important current events. They demonstrate plenty of passion, but a dearth of information.
It's fun to be lectured about passion without information by Conservatives. I mean these are the folks who brought us such nuggets as;

We will be greeted as liberators in Iraq.

We can't wait for the smoking gun to appear in the form of a mushroom cloud.

The Social Security Trust Fund doesn't exist.

And so on and so forth. Perhaps it's cynical to assume that Mr. Edmonson only wants a certain type of information taught to America's children, but frankly I'm pretty cynical these days.

Hmmmmmm

This one has no titles either - I guess for certain types of blogs they aren't really necessary - like if this blog were just a review of my life, I suspect I wouldn't bother with them. Every post would be about me and everyone would have about the same point of view. The words might change but the content of the words wouldn't - reading one post of my runon sentance life would be about the same as any of the other posts. Which is why I write about politics and not my life.

This one is less girly, but not by too much.

Cruel and Unusual

Cal Thomas's latest article is about cruel and unusual punishment. Essentially he feels that we should be a little less strict in defining what cruel and unusual means. He references a recent case in California in which it more than 30 minutes for a person to die after receiving a lethal injection. Apparently he's just fine with that. After all who should we as society worry about, murderers or victims?

Cal Thomas does not properly under the concept of spheres of influence. We might wish to prevent all murders and save all victims (I certainly would) but we lack the power to do so (or, to be more specific, in order to accomplish this we would have to abandon most of our ideals, such as they are). We do, on the other hand, have control over how humanely or cruelly we execute those we have decided to put to death. That is within our sphere of influence as a society. And things within our sphere of influence take priority over things that our outside of it. We must tend to our gardens.

Channeling Rush Limbaugh

The current set up won't last long because there are not titles. Anyway I just read an article at Salon about an organization being set up to push for a more nuanced relationship with Israel. In brief, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is the current big dog representing Israel's interests in Washington. And when I say Israel's interests I mean the interests of Israel Right Wing who are not keen on any compromise (but are fine with blowing the hell out of the Palestinians). However, recent electoral events have shown that American Jews are not as keen on the blow them all up approach. So a new organization is forming to push a more moderate path.
Levy, the former Barak advisor, explained that the movement is "coming from a place where inside the mainstream Jewish community, people are increasingly confused about something that describes itself as pro-Israel, but is so out of sync with what they believe are good politics for the U.S. or Israel."

"The right-wing orientation in the community is losing people by the droves, particularly young people," M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum, one of the main groups involved, added. "Most U.S. Jews support peace in the Middle East, and don't want to shoot down doves anytime they appear."
This is all well and good. Frankly it seems pretty sensible. But even if I didn't agree, I wouldn't criticize people who want to fight for what they think is best for Israel.

I'd leave that to Rush Limbaugh.

I can hear him now. "My fellow Americans, George Soros is organizing a new group of mushy-headed intellectuals an soft headed liberals to push America away from our support of Israel. I'd like to suggest a name for this group. Jews against Israel. Cause that's what they are. They are a bunch of people, most of them Jewish, who want to see Israel wiped off the map. I know that's not what they are saying they want; but that's what the result of them pushing Israel to be kinder and gentler will be. When will people learn that you don't win wars by talking by negotiating. You win wars by winning wars. You get peace by defeating your enemies. If Israel is going to have peace with the Palestinians it needs to defeat them."

Thank goodness Rush's power is pretty much confined to his mind and the poor shlubs who work for him.

Girl Power

I note that most of the templates I am trying out tend to be girly. This is not done intentionally but is presumably symptomatic of deep seated and barely understood psychological conditions.

Or it just so happens that a lot of blog creators at the site I am using are of the female persuasion.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Road is Where you Are 7

Seventh in this series, here is the latest iteration.

When She Was Happy - Pluto
Bat Macumba - Os Mutantes
Naseau - Beck
Uncle John's Band - The Grateful Dead

When The Beatles Hit America - John Wesley Harding
Ventura Highway - America
Talking about a Revolution - Tracy Chapman
Bring on the Dancing Horses - Echo and the Bunnyman

Deep - Pearl Jam
First of the Gang to Die - Morrissey
Yin and Yang and the Flower Pot Man - Love and Rockets
The Rip Off Train - The Pretty Things

Leaving New York - R.E.M.
For the Price of a Cup of Tea - Belle and Sebastian
Jane Says - Jane's Addiction
Long View - Green Day

One of Us - Joan Osbourne
Don't Go Away - Oasis
King Apathy III - The Byrds
Lodi - Credence Clearwater Revival

Racism

Star Parker takes on racism in her latest article. Apparently over racism is boring to her.
Somehow, I couldn't keep from looking at my watch and thinking about my laundry, despite the revelation of such bombshells as: there are still white-supremacist Ku Klux Klanners in America; there's a little town in Texas with a racist past where those feelings may still be harbored; in association tests, psychologists show that people tend to be more positively disposed toward white faces than black faces; real estate agents can sometimes tell a black voice on the phone and decline to show a property.
I should note at this point that Parker is black, lest you get the wrong idea.

So if whites screwing blacks over is boring, what kind of racism does Parker find interesting and troubling? Whites trying to help blacks.
. . . there is indeed racism under the surface in our country today that we're neither really aware of nor willing to admit.

It's a racism of diminished expectations. A racism that says blacks still need special treatment in education and job placement, that we can't give black parents freedom to choose where to send their kids to school, that we can't let low-income black workers build wealth through a personal retirement account, instead of paying Social Security taxes, because they won't know what to do.

This is the racism that will keep this community disproportionately in trouble.
These are three different issues; affirmative action, school vouchers, and Social Security "reform." The first one is directly related to race, the later two do not. It's nice to note that Ms. Parkers position on affirmative action is more or less the same as those Ku Klux Klanners, albeit for different reasons.

Star Parker may be sincere on how school vouchers will help Black Americans - but on Social Security she is being a bit disingenuous. She's on record as being opposed to social security entirely - so this talk about personal retirement accounts is, at best, Parker settling for half a loaf.

