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

10/08/2005

Squirrels on crack

Jackie Passey passes on this story about crack-addicted squirrels. As far as I know, it is not a joke, though the idea of crack-head squirrels is indeed quite humorous.
Nature lovers fear that squirrels could become hooked on crack cocaine plundered from addicts' hidden stashes.

The furry animals are thought to be behind a new drugs turf war in Brixton - stealing rocks of crack hidden in front gardens.

Tough police action to rid the town centre of dealers and addicts has seen crackheads abandon their usual drug stash hideouts.

But the blitz has displaced some dealing into nearby residential streets.

Drug addicts are known to be hiding small stashes of crack rocks in people's front lawns late at night.

Squirrels have been spotted in the same front gardens, seemingly hunting out the buried narcotics.

The discovery has led some residents to speculate that the squirrels are already in the grips of addiction. One resident, who asked for his name to be withheld, told the South London Press.

"I was chatting with my neighbour who told me that crack users and dealers sometimes use my front garden to hide bits of their stash.

"An hour earlier I'd seen a squirrel wandering round the garden, digging in the flowerbeds.

"It looked like it knew what it was looking for.

"It was ill-looking and its eyes looked bloodshot but it kept on desperately digging.

"It was almost as if it was trying to find hidden crack rocks."

Crack squirrels are a recognised phenomena in the US.

They are known to live in parks frequented by addicts in New York and Washington DC.

The squirrels have attacked park visitors in their frenzied search for their next fix.

Oliver Willis wants more teenage girls beaten to within an inch of their lives

Yeah, that's probably an unfair and inflammatory title, but it was the conclusion I was forced to draw when I read this post by Willis, which is highly indicative of almost everything that is wrong with the "liberal" blogosphere:
I am in favor of

* the death penalty
* using military force
* tax cuts for the middle class
* aggresive testing and performance requirements for school
* parental notification for abortion

Yet, I am often considered by conservatives to be a member of the far left, locking arms with Dennis Kucinich and the peace crowd in our plan to eventually install socialism across America ...

Democrats overwhelmingly supported the invasion of Afghanistan, and in the past supported military action in the Balkans and in Iraq - it is solely on the issue of the current war in Iraq that Democrats have been against that specific intervention, certainly not the entire concept of killing bad people who want to kill us (as I like to remind folks, it was a Democrat who went to war against the Nazis, and a Democrat who decided to drop the atomic bomb. Hell, it was a Democrat who first went into Vietnam.)
Yeah, I like to remind folks about those things too.

But what really caught my eye here was the offhand endorsement of "parental notification" for abortion. See, I had just read this post by Bitch Ph.D., which reprinted a letter that had been published in the Dear Abby column:
DEAR ABBY: From time to time, you tell young women who think they might be pregnant and are afraid to tell their parents, to do so. I usually do not write letters like this, but I need to express my personal experience. I am a minister. Several years ago, I worked for Planned Parenthood and we had a young girl -- around 13 years of age -- test positive for pregnancy. We urged her to tell her parents, but she kept refusing, insisting, "Dad will kill me!"

Of course, we knew better, and finally convinced her that the best thing was to tell her parents, have the baby, and get on with her life.

Her father beat her so badly that she was in the hospital for more than a month. She lost the baby because of the beating and ended up in foster care.

I will never again tell a young person that her parents will not go crazy, and I don't think you should do that either. Thanks, Abby. I enjoy your column. -- REGRETFUL IN FLORIDA

DEAR REGRETFUL: Thank you for the warning. Even though we wish all teenagers could disclose to their parents, as your letter illustrates, it is a sad reality that some of them cannot. And we, who care about young people, have to first be concerned with their safety. Although most young girls do involve their families, there will always be some who are unable to do so.

For that reason, I do not believe that parental notification should be mandated by law. And because sex education is no longer taught in as many states as it had been before, I strongly urge parents to begin talking to their children early about the facts of life and their personal value systems, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment should a crisis occur.
These stories are the consequences of the monstrous "parental notification" laws. But hey, if the Democratic Party can pick up a few more votes by supporting them (in addition to those they pick up by executing retarded people), well, young women will just have to sacrifice their safety and liberty for the good of the party - right, Oliver?

