Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Worst President in our Nation's History

Hurricaine Katrina: Not Bush's fault.

Broken levees and the City of New Orleans under water: Yes Bush's fault.

And where's the National Guard for all this? Oh yeah. Forgot. They're in Iraq.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Fear and Terror

Here's a honest reflection of one man's mental brush with terror from Redphi5h, one of favorite bloggers. It's difficult to admit it (at least it is for me), but I've been there before.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Barbara Bush

Just grabbed this off the Corrente title bar:

"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

- former First Lady Barbara Bush on Good Morning America, March 18, 2003
Honestly, I don't even care if this is out of context or not. What an absolutely disgusting statement. I think even the infamous "let them eat cake" was more socially aware. Personally, George Herbert Walker always struck me as a basically decent guy. Smart, experienced, accomplished, and hated by conservatives. So I never understood why his son was such a wilfully ignorant nincompoop. I had heard tell that Barbara was really the queen of the pride, but I never saw any corroborating evidence. Until now. I guess the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.


Holy crap! Anti-wrinkle cream is made out of infant circumcized foreskins! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I don't believe it. Seriously, Dodeca-wife is reading an article on circumcision in "Mothering" magazine (sorry, no link - they make you buy the darn thing, imagine that!!) and some of the stuff in there is just awful. I'm seriously considering just leaving well enough alone if we ever have a little Dodeca-boy.

And now for some light reading, check out this sad tale of a circumcision gone horribly wrong. I can't tell you how grateful I am that when they decided to roll the dice on me, it didn't come up snake eyes.


Good God. How did this woman get a job with the Washington Post? I guess that means my dream of starting a game for the Chicago Cubs isn't quite dead yet. The real travesty about stupid essays like this is in trying to "weigh" the "sides" of the ID vs. theory of evolution "debate" they completely miss the fact that here is a world where random chance results in a cerebrum capable of self-awareness. Isn't that right there a pretty flippin intelligent design? Random chance, evolution, and survival of the fittest isn't "against" intelligent design. It IS intelligent design!!

Yes I believe in God. Yes I believe God somehow created the world. No I do not believe that because Tony Stewart knows exactly when to downshift that we have now stumped science. "Golly gee, that Home Depot car sure can fly. Now if that ain't proof we need school prayer, I don't know what."

Man alive, this lady is an idiot.

Via Eschaton.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Buried in a story about Sunni dissatisfaction with the draft constitution was this little gem.

In a bid to placate Sunnis, the U.S. military announced Saturday that nearly 1,000 security detainees — virtually all believed to be Sunnis — had been released from Abu Ghraib prison the past several days. It was the largest release to date.
Josh Marshall has touched on this topic before regarding mass prisoner releases, saying essentially that one of two bad things must be true. Either prisoners are not guilty of any crimes, not dangerous and a patent non-threat, or they are indeed guilty of crimes and a threat to the general peace as well as U.S. soldiers. Therefore, to release them en masse does one of two things: proves incontrovertibly that the prisoners were being needlessly incarcerated and might as well be on the outside, or this is about as irresponsible as unlocking the gates to Arkham Asylum.

But to release detainees with an obvious and stated ulterior motive, in this case in order "to placate Sunnis," what else can you call these guys but hostages?

Iraq Oil Subsidies

Chalk this up as yet another screw-up by the Bush administration in Iraq.

Realizing the problem, the Coalition Provisional Authority decided that it needed to remove the subsidies, which were inherited from Iraq's state-controlled economy. Besides fuel, Iraqis receive a subsidized monthly food ration, which takes up another quarter of the government's budget. Fertilizers, industrial products and electricity are also subsidized.

But, fearing social unrest, U.S. officials running the coalition left the subsidies in place. A senior economic adviser, quoted anonymously in a recent study by the congressionally funded United States Institute of Peace, described the failure to remove the subsidies as "one of the worst mistakes of the occupation."
Fearing social unrest? These guys are amazing. When they need to tread lightly, they stomp in wearing steel-toed boots. But when a little decisive action is needed (especially of the might-make-things-worse-for-Exxon variety), they chicken out.

I can only hope that history accurately captures for posterity the shocking breadth of incompetence in this running joke that is the Bush presidency.

Sunday Random 12

  1. Maxwell's Silver Hammer (The Beatles, Abbey Road)

  2. Caged Bird (Alicia Keys, Songs In A Minor)

  3. This Letter (Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow)

  4. Love Island (Fatboy Slim, You've Come A Long Way Baby)

  5. Birds And Ships (Billy Bragg & Wilco, Mermaid Avenue)

  6. Mining For Gold (Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Sessions)

  7. Rhymin & Stealin (The Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill)

  8. Meanwhile, Rick James... (Cake, Comfort Eagle)

  9. To The Ground (Bedhead, What Fun Life Was)

  10. Drowning Man (U2, War)

  11. Birth Ritual (Soundgarden, Singles Soundtrack)

  12. The Chalet Lines (Belle & Sebastian, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Advice From Digby

Go read. This is a truly excellent post by Digby.

I think this is where we separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. If, after all you've seen these last five years you still believe that the Bush administration can be given the benefit of the doubt, that they will do the right thing, change course, follow sage advice, reevaluate their strategy, bow to the facts on the ground --- then you have the same disease the Bush administration has. As Ben Franklin said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
What I think Digby gives us liberals here is two things. 1) comfort for liberal hawks who think they have to something to prove to the Kos crowd, and 2) a roadmap for not being shrill. Granted, republicans will call you shrill no matter what you say, but there is a difference between being called shrill by the GOP and actually being shrill. If we frame all of our policy discussions as steps in a future campaign narrative that any eventual nominee could pick up and run with, it will serve to give a history to our candidate's position. So when he or she starts talking about Iraq on TV, it'll be as if you'd been hearing this all along, and now its finally starting to make sense. Well, we have been hearing this all along, but hopefully I'm making sense. You'd have to go back a few years to make any charge of political opportunism stick.