Don't get too Comfortable

This too shall pass away. After lunch.

In the meantime check out this article by Joe Conason on Joe Lieberman's potential future position.
With a single stroke, he could restore control of the Senate to the Republicans, fill an embarrassing vacancy in his administration and score bipartisan points -- by appointing Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Should Lieberman be nominated and accept that position, Connecticut's Republican Gov. Jodi Rell has the constitutional authority to name a new senator.
There's a pretty strong and disturbing logic to this idea, actually. It's at Salon which means you must sit through an ad before reading it.

Church be manly! Or Else!

This is from Doug Giles latest article.
Here’s the veneer-stripped-away answer: going to church has become very dainty. That’s right. Church, for most men, has not only become irrelevant, it has also become effeminate. Hanging out in church for most Y-chromosomes seems unmanly, and most men—more than anything (at least for now)—want to be masculine!

The current lack of strong men within the Church, both in the numeric and leadership sense, has crippled our cathedrals and has helped devastate our nation ethically.

The masculine spirit being absent from the pulpit, the pew (and subsequently the public square) has not only slowed down the forward progress of the Church, it has also weakened our nation’s morality, increased our country’s secularity, done nothing for national security and has assisted (owing to our absence) the lascivious Left’s re-definition of life, sex, marriage and law.
I don't really have anything to add to this. I always believed religion could be a civilizing, a refining institution - but I guess if Giles wants church to take us back to a caveman mentality, who am I to argue?

The Hardest Fall of All

When sex is free it's so hard to sell / Bat Macumba /Now I'm a priest teenager on a tower of dust / It's the same story the crow told me; it's the only one he knows. / This is my dream I bought it. I bought the product. / Thanks a lot son just the same / Finally the tables are starting to turn / Bring on the new messiah / Can't touch the bottom / the first lost lad to go under the sod / Alcohol is your yoga baby / He was just a lonely boy, a very well known clown / You might have hidden the frown / Soul black vinyl to stop your tears / She only knows if someone wants her / I sure as hell can't do it by myself / Damn my education I can't find the words to say / Bearing looks of frenzied blankness / I guess you will know the tune.

Should Businesses be Ethical?

The surprising answer is yes, businesses should behave in an ethical manner. Because if they don't, according to Carrie Lukas, Congress might be inspired to pass new regulations.
Businesses can help themselves by examining their own practices to ensure that they meet high ethical standards. If they don’t and Congress moves toward to new regulations, it could be our economy that pays the price.
This conclusion is surprising, but her title ("Self Discipline, Not Regulation, Needed for Ethical Business") suggests that whether or not businesses exercise self discipline, Congress should still refrain from passing regulations.

We are back

After a brief burst of insanity, here's some more insanity.

This is not permanent. But then, what is?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

This blog is over

For the time being. There's just no point to it until Blogger fixes my archives.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln

Two peas in a pod, according to Tony Blankley's latest article. You see President Lincoln was fighting to defend the union during a Civil War even though people disagreed with him, and President Bush is fighting to defend Iraq during a civil war (that he caused) even though people disagree with him.

But there are some differences as well. President Lincoln saved the union through his actions and earned the honor and love of his countrymen. President Bush has embarassed the union through his invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, and has earned the derision of his countrymen. It's important not to let the similarities blind you to the very real differences.

Farewell to the Last Golden Age

Blogger is in the process of stealing my past.

Maybe they will give it back, but I am looking forward to being informed that it wasn't really my past to begin with.

Anyway on to Ben Shapiro Boy Prognosticator. This week he's reviewing Mel Gibson's new movie, which he finds offensive. Not because of the excessive violence and gore, but because it implies that American Civilization might not last forever. Even worse it claims that our fears might undermine the things that make this society great. He's offended at this suggestion because, of course, that's what actually happening, and with Shapiros full support. We pissed away Habeas Corpus, our Privacy, our national honor, the Geneva Convention in the pursuit of safety in the face of al-Qaeda. We were told by the Bush Administration that giving up these things was necessary to protect us.

So naturally Shapiro is looking for a different culprit for the decline of civilization. And he's found one - Mel Gibson!
"Apocalypto" opens with a quotation from historian Will Durant: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it destroys itself from within." Durant is correct -- but the film's exposition of dreamt is utterly wrong. If American (and Western) civilization falls, it will not be because our fears drove us to "ma'am barbarities," but because, like Gibson, we failed to distinguish good from evil.

. . . It is the violence Gibson does to morality that should worry us. It is that violence that contributes to the internal destruction of Western civilization. If Western civilization is doomed to failure, it will not be despite Mel gibbousness best efforts, it will be because of them.
I have noticed that we as a nation do have a hard time telling good from evil. For example at one point if you had asked if jamming flashlights up civilians butts was good or bad, you would have had most people saying that it was bad. These days people compare that to a fraternity prank.

In the old days if you had asked if starting a war on false premises was a good or bad thing, most people would have answered bad. Now people create huge billows of smoke to keep us from answering that question.

Yeah young Ben is right there do seem to be a lot of people who don't know right from wrong, and it's not despite Ben shapers best efforts that we are this way, it's, in small part, because of them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

War on Christmas

Just going to point out a humorous article over at Media Matters on the War on Christmas. Not the world's greatest article, but certainly good enough.

Being Keith Ellison Pt. 2

Mary Grabar presents an article today that would surely earn her a lot of notoriety if Dennis Prager hadn't written essentially the same article a few weeks ago. But she makes up for lost time by pouring on the insanity.
. . . the one who takes office with his hand on the Koran, as Congressman-elect Keith Ellison proposes to do, makes a profound statement. By rejecting the Bible, he rejects its and our country's principles of reason and free will. He rejects a book written and confirmed by many over thousands of years for a book based on the revelation of one man who claims to be a prophet.
Yes because if there are two words that describes Modern American Christians, particularly the Dominionists or others of their ilk, they are reason and free will. I mean they've reasoned that Americans don't need free will.

