Dean: Pushing the Button on Schiavo

Re: this piece in US Toady (yeah, it started out as a typo but I'm getting grouchy so I'm leaving it), I do not want to see the Democrats raise Schiavo again and again. Raise the issue, but don't squander the opportunity to let people see and don't use Schiavo endlessly.

Using her was wrong for the Rabid Right. It's wrong for the centrist Democrats, too.

USA Today: U.S. Already Moving to Flat Tax

Story here. You might want to read.

"Get Him to the Church on Time!"

Frank Rich.

Gee, Norway Doesn't Sound So Bad to Me

Reading this piece in The Times about Scandanavian countries and the differences in standards between there and here, the writer keeps making a point about their matpakkes or boxed lunches.

Why does this strike me as a real snobbery, especially given the title of the piece: "We're Rich. You're Not. End of Story" (and really, it's not about the Bushies!).

In this country, we're addicted to huge quantities of usually very bad and sometimes-even-lab-designed food. The most popular menus around the country tend to load up on bulky items with high calorie, cholesterol, carbohydrate and preservative/additive counts. We drop a shitload of money on buying MickeyD's and Subway's and Pizza Hut's.

And when I say we, I'm using the snobbish royal "we" because you won't catch me eating there.* When I worked more often in a traditional office, whether I was a class wage slave or someone better paid, I usually brown bagged. For the money, I could get much better food in reasonable quantities. I was much less apt to eat the same thing day after day with a self-made lunch than I was with local dining options.

I see some of what the writer is trying to say, but I'm not convinced the U.S. wouldn't be better off not throwing away so much damned money on silly, thoughtless excess.

* My last Mickey D's was almost five years ago. Not out of conscious effort but I found that the longer I went without it, the less I missed it. The only chain I now miss is Red Lobster for reasons I can't really explain.

Whoa! Saturday Night Live Isn't Dead?

Where did they finally find the cojones after some long period of time to do the sketch on DeLay tonight? Now, it wasn't perfect, but it was better than we long since hoped to get.

Parnell needs to work on smarmy delivery. For example, classic DeLay is a shot with him standing on the right and angled toward the front left, up high so he doesn't look like such a little pissant. Then he puffs himself up like a ruffed grouse about to let out a noise that will terrify you, and then, just before he speaks or during pauses between paragraphs, he gives us the Tommy Eyes.

Tommy Eyes always reminds me of very old ladies when I was a small girl; they weren't supposed to talk trash as a woman of graceful years so they would do this nasty little up-and-down with their eyes while they affect the expression of someone smelling untidy didies, a hint of a curl of the nose in measured distaste.

SNL has hidden Daryl Hammond, easily among the most talented on that show in sometime (although not with everything - his Arnold needs life support but then, so does the real Arnold), carefully away most of this season. He does Chris Matthews to the point where Chris Matthews practically has a wet dream while replaying it on Hardball (they finally told him they couldn't show the Zel Miller "duel" video another 10 million times) ad infinitum because he's just so darned tickled! Chris now tries to do his show by imitating Daryl imitating him because he thinks it's just more interesting than straight Chris (heh).

Meanwhile, SNL has been overusing Seth Meyers far more than any of the rest of the talent (Amy Pohler is sometimes overplayed, too, and she's not a good fit on the Weekend Update Desk yet; she and Tina play is far too much like an inside joke we're not inside). Meyers is talented, but they have him hoofing into almost every skit, his characters run into one another, and they seem all a bit too worked up.

But hey, SNL. Nice cojones tonight. We've missed them. For years. Get my drift? And really, with this sports person as host, it's not like we're gonna watch much of the rest of the show.

Crap. Did I just write a review of an insipid comedy show?

[Ed. note: Yes, you did.]

[Author's note: Why didn't you stop me?]

[Ed. note: Because I prize my cajones and you're wearing those pointy shoes.]

[Author's note: Wuss. You really need to stop using John Kerry (of this age) as your male role model.]

[Ed. note: Wonderful. Life coaching advice from a Deanie Baby. Let me take notes so I don't miss a moment of your witty analysis.]


From Saturday's The Times:

Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans. But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.

. . . The message is that the Democrats who oppose a tiny handful of President Bush's judicial nominations are conducting an assault "against people of faith." By that, Senator Frist and his allies do not mean people of all faiths, only those of their faith.

It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance. It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, who swore on the Bible to uphold a Constitution that forbids the imposition of religious views on Americans. . . . Senator Frist is determined to get judges on the federal bench who are loyal to the Republican fringe and, he hopes, would accept a theocratic test on decisions.
What more needs be said? Look at the list of people participating in Frist's Nuclear Jihad and there is really only one major faction represented (and hint: it's not Jews, or Muslims, or protestants or hell, even a lot of Baptists).

And thanks to Armando at Daily Kos for the pointer.

In the "So We're Supposed to Do What?" Department

If you're interested in a view of how we're supposed to defeat the Nuclear Jihad of Bill Frist and Company (love it that he scheduled this for Passover and pissed off the AntiDefamation League), look here. Then please, pretty please, explain to me how we're supposed to leave them alone when we haven't touched them. The only one who jerks them off is the Nutwing and they're not very gentle about it either.

I'm all for figuring out a way, but a) I'm not convinced the them we should leave alone can perceive that we're not touching them (they aren't seeing evidence of this, they are just taking O'Reilly et al's word for it even when there's ample proof O'Reilly would make a polygraph explode red ink) and b) how do we stop doing what we aren't doing?

No, this isn't a snark at Armando at Daily Kos. But the game plan has to make some sense. If it does, I'm not getting it.

Smarm Among F(r)iends

If only Hillary was worth all this. From Media Matters:

A forthcoming book about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has received much free advance publicity, with several media outlets and figures speculating -- some five months before the book is to be available -- that it will damage Clinton's much-discussed, but undeclared, presidential campaign. But what do we really know about The Truth about Hillary? Only that a Sentinel publishing co. spokesperson admitted in a moment of candor that his "fondest hope" is that the book would smear Clinton as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smeared Sen. John Kerry.
As I've mentioned (in the spirit of full disclosure), I would not like to see Senator Clinton in the 2008 presidential race. While I'd love to see a woman, I'd like to see this country begin to heal and think even more. Hillary is not Bill. She vacillates too much and this whole thing recently of her shifting to the right more than nauseates me.

But with that said, I'm never too happy when I see these bogus books come forth on either side. The funny thing about the Bush book Kitty Kelley did was that we all know what kind of book Kelley usually produces: salacious. But even with that, her book (which I did not buy but read parts of) was better documented than anything in the Swift Boat book (which I also looked at) and some of the other smear books but from the right. Kelley was held to a much different standard. Also, there used to be a time when a publisher vetted the authors and demanded for readers some understanding of why the authors feel moved to write the work. As a professional, I submit (submit - I just love the language of publishing) to vetting on a regular basis.

At the end of the day, books like Kelley's and books like the Swift Boat cock-and-bull and the Hillary-and-Bill Smear League do nothing to encourage anything useful. It's unfortunate how many publishers are choosing to play these games. One expects it of a Judith Regan; but this one did not expect it of some of the publishers who've engaged in it.

Goats? Again the Nutwing's Fascination with Bestiality

While discussing the case of two male Massachusetts inmates who requested prison officials' permission to marry, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said that gay marriage will eventually lead to people petitioning courts to marry goats. O'Reilly has voiced a similar idea before, as Media Matters for America has noted.

No, actually, I don't think anyone is going to petition the court to marry O'Reilly. Not even Ken Mehlman.

But for pete's sake, what is the great fascination that Rick Santorum has with man-on-dog sex and O'Reilly with goat marriage (and loofahs and falafel!)? These are both men who claimed Clinton put the country in the gutter (even though it was Ken Starr who insisted we hear all about cigars and fellatio) and yet they flip off bestiality references like this is Caligula's Pub on Friday night after the kiddies have gone to bed. As I recall, O'Reilly's on before lots of kiddies go to bed. Where's the FCC censorship here? Is Brent Bozell writing letters? Is the Concerned Women of America trying to figure out how to spell FCC so they can complain?

I mean, isn't it bad enough that we're letting Condi pretend she's the other Mrs. George Bush? Polygamy seems a tad kinky, too. Plus if there's really one thing you don't need is more than one spouse.

Really, Righties. Let's take the conversation level up a notch. Stop wallowing in a hot tub or gutter.

Say Hello to

Something Requisitely Witty and Urbane.

[Ed. note: She really needs a paying job where all they make her do is read blogs all day and night long. She can't get enough. You can tell this from her pallor and calloused trackball thumb.]

The FCC and Writing New Rules on Censorship

Amanda at Pandagon has an important piece up - from which I'm quoting liberally because I think it opens up an important discussion - that I encourage you to peruse.

