Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

5/14/2005

Fuck the Religious Right

If you search those words on Google, this site comes up second.

Sweet.

Einstein, Gandhi, or Hitler?

Lots of quiz-taking going on lately, so I thought I'd mention my favorite internet quiz ever. I don't know if most people already have seen this, but it's called 'Are you Einstein, Gandhi, or Hitler?' Questions include:

You prefer to wear:
  1. A German military uniform
  2. A toga
  3. The same outfit every day to simplify things

You believe in the theory of:
  1. Passive resistance
  2. Relativity
  3. Racial purity

Take the quiz here.

It's certainly dismal, but is it science?

Via Media Matters, Rush Limbaugh shrieks about the Nobel Prize:

LIMBAUGH: This story in the LA Times is just unreal. Here's the headline: "Experts Are at a Loss on Investing." Subheadline: "Nobel winners and top academics fumble the sorts of decisions Bush's Social Security overhaul plan would ask average Americans to make."

You know why? Because the Nobel winners and top academics are a bunch of egghead elitists who can't even button their shirts. So, we're supposed to say because these clowns, these eggheads, these Nobel winners and top academics are lousy investors -- (doing impression) "Man, if the most brilliant people among us can't figure it out, then how is ol' Mabel in the trailer park going to pull this off?" That's the point of this story.

[...]

My investments, meager though they are, are all over the place in a bunch of different managers' hands, and I measure the managers against each other to see who's doing better. I did not need a Nobel Prize winner to tell me that this was the right way to do it. The fact that somebody won the Nobel Prize for suggesting this is a testament to how irrelevant the Nobel Prize is.

OK, first of all, exactly how 'meager' do you suppose Rush's investment portfolio is? (I hear he's got quite a bit tied up in pharmaceuticals ha ha.)

Rush's argument, such as it is, is of course droolingly stupid: he seems to be saying that average people, most of whom don't understand even the most basic concepts involved in investing, will actually do better than the 'experts'.

However, he's correct about the silliness of the Nobel Prize in economics, though I'm sure for the wrong reason. In fact, the 'Nobel Prize' in economics isn't really a Nobel Prize.

Which is as it should be, since it is not at all clear that economics is really a science. Cribbing from Brian Leiter, who is the go-to guy on these type of things, here is what Alexander Rosenberg has to say on the scientific status (or lack thereof) of economics:

"microeconomic theory has made no advances in the management of economic processes since its current formalism was first elaborated in the nineteenth century."

"the twentieth-century history of economic theory certainly does not appear to be that of an empirical science."

"Economists would indeed be well-advised not to surrender their...research program, if only they could boast even a small part of the startling successes that other [similarly structured] research programs have achieved. But two hundred years of work in the same direction have produced nothing comparable to the physicists' discovery of new planets, or of new technologies by which to control the mechanical phenomena that Newton's laws synthesized. Economics have attained no independently substantiated insight into their domain to rival the biologists' understanding of macroevolution and its underlying mechanism of adaptation and heredity."

And Leiter himself:

[It is not] that economics generates no successful predictions, but only that (a) the quality of its predictions (their precision and reliability), and (b) the growth of its predictive power over time, are not of scientific quality. They do not live up to the standards that economists themselves claim for them. Generating true generic predictions is not the hallmark of science. All of us, drawing on common-sense psychological assumptions, do that all the time. Genuinely scientific theories must anticipate the future with a degree of precision and consistency greater than that realized by common-sense.

I predict, for example ... that ignoring the curve and giving A's to all my students will increase enrollment in my courses. I predict that covering a class for an absent colleague will make it more likely that that colleague will give me detailed comments on a manuscript I've given him to read. All of this is the stuff of common-sense, but no one would think of characterizing the common-sense psychology that undergirds such predictions as the core of a scientific research program ...

Read more of what Prof. Leiter has to say about this here and here.


P.S. Limbaugh also claimed that the Nobel Peace Prize was meaningless as well, since the Nobel committee has brought disgrace upon itself by giving Jimmy Carter the award.

Again, Rush is right (even a broken clock ...) but for the wrong reason. The Nobel committee disgraced itself long before Carter was given the prize ...




All hell is about to break loose

But on the bright side, you'll be getting laid a lot more ....

For some reason, the issue of polyamory has been coming up a lot lately. Bitch, Ph.D. apparently has this type of relationship with her husband. I hope this doesn't make me look like some kind of ignoramus, but I hadn't even heard of this before fairly recently. Here's a bit of what the Wikipedia entry on it has to say:

Polyamory is a neologism, signifying having more than one long term intimate, usually but not necessarily sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved. Persons who enter into or consider themselves emotionally suited to such relationships may define themselves as polyamorous, often abbreviated to poly.

Ever since uber-wingnut Rick Santorum's weird comments about gay rights leading to polygamy, incest, and (his words) "man on dog action" (OK, he didn't say 'action', but he did say 'man on dog'), part of the anti-gay marriage argument has been that it would lead society down a 'slippery slope' the end result of which is that people will be allowed to marry not only whomever they want, but as many as they want, simultaneously, like in that weird Clint Eastwood movie where he sings. Also, supposedly brothers will be marrying their sisters and dog owners will be marrying their dogs and cops will be marrying donuts and eventually every person and every object will end up married to each other, and then how do you decide who to take to your high school reunion?

Some examples of this 'reasoning': Wingnut Exhibit A; Wingnut Exhibit B; Wingnut Exhibit C.

(That last one, by the way, offers "helpful, debate-tested soundbites for defenders of natural marriage and the family.")

Stan Kurtz at NRO warms us that we've already started to slip down the slope, and that polyamorists are beginning to mount a battle for legal recognition. In fact, open attacks on traditional marriage have already begun: this woman argues that most married people aren't happy (!), and an evolutionary psychologist (motto: we're not scientists, but we play them in newspaper articles) has produced startling new research indicating that men desire more sexual partners than women!

It's all because of gay marriage, according to Mr. Kurtz. (Incidentally, Stan seems oddly preoccupied with this issue, having already written about it at least twice before.) Says Stan:

Rick Santorum Was Right

Meet the future of marriage in America.

I have seen the future of American family law, and her name is Elizabeth F. Emens. Emens, who teaches the University of Chicago Law School, has published a major legal and cultural defense of polyamory (group marriage). In "Beyond Gay Marriage," I showed that state-sanctioned polyamory was rapidly becoming the favorite cause of scholars of family law. Yet not until now has anyone offered so bold, informed, intelligent, and comprehensive a brief for polyamory. Emens's breakthrough article is a sign that the case for mainstreaming polyamory is finally being...well, mainstreamed.

...

Emens begins by suggesting that Senator Rick Santorum was right — or, at least, she seems to be trying to bring Santorum's prophesy to fulfillment. The professor is unhappy that proponents of same-sex marriage agree with Santorum that were gay marriage to create a new openness to adultery, bigamy, and polygamy, that would be a bad thing. Emens's preferred response to Rick Santorum's parade of horribles is "So what?"

Emens ... concentrates not on constitutional issues, but on building a deeper case for the social utility and justice of polyamory ... Emens lays out a sophisticated case for treating polyamory not just as a practice, but as a disposition, broadly analogous to the disposition toward homosexuality.

... Polyamorists have long treated their inclination toward multi-partner sex as analogous to homosexuality ... What's new here is that a scholar has built this analogy to homosexuality into a systematic and sophisticated case.

... Emens argues that everyone has a bit of "poly" inside. If we can just discover, nurture, and accept our inner polyamorist, then even for those who choose to remain monogamous, the prejudice against polyamory will disappear. This will allow everyone to make an unconstrained choice between monogamy and polyamory.

... Emens even has a practical program for creating a polyamory-friendly world. Instead of abolishing the remaining laws against adultery, Emens wants to keep these laws in place, but force people to decide before they marry whether to contract for a monogamous or a nonmonogamous union. Emens thinks this should probably be done through civil law rather than criminal law. But her clever idea is to force people to make a conscious choice from the start about monogamy. In effect, Emens is taking a leaf from the book of Louisiana's "covenant marriage," but turning it toward the radical end of encouraging marriages that are, by agreement, nonmonogamous from the start.

