Archive for September, 2005

Look At Me, I Can’t Park For Shit VI

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Look At Me, I Can’t Park For Shit VI

I think I’ve figured out why the monster trucks scare me so much.

I mean, think this through. Take a look at this. This person chose to drive an enormous vehicle and then, when it came time to park, found the truck was too large to park any which way except half-assed. Unless, that is, some extra maneuvers werer executed, which apparently were inconvenient enough to be discarded altogether, in spite of the fact that this left all four corners exposed to danger.

What does that tell us? Well, the truck was probably borrowed, most likely from a parent. That is by no means proven…but there are a lot of borrowed vehicles out there on the roads, and something tells me people tend not to park their own cars like this.

So we have someone here, who is driving a car much larger than they can handle, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. Some would protest that driving a large car is an exercise in big-movement, not itty-bitty-movement, and thus requires no finesse or delicacy. Excuse the hell out of me, folks. You know how big the blind spots are on these things? Ever drive a moving truck?

“Aw, fuck it, that’s good enough” is a sentiment that has no place here. But that’s the message that permeates this sucky parking job. It qualifies for my gallery even though there is ample space in the slot to the left, since, well, would you really park your car there?

To Be Explained II

Friday, September 30th, 2005

To Be Explained II

A month and a half ago Intelligent Design (ID) was in the news only because President Bush had publicly offered some further supposed evidence of his dimwittedness and his doltishness, by stating that he thought ID should be taught in our public schools. At that time I made a comment that didn’t endorse ID nor argue against it; I simply offered my own list of things I would like to have explained if ID is to be solidly blockaded from any discussion in science classes or in scientific pursuit. This isn’t a comprehensive list, by any means, nor does it even represent a collection of arguments against “Darwinism.” Indeed, this bit about goosebumps is touted elsewhere as strong evidence against the existence of any intelligent designer. As an aside, there’s a lesson in there, and it’s a grave warning to anybody who makes their livelihood in science: Humans being what they are, two people can look at exactly the same thing and come away “convinced” of the “proof” of two polar-opposite theories.

ID-versus-evolution is in the news for a different reason now. In Dover, PA our judicial system is in the process of being used to figure out what “science” is. That’s kind of nuts. At issue is the First Amendment with its prohibition against the establishment of a national church, so that will be the vehicle to figure out what science has successfully “proven” and what it has not. That’s nuts, too. What is rabit-wombat-crazy, is the use of propaganda to sway the public opinion on this, as if public opinion should ever have much to do with science OR constitutional interpretation. Going by the sound bites, it seems settled that “the weight of the evidence is overwhelming” in favor of evolution, and that “Intelligent Design has no place in the classroom.”

I’m not going to comment on the first of those two, since I have no idea what “evidence” actually “weighs”. But I take strong issue with the second of those two, if for no other reason, than because the debate between natural selection and Intelligent Design has been so valuable in illuminating important things. It has shown us how scientists work, how some theories go about being discredited and how other theories go about accumulating credibility. Those who would expunge Intelligent Design permanently from the classroom, are in effect asking me to believe that science students could be exposed to all that good stuff, and come away from the experience consistently without any discernible benefit to their education. Well, based on what I know now that I didn’t know two months ago, that’s difficult for me to do.

What impresses me the most over the last couple of months, is the epiphany that science appears to work by discrediting theories by the identities of the advocates behind the theories, and by slandering those advocates by supposing other theories were advanced by them, even when that is not the case. There are several quotes in the news insisting that “Intelligent Design is just creationism with a new label,” when the evidence emerging from the Dover lawsuit doesn’t seem to support this. That doesn’t seem to be very scientific, to me.

Much of the argument for rejecting ID appears to be rooted in the truism that evolutionary theory has labored under a heavier burden, and yet has proven so much more. That seems, to me, to be a natural result of what each theory alleges. ID is simply a problem for established evolutionary theory, or rather a catalog of such problems. On the other hand, “evolutionary theory” as we know it today, in a venue in which we consider excluding all other explanations, is so much more absolute, stringent, radical and uncompromising than what “evolutionary theory” is supposed to be. Evolutionary Fundamentalists today argue that evolutionary forces can account for everything we see! Every little bit of it. Any living thing you care to pick out, a credible explanation can be found for how evolution produced it.

And not only is that untrue, but nobody with any reputation to defend is actually saying it. In fact, the Evolutionary Fundamentalists with real scientific credentials, readily concede that evolutionary theory is incomplete by this standard. There are many things for which evolutionary theory is a process of finding a plausible explanation, and hasn’t completed this process yet. However, the scientists who are best acquainted with the current state of evolutionary theory, are confident this will successfully happen, and if I knew what they knew, I’d be confident too.

Okay, I believe them.

But I would like to know about these issues. In the greatest detail I can, with whatever background I possess. It’s my nature. I’m curious.

It hasn’t escaped my attention, some of these conundrums can be dismissed with an ease far greater than what we would expect, as laymen, without a fairly comprehensive understanding of what evolutionary forces can do. And other conundrums are a little bit trickier. Pardon me for saying so, but that’s interesting.

Evolutionary theory is supposed to explain everything. ID, as I know it, simply points out that where evolution fails, the presence of a Designer remains standing as the most plausible explanation. That seems to be just logical. Selection can be natural, or it can be artificial; if it isn’t one, it must be the other. There is no in-between.

Michael Behe’s theory of Irreducible Complexity has been assaulted repeatedly, apparently not by the “weight” of directly-contradicting evidence but by what amounts to academic snobbery. The publication of Darwin’s Black Box in 1996, for example, was not preceded with the traditional peer-review process one would expect with regard to any scientific work. Well, what of it? If Dr. Behe wants to publish his ideas in a book without peer review, and because of that he gets nailed on something the peer-review process would have caught, that’s going to be an embarrassing problem for Dr. Behe. If some non-scientist reads something wrong in there and starts repeating it, making an ass out of himself, then that’s an embarrassment for that guy too. What skin is it off the nose of those peers? How does it reflect on the scientific community as a whole? It doesn’t.

It’s troubling that the peer-review process has been proposed as a way to stop certain theories, not-disproven theories, from seeing the light of day. Why shouldn’t we unwashed peons know about those? We can read about Elvis Presley having a space alien’s baby from a supermarket tabloid any time we like. When did science get in the business of filtering out what we can read?

Some of what has been learned, in light of this trial, is helpful to the Evolutionary Fundamentalists, or at least to evolutionary theory. One of the elegant attacks placed against the ID people, is that whales have “fingers”. The bone structure inside the flippers, resembles that of a human hand. This is a difficulty for Design Theory, because why would that designer give the whale something the whale doesn’t need? Dr. Daniel Dennett makes another case in Show Me the Science that the retina strongly assults ID theory:

The retina is inside out. The nerve fibers that carry the signals from the eye’s rods and cones (which sense light and color) lie on top of them, and have to plunge through a large hole in the retina to get to the brain, creating the blind spot. No intelligent designer would put such a clumsy arrangement in a camcorder, and this is just one of hundreds of accidents frozen in evolutionary history that confirm the mindlessness of the historical process.

To get a good idea of the ID counter-argument, all you have to do is play Lieutenant Columbo and flip this whole process around. You say, okay, the notion of an Intelligent Designer has been soundly defeated, now walk me through this. It’s tens of millions ago and we’re not evolved yet, we’re just a bunch of blind fish. We’re going to grow eyes through a series of entirely random mutations. The mutations produce what we know as “evolution” through a progression of exceedingly rare events in which those mutations become “fortunate”. They provide a feature or two, that allow the hosting organism to gain an advantage in the competition for finite resources in the host environment.

Clearly, being able to see, is an advantage. But wait, you don’t have that yet. A lens without a retina, is useless; a retina without a lens, is also useless. “Evolution” does not occur until the advantage is enjoyed. How many mutations do you have to have before the advantage is enjoyed?

Evolutionists explain this in a way that I find pretty credible. They say, you need a lens and a retina today, but this complicated arrangement is in itself an example of evolution. Back then, the mechanism could have been a whole lot simpler. It would have to have been a simple photoreceptor. They point to living organisms, as well as fossils, providing a spectrum of links between that photoreceptor and the complicated arrangement we have embedded in our skulls today. Is there not a bundle of optic nerves? A hole in the skull allowing that nerve to get to the brain? A cortex in the brain arranged so that this nerve can easily get someplace that will do some good? All of this is achieved through one lucky mutation at a time, the evolutionists say.

And I suppose I can buy that, since I’ve been convinced of evolution since the first time I saw a series of skulls in a fourth-grade textbook, starting with something ape-like but lacking much brain-space at all, and ending with Homo Sapiens.

The problem emerges with that very first stage. Even in the most primitive forerunner to the eyeball you could possibly propose, there must be several parts. The photoreceptor must be exposed to light. A nerve must be attached. It must run to a cortex in the brain, and the brain has to understand how to deal with the resulting information. This is important. The “mutation” will survive and propagate because of the Darwinian advantage. To propose some feature appears on the skin that may evolve into a photoreceptor — it just isn’t hooked up yet — seems to contradict the theory of evolution that you’re trying to support. How many more generations until the nerve appears? What keeps that blotch there, throughout those generations?

Does this start at the brain first, perhaps? Do we have a nerve wandering aimlessly, perhaps taking several generations to breech the skin and become something that can feed images? How long does that take, then? Maybe the skull developed last? That would certainly explain the convenient openings. Suppose there wasn’t even any skin? What if the photoreceptor was actually on the brain, and the skin, optic nerve, and surrounding skull came later?

If that’s the case, shouldn’t I be able to search for creatures that have skulls but no eyes, and come up empty? Don’t salamanders have skulls? How did that happen?

I freely admit it is possible, even likely, that all I’m proving is my own ignorance. I’m not trying to demonstrate I know my biology. My point is simply that no matter which piece you put in the puzzle first, they never quite seem to fit. Columbo is never quite finished saying “Oh, and one more little thing.”

Does this all make sense inside the labs? Once I get my biology degree, will the questions all magically go away? Show me how, then. Science is democratic by definition; it belongs to us; it is the study of “nature” which is something not only in contact with, but surrounding, all of us. Scientists my be inspired to explain this in a way we understand it, after they have successfully buried Intelligent Design and made it deader than King Tut. But they’re much more likely to enlighten us while they’re in the process of trying to do that burying. It doesn’t hurt to examine what the problems are with evolutionary theory, and to periodically re-visit from time to time to see what evolutionary theory has figured out about them.

That is, it doesn’t hurt what we conventionally call science. It doesn’t bring a lot of arguing and heated invective from someone we conventionally call a scientist

It would only be injurious to an effort to invest atheism as an official religion of science, and thus as an official religion in the United States.

And that’s the only logical explanation I can see for what’s going on. After all, if you’re trying to find a way evolution can explain something it hasn’t explained yet, you shouldn’t be the least bit bothered by someone saying “A designer makes sense, at least until you’ve got your theory figured out.” You would be agitated only if you had an emotional belief, running counter to the proposal of a designer, that you were trying to prop up with your “scientific” efforts.

I’m in the camp that fails to understand the mutual-exclusivity between theism and evolution. Obviously we have grown; we may have been put here; there is nothing inherently wrong with supposing that were were put here and we grew here.

I can probably explain that concern best with the parable of the tomato seeds. A little old lady buys tomato seeds and puts them in her garden — when you prove the tomatoes grow from seeds, this does nothing to refute the existence of the little old lady. Discovering the glass wall of the greenhouse, poses no problems to the theory of “growing” tomatoes. It only poses a problem to someone who has posited the tomatoes are out in the wilds, and the little old lady is a figment of someone’s imagination — that is the only faction left with some explaining to do.

Your Condoleeza Reading Assignments

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Your Condoleeza Reading Assignments

Condoleeza Rice is the most powerful woman in the world, and has been fiercely determined in all her personal goals since the age of three. ++yawn++ You know what? Those two items represent the least remarkable things about her.