I did want to address this Salon article about strengthening FCC censorship powers and some of the underlying goals of conservatives who are pushing for this, and as Jesse and Steve pointed out, the underlying goals are not some hazy idea of basic decency, but are in fact political goals to indocrinate people to a particular form of Christianity and to stir up some resentment against Jews.

The FCC standards of "indecency" and "community standards" are incredibly vague and the intention on the part of social conservatives is to use that vagueness to punish people perceived as political enemies in entertainment. The various shitstorms that have erupted since certain conservative groups decided to use complaining to the FCC as a political tool definitely hint that something other than simply not wanting your kids to see something raunchy on TV is motivating people.

For instance, two of the biggest media noisemaking incidents were the Janet Jackson nipple incident and the ad where you got to see (gasp!) Nicolette Sheridan's back. Nudity was the ostensible reason people got upset, but both these TV scenes were doing something else that quite a few people don't like but won't say so out loud--both scenes presented interracial sexual contact matter-of-factly. When people say they don't want their kids to get ideas from things like this, what idea are they afraid kids will get?

When one sexual display is deemed innocent and another is deemed indecent, it's wise to look and see if the real issue is subversion of sexual or racial hierarchies. Sexual displays that indicate conformity, like weddings, are in no danger of getting labeled "indecent". Unless, of course, the couple portrayed is gay or lesbian.

Some other incidents that the Salon article mentions of complaints that were generated by conservative groups to the FCC also hint at larger efforts to shape the political content of the programming on TV.
    But in the light of the FCC's recent dismissal of several indecency claims, is the fear of widespread censorship overblown? The rejected claims were filed against Nielsen-rating staples like "Friends," "The Simpsons" and "CSI," as well as a couple of newsmaking incidents. One incident involved a sultry promo for ABC's "Monday Night Football" that featured "Desperate Housewives'" Nicollette Sheridan dropping her towel in the locker room while trying to seduce NFL star Terrell Owens. The other incident concerned a CNN producer who inadvertently screamed some profanities when balloons at the Democratic National Convention failed to drop on cue following Sen. John Kerry's prime-time address.

The S Word

As he fielded questions from the students, Scalia defended his methods of judicial interpretation, known as originalism, or interpreting the Constitution to mean what the framers originally intended.

"The constitution is not a living organism," Scalia said, espousing his belief that the Constitution's interpretation should not change over time. "It's a legal document." This theory of judicial interpretation supports change through legislation and persuading fellow citizens to pass laws, rather than using decisions of the Supreme Court to create legislation. "

The Supreme Court is essentially writing a new Constitution," he said. The Q-and-A opened with hostility as audience members expressed frustration with many of Scalia's opinions.

In asking about Scalia's dissent in Lawrence v. Texas and his view that privacy is not constitutionally protected, Eric Berndt, a law student, shocked the crowd by asking, "Do you sodomize your wife?"

Scalia refused to answer the question while the crowd gasped and the administrators promptly turned off Berndt's microphone.
I have to admit I felt a mild degree of amusement when I first heard about this yesterday, yet not enough that I remembered to post it until Amanda Marcotte over at the land of Pandagon reminded me.

Normally, I do not consider sodomy a laughing matter. Or Judge Scalia, for that matter - he's a tad scary, at best. That is not the view I've always held of him but it's my view today. Yet I digress.

Forgive me, it was Tax Day. Anything more interesting than a Schedule SE and a Form 9427F as specified by Publication 1313BJ seemed bleeping hilarious. Hearing Bush appoint Don King as the head of the Department of Education or the twins as the diplomatic ambassadors to The Gap would have missed my notice because - you must admit - some of his other appointments have seemed even stranger!

BTW, Did Everyone Survive Tax Friday?

I didn't lose any of you to dementia caused by a Form 2004 FU2?

Open Thread

Kvetch amongst yourselves while I keep a date with coconut curry shrimp and chicken.

Light Bulbs Soon to Be Dinosaurs

This is vaguely interesting.

From USA Today:

If a time traveler from a hundred years ago were to visit a home today, much of the technology would be completely alien. The television, cordless phone and computer would probably leave him flabbergasted.

But on seeing a light bulb, he might say, "Ah! Here's something I recognize. A few of those grace my home, too."

If the visitor comes back in 15 years, the fruit of Thomas Edison's bright idea may be gone. The likely replacement: light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Here are a random mix of links shared by one of our regulars:

I'm also looking at Book Surge and Lulu for creation/publishing.

Karlo Discusses WalMart


I'm finding myself in the position of needing to buy some things, but the only store left around closer than 50 miles who doesn't just sell expensive socks (for example) by the pair only is WalMart. But I won't shop there. I refused to go in one earlier this year when a friend called to announce one of my books was on prominent display there (why? because I know about all the books that will never be sold at WalMart). While I admit a secret thrill when I go in somewhere and find something I produced on sale, I just couldn't go there.

So at some point, when my socks disintegrate, I'll take a very long drive.

Yes, I could buy online. But I've been trying to shop a) more locally and b) more blue. And all I want - well, not all - are things like socks.

Crystal Meth, Desperate Times, and a Terrible Man Named Dick Dasen

Roger Ailes (the non-antiChrist version) points to a New West article (a longy that actually loads very fast) spelling out the story of wealthy, church-going and GOP-supporting Dick Dasen and charges that he ruined his town by using crystal meth as the currency by which he could engage in sex with a number of young women everyday.

The article's a fascinating read but a scary one. I confess I know virtually nothing about the crystal meth explosion in this country and how it's a huge deal in rural areas. Just the number of crystal meth lab arrests listed in the article for a small town of 15,000 is phenomenal.

House GOP Kills Dems' Ethics' Overhaul Proposal

What a surprise (NOT)!

From CNN:

House Republicans brushed aside the Democrats' latest attempt to rewrite ethics rules on Thursday, one day after a closed-door discussion that touched on the perils of political arrogance.

The vote was 218-195, along party lines, to kill the proposal by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader.

The California Democrat swiftly issued a statement accusing Republicans of showing "allegiance to the ethics standards of Tom DeLay." DeLay, the majority leader, is battling charges of misconduct.

Republicans held ranks one day after a few lawmakers expressed concern at a closed-door meeting over the party's handling of the ethics issue.
Now, I don't think either side has the side of the angels here, but what we're seeing now is some of the most egregious shit that has gone down in modern (last 30 years) history. Richard Nixon looks like a dump school kid with his antics by comparison.

So yeah, I'm serious about keeping Tom DeLay right where he is for 2006. Then the voters of Texas - and the rigged voting machines - can do their bidding.

China, Japan, and Protests

Today's little snapshot of the melodrama is playing on CNN.

There's little doubt that the first of the protests against the Japanese - mostly aimed at what was perceived as "rewriting" textbooks of Chinese history to make the Japanese look better - was completely sanctioned by the Chinese government.

The problem is - at least from Chinese government's standpoint - is that they can rarely control what gets started. The last few times China has allowed such protests to happen, people in China discovered they liked this whole "protest" thing. And once they exhaust their ire at Japan (which admittedly may take awhile because the feud isn't new), China may find itself facing protestors who aren't too happy with the Chinese government.

Rising Hegemon: Your Tax Dollars At Work

Here's an example.

And yes, it toasts my cookies.

What the Hell Happens in Columbus Schools?

Reader CK sent me this - and posted on it in Comments elsewhere.

Warning: it's a disturbing story in a whole lot of ways.

Say Hello to

Badtux, the Snarky libertarian penguin.

Say Hello to

Diplomats Against Bolton.

Also heads up to Frist for President.


Save Hot Tub Tom!

Your Midnight Snack

Gee, Uh... Thanks

I'm always amazed at how my blog comes up in certain search engine look-sees. For example, at times, I'm either #1 or #2 when you search on "Tom DeLay hot tub" and "Laura Bush Marijuana". Wow, it's hard to express my pleasure at being linked to a (nearly) naked Tom DeLay in a hot tub. ::cough::

But go looking for me in Google and it's tough to find me.

Sean Hannity Coaches Less Than Credible Schiavo Nurses

From Lloyd Grove's Lowdown in the Daily News:

If the conservative guests on Fox News' "Hannity and Colmes" sound especially on-message, that's because they're being coached by the best:

Sean Hannity himself.

On the March 31 installment of the shouting-head show, the guests included two of the late Terri Schiavo's former nurses, Trudy Capone and Carla Sauer Iyer, arguing that their patient wasn't brain-dead.

Between commercials, according to an off-air audiotape obtained by investigative comedian Harry Shearer for last Sunday's episode of his weekly radio program, "Le Show," Hannity coached the women on exactly how to respond when liberal co-host Alan Colmes cross-examined them.

"Just say, 'I'm here to tell what I saw,'" Hannity can be heard instructing his guests. "No matter what the question, 'I'm here to tell you what I saw. I'm here to tell you what I saw.'"

Hannity adds helpfully: "Say, 'I'm not going to be distracted by silliness.' How's that? Does that help you? Look into that camera. Look at me when I'm talking."

