Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get.
Meanwhile, and completely apropos of nothing, please sign the Reader Privacy Petition, and send a note to everyone you know to sign it. Actually, forget the please, JUST DO IT! Thanks. Actually, forget the thanks. GO!
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
When you get to Hell, tell ‘em Scratchy sent you!
I couldn't decide whether to comment on Oklahomo legislators and their delightful flaunting of stereotypes about people from their fine state, in their desire to try to remove the awesome book King and King from all the children's areas in all the libraries in the entire state. Because we all know, the problem with kids in Oklahoma is that they READ TOO MANY BOOKS!
Or perhaps, I thought, I might comment on Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, and Nat Hentoff, among others, splashing down firmly against the doctors and husband of Terri Schiavo, as well as the U.S. legal system, and trying to stick that damn tube back up her. Funny how all the self-promoting moralizing egotists seem to show up in the same place!
But instead I decided to briefly comment on this story which, once again, should shame all of us who voted for George W. Bush. And by "us" I mean not me. This is a case of "let's try to kill the brown guy before he finds out he's entitled to get help from people who don't want us to kill him!" Basically, the U.S. has continuously been sentencing foreign nationals (often Mexicans) without informing the defendants that they have the right to inform their county's embassy that they're in trouble. Even though we signed an international treaty which gave them that right. One dude got his case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday.
The sick, Bush part of the story?
The case, which has attracted worldwide attention, is seen as a test of how much weight the Supreme Court will give in domestic death penalty cases to the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, in The Hague, which ruled last year that the 51 convictions violated the Vienna Convention.
After Medellin appealed to the Supreme Court, Bush ordered the states to comply with the ICJ ruling. At the same time, however, he made clear that it was a president's - not the judicial branch's - decision whether to abide by international law.
The administration also announced it was withdrawing from a section of the Vienna Convention that gave the ICJ authority to hear U.S. disputes, to avoid future questions about the role of international tribunals in domestic death penalty cases.
After Bush ordered the new hearings, Medellin's attorneys asked the Supreme Court this month to put his case on hold so they could pursue relief in state court first. But the justices did not immediately act on that request.
(Texas, by the way, is all like "naw, we're still gonna kill the brown guy.") You know what? I call bullshit. The administration decides once again to just say "fuck you" to the international community, just so we can continue our "culture of life until we feel like killing you." This despite the fact that the ICJ was involved with the freeing of the U.S. hostages in Iran back in the day. I'm seriously thinking of adding death penalty reform as a MUST on the progressive platform we're all creating...
Friday, March 25, 2005
Friday semen blogging
This is an oldie, but a goodie...
On a sad note, unless more happens soon in the world of semen, we may have to put Friday semen blogging on hiatus for a bit. We'll see how things are looking next week.
Semen acts as an anti-depressent
26 June 2002
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
Semen makes you happy. That's the remarkable conclusion of a study comparing women whose partners wear condoms with those whose partners don't.
The study, which is bound to provoke controversy, showed that the women who were directly exposed to semen were less depressed. The researchers think this is because mood-altering hormones in semen are absorbed through the vagina. They say they have ruled out other explanations.
"I want to make it clear that we are not advocating that people abstain from using condoms," says Gordon Gallup, the psychologist at the State University of New York who led the team. "Clearly an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease would more than offset any advantageous psychological effects of semen."
The question many people will ask is whether oral sex could have the same mood-enhancing effects. "Since the steroids in birth control pills survive the digestion process, I would assume that the same holds true for at least some of the chemicals in semen," Gallup says.
"I understand that among some gay males who have anal intercourse, it is not uncommon to attempt to retain the semen for extended periods of time," he adds. "Suggesting, of course, that there may be psychological effects." But further research will be needed to confirm whether exposure to semen through oral or anal sex really does affect mood in heterosexual or homosexual partners.
But why should semen have such an effect? "It makes no sense to me for this phenomenon to have evolved," says Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. But Gallup counters that men whose semen promotes long-term mood enhancement might have more chances to indulge in sexual activity.
So anyway, I says to Mabel, I says...
It's time for us to go on the offensive, in other words.
I'm asking readers of this blog, even those who don't consider themselves overtly political, to think about their top three issues - things they'd like to see changed around the world - which we can then, collaboratively, piece together in a 7-10 part platform that progressives can proudly proclaim to the people. To get us started, here are three issues I would include:
- universal access to affordable, good health care, particularly as a way to relieve small business of some of the stresses of health care costs
- a collaborative, internationalist approach to world affairs with an emphasis on human rights, stopping terror before it starts (not just "killing the terrorists"), and transparent international bodies free of corruption
- aggressive community and political organizing against usury and debt slavery
How about you?
(On a separate note, I met Christine Cegelis a couple of nights ago and am very very excited about supporting her with my time & $$$. Illinois Democrats are underrepresented in the U.S. Congress. Cegelis can help us change that. More on Cegelis in the coming weeks...)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Well, you know, lots of people shoot Apu. It's just a $100 fine now.
U.S. bars Italians from examining victim's car
March 23, 2005
ROME — The U.S. military command in Iraq has blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car in which an Italian intelligence agent was shot to death in Baghdad, a newspaper said Wednesday.
Corriere della Sera said that the policemen were about to leave when the Italian Embassy in Baghdad received an order from the U.S. command on Monday to abort the mission for security concerns.
The embassy in Baghdad reportedly alerted Rome authorities, who called off the trip.
The car, a Toyota Corolla, is reportedly still in American hands, at Baghdad airport where it was originally rented.