Thanks in no small part to liberal women, over the last third-of-a-century that act has gotten kind of tired. I mean, who, with a vagina, isn’t trying out for the ferociously-unstoppable-woman role? We’re up to our armpits in unstoppable women, and our culture has unstoppable-woman fatigue. Dr. Rice adds a twist, though, and it’s a good one. She is not an attention whore. People are watching her, or they’re not. It doesn’t seem to matter to Secretary Rice whether she is, or is not, the center of attention. She still just plows forward. One inch at a time maybe, but she goes.

Condoleezza Rice was staying away from politics during her early years. Condi’s parents were tuning a blind eye on the issue of racial discrimination in the USA and simply preferred not to pay any attention to it. African Americans did not have any voting rights back then, but Mr. Rice would persistently tell his daughter that she would be able to become the president of the United States if only she had a wish to work hard for it. Little Condi was doing her best.

That’s pretty tough to find now: What’s this? My civil rights are being trampled on. Oh well, I’m just going to do my thing. What’s that, I should start a revolution? Why should I, anyone discriminating against me is just a loser, and I’m going to be President someday, so let’em do whatever they want.

Kind of a Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Rosa Parks meets…Howard Roark.

Yeah yeah, I can hear the liberals now: Without a civil rights revolution, Condoleeza Rice would just be a maid somewhere, nothing more. Hey, you wanna bet? How much do you want to bet?

A lot of observers say that Ms. Rice has a very good chance to amaze the whole world in 2008 and become the USA’s first female president.

Condoleeza against Hillary in ’08 would be like Jason Voorhees versus the stupid slut with big tits: Definite outcome, over quickly, a little bit of fun to watch, maybe not as much suspense as it should have. Oh, there’d be a smidgen of difference. If you rent a zillion Friday the Thirteenth movies, every now and then Jason will slaughter a cheerleader, and via flashback or something, you’ll see something of the slut later in the movie. Every once in a great while.

Hillary, on the other hand, would be gone for good. She might get as annoying as Jimmy Carter, but it’s equally likely she’d be as quiet as Jerry Ford.

And Condi would make an awesome President.

Dr. Rice would like to see through walls:

…[Fox News Channel reporter James] Rosen was on a roll. He also asked Rice whether she would like to have any superpowers.

“Superpowers?” said Rice, the most powerful woman in the Bush administration and arguably one of the most powerful people in the world, period.

Rosen tried again, and got this response: “I’d like to be able to see through walls.”

It’s the latest Bush administration scandal: Spy-On-You-Through-Walls-gate. You read it here first.

Update: The article on FARK, from which I learned about this whole see-through-walls thing, has been greenlit for non-Totalfark-people, which means you don’t need to be a member to see this anymore. It also opens the gate to the discussion thread under the article, and wow what a lantern into the bigotted liberal mind that is (pseudonyms of liberal racist knuckleheads have been changed):

2005-09-29 11:16:13 AM Liberal-Knucklehead-1: There’s been a lot of speculation that Condi is a lesbian. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

2005-09-29 11:19:12 AM Inquisitive-Person: so Bush can appoint a black, gay woman to the position of Sec of state and he’s STILL a racist homophobe?

2005-09-29 11:26:34 AM Liberal-Knucklehead-2: I always thought there was a particular irony in the fact that the president who sucks more than any past president hates homosexuals.

2005-09-29 11:52:16 AM Liberal-Knucklehead-2: Powerful women don’t get facials, they give them.

2005-09-29 12:10:13 PM Liberal-Knucklehead-3: (responding to Inquisitive-Person’s question) yes. covering his ass by picking out one token woman who happens to be black (kill two birds, one stone). she’s merely for show, to sort of combat that “racist, sexist, homophobic” stuff that bush is known for. i recognize that she actually is very intelligent and accomplished, but the way it seems to me she was hired simply for being a minority. sort of how because of the equal opportunity employment/anti discrimination laws, if you only have all white people working at a place, you HAVE to hire a person of another race (qualified or not), or sex, otherwise it looks discriminatory.

2005-09-29 12:28:19 PM mkfreeberg [TotalFark]: I must be learning something new this morning about the post of Secretary of State. I guess President Washington named Thomas Jefferson to it just to make himself look good to racist, slave-owning, pot-smoking atheist Virginians.

Oh wait, don’t tell me, don’t tell me…the post of Secretary of State is for big important things managed by really competent people, but George W. Bush is too stupid to know that. Is that it?

2005-09-29 12:42:44 PM Liberal-Knucklehead-2: B I N G O !

2005-09-29 03:27:33 PM mkfreeberg [TotalFark]: And here I thought you stuck to Checkers and Twister at those Wednesday night cross-burnings.

You know, this thing about racist conservatives, I don’t think it’s been spun out of whole cloth. There definitely are some. But somewhere along the line we picked up this purely-an-article-of-faith thing that there are no racist liberals. I don’t believe in that, which is to say, I do believe there are racist left-wingers. I believe we are buried up to our belly buttons in them. Furthermore, I believe the “legends” about racist conservatives, are about twenty percent reality, and about eighty percent projection on the part of those racist liberals.

After all, where is this as-long-as-my-right-arm list of things Condoleeza Rice has done to support these inferences that she got her high position in the Cabinet as an affirmative action token? Nobody’s offered anything to support it; I don’t believe the support exists. The evidence that does exist, supports the idea that Dr. Rice is uniquely qualified for her current position. The idea she was picked for her by the color of her skin, and she’s actually some kind of dummy who would otherwise have never landed the job, is purely a matter of faith; where it isn’t faith, it’s just mental masturbation. As in, a process that requires no approval from anyone, is detatched from reality, achieves nothing, and just feels good to the person engaging in it.

In other words, racism more pure than anything ever practiced by Bull Connor (Democrat), Strom Thurmond (Democrat) or Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat).

We’re not yet at the point where all conservatives are non-racist and all liberals are racist. But we’re just a notch away from that. We’re certainly at the point where the stereotypes of the previous century are ripe for a serious re-thinking.

Well, That Was Lame

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Well, That Was Lame

John Roberts is expected to receive 77 votes on the Senate Floor today, and to be commissioned as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States.

I hope that with him in charge, we can gradually start to fix what’s broken.

What’s broken? Well you be the judge. Whether you’re a tighty-rightie or a lefty-loosie, can you read this paragraph and tell me the Founding Fathers would be pleased with what our judiciary does nowadays?

The Bush administration wants the Supreme Court to reinstate a national ban on a type of late-term abortion, and the court already has scheduled arguments on whether New Hampshire’s parental notification law is unconstitutional because it lacks an exception allowing a minor to have an abortion to protect her health in the event of a medical emergency.

Name the Founding Father to bring up out of the ground. Pick any one out of the set that you want. No sooner will the earthworms and maggots be picked out of his sockets and the eyeballs mashed into place, and he reads just that one sentence, will his jawbone hit the floor. Good heavens, he’d have have a bazillion-and-one questions for us. There are so many bone-spinning problems with that one sentence, I don’t know where to begin.

And maybe 75% of all Americans with strong opinions about the Supreme Court, and perhaps 95% of everyone-at-large, will be mostly incapable of answering those questions.

Was the Democratic party opposed to Judge Roberts’ commission? Even they wouldn’t be able to tell for sure. Kinda lame.


Wednesday, September 28th, 2005


Tom Sullivan is filling in for Rush Limbaugh today. He’s arguing that if we make it profitable for the oil companies to do so, they will build more refineries. Normally I’m biased in Sullivan’s favor, but on this one I’m going to have to show some reluctance. Jerry Taylor and Peter van Doren, a few months ago, put out an argument that I thought was pretty solid in spite of my initial inclinations toward the opposition: New refineries have not been built since 1976, because the speculative profits are simply not there to justify building those refineries.

The gasoline refining market is about as close to the model of “perfect competition” as you’re going to find outside of an economics textbook. Rents are competed away and little profit is left for producers, especially when compared to the profits available from investment in oil production. Conservatives believe that environmental regulations have a lot to do with those low profits. They’re wrong. A large oil refinery costs $4 billion to $6 billion to build. The installation of “best available control technology” is a very small part of that figure.

Where I part company with Tom, is he’s saying in a capitalist model “money will flow, like magic” to wherever it is needed and this includes the refineries.

Trouble is, the gasoline market is not typical.

Suppose two gas stations are 150 feet apart from each other. Gas station A charges $3.199 for premium and is franchised by Oil Company 1, which owns (or leases, or somehow has access to) Refineries Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. Gas Station B sells premium for $3.189 is franchised by Oil Company B which has access only to Refinery Omega. It can get it nowhere else.

Refineries Gamma and Omega are hit by a hurricane. In a typical market, Gas station A would raise prices to $3.299 or so, in so doing making an adjustment to the market by which supply and demand find some sort of temporary harmony. In order to do the same thing, Gas station B raises its price to eight bucks or so, since now it’s selling gas out of a strictly limited inventory that cannot be replenished. Gas station B owner gets on the phone to his wholesaler and says, I need a break because this guy next to me is selling the same stuff for half as much. Wholesaler says, it can’t be helped. Gas station A ends up being the place to go. Gas station B has to make its money by selling soda, chaw tobacco and washer fluid.

But that’s not how it works.

Both gas stations hike it to $4.50 or so. The same day. They end up, once again, within a penny or two of each other.

This doesn’t act like a capitalist market and there is little reason to anticipate it will respond to capitalist forces. What it acts like, is a collectivist market: No farmer has his own 20 acres, instead we all wake up whenever we feel like it and harvest & sow whatever chunk we feel like out of two square miles. No competition.

The scary thing is, this is much more important than the price of crude, and more vulnerable to interruption. Crude could tumble to fifteen dollars a barrel tomorrow, and with the nation’s refining operations running on 29-year-old junk, gas would stay exactly where it is.

But what I drive gets dang near 40 miles a gallon, so Hakuna Matata for me. The rest of you have a problem.

What is a Liberal?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

What is a Liberal?

In response to questions from my eight-year-old son, I’ve instructed him that a liberal, in this day & age, is a person who is incapable of differentiating fact from opinion.

For the adults, I have a better definition. A liberal is someone who thinks you can have a dinner party, invite Earl Warren and Thomas Jefferson to attend, seat them next to each other, and at the end of the evening expect no glasses or plates to be broken.

They are sad, sad people, who have a connection to reality best described by the word tenuous.

Why More?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Why More?

Each and every single time the news media takes a harsh look at the Bush administration, reasonable minds can disagree as to whether or not that media is functioning as a centrist, objective watchdog, beholden to The People and to nobody else, or as to whether that media is acting as a leftist shill. Now, if you want to keep arguing the point to the other side in hopes of changing minds, I think most of us would agree the justification for the arguing lies in the prospect of a solid challenge to that other side. Without that, arguing is pointless, and this is why we don’t argue it much — although certainly, there is a lot of disagreement.

Well here, then, is a challenge. You are a famous, award-winning cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee named Rex Babin. Your mission is to disseminate fresh, topical illustrations of current events so that readers can be informed in pictorial form. You relish your position as a centrist media watchdog, a shill for nobody, accountable to The People, and to The People alone.

It is September 27, 2005 and you have been bashing the Bush administration’s connections to Halliburton for years. Your readers either think there is something incriminating in this connection, or not, or else they don’t have their minds made up yet. The number of readers who are still undecided about it, has shriveled down to…well, to nothing. To the three or four people in Sacramento County who live in caves like Ted Kaczynski. Outside that handful, people have made up their minds.

And at this late date, you wish to inform. Objectively and non-partisanly, of course.

When then, why, pray tell, would you draw up this cartoon?

Babin is in excellent company. He doesn’t wish to inform, except to inform people what kind of opinions they are supposed to have.

I wouldn’t present this cartoon as evidence to back that up in 2002. Or in 2003, 2004 or in the earlier part of this year. But by now, this is not fresh and it’s not even topical. It’s propaganda pure and simple.


Tuesday, September 27th, 2005


Not that I can find any examples this late in the game, but apparently this photo has been circulating and/or been published repeatedly in the San Francisco Chronicle. Link goes to the “What Are You Looking At?” blog that has the whole story.