I also like how the Bible has been confirmed by many over the years, but the Koran apparently still has only the testimony of Mohammed to confirm it. Ms. Grabar is aware that there are plenty of Muslims who believe in the Koran out there, right?

But what really makes this argument stand out is how Grabar reveals the real origin of that hated political correctness.
There is a reason that after their own acts of murder, terrorism, and intimidation, the Nation of Islam radicals and their white supporters set out to destroy the curriculum. They were training the next generation. The multiculturalists presented reason and truth as notions of a Western imperialistic culture; as a result, now reigning in our educational institutions is the unquestioned dogma of multiculturalism that dismisses debate about the dangers of Keith Ellison as merely "intolerance."
Oh why oh why oh why did we listen to the Islamic Terrorists when they suggested we try being intolerant? Intolerance is what makes America great, apparently.

So maybe Grabar will get a little notoriety of her own.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Don't Be a Jerk! At least not in public!

That's my advice, particularly if you are a manager of a store. You see customers aren't stupid. So if one of your "associates" (and a what a beautifully patronizing term that is) calls you up to the front to see about opening a second register when she has six people in line, maybe you shouldn't act like a prick about her cutting into your phone time. Because your customers might pick up on the fact that you are a jerk.

I'm just saying.

Ghetto Magic

Harry R. Jackson, Jr. has written an article over at Townhall on how the Liberal Media will lose in 2008. He focuses on how Liberal Candidates will lose in 2008, but I guess Liberal Candidates and Liberal Media are really the same thing, except of course that they aren't.

He posits areas where the Liberals are apparently going to fail people the media tricked into voting for them in 2006. One group? The ghetto.
Hispanics and blacks were told repeatedly in different ways that Republicans and conservatives do not care about them. For example, a great deal of hoopla has been shared around raising the minimum wage as a symbol of democratic commitment to the average guy. The right message from the democrats is teamed with the wrong action plan. The minimum wage helps people just beginning to work or those with the least skills.

Unfortunately, a “tip” given to people on the lowest end of the economic spectrum will not change black or Hispanic ghettos. Ghettos will be changed by large scale economic development which creates new, middle class jobs in viable industries. On a “micro level” an individual will appreciate any raise in pay he is given.

Two years from now, neither blacks nor Hispanics will be able to see any lasting effect of this unimaginative approach to a major problem. These groups will be screaming the slogan of a Wendy’s commercial of twenty years ago: “Where’s the Beef?”
This assumes a couple of things. It assumes that Democrats are going to accomplish one thing (raising the minimum wage) and then ignore them. It also assumes that these poor Blacks and Hispanics are going buy the logic of "Hey helping the wealthy is the same as helping you really" Republicans are selling.

I have to think that if it's a choice between a raise in the minimum wage and a mystery box containing nothing, Blacks and Hispanics are smart enough not to take the mystery box.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hi All! : )

Changed the look. This weeks quote is from Kilgore Trout, who is usually Kurt Vonnegaunt, but in this case is by Phillip Jose Farmer. It's a interesting story.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Clap Trap

There's an article by Mary Katharine Ham over at Townhall today and it's entitled, "I know a Marine, and he knows the stakes." It's about the Iraq Study Group Report which she, like many Conservatives, isn't happy about. And her emotional attack on the Iraq Study Group is to say that the Marines who are fighting over there would want us to go on fighting until we win, no matter how long that is.
At Walter Reed, I doubt there are many men who think asking Iran and Syria for help is the “right thing.” They have spent years and lives and limbs trying to defeat the insurgent arms of these radical governments and the violence they foment, and now the Washington policy elite and press corps would ask them to team with them in a misguided attempt to quell violence in Iraq.

Only at Washington dinner parties could such a sell-out be worthy of so many smiles.
I don't know what Ms. Ham's solution is. Presumably it is something along the lines of stay the course or fight the war to win or some other homily that boils down to let's kill them till they love us.

Not matter how long it takes or how many more Marines we put in Walter Reed or in Arlington.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Sketch

There's a new sketch and an episode of Sketchy Cooking up over at 70 Sketches. This sketch involves a robber, so you know it's good.

"War is not the Answer"

This is a bumper sticker.

Lazy Republican pundits like Larry Elder love Bumper Stickers.

Bumper Stickers are very easy to argue with.

They always say the same thing, and their very brevity insures you can run circles around them.

Arguing with a Bumper Sticker is like boxing a wheelchair. Not a person in the wheelchair. Just a wheelchair.

So naturally that's what Elder does in his latest article.

Needless to say he invokes World War 2 to suggest that sometimes War is the answer - I'll bet that response took all of five brain cells to come up with.

The bulk of the article is about how we need to invade Iran and Syria. Seems unlikely that this view is going to really catch on, so I can see why Elder would want a bumper sticker as his opponent. Because any living person would point out we lack the means to invade Iran and Syria, we would have no international support, and our experience in Iraq has been mixed at best, a total disaster at worst.

So it's probably better that he stuck with a bumper sticker.

Cal Thomas is a Rough Man

Today is the day we get Conservative Response to the Iraq Study Group's report. And for the most part it's pretty negative. Cal Thomas, for example chides them for their unwillingness to see the real threat that Islam presents.
Enemies like this understand only one thing: power. They do not keep promises, or honor treaties and agreements that do not serve their primary interests. For them, those interests include humiliating the United States, securing Iraq for the acolytes of Osama bin Laden and then moving on to challenge America in other places and finally on our own soil. The problem is that if we wait to crush them until they reach our shores (and too many are already among us), it will be too late.
I've made this point before, but this is standard de-humanization of the enemy. It's ok to kill the hell out of Iraqis, Muslims and Arabs because they aren't real people like we are. They aren't moved by the same emotions or desires - rather they are motivated strictly by hated of us.

Like most of Cal Thomas's "Muslim Menace" articles, this one avoids suggestion any solution to the impasse. "Muslims are our implacable enemies and they cannot be turned away by anything but violence. And there are already far to many living in our communities. OK that's all the time I have, so the solution to the problem of evil implacable Muslims living right next door to your family, you'll have to solve on your own."

