Friday, April 29, 2005

Just How Evil Can They Be?

Alright, I hope you're sitting down. This one is, I don't know, maybe the single most outrageous thing I've heard from the Right since the inception of DoG.

*deep breath*

The drug companies may have created a vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease which is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Cancer. Just repeating to make sure you realize how big of a deal this is. They can wipe this cause of cancer (cancer) right off the map by vaccinating every girl before she becomes sexually active.

Guess who's pro-cancer now? You betcha! The "sex is gross and dirty" abstinence-only jackasses are against this drug. Against a cancer preventing drug!

"The best way to prevent HPV is through abstinence," said Bridget Maher, an analyst at the Family Research Council, a conservative group that expects to campaign against making the vaccines mandatory for entering school. "I see potential harm in giving this vaccine to young women."
A drug that prevents women from getting this type of cancer is potentially harmful. Harmful how, do you suppose? Harmful in that the girls, free of the worry of cervical cancer, are going to whore themselves out to every man they pass on the street?

Hey there, grandma, I have GREAT news for you! You still have AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, and the classic - telling your daughters that pre-marital semen contains a caustic acid that will rot out her insides, to frighten them from having deadly, dangerous, dirty, gross sex. But for the love of God, let's get on the Curing Cancer Train, you fucking psycho.

What happens when they find a vaccine for AIDS? I wonder if Bush's FDA would even let it go to market. I just... I'm... This is so beyond outrageous.

UPDATE: I'm sorry, I can't let this go, just one more thought. These family values people are against this drug under the pretense of so-called morality, right? But ask yourself - what could be more immoral than condemning a certain percentage of women to a slow and painful death by cancer before they are even old enough to make the decision for themselves? Seriously.

The Buck Stops Over There

No, no, not there, down to the left of that, and yeah, see that tree? Now look slightly to the right of that and past that strange looking man. Come here, stand next to me, get up on your tiptoes and kind of squint. You see it? The buck stops there.

It's been a year, my good friends, since we discovered the Abu Ghraib photos. During that year, we've found out about how the now Attorney General wrote memos to find a way to make torture technically legal; that men were specifically assigned the task of taking the torture techniques from Cuba to Iraq; that Bush has a policy of handing prisoners, some who are never put into the books, over to countries that we know will torture them; and most underreported of all, that over 100 Iraqi prisoners have died at the hands of their American interrogators. The only thing we haven't had in the last year are more pictures. That's their only policy change - pictures - but don't fool yourself into thinking that the torture has ceased. Even last night, at Bush's big party in the East Room, did you hear how he answered the question about torture?

QUESTION: Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents who bust terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? And would you stand for it if foreign agents did that to an American here?

BUSH: That's a hypothetical.

We operate within the law, and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people.
You see what he does there? We operate within the law - that's not a No! Torture is a complete outrage! It's - we finagled the laws such that we've made torture legal. Like Clinton and whatever the definition of is is. Secondly, he says, we send people to countries where they SAY they're not going to torture people. You can almost hear a wink in that sentence. "So, uh... you're like not going to torture them, right?" "Uh... No! No, really! We 'promise.'" And he continues:
But let me say something. The United States government has an obligation to protect the American people. It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way.
So first he says, we won’t torture people, but then he follows it up with – but hey! we gotta win this war and war is ugly. In the context of this question, that’s a non sequitur unless he’s defending the practice of torture, isn’t it? And he goes on,
You know, I've said this before to you, I'm going to say it again: One of my concerns after September the 11th is the farther away we got from September the 11th, the more relaxed we would all become and assume that there wasn't an enemy out there ready to hit us.

And I just can't let the American people -- I'm not going to let them down by assuming that the enemy is not going to hit us again. We're going to do everything we can to protect us.
So, what do you want people? Do you want to die, or do you want me torturing some Arabs? It’s your call. There’s just no reason to mention 9/11 in the context of a torture question unless you’re trying to convince someone that torture is ok.

Anyway, that was just last night. Whether or not Bush and his sadistic cronies intend to continue torturing people is somewhat beside my point this morning. Joe Conason writes today about how there is no accountability at the top. They are scapegoating individual soldiers who did some of the torture as they were asked to do, and trying to sweep it under the rug. Whatever happened to the age-old military principle of being responsible for those in your command? Even when a football team loses, the coach doesn’t go to the press conference and say, well if my running back could have gotten any yards on the ground… or if my wide receivers could have actually caught a ball, we would have won. No. He says, we blew it, it’s my fault. No accountability in this administration. And hey, even though I am of the opinion that it goes straight up to Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Gonzales, I don’t expect them to admit that. They’re politicians. But at the very least don’t punish these lowly soldiers for what they were ordered to do!

Honoring the troops, indeed.


Exploding Toads in Germany:

Based on the wounds, Mutschmann said, it appears that a bird pecks into the toad with its beak between the amphibian's chest and abdominal cavity, and the toad puffs itself up as a natural defense mechanism.

But, because the liver is missing and there's a hole in the toad's body, the blood vessels and lungs burst and the other organs ooze out, he said.

Local environmental workers in Hamburg have described it as a scene out of a horror or science fiction movie, with the bloated frogs agonizing and twitching for several minutes, inflating like a balloon before suddenly bursting.