I first noticed today via Wizbang! that this fellow has been outed, thanks to Google. His name is Jeb Eddy, and according to the list of reported contributions going back seven years, he’s about as Republican as Che Guevara. Under the comments section in Wizbang!, one of the posters had called out the fact that this is not unprecedented. At least two of the supporters for Ward Churchill, holding themselves up as “Republicans for Churchill” were outed as registered Democrats earlier this year.

There is something going on here, which may be easily understood to a whole lot of people but which makes very little sense to me. Time for me to put on the ol’ “make believe” hat. I’m a registered Democrat and I want to protest for Democrat causes, and at the last minute before I had out the door with my picket sign I get a whacky idea! I’m going to pretend I’m a Republican! What motivates me to do this?

Well, there are two answers the way I see it. One is, I am an attention whore who doesn’t give a shit about what kind of message I’ll be sending or what minds I will be changing, only that I get lots of high-fives and pats-on-the-back from my fellow liberals for deceiving those hated Republicans. Given the number of bumper-sticker sound bites I’ve heard for the last three years that state no logical case whatsoever, Mr. Donahue’s monologue on the O’Reilly Factor, for example, I think that’s pretty likely.

The other possibility is, I am strategically reaching out to conservatives and centrists who are numb to the fact that Democrats don’t like President Bush and the Republican party, but would be more receptive to the slander if they saw evidence that the G.O.P. was beginning to splinter. Liberals have made much of the talking-point that President Bush is a “divider, not a uniter,” so I think this is pretty likely, too. Link, link, link, link, link, link, link, link.

Now, don’t ask me to explain that.

In my world, if a course of action is correct but politically divisive, and an opposite course is wrong but would unite people — a sane decision-maker would prefer the correct course of action, come what may. But obviously, it is a popular talking-point.

What is to be learned from these frauds?

Simply this. A pattern has been defined. It would be extravagant, almost to the point of insanity, to presume the mother-lode has seen the light of day. There are probably many, many more “ashamed Republicans” out there, who are really lifelong Democrats, hoping they won’t be exposed.

The other thing to learn is, if you’re sitting on the fence in deciding these contentious issues, and for whatever reason you’re more receptive to Republican apostates than to Democrat die-hards, you are a scrumptious morsel. Liberal protesters, advocates and demagogues think you’re pretty yummy. Easy pickin’s. There’s a high price on your head.

Something for you to think about.

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson

Sacred Cow Burgers

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Sacred Cow Burgers

Nobody reads this blog, but if ever anybody somehow does trip across it, I think they should know about Sacred Cow Burgers.

Lots of pictures. Funny stuff. And, as you can see, pretty much a reinforced-stainless-steel riveted connection to The Truth.

Not Alone

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Not Alone

I saw this cartoon in the paper yesterday. Not funny. But pretty thought-provoking.

I’ll tell you how this grabbed my attention. I always saw these “my wife doesn’t pay me as much attention now that the baby’s here” guys as spoiled wimps, to be honest. After all, being a real man is about taking care of people weaker than you, isn’t it? Soldiering on in spite of lost sleep, dentist bills, skin taken off your knuckles when the wrench slipped, etc. Certainly you shouldn’t be belly-aching that people aren’t paying attention to you all the time.

Except that last frame looks just like so many of my failed relationships from the past. Ouch.

Maybe now that I’m in something a whole lot better, I’ve accumulated the wisdom necessary to speak on this. Not solve all the world’s problems, but just say a thing or two about it. To the fellas. After all, all those times I was down on my hands & knees getting milkshake spilled on my head, I thought I was alone. Clearly, I wasn’t. How many other guys out there with milkshake in their hair think they’re alone? Lean forward and follow my words, guys, here comes wisdom. I’m not saying here comes perfection…I’m not even saying it will solve anything. But it needs to be said.

You know how we all think the nice guys finish last? And how the ladies deny it, deny it, deny it some more? And yet…guys who get laid pretty much whenever they want, they certainly aren’t what you call “nice.” I don’t know that many nice guys who say “please” and “thank you” and never have time for themselves, because they’re constantly juggling girlfriends. I don’t know of too many evil bastards who steal from tip jars and leave gum on bus seats, who are crying in their beers because they can’t get dates.

Having failed and succeeded, I’ve come to a conclusion.

Women don’t like guys who are dicks. They don’t like men who are nice, either. They say they like men who are “assertive, but not cocky.” This is a lie. They don’t like assertive men at all. They like cocky men more than they say they do, but they’re not extremely fond of that, either.

They like men who have preferences for things, and stand up for those preferences. Definite men.

It tells them that if they build a household with this guy, someone in that household will have a preference about things, at all times, twenty-four-seven. The woman, then, can be decisive when she feels like it, or veg out and let things be however they are, when she feels like it. The man will go right on, making wise decisions about things, until she wakes up and is ready to grab the wheel again.

That’s actually kind of silly — men have downtime, just like women do. And if a normal man has to keep making decisions, whether he wants to or not, and answer for them later, just so his better-half can space out, there will be no peaceful relinquishing-of-the-wheel at the end of his shift. In a man’s world, a ship has one captain. In a woman’s world, that stuff is based on feelings. And nobody likes to have their feelings subordinated to somebody else’s feelings.

Lately, I’ve gotten in the habit of just being definite, and it’s improved my relationships with women by leaps and bounds. I like this. I don’t like that. There’s a third answer: I don’t care, but at least I definitely don’t care. Be passionate about your apathy, in other words. Just those three answers, for anything that comes up. “I don’t know” is what’s poisonous. You’re practically breaking up with her, or divorcing her, right there & then if you tell her that.

And it’s funny, because the way guys are raised, “chivalry” is all about letting her decide everything, imposing your will only when it’s absolutely necessary, and completely off her radar, like, should your car be filled with 87 or 91 octane. Leave EVERYTHING else…up to her. And good heavens, don’t express a preference one way or the other. That might make her feel “pressured,” and we can’t have that, can we.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

What this all boils down to, is that guy in the comic strip up there, he’s already divorced. It’s a man’s patriarchal duty to stop that scenario from developing before it develops — climbing out of that hole once you’re in it, is futile. How do you avoid becoming furniture? By saying “no” sometimes. Yeah, that’s right. If you’re a married guy, and your living room is chock full of ceramic angels, candles, frilly things, and your toilet seat lid has a fuzzy cover on it that makes it impossible to leave it up…you’re divorced already.

Women can, contrary to popular belief, be told no. In fact, women love hearing no. What they can’t stand, is being told “I don’t know” about something, and then later, having an argument about something that had been left to their judgment earlier.

That’s weak. Indecisive. Womanly. There are valid evolutionary reasons why women don’t find it attractive. If you’ve got the balls to knock her up, you’ve got the balls to make up your mind about things.

This Is Good II

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

This Is Good II

Awhile ago I had written that the salad days of the Republican party under George Bush, thanks in no small part to Hurricane Katrina, were just about over; that it had reached its summit, and from here on out it was set to plunge into a chasm, at a steeper and steeper slope downward as time went on.

I still believe this, but R. Emmett Tyrell presents a potent argument in the opposite direction. Much of his argument rests on the premise that Democrats stand for nothing right now, and without a viable, robust and potent opposition, the President can’t feel the hot breath of failure on the back of his neck without a genuine failure, recognized across partisan lines. The primary complaints against the war, thus far, are that it has been hard to predict, lethal and controversial. What war, ever, wasn’t all three of these? And the economy is doing okay. Other presidents have presided over economies that were better; but many, a majority, have seen economies that sucked big green ones next to the economy we have.

But the keystone to his argument is that President Bush labors under no coherent opposition:

The Democrats have no program, no coherent ideas, and no leader who is not perilously controversial. I have in mind the mesmeric Hillary, who mesmerizes Democrats, is repellent to Republicans, and unattractive to most independents. She is the first First Lady ever to suffer the disapproval of a majority of Americans since pollsters began polling the approval ratings for First Ladies. She is, aside from her husband, the most scandal-prone person in American politics.

A few thoughts:

  • This is all very encouraging for someone who simply wants Republicans to kick Democrat ass. I’m one among those who want America to become a stronger republic; let the political parties wrestle in the mud however they will.
  • If this republic is to be saved through further suffering among the Democrats, let that deterioration culminate in a major re-defining of the Democratic party.
  • Republicans still have a lot to answer for. Starting with, Republican President George W. Bush should have a much longer list of line items in the federal budget, for which he has requested a REAL cut, than he currently does.
  • He should also be able to state a case about how he has fortified and defended our national border, than he currently can.
  • Until he can establish, maintain and strengthen a program of profiling at the airports, including racial profiling, he cannot claim credibility on the War on Terror.
  • Nor can he claim complete credibility as a Terror Warrior, until he subordinates all diplomatic protocols to the extradition of Osama bin Laden, by military force if need be.
  • He can’t present himself as a fiscal conservative, until he forcefully repudiates the concept of deficit spending. Republicans who claim a federal deficit “might be a good thing” should have no home in the party the President calls his own.
  • The President should address head-on the criticisms against his administration for placing political cronies in high offices. President Clinton had a better-qualified head of FEMA than the Bush administration. When the Clinton administration beats you on substance, even on a singular issue, you know you are really sucking wind.
  • Do those six things, and I think President Bush can take Tyrell’s article to heart. If he doesn’t, he can’t. That’s just my opinion.

    Bush Selling Children Into Slavery

    Saturday, September 24th, 2005

    Bush Selling Children Into Slavery

    I’m so grateful we have the Daily Kos to point this stuff out, Lord knows where we’d find out about it otherwise. I’ll let the post speak for itself.

    On Wedneday, Bush issued a waiver exempting the Saudis from financial penalties associated with the child sex trade, prostitution, etc.

    There are many missing children in the wake of Katrina.

    After the tsunami there was great concern that many of the children left without families due to that disaster had disappeared into Asian, Middle Eastern sex trade rings.
    I’m sure it must have something to do with oil, but in Bushworld we can’t take anything for granted, can we?

    Wow. All I can say is, Wow.

    You might want to bounce this one off the next lefty type who tries to ambush you with “blood for oil” and what-not. Good litmus test to determine how much whacky tobaccy he’s been smoking.

    Left-Wing Lunatics Lose Again

    Saturday, September 24th, 2005

    Left-Wing Lunatics Lose Again

    The extremist plank of the Democratic party got a wedgie up the ass cheeks of its “let’s find a way to make it America’s fault that America got attacked” platform. The International Freedom Center, a museum custom-stocked by America-hating, goat-fornicating weird-beards, and spoiled-rotten trust-fund hippies who smell like ass, grass and cheetos, has come under attack, or at least under some pretty harsh questions, by some heavyweights who are supposed to be good little liberals — but, for better or for worse, have to worry about upcoming elections & junk.

    The solidly extreme-left-wing-Democrat contingent that represents New York State in the Senate, took a look at the prospect of supporting IFC’s blame-America-first theme of memorializing the attacks, and both senators decided they didn’t have sufficient political capital to go this far. Unless support for the IFC can be found somewhere else, using the September 11 attacks as a springboard into teary lectures about raping indians, liberating Iraqis, and refusing to sign the Kyoto Treaty, will have to be done somewhere else.

    The New York Post (link requires registration), strangely, presented this backpedaling as evidence against the idea that Sen. Hillary Clinton is a shrill, extreme left-wing, socialized-medicine-practitioning, anti-parents’-rights, baby-killing, male-bashing bigot, which has actually been firmly established for quite some time now.

    “I cannot support the IFC,” Clinton declared last night in a strongly worded statement in response to an inquiry from The Post.
    “While I want to ensure that development and rebuilding in lower Manhattan move forward expeditiously, I am troubled by the serious concerns family members and first responders have expressed to me,” Clinton said.
    Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also voiced concern yesterday and called for a compromise � although he didn’t state flat-out opposition to the Freedom Center. “There’s got to be a way to meet the families’ sincere and real needs and build a center that honors the freedom that the victims died for. We hope that the LMDC will find some common ground quickly,” Schumer said.
    Clinton’s opposition means that the anti-IFC push is now a bipartisan cause. Three New York Republicans � Reps. John Sweeney (Saratoga), Peter King (L.I.) and Vito Fossella (S.I.) � are already challenging it as a “blame America first” project.