If only Thomas had a few more paragraphs he could tell us what we could do about our implacable Muslim enemies. Oh well, we'll just have to hope that Thomas's readers are smart enough to figure it out own their own.

Oh the title of this post refers to the last paragraph in Mr. Thomas's article in which he quotes Orwell about "rough men standing ready." Thomas is certainly always ready to write an article attacking Muslims.

Missing the Point

Janice Shaw Crouse has written an article entitled "Mary Cheney's pregnancy affects us all." In it she decries Mary Cheney's decision to have a baby.
Mary Cheney is among that burgeoning group of adult women over age 20 that are driving the trend of women who don't want a man in the picture, but want to have a baby.

. . . Mary’s pregnancy is an "in-your-face" action countering the Bush Administration's pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life policies. She continues to repudiate the work to which her father has devoted his life.
There are some words that don't appear in Ms. Crouses article. Word's like "Lesbian." Or "Gay." Or "Homosexual." In other words the article is written as if Mary Cheney were just deciding to have a child because she hadn't found the right man yet. The truth is Mary Cheney isn't really looking for a man, if I understand her right.

So why would Ms. Crouse leave out Ms. Cheney's sexuality? Out of respect to the Vice President? Or does she really not know? Either way it seems goofy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Don't Be Afraid, be Paranoid.

Ben Shapiro's latest article has the charming title "Will We Ever Win Another War?" Apparently we won't, unless we adopt a paranoid stance. Here is the Math.

1. Fundamentalist Islam will not crumble from within.

2. Anything short of elimination of fundamentalist Islam is a victory for fundamentalist Islam.

3. Fundamentalist Muslims are having more babies than Americans.

4. Fundamentalist Muslims are living in the United States and their numbers are growing (because they are having more babies).

The solution? Being suspicious of Muslims.
There was one Cold War tactic, however, that remains useful today: suspicion of our enemies. Winning the Cold War relied on anti-infiltration strategy, particularly in Western Europe. Unfortunately, western civilization seems unwilling to acknowledge the growing fifth column in its midst, specifically because recognizing the growing threat would seem "racist." This is a recipe for disaster. If fundamentalist Islam relies on demographics to achieve its ends, ignoring the growing demographic threat in Europe is a crucial error. If fundamentalist Islam relies on proselytizing to spread its views, ignoring that proselytizing in the United States is an unforgivable mistake.
It's unclear what Shapiro expects us to do with this information - like most of these sorts of articles, he wants to encourage fear, paranoia, and suspicion, but he's not going to tell you what you should do with that fear, paranoia, or suspicion. So if you just want to be more vigilant towards brown people, well that's fine. If you want to harass Muslims and make life harder for them? Well maybe that's fine too. Or at least there's nothing in this article to discourage doing that or worse.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Nativity Nap

Bill Murchinson's latest article is about the poor performance of "The Nativity Story" compared to "Casino Royale" or "Happy Feet." It's actually quite good in that it does not chastise America too much for it's failure to jump on this movie (like they did on "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" or "The Passion of the Christ"). Rather it calmly suggests that box office receipts might not be the best way to gauge the righteousness of a nation.
Truth is Truth, projected on a screen or not. I think Christians may hope for, as well as toil and labor for, the success of any commercial endeavor that throws unexpected light on doings at the Red Sea or the Sea of Galilee. And yet, in some measure the thing is out of their hands. "God doth not need man's works or his own gifts," interposed Milton. No bad realization, this. Takes the pressure off to some degree. Man is not -- repeat, not -- the measure of all things. A somewhat higher authority has claimed that prerogative, and doubtless means to keep it.
I will note that most reviews of the movie I've seen contain the words Dull and Dutiful. I like Dull and Dutiful in a way - certainly when it comes to people I'm in favor of it. But not when I go to the movies. Than I prefer words like "Exciting" and "Tour De Force" or at least (like "Deja Vu") "Interestingly Incompetent." Frankly it's hard to imagine anybody making anything that wasn't "Dull" and "Dutiful" out of the Bible store, unless they went for it and created something that they knew would anger a lot of people like, well, Bill Murchinson.

"The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" is a great story with interesting characters, and Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" both upped the violence and gore level, and stoked controversy with accusations of Anti-Semitism. Those movies succeeded because they offered something different (or drew a line in the sand teling Christians they had to come if they loved Jesus). The Nativity Story fails (in so far as it has failed) because it doesn't.

Dennis Prager is not a racist; he's a bigot

What's good about writing one shocking column is that you get two or three weeks of columns out of it. First of all you patiently explain your absurd and bigoted idea (that Keith Ellison should not be allowed to take his oath on the Koran), and then you spend a couple of weeks defending your position while revising it down to something manageable. Last week we got Pragers crazy idea; this week we get the defense.

And apparently Prager is upset that some of us have called him a racist, and I agree with him. Prager may well be a racist, but this article doesn't prove it. Rather it proves that he's a bigot - he's bigoted against those of the Muslim faith. He denies this as well (on the grounds that as a Jew he can't be bigoted against non-Christians. But that's tripe - it's pretty clear that Prager has bought into the idea of Judeo-Christianity - in which those two faiths have a special place in America, and other faiths, particularly Islam, don't.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The LDSCP

In reading the comments to the Mike S. Adams article I posted on below, I came across this chilling letter, which literally sent chills down my spine. Townhall Poster vidyohs brings a horrifying reminder of who the real enemies are.
The problem

May I remind you good folks and Mike that the problem is not Islam, religious freedom, encouraging terrorists/islamists, all of this is distraction and symptoms of the disease that makes these symptoms visible.

The problem is the unrelenting quest of the liberal/democrat/socialist/communist/progressive (LDSCP)believers to destroy America and remove the last shred of freedom from the face of the Earth.