The Foreign Ministry in Rome declined comment on the report, while officials at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad could not immediately be reached. The U.S. military in Baghdad had no immediate comment.
The U.S. military said that the vehicle was speeding and refused to stop, and that a U.S. patrol tried to warn the driver with hand and arm signals, by flashing white lights and firing shots in front of the car and into the car’s engine block.
Berlusconi said the car was traveling slowly at night and stopped immediately when a light was flashed at it, shortly before U.S. troops fired on the car. Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said the fire appeared to have hit the right side of the car.
Raise your hand if you're surprised. Actually, I don't have anything approaching all the information on this, to be sure, but any time the military folks aren't commenting, it's not a good sign.
Those are exactly my sentimonies!
How to Turn Your Red State Blue
By Christopher Hayes
So what would a newly evangelical kind of progressive movement look like in 2005 and beyond?
Here’s an idea. One thing that nearly all Americans share is debt. Building a movement around credit reform—through the formation of local “debt clubs” that would be part of a national campaign, for example—would be one way for progressives to reach out to non-believers.
Works for me...
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
I like my beer cold, my TV loud, and my homosexuals fa-laming
In 1980, after Short appeared with Vanderbilt in TV commercials promoting her designs, Vanderbilt filed a discrimination complaint when a posh apartment building rejected her bid to buy a $1.1 million duplex. She claimed the board was worried that the black singer might marry her. She later dropped the suit.
Short, who never married, lived in Manhattan, sharing an apartment overlooking the East River with his pets. Survivors include his adopted son Ronald Bell and brother Reginald Short, both of California, Wicks said.
So, yeah. I don't know for SURE that he was gay, but yeah. Gay.
Just to be sure, how about somebody ask Anderson Cooper!
Also, has anyone else ever heard that George Washington Carver was gay? That's kind of a biggie for the historian, no?
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that life is one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead.
All opposition, no ideas cast Democrats in poor light
Now, what they're talking about it Social Security, which is one place where I'm pleased with the Democrats' stand. Actually, I'm supportive of most of what the Dems are doing in Washington, with the exception of individuals who are crossing party lines on things like bankruptcy reform.
(By the way, speaking of bankruptcy reform, do the credit card companies know something we don't? Fact is, they made huge profits last year, and I would think that the low interest rates helped make that possible. Interest rates are sneaking back up now, which will most likely increase the number of people seeking bankruptcy, so the companies are saving their own future necks. I haven't heard any discussion of interest rates rising in the discussion of the bill, but it's going to be a huge issue over the next few years if they continue to rise.)
But I want to make this brief: the Democrats have become conservative - the party of the status quo. We don't want radical changes like a flat tax, Social Security privatization, the tearing down of international bodies, environmental & consumer protection deregulation. Moreover, when we do want things accomplished, we're usually just as happy to go through the courts (then again, so are radical Republicans). But "going through the courts" is not a political winner in this democracy.
So I'm starting a project to identify a Progressive Platform that we can start pushing. We can encourage politicians to run on these 8-10 planks, push articles in the media about these planks, present them to America as a vision for the future. And accomplish them. They should cover domestic policy, foreign affairs, defense, the economy, taxes, etc. And rather than be a laundry list of "special interest" constituencies' goals, they should be well-integrated into a larger vision of what we want the U.S. to look like.
First step: in comments, please list your own personal Top 3 list of proactive measures you'd like to put on this Progressive Platform. Also, if you know of good links to similar projects, please share.
In a few days, I'll identify my Top 3.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Are you there, God? It's me... Duffman!
- Why are they praying for humans to do something? Shouldn't they be praying to God to replace the fluid in her brain with old-fashioned cerebral cortex goodness? I mean, God is infinitely powerful, and all-good, and I know these folks pray for him to intercede all the time for stuff like the lottery and field goals... So why not just bypass the notoriously cyincal political process, have Jesus fix Terri's brain, and while He's at it, destroy Satan's evil minions here on earth?
- Will the parents promise not to say, once Terri Schiavo does die in a week or seventy years, that "she's in a better place"????? I mean, for fuck's sake, if heaven is "a better place" why the hecky-darn are you torturing her by keeping her locked inside that body of hers instead of allowing her to sit at the purfumed feet of Our Lord & Savior? Unless this is really all about their selfish-ass need to keep the daughter around to distract them from their own empty lives.
George W. Bush, of course, is the lying owner of a competing Florida resort town who intentionally spreads chum around the reef in order to scare the kids and drum up business for his location, thereby condeming several nubiles to an early death. Because even no matter what, he's still a death-dealing bastard.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Let's get out of this goshforsaken heckhole!
Two years on, is it time to end protests against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq?
Presumably they mean, "Are you sick of all the protesters downtown who obviously are ignored and thus wasting our time and fucking with our traffic?" But seriously, what kind of bullshit question is this? The protests now are primarily about the ONGOING WAR AND OCCUPATION not the "invasion." I personally have found that the protests are highly unfocused and with suspect leaders, and thus choose not to attend. I also am not full enough of pep to rally my own forces against the forces of darkness. However, to speculate that it might be "time to end" these (maybe Congress can have a special Saturday night session to outlaw them) is just inane.
Fortunately, at the time of this writing, 58% said folks should keep on marchin'. Distressingly, 42% said to stop. Whatevs.
By the way, my coworker went to the Chicago protest at Bughouse Square and said it was just a madhouse of threatening cops and other fascist BS. There really is a war on progressive action in this country. CNN's polls are part of that war.