10/07/2005

The Supreme Court won't let the Democrats win

Apparently, the only way for the Democrats to recapture the White House is to execute retarded people, à la a certain former president. Of course, executing retarded people has been prohibited by the Supreme Court, so I guess we're fucked.

What about bombing foreigners? Could that help?

10/06/2005

Right-wing "intellectuals": all dressed up with no place to go

Interesting WaPo Op-Ed:
The Right's Dissed Intellectuals

You could cut the disappointment with a knife. "This is the moment for which the conservative legal movement has been waiting for two decades," David Frum, the right-wing activist and former Bush speechwriter, wrote on his blog a few moments after the president dashed conservative hopes by nominating Harriet Miers to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

Bypassing all manner of stellar Scalia look-alikes, the president settled on his own in-house lawyer, whose chief virtue seems to be that she's been the least visible lawyer in America this side of Judge Joseph Crater. Miers has authored no legal opinions that can be dissected, no Supreme Court briefs that can be parsed, no law review articles that can be torn apart.

Which, I suspect, is why her selection cuts so deep in right-wing circles. The problem isn't only that Miers is not openly a movement conservative but that she's as far from a public intellectual as anyone could possibly be. In one fell swoop, Bush flouted both his supporters' ideology and their sense of meritocracy.

Worse, he bypassed the opportunity to demonstrate their intellectual seriousness -- conservatism's intellectual seriousness.

Consider the following from George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki, writing on a right-wing legal-affairs blog on Monday: "There are two possible ways to think about appointments: one is to appoint those who will simply 'vote right' on the Court, the other is to be more far-reaching and to try to change the legal culture ... Bush's back-to-back appointments of [Chief Justice John] Roberts and Miers is a clear indication that his goal is at best to change the voting pattern of the Court. . . . Neither of them appears to be suited by background or temperament to provide intellectual leadership that will move the legal culture."

...Many conservatives assumed that Bush knows his Harriet Miers and concluded that she'd probably move the court, and nation, to the right. But her nomination was nonetheless an affront to the amour-propre of conservative intellectuals everywhere. "For all we know, she will be so conservative that she'll make Clarence Thomas look like Kanye West," wrote commentator John Podhoretz. "It's still an unserious nomination, which is what those of us who are objecting to it are objecting to."

But the conservative intellectuals have misread their president and misread their country. Four and a half years into the presidency of George W. Bush, how could they still entertain the idea that the president takes merit, much less intellectual seriousness, seriously? The one in-house White House intellectual, John DiIulio, ran screaming from the premises after a few months on the job. Bush has long since banished all those, such as Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who accurately predicted the price of taking over Iraq. Yet Donald Rumsfeld -- with Bush, the author of the Iraqi disaster -- remains, as do scores of lesser lights whose sole virtue has been a dogged loyalty to Bush and his blunders. Loyalty and familiarity count for more with this president than brilliance (or even competence) and conviction.

Besides, just because the conservative intellectuals are itching for a fight over first principles doesn't mean their country is. The conservative legal movement may have been waiting for this moment, as Frum wrote, for two decades, but the conservative economic movement had also been waiting for more than two decades for its moment, its fight over Social Security. Bush indulged the economic right, and look what happened: Armed with the best thinking of Heritage, Cato and all the right-wing think tanks, the president took on the New Deal and has not yet recovered.

Now the legal right wants -- what? A public debate over the right to choice? A frontal assault on the right to privacy? A nominee who'll argue, as right-wing darling Janice Rogers Brown has, that the minimum wage and Social Security are unconstitutional? Is it any wonder that Bush, particularly in his weakened state, chose to sidestep those fights? Most of the right wing's legal agenda commands minority support in the country and provokes majority opposition. How many battles of ideas can Bush afford to lose?

With the Miers nomination, the counterrevolution proceeds again by stealth. It is, on the fundamental issues, the only way it can proceed.

Cocain-o-mania!