It is the LDSCP faithful through seizure of the Federal fool system, the courts, the media, and the entertainment industry that has reduced our population to mush brained idiots that entertain the idea of electing a radical muslim to Congress. We have been left with no standards of belief, behavior, and moral action and all because of our laziness and ignorance.
First of all LDSCP makes me think Latter Day Saint Communist Party, which is surely not the intended effect.

Secondly you'd think with their control over the Federal fool system they could keep Vidyohs from slandering them.

Adams gets it right

Mike S. Adams is a bit of a crybaby - most of his articles are complaints about the slights and insults he has to endure being a conservative teaching at UNC Wilmington. Basically he's a cranky guy who feels like everybody is picking on him. Normally that wouldn't be enough to get a regular article gig, as the world is full of cranky guys who feel like everybody is picking on them. But because he works in acedmia, a lot of Conservatoids ar eager to read his complaints, because it confirms their own prejudiceses against acedamia.

His latest article, however. He takes on the current flap surrounding Keith Ellison, and, surprisingly, comes down on Rep. Ellisons side. Now he does spend several paragraphs comparing Ellison's plight with his own suffering at the hands of his colleagues, but it wouldn't be a Mike S. Adams article without him complaining about what a tough life he has. But then he gets around to saying this.
I support Ellison’s decision to take his oath on the Koran just as I would support the decision of a President Romney to take an oath on the Book of Mormon. I would even support an atheist’s decision to take a secular oath so long as it was devised in a manner sufficient to awaken his conscience to the necessity of executing his responsibilities in a truthful manner and in accordance with the laws of this great nation.

. . . Since we can expect a negative consequence no matter what we do with Ellison’s request we should make a decision based on principle rather than pragmatism. In my view, the overriding principle is individual religious liberty, not collectivism hidden beneath the veil of mainstream conservatism.
So score one for Mike S. Adams. His readers were not impressed by this article, though, as one might expect; any article that fails to acknowledge the danger of acknowledging Islam in a non-negative way is not going to be a favorite of theirs.

Intellectual Degradation

One has a greater sense of intellectual degradation after an interview with a doctor than from any human experience. - Alice James
Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr, MD has written a book. As a trained psychiatrist, he's turned his sharp mind towards liberalism and discovered that we are crazy. Thank you Dr. Rossiter. Townhall printed a bit of it today, so we could all bask in his wisdom without shelling out 25 bucks.

Prepare to bask.
The degree of modern liberalism's irrationality far exceeds any misunderstanding that can be attributed to faulty fact gathering or logical error. Indeed, under careful scrutiny, liberalism's distortions of the normal ability to reason can only be understood as the product of psychopathology. So extravagant are the patterns of thinking, emoting, behaving and relating that characterize the liberal mind that its relentless protests and demands become understandable only as disorders of the psyche. The modern liberal mind, its distorted perceptions and its destructive agenda are the product of disturbed personalities.
Nice. Reminds me of something Rush Limbaugh said back in the day.
You people are walking around in the biggest fog that I have ever seen. You people need therapy! You people all need to be sequestered somewhere for a couple of months to get your minds right because you people can't even be honest with yourselves. You are walking delusions.
This is all pretty amusing, unless you start thinking what declaring liberals insane would justify. I mean if we really are crazy, should we be allowed to roam free across the land? Wasn't this one of the tools Stalin used to control people who might havchallengeded his regime? So while it is a little funny, I'm not laughing.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Poor President Bush

Apparently Senator Reid, in a very unsportsmanlike move, has scheduled too much work for the Senate next year. He's limiting the Senate to taking no more than a week off. That blackguard.

You see with only a week off here and there, it will be hard for President Bush to do recess appointments. Traditionally recess appointments are a convenience to the President so that he doesn't have to leave positions unfilled when the Senate is not in session. But if the Senate is only going to be gone a week, well he can't make the case that he needs to make a recess appointment to keep the government going.

So he won't be able to make any recess appointments. It's like when you want to browse a little before buying your item and the stupid clerk takes you right to your item. Helpful but frustrating. And worse in President Bush's case since he was presumably hoping to use the recess appointment to get some of his more extreme judges through. Poor guy. I guess he'll be stuck nominating candidates the Senate will actually confirm.

Robert Novak, from whom I got this info, shares my annoyance with Senator Reid for his dastardly trick of making President Bush adhere to the Constitution.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sketch

There's a new sketch up over at Seventy Sketches, about the laziest man in Hollywood. Enjoy.

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Greetings all. This is Irwin J. McIckleson, Fictional 1910's Plutocrat. I will report that Thanksgiving was a roaring success. I was a little concerned that the men wouldn't warm to pan fried turkey with asian spices, so I forbade them to eat dinner the night before. But given the way the men woofed the food down, that may not have even been necessary! So it was very gratifying.

To work.

Archy has
comments on whether the situation in Iraq can be properly called a civil war.

Bark Bark Woof Woof discusses
the theory that President Bush's war in Iraq is really everybodies fault. I don't put much stock in this thinking; when you are in charge you have to take the blame. That's the price you pay for getting the largest shar of the pie, and from what I can tell, President Bush is getting a very large slice of pie indeed.

Dohiyi Mir has
a quote from President Bush that shows a small amount of self-awareness, although it seems likely that this self awareness was unintentional.

Bloggg has news of a
new symbol for the condition of Autism. Cheery made me rewrite this bit to be more considerate to the sufferers of Autism. I'm not sure what I said that was wrong, but presumably your understanding of Autism in the future is greater than mine.

According to Collective Sigh, one of the possible Democratic Candidates in 2008, Barak Obama, shares a moniker with the deposed President of Iraq.

Correntwire
argues that there is a certain depth of chicanary and falseity in your future age, and that you future people require more media figures to point it out.

THE FULCRUM has
a piece on our current Supreme Court's lack of scientific knowledge. That's kind of sad when you think about it - modern society is built on science. How can you rule justly if you don't understand the fundementals of science?

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES has
some thoughts on the language that people use, and how one should avoid certain words. It is interesting how there are so many slurs for every ethnicity and color, as well as for woman and the poor white, and yet when you get around to the white male plutocrat class there are very few, comparitively. White Male Plutocrats run the show, though, so I guess this isn't that surprising.