Frame-up is Fox's latest hit! Right after No Pants Island and Fart Date.
See, they've got this show apparently on Saturday mornings called like "Dollar$ and ¢ent$" dedicated to looking at the market, the economy - you know, money matters. After some boring talk about multibillion dollar industries, they got to the fun stuff: Social Security. The segment was called "The Cost of Freedom!!!" so I knew right away I'd be entering into a bizarro world of rhetoric and obfuscation (before I knew the topic was SS).
So the cute-ish blondie girl hosting the show was joined by SIX guests. All six of them, to a man (and one woman) had the EXACT SAME MESSAGE for the viewers at home:
- Social Security is in deep, deep trouble
- Not fixing Social Security will single-handedly destroy the U.S. economy
- (George Bush has a great GREAT plan to fix Social Security)
- Congress is a bunch of sissy fraidy-cats for not taking care of Social Security and the hard choices reform will ask of us
- Congress is using the baseball steroids hearings to stall for time and take attention away from the real issue, Social Security, which they should be working on, and supporting privatization, because it's in such trouble, but they're afraid to, because Congress is run by a bunch of people who just want to SPEND YOUR MONEY and destroy Capitalism and spend all that money on Medicare
- THERE'S WORK TO BE DONE! WHY ARE THEY FOCUSING ON WHAT SOME STUPID ATHLETES MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE DONE!!!!!! SOCIAL SECURITY WILL KILL US ALL!!!
The funny thing is, I agree with them for the most part. Congress is using Terri Schiavo, the baseball hearings, anything they can to avoid the political poison bill that is Social Security privatization. Bush is losing bad on Social Security and he is trying to take down the rest of the party with him. He's getting his talking heads to blame "Congress."
Fox News most likely believes that in their viewers minds, "Congress" = Democrats.
Thanks to Social Security, in 2006 that just might be the case in reality.
UPDATE: Wow, they're not subtle! I found the show, actually called "Bulls and Bears," on the Fox News site. "The Cost of Freedom" is the name of their Saturday morning block of
Bulls and Bears
Saturday at 10 a.m. ET
Repeats Mondays at 4 a.m. ET
"Bulls & Bears" returns for another show with the investible information you need to become a smarter investor.
$tock $abotage? Social Security needs to be fixed or else the economy will suffer! That's what Fed head Alan Greenspan said last week. But many Democrats still insist nothing needs to be done right away. Are Democrats trying to hurt the economy and stock market? We'll go inside the Trading Pit with:
• Gary B. Smith, columnist for RealMoney.com
• Pat Dorsey, director of stock research at Morningstar.com
• Tobin Smith, editor ChangeWave Investing
• Scott Bleier, president of HybridInvestors.com
• Joe Battipaglia, chief investment officer of Ryan Beck Co.
• Bob Beckel, Democratic strategist (give me a fucking break)
Friday, March 18, 2005
Friday semen blogging
"I have never injected semen in any patient's mouth."Anyway, read the article, because it's yet another example of the lazy press and how much they love semen stories.
Former NC Dentist Charged With Assault In Semen CaseNot a bad article, right? WRONG! Once again, we have proof of the laziness of the press. Yes, this case is deliciously sensational, but in the past, Hall has come up with at least some kind of alibi. According to the AP's own report last week:
A former NC dentist was charged Monday with multiple misdemeanor counts of assault on a female
Charlotte, NC -- A former North Carolina dentist accused of using syringes to squirt semen into the mouths of female patients was charged Monday with multiple misdemeanor counts of assault on a female.
A Mecklenburg County grand jury indicted Dr. John Hall on seven counts of assault on a female. He was charged with assaulting six patients, including one of them twice, over an eight-month period in 2003.
Hall, 44, who practiced in nearby Cornelius, is expected to turn himself in at the Mecklenburg County jail on Wednesday. He faces up to 120 days in jail if convicted on all the charges.
Hall could not be reached for comment.
"We knew these indictments were coming," said defense attorney George Laughrun. "This is just the first step in the process. My client is anxious for the process to get started and get this behind him for himself and his family."
The North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners revoked Hall's license in August after six former patients testified in Raleigh that the dentist made them swallow what they now believe was his semen.
In testimony before the dental board last summer, Hall denied the allegations.
"I have never injected semen in any patient's mouth," he said. "I never would. I've got a 10-year-old daughter. That whole concept is so beyond me."
Police searched Hall's office and confiscated syringes after several employees said they were suspicious of the dentist's behavior. DNA tests on the syringes later showed they contained Hall's semen.
Police searched Hall's office and confiscated syringes after several employees said they were suspicious of the dentist's behavior. DNA tests on the syringes later showed they contained Hall's semen.So the AP wrote as if it had no knowledge of what it wrote a mere 5 days before. Far worse, they were unable to figure out a way to get a "Rinse!" joke into the article.
Hall said he was collecting his semen to track the side effects of a hair-growth drug. Potential side effects of the drug include low sperm count and diminished semen.
As for the cops, this is clearly a witchhunt against a member (though not so proud) of the hair-missing community. All involved in this travesty should be ashamed. Unless he indeed is guilty, in which case: bring back the motherfuckin' death penalty for retards!
Speaking of retards, I have decided not to dignify Congress's action in subpoenaing Terry Schiavo by commenting on it. Just go read (as usual) Rude Pundit.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked
In terms of upsets today, I picked Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Alabama, UCLA over Texas Tech, and UAB over LSU. I also picked Nevada over Texas but that's an 8-9 situation so ... whatever.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Go kill a snake in honor of Irish Jesus!