To me, liberal hawks are guilty of only one thing: being trustworthy. Who knows whether a more able diplomat would have been able to build a real coalition to oppose Iraq, whether a more honest president could have garnered support for the real reasons behind the war instead of trumping up phony WMD crap, whether a less ideological defense team could have war-planned better, whether a more careful administration would have written a real exit strategy? But this administration remains incapable of doing any of those things. To support the war (as opposed to supporting the president), you have to assume that it will be carried out in a way that will be beneficial to our original aims. Unfortunately, anyone who thought that the Bush administration was up to this task was sadly mistaken. Liberal hawks shouldn't feel even the least bit bad (or embarrassed or anything else) about supporting war. Their only mistake was to suspend too much disbelief about what they already knew of George W. Bush. I'd like to think that assuming that the president of our great nation has even an ounce of sense isn't an unforgivable sin.

Friday, August 26, 2005


  1. The Sound and the Fury

  2. As I Lay Dying

  3. Light in August

  4. Absalom! Absalom!

  5. Go Down, Moses

Frances Bean

My goodness. Frances Bean Cobain really does look exactly like her father. The smirk, the eyes, even the same dirty blonde hair color. So I guess we can be pretty sure she got the face gene from Kurt. God willing, she got the kick-ass songwriting gene from him too. My great hope is to someday purchase yet another album of killer, shredding, neutron-bomb rock from an artist surnamed Cobain. That’s right, Frances. You can have my $13.99 right now if you want it. Pre-release sales figures: 1.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bible Not A Science Text

Check out 1 Kings 7:23 in the Bible. You better believe it straight up says that pi = 3. Mathematicians say that pi ~= 3.14159. Who is correct? We may never know the truth.

I am teasing a bit here, of course. Since I do not think that the Bible ever claimed to be a history, chemistry, physics, geometry or mathematics text it really doesn't shake my world view all that much. I'm content to chill with the basic truths that I find within like "love your neighbor," "humans are basically good," etc.

But this is why it is so silly to present what amounts to religious nostalgia as the "other side" of a "debate" when it comes to virtually any scientific question. Is evolution a bulletproof theory? If that means it can't be improved on, than no. Of course it could be fleshed out a bit more. But only in the same way as we can always add more digits to pi. We may manage to get that 10001st digit someday, but the first six are always 3.14159.

Just because no one "knows" the exact value of pi does not mean that the Bible's view of 3.00000 might be correct. Just because we are still working on the exact lineage of the human animal doesn't mean we just might have burst from the head of Zeus.

Hat tip: a comment on a blog somewhere but I forget which.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Surprise surprise. The majority of my countrymen are overweight.

More than 119 million people, 64.5% of the US population, are now considered overweight or obese, according to the Trust for Americans' Health, an independent advocacy group that says the nation has been let down by ineffective anti-obesity policies.

Experts are just as concerned at the escalating rate of the weight gain. Childhood obesity has doubled in 20 years and almost three-quarters of American adults could be overweight in less than three years' time
Three words, folks: sprawl, cars, pop.

Update (8/24/05 23:24h): Haven't done the research on this one, but I bet that the fatter you are, the more likely you are to have voted for George W. Bush. Idiots! 40%!

Rich Chickenhawks

Word. Damn right. I don't care how you slice it, the simple fact is this: the richer you get, the more likely you are to a) vote Republican b) support war c) have nothing to do with the military. Rich, powerful asses get us into these messes and who's left to clean it up? Working class stiffs. And what to they get for their sacrifice? Their benefits cut by the same assheads who sent them to fight in the first place.

I've said it before and I'll say it once more, if you support the continuation of the war and are in full awareness that the current fighting force is undermanned, you must enlist. You can support the invasion of Granada all day long without ever going to the recruiters office. Your country's got it pretty covered. But this nonsense in Iraq is a different story. WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MEN. Period.

Pat Robertson and Monroe Doctrine

Lost in the overwhelming idiocy of Pat Robertson's murder solicitation was his utter lack of understanding in the Monroe Doctrine.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.
The Monroe Doctrine means that European involvement in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere is tantamount to an act of aggression against the United States. It doesn't mean "It's our hemisphere and we get to do whatever we want." Subtle distinction of course. Maybe too subtle for our thick friend, Pat.

To be perfectly honest, though, I kind of agree that if you're going to meddle in the affairs of other countries, you may as well let your Black Ops teams have a crack at it before mobilizing your armed forces. Unless, that is, you haven't compromised the viability of the whole undercover concept by revealing your agents identities!

Islam Rules!

If Freedom's on the march, than Islamic rule is on parade! Yay! U.S. soldiers died to create...Iran!!!

The draft constitution submitted Monday stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, negotiators confirmed.

Opponents have charged that the latter provision would subject Iraqis to rule by religious edicts of individual clerics or sects.

The opponents also said women would lose gains they made during Hussein's rule, when they were guaranteed equal rights under civil law in matters including marriage, divorce and inheritance. The draft constitution says individuals can choose to have family matters decided by either religious or civil law.

Supporters say a separate bill of rights would protect women, and provisions of the constitution say no law can contradict democracy or that bill of rights.
Unless they're planning on photocopying the actual Bill of Rights, let's just say I'm not holding out much hope.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Good Health News

Excellent. A consortium of sugar beverage companies are yielding to pressure from anti-obesity advocates and will sell only bottled water or 100% juice during school hours in U.S. middle schools. Seeing as I'd rather see a 5th grader smoking marijuana than knocking back a liter of Mountain Dew (I'd prefer neither, of course), I consider this fantastic news.

The pop companies will still be able to peddle their crap during after school hours, but I have to think that eliminating lunch-time sales will do a lot for the health of American children. Hopefully, parents will have enough brains to put forth their own policies and not stock the worthless junk at home either.

Chuck-Speak vs. Chuck-Vote

Sen. Chuck Hagel says Iraq starting to look like Vietnam. Starting? No matter. I suppose Sen. Hagel would know as well as anybody what does and doesn't look like Vietnam. What remains to be seen, however, is whether Chuck knows what truly and actually opposing current policy looks like.