The Countess has
a discussion of really good Popcorn, which makes me want to go get some Popcorn.

And that is it for another week. Hope you all have enjoyable and productive weekends.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to Win in Iraq

Good pair of rants over at Zompist, which Random Goblin pointed me too.

Also there's a new episode of Sketchy Cooking over at Seventy Sketches, and I will be posting a new sketch tomorrow.

Those Stupid Democrats

It appears that the Democrats have made a serious tactical error in winning the recent elections. You see previously this war had been President Bush's fault. But when Democrats take power in the middle of January it becomes all their responsibility. Because people will forget all about President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his administrations mishandling of the war and start wondering why haven't the Democrats fixed it yet. Or that's the line of thinking in David Keene's latest article.
The lack of any unified Democratic stance on a crucial national security and foreign policy issue — on which the party's candidates ran and won control of Congress — means that my friend is at least partially right.

Iraq is many things, including a tar - baby that congressional Democrats are going to find as difficult to get away from as the Republicans they so gleefully beat up over the last few years.
What's great about this formulation is that the Democrats don't actually have the power to implement any of their solutions. They control neither the State Department nor the Department of Defense. They can't pull our troops back. All they can do is make recommendations or cut funding, and they certainly won't cut funding. So all they can do is make recommendations that the President can helpfully reject.

So the idea that Democrats better fix the war on Iraq or be doomed - well, that's a gift that keeps on giving.

If I were a Bigot

I had intended not to write again till the new year, but I was inspired by Cal Thomas's latest - "If I Were A Terrorist." The article is more or less exactly how it sounds.
Other parts of my plan for destroying America, if I had one, are also coming together. Mosques and Islamic schools, many funded by the extremist Wahaabi sect based in Saudi Arabia, are "exploding." My brilliant idea (if it was mine and if it was for real) encourages Americans to have abortions or small families, while the "peaceful religionists" have large families in order to skew the demographic in Western countries.
I thought it was weird the last time I was down at the old abortion clinic to see an Imam with a sign saying "Hey Christians, get an abortion." Now it's all starting to come together.

But most of this is about the 6 Imams who had the gall to express disagreement with President Bush while flying. And they prayed. And apparently some of them requested seatbelt extenders. Very suspicious. And if I were an anti-Muslim Bigot this would be exactly the kind of thing I'd latch onto to feed my anti Muslim Bigotry. I'd trumpet it to the heavens in hopes of gaining more allies for my anti Muslim Bigotry. Because Bigotry is always ugly, but when surrounded by other people, the ugliness seems more mainstream.

Hmmmm. A lot of conservative authors sure are writing about these 6 Imams aren't they?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's the Most Magical Time of the Year

It's that special time of the year when we get to read article after article fighting the War on Christmas. For a generic sample, check out this one by Janet M. LaRue. She doesn't flag up any specific cases; she just brings up generic facts.

Fact! Most people like Christmas. Fact! People should be able to enjoy Christmas without conflicting with the Constitution. LaRue doesn't get down to the part where non Christians should have to fork over their taxes to help pay for her Christmas Fund. Or not specifically, although she does assert that Government can set up Christmas displays and doesn't have to set up Hanukkah or Kwanzaa displays.

At any rate the prospect of another Christmas Fandango makes me sick to my stomach, so I'll be checking out until January. Good-bye!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More on Taking the Oath of Office While Muslim

Let's start with sanity - apparently there is not constitutional requirement that the Bible be used, although there is a constitutional prohibition of a religious test on our political leaders. Teddy Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams did not swear on the bible when they took their Oath of Office and the Oath of Office is specifically not a religious ceremony. For a more in-depth look at this, check out this website.

And now, to take a break from sanity, let's check in with some reader responses to Dennis Prager's article.
. . . Wow-
It is clear that we are losing are heritage. My forefathers died for the right to have only one Bible sworn on. Jesus was the 1st American. That guy was a patriot. He would surely desire to live in a land where only one book would be worthy of public office. That was His message, right? God Bless America, the greatest nation on God's (the God w/ Jesus attached!) green flat-universe centering earth.
- Seth. Only one bible sworn on? Does that mean his forefathers died not realizing there are multiple copies of the Bible that one can swear on? It's also nice knowing that Jesus was the 1st American.

Bigot alert for this next one.
Congratualtions Minnesota.

You sent a filthy animal to congress, and now look whats going on. Did he state during his campaign that, if elected, he would take his oath on the murdering handbook insyead of the bible? If so, the people who voted this America hating dog in to office, are themselves America hating dogs! If liberals don't like this post...TOUGH! Believe me, thanks to your consistant stupidity, I, and all America Loving Conservatives, will have the chance to say I TOLD YOU SO!
That's from Bill who seems just a little unbalanced.

Finally, a little sanity from another comment there, showing that not all Conservatoids are Bills and Seths.
So let me get this straight...

... an oath to uphold the Constitution isn't recognizing the authority of that same Constitution unless one's hand is on a particular religious text of your choosing? And this is necessary even though it isn't found anywhere in the text of the Constitution itself, nor in the Federalist Papers, nor in the Declaration of Independence, nor in any of the writings of any of our Founding Fathers (at least that I've seen). Interesting.
That's from John Galt, and he's not wrong.

Being Keith Ellison

It has to be a pain. Because he's the first Muslim in Congress, and, to make matters worse, he's a Democrat. Which means he's just got to put up with the right wing assuming he's a terrorist sympathiser. The latest flare up is that he has requested that he take his oath of office on a Koran rather than a Bible. Naturally this has Conservatives all riled up, including Dennis Prager. Frankly it doesn't take all that much to get Dennis Prager riled up at Muslims.
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
What's interesting is that Prager doesn't list any sort of constitutional mandate for taking oaths - I'm assuming there isn't one, but I could be wrong. He also claims that no other member of Congress has ever taken the oath something that's not a Bible. I'm going to check up on these claims but for the moment let me just say once again how much it sucks to be Keith Ellison.