On the air, Iyer performs beautifully. "I don't have any opinions or judgments. I was there," she declares

After the segment ends, Hannity gushes off the air to the nurses: "We got the points out. It's hard, this isn't easy. But you did great, both of you. Thank you, guys. Those nurses are powerful, aren't they?"

On his radio show, Shearer injected: "Yeah, especially when they do what you tell 'em to do. Very powerful when they follow instructions from the host!"

A Fox News flack didn't respond to Lowdown's detailed message yesterday.
Thank you, Harry Shearer.

Mind you, the nurses they showed were the same ones deemed "too questionable" to appear on behalf of the parents in the Schiavo case, and you know some pretty "colorful" characters did appear. But now we know how they managed to seem more "credible" on Sean Hannity's little show (Alan Colmes is allowed a few words occasionally; I'd hate to be him, willing to take money from Rupert Murdoch for this crap... a shame, I once liked and respected him).

New Poll Up: To the Right and Down Er.. Up

It's about religion.

This is your last chance to vote on DeLay. I'll close that poll at midnight.

More on Whether it's "Right" to Attack the "Culture of Life' Keyword

Dylan picks up his thoughtful post on Feministe I brought up earlier this week to continue the dialogue. I think it's smart to do so because we do need to be careful not to appear as aggressors (and let's face it, we're not the ones advocating violence and the wresting of rights from people) considering the "other side" loves to portray themselves as victims.

The good news is that I don't think moderate Republicans - and we have to assume (please let it be so) that moderate Republicans still represent the dominant numbers in the party - really like to see themselves or their party as victims (any more than we would). So I think even that refrain will backfire on the extremists as will many of their other ploys.

The tricky part is that even though the extremists cry "victim" even while they're publicly threatening others and do so many things that seem almost schizophrenic in reasoning and execution, things that make normal people (Rep and Dem and Indy) shudder, they've also been devilishly successful at framing the presentation on everything!


    * We're the Culture of Life (who support the death penalty for teens, the public stoning of women who become pregnant outside of marriage, the disconnection of life support for strictly financial reasons, the harm of Planned Parenthood employees and judges and OB/GYNs)
    * We're great Christians (liberals worship goats during nightly pot-smoking orgies on Satanic altars) - Wolf Blitzer got the message before he told Paul Begala he was a bad Catholic but Robert Novak was holy
    * We love Jews (and we'll love 'em more after they all convert to Christianity during the Rapture or they die great painful deaths while we laugh and eat pork)
    * There is no greater sanctity than marriage (unless you're the husband of our symbol Schiavo and then you should be threatened by Congress on TV) and everyone should be married (except homos and librul women)
And while they get framed as holy pious saints with halos, anyone to the political left of Nancy Reagan is pegged as a libby, and a moonbat, and a Godless whore who wants to "kill our babies and pee on our Masonic Bibles!"

[Ed. note: Yes, she's ranting again. We're not sure what happened. She's been like this all day. She was screaming something about taxes and Alan Greenspan in her sleep last night and then her first communication of the day was with an extremely not bright person which just isn't good for her. And we should add that you shouldn't bring up the name Bruce Willis or Ted Nugent until she's calmer.]

[Author's note: a)I am not ranting - I am raving; there's a difference. b) I really doubt I shouted in my sleep last night c) oh, she wasn't that effing stupid, just pretty stupid and d)you're welcome to discuss either Willis or Nugent. But not while I'm eating or trying to produce anything worthwhile. When I'm dieting, for example, I turn on Lou Dobbs during dinner hour. Kills all trace of an appetite. Likewise, Sean Hannity removes any desire for sex and Bush any desire to move to Canada.]

Wearing One's Religion On One's Chest

More and more the last few weeks, I've heard various voices saying that the only way for the liberals (and don't you know liberal is the code name for everyone who doesn't just "heart" Bush with his bum economy and non-stop wars) to win the moral wars is to talk more about Jesus.

Now, regular readers know I do talk about God - and not always simply to say, God will get you for that - and my relationship with Him (for me, it's a Him because he sometimes leaves the toilet seat up). But what possible purpose will it serve if I interject God and Jesus here in an unnatural way.

My relationship with God - and trust me, we've had our spats - is a very personal one, as I suspect it is with everyone who chooses to believe. It may be very much like your relationship with your God or it may be completely different.

And as with others of you who believe, that relationship colors everything I say, do, and think. In that respect, God is everywhere in my blog. But He doesn't demand I just drop his name liberally to lend credence to what I say. And God knows that I've become a better one of his creatures directly because I've asked questions, been unwilling to accept dumb things on blind faith and obedience, and through my other relationships. For example, just about every Jew, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, and Wiccan I've ever had the pleasure to get to know has made me a better person and a better Christian. Why? Because they shared something of their faith with me and the people their faith - or their decision to reject faith - had helped them become. I value that.

Unlike Pat Robertson and George Bush, I can't lie and invoke God as giving me backing for my positions (and unlike George Bush, I think God does understand poor people). I don't think God wants me to slap his name on every half-ass idea I have and I don't think he much likes it when Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, or Jerry Falwell does it.

I, for one, am sick to death of people telling me they're good Christians. If you're such a great one, would you really need to announce it? I'm a fantastic cook (not with everything, but most things). But I'm not going to beat you over the head with that. I'll just ask you to dinner some night and you'll make your own analysis. You may agree or you may not. Hell, maybe you'll even venture into the kitchen and teach me a few new tricks; I love learning something new.

People who don't pronounce themselves great Christians in every breath as Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, George Bush and others like to do don't have to change their M.O. In fact, I think the general public is starting to get pretty tired of having someone else's interpretation of God thrust down their throats and into their private relationships with their priest, their lawyer, their doctor, and their family. At some point, Frist, DeLay, Bush, and company may wake up one morning and find that even God isn't too thrilled with them. Ah, that would be nice.

Is Bill Frist as Good a Theocrat as He is a Neurologist?

From AmericaBlog, and yes, I'm pissed.

The impending debate in the United States Senate over the nuclear option is now a religious battle according to Senator Bill Frist. That's what today's New York Times is reporting today in a front page piece titled "Frist Set to Use Religious Stage on Judicial Issue." Scary stuff. The Senate is now a theocracy:
    As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

    Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other.

    The flier does not name participants, but under the heading "the filibuster against people of faith," it reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."
So, on the one hand, we have DeLay and Cornyn threatening judges, we have some of the right wingers talking about invoking Stalinist "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." techniques to deal with judges...and now, the Senator leader had decided the filibuster debate is about not only about God, but the "godless" Democrats.

Almost unbelievable. This is clearly Frist's attempt to break out of the pack in the race for President in 2008 which the Washington Post covered in their "nuclear option" story today:

The strategy carries significant risks for the Tennessee Republican, who is weighing a 2008 presidential bid. It could embroil the Senate in a bitter stalemate that would complicate passage of President Bush's agenda and raise questions about Frist's leadership capabilities. Should he fail to make the move or to get the necessary votes, however, Frist risks the ire of key conservative groups that will play big roles in the 2008 GOP primaries.

So Frist is cozying up to the right wingers in a big, big way, like by turning over the Senate agenda to them. Dr. Frist will be in the company of the leaders of theocracy wing of the GOP at their judge bashing gathering, the Times reports:
    Some of the nation's most influential evangelical Protestants are participating in the teleconference in Louisville, including Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Chuck Colson, the born-again Watergate figure and founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Stock Market, Dollar Value

While we're worried about baseball's season opener and Michael Jackson licking things, today was the worst day of the year so far on Wall Street. Investors are very concerned about inflation and whether the economy is doing much worse than predicted.

Pre-Packaged Letters of Complaint or Support

While you'll find me sometimes recommend that people interested in voicing their opinion on something to do so, I find myself becoming less and less happy with sites that try to pre-package the support or complaint letter for you, allowing you to just virtually sign and send.

If you feel strongly enough to send such a letter, I think it probably makes sense that you write your own. Not only are savvy political and media staffs beginning to recognize a pre-packaged campaign, some won't even count those packaged ones (or won't count them unless it suits their purposes).

Now, yes, I understand why the Bushies and the Rabid Wrongies choose to use these types of campaign. Bill O'Reilly or Karl Rove or James Dobson or Brent Bozell certainly won't trust people to say it correctly when they want to drum someone out of office, into jail, off the planet or off the TV. So they'll hand hold to make sure their groups complain "correctly".

But we're not O'Reilly Righties or Limbaugh's Lamers or Rove's leather slaves. We can write our own notes. If an organization provides a form letter, scrap all or most of it and draft your own. Use the link, but not the packaged bullshit. And because we believe in freedom - as opposed to the Rabid Wrongies who only want their freedom and the rest be damned - we don't need to tell people what to say.

The Fraud Known as US Foreign Policy

Max Sawicky points us to a Harold Meyerson piece in the Washington Post ("Greetings from Mexistan") that is a must read. Biting and intelligent, it's also a hard read because we're doing so many things wrong.