Hagel said "stay the course" is not a policy. "By any standard, when you analyze 2 1/2 years in Iraq ... we're not winning," he said.
When you start voting against these self-styled "non-policies," Chuck, I'll take you at your word. Until then, I'll consider this the worst kind of grandstanding: the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too variety.

Sunday Random 12

  1. Manic Depression (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced?)

  2. The New Style (The Beastie Boys, Licensed To Ill)

  3. Ted, Just Admit It... (Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking)

  4. Talisman (Air, Moon Safari)

  5. Subway Train (New York Dolls, New York Dolls)

  6. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (The Beatles, Rubber Soul)

  7. My Gift To You (Korn, Follow The Leader)

  8. Your Southern Can Is Mine (The White Stripes, De Stijl)

  9. Our Prayer/Gee (Brian Wilson, Smile)

  10. Porcelain (Moby, Play)

  11. School Spirit (Kanye West, The College Dropout)

  12. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (Bob Dylan, Blonde On Blonde)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Return to the Ice Age

This idea is just straight up awesome.

Today, Africa's large mammals are dying while the human population of the Great Plains is declining, they write. So why not restock with the cousins many-times removed of the very same animals our ancestors hunted into extinction so long ago?
Normally I balk at the prospect of introducing new animals into an ecosystem (see rabbits, Australia) but not this time, baby. Hell yeah!!!

Water Park

Hundreds of people have fallen ill after splashing around in an upstate NY water park called Seneca Lake Park's Sprayground. Boy oh boy. Huge shocker there. I never would've guessed it. "Sprayground?" Isn't that what they call a vermin infested bean field?

I'm reminded of the time when I went on my eighth grade graduation trip to the local water park. It had been built over the remains of a deserted airfield, debris from which was still strewn all over the patch of land between the parking lot and the waterslides. We got out of the bus and ate lunch at the picnic tables by the lot when we first arrived. There was a little round pond by the lot with a slim pie slice roped off as the swimming area. Within ten minutes of our sitting down to eat, a frantic kid from another school trip burst from the water crying, covered in orange paint.

When we got to the slides, we all noticed that even the water flowing down the slides, at less than half an inch deep, was tinged slightly green. One of the three slides was merely a chain of whirlpools, each as murky as the next, bubbling with a head of mealy foam. Thankfully, none of our number fell ill, but I'm sure having been exposed to the concentration of chemicals it must have taken to keep the waterborne cess from sickening us shortened our lifespans by a year or two. This was the first and last time I have ever been to a water park.

It's amazing that these giant-sized, constantly-flushing urinals don't putrefy every living thing within a fifty meter radius, let alone those who actually dare get in.

Sense of Humor

I saw a commercial the other day for a dating service that said it paired its clients based on different personal characteristics. One of these measured qualities was "sense of humor." After they mentioned that they included humor in the analysis, a guy came on for a testimonial or something. He said, "I want a woman with a great sense of humor - someone who'll laugh at my jokes whether they're funny or not."

Hmmmm, I thought to myself. If you laugh at jokes that aren't funny, doesn't that mean you have an extraordinarily poor sense of humor? If I smelled chocolate chip cookies baking no matter where I went, don't you think it'd be a little odd to go bragging about my great sense of smell?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


  1. Walter Johnson

  2. Bob Feller

  3. Roger Clemens

  4. Lefty Grove

  5. Satchel Paige*


Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh is a hypocrite, a liar and a drug-addict. Just thought I'd say that.

Bitch Dog and Scrotum Bag

Now that's customer service!

But after persistent problems with [LaChaina Govan's] digital recording system forced her to make dozens of calls to the cable company in July, her August bill came with a change really worth complaining about: In place of her name were the words "Bitch Dog."
Although Govan's troubles aren't all that common, the organization learned this week about a similar case involving a Peoples Energy customer, he said.

In that case, Jefferoy Barnes, 44, of Maywood received four pieces of mail from the company that included the words "scrotum bag" in the line with his name.
Even better!!!

Corrupt Republicans

Never trust the GOP with your money.

It weighed 28 tons and took up as much room as 74 washing machines. It was $2.4 billion in $100 bills, and Baghdad needed it ASAP.

The initial request from U.S. officials in charge of Iraq required the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decide whether it could open its vault on a Sunday, a day banks aren't usually open.


Then, when the shipment date changed, officials had to scramble to line up U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes to hold the money. They did, and the $2,401,600,000 was delivered to Baghdad on June 22, 2004.

It was the largest one-time cash transfer in the history of the New York Fed.

Disclosure of the frantic transfer in the final days of U.S. control over Iraq came during a daylong hearing Tuesday that indicated growing worry from Congress over U.S. oversight of spending in Iraq.
Is this not the twenty-first century? Do we not have electricity? Is there a particular reason that U.S. officials needed over $2 BILLION in flipping cash??? What's next? Giant stone coins? Pardon me for being cynical, but the only reason anyone could possibly need that much CASH MONEY is if they wanted no record of an illegal transaction. Like if they just wanted to stuff it in a duffle bag and hand it to their friends.

But why worry about our government stealing vast sums of our money when there's a missing white girl in Aruba? Runaway corruption, sure. But did you hear about the runaway bride?

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Godfather

If you took a poll of parents in the U.S. and told them that their children were going to be forced to view all 179 minutes of the Godfather but for one solitary scene of their choosing, I bet I know which one most would pick. Of course they'd pick the one boobie scene, when Apollonia Corleone takes off her shirt and hugs Michael. But how ridiculous is that? This isn't Wedding Crashers. This is a couple about to have sex on their flipping wedding night. I personally would pick the scene where Luca Brazi gets garrotted by Solozzo's men. Now that is a big time inappropriate scene for the younger set.