...

Is Emens right? Not by a long shot. The most striking thing about her article is how little it has to say about children ... If the gay marriage battle hadn't already done so much to separate the idea of marriage and parenthood, an article like this could never have been written. Once we act as though children are anything other than the central reason for the public interest in marriage, we open the way to exactly what Emens offers.

... Folks used to say we'd never slide down the slope from gay marriage to polyamory. Gradually, the slippery-slope scoffers are being replaced by bold polyamory defenders. Yes, as someone once said about Dan Quayle, Rick Santorum was right.


I guess we're fucked, then; the whole point of the slippery slope is that once you've started down it, you're doomed.

I wonder how long it will be before you can register for wedding gifts at PetsMart.

Hearts and minds

From CNN.com:
Call for U.S. apology over Quran

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- The United States should apologize to Muslims for the senseless desecration of the Quran which has only strengthened the hands of fanatics and undermined efforts to build democracy, an Afghan newspaper said on Saturday.

Sixteen Afghans have been killed and about 100 injured since violent anti-U.S. protest erupted on Wednesday over a report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. military interrogators at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba had desecrated the Koran.

Protests spread across the Muslim world on Friday with thousands taking to the streets in Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza.

The United States has tried to calm Muslim anger, saying disrespect for the Quran was abhorrent and would not be tolerated, and military authorities were investigating the allegation.

But the Outlook newspaper said the United States must do more.

"The U.S. government should officially apologise to the Muslims of the world about the heart-wrenching act of desecration of the holy Quran ... and immediately arrest and punish those who are responsible," it said in an editorial.

Newsweek said in its May 9 edition investigators probing abuses at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay found that interrogators "had placed Qurans on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet".

"Already there are strong anti-American feelings among some Muslims who think America, by going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, waged a war against Islam," said Outlook, Afghanistan's only English-language daily.

"These types of senseless actions will only strengthen the hands of fanatics and fundamentalists and undermine all efforts towards building democratic societies," it said.

Meanwhile in Washington, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said an investigation has so far turned up no evidence of U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrating the Quran.

I realize that the reaction of a lot of people to a story like this is going to be along the lines of, "Get over it" etc. And I'm not necessarily saying you'd be wrong to react like that.

But it does show that the devil is in the fucking details. Stupid shit like this actually affects the course of human history.

In the interests of avoiding World War III, the Bush administration should be cracking down on shit like this. Obviously violent rioting is not a justified response to a book being thrown into a toilet. But justified or not, it certainly wasn't unpredictable, and I have to think it's in everybody's interests to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

DEGENERATE PERVERTS NOT WELCOME

This is disturbing. I was looking at my Statcounter referral stats (these show you how people arrived at your site--e.g., from searches, or following a link, etc.) and four of my pageloads were from people who ran the following searches:

13 year old girls getting f***ed

child F**k

f***ing of minor girls

Except, of course, without the asterisks.

Apparently what was causing my site to pop up on these searches was a post I wrote last month about the young girl in Florida who was trying to get an abortion against the wishes of the state agency that had custody of her. The post was about how well the girl had handled herself in the court proceedings, and so the title of the post was "F*** Yeah!"--basically just lauding her for standing up for herself, etc. (Again, the asterisks marks weren't originally there.)

In the body of the post, for obvious reasons, I used the words "13 year old" and "girl" and "minor" etc. several times. I also had the usual four or five f-words thrown in at various places for emphasis. All this combined caused the post to pop up for the kind of searches listed above.

I changed the title of the original post and took out the f-words. (Altered version is here.) And I don't want the same thing to happen again with this post; hence all the asterisks. (So don't worry, I haven't turned into Michelle Malkin all of a sudden.)

Now I suppose it's not impossible that these searches were being conducted for non-sicko related reasons. Maybe someone was searching for a phrase from a movie or something. I don't think this is likely, at least not for all four of the searches, but it's not impossible, so I don't want to just make a blanket condemnation of whoever arrived here via those searches.

I will say, though, that IF there is anyone reading this who ran those searches for prurient reasons, then do me a favor and never visit this site again. Close your browser window and forget you ever came here, because I cannot stand the idea of my existence crossing paths with yours in any way.

When you are done with that, then (to borrow the words of someone else from a very different context) do the rest of the world a favor and get into your car, check into the nearest dingy motel, eat one last cheeseburger and blow your brains out.

5/13/2005

The blogs people write

Make it 50 million + 1. Yet another fresh blog, hot off the press:
Avril Lavigne

This is only Avril Fan's! Includes the 411 on Avril Lavigne! News and alot of shit!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Avril Lavigne

Hey today is my time I have started an Avril Lavigne webpage!Cause her music is so great!She tell's it straight to you!That she ain't no punk!and doe's whatever she wants!She doesn't care about the shit other people ae saying!
So go Avril Lavigne!

posted by HilaryHilaryHilary at 3:38 PM

Determine your world view in 32 questions

Enough with the soul searching--just take this 'What Is Your World View?' quiz!

For no particular reason I don't usually do these weird blog-meme things. (I was 'tagged' to do one a while back by Socialist Swine, and I meant to, but I fell too far behind on things. Sorry, Swiney.)

I rarely do the quizzes because it makes me feel like a 13-year-old girl with the new 'Cosmo'. (No offense to 13-year-old girls, or to Cosmo readers.) But I found this one at Bitch, Ph.D., whose cool quotient is through the roof, so I went ahead.

My results were corny, though. It makes me sound like some pussified New Age-y massage therapist or something.

You scored as Cultural Creative.

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

This will not help her in the '08 primaries

Hillary snuggles up to Newt Gingrich.

Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat idiot

And these kids know it.

Teens seek debate vs. Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh said on his nationally syndicated radio show that Evanston Township High School students "don't know anything about World War II" and "they've probably never heard the name Adolf Hitler" because they're so focused on a multicultural curriculum.

Some Evanston kids want to show Limbaugh what they know. They want to debate him on American history.

"I think [a debate] would be great because then we'd prove him wrong and open up his opinion a little bit," Sarah Loeb, an ETHS sophomore, said Thursday.

Well, I'm sure you'd prove him wrong; I wouldn't count on 'opening up his opinion' though.

Limbaugh's comments came after he read a Christian Science Monitor article Tuesday that profiled global studies courses required at ETHS. Limbaugh railed against multicultural education generally and singled out the North Shore school.

...

Limbaugh's producer did not return a call on whether Limbaugh would agree to a debate.

"Maybe he might be a little intimidated because I don't know his basis for saying we don't know anything," Sarah said. "But I think he might be interested if he wants to live up to his reputation and back up his ideas so he doesn't look stupid."

Well, looking stupid kind of is his reputation, so ...

"It's funny to me that someone would say we don't know about World War II -- we live in a large Jewish community," said Jane Biliter, a senior. Each year, the school hosts activities for Holocaust Remembrance Week. "Until 10th grade, all we did was U.S. and European history. It's just so false that what he says is funny."

...

Aaron Becker, who teaches the Middle East class, said his students also are considering sending Limbaugh essays they've written on American history.

"This is a perfect teachable moment," Becker said. "Kids are angry and want to respond by showing they know a lot, that it's not a zero-sum game, that you can learn about more than one history."

Indeed. This kid, though, is the one who really gets it:

"It's not even worth responding to," said Aaron Hamilton, a senior. "He has nothing to say about my education and my future. He's just a guy talking on the radio."

Come on, nobody is that stupid

Just because I enjoy making fun of wingnuts, this is a post from Christian Conservative (via Daou) about moral relativism.

If elected President, John Kerry would have waged a “more sensitive war on terror.” Personally I prefer to err on the side of large explosions.

I think that would actually serve as a nice motto for the GOP. "The Republican Party--erring on the side of large explosions."