    We’re not out of the woods yet. It would be good if Congress can launch an investigation to determine how the memorialization project was “hijacked,” in the words of Congressman John Sweeney (R-Saratoga). “If you asked people on the street what they wanted at Ground Zero, this would be the last thing that they wanted,” he said. I recommend, for this investigation, they start with Sarwar Ali, Chairman of something called the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience, who has been running around “quietly” telling the IFC how to put on exhibits. Find out if he can be extradited from wherever he is, brought to New York and tried for espionage. Isn’t it a war crime to use your political clout to try to talk a foreign country into committing slow suicide? It should be.

    Will the centrists regain control of the Democratic Party, before that party goes the way of the Whigs? Can they go so far as to get the Democratic Party to support the idea of killing bad guys and defending good guys? Or is that too much of a stretch?

    I got a gut feel all Sen. Clinton cares about here, is fooling people into thinking she’s some middle-of-the-road kind of presidential candi– I mean, senator. But whatever motivates her conniving little heart, if her shift in position is due to letters, faxes and e-mails received from her constituents, the rest of us owe those constituents a debt we can scarcely repay. Whoever they are, they deserve the same adulation, celebration and gratitude that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth deserve. Well, almost.

    My Book Club

    Saturday, September 24th, 2005

    My Book Club

    What has Oprah Winfrey done that gives her the right to tell other people what to read? The answer is pretty simple: She simply asked for the right, and people gave it to her. They have a perfect right to do what she tells them to do, and once they do it, she is their master and they are her willing slaves. It’s that simple.

    There’s no reason I can’t do the same thing, so here goes.

    Now that we’re two months into what’s likely to be an all-year knock-down-drag-out fight about Supreme Court justices, in my opinion people would be well served to get their hands on What Kind of Nation, by James F Simon. Simon, who is yet one more holier-than-thou, blue-state left-wing nut, nevertheless builds on an impressive collection of research to create an outline of the personal and political conflicts between President Thomas Jefferson, and Chief Justice John Marshall. By the time you’re done with the last page, you have a clear picture of Jefferson & Marshall’s ideological beliefs, their prejudices, and to a certain extent their personalities as well.

    You also get some insight into James Simon, since, toward the end, he can’t resist bitching about the Bush v. Gore decision. He doesn’t state a case against it, anymore than Phil Donahue can state a case for getting out of Iraq; it’s pretty much a HFOS (“Hooray For Our Side”) remark.

    One connection with our current times that really stood out, for me, is that after Marshall’s commission as Chief Justice, Thomas Jefferson sounds just like Rush Limbaugh. The Presidential election of 1800, the legendary toss-up between Jefferson and Aaron Burr notwithstanding, was actually a landslide victory for Jefferson’s Democratic-Republicans against the then-incumbent Federalists led by John Adams. It was not at all unlike Newt Gingrich’s revolution of 1994. Jefferson was particularly vexed by the coup scored by the outgoing Adams administration, packing the federal benches with Federalist appointments he thought were completely lacking of support at the ballot box.

    An entire chapter is dedicated to the famous Marbury vs. Madison decision of 1803 which solidified the power wielded by the Supreme Court today. For that reason, this is a very solid recommendation for “fans” of the Marbury decision who would like to learn a little bit more about it.

    I Am a Well-Rounded Duck

    Friday, September 23rd, 2005

    I Am a Well-Rounded Duck

    Captain Quack Rubber Duck Quiz

    Alienating Your Allies

    Friday, September 23rd, 2005

    Alienating Your Allies

    Of all the bashing-points, I mean, er, talking-points used against George Bush and the War on Terror, the one I can always count on running into between my waking and retiring moments, each and every single day, no matter what I do, is: Our foreign policy has alienated our allies. People inside America, are not viewed favorably by people outside America.

    This is often used as a “stand-alone” talking-point, as if it’s not necessary, anywhere, anytime, to say anything else. Those within something, are viewed with contempt by those without, and that thing is automatically a bad thing. The various reasons for maintaining the thing, are simply left untouched. Our dissatisfactions with the lukewarm results we had achieved prior to the War on Terror, dealing with the goat-fornicating weird-beards who want to slaughter us like chickens, are simply left unmentioned and unchallenged. Potency matters not; public relations is all-important.

    Okay. I’d like to try something.

    Attention. To those who follow Oprah Winfrey’s book club. Those of us who are not part of this whole thing, look upon this, and your participation in it, with disfavor.

    You’re alienating us. Your allies.

    Your public relations leaves something to be desired. We think you’re retards.

    The book club is not conducive to sympathy. It rankles people more than anything Oprah Winfrey does, or has ever done. If someone doesn’t like Oprah, and he is asked to list his complaints against her, the two words you can count on coming out of his mouth are “book club.”

    Now then, let’s sit back and watch the followers of the book club stop following it, just like the Blue-Staters are expecting us to stop supporting the War on Terror. I’m sure they’ll drop it like a hot potato.

    I’m just sure.

    Latinos…Take Note

    Friday, September 23rd, 2005

    Latinos…Take Note

    Alert, alert! If you’re a Latino, there is a race bigot who is likening the ethnic makeup, with which you were born, to illegal-alien status.

    Cecilia Munoz, speaking for the National Council of La Raza, defined for everyone interested why the Council is participating in a conference call to urge Greyhound Bus Co. to end its policy of screening for illegal immigrants. What’s that? Greyhound is appealing to the radical, bigoted right-wing fringe by sticking its nose into customers’ citizenship status? Um, well, no. If you read the article, it seems Greyhound is just doing what any profit-minded greedy corporation is going to do: covering its sleek grey ass.

    Kimberly Plaskett, a Greyhound spokeswoman, said she didn’t know how many customers have been denied tickets under the policy but called it a “pretty rare” occurrence. The Dallas-based company adopted the policy in 2002 in response to the criminal indictment of a now-defunct, California bus company that pleaded guilty to immigrant smuggling, she said.

    Well, Cecilia Munoz doesn’t like this ass-covering. Cecilia Munoz would be much happier if Greyhound left its ass nice and exposed, not that she’ll reimburse them for legal costs, thank you very much. Why does she want Greyhound to break the law? Why does she want illegal aliens to be treated exactly like people who belong here? I hope you’re sitting down. Get ready for this:

    “When the standard is that you should know who is in the U.S. illegally, it is a recipe for singling out Latinos…You’re not going to go after the Irish-looking guy.”

    Let us make something exceptionally clear here. La Raza is not standing up for Latinos, it is standing up for illegal aliens. This is important. All Latinos are not illegal aliens, and all illegal aliens are not Latino. Simple logic, therefore, makes no correlation between these two groups of people.

    But Cecilia Munoz does!

    What is wrong with our culture?

    If you’re a Greyhound desk clerk and you do exactly what Cecilia Munoz implied they are inevitably going to do…if you mix the two groups up and say “that guy looks like a Latino, he might be an illegal alien” — our prevailing culture would not allow this. I don’t mean to imply you would never get away with it. I’m saying that kind of behavior, once exposed, would not be tolerated anywhere by anyone with a reputation or position to lose that is worth saving.

    If I were to write a letter to my editor complaining about my new neighbors being illegal aliens, and I can tell they are, since, after all, they’re Latino — my paper would not publish it. If they did, they would do so at arm’s-length, holding me up as a laughing-stock. Which I then would be. And even then, someone at the paper might get in trouble.

    If I were to write a column for a newspaper, in exchange for a paycheck, and I used “Latino” and “illegal alien” interchangeably — even unintentionally — I would be fired, reprimanded or both.

    If I were to draw a cartoon for the newspaper, and made a point of using cartoon figures with Latino features to manifest illegal aliens, my paper would be forced to fire me, reprimand me, or both, and even then would be in a boiling stewpot of trouble.

    But whenever some politically-correct lefty outfit argues against safeguards to keep illegal aliens out of our country — we tolerate, tolerate, tolerate, the mixing-up of these two demographies. Even when the mixing-up is not only intentional, but key to the point the lefty is trying to make. Suddenly, it’s all good. Sure, a latino is an illegal alien, and an illegal alien is a latino. If you say so, Mr. politically-correct lefty advocate person. Suddenly, we forget completely that there are Latinos that aren’t illegal, and we forget completely that there are illegals that aren’t Latino.

    Why do we do this?

    If intellectual laziness is intolerable when we talk about doing legal things, like, harboring thoughts in your own head deemed racist and bigoted by somebody else… it damn sure doesn’t cut the mustard when someone is arguing for illegal things, like selling bus tickets to someone who doesn’t even belong here.

    Who may or may not be Latino.

    Latinos, I think you should protest the comments of Ms. Munoz immediately, and demand that La Raza denounce them.

    Horse Heads

    Friday, September 23rd, 2005

    Horse Heads

    Newsmax is reporting that President Bush has made some recent comments reflecting not too well on the previous administration’s handling of terrorism. The article notes the comments were “quotes picked up by United Press International” but I can’t find them.

    President Bush fired back at ex-president Clinton on Thursday, saying the weak U.S. response to terrorist attacks that took place mostly during the Clinton administration encouraged al Qaida to launch the 9/11 attacks.

    “The terrorists saw our response to the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings in the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole,” Bush noted, after getting an update on the war on terror at the Pentagon.

    “The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves and so they attacked us,” the president added.

    This is really just stating the obvious, and it’s not the first time the President has spent some of that closely-guarded political capital to attack his predecessor. Eleven months ago, he made an appearance in New Jersey and made some comments about Homeland Security on October 18.

    During the decade of the 1990s, our times often seemed peaceful on the surface. Yet, beneath that surface were currents of danger. Terrorists were training and planning in distant camps. In 1993, terrorists made their first attack on the World Trade Center. In 1998, terrorists bombed American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And then came the attack on the USS Cole in 2000, which cost the lives of 17 American sailors. In this period, America’s response to terrorism was generally piecemeal and symbolic. The terrorists concluded this was a sign of weakness, and their plans became more ambitions [sic], and their attacks became more deadly.

    Vice President Cheney repeated the talking point while visiting nine hundred graduating cadets at an Air Force academy in Colorado Springs this summer. Almost word-for-word.

    “During the ’80s and ’90s, as terror networks began to wage attacks against Americans, there was a tendency to treat those attacks as isolated incidents,” he said. “And those acts were answered, if at all, on an ad hoc basis with subpoenas, criminal indictments and the occasional cruise missile. As time passed, the terrorists concluded that they could hit America with very little consequence.”

    It’s clear the White House has been polishing, and synchronizing on, this talking-point. Now, talking points are undignified by nature. Just because something’s been published or disseminated as a talking point, doesn’t make it correct. But it doesn’t make it wrong, either.

    Charles Krauthammer has been writing about this for quite some time. In one of my favorite columns, “Bracing for the Apocalypse” published February 13, 2003 on the web site, he spells it out in terms everyone can understand.

    The domestic terror alert jumps to 9/11 levels. Heathrow Airport is ringed by tanks. Duct tape and plastic sheeting disappear from Washington store shelves. Osama resurfaces. North Korea reopens its plutonium processing plant and threatens pre-emptive attack. The Second Gulf War is about to begin. This is not the Apocalypse. But it is excellent preparation for it.

    You don’t get to a place like this overnight. It takes at least, oh, a decade. We are now paying the wages of the 1990s, our holiday from history. During that decade, every major challenge to America was deferred. The chief aim of the Clinton administration was to make sure that nothing terrible happened on its watch. Accordingly, every can was kicked down the road.

    This is exceptionally dangerous speech. Not only does it make Clinton look bad, but there is at least a grain of truth to it.