You could make the case that kids shouldn't see the movie at all. The MPAA would back you up on that one, too. But there is no one in the universe who can tell me honestly that their children would suffer more harm for having seen a couple about to consumate their marriage than Santino's body being riddled with bullets. What Michael and Apollonia do isn't unnatural, it isn't "high-risk" behavior, it isn't even stylized fantasy that could maybe give kids the wrong idea about sex. It's their wedding night for heaven's sake! Be fruitful and multiply! Remember that one? They're obeying a direct command from God!

Now I have no backup info on this, no actual survey was administered, and I have no way of knowing for sure that this is how such a survey would shake out. All I have to go on are my considerable psychic powers combined with a pretty good idea of what they take out of the TV version. And also, of course, burning with the intensity of a thousand suns, the confidence that I am absolutely correct.


Not sure I understand the concept behind the Veggieburger. If you want veggies, wherefore the complusion to pretend it's a burger? Someone once told me, in defense of the Veggieburger, that I wouldn't be able to taste the difference. My response to that is: WTF? Why would I want to play make-believe with my food? Why not just eat one of the literally thousands of vegetarian dishes there are in this world? If you want to eat some veggies, it's not like you don't have options.

For a little perspective, consider a product I'm considering marketing someday. It's called Meetey-Veg. Made from processed meat product, pressed into, say, broccoli spears, dyed green and artificially flavored, it allows grown men to finally eat their vegetables. Now isn't that ridiculous? Then what if, as your face revulsed at the prospect of actually biting down on such a horror, I declared that the reason you shouldn't worry is that it tastes "just like broccoli"?

And don't nobody give me that "just for the taste of it" crap of I like veggieburgers better than hamburgers. Because you don't. Why? Because veggieburgers taste awful and you know it. This isn't about taste. It's about lying to yourself over and over again until you don't even know your own name. So how about I grill up a veggie-burger, boil some meetey-veg asparagus, and wash it down with a glass of soy "milk." Pretending is fun! Maybe for next meal, I'll wear an eyepatch and dress up like a pirate!

Dove Season

Not that I care in the slightest that this guy's feathers are in a ruffle because of Cindy Sheehan's protest, but what exactly did he mean by this?

And yesterday morning, as Cindy Sheehan and a small gathering of other antiwar supporters prepared for a worship service, he stood in his goat pasture and fired a shotgun into the air.

''I'm getting ready for dove season," he said when reporters pressed him. ''I'm practicing."
I'm not a hunter, so please forgive my ignorance. Is there an actual dove season, as in Mourning, Rock, White-tailed, et al., or does he mean "doves" as opposed to "hawks?" The article says he's not to fond of the pro-war demonstrators either, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. But I wonder...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Limits on Justice

In light of my last post, I've decided that by saying/writing the words "tort reform" (damn, I did it again), I play right into the hands of the GOP message-meisters who make their living spoonfeeding this crap to the ignorant masses. Therefore, from now on, every time you'd expect me to say "tort reform" (and may that be the last time) I will say instead "limits on justice." I feel that phrase a little more accurately describes what we're dealing with.

Let's try it out, shall we? First I'll GoogleNews the magic words "tort reform" (arrrgggghhh) and see what it spits out. Well. Look at that. Ezra's article from the last post is the first hit. Let's move to the next one.

Texas, Georgia and even Mississippi have all passed [limits on justice] to improve their economies and stop the exodus of doctors. But now bidding to take their place as a favorite trial lawyer destination is the previously sensible state of Wisconsin, led by its Supreme Court.
Seems to describe things a bit better, no? How about the next hit?
Eva Johnson, 55, the last of the initial 12 Fayette residents charged last year in an IRS/FBI fraud investigation of bogus Fen-Phen claims, was sentenced last week before U.S. District Judge William Barbour to 31 months in prison and was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution.
OK. If there is fraud going on, of course you'd prosecute, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because someone's abusing the system doesn't mean we need to eliminate the ability of a person to punish an entity that would otherwise simply budget any penalty assumptions into their bottom line. Next? Subscription only. Oh well. Next? This one's from the Insurance Journal so I think we better just ignore it (I'd ignore an article from Trial Lawyers Weekly too in case you're wondering). Next?
At the top of the list: [limits on justice] and tax cuts.

Shielding businesses from lawsuits was one of Bense's priorities last year, but House and Senate negotiators weren't able to agree on much. They did approve measures to curtail lawsuits against companies that make products with cancer-causing asbestos and to protect utilities from lawsuits stemming from broken streetlights. Even so, one House staffer derisively referred to the overall results as "[limits on justice] lite."

House Republicans also fell short of their goal to eliminate Florida's intangibles tax -- the charge on investments paid by the state's wealthiest residents -- settling instead for repealing half of it.
That kind of sums it up, doesn't it? Limiting justice, taking away the little guy's right to recourse, coupled with a nice fat tax cut that benefits only the wealthy. What fun this is! Let's try again.
Forget pay raise, we need [limits on justice]

Rivers of ink have been devoted to the pay raise passed earlier this month by the members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly - and it can only be good for the cause of representative democracy to have the actions of the Legislature in the limelight.

Far more important issues confront Pennsylvania, though, than the compensation of our state officials.
Sort of subscription only, but we see enough to get the general idea. In any case, I think that "limits on justice" is descriptive, subversive, and has a nice ring to it. Please do try this at home.

Urban Legends and Tort Reform

Ezra Klein spotted an excellent article in today's Sunday L.A. Times that's definitely worth the time. It details how the public discourse regarding tort reform is dominated by urban legend and anecdotal evidence. Also fills in some of the blanks in the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit, which everyone at the watercooler seems to know all about, but, shockingly, doesn't.

Like rallying public opinion against the estate tax, this is one more example of right-wing corporatist interests' more or less successfully hoodwinking average Americans into supporting something that directly opposes their interests. Tort reform is peddled as some kind of pro-consumer initiative, but after you wipe away all the bullshit, it is part of an ongoing campaign to relieve large corporations of ever having to incur any substantial risk. Gotta hand it to them really. How'd they pull it off? Could we hire some of their PR guys to hoodwink the insurance and pharmaceutical companies into supporting Guaranteed Health Care For All Americans?