Yes, I am simpleton. It is not a mental disorder, it is a worldview that recognizes real evil instead of rationalizing it and calling it a “different way to live” ... Moral relativism makes the simplest things complicated. When defending a terrorists’ right to kill innocent civilians of any country, moral relativists of the America’s 2004 Presidential campaign introduced us to “nuances” aaahhhh.

Aaaahhhhh indeed ... yes, it was certainly striking when Kerry came out in favor of 'terrorists' rights'. Didn't see that one coming.

Well, [takes M60 out of safety] there is a simple way to negotiate with terrorists: Two in the chest and one in the head. There is also a simple way to deal with Congressional Democrats who do not like President Bush’s judicial nominees: make them vote. There is a simple way to deal with people like Jerry Hobbs, who repeatedly stabbed his own 9-year-old daughter in the neck and eyes along with her best friend: Firing squad, lethal injection, electric chair. Not necessarily in that order.

'Not necessarily in that order'? Does that make any fucking sense? Am I missing something? "Okay, first we 'lec-tro-cute 'em, then we shoot 'em, and then we give 'em a lethal injection! We'll kill 'em three times!"

It is the moral relativists who equate George Bush who apologized for Abu Gharib with Sadaam Housain who hides behind lawyers while a growing list of his 300 mass graves of some 300,000 people are discovered. It is the moral relativist who says “all wars are bad” and “all sexual expression is good”, even when WWII stopped the wholesale slaughter of 6 million Jews, and forms of sexual expression may rob children of their innocence.

Okay, wait a minute here ... say what you will about the view that 'all wars are bad', but it doesn't sound like something a relativist would say. Sounds like the polar fucking opposite of relativism, actually.

Anywho, the rest is here, but be warned, it's all downhill from here.


... oh, one more thing. At the bottom of CC's site, it says this:

I devote the work of this Web Log to the true living LORD God, and to His Son, Jesus Christ. May the blessing of God's hand be upon it that it might be a light in a dark place.

Just for the record, I devote the work of this Web Log to Congo, the chimpanzee artist.

Blasphemy

Look, call yourselves South Park conservatives if you want to, I don't give a shit. The South Park guys are twits.

But there is no such thing as a fucking 'Simpsons conservative'.

The wooden head is not fond of the moose

Some day, I am going to punch Marshall Wittman in the face. Especially if he doesn't stop referring to himself as 'the Moose', as in, 'the Moose is a fan of Joe Lieberman ...'. Stop that.

Today, however, he gets in a good dig at the GOPers:

Although conservatives control the executive and legislative branches (and are on the verge of dominating the judiciary), the right whines like helpless and hapless victims. These crabby cons are a embittered crowd. There is little joy in DeLayville. The big bad press does them wrong (President Clinton might share their complaint). The socialist Democrats persecute their virgin leader. Oh, and don' t they realize that the Bug Man is a upright man who always puts principles first?


While I'm complimenting Wittman, a.k.a. 'The Bull Moose', I might as well go ahead and rag on him, at least vicariously. Here is Matt Taibbi's response to Wittman's ostensibly facetious (but, one suspects, covertly sincere) nomination of himself for DNC chair earlier this year (Wittman requested feedback from his 'Mooseketeers'):

Dear Fuckhead,

No, I don't think you should run for the chair of the Democratic Party. I think you should get into your car, check into the nearest dingy motel, eat one last cheeseburger and blow your brains out.

Let's start with something small—your nickname. To begin with, it's taken. It belonged to a person that the world has judged to be of genuine historical import, a man with balls, a person who, by all accounts, literally bowled crowds of people over with his personality every time he entered a room.

You, on the other hand, are a nobody, a bureaucrat, a stuffed suit. You don't have a single idea of your own. You have to honk in order to get served at the local drive-thru. You think you're being cute and funny by taking Teddy Roosevelt's nickname, but it's not funny. It's sad. What you are, exactly, is a high school nerd who starts a Van Halen cover band and does David Lee Roth kicks when he rocks out in his garage in front of his only friend's eight-year-old brother. Outside that garage, the whole world concludes that you will never reproduce. That's you in your DLC offices, playing at being Teddy Roosevelt.

... That shit does not work with the vast majority of Democrats. They want men, not clowns, running things. And you, Marshall Wittmann, are a fucking clown.

... People are slowly coming to understand what the DLC is. You are a tiny gang of needle-nosed cubicle slaves hired to sell out the genuine political aspirations of millions of people. You have been hired to rush from newsroom to newsroom badmouthing almost every principle your constituents have held for decades, and to propagandize at every opportunity the hopelessness of such ideas as peace, tolerance and ideological backbone.

It's bad enough that you are who you are. But that you should have fun doing what you're doing is just flat-out intolerable. I wouldn't get too used to it, if I were you. But that's just one Mooseketeer's opinion.


I said GOD DAMN ...

Blogspot killed the newspaperman

Understandably angst-ridden from ruling the entire world, right-wingers have begun to turn on one another. Because if there is one thing right-wing blog triumphalists hate more than us moonbats, it's anyone who doesn't understand that blogs are IMPORTANT and REVOLUTIONARY and are HOLDING THE MSM ACCOUNTABLE. I mean, they're even reading blogs on the cable news channels now! You just don't get it, maaaan.

Thus John Hawkins of Right Wing News lays into Cal Thomas. Cal has been complaining about the bliggity-blog-o-sphere:

The problem with blogs ... is that they divert our attention from real and serious journalism ... As the quality of stories has diminished and we now fixate on runaway brides, car chases, celebrity trials and other sideshows, serious subjects such as the war and coming conflicts with China and possibly Russia take a back seat.

If the public is unprepared for new threats and challenges, it will largely be the big media's fault for failing to prepare them. The public will share the blame for fixating on blogs.

Blogs have their place ... But if they replace solid journalistic principles and practices, the public will be ill-served and the profession may suffer a mortal wound from which it might not recover.

With blogs, we do not know if what we read is true. For most blogs, no editor checks for factual errors and no one is restrained from editorializing ... Blogs have no checks and balances.

I suspect - and hope - that once the bloom is off the blogs, serious people (and they seem to be an endangered species) might still crave real journalism and be able to remember what it looked and sounded like.

Yes, the blog-o-sphere has certainly been awash in commentary about runaway brides.

John Hawkins:

Cal undercuts his own point here. Are blogs "divert(ing) our attention from real and serious journalism" or has "serious journalism" been practically dead for "20 years?" ...

The reason "runaway brides, car chases, celebrity trials and other sideshows" have become prevalent is not because of blogs, it's because the cable news networks are on for 24 hours a day and they need to fill airtime. If you want to get the daily scoop on who was kidnapped today or the latest details of the Michael Jackson trial, you tune into somewhere like Fox -- where Cal Thomas appears every week -- you don't go to blogs ...

... if you compare credibility between blogs and MSM sources like USA Today or New York Times, I think blogs do very well -- especially since we tend to link directly to our sources so the readers can examine them if they so desire ... Furthermore, as far as checks and balances go, blogs are in the same position as the newspapers. Why Thomas doesn't think blogs can be shamed into issuing a correction is a mystery ...

To be fair to John, his take on the importance of blogs is actually pretty measured and reasonable. But I think everybody's missing the point here.

There have always been quality media outlets, and there have always been shitty media outlets. There have always been media outlets that focus on important stories, and there have always been media outlets that focus on frivolous crap; outlets that abide by standards and outlets that don't; outlets willing to parrot the propaganda of the powers that be, and outlets willing to speak truth to power.

And you know what? There's always been an 'MSM' as well, just as there's always been 'alternative' media. Bloggers aren't doing anything that people haven't been doing since fucking Gutenberg.

Of course, things are different now, in some ways. Alternative media have always existed, but the internet makes access to these sources much, much easier, and it ameliorates the cost and manpower of providing alternative sources of information. The role of blogs, in my opinion, is a fairly important, but not particularly noble or glorious, one. Simply put, blogs make this information more palatable. Instead of reading some oppressively dry, permanently serious publication like The Nation, you can get the important info delivered with personality, wit, etc. A spoonful of sugar, basically. A chaser.