John at AMERICAblog notices Bush grinding his teeth, and speculates that it could be due to cocaine or alcohol abuse.

I don't know if there's anything to that or not, but what I found more interesting is that there is actually something called "cocainomania."
Central nervous system and psychiatric effects: Users who have pleasurable experiences report varying degrees of euphoria; increased energy, excitement, and sociability; less hunger and fatigue; a marked feeling of increased physical and mental strength; and decreased sensation of pain. Some will feel a great sense of power and competence that may be associated with the delusion or false sense of grandeur, known as cocainomania. There can be talkativeness, good humor, and laughing. Dilated pupils, nausea, vomiting, headache, or vertigo (the sensation of your surroundings or yourself moving or spinning). With or even without increased amounts of coke, these can progress to excitement, flightiness, emotional instability, restlessness, irritability, apprehension, inability to sit still, teeth grinding, cold sweats, tremors, twitching of small muscles (especially of face, fingers, feet), muscle jerks, hallucinations (cocaine bugs, snow lights, voices and sounds, smells), and cocaine psychosis. Cocaine psychosis resembles paranoid schizophrenia and can bring on paranoia, mania, and psychosis.

Go Cards!

Baseball playoffs started a couple of days ago. So far, the Yankees and Angels are tied 1-1, Houston leads the Braves 1-0, White Sox lead the Red Sox 2-0, and the Cardinals, my favorite team, as you can tell, are leading the Padres 1-0.

There's already been some controversy; Jake Peavy of the Padres got roughed up in game one, as did Boston's Matt Clement. Clement's teammate Johnny Damon dissed Clement to the media, and Peavy revealed that he was actually suffering from a broken rib, which he had sustained in the Padres' celebration when they won the division, but neglected to tell anyone about.

(You shouldn't be allowed to celebrate if you win your division with an 82-80 record, BTW.)

I'm rooting for a Cards-Yanks series.

Hearing voices

President Bush said to all of us:

'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'
Link.

Hidden agenda


Link.

10/05/2005

Tom Cruise = God

How else do you explain the impending virgin birth of his only begotten child?

The always-emerging Democratic majority

Ezra Klein cautions us not to put much faith in those prognosticating a big year for the Democrats in '06.  Ezra correctly notes that similar predictions were made in '02 and '04, and we all know how those elections turned out.
 
There is never any shortage of Democratic "strategists" insisting that victory is just around the corner, that as a result of demographics or shifting political winds or the price of tea in China (or the price of gas at Amoco), come election day the Dems will be sitting pretty.  ( Ruy Teixeira is perhaps the most notable example.)  These predictions work in tandem with those (cough*kos*cough) who tell us that principles must be subordinated to the good of the Party, because all will be well as soon as the Party takes control.
 
Presumably, there will eventually be a time when the Democrats control the White House and Congress (though I honestly wouldn't bet the house on it).  But anyone who tells you that he knows what is going to happen in 2006 or 2008 is full of shit.

Platitudes

Billmon has a good post on Rush Limbaugh's attempts to be a good Bush administration apologist without coming off as a total lackey - or, as Billmon himself puts it, Rush is trying "to figure out how far he can go in shilling for Shrub without looking like a total tool."
 
Of course, Rush has been a total tool since he's been old enough to talk, but I know what Billmon means.
 
Speaking of Rush, I was listening to him the other day (oppo research; whatcha gonna do?), and he was going on about the Supreme Court.  At some point, he informed his audience that some of the justices on the Court are of the opinion that they are bound to consider the laws of foreign countries as precedent.
 
This is, of course, complete bullshit. But you know what?  There are 20 million people out there who heard him say it, and few if any of them know that it's bullshit.  And it's not just that they are all "dittoheads"; the thing is, Rush reported this as fact, not as his own opinion.  It was presented in a very fact-of-the-matter tone: "There are some justices who would say, 'Well, if Belgium passed a law, we have to consider it,' and there are other justices who would say 'No, we only have to consider the words of the Founders" (paraphrasing here). So there are now 20 million people who believe that there are justices on the Supreme Court who won't make a decision without consulting the laws of other nations, which is simply untrue.
 