    It’s even more dangerous than that, because it makes a certain amount of sense. We’ve been struggling to understand “what makes the terrorists so mad at us” for four years now, trying to figure out what language they speak. The answer to that has been in front of our faces the whole time. Terrorists understand the language of horse heads left in beds. It’s just that simple. Bill slaps Bob in the face, and what happens next is a meter-reading of the strength of Bob. If nothing is done, Bob is weak. If Bob slaps Bill in the face, Bob is strong. If Bill’s face is bashed in repeatedly with a fire extinguisher until its skull loses all structural integrity, the crunching of his sinus cavity fills the room, and his brains see the light of day, why, then Bob is The Man. Do not fuck with Bob.

    The wise, enlightened, oh-so-much-smarter-than-me Blue Staters tell me I’m demonstrating my stupidity by “staying the course”. They tell me no benefits have been forthcoming in our pursuit, thus far, of this “course.” We are now four years into speaking the language of horse heads, and the benefits have far surpassed whatever we saw during all those years of speaking the language of diplomacy and political correctness. Back in those days, “benefits” were kind of like what we see in North Korea today: “So and so says he’s going to be good. We must believe him. We have no choice.” The benefits of goo-goo, there-there, Jean-Luc Picard foreign policy never once rose above that.

    Leftists protest that Saddam Hussein, that guy “we all agree was a bad guy,” and his half-and-half, kind-of-complied, kind-of-didn’t adherence to the United Nations mandate to disarm, is evidence that diplomacy worked. Except they won’t stick their neck out and come out & say so…unless it’s an anonymous lefty guy on a thread or a blog somewhere. Meanwhile, the stronger language has proven Iraq is clean. It has firmly established this. That’s what you need for national security; you turn unknowns into knowns. Mission accomplished. It has disarmed Libya. That’s after four years of speaking horse-head, versus twenty years of speaking diplomacy, we-abhore-your-actions-yet-again, and please-please-oh-pretty-please. The positive results of which were — and I don’t see ANYONE with a good name & reputation to defend, sticking their neck out and contradicting this — zip, zero, nada, zilch, butkus.

    So when all’s said and done, I guess I really am pretty stupid. Not only do the results netted from talking-horse-head look superior from where I sit, but they also seem to look superior to the bad guys. And isn’t that what the process of communication is all about?

    And the peaceniks say we should go back to the days of “answer[ing], if at all, on an ad hoc basis with subpoenas, criminal indictments and the occasional cruise missile.” Because when we bash skulls, people don’t feel good about us.

    But isn’t that the point of leaving a message in that language?

    The language of horse heads is not a panacea for everything. It is just one tool in the chest of the well-equipped foreign policy mechanic. And it is to be used sparingly, because when you use it successfully, the price to be paid is that your popularity goes down. If & when the time has arrived for this tool to be used, that diminished popularity is a sign of success, not of failure. If I were Vito Corleone, and I told a bandleader his signature or his brains were going to be on a contract on a Monday, and found I was still Mister Nice Guy, Life of the Party, Mister Popular, by Friday — that would be wrong. I’d be seriously brushing up on my threatening-skills.

    Donahue Meltdown

    Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

    Donahue Meltdown

    I’ve decided to link to this video clip through the Daily Kos blog. Believe it or not, there is a consensus among those on the left that Phil Donahue kicked Bill O’Reilly’s ass in an unmoderated debate about a certain war-protesting activist whose name I don’t mention anymore. Not just emerged victorious, but ripped him in half.

    Watch the clip, and decide for yourself.

    My son and I were listening to this on the radio, during which O’Reilly, demonstrating extravagantly odd behavior for someone who is supposed to have had his ass kicked, played it over and over again on his show. The boy has been asking me what makes a liberal a liberal. He’s demonstrated great proficiency at telling a “fact” apart from an “opinion” (he is eight). I’ve told him that a liberal is someone who can’t do this. Phil Donahue managed to prove my point for me. I mean, listen to him. Talking point, talking point, talking point. One can grow old waiting for Mr. Donahue to actually make a logical case for or against something.

    Example: “Saddam was a bastard, but he was our bastard!! Donald Rumsfeld shook his hand in the eighties!!” Now, seriously, what in the hell are you supposed to do with this? What would you decide, logically, to do, that you wouldn’t decide to do if you didn’t know about this? It changes nothing.

    Again: Leftists think Donahue won the “debate.” Remember this next time two politicians debate each other, and leftists tell you the Democrat kicked ass. These people wouldn’t know an ass-kicking if, well…if they got their asses kicked by one.

    Memo For File II

    Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

    Memo For File II

    This is for my purposes. I find it handy to publish these tidbits in my blog. Makes it easy to get to them later.

    This article about Intelligent Design (ID) is pro-evolution, but it does a very fair job of presenting both sides of the debate, I think.

    Incidentally, that’s kind of rare. Most pro-Evolution arguments are Evolutionary Fundamentalist (EF) arguments, insisting on a course of action that expurgates any and all reasoned dissent.

    Intelligent Design: An Ambiguous Assault on Evolution
    By Ker Than
    LiveScience Staff Writer
    posted: 22 September 2005
    12:42 am ET

    Editor’s Note: This article is the first in a special LiveScience series about the theory of evolution and a competing idea called intelligent design.

    TODAY: An overview of the increasingly heated exchange between scientists and the proponents of intelligent design.

    COMING FRIDAY : Proponents argue that intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory, but a close look at their arguments shows that it doesn’t pass scientific muster.

    Science can sometimes be a devil’s bargain: a discovery is made, some new aspect of nature is revealed, but the knowledge gained can cause mental anguish if it contradicts a deeply cherished belief or value.

    In the sidebar, Scott Minnich, who holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Iowa, supplies the quote most compatible with my opinion.

    You’re just asking, can unintelligent undirected, unpurposed laws of chemistry and physics, chance and time produce things that are more sophisticated than the combined intellectual capacity of our engineering community at present. I think that’s a valid question.

    Because of What, Exactly?

    Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

    Because of What, Exactly?

    Two months ago, I had named Sen. Ted Kennedy Liar of the Week because he pledged to keep an open mind on the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court:

    I will not decide whether to support or oppose him based on any single issue…what all Americans deserve to know is whether Judge Roberts respects the core values of the Constitution and falls within the conservative mainstream of America, along the lines of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

    Well, Senator Kennedy has just proven me right to call him a liar. Actually, not quite. As one of the five senators to vote “No” on Judge Roberts in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Kennedy asserted he would oppose the Judge on the Senate Floor as well.

    Yes, yes, I know. He said he wouldn’t decide on “any single issue,” and maybe he didn’t. And Roberts has been nominated to the role of Chief Justice, whereas two months ago he was up to fill Justice O’Connor’s seat. And in all likelihood, the official line is going to be “lack of information” about Judge Roberts’ judicial philosophies or some such.

    This is what cheeses me off. Nobody with an ounce of intelligent really, truly, in their heart of hearts, believes any of the above has any weight on the issue. No sentient being who has paid attention to the saga, speaking with complete sincerity, is going to say Senator Kennedy was being genuine back in July.

    I miss the days of “gotcha” politics. Nowadays, when any elected official lies his ass off the way Sen. Kennedy routinely does, we have to indulge in this wheel-spinning exercise of debating whether he lied about something of any consequence. Good heavens, the matter might be on the “about sex” side of the line, and then we’d have to drop it like a hot potato. Result: Even if the lie is extraordinarily consequential, we have lost our determination to do anything about it. We don’t demand sincerity from our public servants. On any issue. At any time. Anyplace. Under any circumstance whatsoever.

    Yes, it’s true, Kennedy has always been a lying asshole and he’s always gotten away with it because of his last name. Nowadays, though, he can get away with it with greater reassurance. Remember when he ran around that room shaking hands after having won re-election in the middle of that massive Republican revolution in ’94? From a hundred feet away, the cameras picked up that thick layer of nervous sweat that coated every exposed inch of his flabby skin. Remember that?

    That was then. This is now. Back then, even an aristocratic powerhouse like Kennedy would have had to explain the departure of his current actions from the apparent intent of his recent words. No explanation is necessary now. Lying is just business as usual, from here on.

    You’ll never see a lying dickhead like Sen. Kennedy sweat the way he did in ’94, ever again. This is a bad thing.

    And we are to blame.

    Appoint Democrats Or Else

    Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

    Appoint Democrats Or Else

    Two heads-ups for you kind folks out in Sonoma County.

    First heads-up: If you’re an elected county official, and you’re a Democrat, on the sponsor list of the Sonoma County Democrat Central Committee, you’d better make sure all your appointments are also Democrats or else the Committee is coming to get you.

    Democratic Party to local officials: Appoint Democrats or else

    Sonoma County’s Democratic Party has issued an edict to party members who hold nonpartisan, local government offices, warning them to endorse and appoint only Democrats or risk temporary banishment.

    In a resolution adopted by the Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee, the party warns elected officeholders who are registered Democrats that they will be stricken from the central committee’s sponsorship list if they endorse a non-Democrat or appoint a non-Democrat to any committee, agency or group if a “qualified Democrat” also is vying for the post.

    “The candidate search and development committee shall maintain a list of the reported incidents of misconduct by Democratic officeholders,” the resolution reads. “All Democrats are encouraged to bring instances of improper conduct … to the attention of the candidate search and development committee.”

    Second heads-up, to all the voters. If you are thinking of voting for a Democrat county official, you’d better do your homework. You’re probably voting for, without knowing it, an entire hierarchy of elected-and-appointed officeholders who must be solidly Democrat, even if it means some among them are less qualified. In other words, you aren’t voting for the best people for the job, you’re just voting to support the giant Democrat toothpaste tube of war-protestin’, baby-killin’, gun-confiscating, tyrant-appeasing, Europe-fellating, United-Nations-trusting mishmash of nonsensical, scatterbrained and entirely unrelated political agendas.

    Just something to keep in mind. You’re welcome.

    Dress For Success

    Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

    Dress For Success

    If you’re a straight man, and you’re wearing looooooong shorts that extend past your knees, almost to your ankles, and the ass of those shorts dangles so low that you could zip up a cantaloupe in there — maybe you should skip this.

    If anybody ever read this blog, which of course nobody does, they would recall a long-standing assertion that when Americans think about things, we believe we’re thinking as individuals but we really do it as part of a collective. And, futhermore, that we don’t do this as well after 1998 as we did before. Put another way, if you want to think logically and in a straigtforward way — regardless of what those around you are doing — if you want to be the rare maverick who really does think for himself, you have to work a lot harder at doing this after 1998 than you did before.

    Toward the last part of the seventeenth century, Czar Peter the Great of Russia made a journey outside his backward-thinking home country, through the latter-Renaissance-era Western Europe. When he got back home, he laid down fines, special taxes, and penalties for wearing beards. He had a good reason for doing this. Beards, to Czar Peter as well as to the society as a whole, represented a culture he wanted to expurgate. During his journeys, he saw foreshadowings of the industrial revolution, things he would never have seen in a country as mired in agricultural livelihood as his own. He saw navies. He saw international trade agreements. He saw telescopes and prisms. He realized technology was approaching a quickening, back then, much as it is today, and he realized there was no reason the world’s next better-mousetrap couldn’t be invented by a Russian boy instead of a French or English boy. No reason, except, the sheepherding and corn-growing culture that had so thickly enveloped his realm.

    Czar Peter understood that what a man wears, impacts what a man thinks. It shouldn’t be that way, but often it is.

    And I found myself thinking about that when my date accompanied me to my very first visit to Hooter’s on Challenge Way, across the street from the Arden Fair Mall. We got a table right by the window, and after a few minutes I had to call something out to her, and she started noticing it too.

    The forementioned loooooooong shorts. The butts on the shorts, dangling a good twelve inches or more beneath where the actual crotch was, so that the fabric dangled between the knees.

    Oversized tee shirts. Oversized shirts, on big big men. Men, well over six feet tall, who nevertheless looked like they were borrowing hand-me-downs from their even-bigger brothers. The “shoulders” on the shirts, reaching down almost to the wearer’s elbows.