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Internet! Is that thing still around?
First, find out where your surname, and those of your friends and enemies, ranks according to Social Security records, in the U.S.
This can be great fun at dinner parties (if you and your friends are socially inept), as a way to fight the crippling effects of getting eight hours of sleep, or in lieu of getting exercize or reading a newspaper. For those too lazy to click, please note that out of over 50,000 surnames, Gay ranks #818; Dyke is #5,157; Straight is #7,883. There are more Whites (#15) than Blacks (#150). Rodriguez at #14 is the most common hispanic surname
West (#107) is better than North (#1,726), East (#2,320), or South (#3,291). Tennis is #13,604 while Golf isn't in the top 55,000. Brack is #9,119. O ranks #45,784. Horse is #52,360.
Kelley is 169 and Kelly is #67.
Trust me, it's in no sense a waste of your time.
(If you want to cheat, just go here to see every name down to #88,799 -- Aalderink.)
Now on a completely different part of the Internets, I was directed by another Kelley to this coolness:
Create your own visited states map.
Note: This is a map of the states I've visited for the New Year over the past 10 years. You can also create a map of all the states you've driven through, had sex in, or voted for John Kerry in, and post it to your own blog or homepage! There's also a way to create of all the countries you've been to, but mine's not particularly impressive, so you don't get to see it.
Go on, shoo! Come back in year of porcupine—which is never!
Bush recommends Wolfowitz for World Bank
BY JEANNINE AVERSA
AP Economics Writer
Published March 16, 2005, 10:49 AM CST
WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Wednesday tapped Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who has been a lightning rod for criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and other defense policies, to take over as head of the World Bank.
Bush told a news conference that Wolfowitz, now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's top deputy, was "a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job at the World Bank. That's why I put him up."
William Cohen, who was secretary of defense during the Clinton administration, praised Wolfowitz.
"He has a keen understanding of the tides and trends that have shaped our world since the end of the Cold War," Cohen said, "and a deep commitment to liberty and improving the quality of life for suffering people."
The Bush administration has been pushing for major reforms in how the World Bank operates, especially interested in having the development bank dole out aid in the forms of grants, which don't have to be repaid, rather than loans.
On the one hand, once more, Bush is spitting in the faces of the forces of internationalism and the spirit of goodness, honesty, and justice. I'm no fan of Wolfowitz, as the face of the Iraq debacle and one of the main inside movers in the conspiracy to lie to the American people about what our real motives were for invading Iraq. Knowing what we've always known about the treachery that was the OSP (Office for Special Plans in the Dept. of Defense) should be enough to have permanently discredited (by which I mean "condemned to hell") every single person associated with that department, from Rumsfeld on down.
But then again, I'm no big fan of the World Bank either, for reasons I'm happy to go into over a beer.
The good part about it is that it means that his anti-Midas ass could be finally out of the loop of decision makers. If that's the case, then all I can say is "good riddance to bad rubbish." The headline is misleading. It should say: "WOLFOWITZ OUT!!!!!" Ding dong, and all that.
(Hey look! I got through an entire post without mentioning the ridiculousness of a media that can write such a lengthy article, allude to Wolfowitz's controversiality, and yet only have quotes from FANS of the dude! Oh crap, I just mentioned it.)
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Lincoln, Freedom, Condoleezza, Coke, Pepsi, Manifest Destiny, Apple Pie, and Superman*
According to iVillage as of March 15, the least popular boy baby names are:
(Although it's notable that Michael is also the most popular boy name. Bertha is the least popular girl name. Sorry, Aunt Bertha!)
*For those not in the know, these are the names Apu Nahasapeemapetilon gave his kids after Springfield renamed itself Libertyville. Their real names, of course, are Anoop, Uma, Nabendu, Poonam, Pria, Sandeep, Sashi, and Gheet.
Aw, Dad, you've done a lot of great things, but you're a very old man, and old people are useless.
Hyde ready to call it a career?
March 15, 2005
By Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief
In a few weeks, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), the chairman of the House International Relations Committee who as Judiciary Committee chief wielded the gavel during President Clinton's impeachment, will announce that he will not seek another term.
The public position of Hyde, 80, an icon of the conservative movement, is that he will make up his mind for sure in April. But I am told he has decided to retire and is unlikely to reverse course.
Wow! It looks like I've got powers beyond my wildest imagination! Which actually isn't very wild or imaginative.
Sweet goes on to talk about how very very busy the estimable Hyde will be this term trying to destroy international relations:
Hyde is making United Nations reform and accountability a priority this year and had a behind-the-scenes role in promoting John Bolton to become the new U.N. ambassador, appointed by President Bush last week.
To make sure U.N. critic Bolton got the nomination, Hyde made calls to White House chief of staff Andy Card for Bolton and is pushing his Senate counterpart, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, to swiftly confirm Bolton, who is in the cross hairs of the Democrats.And then she talks about the Hyde Amendment (prohibiting federal funding for abortions) and the impeachment of Clinton (although not Hyde's own sexual indiscretions, which I guess would be indescreet).
Hyde won the 2004 election with 55.8 percent of the vote against Democrat Christine Cegelis of Rolling Meadows, who is campaigning full time and raising money for a 2006 contest. Democrats believe Hyde is vulnerable.
Because of Hyde's status as a conservative hero, most Republicans in the district would have given him a primary pass if he sought another term. The only Republican that might have taken Hyde on, state Sen. Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst), said last week that he would not run.
State Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) is exploring another run for Congress, this time in a different district. Roskam lost a 1998 GOP primary to Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.). Another name floated as a possible GOP contender is state Sen. Carole Pankau (R-Roselle).
On the Democratic side, no prominent Democrat or self-funded prospect has surfaced, giving Cegelis so far an open shot.
While Hyde's district is reliably Republican, Democrats have made some inroads in recent years and the new Democratic Congressional Committee chairman, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), sees the district as competitive for Democrats.
For both sides, the primary line-up will likely swell if the race is for an open seat.
This creates a bit of a quandary for me (it's easier to go full-blast against a known enemy like Hyde and in support of a lone candidate on the Dem side) but also makes things that much more interesting. I'll probably be attending this fundraiser next week & will report back my findings.
But how sweet it would have been to see Hyde knocked out by a progressive woman...
Monday, March 14, 2005
An election!? That's one of those deals where they close the bars isn't it?
The 2004 election wasn't simply disspiriting. It was exhausting - even for those of us who did little or nothing to make a difference. That Bush could win re-election, even after the Redskins lost, even after he lost the 2000 popular vote, even after the lost jobs, even after Abu Ghraib, even after WMD not found, even after the DEBATES for godsake ... and consolidate his political power in Congress (in what's still basically a 50/50 country) with folks like DeLay given more leverage to exact their sinistry on an unconcerned public ... it just made folks like me wonder what they point was in participating in this process. It made me question the underpinning of our democracy - that The People, given enough information, can be trusted to do the right thing in the end, that there are self-correcting mechanisms that mitigate against the abuse of power, that the truth in the end will win out.
(In fact, the election debacle is what put me on the road toward becoming a Republican, which happened a couple of weeks ago and lasted for approximately 48 hours.)
All that being said, I feel willing to give it one more chance. The lefty blogosphere has helped in its crazy way to continue to keep me interested and even possibly hopeful. So the question is -- what can I do, locally, to make a difference? And more broadly, what can each of us do?
I think the time has come to recapture the U.S. House of Representatives. And I think a large majority of those reading this blog lives within a reasonable drive of possible swing seats. And I think we (meaning those of us who don't do politics full time) need to start thinking NOW about what we can do to make change happen in the next 20 months.
Our Congress has a wealth of information about various congressional seats, although a lot of their information is from the 2004 election. Still, it's a good place to start investigating what races could be viable in 2006 in your vicinity.
For those of us in the Chicago Metro area, I think it might be time to start thinking what we can do to help Christine Cegelis. She's a progressive candidate in a changing district. She has announced (on dailykos no less) that she'll be running again for Henry Hyde's seat representing Illinois' 6th district (predominantly DuPage County). She even posted a diary(!) on kos, and followed up on the comments. I like that.
I'm going to make an effort to learn more about her candidacy in the coming weeks, but today alone I've found some very promising signs. Illinois Democrats are underrepresented in Congress. Cegelis can help change that. Her candidacy gives me hope that we might be able to turn things around in 2006 and, if everything goes right, start making Bush accountable for his sins starting in January 2007. It's nice to have hope.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Friday semen blogging
This week's AP article takes us to Couer d'Alene, Idaho:
Teen sends student semen-frosted brownies
A teenager has agreed to admit to three counts of disturbing the peace after anonymously sending semen-frosted brownies to a fellow student. The recipient shared the treat with two other teens, police said.
They said the 17-year-old Coeur d'Alene High School student was upset after a prank in which the other student put peanut butter in his cheese sandwich days before. He told a school resource officer that "he hated peanut butter and it made him more mad than he could explain," according to the police report.
My favorite part about Friday semen blogging is that there's rarely a need for additional comment.
If the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing
'Left Behind' co-author slams contrary new series
“Left Behind” series co-author Tim LaHaye said he has felt betrayed by Tyndale House’s decision to publish a fiction series that offers a different view on Bible prophecy.
The Last Disciple, the first novel co-written by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer, released in October, and is based on the view that most of the events described in Revelation already have occurred in the first century.
“I feel the whole evangelical community has been betrayed by a major publisher that, for 40 years, has been a stalwart of biblical interpretation based on a literal interpretation of the scriptures; and now they’re advancing a book that destroys literalism in favor of an allegorical interpretation of history,” LaHaye said.
“The first I heard about Hanegraaff’s book is when Ron Beers (Tyndale’s senior vice president and publisher) called me and asked me if I’d like to help promote the book by going on a tour and having a series of debates with Hanegraaff. That’s when I realized he doesn’t understand the body blow this is giving to the majority of evangelical Christians who believe in taking prophecy literally.”
Literally!!! Ha ha ha! Because there's LITERALLY a dude named Rayford Steele who will LITERALLY some day be flying a plane on which a bunch of people LITERALLY disappear leaving their clothes and stuff. LITERALLY!
Part of this is hilariously funny, but part of it is a really nice corrective to LaHaye's scare books.
“The idea that Nero was the Beast of Revelation—that’s the most ridiculous eschatological theory I’ve ever heard. Nero was never in Jerusalem to fulfill the clear statement of 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and others that he would desecrate the temple in Jerusalem.”
I'll have to use that phrase much more often. "What? You think Vishnu will destroy all humanity through a plague of titmice? Why, that's the most ridiculous eschatological theory I've ever heard!!!"
Thursday, March 10, 2005
I am so smart, I am so smart . . . S - M - R - T . . . I mean, S - M - A - R - T.
23. Off the Wall, Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones mixes dance & ballads beautifully. "I Can't Help It" needs to be played more.