Sunday Random 12

  1. Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes, Elephant)

  2. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) (The Arcade Fire, Funeral)

  3. Modern Day Catastrophists (Bad Religion, Recipe For Hate)

  4. B + A (The Beta Band, The Three E.P.'s)

  5. There She Goes (The La's, The La's)

  6. I Know Something (Bout You) (Alice In Chains, Facelift)

  7. Lounge Act (Nirvana, Nevermind)

  8. Forever In My Life (Prince, Sign O' The Times)

  9. Blue Flowers Revisited (Dr. Octagon, Dr. Octagonecologyst)

  10. Harlem's Nocturne (Alicia Keys, The Diary Of Alicia Keys)

  11. Talkin' Blues (Bob Marley & The Wailers, 'Natty Dread')

  12. The Other Side Of Town (Curtis Mayfield, Curtis)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Submissions Wanted - Carnival of Bad History - Sept. 1st, 2005

(Ext. - The darkness is thick on a moonless night. A noiseless mist falls from an invisible sky. It is third watch at a dark stone gate to a small mountain village. Heavy oak doors fill the vaulted frame of the gate, while the reflection of torch flame flickers on massive iron, shutter-strap hinges. A guard shifts uneasily at his post straining his eyes into the black air. Suddenly, he straightens, gripping his weapon tightly. A figure approaches...)

GUARD: Hark! Who goes there? State your name and business.

TRAVELER: The Carnival of Bad History, my good man. (The traveler motions to his companions) We come in the name of truth, rooting out the errors entrenched in our modern conventional wisdom.

GUARD: mean what people think, on the whole?

TRAVELER: Precisely. Now, if you will be so good as to let us on our way...

GUARD: Not so fast, stranger. Bad History sounds like trouble.

TRAVELER: And so it is, friend, so it is! Again, that is exactly the problem we've come to remedy.

GUARD: And just how do you intend to do that, might I ask?

TRAVELER: (producing a handful of damp postbills) By tapping into the collective knowledge of your village, of course! After all, everyone has a story to tell.

GUARD: This is the same collective knowledge you were just deploring a minute ago?

TRAVELER: Precisely, my good man. Now kindly let us pass.

GUARD: (eyes squinting suspiciously) How do I know you're not here to spread even more Bad History?

TRAVELER: Well done, chap, well done. Good question indeed. Well I'm afraid you don't, I afraid you don't. Hmm. Perhaps I can prove it to you. Let me see, yes, well, before we begin would you happen to have the time?

GUARD: Why yes of course. (checking his watch) It's half past two, sir.

TRAVELER: Careful, wouldn't want to get it wet now would we?

GUARD: Actually it's waterproof to 50 metres. Says it right here on the back...

TRAVELER: Ah ha! You see? It's only 1512! Peter Henlein won't create the first pocket watch until 1524, and even then it won't have a minute hand until years later. Half past two, honestly. And waterproof? Who ever heard of such a ridiculous notion?

GUARD: So what's this here on my wrist then?

TRAVELER: Bad history, my fine fellow. Bad history.

GUARD: Hmmmph. (Opening the latch of the door)

TRAVELER: Right. Well, off we go then, off we go. (A band of motley folk, tin cups and tent stakes rattling, trudge past the guard and into the village. The traveler who had addressed the guard lingers briefly at the gate.) God only knows what lot of anachronisms, poor analogies, and water-carrying "wise-men" lie within. It pains me to think of it.


(Ext. - Daybreak on a narrow street in the village. Small postbills have been nailed to every available spot. A small collection of curious travelers and townspeople surrounds the nearest bill, which has been affixed to the doorframe of the village inn.)



Have you had your Fill of the CORRUPTION of History taking place each Day within our public Discourse? Are you driven to near Madness by the SELF-SERVING historical Comparisons made by ignorant Fops? Do you find Anachronisms AMUSING? Are you quite tired of so-called "learned Elders" who PURPOSELY MODIFY Fact and Figure in order to support their own narrow Interests?

Please share these and any Instances of BAD HISTORY with us! All ages and experience welcome. No Story is too short, no Story is too long. Whether it be a INACCURATE PRESENTATION of History, a MISGUIDED USE of History to prove a Point, or an Anecdote about an Historian ABANDONING any Semblance of INTELLECTUAL HONESTY, we want to know.

Send all Compositions to Horatio as soon as is humanly possible! Not much Time remains! All Submissions will be read aloud at DODECAHEDRON, all day long on the FIRST OF SEPTEMBER. Join us and rid the world of BAD HISTORY!


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mouse In Bread

This is the grossest thing I have ever seen.

Hat tip:Steve in Memphis

God of Nature, Nature of God

Dave, from comments, puts a fine point on what I've been trying to articulate for some time now. The nature of God, if he exists, is simply and utterly beyond our scope of comprehension.

The problem here is that too many people think that God is bound by our reasoning. Too us the mutations that force evolution are random. To God there is nothing that is random because God exists at all points in time simultaneously and all that which we humans call "random" is based on our linear conception of time. God is infinitely more complex than even absolute randomness and it is just because people want to turn God into an old man in the sky that they refuse to accept that mutation is as truly random as anything that we can apply that word to, but still nothing can be random to God.
Some people seem to be holding their breath, waiting for science to bump up against an invisible barrier, beyond which no more knowledge can be attained. Then, they will marvel as the vast unknowable that is God. Gaps in present knowledge are these hoped for glimpses onto the face of God, and, as science fills them one after another, disappointment and fear seem to follow. Defining God as the failure of inquiry is a slippery foundation for faith.

Kansas, Shame Of Our Nation

The Kansas State Board of Education (these are state office holders? not local yahoos, but state office holders?) just voted 6-4 to send their science-free version of the origins of life to an outside scientific arbitrator for further review. Exactly what scientific review would that be? I hope they included a laugh-track with their submission. Or did they just send it straight to Focus On The Family for expert consultation with Medical Peace Prize nominees?