Because the right wing is never going to let up.

Your Weekly Rush - I'm Shocked and Dismayed to find Rush Accurate

Caught Rush's morning update today - in which he read an article by Jonathan Chait from the LA Times (I got it from Common Dreams). The article, based on the quotes Rush read, was an argument in favor of putting Saddam back on the throne.
The disadvantages of reinstalling Hussein are obvious, but consider some of the upside. He would not allow the country to be dominated by Iran, which is the United States' major regional enemy, a sponsor of terrorism and an instigator of warfare between Lebanon and Israel. Hussein was extremely difficult to deal with before the war, in large part because he apparently believed that he could defeat any U.S. invasion if it came to that. Now he knows he can't. And he'd probably be amenable because his alternative is death by hanging.
My first reaction to this was that there was certainly more to the article than Rush was reading. How shocking to determine that there really wasn't. There's no real sarcasm here - Chait appears to be playing it strait. I was shocked - Rush had, more or less, gotten it right.

But then I remembered; Rush had begun his speech by implying that his was a majority view among Democrats. So I guess he doesn't get the honesty award after all. I for one think that putting Saddam back in power is a terrible idea for a number of reasons. The guy really was a brutal dictator. It would be a betrayal of both the Iraqi people and our own principles to place him back on the throne, no matter the short term benefits.

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Sketch

For those interested, just posted a new sketch, "Artichokes," over at Seventy Sketches.

Satire?

Sometimes it's hard to tell. But I think that's on purpose - sometimes you have an extreme idea that you don't want to actually be held accountable for. So you write in a way so that people who are predisposed to like it can say "Hey, that's a great idea. And people who are predisposed to not like it can say "Well it's just a joke."

Michael S. Adams wants us all to get a gun. And he's encouraging his readers to help in the process.
There's about a 50% chance that a gun-less person will go buy a firearm if you take him out to the range for an afternoon of shooting. But there's about a 100% chance he'll go buy a firearm if you hand him a check for that express purpose. Just make sure you pick someone who is at least slightly to the left of you politically - I prefer moderates and those who "vote for the best person" - and you will soon have a fellow right-wing, gun-toting friend.

Just imagine what America would look like if we all did the same thing this Christmas. Before long there would be no more Democratic Congress, no more Speaker Pelosi, and no more Internal Revenue Service. Individual freedom would win out over collectivism one gun owner at a time.

You may say that I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join me. And the whole Islamic world will know we live with guns.
That last line in particular makes no sense. Once we all have guns we are just going to march over to the middle east and start taking care of business? Or does possessing a gun make you an idiot who cant figure out what just happened in Iraq?

At any rate, it goes without saying that you can own a gun and still be a liberal.

The Fifties

Michael Barone's latest article covers the challenges facing Democrats in their new position of power. He notes that they will have a hard time getting anything done (because their majorities aren't such that they can just run over the Republicans, and because of the veto pen). He then comments on where the Democrats economic aspirations will take the country.
Thoughtful Democrats like Clinton aide Gene Sperling and Yale professor Jacob Hacker have argued that Americans, even amid prosperity, are increasingly insecure in our globalized economy and wary of downside risks if they have to change jobs or learn new skills. They look back with nostalgia sometimes toward the unionized lifetime jobs many held 50 years ago in mid-century America, and argue that government needs to provide more protection against risk.

The problem is how to do it. Congress cannot recreate mid-century America by snapping its fingers, and the seemingly risk-free health benefits and pensions that unionized companies promised are now in peril because the business model of firms like the Big Three auto companies, the old-line steel companies and the legacy airlines has become unsustainable.
Congress didn't snap a finger to take us from the 1950s (when workers had more rights, the wealthy paid very high taxes (over 70$), and blacks couldn't vote in the south), but they got us here. If we decide that needs of the American Middle and Working Class should take priority over the American Corporate sector, than that, at least, gives us a target to aim for. Rome wasn't built in a day. But of course, Barone, being a conservative and thus favoring corporations over people, isn't interested in building this particular Rome.

Barone then engages, Houdini like, in a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand.
One interesting proposal by Sperling is for a "universal 401(k)," which would give all workers tax-sheltered savings accounts, funded by employers and employees. One option is to give low earners tax credits, perhaps even refundable tax credits, for their contributions to the accounts. Over time, this would increase low earners' wealth accumulation -- progressive redistribution. But it would also tend to transfer funds from the federal treasury to individuals, from the public sector to the private sector -- not the direction Democrats usually want to go.

It's a proposal that looks a lot like the Social Security individual investment accounts George W. Bush called for, and Democrats scorned. It would be ironic if this turns out to be the major progressive achievement of this Democratic Congress.
The difference between this idea and the Bush proposal is that this plan is in addition to Social Security, and the Bush plan was instead of Social Security. That's a pretty big difference there. There's also the deceit that Democrats are opposed to all tax cuts. Democrats have, over the years, proposed many tax cuts and breaks for the working class and middle class. It's simply that they think the wealthy can pay a bit more in return for the nice lives they have.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Country Mouse and City Mouse and Aaron Sorkin

Aaron Sorkin's new show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, for those who don't know, is all about getting revenge on an America and a Network for slights and insults. In particularly he's upset with right wing religious fundamentalists. He sees a war between secular leftists and religious fundamentalists. In essence he and Bill O'Rielly agree on the contours of this particular conflict, they just happen to be on different sides.