    Fancy sneakers and loafers, beneath that three-or-four inches or so of bare flesh on the calves.

    Gold chains around the really-really-thick necks.

    Short hair. Kinda-short hair on top, with five-o’clock-shadow-short hair on the back of the head, between the ears.






    Present. No exceptions, besides Yours Truly, and one other guy who I think was homeless.

    After a few minutes, during which the uniformity of compliance became impossible to ignore, I had to comment that I didn’t seem to be blending in with the crowd very well. My tee shirt actually fit, around my chest, shoulders, and arms, and was tucked into my jeans, which in turn somewhat fit my butt cheeks. My success, and lack thereof, of managing the middle-age male tummy bulge was on display for all to see — as opposed to these guys all around me who were wearing, well, guys who were wearing tents.

    Had I chosen to un-tuck my shirt, it would have ended somewhere around…my ass. My flesh-ass, and my pants-ass, which were at more-or-less the same height.

    Hey, I understand the concept of fashion. I’ve heard of it. But there comes a point where, with the rules being sufficiently proscriptive, and the compliance being sufficiently universal, it starts to get kind of silly. Men aren’t built to be…penguins.

    Having grown up in the seventies, I recall a widespread culture that was obsessed with fashion. With a certain excess, it got to be kind of sick. But this is worse, I think, because when you have been obsessed with fashion, traditionally you have been endeavoring to transmit a message of competence. You’re advertising that you can receive information about what’s “hip”; that you have a clothing budget; that you are a discriminating consumer of clothes; and that you know what looks good.

    Here we are in the twenty-first century, and men (or the women who shop for them) are obsessed with a fashionable trend of wearing clothes that do not fit their bodies.

    And frankly, it doesn’t look sophisticated. It looks about as chic as wearing a sweater with buttons & holes, and buttoning it so the wrong buttons go in the wrong holes. Kind of Rain-Man-ish. Like you need a little more assistance picking out your duds than whatever it is you’re getting.

    That’s kind of ironic, because some women in-the-know have advised me this is about wearing what women are inclined to pick out. Apparently, the guys wearing these tents want to get the word out that they have women, and they’re “secure enough in their masculinity” to let those women make decisions, in a proxy capacity, about the clothes these guys wear. Question: Hypothetically, if a guy were to err in the opposite direction, relying on himself too much and failing to listen to the women around him when he needed to, wouldn’t one of the most reliable ways to pick this guy out, be that he’s the one wearing clothes that don’t fit?

    If we are still thinking as a collective, and this is a symptom of how the collective is thinking, and communicates its ideas, perhaps it’s an indication that the collective is drunk and slurring its speech. I would recommend now, as the best time for the collective to go to bed & sleep it off.


    Monday, September 19th, 2005


    Recent events have forced me to change my mind about Jimmy Carter, the first politician I ever trusted.

    In 1976 I was just turning ten. I did not understand Watergate, which was a primary reason for electing Carter, but if the debate was between helping poor people & not helping them, why, I couldn’t see any reason not to help them. Alas, I was too young to vote. Thank God.

    Toward the end of Mr. Carter’s presidency, I had simply run out of ammunition I could use to defend him. There’s an unwritten tradition in our presidency that if you screw things up pretty badly with the economy, you should score a victory or two in foreign relations, and if you’re a walking disaster in foreign relations, you should have a few things to brag about with the economy. Poor Carter managed to piss in his boot everywhere he could. A fourteen-year-old understands this. A freshman in high school understands gas lines, double-digit inflation rates, and hostage crises. President Carter had four years to show me what his policies could do.

    He did more to make me into a Republican than any Republican ever did.

    So from 1980 until about, oh, I don’t know…somewhere in the last three years or so…maybe yesterday…I saw Jimmy Carter the way most of us see him. I thought he was a thoroughly likable man, with impeccable morals, unimpeachable character, a man who served his country with honor in the United States Navy, a bright man, a nuclear engineer, the one man out of a million you could count on to not cheat on his wife. The kind of guy you might not want to go out drinking with, but you’d leave him babysitting your kids in a heartbeat. That probably sums it up nicely. You’d trust Carter with your house, car and kids, and go drinking with Bill Clinton, and when Clinton offered to pay for the first round you’d never believe him.

    So I’ve thought, until recently, that Jimmy Carter was a reliable man you could believe and trust, but one who was simply thrust into an office for which he had next-to-no-talent to offer.

    I don’t take delight in writing this, but I don’t see him that way anymore.

    The man is a liar. A cheat. A thief. A charlatan. A scumbag.

    I’m inspired to say this, to conclude this, because of a story that appeared this morning about our former President. A bipartisan commission, led by former President Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, has called for a number of common-sense measures on electronic voting, including paper trials.

    Reform panel urges paper trail on votes

    WASHINGTON � Electronic voting machines should leave a paper trail of ballots, and the government should provide free photo IDs to nondrivers to help check eligibility, a commission on reform recommends.

    The private commission, created to suggest ways to improve the electoral process, also favors four regional primaries to be held after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

    Also, states should develop registration systems that allow easy checks of voters from one state to another, according to the report by the bipartisan panel led by former President Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker.

    The report, which makes 87 recommendations, is to be presentated [sic] today to President Bush.

    That’s not the real story here. The list of recommendations isn’t the real story. The real story isn’t that the report is to be presented to President Bush today.

    No, the real story is that a commission co-chaired by Former President Carter can be called “bipartisan” if you just put James Baker on the same commission.

    Excuse me, but who decided this? How does it make sense? Who in the hell has James Baker been criticizing lately? What has he been calling “unnecessary and unjust”? Which current elected-or-appointed official has he been hobbling with poorly-thought-out, irresponsible, self-centered remarks on the national stage? This is the Jimmy Carter who broke tradition and spoke out against the current administration’s policies at a critical time, immeasurably complicating our foreign relations with Iraq and with the United Nations. After President Bush made his famous “you guys are about as useful as a waterproof teabag” speech to the United Nations on September 12, 2002, former President Carter did it again. Carter attacked the “Road to Peace” on the day before Saddam Hussein was captured, and after the race between Bush and Sen. John Kerry heated up, Carter took to the podium and parrotted kooky filmmaker Michael Moore’s talking points about the war being “based on lies.” Just to make sure he had given Sen. Kerry as much of a leg-up as he possibly could, in the last week before the election he accused the President of exploiting the 9/11 tragedy, again echoing the ravings of Michael Moore and the kooky far-left. This summer, he again attacked the policies of the current administration, calling the Guantanamo Bay imprisonments “unnecessary and unjust.”

    I don’t think it’s necessary to dismiss President Carter from this bipartisan commission — and that’s saying something because, rest assured, if it was my butt in President Carter’s seat on that commission, he’d surely be calling for my head to roll before I did or said much of anything. But if the object of the exercise is “bipartisanship” instead of “nonpartisanship,” by all means let us acknowledge that everyone human has a bias. Carter can stay on; every “yin” has a “yang.” But that theory makes it impossible to keep Former Secretary Baker. It’s not that Baker is too reckless or too irresponsible, it’s the opposite. He simply doesn’t provide an adequate counterweight. He should be replaced.

    Pat Buchanan would be more fitting, but he still falls short. Striving to create a list of spicy, reckless Buchanan quotations appealing to the lunatic far-right, one is left wanting for material. Mr. Buchanan believes in an attack on Christianity, and he believes in a homosexual agenda. Some on the left call him homophobic. Try as I might, though, I can’t find a record of Buchanan cutting off a state leader at the knees, during the swelling of an oncoming international crisis. Certainly not with the authority of a former President.

    How about Newt Gingrich? A former House Speaker could certainly forget about the size of the cudgel he’s swinging around and make some cocksure statements in public, should he choose to do so. Trouble is, since losing some Republican seats in the 1998 mid-term elections, shortly before his resignation from the House’s top office, Gingrich has not been choosing to do so. Even with his shoot-from-the-hip reputation, he has been very guarded, very restrained, and most of all very responsible. This places him in a completely different league from Jimmy Carter, and not in a different league suitable for the counterbalancing job at hand.

    The long and the short of it is, there really aren’t too many public figures, on the right or on the left, as irresponsible as Carter.

    There’s always me. I trust Democrats as much as Carter trusts Republicans, which is to say not by the hair of my chinny chin chin — it’s as if some Republican has been as much of a disappointment to Jimmy Carter, as Jimmy Carter has been to me. Lacking any public stature at all whatsoever, simply writing stuff for a blog nobody reads, I’m sure I lack the civility and decorum one finds in just about all famous people — minus Carter. If there’s a talking point that can be put out against Democrats, I’ll jump on it, just like Carter obviously has never met a talking point against Republicans that he didn’t like. Trouble is, I don’t really give a rat’s ass about Republicans winning and Democrats losing. I’m just tired of Democrats winning elections, taking my money away, and using it to buy huge projection TV sets for welfare queens and other people who think work is for suckers. The parties mean a lot less to me. I don’t send whiny letters to Republican senators bitching them out for supposed infidelity to the Republican Party, along the lines of the scolding screed Carter sent to Zell Miller last year. Bottom line is, I crusade for values; he crusades for a label. I oppose his values but I’m not on par with his militance. This eliminates me from the pool of candidates.

    I regard it as proven, or nearly-proven, that you don’t approach Jimmy Carter’s level of militance and rigid lockstep with the liberal whacky chorus line, in the opposite direction, until you offset him with…Ann Coulter. That’s the only person I can think of. Just loudmouth Annie. Nobody else will do.

    Except there is still one important, potentially disqualifying, difference. Ann Coulter, to a certain extent, is trusted. She says what she believes and believes what she says. She’s a pretty far cry from “bipartisan” — but — she has yet to hold herself out as that. You can’t say the same for our 39th President.

    Carter got the gig on this middle-of-the-road commission. After peeling off against President Bush any time he inferred the headlines invited him to do so, scolding those in power as he saw fit so that His Favorite Party would not have to live with inconvenient, reasoned dissent within its big tent, Carter applied for the job of being half of a “bipartisan” leadership. Either he applied, or when the opportunity was presented to him, he endorsed his labelling as “bipartisan” by accepting the job. Like any job, when you accept this one, you’re making a statement. Carter said “if I, Jimmy Carter, were putting together a bipartisan commision like this one, I’d want a guy like me sitting on it, to bring some bipartisan credibility.” And that is a pre-meditated, calculated lie.

    That’s why, as of now, Carter is off my “maybe I can trust them” list. I wouldn’t want him running my town. Sitting on my school board. Cutting my grass. Curbing my dog. He can pound nails for Habitat for Humanity until his arm falls out of its socket, and in my eyes he’s still a liar.

    And that’s a sad thing.

    Because for the last quarter century, Former President Carter’s personal integrity has been the one, and only, individual attribute about him that could have dragged a positive comment out of me.

    Litmus Test

    Sunday, September 18th, 2005

    Litmus Test

    Nobody ever talks about this, but feminists are mysterious and scary. Our attitude toward them is so simple, that I believe I can speak for just about everyone with a few well-selected sentences. I’m for feminism when it means women should be paid the same for comparable work — with comparable experience, qualifications and seniority. I’m for feminism when it means women should be charged the same for the same goods and services, and if you can prove women are being slighted in the field of medical care, I’m for feminism when it means fixing that.

    I’m against feminism when it dictates I can’t watch porn.

    Or go to Hooter’s.

    Or that I should be fired from my job for nothing so a woman can have my job.

    Or when it makes it easier to fire me from my job, by creating a bunch of cultural rules in the workplace nobody can fully understand.

    Or when it makes it easy to convict a man for rape, for having sex that was entirely consensual on both sides until the following morning.

    I think those attitudes cover the “big middle” of our society, women as well as men. So I have a litmus test to anybody who calls themselves a “feminist.” And the first person I’d like to apply my litmus test to, is Katrina George of the University of Western Sydney. Katrina George has made a career out of lecturing against the practice of euthanasia, which strikes me as a purely gender-neutral issue. She manages, however, to work into her columns a few snippets about how badly women have it.