In 1999 the Kansas board drew international attention when it deleted most references to evolution from its science standards. Elections the next year resulted in a less conservative board, which led to the current, evolution-friendly standards. Conservatives recaptured the board's majority in the 2004 elections.
That should read: Idiots recaputured the board's majority.

Personally, I think we should argue for a more balanced view of electricity, too. After all, electron theory has never been directly proved. And let's face it, my iPod is just way too complicated for electricity to be the only thing going on there. I mean, it shuffles songs AND stores pictures.

Rich republicans should thank their lucky stars that morons like this exist. They're the one and only reason they get to put their wealth concentration schemes into place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Computer Games

I wonder what would happen if I blogged for 49 straight hours? Probably wouldn't do a whole lot better than this dude here. I don't get it really. Did he just piss his pants?

A 28-year-old South Korean man died of exhaustion in an Internet cafe after playing computer games non-stop for 49 hours, South Korean police said Wednesday.
Kind of sad, though. Turns out there are pro leagues for computer gamers in Korea and I bet this guy was just practicing defensive maneuvers or something, hoping to hit the big time. Either that or he was completely insane. Which is also kind of sad.

I think I could play Civilization III for 12 hours straight but that's about it.

Highway Bill

Here at last is proof positive that conservatism in government is not only an oxymoron, but something that is utterly useless to any party in power, regardless of their expressed beliefs. All these conservatives in congress and not a single peep about the wide load hurtling off of the President's desk. As a liberal, I have no problem with initiatives like this one. I'm glad it passed. The government spending does indeed boost the economy and, unlike our unfortunate outlays in Iraq, the expenditures actually have a permanent positive result.

But what's to like about this project if you're a conservative? Were these roads that were demanded by market forces? Did private capital fail to seize upon an investment opportunity? To a free-market conservative, does not the absence of private capital in an enterprise make such an undertaking the very definition of unnecessary? Does conservative mean anything other than "hates gays" these days?

Nuclear Weapons

I don't really have a problem with articles that attempt to explore these types of questions rhetorically, but, taken at face value, the question "Is A Bigger 'Nuke Club' Inevitable?" is pretty silly. Fast forward 100 years from today and does it even seem remotely possible that any country who wants nukes won't have them? Is there any doubt about this at all? If Iran wants nukes, the simple fact is that they are going to get them. One more reason, I suppose, that senseless saber-rattling ought to quickly become a thing of the past.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bizarro Blog

It appears that I have won a couple of fans. I'm not sure if they've dedicated their lives to me at this point, but they seem to be edging in that direction. Maybe someday, we can reach an online symbiotic relationship of mutual beneficience not unlike the little birds that lounging alligators suffer to peck the junk from between their teeth. What can I say? I need the traffic.

Jean Schmidt

Another Voldemort supporter cozies in to her new position at the Ministry. Good thing for Ohio, too. Paul Hackett might have spread around one of them crazy "desert diseases" from the Gulf. Thanks for the service and all, buddy, but don't you have another tour coming up or something?

"If you want to do something, nothing holds you back if you have that desire," said Schmidt, who describes herself as a "5-foot-2 female who is very focused."
Her focus on placing her lips on the asses of her superiors is unmatched. The people of Ohio know where she stands on the issues: the very same exact place that George W. Bush stands on the issues. She will dedicate herself to memorizing talking points and saying them directly into the camera if she has to. She will take a stand on Fox News. Nothing will hold her back from carrying water for Karl Rove and Tom DeLay.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blame The Rapist

I just came across this sickening story of an especially sadistic sexual assault that occurred in Ireland. What struck me was the statement made by the local MP in response to the incident.

Michael Ferguson, a Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast said: "This is the second sexual attack in the general area in a week. I would urge local women not to travel home alone and for God's sake to be vigilant."
I understand the well-intentioned nature of Ferguson's words, and I've no doubt he places 100% of the blame for this incident on the two rapists themselves.

No matter. Here's what he should have said:

"Women of Belfast, go out walking. All of you. I want each and every one of you to walk right out the door tonight and go for a bit of a stroll. We're going to send a message to the twisted excrescence who think they can determine our bedtime. We are going to show them that we are not afraid of them. That, indeed, we will catch them and throw them in jail where they will remain for the rest of your lives. People who perpetrate crimes such as this are not fit to inhabit the same earth as we do. When someone breaks the public trust in such a way, they have permanently forfeited the right to a free existence. We will do everything in our power to catch these monsters. We will try them, convict them, and publicize their names and the places they called home, so that everyone may know what sort of atmosphere has produced such utter worthlessness. Time and again, women and families of women are shamed into keeping an incident like this to themselves out of fear of being labeled less than virtuous. Perhaps some of that shame can be extended to the scum who raise their boys to consider women as mere objects of pleasure. It would warm my heart like nothing else to see the shroud of shame, for once, descend upon the actual actor in this horrid crime, instead of upon the victim. Rapists of Belfast, we are coming for you. We will hunt you down and we shall not cease until you are stamped out of Ireland like the vile filth that you are."

I'm thinking if he said that, there's a chance it might have made the paper.

Sunday Random 12

  1. Comin' Back To Me (Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow)

  2. Hole In My Head (The Dixie Chicks, Fly)

  3. Your Eyes Open (Keane, Hopes And Fears)

  4. Flyin' High (In The Friendly Sky) (Marvin Gaye, What's Going On)

  5. I'm Appealing (Town And Country, C'Mon)

  6. Breadcrumb Trail (Slint, Spiderland)

  7. I Fought The Law (The Bobby Fuller Four, The Best Of...)

  8. Baby I Love You (Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway)

  9. Brand New Colony (The Postal Service, Give Up)

  10. West Savannah (OutKast, Aquemini)

  11. Poor Places (Wilco, YANKEEHOTELFOXTROT)

  12. Good To Be On The Road Back Home (Cornershop, When I Was Born For The Seventh Time)

Flip Flops

Easy come easy go, I suppose. No sooner do I hear the unbelievably good news that curry prevents cancer, than I come across a study concluding that flip-flops reside right between flame retardants and spent nuclear fuel rods on the scale of dangerous toxic substances.