Plus, every once in a while I give you a free mp3.

Kitten versus kitten

It's a kitten war.









Via Beth.

Now that's what I call a constructive dialogue

I often wonder whether there is any point to blogging and reading blogs other than my own amusement. That doesn't seem right, because it's not always all that 'amusing'. Very often it is just me yelling at other people, and them yelling back at me. Sometimes it's hard to see any constructive end in that.

Why, then? I guess, corny as it is, that I have some dim hope of having some kind of positive effect with regard to something (is that sentence qualified enough?). Even if it's just, as my profile says, offering some solace to others who suffer from the isolation of sanity.

But a recent series of posts and responses between myself and Eric Cowperthwaite actually seems like constructive conversation! Eric currently has a post in response to my earlier post about gun control and the Democratic Party (and also a little bit about car accidents), which was a response to an earlier post of his.

It's not as confusing as it sounds.

Eric is a (small-l) libertarian who considers himself a 'liberal' in the classical sense. He goes in depth with respect to his views here. I, of course, am a moonbat socialist. So we are coming at the issue of gun control from very different angles.

But we both have a dog in this fight, so to speak. My suggestion was that the Democratic Party reverse course on the gun issue, since in my opinion it is the number one factor in their recent electoral losses--or at least, it is a huge factor that could be easily neutralized without any kind of hideous sell-out.

If the Democrats did this, I would be happy because they would win more elections. Eric, and other libertarians, would be happy because they wouldn't feel as though their 2nd Amendment rights were in danger. In other words: we have a common interest here. If the Democratic Party would take this advice, we would both stand to gain.

Now, don't get me wrong: I realize that I am just one little bloggy blog, and it's not like Democratic Party officials are waiting with bated breath to hear my latest thoughts on gaming the electorate.

Then again, there's no doubt that they are, indeed, listening to the 'blogosphere' (God I cringe everytime I use that term, but there's really no other), and while I am just a lowly bird or something in the Blogosphere Ecosystem, ideas have a way of percolating upwards. At some point, even Grover Norquist was just some guy!

I truly believe that if the Democrats can peel off libertarian-minded voters and 'gun enthusiasts' from the GOP, there would be nothing stopping them from re-taking the presidency and even (eventually) the Congress.

Anyway, I'll try to write something in response to Eric's latest some time over the next day or so. There's a lot to hash out.

(Hint: I don't think it's a matter of marginalizing the 'fringe' or even of 'moving to the center'. Gun control is not, to me, a 'right/left' kind of issue.)

Housekeeping

Does this site load slowly? I've been putting a lot of images up lately, and while it loads fine on my DSL connection, it occurred to me that it could take an unreasonably long time to load on a dial-up.

Also, my HTML coding is, shall we say, not as efficient as it might be. In other words, this site is completely jerry-rigged. It is like Michael Jackson: built on the bones of an old template, but with extensive cosmetic changes. My cosmetic changes inevitably leave a whole mess of useless HTML. I don't know whether or not that can slow things down.

Anyway, if anyone is having problems loading the site, could you do me a favor and let me know? I'm mostly worried about speed, but I also wouldn't mind hearing about any other bugginess.

5/12/2005

Add another pervert to the list


John Bolton circa 1978 (artist's rendering)


Earlier today, I commented on the seemingly endless line of perverted Republicans. Well we might have to add another name to that list: John Bolton, the Bush administration's pick for U.N. ambassador.

Via Mike the Mad Biologist comes word that Mr. Bolton used to frequent Plato’s Retreat, a 'swingers' club in New York during the late 70s/early 80s. Apparently, however, these visits weren't going over so well with Mrs. Bolton, and the two divorced.

Dirty, dirty Republicans.


NOTE: Artist's rendering of Mr. Bolton has been updated at the suggestion (sort of) of Robert from Libertopia, who is clearly much cleverer than I.


ANOTHER NOTE: I don't mean to be insulting people who consider themselves polyamorous or who have 'open' relationships. I certainly don't consider anyone who does a 'pervert'. I'm poking fun at Bolton for the same reason I poke fun at Republicans who are gay: not because I in any way disapprove of what they are doing, but rather because they are usually being great big hypocrites. Maybe I shouldn't be doing that though. I don't know. Let me know if it's offensive?

Also, I know that 'swinging' is not the same thing as polyamory.

Iraq worse than Vietnam?

Steve Gilliard thinks so, for these reasons (among others):

* US units mobility is severly limited. When they use the roads, they have to dodge explosions on an hourly basis.

* The Iraqis have negated airmobility. US units cannot use mass helicopters en masse for fear they will be shot down by $20 RPG's.

* Every institution, every unit, is penetrated by the resistance. US units are tracked from the minute they leave their fortified bases to the minute they return.

* The Iraqis are the best armed guerrillas in history. Every man is armed with an assault rifle, every unit has RPGS and no lack of ammunition. They can engage US infantry force on force with equivilent weapons.

* US troops have almost no contact with the Iraqi people. They cannot walk into their shops, get a haircut, get a drink or have sex with a whore, much less a girlfriend. A US soldier who tried to interact with the Iraqi people would be either kidnapped or killed outright within an hour.

* The US has one fifth of the forces they had in Vietnam, yet have taken losses equivilent to 1965. Just multiply.

Link.


UPDATE: Eric Cowperthwaite offers a fairly detailed rebuttal to Gilliard in the comments section below.

OK, this is starting to scare me

Another right-winger makes a good point--and not just any right-winger, but that wingnuttiest of wingnuts, Kim du Toit! Responding to Daimler-Chrysler's recent decision to bar plant employees from their parking lot unless they are driving Chryslers, on the grounds that they give employees a large discount on Chryslers, Kim writes:

Here’s a little tip for Daimler Chrysler: If you’re offering big discounts and incentives to your employees to buy your product, and your employees are still rejecting the product, that’s not treachery or ingratitude: that’s free consumer research.

Instead of punishing those employees, DC should be interviewing them at length, and in a non-hostile fashion, to find out why people would not buy their product—and then incorporate those findings into improved new models.


I ... don't ... under ... stand ...

This post demonstrates ... logic ... sound reasoning ...

Absence ... of insanity ...

World ... upside-down ...

2nd Amendment

(That is the gun one, right?)

Grumbly Eric brings a good point to our attention from a book review in the Bangkok Post:

While this reviewer agrees that deaths (including accidental and suicides) by firearms are high, they are lower than vehicle deaths. Yet I haven't heard of groups clamouring for taking cars off the road. Air-bags and sober driving about does it.

I have long thought that we must be insane to put up with the number of traffic fatalities that we do. The laser-like focus on drunk driving is hard to countenance; most traffic deaths do not involve alcohol. As someone once said, "The carnage on our roads is the biggest public-health scandal of our time." Even if we eliminated drunk driving tomorrow, the level of danger would still be unacceptably high.

So it is indeed the case the importance of gun control pales in comparison to that of doing something to make driving safer.

I would like to point out, though, as I have before, that conservatives and libertarians tend to vastly overestimate the enthusiasm for gun control on the left. Frankly, it strikes me as more or less a dead issue. The most popular figure in the left wing of the Democratic Party is Howard Dean, was endorsed by the NRA eight times, and it wasn't even an issue in the primaries.

Perception, of course, does not always reflect reality, though, and the fact is that for many, many people the Democrats are perceived as wanting to take away their guns. This, in my opinion, is hurting the Democrats enormously; more than abortion, more than gay marriage, more than any of those 'social' issues, the gun issue is causing Dems to lose among what could be a core constituency: rural, white males.

I am of course not from the American South, so it took me a while to understand this. And most liberals still don't realize that red-staters love their guns. Guns are a big fucking deal to them. The GOP has managed to convince them that the Democrats want to take their guns away, and as long as they believe that, they will never vote Democratic.