22. John Denver & the Muppets Christmas. Great memories of Christmases past.
21. Red Hot & Dance. Contains original music, so doesn't count as a "compilation." I would have picked Listen Without Prejudice but "Too Funky" is a teeny bit better song than "Freedom '90."
20. Achtung Baby, U2. My first U2 album, I played it out more than Joshua Tree, and I think "Mysterious Ways" is just terrific. Plus, Joshua Tree makes me think of that Friends episode where Rachel & Ross are thinking of each other while its raining and BOTH listening to "With or Without You." DAMN YOU RACHEL AND ROSS!!!
19. Purple Rain, Prince. "Dearly beloved..."
18. Let It Be, Beatles. I'm a huge Beatles fan, but this is the only album of theirs I think I could take to the proverbial desert island & not get sick of. Best parts - "Two of Us" and "Across the Universe."
17. Bookends, Simon & Garfunkle. "America" is one of the bestest songs ever; "At the Zoo" makes me want to go to the zoo; "Hazy Shade of Winter" is even better than the BANGLES (not bananarama - thanks TJ!) cover. I know!
16. Free to Be You and Me. Shut up.
15. Miseducation of Lauren Hill, Lauren Hill. She brings alive the best music genre ever - 70s soul. Us masses thank you!
14. Let It Bleed, Rolling Stones. Okay, full disclosure: I've never actually heard this album. But I've never owned an original Stones album at all, and I really really think they're awesome, so I picked this one for "Gimme Shelter."
13. Bedtime Stories, Madonna. To me, this is the middle book of her three part master trilogy, with Erotica first and Ray of Light third. Each album is unique and packed with great songs. These albums represent the peak of Madonna's tremendous career. I'm picking Bedtime Stories because "Secret" is so hummable, "Love Tried to Welcome Me" might be my favorite Madonna song of all time, and particularly because of the artistic breakthrough that is "Bedtime Story." The last was cowritten by Bjork. Yay Bjork!
12. Kind of Blue, Miles Davis. Exquisite cool jazz.
11. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio. Name one person who doesn't love this music. You can't do it! It's unpossible.
10. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac. So many big hits ... "Dreams" is played all the time, and deservedly so. "Go Your Own Way" proves that Lindsay Buckingham is an asshole, because he used to make Stevie Nicks sing it onstage! But she did it, so.... Anyway, "Gold Dust Woman" is a ridiculously underplayed song. I also like "Oh Daddy."
9. Prose Combat, MC Solaar. When I was in Montreal, I asked the young drag queen & his friends my ex & I were hanging out with, "what's good French hiphop?" One of the kids said to buy this album. I did and I have blissed out to it ever since, even though I can't understand a damn word the dude is saying.
8. Graceland, Paul Simon. Paul gets on the list twice because he's a supergenius, plus we all know that Garfunkel was the real creative force behind Simon & Garfunkel. This is a triumph musically but lacks a little bit of heart for my comfort level.
7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John. There are a few misses on this double LP, but fuck it. It's got "Bennie and the Jets"!!!
6. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan. "... kiss you so hard, I'll take your breath away..." Back in 1995 I never thought I'd like another album any better than I loved this one. It's moved down a few notches but maybe that's because I lost it?
5. Wrecking Ball, Emmylou Harris. Daniel Lanois has done a lot of great stuff in his career (see: Time Out of Mind, Achtung Baby, So, Joshua Tree, and more). As an amazon.com review for Lucious Jackson's album Fever In, Fever Out pointed out, Lanois likes to "smother his clients in gauze." This Emmylou album is no differnt. Thing is, I love what Lanois brings to the table. He creates some of my favorite sounds of all time. It's not clean, it's not crips. But it gets to me. Add Emmylou Harris's cracked vocals and you have a true mystical experience.
4. Bitter, Me'shell NdegeOcello. A devastating album about infidelity. Contained no hits. Not a lot of people have heard it. But spectacular. [Edited because I got the name of the damn album wrong! It's not Peace Beyond Passion, which is a good album, but doesn't touch Bitter.]
3. I Put a Spell on You, Nina Simone. Nina was a great songwriter, and all of these were covers. But between the title track, "Feeling Good," and "Take Care of Business" it will make you smile. The best part for me is that it's on the same CD as the album Nina Simone in Concert, which has her version of "Don't Smoke in Bed" and "I Loves You Porgy." Wow.
2. Shaming of the Sun, Indigo Girls. Not really my second favorite album, but since they're my favorite band of all time, I had to put them high. "Don't Give That Girl a Gun" is super awesome.
1. Disintegration, The Cure. Sure I just really started listening to the album this week. Yes, it's mightily pretentious and really more appropriate for 14 year olds in 1986. Whatever. Now I know what the hell the South Park kids were talking about when they claimed this was the "best album ever!!!!!"
Okay! Wow, do I have mainstream tastes. But I already knew that!!! Anything you want to add, subtract, mock, agree with --- just comment!!
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Crackton is next
In one sentence Alberto Gonzales says the US does not export terror suspects to foreign nations to be tortured. The US doesn’t condone it, he says.
He then goes on to say, “We can’t fully control what that country might do. We obviously expect a country to whom we have rendered a detainee to comply with their representations to us. If you’re asking me, ‘Does a country always comply?’ I don’t have an answer to that.”
IN-OTHER-WORDS, that’s like saying…
Gonzalez: “I do NOT allow my children to use drugs.”
Reporter: “Alberto, then why do you drop your children off at the local crack house on a regular basis?”