The Sun also says that German researchers revealed last year that 14 out of 25 pairs of flip flops they studied contained toxic chemicals known to lower sperm count in men and attack the liver, kidneys and reproductive organs.
Yikes. What next? I-pods emit invisible waves that disrupt heart rhythms? Weber grills cause insanity? Playing backgammon hastens the onset of arthritis?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Digby's Right

As usual, the death-defying Digby is spot on with his assessment of the Democrats national security "problem."

Might I suggest that the reason Democrats have no credibility on national security is not because we allegedly refuse to defend the country, but because bedwetters like Evan Bayh run all over the country validating the Republican's patented talking points that Democrats refuse to defend the country?
That we Democrats would not defend our great nation from a gathering threat is ludicrous. That some Democrats feel they must side with Republicans to prove this point is more so.


  1. Guy de Maupassant*

  2. Anton Chekhov

  3. Ernest Hemmingway

  4. Eudora Welty

  5. Flannery O'Connor


There is one reason and one reason alone why the disappearance of Latoyia Figueroa, a young, attractive, PREGNANT woman, hasn't had its own segment on the 24-hour news channels: she isn't white. Please digest that for a minute. I know this has been discussed and rediscussed all over the blogosphere, especially in blogs from Philly, where Latoyia made her home, but please take some time to consider the implications of our newsmedia's relative silence.

This presents a useful lesson about the history of racism in this and nearly every other country. Some truly hateful individuals notwithstanding, for the most part no one ever means to be racist. I'm sure that no one consciously chose not to run Latoyia's story, but the fact that no one meant to snub her is completely irrelevant. Most people take pains not to publicly act racist and they'd become indignant at any old relic who acted as though the civil rights era never happened. But put them in a situation where today's version of racism is happening right in front of their faces and chances are they won't even realize it. For cable news networks to run constant specula-thons over the missing white woman du jour, then completely ignore a missing woman of color is the definition of racism. Intended or not, the message it sends is while white women are worth the time to wonder about, black women are not.

We judge our ancestors and condemn them for their ignorance and tsk tsk the old racist symbols of yesterday, but we are utterly blind to what happens right under our noses. This is how it happened to the ancestors that we judge so harshly, and this is what is now happening to us. Most likely, our grandchildren will tsk tsk at us while they ignore the injustice in their own day. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, "how much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." It's extremely satisfying to judge the actions of others, but not so much to look inward and discern what prejudices we carry around in our hearts.

My personal takeaway from this? One more reason not to drink from the veritable font of cess that is television news.


Bush is an unpopular, lame-duck president.

I dare you to find a poll that proves me wrong. I double dare you. Post it in the comments if you'd like.

Terrorists And Br'er Rabbit

Man, I wish these maniacs would stop saying this stuff:

Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the most senior figures in al-Qaeda, has warned Britain and the US to expect more attacks unless they get their troops out of Iraq and all other Muslim countries.

He also warned that London will face new terrorist outrages because of Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign policy decisions.
There is no better way to ensure that the U.S. stays in Iraq than for a top al-Qaida figure to warn us to get out of Iraq, or else. In the absence of a terrorist suggesting where our armed forces might go, getting out of Iraq is our own decision. It's a question of policy. Hmmm, would getting out of Iraq be better or worse for the U.S.? We are free to ponder that question. But the second a terrorist says "we want you out of Iraq," now one of our choices is equivalent to "doing the bidding of terrorists." And I can't really blame anyone for balking at wanting to cooperate, no matter how tangentially, with terrorists. If a terrorist said "the U.S. must lower the capital gains tax," I'm sure even Grover Norquist would have to pause for a minute to reassess his position on the matter.

But the terrorists must know this. How could they not know this? They must know that whatever they demand, they simply will not get. Which got me thinking, maybe they want us in Iraq. Maybe they enjoy having us there. After all, if they know exactly how we will respond to their every request, they can tailor their requests to get the response they want. Maybe these kind of threats are really an elaborate Br'er Rabbit routine, where they know their only hope is to keep the U.S. thinking that it's doing what it doesn't want, when in fact we're doing exactly what they want.

To Br'er Fox, the briar patch looked for all the world like the worst possible place to throw someone. If you wanted to get even, dole out punishment, or stamp out resistance, the briar patch was the place to do it. When Br'er Rabbit got stuck on the tar baby, Br'er Fox had him right where he wanted him. But instead of thinking about what would be most harmful to his adversary, Br'er Fox was preoccupied with his own deepest fears. To Br'er Fox, the briar patch was the worst fate of all. But Br'er Rabbit wanted to be thrown in the briar patch. In fact, it was his only chance.

To me, war and violence and mayhem is the briar patch. We think it's terrible, and for us, a mostly civilized society, it is terrible. By extension, how terrible and just it would be to visit such punishment on our worst enemies. But to violent terrorists consumed with hatred for secular order, mayhem is just what the doctor ordered. The more disorder they can sow, the more it becomes "their turf." The more things spiral out of control in Iraq, the more confident they become. Bush says that more explosions mean the terrorists are desparate. I'd argue that the opposite is true: that they're feeling right at home.

My solution? I really do believe that terrorism is a law enforcement issue, but not in a "tell the boys in blue to keep their eyes peeled" type of way. It should be a global law enforcement initiative, with everyone from the CIA to Interpol right in the thick of it. Now that, I think, is a fate the terrorist would fear. No more meetings in airports. No more training grounds. No more internet correspondence. If a nation doesn't cooperate, we use our intelligence network to gather the necessary info and our considerable military might to swoop in, do what needs doing, and get the heck out. Our intelligence network isn't sophisticated enough? We don't have enough/adequate spy satellites? Cooperation with foreign law enforcement is not what we'd like it to be? Gee. It'd be nice to have the 200 billion we've spent on Iraq and all that post 9-11 diplomatic capital back. Could have come in pretty handy. Oh well.