Yeah, we're just fine about pro-democracy rallies so long as they don't occur either within our own country (implying we're not practicing good democracy these days) or in neighboring Mexico.

And They Didn't Even Offer My Payola

The federal Dept of Education is the newest government agency to sit on my blog.

I do hope they're not out shopping for an opinion to buy. I'd be a poor candidate, just like the last few Education chiefs under Bush although for wildly different reasons.

On a Strictly Personal Note: Can You Have a Bad Day Hangover?

Those of you who know me a bit will be very surprised to hear I got up at 1 PM today. Yesterday was THAT bad that when I awoke early this morning, I just pulled the covers back over my head.

If only I could blame it on drugs, alcohol, or otherwise partying I could simply decide never to do it again. But all I did yesterday was my taxes, a book outline, and spent a great deal of time pondering both my personal future and the future of America. And I swear it's left me with a hangover but never having had an alcohol or drug hangover, I'm not sure hangover is accurate. If only a couple of aspirin or a raw egg-and-Worcester sauce toddy would cure five years of Bush.

And again


Light Bulb Blinks On

You know, I didn't know who LeShawn Barber was or why people were making such fun of her (it is a her, right?). However, now having seen her and read her blog - she thinks Pat Sajak is quite the wit - I get it.

My favorite part was where she responded to criticism that she talked about herself too much by talking about her personal reaction to the possibility that she talked about herself too much. But, luckily, she decided she was really, really interesting after all so everything is well in her corner.

A 25-watt bulb would be a huge improvement in her current wattage.

Ah, she has a Donate button on her blog. Quick, people! Send her brighter light bulbs and some talent.

Well, Gosh, I Was Wrong

No sooner did I post that snarky comment about Jeff Gannon's military history perhaps being as bogus as the rest of his credentials when WHAM, Stud Muffin responded by sending over a complete printout of his meritorious military service.

JG's military record

Yeah, OK, it is a little dark. Remember how at the National Press Club panel last Friday Jeff showed up with a great map of red and blue states he printed out on small paper and only in green because his printer was having problems?

Well, apparently his printer has developed a new problem. It only prints in black. But I'm just sure that if we could read it, we'd be damned impressed!

Is There Nothing Jeff Gannon Won't Lie About?

Now it's even becoming apparent Jeff Gannon/aka JD Guckert lied about being in the military, too.

Of course, I figured that one would turn out to be bogus, along with the 303 other things he said were the absolute truth (and weren't). The only thing we have proof he is was someone advertising his sexual service to men and.... well... Jeffy says it's not true.

You'd think the WH and the WH press corps would be more concerned. Instead, they invite him as a "journalist" to a panel.


Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who actually sits down with a pile of forms, a calculator, a pencil, and boxes of crap to look up to do their taxes.

I know, I know. I sound like a neoluddite. And yes, it's pretty damned strange that I live, work, and play attached to a keyboard but sit me in front of TurboTax or one of the other software preps and I choke up faster than Dubya trying to spell Lotzalieza er, Condoleeza (I'm hoping he can spell Rice).

Accounting, budget proposals, whatever else... no problemo. Tax software that asks you questions turns me into autism in the sense that they feel that autism may be differentiated by an inability to filter so that they get overwhelned by sensory input.

But, alas, the feds are sent - including the quarterly for next year - and I onlt have 301 more calculations to do for the state.

Are Comments Just Down for the Count for Me or With Everyone?

I can't get any of them to open or rather, the window pops up but always produces a "cannot open" message. But I see some posts show comments so it looks like somebody's getting in.

I'll be in as soon as I can get there. ::whee!::

Weird, Secret Republican Drugs

The Liberal Avenger - another new find, thank you veddy much - was speculating on the above-referenced topic with regard to "Revelations", that wacky mini-series appearing in the West Wing time slot on NBC [Note: I corrected this after incorrectly typing "MSNBC"].

But it - and my desire to avoid finalizing my tax forms - made me wonder exactly what weird and secret drugs Republicans would take? I mean, Rush seemed to like serious painkillers in doses measured by the pound.

It also made me think. I know the right loves to paint Democrats, liberals, and progressives (all of which can be mutually exclusive) as wild-eyed pot smokers. Funny things to note here are:

    1) that most of the liberals I know don't indulge in any drugs (beyond coffee and the occasional glass of wine or something) although some may have done some pot in their youth
    2) but among old Republican friends, they were the very serious druggies who are more likely to abuse one or more substances (not all legal) in adulthood. To wash down the Koolaid? I dunno.

And I Ask Again: Will the Draft Include Women?

[Ed. note: Yes, the writer will do anything, include raise an inflammatory subject that people have been largely avoiding, as an excuse to delay sitting down and filling out tax forms.]

Will the next draft - and how are they going to do Iran and Syria and Cuba and Vermont without one - include women? I think I smell a poll coming.

How could the next draft exclude women? Well, I'll give you a hint. We'll hear a lot about the Bryan Nichols (was it?) case where he shot up the courtroom after wresting a gun from a female court officer and Jessica Lynch and Newt Gingrich telling us again how women get infections in foxholes.

The Culture of Life will insist that women cannot be ordered to serve. Isn't Selective Service mandatory registration still in effect and isn't it still just for males?

But I suspect they'll also get others on their side who otherwise do not agree with the Lifers but who want to save their wives and daughters from the draft. For example, as a much younger, less informed voter, I would not vote to approve the Equal Rights Amendment because I felt it would include women in the military and I didn't want anyone in the military. Ashamed now? You betcha! But I think I mentioned my "Young Republican" phase.

(When some people talk of their wild, misspent youth, they refer to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But oh no, I had to wear polyester suits, use chlorofluorocarbons in my hair spray and attend Young Republicans meetings. Oh, the shame. If only I could do it all over again. Ah, but with age comes wisdom.)

I Feel So Honored

In the past few days, I've had both a House administration office and the Senate sergeant-at-arms grace my humble blog.

Or maybe they came to take the Tom DeLay poll (where Hell is Too Good a Place for Tom is the clear winner)?

If I suddenly disappear, just remember to send cookies (hint: I don't like chocolate and peanut butter can be hard unless you have lots of coffee or milk to wash them down) to Guantanamo Bay care of Sister Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion. Oh, yeah, and please, somebody feed my dog. He also likes cookies and, unlike me, is easily satisfied.

[Ed. note: The writer is certain she will not be arrested without charges until AFTER she files her tax return today. There is no justice.]

Say Hello to

The very talented folks at Idyllopus Press.

Legal Drinking Age

This is always a hot topic, and it was a bit this morning on CNN when a state rep from Vermont said he approved of the lowering of the legal drinking age from 21 to 18.

While I'm not a big fan of alcohol in general, that's not really the point here. When I was in high school, we fought for the reduction in the voting age because it didn't seem fair that young men could be called to war by the government three years before they were allowed to vote. The draft was still going on even if the War in Vietnam was largely over.

Likewise, it doesn't seem fair that the Army will happily take to kill and be killed these kids (and God, yes, they're kids) at 17 or 18 but they can't drink until 21. My take on it, however, would be to R-A-I-S-E the age at which they can enter the military rather than reduce the age at which you can legally get shit-faced.

Camp Kabul? Fort Kirkuk?

So now we're going to establish permanent military bases in Afghanistan, along with Iraq? While they're closing down everything here at home?

Question: is there any reason than protecting private companies' fuel pipeline?

The America! Coalition Launches

The America! Coalition (TAC) launches today, a non profit organization focused on advocating forward-looking ideas that build on the progressive foundation that has made America great. "Our nation was built on the idea of shared national responsibility in order to reduce risk and increase freedom for our citizens, and TAC will aggresively present that perspective to the nation any way we can," said co-director Shant Mesrobian, 24.

"The conservative movement, at it's core, is about abandoning the responsibility to keep America free and vibrant. Their policies cater to those who wish to abstain from building America's common foundation of opportunity and freedom. We're going to reject that and put America back on its progressive course," said Oliver Willis, 27, TAC's co-director.

The organization will use the full arsenal of communications tools - video, print, internet, and audio - to continually educate and advocate the application of freedom to American lives.

The America! Coalition: http://www.americacoalition.org
Contact: info@americacoalition.org

I Ate the Egg Roll; You Get the Fortune Cookie


Women in Blogging: Nick Lewis Continues the Discussion


I already posted in comments there so if you're interested, I'll let you catch it there.

And Nick gets my blogger medal of honor for bravery. This has been a heated subject in some parts lately and I impart no sarcasm when I saw it takes cojones for a guy to tackle it given some of the grief it raises.

But as I closed my comment to Nick, I realized how lucky we are to be on the progressive side of the fence. I've known far too many on the other who flat out admit they cannot weigh a woman's opinion the same as a man's. Apparently, Congress and some of their louder constituents sadly feel likewise.