This is a highly unoriginal observation, I realize, but as I was listening to this, it really hit home just how harmful someone like Rush Limbaugh is (as well as his peers: Hannity, O'Reilly, etc.).  You've got someone preaching to twenty million people for hours every day, and the guy is telling lie after lie after lie after lie.  Misinformation is being reported as fact to large swaths of people, and there's really no one to tell them any different. This has hurt the country immeasurably, as millions of people go to the voting booth every couple years and cast their votes for a Republican candidate, convinced that the GOP is the only thing protecting them from a cabal of liberal elites who want to rape the baby Jesus and install Osama bin Laden as dictator-for-life.
 
It's worth keeping in mind that what Limbaugh is selling is a form of populism.  A dishonest and twisted form, but a form nonetheless.  Remember this when some DLC or Blue Dog Democrat tells you that populism doesn't win elections.  The truth is, populism is probably the only thing that wins elections.  The GOP is a party of elites, but a lot of people don't see them that way.  They think of the Republicans as the populists (because of the lies of people like Rush), and that's why they vote for them.  It's a phony populism, but it shows the appeal of populism, as does the extraordinary success of Ross Perot's 1992 run, where he received somewhere around 20% of the vote despite having dropped out of the race and being a total weirdo.  These things show that people will vote for a candidate that they perceive as running a populist campaign.  With the help of Limbaugh et al., the GOP has been able to position themselves this way in the minds of a great number of people, and untold suffering in the US and around the world has been the result.

10/04/2005

No sex for you, pot-head

Can they do this?
A judge in Texas has banned a teenage drug offender from having sex as part of her probation, as long as she is living with her parents and attending school.

Christina Brazier, 17, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs, a crime which carries up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 (£5,700) fine. District judge Lauri Blake, who sits in Sherman, 65 miles north of Dallas, ruled that to avoid jail Ms Brazier "shall not have sexual intercourse while enrolled in school and living with parents".

The sex ban was one of many prerequisites Ms Brazier had to accept.

She was also ordered not to "wear clothing associated with the drug culture", "obtain any new tattoos or piercings" or "use tobacco products", and to observe a 10pm curfew.
From the Guardian via DU.

10/03/2005

The scorpion and the frog

My reaction to the Miers pick is similar to my reaction to the Roberts pick: if I were a wingnut, I would be pissed. The point isn't that Miers isn't a conservative, or even that she won't vote to overturn Roe v. Wade; it's that the Right has to take it on faith, basically, that she will be the kind of justice they were promised during the 2000 campaign (i.e., a Scalia or a Thomas). If I were one of them, I would be incensed that I had to take anything on faith at this point; I would want a justice 100% guaranteed to enact the wingnut agenda. Miers may turn out to be another Thomas, but she may not, and that uncertainty alone is driving the true believers crazy. They feel like they've earned a sure thing; instead they've been given another question mark.

Slublog makes the complaint I would be making, if I were one of them:
I just spent some time reading about Miers and the more I read, the more discouraged I get. Given the choice between encouraging a base he's spent the last few months annoying (spending too much money, refusing to do more than recite applause lines on progress in Iraq, not pushing for needed entitlement reform, etc...) and giving a job to a marginally qualified friend, he chose the friend over those of us who worked extremely hard to help him get re-elected.

It would just be nice, for once, if that famous "Bush loyalty" extended to his supporters.
Bush supposedly has never felt much loyalty to the "social conservatives":
Gov Dean used to recount (it's in his recent book too) that Bush all along was faking it to the wingers, telling him something along the lines (when they were both Governors) that "I can't stand those nuts".
Now that they can't help him any more (term limits and all), he has no particular use for them, perhaps.

What can I say? Haven't you guys ever heard of the fable of the scorpion and the frog?
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."

Well then

Busy day with non-blog related program activities, but I am required by my Blogspot contract to post about Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. So let's see...

Right-wingers are not happy.