    Women’s experiences show how social and cultural biases can affect health care. Several US studies show that women receive fewer cardiac treatments and procedures than men and have worse outcomes. Women are also likelier than men to suffer inadequate pain control. Although women provide most of the care that is given to dying patients, when they need care themselves they tend to receive less assistance from family members than men and are likelier to have to pay for any care they might receive.

    As feminist Susan Wolf has put it, “Dimensions of health status that may affect a patient’s vulnerability to considering physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia differentially plague women”. Is it just a coincidence that most of the prominent assisted suicide cases have been women? In the US there were Diane Trumbull, Janet Adkins and Marjorie Wantz; in Canada, Sue Rodriguez; in Britain, Diane Pretty; in New Zealand, Victoria Vincent and Joy Martin; and in Australia, Nancy Crick, Sandy Williamson, Norma Hall and Lisette Nigot.

    Now, like I said, by all means if there is a difference in the health care women are receiving just because they are women, I’m all for fixing it — as is just about anyone. But in another role, spokesman for Women’s Forum Australia, Katrina George was speaking out about a recent victory for the group, apparently exerting enough pressure to shut down a beauty show.

    The “Blokesworld Live” event, a spinoff of a late-night television show, had been promoted in the east-coast city for Saturday and Sunday as “the ultimate weekend for the bloke of the species”.

    The group Women’s Forum Australia said the show was demeaning to women and that the council had bowed to pressure from protestors.

    “It’s time to declare zero tolerance against men who treat women like recreational sex toys,” spokeswoman Katrina George told the news agency AAP.

    A council spokesman denied the event had been cancelled on moral grounds, but Renee Eaves, the managing director of the event’s featured dancers, the “Flirtmodels”, said she believed the council had caved in.

    Feminists like Katrina George are suffering from scope creep. They need focus. So to give them some, here’s the litmus test not only for Ms. George, but any & all feminists.

    What’s better? A society that offers women substandard medical care and slave wages, but enforces “zero tolerance against men who treat women like recreational sex toys,” or a society that guarantees women equality of medical care, and equal pay, but lets horny men look at whatever they want to look at?

    It’s a valid question, because it’s extremely likely that this is the choice any civilized country is facing now. One of my hypothetical societies restricts all classes from true freedom, the other makes this freedom available to everyone. Freedom to do serious things like get affordable health care, and to do silly things like stuff dollar bills into a stripper’s thong.

    And society-at-large, appears to line up overwhelmingly on one side of that litmus test. “Real” people, in other words, would have no difficulty answering my question, and everyone except the True Believers would answer it the same way. People love freedom.

    But feminists seem to be straddling the line. They don’t give off the appearance of knowing, with any certainty, which of those goals is more important to them.

    So while we’re making up our minds how much rope to give a feminist to hang herself, trying to figure out what she’s all about…maybe that would be a good litmus test for her. Show Dracula the cross, and see what happens.

    Must-Tards III

    Saturday, September 17th, 2005

    Must-Tards III

    I don’t form pet peeves out of single words, but the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that people who throw around the word “must” seem to be the source of the worst problems in the world. These are people who have boundless energy when it comes to telling you what you should be doing that you’re not doing, or what you should stop doing that you are doing. Then, when the time comes to declare what bad things will happen if you keep doing what you’re doing, or don’t do what they’re telling you to do, the energy suddenly peters out. In other words, they can never seem to state a case why you should be doing things their way. Dictating, it turns out, is about all they can do.

    And a four-year-old girl can do that. If she has a one- or two-year-old brother.

    And most of this bullshit — and it really concerns me to be noticing it, and to see it proven over and over again with the passage of time — comes from Europe.

    Now take, for example, the case of Gudrun Schyman. Gudrun sits on the Board of the Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF), and in that capacity has been given primary credit for a screeching, turgid and clear-as-mud manifesto about Feministiskt initiativ, or Feminist Initiative. It seems where we’re going with all this is that in the environment that surrounds the Board of TFF, feminism has been just dandy but it hasn’t gone far enough and they want more feminism. The manifesto starts out with the tried-and-true “we’re not paid as much as men for doing the same work” that gets sympathy from everyone, and then, it launches into the really spicy, radical stuff. This is the “camel’s nose in the tent” theory, or, the “frog in a pot of boiling water” theory. You get massive numbers of people to agree to something they’d never accept otherwise, simply by showing some discretion in sequence and timing.

    In Sweden, the gender-based income gap is increasing. Female-dominated professions consistently have low salaries. Much of the work performed by women is still both invisible and unpaid. Women carry out the majority of domestic chores and take responsibility for providing care, in the public as well as domestic spheres. Women are discriminated against professionally, with the motivation that we bear children – regardless of whether we actually do. Women receive a smaller retirement pension than men. Women are underprioritized in medical research and health care.

    Okay, equal-pay-for-equal-worth. Something everybody likes, right? No links to any studies, no hard data, no statistics, no allowing another side to be heard, no exposure of the premise to attack by people who might be more knowledgeable and who might have facts that create problems for the stated inference. Nope, just the inference. But at least their heart is in the right place, because if Sweden does have this problem, well, just about everyone would want to fix it right?

    Feminist Initiative has grown tired of insufficient measures. Nearly all Swedish political parties call themselves feminist, but women’s lives remain unchanged, day in and day out, year after year. Despite many women’s tireless efforts within party politics, women’s interests have never been given adequate priority.

    Swedish gender politics have hitherto been based on a view of equality as a non-zero sum game, meaning that women’s conditions can improve without affecting those of men. Feminist Initiative builds its politics upon an analysis, which makes it clear that women’s subordination results from the privileging of men. Therefore, men must agree to relinquish their privileges. We share this analysis with contemporary women’s networks and organizations, as well as with the women’s movement, which throughout history has fought for the human rights of women.

    Men must agree to renounce their privileges. Yeah, and what happens if they don’t? Why should they? And most importantly, what privileges are these?

    What is this political manifesto supposed to do? If I were thinking of jumping on this bandwagon, why, I don’t have any better idea about what I’m supporting after I get done reading the treatise, than I would have before starting the first paragraph. So it doesn’t do that, therefore, what good is it?

    I haven’t been to Sweden, but over here in the United States there is an enormous pool of people who can get behind the idea of equal-pay-for-equal-work, but stop short of supporting something reeking with the odor of revolution by spoiled brats. So the platform has failed to state the case to the moderates. There are no reassurances of what the Feminist Initiative will stop short of doing. There is only the assurance to the extremists, that the Feminist Initiative wants more, more, more. What the TFF board will make men do.

    Goodie for you. And if I wrote such a thing in Poli Sci, or in creative writing, even a professor with pro-feminist leanings would have to flunk me and s/he’d be right to do it. I don’t know what this manifesto is trying to tell me. It’s just a list of bitching, and demands. Vague bitching. Unclear demands. And must, must, must. It would appear that one word has distracted Ms. Schyman and the other angry, bitter she-male trolls on the TFF board from what they set out to do. And they’re telling us what we must do, and we’re supposed to listen?

    Sorry. The Man Show beckons.

    Just Plain Petty

    Friday, September 16th, 2005

    Just Plain Petty

    Bill O’Reilly has been to eighty countries. I know this, because I was listening to his radio program last night and he cited this as one of his qualifications for agreeing with a caller who laid on him the usual pissing and moaning about how America is disliked around the world, we’re arrogant and other countries don’t think highly of us for it, we’ve alienated our allies, blah blah blah.

    Well it’s my understanding that when you demand to know how many countries an American has ventured into so you can attack him for his global ignorance, you’re supposed to discount Mexico and Canada to make him seem even more ignorant. According to that criteria, I haven’t been to any countries at all, so even though I think O’Reilly conceded this point prematurely, I defer to his expertise. Nevertheless, I have outstanding questions about the low esteem in which America is held on the global stage, which, I think, I ought not have. After all, we’ve been bombarded with this for how many years? We’re supposed to be how concerned about it? And yet, the people who think the USA should be more concerned about its low showing in the opinion-polls, never seem to do a clean, clear-cut job of cataloguing our problems for us.

    What else can I do, but try to get it done for them?

    • We’re arrogant
    • The average American doesn’t know how to find other countries on a map
    • When people from other countries tell our President what to do, he doesn’t obey them
    • We have a lot of money and generally, have life pretty good
    • We’re fat
    • We have bad stuff in our history, like raping the Indians and junk
    • We don’t take vacations

    Does that just about cover it? I haven’t heard anything ventured outside of those.

    I find it interesting that while he was conceding the point that other countries don’t like us and that this somehow means something, he also conceded the point to the other side that a lot of this has to do with jealousy. Now, I have not heard this thing about rooted-in-jealousy contested by anybody, save for those who have a vested interest in making as much out of this as can possibly be made — specifically, the extreme anti-war, anti-Bush crowd. So I take it as a given that folks sympathetic with O’Reilly’s viewpoint, which includes most of us, assert the following: 1) Resentment toward the USA is partly or wholly rooted in jealousy, and 2) Americans would be well served to take this endless complaining more seriously than we do.

    I submit that these two tenets are mutually exclusive. Complaints, even entirely truthful and entirely valid complaints, are invalidated automatically when they are based on jealousy. They become just-plain-petty by default. Even suspicion that jealousy is a factor, has an effect on the credibility of the complaining somewhat akin to steaming-hot urine on a snow castle.

    To demonstrate this, let us construct an everyday analogy that has something to do with jealousy. You have two neighbors on your block. The guy who lives across the street is a bachelor, six foot three, with chestnut-colored wavy hair, huge pecs, washboard abs, a Corvette, and huge feet. He makes you, as a man, question your heterosexuality. The guy who lives next door is in his late forties, kind of thick around the middle, has a lot of credit cards, drives a ’93 Honda, and a spreading bald spot. He also has an absurdly hot wife from Venezuela in her early twenties.

    One day the predictable happens. Not only does the hot wife from Venezuela start boppin’ with the equally hot bachelor from across the street, but she moves in with him. The happy couple keep living there. The jilted husband keeps living where he’s living. Life goes on.

    My point is, that as your next-door neighbor, the doughy, thin-haired jilted husband, confides in you his various petty resentments toward the bachelor and his ex-wife, logically you’re going to have to discount this. The David Hasselhoff look-alike, the thunder-stud, doesn’t vacation as much as he should. The stud is arrogant. The stud has too much money and doesn’t have enough challenges in life. The stud’s house is painted the wrong color. The stud’s new puppy dog doesn’t get curbed when he’s out for walks. On and on it goes.

    Even before it gets tedious (which it does, at breakneck speed) you can’t take it that seriously because you know the doughy, thin-haired next-door-neighbor has deep, simmering personal resentments toward the stud. You don’t even know for sure that the new puppy dog crapped where the jilted husband said it did, if you didn’t see it yourself.

    Now I don’t mean to imply that as Americans, we should automatically dismiss anything unflattering said about us, nor do I mean to imply that our foreign policies should be so dismissive of such things. There are diplomatic reasons to placate things like this, which don’t apply to my analogy. I’m just saying this: Jealousy, logically, diminishes the gravity that can be accorded to such things. People are people, and a lot of the time they’ll say bad things about you that are disconnected from, or only weakly connected to, the truth — when they know you have done something better than they have.

    That’s just the way they are.

    So no, I don’t think it means much. It means something. But it doesn’t mean much. Until the case against us is stated better, we’ve already paid as much attention to these petty complaints, and perhaps a great deal more, than would be productive for anyone.

    Now, that’s what I have to say about this emotional stuff, like the USA having an arrogant attitude. Some of the complaints aren’t emotional, but logical. We have luxuries not available in other countries, and we don’t vacation as much as people in other countries. Waitaminnit. Are the people complaining about our vacation schedules the same ones complaining about our standard of living? Why yes, I happen to know for a fact that some of them are. That’s retarded. I have just two words for the foreigners who complain about both our work schedules and our lifestyles. Eat shit.