Statistically Yours

BitchPhD points us to something at the Minnesota Women's Press about blogs and women:

One study published in “Into the Blogosphere,” a collection of scholarly materials covering blogging, looked at a sample of media coverage of bloggers and found that male bloggers were mentioned 88 percent of the time and women bloggers just 12 percent. Is that because more men are blogging? Not according to a 2003 study by Perseus Development Corporation, which estimated that 56 percent of blogs are created by women.
I do hear rather frequently that there are "just a handful of women-run blogs."

That's obviously wrong, but there's also the nature of blogs where the gender of the author is not specified. I can think of at least a dozen blogs I began reading about two years ago in which I have only recently learned the primary blogger is female. I questioned whether to go that way myself. Sometimes, the relatively anonymity of the 'net can work for you.

But I've never been that motivated to hide under a blanket (a few cold mornings in January aside).

Gays Coming Out to Speak Up

Pam Spaulding brings us a couple of stories about politicians - the mayor of Lawrence, Kansas and a Minnesota state senator - who are coming out largely because of the disastrous anti-gay marriage amendments being pushed.

Oh Cardinals! Cue the White Smoke and Let's Get This Sucker on the Road

See my post from the other day for details on my position and platform.

Seriously, I heard today you were starting to get sweet on the German Ratzinger. But let's get real here, men (you're still technically men, correct?): Ratz has no zing (well, OK, except as part of his name). And it doesn't help that he looks like a chubby version of that crazed, evil preacher in Poltergeist 2 (no, I'm sorry, I don't know why they made three of them).

The Mexican one got completely passed over. But here's the deal. I can speak Spanish (and read it better). Not well, of course, but certainly better than Mr. Bush who speaks it as bad as he speaks English.

So if you add Spanish to my ability to speak English, my fledgling Latin and my wild gesticulations and eye rolls that are a language onto themselves, we're talking that I know like 2.37903 languages. Kind of impressive for an American, yes?

Come on, guys. You're busy people. You need to get back to make certain all the poor old ladies in your parishes are paying to contribute to the Vaticans' gold treasury.

So vote "Kate" on the next ballot, get that white smoke a-puffin, and you're going to see a Catholic Church completely reborn. I've even been practicing my genuflections and my Gregorian chanting plus my good slacks are already pressed!

Do it my way and you'll be back buying primo wine for Sunday's dinner with money taken from the collection plate. Don't make me hire Diebold!

Book Meme: I Got Tagged!

[Ed. note: I was sort of hoping someone might tag me on this and was delighted when TCF did.]

There's a nice little literary meme making its way around the blogosphere to allow people to take time out from political essaying or whatever is normally being discussed to talk books. TCF of the fine That Colored Fella's Weblog, whose own interesting answers appear here, tagged me tonight. So I thought I'd take a few minutes before I turn to one more look through the tax forms and calculations to respond.

It's a neat idea and I encourage people to play along at home!

My responses:
You’re stuck in ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Which book would you be?

Oh my goodness. A tougher question, I haven't been asked lately. I've got about 10 novels I'd like to pick, but I'd be more inclined to be a single bound edition of all of Thomas Paine's most important work.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Only one? I don't think I've ever had a crush in real life past the second grade. But with books, yes.

Oh, damn! You want a name? (Considering which of the half dozen will appear least embarrassing in pixel print. At different times, "Tom Jobe" in "The Grapes of Wrath", the quirky psychiatrist in "Ordinary People", Jay Gatsby in "The Great Gatsby" and the odd professor/writer in "Wonder Boys" and (most strangely) Jim in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".

What is the last book you bought?

Technically, the last one I bought was one of mine because a friend needed a copy and I was out. But I don't count that.

So it would be Amy and David Goodman's "The Exception to the Rulers."

What are you currently reading?

Re-reading Toni Cade Bambera's "These Bones Are Not My Child", a story told with the backdrop of a missing child during the Atlanta Child Murders case in the late 1970s. Really an exquisitely told tale that almost makes you ache for the activism of that time and gives you a look at an Atlanta most of us have never read about.

Five books you’d take to a desert island.

1) Kurt Vonnegut's "Galapagos" or his "God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian"
2) Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day"No, Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth"
3) Alice Walker's "Meridian"
4) Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" (so I could finally finish it)
5) An empty large notebook so I could write. (Good writing always makes my hands begin to move, wanting to respond to the work by writing myself.)

And now... to whom should I pass the baton? I know several people who've already taken it.

Well, I think it should be Joanne at The What Class, Karlo at Swerve Left (have you been tagged already? I didn't find it on your blog.), and Diana at Democracy in California (whom I'm also not sure has been tagged.

And thank you, TCF. You folks should check out the link to his collaborative comic I posted yesterday.

DeLayism: The Poison is in the Pipes

I'm posting liberally (ah, that word) from Ezra Klein's entry because it makes the point that I'm touched on many times, that the corrupt slime oozes well out from DeLay now because of the mean-spirited nature this man has promoted.

Drop the Hammer, one of the premier anti-DeLay sites, gets mail. Oh boy do they get mail. And some of it even comes from elected officials, like this one from Councilman Kevin Cole of Texas:
    Hey ass hole [sic]. Tom Delay happens to be my congresman [sic] and I am happy with the job he does for me and my district. Why don’t you get the mailto:F@&;* out of our district and leave us alone. Better yet, come speak to me personally and I will show you what I think of you. Kevin Cole Pealrand [sic], TX [Cell Phone # Redacted]
Mr. Cole, in addition to being a councilman and all-around nice guy, is also a Baptist deacon, which explains where he get the idea for this letter:
    And Jesus said unto the Pharisees, "Fuck thee, and all that thee stand for. Thou art hypocrites whose presence at my door would merit a divine ass-whipping. Get thyselves away from Nazareth, lest the Son of Man leave you his bitch." (Matthew: 37:12)
      But biblically based or not, this is Tom DeLay distilled. Our Majority Leader, unfortunately, is little more than a bully, who ascended up the ladder by doling out cash, stepping on throats, and being infinitely more ruthless and unconcerned with ethics than the next guy. So is it any wonder that those he's inspired show themselves to be little more than thugs? And doesn't it make you wonder what sort of men -- and they've almost all been men -- Tom DeLay's cash has elected?

      The Few, the Brave, the Proud: Nick Lewis Tackles the BlogHerSphere

      Nick tackles the issue of women and blogging. I'm not sure whether he did this as a personal favor to Kevin Drum so Kevin can return to answering his "fanmail" from the last few times he's raised this subject. ::Cheshire cat grin::

      Speaking as one of those women out on the Internet working before most of the country knew that modems existed, I'm not going to argue some of Nick's points on this score because it's correct: everything Internet related under the hood is still 99.2% male; where it's not, women are often not in the branded or high profile areas or have more secondary positions with them. I never did. I've always been right there with the menfolk.

      And I'll share a little detail about my former work with the big online services: I was hired because I was a woman. Period. I was female, I had a personality that came across the computer network, and a very smart man at what would become AOL decided that's what was needed. Now, I've become quite a geek by most definitions and now at work on my 30th book project. But I was hired strictly for my gender and knew it. And man, were a few people surprised a brain came with the girl.

      But back to blogging, I have some theories why the women folk never get the press or attention of their male peers. I'm not sure how many of them hold up, but they include:

        a) politics especially is seen as "dirty" business and there's still a certain stereotype about women in "dirty" discussions, projects, businesses, etc.
        b) Blogging to some extent reflects the traditional newsrooms and women are still frequently treated differently in newsrooms.
        c) Men in general are much more apt to give referrals to other men than to women unless the referral area of expertise is something identified more with women than men.
        d) Women network, but quite differently than the kind of associations men typically form and use.
        e) A (mis)perception - especially on political blogs where you may have almost 50-50 gender readership but where men are more likely to post initially and then maintain a posting relationship - that a blog audience is largely male.
      Then toss in a little of the alpha dog syndrome of needing to pee on things to identify your ownership... ::wink::

      Breast Implants

      [In the nature of disclosure, I should add that I've never had to worry about breast implants. I've had women tell me that this disqualifies me from even opining on the subject but... tough.]

      Well, the FDA's dancing its little dance again. Rejecting one company's silicone breast implants while giving a nod today that could have women back getting silicone rather than saline implants very soon now. Of course, many women were only mildly inconvenienced by the restrictions in place the last several years; trips to Canada or Mexico or some warm island with a clinic gave them the bosom they wanted.

      I'm of two minds on the whole issue. I've had friends horribly miserable who were "just so sure" that size 38Ds would somehow make their lives better (eh... if women only spent as much on education as "accoutrements" we'd find a way not to have that GYN speculum so cold when it's shoved inside us). I don't want to see their health hurt because of a misconception that big boobs are going to give them everything they ever wanted. [Yes, before anyone writes in, I realize that there are a good percentage who get them "realistically", to try to correct body shape. But most plastic surgeons, when not talking for publication, will tell you they're overwhelmingly a vanity procedure.]