The priority for the Democratic Party ought to be to change public perception about this issue. It is the single thing they could do that would most improve their chances for '08 ('06 is probably too soon for this to happen). This isn't solely a PR issue (although it is largely that)--it means laying off on gun control legislation as well. But such legislation is an ineffective way to fight crime anyway, as it leaves the root cause of crime untouched. So it's not like they would be sacrificing the safety of citizens to score political points.

My prediction: if Democrats can convince rural voters that they have no intention of taking their guns, or of regulating them any further, they will take the White House in 2008.

A big 'if', I realize.

Republicans are perverts

OK, I know not all Republicans and conservatives are perverts. But a lot of them are! Horse-boy is one extreme example. There's also Jack Ryan, Ah-nuld, Rush, Ken Starr, Jim West, and many, many others. Well add another one to that list: David Hager, Bush appointee to the FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs. From The Nation:

For Hager, those moral and ethical issues all appear to revolve around sex: In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books ... he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality.

According to [Linda Davis, Hager's ex-wife], Hager's public moralizing on sexual matters clashed with his deplorable treatment of her during their marriage. Davis alleges that between 1995 and their divorce in 2002, Hager repeatedly sodomized her without her consent. Several sources on and off the record confirmed that she had told them it was the sexual and emotional abuse within their marriage that eventually forced her out. "I probably wouldn't have objected so much, or felt it was so abusive if he had just wanted normal [vaginal] sex all the time," she explained to me. "But it was the painful, invasive, totally nonconsensual nature of the [anal] sex that was so horrible."

... life with David Hager had grown unbearable. As his public profile increased, so did the tension in their home, which she says periodically triggered episodes of abuse. "I would be asleep," she recalls, "and since [the sodomy] was painful and threatening, I woke up. Sometimes I acquiesced once he had started, just to make it go faster, and sometimes I tried to push him off....

By the 1980s, according to Davis, Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn't have otherwise engaged in--for example, $2,000 for oral sex, "though that didn't happen very often because I hated doing it so much. So though it was more painful, I would let him sodomize me, and he would leave a check on the dresser," Davis admitted to me with some embarrassment. This exchange took place almost weekly for several years.

... Eventually, Davis was diagnosed as having narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that affects the brain's ability to regulate normal sleep-wake cycles ... Davis says it was after the diagnosis that the period of the most severe abuse began. For the next seven years Hager sodomized Davis without her consent while she slept roughly once a month until their divorce in 2002, she claims. "My sense is that he saw [my narcolepsy] as an opportunity," Davis surmises.


Incidentally, in defending herself for accepting money in exchange for sex, Davis said:

Well, money can't buy happiness, but it buys the kind of misery you can learn to live with.

All right, Jonathan Safran Foer: It's go-time

Despite the fact that my last attempt to goad a semi-public figure into a fight was an abject failure, due to said semi-public figure being a total pussy, I am going to make another attempt to mete out a brutal, well-deserved ass-whoopin' on yet another pseudo-prodigious jackanapes.

That's right: I'm talking to you, Jonathan Safran Foer. It's go-time, bitch.

Now, you might be asking: Who the fuck is Jonathan Safran Foer? Why do you want to kick his ass? And why does he need three names?

Well, if you're not familiar with this particular snot-nosed little punk, he's a 'writer' with two novels to his name at the ripe-old-age of 26. He is also a pretentious little cunt, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Matt at Code Three is also an enthusiastic Foer-hater (in fact, his recent post on the matter was the inspiration for this present effort to kick the shit out of Foer), and Hannah at The Next Left (whom I found via Matt) calls for "Foer Haters [to] Unite". A recent New York Press review called Foer a "fraud and a hack."

The reason for all this animosity should be clear immediately upon reading a description of Foer's work. From Amazon's summary of his first novel, Everything Is Illuminated:

A young Jewish American--who just happens to be called Jonathan Safran Foer--travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He is aided in his search by Alex Perchov, a naïve Ukrainian translator, Alex's grandfather (also called Alex), and a flatulent mongrel dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. On their journey through Eastern Europe's obliterated landscape they unearth facts about the Nazi atrocities and the extent of Ukrainian complicity that have implications for Perchov as well as Safran Foer.


Cute, huh?--the main character's name is Jonathan Safran Foer, just like the author! Hey JACKASS--Paul Auster already pulled this trick almost twenty years ago, and you're not 1/1000th the writer he is.

Having already tackled the Holocaust, Foer moves on to the attack on the World Trade Center for the background of his newest book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:

Oskar Schell, hero of this brilliant follow-up to Foer's bestselling Everything Is Illuminated, is a nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist. Like the second-language narrator of Illuminated, Oskar turns his naïvely precocious vocabulary to the understanding of historical tragedy, as he searches New York for the lock that matches a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11 attacks, a quest that intertwines with the story of his grandparents, whose lives were blighted by the firebombing of Dresden. Foer embellishes the narrative with evocative graphics, including photographs, colored highlights and passages of illegibly overwritten text, and takes his unique flair for the poetry of miscommunication to occasionally gimmicky lengths, like a two-page soliloquy written entirely in numerical code.


Also, at the end of the novel, there is a flip book of a cartoon character falling off of the top of the WTC. I'm not kidding.

Harry Siegel, who wrote the New York Press article, tears Foer a new one:

It's bad form to call a living writer corrupt and debased, which is why I begged out of a review I'd been assigned of Jonathan Safran Foer's highly touted debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated ... I understand how a young man could write such a book, but not why he would have it published, and certainly not how it could be acclaimed as marking the arrival of a major new talent. (The $500,000 advance, and later nearly $1 million for the movie rights, and another $1 million for the follow-up, may have helped.)

...

Having "read" Foer's latest—if that's what one does to this cut-and-paste assemblage of words, pictures, blank pages and pages where the text runs together and becomes illegible—it's time for bad form.

Foer isn't just a bad author, he's a vile one.

... the book is an Oprah-etic paean to innocence and verbosity as embodied by Foer's latest saintly stand-in (there was a character named Jonathan Safran Foer in Everything Is Illuminated), nine-year-old Oskar Schell, who has a business card, speaks French, walks the city at odd hours by himself, writes letters to Stephen Hawking and other luminaries, knows more facts than any of the adults he speaks with, flirts with women, is a vegan, an atheist and otherwise equal parts unbelievable and unbearable. Foer, I should note, is a Jewish atheist, wrote letters to Susan Sontag when he was nine, and otherwise sounds like he'd make unbearable company, though perhaps not as much as the obnoxiously precocious, overeducated brat Schell. If Foer is beginning to sound like a minor Saul Bellow character (think the masturbating uncle in Mr. Sammler's Planet), he has only himself to blame.


By the way, is little 9-year-old Oskar beginning to remind you of anybody? Just wondering.


The plot is a series of contrivances that free the nine-year-old Schell to walk the city by himself in a shaggy-dog quest for the meaning of a key his father, who died in the towers, left behind. This is mixed in with an epistolary saga involving Oskar's grandparents, a woman who serves as still another Foer stand-in and a man who can't write, but only speak, leaving the reader in a hall of mirrors reflecting nothing but Foers and stock characters who reflect back the wonderful-ness of the author.

Eventually, the Schnells' stories converge into one absurdly convenient superstory, saturated with meaning, from which we learn such lessons as, "You cannot protect yourself from sadness without also protecting yourself from happiness," "'I do not want to hurt you, he said'… 'It hurts me when you do not want to hurt me,' I told him," and "I spent my life learning to feel less."

And those quotes are all from one, not unrepresentative page.

Most of all, we learn the search, not the treasure, is the thing, which readers may recognize from the pages of Robert Fulghum's classic of inspirational mush All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

...

And with the same easy spirit in which he pillages other authors' techniques, stripping them of their context and using them merely for show, he snatches 9/11 to invest his conceit with gravitas, thus crossing the line that separates the risible from the villainous. The book's themes—the sense of connection we all feel when the coffee or acid hits and everything is illuminated, the brain-gurble and twitch and self-pity we all know better than to write about—have nothing to do with the attack on the towers, or with Dresden or Hiroshima, which Foer tosses in just to make sure we understand what a big and important book we're dealing with.