Gonzalez: “I can’t control what the owner of that crack house does. I obviously expect the owner of that house to honor his promise that he won’t give my children crack. If your asking me, ‘Does the crack house owner always comply?’ I don’t have an answer to that.”
The US Government is responsible for those criminal suspects. If they get tortured, that crime against humanity is on Alberto Gonzalez’s, Bush’s, and the entire US Government’s hands. They should all be arrested, tried, and serve life in prison. Negligence is not a valid defense.
There's nothing else to add to that. Except the fact that the State Department is the one calling these countries torturers. Never has the question been answered: what can these countries get out of these guys that we can't - and how?
Awful awful awful. Bush gets credit for Lebanon's "march to democracy" (oops) but can take no responsibility for the torture that happens routinely?
Please, Bush voters, explain to me how you're able to reconcile your vote with what you know about the torture policies.
Do feel that the time has come for our viewers to crack open the skulls of their neighbors and feast on the goo inside?
Ex-Marine says public version of Saddam capture fiction
Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.
But we saw the spider hole, right?! What more evidence do we need?
"Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well," Abou Rabeh said.
Look. We got lied to about Jessica Lynch. We got lied to about the teardown of Saddam's statue. We got lied to about the Iraqi elections. All of these lies had one thing in common - they incorporated visuals that seemed to provide incontrovertable evidence of Bush's policies being vindicated. Ya think ... just maybe, American media ... it might be time to start investigating these stories for countervailing evidence? It's fine to present the "official version of events" but it's a basic fact that the administration and the military have political goals and that their methods are often at odds with getting out the truth. It's a fact of life, in war and politics, that this will happen. But it's not a fact of life that we have to act like stupid idiots and believe them Every! Single! Fucking! Time!!!
So, American media, by all means, show the pictures. But for god's sake don't pretend like that's all there is to it.
Oh, and fire all the pundits.
(Hey, UPI, instead of taking this Abou Rabeh guy's word for it, how about launching a serious investigation? Whether the military or random ex-Marines, I, for one, am sick of being lied to, even for a "greater good.")
Monday, March 07, 2005
I don't agree with his Bart-killing policy, but I do approve of his Selma-killing policy.
Speaking of absurd, here are some things that are absurd:
- Jeff Gannon, a male escort and fake reporter, getting into the White House Press Corps, apparently wrangling invitations to the annual Christmas party.
- The U.S. government saying that the Iraqi government wasn't doing enough to secure human rights in that country.
- The U.S. invading a country that posed no immediate threat to us, that was by no means a "hot zone," in a search for banned weapons (the locations of which were not ever in doubt); meanwhile leaving unsecured sites, since looted, with enough explosives to keep an insurgency running for decades.
- The GOP pretending that the Democrats were traitors for being against the Dept. of Homeland Security - which the Democrats proposed. This includes conflating Max Cleland with Saddam Hussein.
Regardless of whether this incident - absurd, regardless of who was at fault - is part of the larger Administration strategy of delegitimizing journalism as a profession, that exact topic is one that needs to be exposed. This, in fact, is fodder for a book or a cover story in a major magazine. Instead, Salon will write one (very good) article, a journalism blog another (Jay Rosen and the "decertification" of the press). Maybe it's just a matter of time before the attack on the Fourth Estate becomes a matter of public knowledge. But whether it is accepted as "the way things are" or the actual object of outrage for people who've had just about enough is up to us.
I think accepting this as "the way things are" would be absurd.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Friday semen blogging
South Dakota semen tax on its way out.
"We don't tax the delivery of bulls and boars when semen is delivered naturally," McNenny told his Senate colleagues, asking them to end the tax on semen used to artificially impregnate cattle and hogs.I love when politicians use euphemisms to describe cowfucking.
(If you missed the first installment of Friday semen blocking, you can find it here!)
The South Dakota article is much funnier if you drop the word "tax" and take the resultant quotes out of context, like:
"Dropping the semen may seem inconsequential..."and
"the livestock semen has one more stop: the governor's desk"
Disco Stu doesn't advertise
The Davis Cup website - which is really great tennis site normally - has a nasty habit of CRASHING at inappropriate times (say, during the first day of Davis Cup). ITF needs to get their shit together and never. let. this. happen. AGAIN!
Meanwhile, you can get your updates at livescore.net.
Some big upsets in the early going, with Beck beating Lopez in straight sets, and Mathieu handling Pim Pim with ease. Gonzalez securing the first point for Chile, over Youzhny, was huge. Should be a fun day. USA! USA!
Thursday, March 03, 2005
In other words, we have found the weapons of mass destruction, and they are ours.
It's hard to put too much faith in the accuracy of the article, as it's uncorroborated by any source I can find in a quick look around the Web. But isn't it worth investigating?
The article continued on to say that various international news agencies were at this press conference, including the Washington Post and Knight-Ridder. However, there's nothing I can find in Google News from any such news source.
Nonetheless, if this guy who works for the current government of Iraq is saying these things about U.S. forces in an official governmental building - I think that alone is worth reporting, whether he's accurate or not. If it's all a big lie, and the press conference never happened or the guy never said that, I think it needs to be reported that al Jazeera is writing such an article.
Either way, it's disturbing.
(Note: the article also reminds us that napalm YES NAPALM was used in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq, and that last year "Labour MPs in the UK demanded Prime Minister Tony Blair to confront the Commons over the use of napalm gas in Fallujah." This was reported in November in the Sunday Mirror. Over at daily Kos, Avila diaried the issue of napalm during the 2003 invasion.)