    Did that just start an international incident? See if I care. You just do a lot of screwing around when someone else is working, and he ends up with shit you don’t have, you don’t get mad, you get even. Work harder. It’s a no-brainer. What in the hell is wrong with those people? And what in tarnation is wrong with people who would listen to that? Even for a second?

    No, I don’t think Europe is filled with people who take twenty weeks of vacation a year and then get mad at other countries that have more toys than they have. I’m sure Europe is filled with people who aren’t like that — but, it should be noted, that’s an article of blind faith on my part. In other words, to go on and on about other countries that don’t like us, makes Europe look bad to the United States. That’s inherently unfair, since everyone who gets off on complaining about Europe being mad at the USA, is not from Europe; many of them are Americans. Maybe — just maybe — now that they’ve changed about as many minds as they’re ever going to, the folks who like to go on & on about other countries resenting the United States, should give it a rest. It’s like your Mom said, when you point a finger at someone, three fingers curl around & point back at you, and the endless bitching has been producing an ugly byproduct of which these nattering nabobs may not be entirely aware. Stifle for a little while, for the sake of your own cause.

    Blame Clinton

    Friday, September 16th, 2005

    Blame Clinton

    I’ve got opinions with which just about everyone agrees, and some of the other opinions I have find sympathy only in very few. There are some opinions I have, with which nobody agrees, anywhere, but I’m still sure I’m right about them. And to my credit, or shame, or both, I’m not shy about them.

    I have one opinion which finds no other voice in the wilderness but mine, that I’m sure will be proven more and more correct with the passage of time. It goes like this: Like a collective of ants, our country tends to hammer out strategies on a collective basis, even when we think we’re doing our thinking as individuals — and after 1998, we don’t do this with the same competence we did before. And for this, I blame former President Clinton. I do, I really really do. He’s hurt us in ways that aren’t quite evident yet, but will be harder to deny in the years to come, and I’ll bet my left nut on it.

    For evidence, I cite the following. And I’m willing to consider that before 1998, such a thing might have happened, but for the life of me I don’t recall any such thing. Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania (R) has been hammering the “Able Danger” scandal which, if there’s something to it, stands a great chance of discrediting the 9/11 investigation of last year. The latest event is an announcement from the Congressman that he has a witness willing to testify to the destruction of a huge amount of documentation “that identified Mohamed Atta as a terrorist two years before the 2001 attacks.”

    The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa.

    Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as �2.5 terabytes� � as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.

    But a spokesman for the Pentagon challenged this — not only challenged it, but directly refuted the claims made by Congressman Weldon.

    Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials have been �fact-finding in earnest for quite some time.�

    �We�ve interviewed 80 people involved with Able Danger, combed through hundreds of thousands of documents and millions of e-mails and have still found no documentation of Mohamed Atta,� Swiergosz said.

    He added that certain data had to be destroyed in accordance with existing regulations regarding �intelligence data on U.S. persons.�

    Now here’s my point: Major Swiergosz is lying, or else, goddamn it, Congressman Weldon is lying. If both of these sources are telling the truth, then one or the other is so woefully uninformed that that person might as well be lying his ass off. And that, I’m afraid, is about as complicated as the matter gets.

    And this is the opinion I have, with which nobody else agrees. In January of 1998 our President at the time engaged in an act of fraud that, before then, would have been an act of political and career suicide for any Commander-In-Chief, Senator, Congressman, staffer, justice, judge, state legislator, selectman, postmaster general or dog-catcher. I don’t mean to imply that politicians got fired when they lied prior to ’98 — but they were supposed to get fired if they were caught lying. And that means lying about sex, lying about killing people, lying about eighteen-minute gaps in audio tapes, lying about eye-before-ee-except-after-see, lying about putting your left leg or your right leg in your trousers first when you got dressed. Lying about anything. That’s what I remember.

    And because of that, in my recollection, even with a reputation for lying, politicians were afraid of saying anything substantial. At the time, people didn’t like it. Now I’m nostalgic for it.

    Congressman Weldon’s comments are accurate, or else they’re not. Somewhere, someone knows which is which, and presumably that someone includes Weldon and Swiergosz. Why, then, is this a matter of debate? Clearly, it should not be. We continue to put up with this, and then, still, we expect to be given truthful information that is sufficiently moored to reality to mean something. But we have no reason to expect such a thing. For seven years, our leaders and spokesmen have told us whatever they figure they need to tell us to serve their masters, and we just let them.

    I blame Clinton. Certainly, he’s not the first politician to lie about something. But he’s the first one, that I know of, to lie, fully expect to get caught doing it, fully expect to be let off after being caught lying, and to actually be correct about it. You’d have to be an idiot to deny his everlasting impact on our prevailing culture, and once you acknowledge that, you have to blame him somewhat too.

    This is a problem. We may fix this someday. I think we will. But that will only happen after a massive bloodletting, after some kind of earth-shattering revolution, starting with the downfall of either Congressman Weldon or Spokesman Swiergosz. Whatever the truth is, this is something that shouldn’t be decided by the usual red-versus-blue cockfighting that answers all questions nowadays. He-said-she-said situations like this, raised with regard to things that aren’t completely unknown to all parties involved, represent a contempt for the truth in the higher eschelons of our leadership. For this, the blame must ultimately rest with the electorate. We shouldn’t be tolerating this.

    Fly in the Fundie Ointment

    Thursday, September 15th, 2005

    Fly in the Fundie Ointment

    I’ve come to a decision about the people who don’t want Intelligent Design taught in the schools. They aren’t “evolutionists.” An evolutionist is someone who advocates for a belief in biological evolution, and to advocate means to argue, support or plead for a certain cause. When you argue something, you allow opposing arguments to be heard.

    Opponents to Intelligent Design don’t want to do that. They are Evolutionary Fundamentalists, adhering to the classic dictionary definition of “fundamentalist” in that they state their case “by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views.”

    Now that we’ve decided what to call these people: Noted Evolutionary Fundamentalist Daniel C. Dennett, writing for the New York Times (link requires registration), makes an argument for blocking out the Intelligent Design theory he doesn’t like. This is a must-read for anyone who has an opinion on this issue one way or the other, as well as for anyone who’d like to form one but hasn’t yet. But bear in mind what the issue is: It’s not “were we put here or did we grow here?” — but rather — “should both sides of the question be considered, or should we censor anything posed on the side of the question that we fundamentalists don’t like?”

    Dennett has credentials I don’t have, and is probably a much smarter guy than I am. But his argument contains an elementary flaw. It is based on the fact that Intelligent Design fails to state a case while adhering fully to scientific principles, whereas, biological evolution states a strong case while adhering to any scientific principle any critic would care to name. That seems at first blush to be a reasonable yardstick, and to a certain extent it is. But there are problems with it that cut to the quick of the Evolutionary Fundamentalist argument he’s trying to make.

    Suppose a woman is found murdered and a number of pieces of evidence are found that strongly suggest — some would say prove — that I’m the one who killed her. Let us liken the idea that Morgan K. Freeberg murdered this woman, to the traditional biblical viewpoint that a Judeo-Christian God put us here, created animals, created Eve from Adam’s rib, told Abraham to execute his son, etc. I was seen shortly after the time of death with powder burns on my hands. The woman’s body tissue was found in a wall, with a slug fired from a gun registered to me. My DNA was found in her body. I confessed. Those are four pieces.

    More than four pieces of evidence — much more — make a persuasive case that we were put here by a Higher Being. This is not to say this evidence “proves” anything, or even to say that the evidence is uncontested. It isn’t. Therefore, the notion that the woman was murdered by someone else, is equivalent to the assertion that we grew here, like a fungus, without intervention from any Higher Power. My defense team says they can explain everything, just like biological evolutionists say they can explain everything. So let’s start contesting the notion that I’m guilty. My gun was reported stolen. I fired another gun that put powder on my hands. I had a date with this woman and left her place shortly after having consensual sex with her. I confessed after I was interrogated with unfair coercion. This is all comparable to the persuasive scientific evidence, validated over time, that “designed” features found in humans and other species, can develop through the evolutionary process alone. So we’re making progress toward explaining how we got here, without a Higher Power, just as we’re explaining why the woman is dead, without me being guilty of anything.

    Implied in these arguments posed by my defense attorney, is the suggestion “and whatever other evidence you find, we can find a way to explain that, too.” This accurately reflects the design-versus-Darwin argument in which we’re embroiled today. With two exceptions: In my criminal trial, I have a constitutional guarantee of presumption-of-innocence. Also, I am further protected by a discovery rule which bars the prosecution from introducing new evidence in the middle of the trial.

    In the scientific realm, the argument that biological evolution explains all, labors on without either one of these protections. It enjoys no absolute burden of any reasonable doubt, and current technology can introduce new evidence at any time, inconvenient as it may be to any entrenched faction.

    Dennett, himself, acknowledges in his column “evolutionary biology certainly hasn’t explained everything that perplexes biologists.” And this is the fatal flaw. From where I sit with my ignorant, twelfth-grade education, and my complete lack of scientific credentials, my position is very simple and some very fine scientific minds have failed to come up with a rejoinder to it: When evolutionary biology explains everything, come back and tell me why they other side should shut up. Meanwhile, the case has not been made.

    We’re in a position tantamount to prosecution introducing new evidence — “Morgan’s fingerprints, by the way, were found on the gun” — and the defense may reply with “homina homina homina, we’ll get back to you on that.” Valid scientific thinking, so far as I understand it, is equivalent for all practical purposes to legal jury deliberations. You may acquit Morgan for lack of proof of his guilt, but even while granting Morgan the benefit of every reasonable doubt, you are not permitted to let the fingerprint evidence pass on unexplained. By limiting discourse only to the adherents who agree with them, Evolutionary Fundamentalists want to do exactly that. Jurors aren’t supposed to say “I don’t know about any fingerprints on the gun because I don’t want to think about fingerprints on the gun.” They’re supposed to come up with some rationale for how the fingerprints got there. And for everything else that’s problematic as well: why I confessed; what my essence was doing in the victim; why I had powder on my hands; why the slug matched my gun. ALL that stuff. No exceptions.

    That’s what they need to do to acquit me, in a court of law in which I enjoy the benefit of every single reasonable doubt.

    Not to put a gag order on the prosecution — just to acquit me.

    Evolutionary Fundamentalists want to stop the other side from saying anything, not only in a classroom, but in any other forum where it might resonate. They want to do this in a scientific realm that is far more hostile to what they want to prove, than a criminal trial is to arguments in favor of the defense. They want to engage in this anti-scientific tactic, because they don’t want any proliferation in the Intelligent Design ranks.

    I notice that their actions are entirely inconsistent with the arguments they make. If the proponents of Intelligent Design are so poorly-equipped to defend their own theories — which, as far as I can see, more closely resemble a litany of troublesome questions than an actual theory — let the Intelligent Design proponents have their say. I’m assuming Dennett is correct, and everything the “designers” can do is simply raise these nattering objections, rather than creating a sturdy platform for their theories. What, then, could be wrong with simply cataloguing the questions? If the arguments are as flimsy as Dennett says, then that would be giving the other guy enough rope to hang himself.

    Why would Evolutionary Fundamentalists not want to do this, if the evidence, once objectively gathered, stacked up so overwhelmingly on their side? Is it the questions left unanswered by the designers, or is it the questions the biological-evolutionists can’t answer, according to Dr. Dennett’s own summary of the issue?

    The Evolutionary Fundamentalists who have gotten so noisy lately, are like the religious zealots of the dark ages. There are cosmetic differences. Torture racks, hot coals, pincers and thumbscrews have been discarded in favor of scientific titles. But the tactic of prevailing over opposition is exactly the same. Fear, coercion, monopoly of the establishment, and insistence that anyone who disagrees, is “possessed” and missing the credentials needed to speak. That’s not science, that’s fundamentalism — in every sense of the word — and you don’t need a higher-level education to see the difference.

    Nobody Reads This…But…

    Thursday, September 15th, 2005

    Nobody Reads This…But…

    My local newspaper did print it (third and last blog entry) (link requires registration). Your link to the original post is here.