Foer, you represent everything that is wrong with contemporary art and literature. You are the George W. Bush of fiction: if you've earned nothing, you have no discernible ability, and you make a mockery of everything you touch. I guarantee you that your books will be lucky to fetch $0.25 at a fucking garage sale ten years from now.

I am giving you an ultimatum: stop publishing books. Now. You are never to publish another book. If you feel compelled to write this vomit-inducing garbage, do so in the privacy of your own home, though I doubt you would write a single sentence if you didn't think it was going to get your ugly face in the New Yorker. I'm serious: you publish another novel, another short story, an essay, anything, and I will kill you.

You've been warned. If I ever see you, I'm kicking your ass; it's too late for you to avoid that. But if you ever, ever, publish another word, you will not live to see your next glowing review from your fellow pretentious loser frauds at the Village Voice.

You pompous little scrotum-sucker.

Iraqi civil war coming?

Or is it already here? From Newsday (emphasis, as usual, is added):

Experts: Iraq verges on civil war

WASHINGTON -- An unchastened insurgency sowed devastation across Iraq Wednesday as experts here said the country is either on the verge of civil war or already in the middle of it.

In the course of the day: Four car bombs detonated in Baghdad; a man wearing explosives at an army recruitment center in Hawija, north of Baghdad, blew himself and many others up; a car bomb exploded in a marketplace in Tikrit, north of Baghdad; and the country's largest fertilizer plant was heavily damaged by a bomb in the usually quiet southern city of Basra. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines were winding up a remarkable pitched battle against surprisingly well-equipped and determined insurgents on Iraq's western border. Some 76 Iraqis were reported killed and more than 120 wounded in the one day of violence.

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

Other experts said Iraq is on the verge of a full-scale civil war with civilians on both sides being slaughtered. Incidents in the past two weeks south of Baghdad, with apparently retaliatory killings of Sunni and Shia civilians, point in that direction, they say.

Also of concern were media accounts that hard-line Shia militia members are being deployed to police hard-line Sunni communities such as Ramadi, east of Baghdad, which specialists on Iraq said was a recipe for disaster.

"I think we are really on the edge" of all-out civil war, said Noah Feldman, a New York University law professor who worked for the U.S. coalition in Iraq.

He said the insurgency has been "getting stronger every passing day. When the violence recedes, it is a sign that they are regrouping." While there is a chance the current flare of violence is the insurgency's last gasp, he said, "I have not seen any coherent evidence that we are winning against the insurgency."

"Everything we thought we knew about the insurgency obviously is flawed," said Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations. "It was quiet for a little while, and here it is back full force all over the country, and that is very dark news."

...

Lang said there is new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime carefully prepared in advance for the insurgency, with former Iraqi officers at the core of each group. They are well coordinated and have consistently adjusted their strategy, he said.

Now the 140,000-plus U.S. troops in the country are mainly "a nuisance" factor in the insurgents' overall goal of preventing the new government from consolidating.

"They understand what the deal is here," Lang said, "to start applying maximum pressure to the economy and the government and make sure it will not work." Their roadside bombs are intended to keep U.S. forces inside their bases, he said.

All the while the insurgents are gaining strength, he said. "The longer they keep going on the better they will get," said Lang, a student of military history. "The best school of war is war."

The Sunni insurgents could win the battle if they persevere long enough to sour U.S. voters, Feldman said.

He said, "There is no evidence whatsoever that they cannot win."

I owe somebody a hat tip on this I'm sure, but I can't remember who.

Dada Bones


Hugo Ball reciting a 'sound poem' at the Cabaret Voltaire



From "Dada Bones," an essay by Paul Auster:

Of all the movements of the early avant-garde, Dada is the one that continues to say the most to us. Although its life was short ... its spirit has not quite passed into the remoteness of history ... For Dada's questions remain our questions, and when we speak of the relationship between art and society, of art versus action and art as action, we cannot help but turn to Dada as a source and as an example. We want to know about it not only for itself, but because we feel that it will help us toward an understanding of our own, present moment.

The diaries of Hugo Ball are a good place to begin. Ball, a key figure in the founding of Dada, was also the first defector from the Dada movement, and his record of the years between 1914 and 1921 is an extremely valuable document ... It is not so much a self-portrait as an account of his inner progress, a spiritual and intellectual reckoning and it moves from entry to entry in a rigorously dialectical manner ... Ball was an incisive thinker; as a participant in early Dada, he is perhaps our finest witness to the Zurich group, and because Dada marked only one stage in his complex development, our view of it through his eyes gives us a kind of perspective we have not had before.

Hugo Ball was a man of his time, and to an extraordinary degree his life seems to embody the passions and contradictions of European society during the first quarter of this century. Student of Nietzsche's work; stage manager and playwright for the Expressionist theatre; left-wing journalist; vaudeville pianist; poet; novelist; ... convert to Catholicism: he seemed, at one moment or another, to have touched on nearly all the political and artistic preoccupations of the age. And yet, despite his many activities, Ball's attitudes and interests were remarkably consistent throughout his life, and in the end his entire career can be seen as a concerted, even feverish attempt to ground his existence in a fundamental truth, in a single absolute reality.

Too much an artist to be a philosopher, too much a philosopher to be an artist, too concerned with the fate of the world to think only in terms of personal salvation, and yet too inward to be an effective activist, Ball struggled toward solutions that could somehow answer both his inner and outer needs, and even in the deepest solitude he never saw himself as separate from the society around him. He was a man for whom everything came with great difficulty, whose sense of himself was never fixed, and whose moral integrity made him capable of brashly idealistic gestures totally out of keeping with his delicate nature. We have only to examine the famous photograph of Ball reciting a sound poem at the Cabaret Voltaire to understand this [Ed.-see image above] ...

In the prologue to Flight Out of Time Ball presents the reader with a cultural autopsy that sets the tone for all that follows: "The world and society in 1913 looked like this: life is completely confined and shackled ... The most burning question day and night is this: is there anywhere a force that is strong enough and above all vital enough to put an end to this state of affairs?" Elsewhere ... he states these ideas with even greater urgency: "A thousand-year-old culture disintegrates. There are no columns and no supports, no foundations anymore--they have all been blown up ... The meaning of the world has disappeared."

These feelings are not new to us ... What is unexpected, however, is what Ball says a little further in the Prologue: "It might seem as if philosophy had been taken over by the artists; as if the new impulses were coming from them; as if they were the prophets of rebirth. When we said Kandinsky and Picasso, we meant not painters, but priests; not craftsmen, but creators of new worlds and new paradises." Dreams of total regeneration could not exist side by side with the blackest pessimism, and for Ball there was no contradiction in this: both attitudes were part of a single approach.

Art was not a way of turning from the problems of the world, it was a way of directly solving these problems.

The seriousness of these considerations ... helps to dispel several myths about the beginnings of Dada, above all the idea of Dada as little more than the sophomoric rantings of a group of young draft-dodgers, a kind of willful Marx Brothers zaniness. There was, of course, much that was plainly silly in the Cabaret performances, but for Ball this buffoonery was a means to an end, a necessary catharsis ...

To understand Dada, then ... we must see it as a vestige of old humanistic ideals, a reassertion of individual dignity in a mechanical age of standardization, as a simultaneous expression of despair and hope.




Ball's wife, and fellow Dadaist, Emmy Hennings



Auster blames Tristan Tzara for ruining the original spirit of Dada embodied by Ball:

Ball retreated from Zurich only seven months after the opening of the Cabert Voltaire ... partly from disenchantment with the way Dada was developing. His conflict was principally with Tzara ... under Tzara's direction, Dada was officially launched as a movement, complete with its own publication, manifestos, and promotion campaign. Tzara was a tireless organizer, a true avant-gardist in the style of Marinetti, and eventually ... he led Dada far from the original ideas of the Cabaret Voltaire ... into the bravura of anti-art ...

If Tzara gave Dada its identity, he also robbed it of the moral purpose it had aspired to under Ball. By turning it into a doctrine, by garnishing it with a set of programmatic ideals, Tzara led Dada into self-contradiction and impotence. What for Ball had been a true cry from the heart against all systems of thought and action became one organization among others ...