      Women today certainly have access to enough information that they should be able to decide for themselves. The manufacturer material will always lie, yes, but there's enough other studies and research to give them some "cons".

      Unfortunately, however, the decision for breast implants is usually an emotional one, one that is not approached with the same cool reason one might apply for a loan, haggle for a car price, or decide whether to get aluminum siding. I also think there are better things the FDA can do than keep women from getting something they'll get in Mexico or Jamaica regardless.

      So let the FDA document the problems so women can find them and then let women make their own choice. Sadly, we all make bad choices everyday.

      Rush: Young People Aren't Interested in Anything But Sex

      Also on Shakespeare's Sister, a look at Rush's dissing former VP Al Gore's new cable channel for the 18-34 demographic by way of saying that people of that age are only interested in blow jobs.

      Funny thing is, some of the best reasoned, most intelligent political discussions I had prior to the election were with those at the young end of that scale, and some a bit younger than that. Several of the late teens working in local stores up here had watched the presidential debates with great care and I often walked in to find them discussing points in the debate or pointing out stories in the paper to one another on related things.

      Not joking. I do think Vermont kids are a bit different in that respect - without quite the overpowering effects of the media and trendiness up here, more emphasis is on reading and critical thinking. There's no mall to run off to unless you're willing to drive 50-60 miles.

      But beyond that, I don't think 18-34's are anywhere near as tuned out as some in the 35-50 demographic, for example, who sometimes try too hard "not to take the news too seriously". I also think 18-34's are much more apt to have someone very close to them in the service, affected by some of the dreadful changes in the workplace, watching their quality of living continuing well out below their parents' which we didn't see much in the 80s or 90s when every 18 year old had a brand new car and a $30K line of credit with better furniture than I've ever bought.

      So - wow, what a news flash - Rush is wrong! If CNN only reported on when he eats and pops a pill, there would be nothing else for them to say during the 24/7 news cycle.

      Completely OFF the Topic of Politics

      Shakespeare's Sister talks about the constant DIY experience of home ownership. While my eyes usually glaze over such discussions, Shakes' Sis writes beautifully.

      The General Recommends Some iPod Additions for Our President

      Find them here.

      And, on a personal note, the General is the first person who knows "Drop kick me, Jesus". I swear this song, which played endlessly on the country-western radio station my mother listened to constantly when I was a child, is evil.

      Say Hello to



      Posting is apt to be light today since I've got a doctor's appointment (I just flunked a bunch of medical tests), tax forms to finish, and trying to track down some missing income so I can include a check with the tax forms. ::cough::

      Cross your fingers for me, please. I've reached the point of desperation where I'm looking for magical symbolism. ::snort::

      Here's Your Fortune Cookie

      Now where's my Hunan chicken?


      Prayers to Protect the Hateful and Scared

      So I went to one of the "pray for Tom" sites tonight just to see what's being said, and the message is clearly out there that anyone who does anything but acknowledge Tom is terrific is demon spawn shat from the ass of a Dem ass. The word "foment" kept popping into my brain (I'm sure I don't know why).

      Here are some of the talking points to woo DeLay support:

        Do you want your children to INHERIT an officially God-less nation?

        You mean along with the God-less debt that Mr. Bush is going to saddle them with? American isn't a Godless nation. There seem to be many different Gods represented, in fact, and what's amazing is that the so-called leaders of some of the most "righteous" of them purposely pervert the truth for their own agenda.
        Are you GRIEVED that 45 million American babies have been murdered by "legal" abortion?
        As opposed to 45 million children, many of which may be born into circumstances that will not allow such children to thrive, especially in a climate where health care is becoming exclusively a rich man's luxury, where wages can't begin to keep up with price jumps, where the same people who demand that abortions be stopped also refuse to fund programs to help nurture those babies once they're born?
        I'm also grieved about the many children that have faced a possible death sentence in this country. State-funded murder of children is fine when the child is a complete being but AWFUL when the child is still a collection of cells that cannot live outside the uterus.

        Are you HORRIFIED that the very sex crimes that provoked God to destroy ancient Sodom are now special, protected “rights” in America?
        You know what horrifies me? People who ask questions like that and then hurry home to watch Desperate Housewives, Growing Up Gotti, The Sopranos, and other red-state popular programming.
        Again and again, pious people like you are picked up for child sexual abuse, blackmailed to keep quiet about the homosexual liaisons, the mistress, the girl you knocked up and then made to have an abortion.
        Do you WEEP over a worldly, divided & largely ineffective American Church?

        A worldly church? Oh, the horror that a church would embrace people of different cultures and colors and characters. And there is no "American Church". America was NOT founded as a theocracy. We will stop you from turning it into a theocracy.
        Are you OUTRAGED that our Courts are determined to strip us of true religious liberty?
        Nice spinneroo. But what you're pissed about is that the Courts refuse to let you exercise your religious liberty against other people. You want everyone to follow your rules. But most of us get over that fantasy around age 7 or 8.
        For people like you, religious liberty is defined as the ability to force your religion and so-called great moral values on people who choose to live and believe differently. Just allowing a Jew to visit a synagogue or a Muslim a mosque or an agnostic to sit home is seen by you as a strike against your religious liberty.
        Go create a theocracy somewhere. Enjoy. But you're not having this country to debase into something Cotton Mather would find too constricting.

        Do you know in your heart that America’s ONLY HOPE is sweeping, God-given Revival & a Biblical Reformation - ushered in by prayer?
        No. Our hope is through an intelligent educated public who makes choices based upon knowledge and real moral values (one can be moral without a God, you know) that are in the best interests of not only themselves but their neighbors. The more educated and critical their thinking helps them become, the less likely they are to fall to the bait of your fear and damnation traps.
        Shame, shame on you for lying about what God wants to put forth your own nasty agenda. God will get you for this.

      West Virginia Makes English the Official Language

      From CNN/AP:

      CHARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) -- Two days after the end of the legislative session, state lawmakers are discovering something few were aware of: They voted to make English the official language of West Virginia.

      The language amendment was quietly inserted into a bill addressing the number of members that cities can appoint to boards of parks and recreation. Among mundane details about record-keeping, the amendment adds the provision that "English shall be the official language of the State of West Virginia."

      Senate Majority Whip Billy Wayne Bailey successfully offered that change to House Bill 2782 amid a flurry of bills moving back and forth between the House and Senate on Saturday, the last night of the 60-day legislative session.

      "I just told the members that the amendment clarifies the way in which documents are produced," Bailey, a Democrat, said Monday.
      The implication that this was snuck into voting bothers me.

      But I also must admit that I feel English should be the country's official language. It's obscene that children can go from pre-Kindergarten all the way through high school in the U.S. and yet not learn how to write, read, and speak English. Bi-, tri- or know more languages than that? Fine.

      Not being able to understand English in a country that speaks English almost exclusively amounts to functional illiteracy and a very fast way to make certain that people will have limited avenues for jobs, education, public services, and the ability to vote. Many schools, having to cut budgets, have cut mandatory ESL classes.

      Now, some Hispanic leaders - especially - have an issue with this. They feel that where Hispanics equal or dominate the white population, Spanish should be the language of record. But I don't think it works that way.

      Mind you, I love to be in places where you hear a number of different languages spoken at once. Americans, for folks in a sophisticated, industrialized country, are often well behind foreign countries in being able to speak anything other than the so-called native tongue. I'd love us all to know at least a couple of languages. But Americans should know English. Period.

      Beer and Genetically Modified Crops

      From CNN:

      Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation's No. 1 buyer of rice as well as its largest brewer, says it won't buy rice from Missouri if genetically-modified medicinal crops are allowed to be grown in the state.

      The St. Louis-based beer giant is the latest company to express concern over plans by Ventria Biosciences to grow 200 acres of rice engineered to produce human proteins capable of making medicine.

      The company says it is concerned about possible contamination.

      Pentagon's Long List of Bases to Close

      From the Christian Science Monitor:

      As the Pentagon prepares to embark on its first base closings in a decade, it is already clear that this round will be unlike any that has come before, both in its scope and its intent.

      The Defense Department has made no secret of the fact that this year's list of suggested closings figures to be the biggest in history. But unlike past rounds, when the process focused primarily on paring down a bloated military, the goal this year is largely to recast the military.
      And then they'll keep lying and saying Clinton closed all the bases. BTDT, got the t-shirt, already threadbare.

      DeLay Urges GOP to Blame Dems for His Ethics Woes


      House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, hoping to hold support among fellow Republicans, urged GOP senators Tuesday to blame Democrats if asked about his ethics controversy and accused the news media of twisting supportive comments so they sounded like criticism.

      Officials said DeLay recommended that senators respond to questions by saying Democrats have no agenda other than partisanship, and are attacking him to prevent Republicans from accomplishing their legislative program. One Republican said the Texan referred to a "mammoth operation" funded by Democratic supporters and designed to destroy him as a symbol of the Republican majority.