I am catching up on Studio 60 and just watched the two parter, entitled Nevada Day. It wasn't bad all in all, but in the middle thereis a line that Matt (played by Matthew Perry) gives to Harriet (played by Sarah Paulson) that drives me absolutely nuts. Here it is.
Well, your side hates my side because you think we think you're stupid. And my side hates your side because we think you're stupid.
That's a really stupid line. There's an element of truth to it, of course. But not much of it. I think Joe R's deconstruction of it at Television Without Pity is pretty much right on.
Wow. No. And once again, Matt, stay off my side! I know this is supposed to read as something of a mea culpa -- "You're right, we are smugly superior jackasses sometimes" -- but it's such an oversimplification that it's insulting to all sides of the debate. How many other ways could you write that sentence and still miss the mark? "Our side thinks you think we're pussies, and your side thinks we're pussies." "Your side thinks we think you're fascists, and our side thinks you're fascists." "Our side thinks you think we're faggots, and your side thinks we're faggots." Is there a grain of truth in all of them? Sure. But they are so much only a small fraction of the truth that they cease to be true at all. Way to boil down a complex argument down to a point where we all look petty and ridiculous, dude. Matt just smiles slightly, because "Hey! It's all in good fun!" And Harriet ponders it like it's this huge fucking kernel of wisdom. Whatever, Matt.
There it is. I'm not a huge fan of Television Without Pity writing on a Sorkin Show, because while it's clear that Sorkin has it in for Religious Fundamentalists, it's also clear that they have it in for Aaron Sorkin (since season 3 of the West Wing). That said, just because they are biased, doesn't mean they aren't right (in this case).

There are real and important divisions in this country. And as we move into the future some people are going to be disappointed. That's the future. The Secular Humanists and the Fundamentalist Christians can't both get what they want. On the other hand, these divisions have existed for hundreds of years in different forms. The city mouse and the country mouse. The both resent and are annoyed and look down on each other. But they also need each other. Sorkin wants to believe if we would all just admit our bullshit we could get past this. But what he fails to realize that what he's assuming is bullshit may not be. There are real reasons for the country mouse to resent the city mouse, and there are real reasons for the city mouse to be fed up with the country mouse. Reasons that can't be brushed under with simplistic (and nonsensical) statements.

New Format, New Quote!!!



Hey all!

Have a great week-end!!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

What is Conservativism?

Doug Wilson's latest article is that old standby, "Democrats better not govern as liberals if they want to succeed."
People want to elect representatives who will keep the budget under control and they don’t think Republicans have done a very good job at it, so it’s time to try something different. The pollster, when asked why she thought the Republicans had taken such a thumpin’, said that voters could not complete the crucial sentence, “I should vote for a Republican because…..” In other words, the Republicans had forfeited what they stood for, particularly since the age of Reagan – limiting the growth of government to crucial services and rejecting big government spending.
That's a very succinct bit of wishful thinking, isn't it? Of course if you ask the American people if they want a better health care system, or if they want better schools, they generally do. And Giles also lifts Iraq completely out of the picture with this particular storyline.

And then, humorously enough, he argues that if Democrats want to do well, they need to pass some longterm Conservative dreams. Democrats need to do what 12 years of Republican rule couldn't. At a certain point it becomes more than just wishful thinking and becomes outright delusion.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you are all having nice thanksgivings. I will note that there is a new feature over at Seventy Sketches - Sketchy Cooking. Go over and check it out if you like.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Round the Horn. An Irwin J. McIckleson Production



Happy Thanksgiving! This is Irwin J. McIckleson, a fictional 1910's plutocrat, and for those wondering, I do not enjoy saying my name over and over again. I do it because you never know who might be looking at this blog for the first time.

Each year on Thanksgiving I give my employees an extra hour for their lunch, and provide them with a feast to enjoy. This year I am providing them pan fried Turkey cooked in special pan Asian spices. I hope they enjoy it.

Now let's turn to the business at hand.

Musing's Musings has
some thoughts on a proposal by a Negro Congressman reinstating a draft army. I must say I find this to be a bad proposal, as a draft goes against liberty, and it requires extra effort for me to keep my employees from being drafted. I don't want them to go to foreign shores and perish, when I could have them perish right here in my factory.

On the other hand, it is certainly nice to see that you elect Negro Congressmen in the future. Genius touches all races. I'm even willing to give the chinaman the benefit of the doubt now that I've tried his cuisine.

Liberty Street has some
further thoughts on Mr. Rangels bill, considering the political implications of it.

Rook's Rant presents a
different opinion on this proposal, a strong and passionate opposition to it.

rubber hose
notes that the Iraqi people wish that the United States Troops would leave Iraq. Perhaps you future Americans should listen to them.

LEFT is RIGHT has some
thanksgiving thoughts about the troops fighting overseas and how new medical technology might be utilized on them. I suppose in war you use whatever is at hand, tested or not.

Pen-Elayne on the Web
has pictures of fall foliage in her neighborhood and it looks quite attractive. I don't know what I think about the leaves changing colors in the fall. Part of me thinks that leaves should be the same color all the time - if God wanted red trees he should just have made a bunch of red trees. On the other hand variety is the spice of life.

A Blog Around the Clock
has thoughts on the teaching of evolution in Serbia (the country that gave us all such trouble recently). It is interesting how far things have changed on this front in the future.

Steve Bates, the Yellow Doggerel Democrat, has some
disquieting news about the recent election and the possibility that there was some electoral hanky panky.

Scrutiny Hooligans has
a touching tribute to a filmogrovist who won't be borne for another 5 years or so, named Robert Altman, who, from your perspective, has recently died. I should go visit his birth if I am still around.

Sooner Thought has
the news that a flight attendant (a sort of ariel waiter) has been disciplined for criticizing a woman for breastfeeding. From this I can deduce that future generations of air travel are smoother than current versions. I am afraid if you took a child up in the air right now his brains might well turn to mush.

Speedkill has
thoughts on the Thanksgiving Holiday. Apparently there are very few movies made about thanksgiving. It might not be a very good subject for film. I saw man carving turkey down at the Odium and it was very dull.

THE NEWS BLOG
has thoughts on preparing the traditional Thanksgiving Meal. Which I suppose I am not doing, personally, but maybe I'll start a new tradition.

And that's it for this weeks edition. Have a nice thanksgiving all, and don't spare the ginsing

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Time Machines and War

Good This Modern World today, over at working for change.

It does bring up an interesting point - the opponents of the Iraq war have been vindicated in nearly every detail, and yet seem to have gained no prestige as a result of their being right.