Of what we have come to realize were several different periods and divergent tendencies in Dada, the moment of Ball's participation, as I see it, remains the moment of Dada's greatest strength, the period that speaks most persuasively to us today ... because Ball never treated Dada as an end in itself, he remained flexible wand was able to use Dada as an instrument for reaching higher goals, for producing a genuine critique of the age. Dada, for Ball, was merely the name for a kind of radical doubt, a way of sweeping aside all existing ideologies and moving on to an examination of the world around him. As such, the energy of Dada can never be used up: it is an idea whose time is always the present.

... If we regard him today as an important figure, it is not because he managed to discover a solution, but because he was able to state the problems with such clarity. In his intellectual courage, in the fervor of his confrontation with the world, Hugo Ball stands out as one of the exemplary spirits of the age.

5/11/2005

101st Fighting Keyboarders

Somebody get Jonah Goldberg the number of his local recruiting office. From Kos:

We know the recruitment situation is dire ... Enlistment is down because of the War in Iraq -- a war that people like Jonah Goldberg and the rest of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists continue to support and defend. Yet while they continue to pimp a war that has cost us over 1,600 US dead, they themselves refuse to put their words into action and join our heroic (yet undermanned and underequipped) Armed Forces.

Yet the Jonah Goldbergs don't feel the cause is worthy enough to justify their well-being.

A Kos reader:

I loved your blistering critique of Jonah Goldberg ... I sent it to him with some choice words. His one word response: "Yawn".

I e-mailed him back and said:

"You 'yawn' while good Americans die...
Soo typical of your kind."

That's, like, ironic or something

Matt from Cerulean Blue points out the irony of Bush's recent comments about the Yalta Conference:

I love that, while visiting the former Soviet republic Georgia, President Bush thought it would be a good idea to bash Roosevelt for working with Stalin, when the week before he was eagerly leg-humping Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, whispering sweet political nothings into his ear.
Matt also exposes some of those sweet nothings here.

Georgia has shitty assassins

From the Washington Post:

Grenade Found Near Bush Was Dud: Georgian Officials

TBILISI (Reuters) - A hand grenade was found at a square in Georgia where President Bush made a public speech on Tuesday, but it was incapable of exploding, a top Georgian security official said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Secret Service said it was investigating a report by Georgian authorities that a possible hand grenade was thrown within 30 meters (100 feet) of Bush during his visit to the Caucasus state on Tuesday.

The hand grenade, found some 50 meters (160 feet) from where Bush stood in Tbilisi's central Freedom Square, could not have gone off, the secretary of Georgia's Security Council said.

"A (Soviet-made) RPG-5 hand grenade was found at the square," Gela Bezhuashvili told a news briefing. "It was not in working condition. In fact there was no chance it could explode.


Back in the day, Eastern Europe produced real assassins.

I am a loser, and if you're reading this, so are you

Don Imus says:

Anyone who writes a blog or reads a blog is a loser.

That's not going to help my self-esteem.

Via Crooks and Liars, which also has a funny segment from the Daily Show on bloggy-blogs.

I agree with Kant

Kant on our friend Neal Horsley:

But what is to be done in the case of crimes that cannot be punished by a return for them because this would be either impossible or itself a punishable offense against humanity as such, for example, rape as well as pederasty or bestiality? The punishment for rape and pederasty is castration ..., that for bestiality, permanent expulsion from civil society, since the criminal has made himself unworthy of human society.

You heard the man, Neal. Back to Georgia with you!

Joe Scarborough: Stop covering bad news

Professional jackass Joe Scarborough thinks the media should stop covering attacks by Iraqi insurgents.

Car accidents, bloody assaults, and brutal murders all lead the top of the 11 p.m. news hour because station managers believe blood equals ratings.

The New York Times' John Tierney writes a piece this morning explaining how the same blood lust has seemed to infect newspaper editors covering Iraq.

Tierney suggests the daily suicide bombings are not newsworthy and covering them only encourages more terror attacks.

I agree.

As I wrote in this space a few weeks back, the terror attacks in Iraq serve no political purpose.

America is not leaving.

Iraqis are not going to back down.

The so-called insurgents are hated by their own people.

So running front page items on these senseless civilian murders serves no purpose — other than maybe heartening anti-war reporters who have argued for years that the Iraq war would be a debacle.

They were wrong. But they still haven't gotten the message.

But they do have bloody pictures.

In their world, that still counts for something.


Goddamn liberal media, with their insistence on 'reporting' the 'facts' and writing stories that 'accurately' reflect 'reality'.

Why, why do they hate America so?

5/10/2005

What the FUCK

Alan Colmes, who hosts his own radio show and co-hosts Fox News's Hannity and Colmes, recently interviewed anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley, the creator of the infamous 'Nuremberg Files' website:

Alan: You had sex with animals?

Neal: Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule.

Alan: I'm not so sure that is so.

Neal: That's cause you didn't grow up on a farm in Georgie, did you?

Alan: Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?

Neal: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality...Welcome to domestic life on the farm... if you don't know that you experiment with any thing that moves when you're growing up sexually, you're naive ... if it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates, you might in fact have sex with it.


Let me repeat: this person's name is Neal Horsley. For real. Listen to the interview here.

I have long thought that many of these Religious Right types are in fact totally depraved individuals who feel like they need some kind of external restraint, be it biblical or governmental, to stop them from trying to have sex with, well, anything 'warm and damp'. For example, see Alan Keyes' claim that anti-gay laws are the only thing standing between normal folks and the 'selfish hedonism' of homosexuality. Mr. Horsley (my God) seems to confirm this:

If a person is depraved and has nothing but their own sexual desires to guide them, they'll do anything.

Here's the thing: most people are not burning with a desire to have sex with farm animals. Normal, sane people do not need a bible or a law to tell them not to do this. And even if normal people did have these desires--and they fucking don't--they would refrain from acting on them out of a sense of common decency.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News doesn't want Mr. Horsley (for the love of ...) to be seen as a representative for the Religious Right. Too bad! From now on, it is safe to assume that ALL wingnut anti-choice Christians are closet donkey-fuckers who will stick their dicks in anything warm and damp enough unless Congress passes a law against it.

Some more information on Horsley from the Southern Poverty Law Center:

Neal Horsley, America's leading anti-abortion webmaster, is the profane voice of the extreme Christian right

...

Horsley [is] the implacable enemy of homosexuals who promises regularly to "arrest faggots," a man who proposes to use nuclear weapons in a bid for Southern secession, the Scripture-quoting theocrat who wants to force his version of Bible law on American society.

...

Horsley ... boasts to a young acolyte about having sex with men and with mules ... put up photographs on his Web site of naked men engaging in homosexual acts and a nude woman engaging in bestiality amid shots of grotesquely maimed fetuses ...

The 57-year-old Georgian, who warns that "domestic terrorism heralds the shape of things to come," also has become the most public face of anti-abortion extremism in America.

... It was Horsley who propelled his notorious website — featuring home addresses and other detailed information about hundreds of abortion providers — into the national limelight after a physician was murdered by a sniper in 1998.

...

Neal Horsley, the Bob Dylan enthusiast who once begged a girlfriend to get an abortion, may be the most important rising figure on the hard Christian right.

Neal Horsley: the new face of the Christian Right.

Don't blogroll Instapundit

I read a lot of right-wing blogs, for various reasons. One of the sites I check occasionally is My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, which is written by a 38-year-old woman named Beth who describes herself as "a Republican by choice, American by the Grace of God" and whose site is decorated with a little cartoon of a girl sitting in front of a computer in her underwear, in a shameless attempt to entice her male readers into imagining her as a lithe, scantily-clad blogger.




Now, Beth is not the most pleasant or rational person in the world, but she actually manages to make a point in the middle of an odd rant about Ariana Huffington. I'm sure it was just an accident.

Ariana Huffington…is a fucking scumbag.