      DeLay also thanked Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., for his recent comments and said the news media had twisted them to make them sound critical, the officials added, all speaking on condition of anonymity.

      Sen Tom Coburn's Chief of Staff: Don't Impeach Judges; Impale Them

      Ah, that whacky "Culture of Life" is at it again.

      From The Nation:

      Michael Schwartz must have thought I was just another attendee of the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference. I approached the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn outside the conference in downtown Washington last Thursday afternoon after he spoke there. Before I could introduce myself, he turned to me and another observer with a crooked smile and exclaimed, "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"

      A Personal First

      On a terribly personal note, DR at Trailing Edge blog is the first person ever to seek me out for company - OK, not me but my blog - in the morning before I've gargled, brushed, or had coffee.

      "Day of Truth"

      [Ed. note: Remember what I said earlier about their happy horseshit names? Case in point.]

      From MSNBC - and a question: Will the "Day of Truth" begin with opening remarks by GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman who denounces gays but strangely will not say whether he is gay himself:

      Irked by the success of the nationwide Day of Silence, which seeks to combat anti-gay bias in schools, conservative activists are launching a counter-event this week called the Day of Truth aimed at mobilizing students who believe homosexuality is sinful.

      Participating students are being offered T-shirts with the slogan “The Truth Cannot be Silenced” and cards to pass out to classmates Thursday — the day following the Day of Silence — declaring their unwillingness to condone “detrimental personal and social behavior.”
      Name four types of behavior teens engage in that isn't detrimentally both personally and socially. Not one. Four.

      Where Am I? Who Am I? What Am I?

      Uh... for the first time in adulthood, I completely lost track of an entire day.

      Doing what?


      Now I need to go do something substantial. Perhaps involving a sponge, a bag of Ramen noodles, and a 105 lb puppy. Then I need to write three chapters on two books and figure out why my hair keeps standing up in the air. The Don King look just doesn't work on a pale white woman.

      You Find the Funniest Things at the Mall

      "Come on, kids. Let's go to the mall. We'll hit Cinnabuns while Daddy's downstairs getting a half-and-half!"

      Err... uh... where was I? Oh yes. From MSNBC:

      The Hungarian Interior Ministry looks set to allow prostitutes to tout for business in shopping malls, local media reported on Tuesday.

      The ministry is thinking of allowing dedicated shopping centers where prostitutes could strike deals for sex as long as they move to a place of their own to carry out the transaction, the daily Nepszabadsag said.

      “There is nothing intrinsically wrong legally with an entertainment center without gratification,” the newspaper quoted from a letter the ministry sent to the businessman who proposed to set up an “all-in-one” sex plaza.

      Hungary allows local governments to set so-called “zones of patience” for the country’s up to 20,000 prostitutes, but no municipality has done so yet.
      Zones of patience, eh? We could use a few of those although not necessarily for prostitution. Or does patience have a different meaning here?

      It's Her Groundhog Day, Too

      TCF introduces us to a collaborative serial comic strip, "La Shawn B's Groundhog Day". Go look. I'll wait here.

      Feministe Asks: Are We Hitting the Whole "Culture of Life" Thing a Little Too Hard?

      From Dylan at Feministe:

      So, much has been made, recently, about the concocted phrase “Culture of Life,” (as my friend, Lori said in the comments at SRWU yesterday, “”Culture of Life” that phrase bothers me for some reason..is it redundant? (or simply contrived…). Isn’t a culture definitively something teeming with life?”). The redundancies go far beyond that, however. I don’t know how the Democrats plan to handle this in the midterm elections, but if they aren’t pounding their fists on the podium, and reading off the names of everyone execution that President Bush has presided over in Texas, then they aren’t ready to win.

      But, I do wonder if too much assault on the “Culture of Life” might not do us some harm. Right now, the Republicans appear a bit vulnerable on this issue, but they have not been truly vulnerable for quite a few years now, and every time we “mis-under-estimate” them, we have been slapped back down by the harsh mistress of reality. The Republicans are good… very good at this game, and the Democrats have fallen into their traps too often.

      The reason I worry is, at some point, don’t we just seem like we are stepping up and attacking “life” in general? If we keep going on and on and on, eventually it gets whitewashed into this sort of din of noise from which the only clear thing that comes out is that we are for killing babies and old, useless people.
      Well... er...I agree but not entirely absolutely.

      The Rabid Wrongies are great for coming up with happy horseshit names. In fact, they're so good at it that they call their happy horseshit marketing department The Council of Cosmetic Application to a Swine's Lips. Wrap up a bunch of more brawn than brains and more pork than muscle, add blonde hair bleach and a red suit, and call it the "American Family Council" and "Concerned Women Who Are Really Male Homophobes for America" and The Minuteman Project and pretend it's not manned by people who are still disappointed the KKK can't meet in public anymore unless it's for a pro-Bush candidate and sad they had to paint all the lawn jockeys white.

      Is this the entire South? No. But they know how to fool the entire South into thinking it is. They're good in their Machiavellian pursuits, I grant you.

      At some point, however, you just have to stop pretending to give credibility to every pet project and Patriotic little pap they put forth. Especially when the "Culture of Life" mailing list is probably filled with the same names as the "Hurt Abortionists" and the "Save Some Tax Dollars: Execute Teens" mailing lists.

      However, you're right. We can't snark our way out of GOP gridlock in 2006. I think we need to be sure that everyone - including the South - understands that the "Culture of Life" people are the same loonies done up in a different configuration and that they're getting closer and closer to threatening everyone's lives now. You won't be able to take a pill, consult a doctor, decide you don't want half your brain removed, or what is and isn't acceptable for you without having Randall Terry and James Dobson signing off on that.

      Rev James Dobson's Linking the Supreme Court Justices to the KKK is Perfectly Understandable

      I, for example, have been known to link Reverend Dobson and his little group to the KKK. It must be the black robes both the Justices and Mr. Dobson both wear that confuses the hell out of us. Eh?

      Crystal Meth

      Natalie Davis of All Facts and Opinions has a post up about the highly popular street drug that has me thinking again about crystal meth. Read hers.

      While I have no experience with it (I'm afraid I'm terribly boring in the drug department; coffee is my drug of choice and the others I take all come from the local pharmacy), I had an acquaintance recently surprise the hell out of me by mentioning that she had used and really liked it.

      The so-called stereotypic recreation drug user, she is not. She's a soccer mom-slash-freelance marketing wiz, a very moderate Republican, and somebody who, although she was an avid smoker, gave it up cold turkey when they adopted their first child because she didn't want to tell her kids to do one thing while she continued to do another. She's also one of those by-the-books types who honestly doesn't believe (normally) that there are different rules for different people.

      This genuinely wonderful woman was chatting with me recently by IM when I cracked a joke about Ecstasy and one of the Bush twins when "Jane Doe" began to tell me how wonderful Ecstasy is and then began to recount her many experiences while taking it. This led to her telling me about discovering crystal meth and how she decided it was wonderful and actually "helping me work better".

      I was literally aghast. One of her kids is now in high school and I wondered how Mrs. Junior League (and I really don't want to mock her - she's a very genuine person) managed to rationalize doing Ecstasy and crystal meth herself while telling her 15-year-old daughter that she won't get to go to Bennington if she ever smokes either a cigarette or pot.

      But beyond the cognitive dissonance operating there, I know this woman has some medical background. Look at a list of ingredients for crystal meth and tell me that's something you want to put anywhere near your body. And as the piece by Natalie Davis tells us, crystal meth can lead to circumstances that make it much more likely someone may become infected with a particularly virulent strain of HIV/AIDS.

      As a former smoker, I know all about the ability to continue self-destructive behavior long past the point where you know it's causing damage. And as a thinking person, I know how ridiculous it is that the government and drug companies have demonized pot to the point where they can make it sound more dangerous than a heroin addict on cocaine. But even pot, when inhaled as smoke, is still going to be an insult (in the physical sense) to the body; that much is true even if you discount the nonsense.

      Although I can't profess much experience with drugs, I did a bit, particularly right out of college (in college, I was too grade-oriented to play). I remember how nice the concept - if not the reality - of a nice long toke on a joint on a Saturday night seemed. I don't like alcohol (I'm not abstinent but I almost never drink), so the idea of a toke back then was probably the equivalent (or less) of a beer once a week. In reality, I rarely did it but I sure liked the idea. And yes, I've been through some awful times when you wished for anything that would dull the pain (although I've never found drugs particularly effective for that; instead, they usually end up contributing to and expanding the misery).

      Yet there are some drugs I simply cannot understand why anyone would allow to come anywhere near them; among those include crystal meth and cocaine.

      How miserable does your life have to be to have those drugs be a "nice escape"?