Well, Krusty, this is your Waterloo. Soon you'll be Napolean Blownapart!
Even I, a brand new Republican(tm), find him provocative, funny, and quite convincing.
Today brings us a post on the Supreme Court's decision to outlaw the imposition of the death penalty on minors. His quote, "But, now, aww, fuck, it's like gettin' a hard-on and havin' nowhere to shove it," is a masterpiece of political analogy. He also talks about the important Padilla decision.
I was certainly happy to hear that kids can't be killed anymore (or even adults who committed their atrocities as kids). I haven't read much about the decision, or the decision itself, but the news is tending to focus on the "changing standards" line of reasoning used by the Court. To me, although it may seem shaky and "unjudicial" it makes sense. I mean, these people can't even vote (if they wanted to, say, elect anti-death penalty politicians); and are considered effective property of their parents (thus without the moral authority to make key decisions about their lives). It's hypocritical to say they're not responsible enough to, say, consent to sex with an adult but they are responsible enough to be killed for a crime (that, hell, they may not have committed, we'll find out in 20 years).
The thing that really bothers me about the death penalty, however, is the makeup of the juries. You're not even ALLOWED to serve on a capital case jury if you're morally opposed to the death penalty. How is a defendant going to get a fair hearing if you exclude the large minority of citizens who might be more likely to, say, listen to the prosecuters with a critical ear? That's like saying pacifist legislators shouldn't be allowed to vote on a war resolution.
I know none of my fellow Republicans really want anti-death penalty folks (i.e., in theory, all Catholics) on juries anyway (soft on crime and all that). But I'd like to hear an argument as to how this isn't a violation of the right to a fair trial.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Tai chi ... chai tea
Now, I'm pretty much a civil libertarian when it comes to issues like the legalization of drugs. The fact is, they're widely available regardless of the laws. But I read enough this week to think that the gay community, at least, is really hurting itself. My guess is that our meth epidemic is probably based on an interplay of self-hatred and physical pleasure. Not too dissimilar to our HIV epidemic. Very simply put, we still don't like ourselves or each other very much, and we do what we can to distance ourselves from that. Physical pleasure -- intense physical sensation of any kind -- is a good way to get your mind off of your crappy life. So are drugs and alcohol. The better we deal with all that, the more likely we are to create real change.
Until then, however, there are concrete things we, as a community, can do outside law enforcement solutions or even therapeutic solutions. One way might be to boycott Fireball. With apologies to Camille Paglia, the body worship, A-list, orgiastic world of Fireball has negative repercussions for both attendees and the rest of us. Obviously, the selfish hedonism represented by Fireball will find its level - those who want to party & play will find a way to do it with or without this outlet. But to me, there's an inextricable link between the crisis that we are experiencing and the mindless exclusionary world of a Fireball.
So why not boycott Fireball?
That means you, Free Press. If it's true that 20%-30% of the attendees were on this killer drug during the circuit party, and that there are legitimate concerns about financial impropriety, and that the gosh darn founder overdosed there a year ago (before he killed the cabbie this year) ... maybe it's time for you to distance yourselves a bit.
Boycott Fireball, Free Press.
While we're at it, as a community, we can boycott Bacardi, Steamworks, Ice Mountain, and the other sponsors. (Ice Mountain knows exactly why bottled water is so popular at these events.)
Boycott Fireball and its sponsors, anyone?
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Look big daddy! It's regular daddy!
And it does say things like:
The report did not address incidents in Iraq in which Americans were involved, like the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which came to light in 2004.and
An acting assistant secretary of state, Michael G. Kozak, was asked Monday how that scandal had affected the administration's latest evaluation. "Look," he said, "the events at Abu Ghraib were a stain on the honor of the U.S.; there's no two ways about it."
But the article doesn't quote one person or organizations (such as Human Rights Watch, where the State Dept. got much of its information) who pointed out the utter ridiculousness of statements such as this:
"What it shows is that we don't look the other way," the official said. "There are countries we support and that are friends, and when they have practices that don't meet international standards, we don't hesitate to call a spade a spade."It also doesn't quote anyone from any of the countries singled out. Maybe someone in Russia has a rebuttal - or a critique that the report didn't go far enough!?
Yes, the article is a "report" ... which is what "reporters" are supposed to give us ... but it lacks any context, differing opinions, or appreciation of irony (other than calling the inclusion of our puppet regime in Iraq "unusual). It's not journalism, it's digestion. Bleh.
My dream has been shattered into shards of a broken dream
The carnage came as Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi acknowledged Iraq's security forces were still unable to take on the insurgency without the help of U.S.-led troops.
"Iraqis should be able to start taking over more and more security responsibilities very soon," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "But we will continue to need and to seek assistance for some time to come."
April will be the real test: If the military death toll in April 2005 surpasses the 135 U.S. troops (and 140 total coalition forces), then there will be no talk of corners turned, insurgencies blown, or war being justified - at least for awhile.
But honestly, who knows? It could very well be that this brutal war based on lies and political calculations is the seed from which the flower of peace and democracy will bloom like a shining sun over a cold dark morn. Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, Ukraine - peoples everywhere are heralding Bush's bold vision of Democracy! This begs the question - could the neocons with their ends-justify-means philosophy be right? Well, I'm going to withhold judgment for a little while longer. Until April, at least. But if they are right, and George W. Bush leads us into a glorious future of peace, prosperity, and private accounts, I'll give them their props. No way will I change my own loser philosophy. But I'll definitely give them their props.