I won’t use the words that are in my head (believe me, they’re worse than “fucking scumbag”) because I don’t want to offend you dear readers any more than I already do on a regular basis.

I’m not linking to her, but why the hell would a $< vÑ+$ like her (and her vile allies) have high-traffic conservative blogs on her blogroll? Because she wants to suck us (the readers of said bloggers) in to her filthy little world, that’s why. You don’t even have to look at that blogroll to find out which ones I’m talking about–just look at the TTLB traffic rankings and find the top 10 or 15 right-of-center blogs, and there you have it ... Yeah, I’m fucking bitter–there are 8 million blogs out here with people just trying to be heard by more than a dozen or so readers ...


Now, I don't know what a "$vÑ+$" is, and while I'm not crazy about Ariana H., I don't know that I'd call her a "fucking scumbag." But Beth is right to call her out on the silliness of blogrolling the high-traffic sites.

In my opinion, it's not just Ariana who shouldn't be doing this, though. I don't understand why anyone has Instapundit on their blogroll (or Atrios, or Kos, etc.). Everybody knows about these blogs, and anyone who wants to read them will have no trouble finding them. So it's hard to see the point of linking to them on your blogroll.

Blogrolls should be for blogs that your readers might not otherwise be familiar with. Basically, anybody in the 'Higher Being' category in the Ecosystem shouldn't be showing up on your blogroll. And really, the same goes for most of the 'Mortal Humans'.

Considering the fact that blogrolls need to be kept to a reasonable length, the presence of Instapundit or LGF or Atrios or whoever means less room for a smaller, less well-known blog that could really use the link.

Now quit yer grumbling

Eric Cowperthwaite has hit a milestone: 20,000 unique visits. Congrats! If you're not familiar with Eric, he is one of those wacky libertarian/anarcho-capitalist types, and he runs an excellent blog which you should definitely check out.

Eric also has some advice for new bloggers on how to increase traffic.

Don't worry; it wasn't a pie

It was only a hand grenade:

Bush escapes possible grenade in Georgia

AP - The US Secret Service says a possible hand grenade was thrown toward a stage in Georgia where US President George W Bush was giving a speech.

A spokesman says US authorities were informed by Georgian security forces that an object had been thrown at the stage where Bush had been speaking in the capital Tbilisi.

The device landed 30 metres from the stage and failed to detonate.

...

The suspected hand grenade thrown at US President George W Bush in Georgia was a reminder of the risks political leaders faced, John Howard said.

The prime minister said he was pleased Bush was safe.

"It's just a reminder that there is always a risk involved, particularly for people occupying the sort of position he does," Mr Howard told Southern Cross radio.

"But in a democratic world, political leaders should and will continue to mix very freely and openly with the public."

Wingnut 'logic'

Wingnuts can blame anything on libruls. According to Liberal Quicksand, the Left is responsible for fat kids:

Bill Clinton is out enlightening us to the fact our children's diets...well, suck. He says they are eating way to much junk food and are not getting enough exercise.

Great. But this is a prime example of a liberal bemoaning a new problem in our nation - that they crreated! Before the women's movement and sky high taxes, moms stayed home. Mom's made the meals and packed the lunches. These moms not only knew about the four basic food groups, they also told the kids to go outside and play (exercise!), so moms could clean without the children being under foot.

We could reduce taxes, tell the women it is their job to raise the kids at home until they are in high school, and tell the men it is their job to bring home the bacon. Naw, the liberals would not go for it.


I have to say, LQ is right about one thing: liberals would not, in fact, 'go for' this plan. Because it is insane.

The twists and turns involved in this reasoning are actually impressive. A fun game would be to give wingnuts some random phenomenon, and see if they can't tie it to liberalism. Like, gonorrhea of the throat: whose fault? And they would have to show how ultimately, liberals are to blame for gonorrhea of the throat. I'm betting the LQ folks would kick some serious ass at this game.

(I am not ruling out the possibility, by the way, that LQ is actually an elaborate parody.)

Left's secret plan revealed

Tim Birdnow is on to us:

We have to understand that Liberalism takes the long view, and they are content to ride out the storms of Conservativism with patience. They have accomplished so much over the Centuries and they can afford to wait a few decades before resuming their efforts toward what they see as the inevitable. We don`t look at it that way; we see our battles in years, not decades. We plan for the next election, the next issue, the next social cause. Liberals will fight us on all of these, but they look to the horizon. We have waited too long. We are going to have to fight this war for a long time because what we must change is a fundamental worldview which is now inculcated in the minds and hearts of all the peoples of the Earth. Liberalism HAS won, in so many ways. We have to fight the whole war over again. I fear that too many on our side don`t understand this, and don`t have the patience.

Liberals = wife beaters


Liberal.


According to David Limbaugh, Rush's somewhat 'slower' little bro, liberals are to Christians as wife-beaters are to, well, wives:

I must say that the national Democratic Party's approach to Christians is analogous to an abusive husband in complete denial, seeking reconciliation when it suits his purposes, but otherwise engaged in a pattern of abuse.

Just like certain abusive spouses, the party can't live with Christians but can't live without them (politically). No matter how distasteful some may find our chronicling of it to be, the systematic abuse is demonstrable, as I documented in my book ...

That's why it's almost humorous to read of a conference of secular liberals at the City College of New York called "Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right," or an analysis of the liberal think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, arguing that Democrats are suffering from a severe "parent gap." ...

For liberals to woo Christian conservatives, they must stop the pattern of abuse and get on the right side of the Culture War. Pretending to do so just won't be enough.


All I have to say is ...

It's your fault for making us mad in the first place. If you wouldn't provoke us, we wouldn't have to do it.

NOW SHUT YOUR STUPID BITCH MOUTH AND GET YOUR BITCH ASS BACK IN THE TRAILER.

After all, doesn't the Bible tell women to 'submit' to their husbands? Well stop yer squawkin' and get to submittin', bitch.

5/09/2005

You might not be a redneck if ...

Or, you might be a 'blue neck' if ...

Blue Necks are Northerners -- the opposite of Rednecks. Because of Redneck jokes, here are some takes on how Southern folks look at Northerners ... YOU JUST MIGHT BE A BLUE NECK IF...

...Instead of referring to two or more people as "Y'all," you call them "you guys," even if both of them are women.

...You think barbecue is a verb meaning "to cook outside."

...You would never stop to buy something somebody was cooking on the side of the road. (e.g., boiled peanuts, not road kill, Dummy!)

...You don't have any problems pronouncing "Worcestershire sauce" correctly.

...For breakfast, you would prefer potatoes-au-gratin to grits.

...You don't know what a moon pie is. You have probably never watched a moon pie in a microwave.

...You've never had an RC Cola.

...You've never, ever eaten okra -- fried, boiled, or pickled.

...You have no idea what a polecat is.

..You don't see anything wrong with putting a sweater on your dog.

...You would rather have your son become a lawyer than grow up to get his own TV fishing show.

...You drink either "Pop" or "Soda"- instead of "Cokes."

...You have never planned your summer vacation around a gun-'n-knife show.

.. You have never been hep'd.

...You think more money should go to important scientific research at your university than to pay the salary of the head football coach

...You don't even have one can of WD-40 somewhere around the house.

...You couldn't find the eye of the stove if your life depended on it.

...You don't have any hats in your closet that advertise feed stores.

..You have more than one professional sports team in your home state.

..You call binoculars opera glasses.

...You can't spit without opening your mouth.

...You don't know anyone with at least two first names (i.e., Joe Bob, Faye Ellen, Billy Ray, Mary Jo, Bubba Dean, Joe Dan, Mary Alice)

...You don't know any women with male names (i.e., Tommie, Bobbie, Freddie, Johnnie, Jimmie, Ricki)

...You don't have Maw-maw's, Me-maws, Pawpaw's or Pappaw's.

...None of your fur coats are homemade.

Linky.

For the record, I have no fucking idea what a 'polecat' is. Same goes for 'moon pies', 'okra', and 'hep'd'.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Sanity is not statistical.