      We can't afford to ignore this one either because - as the world spins out of control - more and more are using something, be it prescription pills, crystal meth, alcohol or whatever, to soothe the pain. With money tight, crystal meth supposedly packs a very powerful punch to those who want something they can afford. If I know a soccer mom using crystal meth, who do you know who may be using? Statistically speaking, probably more than the zero number we think.

      In the "God is Going to Get You for That, Bill Donohue" Department

      When I posted about sitting through the really nasty diatribe (over the top even for him) from the Catholic League's William Donohue last night on Scarborough Flunky Country on MSNBC (what can I say? I was slumming! meaning: I couldn't find the remote to turn on Forensic Files), I missed something the good folks at Media Matters did not.

      It goes like this (and hard to imagine I missed this but I was pretty steamed already):

      William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, asserted that "[t]he gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done" and denounced gays for "asking for more rights" while allegedly "acting so morally delinquent."
      From the April 11 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
        DONOHUE: Look, look, there's a new strain of HIV available in New York City. It's because of gay men. All right? All the talk about condoms --
        RACHEL MADDOW (guest and Air America radio host): Or virology.
        DONOHUE: The fact of the matter is it's due to the behavioral recklessness of gay men in New York City, that they're endangering the lives of everybody. So, you want to talk about the Catholic Church intervening in other people's lives? The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done -- for contaminating the blood supply in New York City and around the country. And I find it amazing that, when people are acting so morally delinquent, that they're asking for more rights at the same time.

        It seems to me that gay people in this country should apologize to the rest of the people, the way the pope has apologized to other people, and practice sexual reticence. Practice restraint, and you won't have the problem. It's entirely a result of behavioral recklessness that we have this disease [HIV/AIDS]. And it's a politically correct disease, isn't it?
      Man, I'd like tickets to watch Bill's Judgment Day. These days, when I get really pissed, I like to consider what it's going to be like for all the "I speak for God and Christ and correct their ambiguities" types like Bill, Jerry Falwell, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Dubya to have to account to God for the hate, ignorance, violence, and intolerance they demanded in His (or Her) name.

      They'll lie, of course, but God will have the video tape.

      [Ed. note: Out of sheer propriety not to mention the fact that some of you may be reading this while eating, the editor has removed the long and very colorfully descriptive detail in which the author fantasized about a slow and exquisitely miserable disease process that might overtake Bill Donohue so he can enjoy some of his own bile. The author is now washing her mind out with bio-degradable and environmentally friendly laundry products and only wishes she could do the same to "that little pie hole of a brain Bill Donohue sports". She is very colorful, isn't she?]

      The General and I Agree

      Some wonderful 'roo soul at Skippy also brings us this exquisitely honest Wesley Clark quote:

      "I think we're dealing with the most closed, imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame."
      Not good news, but damned true.

      Say Hello to the Gov Docs blog of GMU Libraries

      Find them here.

      I'm a sap for reference sites of any type. I could be starving to death yet, while on a walk to obtain a life-saving meal, if I came upon a great reference library, I'd try to hang on long enough to go check out the library first. Then maybe I'd look for food vending machines in the basement. But if there were no vending machines, I'd still stay in the stacks as long as I could before passing out from hunger (oops, speaking of which... I made this tuna sandwich five hours ago and it's been in my jacket pocket since then - why? because I was reading).

      I know. It's very odd of me. What can I say? For some, it's food. For others, porn. For me? It's a well-stocked library.

      Wages Lagging Behind Prices

      Pudentilla at Le Rue d'Kangaroo - Skippy to those of you who don't mangle French as badly as I - points out that which most of us have painfully noticed.

      But somehow, reading it makes you at least feel like you're in both good and robust company. ::cough::

      wages lagging behind prices - for the first time in 14 years, the american workforce has in effect gotten an across-the-board pay cut.

      the growth in wages in 2004 and the first two months of this year trailed inflation, compounding the squeeze from higher housing, energy and other costs. [--snip--]

      Meanwhile, corporate profits hit record highs as companies got more productivity out of workers while keeping pay increases down.

      For Those (Like Me) Balkin' at Malkin (as in Michelle the Shrill)

      Scoobie doobie doo... Michelle Malkin... Scoobie Davis Dooooo.

      Er...oops, hello. Sorry, we're Google bombing here to blow some shit up and make it fall back into the appropriate place (hopefully in Michelle's bedroom and kitchen). Please don your ear plugs and turn off your radios.

      Or wait. The sound of an explosion both sounds better and makes more sense than anything Michelle has either written or said (as for what goes on inside that tiny, Michelle-centric mind of hers, I cannot say and am too squeamish to conceive).

      Michelle Malkin
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      Byron York and the "Vast Left Wing Conspiracy"

      Having watched The National Review's Mr. York "in action" several times as a pundit, I've just got one question: how long has he been out of the sexual orientation closet?

      No, I'm not joking. Nor am I merely being snarky because of his habit of deliberating misquoting people for his own ends as he did with the DailyKos last night on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart".

      Since he often discusses morality and "agendae", and we're all sick to death of those with raffia-covered houses throwing nuclear boulders and then screaming when paper airplanes are lobbed back (waving to Michelle Malkin and Annie Coulter who are famous for this technique), I think it's time Mr. York came out of the closet as yet another self-hating homosexual male intent on making sure that nearly everyone else is as miserable as he perceives himself to be.

      At this point, I'm far more worried about the underlying self-hating [insert one of many categories here] agenda operating in politics today than I am about any of the so-called "moral" causes these people champion against. One thing the world needs less of is more Roy Cohns and J Edgars.

      [Ed. note: If I just wanted to be snarky, I'd point out that Byron makes Tucker Carlson and Andrew Sullivan seem macho.]

      Bill O'Reilly Lies: Calls Pope Senile Then Says He Didn't

      What a surprise, eh?

      When I first read this, I knew O'Reilly was lying because someone I know was quite upset when O'Reilly first said this (and notable because there are so many other reasons to be angry at Bill than calling the Pope senile).

      Also not surprising, I didn't agree with Bill O'Reilly. I don't believe the Pope was senile at or before his death. He was in much worse shape than the Vatican chose to reveal, but I suspect and hope his mental processes were very much intact regardless of his failing body. As a "sophisticated culture", we're not exceptionally bright at understanding that a mind can still work like a timepiece inside a body that no longer responds to the brain's commands.

      But O'Reilly (yet another non-surprise) opted to call the man senile rather than conceive of a more appropriate reason why the Pope failed his followers on the issue of the priest sex abuse. And how typical of O'Reilly to lie about this fact now just as he shrugged off his rhetoric about the Pope in the buildup to war in Iraq.

      In the "Why Don't You Just Leave the Country?" Department

      About once every two weeks or so, some enlightened being sends me a private note telling me that if I don't like America, I should go back to whatever damned rathole country I came from.

      Well, that's a little hard to do for a few reasons. Whether you look at the Native American part of my family or the English side, we've been in America for a very long time, since the beginning of both the native and the colonial experience here. I could tell you my boring Mayflower story about the female ancestor who came with her husband here and then sent for her brothers, but the point is that this is my country; I have no desire to leave.

      Sure, I could tell you about my ancestor who headed as Chief Justice the U.S. Supreme Court after an unsuccessful bid for the presidential nomination against Lincoln. He presided over the impeachment of President Johnson and refused to do more evil against those who founded and worked in the Underground Railroad. His daughter, Kate (for whom I am NOT named), was considered the most powerful woman in Lincoln-era Washington politics and is oft-remembered as the most celebrated first lady of Rhode Island. But don't ask me a lot of details because I'm shamefully ignorant about all of this since I figured I'm more responsible for my life and my times than my ancestors.

      The point is that I do come from a long line of Yankee horse traders, scholars, and politicians of which I am both proud and embarrassed. The English side of the family really DID escape a time of great religious intolerance (more than a few of my ancestors were executed in England as witches and heretics - in other words, killed for their beliefs that did not correspond to the reigning Church) and worked hard to establish the foundation of this country.

      You'll find the name Chase (once "Chaece") goes back a long way in U.S. history. So while I'm not mindful of all the history, I'm cognizant of the fact that my family was there fighting for a new country that did not have all the baggage, the empiricism, the tyranny of "Mother" England.

      As a result, I'm not too keen on all the religious intolerance of today or these "born again" politicians who tell us that America was started as a Christian domain and must remain a Christian domain. I know better. I've read a lot of the documents used to help start this country and if anything, they speak to the authors' great resolve to make this a land where God is respected but where religion is not allowed to topple the will of the people or the law of the land.

      As both a product of my ancestors and a thinking and caring person of this time period, it is incumbent upon me to:

        * ask.. no... DEMAND that people not misquote our country's founders for their own political and powerful means
        * DEMAND that religious tolerance remain
        * speak up when I see injustice or hear a lie perpetrated
      So those looking for me - and I don't just mean me but the collective of people who are coming together now with many voices - to pack up and go home.... well, I am home.

      The Big Bucks Behind Bush

      Read Greg Palast to learn about the Wyly Brothers.