Jill at Feministe thinks the Miers nomination puts Dems between a rock and a hard place:
This is actually a pretty stealth move on behalf of the Bush administration. It puts Democrats in a tight spot. They’re faced with a nominee who they know nothing about (other than her and GWB are good pals), and so they have two not-so-great choices: let her go through and take their chances in getting a total nut, or fillibuster with the knowledge that doing so will virtually guarantee that the subsequent nominee will be confirmed (the American public isn’t gonna love multiple fillibusters) — giving Bush the ability to then put up a Miguel Estrada or a Patricia Owens and leave Dems with few options. Her lack of any sort of judicial history also gives Democrats fewer rallying points ... This one is trouble. Democrats are in a nasty position.
This analysis puzzles me, frankly. Neil the Werewolf's makes much more sense to me:
Democrats seem to be in a pretty strong position. As she's never been a judge and she's Bush's personal lawyer, we'll be able to attack on cronyism if we want. If we find evidence of a serious anti-choice streak, we can attack on ideological issues as well. But having the cronyism point in our pocket is pretty nice.

We should take a moment now to reflect on the skill of our Democratic Senators in getting us here. This is a judge who forces Dobson to roll the d20 to save against Souterization. Had we lost the filibuster fight or set up our defenses badly in the Roberts vote, Bush would've been able to pick some extreme candidate with clear right-wing views, and Republicans would be rejoicing. But we saved the filibuster and we used it to set an ambush that could possibly destroy any extreme right-wing nominee. I'm proud of Harry Reid, and you should be too.
That sounds about right, except (a) I don't see exactly how Reid forced this pick; although I grant that he at least didn't fuck up a la Neil's hypothetical, this seems more like an unforced error, if it is indeed an error (I could be missing something, though); and (b) I don't know what "roll the d20" means.

Neil also reports that somebody out there is really eager to get to know Ms. Miers on a more, ahem, intimate level.

Finally, I am troubled by reports that Miers called George W. Bush "the most brilliant man she had ever met."

10/02/2005

Benevolent global hegemony

This is disturbing, even if Bill Kristol would be heartened by it. From the Tampa Tribune via Democratic Underground:
U.S. Has Blueprint For Post-Castro Cuba

WASHINGTON - Fidel Castro looks like the 79-year-old he is, and the Bush administration has big ideas for Cuba once he departs.

When that day comes, U.S. officials want to leave little to chance about the island nation's political fate. They are prepared to go to some lengths to ensure that the communist system Castro created goes out with him.

It is official U.S. policy to undermine Cuba's planned succession from Castro to his brother Raul, 74. Just how that policy would unfold is not clear.

"We are looking to support a genuine transition to political freedom for the Cuban people," said Caleb McCarry, the State Department official recently put in charge of transition matters for Cuba.

McCarry, a Republican who spent many years on Capitol Hill as an aide on Latin American issues, declined in an interview to address how the United States would carry out its Cuban policy.

...The appointment of a "transition coordinator" for Cuba arose in a 2004 report to President Bush by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, led by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The report spells out steps to bring pressure on Castro and to provide assistance if a democratically inclined leadership takes power.

According to the report, not long after Castro's death, 100,000 tons of food could be purchased quickly and shipped to Cuba.

U.S. charities would be encouraged to create and contribute to a foundation to aid a "Free Cuba."

American government officials would carry out a "hands-on needs assessment" as soon as possible. There are detailed plans for upgrading Cuba's health and education system.

The more than 400-page report discusses ways to modernize Cuba's aviation, railroad and maritime infrastructure. It envisions U.S. assistance in holding free and fair elections, fighting corruption and establishing independent trade unions.

Wayne Smith, a Cuba expert and former U.S. diplomat who long has advocated establishing normal U.S. relations with Cuba, said he is outraged by the administration's plan.

It is "blatant intervention in the internal affairs of another state," Smith said.

"They talk about how we are going to oversee and facilitate the transition. Who gives us that right?" Smith said.

The president of Cuba's National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, likens the U.S. plan to an annexation or occupation of Cuba. He said the United States would regard Cuba "as a piece of land administered by the U.S."

"The whole strategy," Alarcon said, "is getting in forever."

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