The use of force can be a valuable tool as we work to oppose terror, but this shooting guns in Iraq, nation-building crap is for the birds. And it's exactly what al-Qaida wants. So, of course, they're going to ask us to leave.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Haley Joel Osment

After reading his bio on IMDB (greatest website of all time), I have to admit I hate Haley Joel Osment a lot less than I did yesterday.

Favorite authors: Tolkien and Edgar Allan Poe

Favorite music / bands: R.E.M., Coldplay, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
I can live with that. At least he didn't say Yellowcard or Hoobastank. Geez.

They Still Don't Get It

Paul from Powerline on yesterday's special election in Ohio's 2nd congressional district:

I should add that, although the Democrat, Paul Hackett, made some nasty references to President Bush, he also ran an ad that made him appear to be a pro-Bush Marine supporting the work of our troops in Iraq. Presumably the nasty references (on Chris Matthews' show for example) were aimed at national leftist contributors, while the pro-Bush stuff was for consumption by the voters.
When will the bozos on the right learn (rhetorical question, I know) that supporting the "troops," as in "hoping they don't die," "praising them for their sacrifice," "ADVOCATING FOR VETERANS BENEFITS WHEN THEY GET HOME!!!!," has virtually nothing to do with supporting Bush or his ridiculous idea to invade Iraq?

If someone sets my house on fire, and big red flashing trucks come screeching in to put it out, do you mean to tell me that my savaging the reckless arsonist who destroyed my property, wasted my money, and killed my goldfish is somehow an affront to the firefighters? Think, people!!!

Evolution And Science

One thing that's always struck me about evolution and ID is that there's nothing particularly special about evolution that it would require supervision whereas other phenomena wouldn't. ID could be applied to any number of processes that God is "guiding," from digesting one's food to the nuclear reactions at the center of the sun to the relationships described by calculus. I don't see any push to give thanks that God keeps 1 and 1 equalling 2 every new day, at least not yet. I suppose you could say that, but once you get past the "God's world is a beautiful world" part, what's the point? Is this really about stopping what we're doing at regular intervals, shouting "Praise the Lord," and then getting back to work?

Since there's nothing about evolution that's all that different from other scientific discoveries, I suppose we should expect other theories to fall under the ID microscope. (God is making the image appear larger, Praise His Holy Name.) I hear that now the fundamentalists are even reviving geo-centrism. My reaction to that is what they heck have they been waiting for? Let's go people! I want alternate "explanations" for gravity, electricity, brain function, chlorophyll, you name it. Of course, ID isn't an explanation at all, but an anti-explanation. Its main goal is to put a halt to disinterested inquiry of any kind. Once God has been credited with responsibility, then why go on? We know how it happened. God did it. Hell, why even go to school?

Bush Speak

If there's one thing Bush is very, very good at it is saying something that seems at first listen to be unqualified support, but, when taken out of context, loses nearly all its meaning. Of course, most things lose their meaning when taken out of context. With many of Bush's soundbites, however, the intent of the words undergo an almost complete transformation. Consider the following statement:

"I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," Bush said. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes."
If Bush had said this in response to a question about a philosophy syllabus, I'm sure most would agree that is a reasonable statement. But Bush wasn't talking about how studying Hegel and Locke and Kant was a good idea. He said this about the prospect of teaching "intelligent design" in public schools.

It took me a few moments to realize how utterly dependent on context the above quote is, and it wasn't until I had literally cut and pasted the words into this post that it fully hit me. Seeing the words all by themselves, it was surprising, as the meaning sort of drained away from them, how much of this meaning I myself had originally supplied. I wanted to become outraged that Bush was giving the official White House OK for ID, and I'm sure that's how he intended an evangelical to perceive his statement. But there is simply nothing in his statement that betrays the actual content of Bush's belief system with respect to evolution and ID.

Now Intelligent Design is one of those How Many Angels On The Head Of A Pin type questions. It's essentially an unresolvable situation. Of course evolution by random chance were the manner by which life and eventually human life appeared on the earth, but did God have a "hand" in it? The fact that God doesn't have hands notwithstanding, there's just no way to answer that question in substantive, non-faith terms. The notion of God's "involvement" in any scientifically discovered physical process, including everyday chemical reactions, is completely unprovable and thus never transcends the realm of theology. Hence the well founded complaints of ID injecting religion into science. ID isn't about a different perspective on scientific inquiry, it is an inherently non-scientific approach.

So is Bush "for" ID? Does he not "believe" in evolution? Who's to say? His statement sure doesn't say. What it leaves no doubt about, though, is that those who would teach religion masquerading as science have an ally in Bush. Perhaps this is too obvious even to mention, but it seems that Bush is willing to sacrifice the education of our children in exchange for the votes of his most reliable constituency. One is left to wonder, who else will Bush sell out to please the evangelical fundamentalists?

Monday, August 01, 2005


Whenever Sen. Santorum or people of his ilk start going off on the sanctity of marriage, or state of the family or general depravity of mankind or whatever it is they like to rail about, my first reaction is: what's your point?

Let's say, for arguments sake, "the family" is currently spiraling right down the crapper just like Rick says. OK. What the heck are we supposed to do about it? Do he have an idea for a magic law that will make everyone's family be way better than it is right now? Does he have an elixir that will stop men from beating their wives in front of their children? Can he conjure a way to stop infidelity? Or stop alcoholism? Or prevent gay children from being kicked out of their homes?

At the risk of undercutting my entire blog, I quote all-around great guy Thomas Carlyle: "Talk that does not end in any kind of action is better suppressed alltogether." Seriously, Rick. Put up or shut up. And your book doesn't count. That's just more jaw. I'm talking real policy proposals. But seeing as what you would propose to put up would most likely be declared unconstitutional in Cuba, why don't you just do us all a favor and shut up.

Chicago Bloggers

Where art thou? Reveal thyselves!!!

You guys from First Draft are from Chicago, no?


Seriously, anyone out there?

This blog is based on a true story.