"It's horrible," biologist Heidi Mayerhoefer was quoted as telling the Hamburger Morgenpost daily.

"The toads burst, the entrails slide out. But the animal isn't immediately dead -- they keep struggling for several minutes."
I'm not sure, but isn't that a scene from that Revelations miniseries?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Breakin' Balls and Takin' Names

Read Al Gore's speech from yesterday. Here's a little taste:

And what makes it so dangerous for our country is [the Republicans'] willingness to do serious damage to our American democracy in order to satisfy their lust for total one-party domination of all three branches of government. They seek nothing less than absolute power. Their grand design is an all-powerful executive using a weakened legislature to fashion a compliant judiciary in its own image. They envision a total breakdown of the separation of powers. And in its place they want to establish a system in which power is unified in the service of a narrow ideology serving a narrow set of interests.

Their coalition of supporters includes both right-wing religious extremists and exceptionally greedy economic special interests. Both groups are seeking more and more power for their own separate purposes. If they were to achieve their ambition -- and exercise the power they seek -- America would face the twin dangers of an economic blueprint that eliminated most all of the safeguards and protections established for middle class families throughout the 20th century and a complete revision of the historic insulation of the rule of law from sectarian dogma. One of the first casualties would be the civil liberties that Americans have come to take for granted.
Where was this guy in 2000?

Can You Hide Surveillance Equipment in that Wig?

Sidney Blumenthal has an eye-opening column about Colin Powell's recent efforts to regain his credibility. It's a fascinating look at the way that he's undermining the John Bolton for U.N. effort. But I'm mostly drawn to these two paragraphs:

The Bolton confirmation hearings have revealed his constant efforts to undermine Powell on Iran and Iraq, Syria, and North Korea. They have also exposed a most curious incident that has triggered the administration's stonewall reflex. The Foreign Relations Committee discovered that Bolton made a highly unusual request and gained access to 10 intercepts by the National Security Agency, which monitors worldwide communications, of conversations involving past and present government officials. Whose conversations did Bolton secretly secure and why?

Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was likely spying on Powell, his senior advisors, and other officials reporting to the secretary of state on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed. If so, it is also possible that Bolton was sharing this top-secret information with his neoconservative allies in the Pentagon and the vice president's office, with whom he was in daily contact and well known to be working in league against Powell. If the intercepts are ever released, they may disclose whether Bolton was a key figure in a counterintelligence operation run inside the Bush administration against the secretary of state, resembling the hunted character played by Will Smith in "Enemy of the State." Both Republican and Democratic senators have demanded that the State Department, which holds the NSA intercepts, turn them over to the committee. But Rice so far has refused. What is she hiding by her coverup?
What the fuck? Maybe we can't figure out our asses from a hole in the ground in the middle east because these hoopleheads are too busy trying to clutch and grab at power and sabotage their domestic rivals at every turn. I mean, it was pretty bad how Tom DeLay abused the Department of Homeland Security to track down runaway Democrats, but for John Bolton to use the NSA (the NSA!) to spy on the U.S. State Department? These men truly know no limits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Load Up on Guns, Bring Your Friends

This post is dedicated to The Minority Whip, the biggest Foo Fighters fan I know personally:

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl pays tribute to defeated presidential candidate John Kerry with the title of the band's new two-disc album, "In Your Honor," due in June. The title was inspired by campaigning for Kerry, the singer-guitarist says in the new issue of Rolling Stone, but adds, "It's not a political record."

"We'd pull into small towns, and thousands of people would come to be rescued by this man," Grohl, 36, tells the magazine. The Kerry camp returned the compliment in a statement yesterday describing Grohl, the former District punk band drummer who was a member of Nirvana, as a "hero" on the campaign trail who "inspired a record number of young voters" to support the Democratic senator.

Furthermore, spokeswoman Katharine Lister tells us that Kerry, a one-time high school bass player, "is ready to return the favor and go on tour with Dave Grohl and open for the Foo Fighters anytime."
Well that's sweet, Dave. I wonder if Kurt would have campaigned for Kerry? I wonder if Kerry would have wanted to be associated with Kurt?

Sex is Gross and Dirty

Unable to get rid of abortion rights, the Right is targeting birth control with both barrels:

From conservative pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control pills to abstinence-only programs and anti-condom campaigns, access to contraception is facing tough challenges from the right. The strategy is similar to one that conservatives have used for abortion: Since overturning Roe vs. Wade looks unlikely in the near term, opponents have turned their sights on limiting access to the procedure. Now members of the religious and political right -- including the Bush administration -- are focusing on contraception, raising concern that they will succeed in curbing women's birth control choices and the ability to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The article goes on like that, talking about their plans to prevent condoms, birth control pills, any mention of a penis or a vagina anywhere, at any time. You know, same old stuff. This shit pisses me off to no end. Seriously, guys. What do you think is going to happen? What would be your dream scenario? A world where no one has sex except within the confines of the sacrament of marriage? Jesus Christ, dream on! When, in the history of this planet, has that ever even been close to a reality?

Look, for myself, I prefer sex within the confines of some sort of loving relationship. But if five willing participants want to get their freak on trapeze-style, who am I to tell them not to? Who are you? People are going to fuck, Christians. So the question is, do you want them going around spitting out babies like watermelon seeds, or would you prefer that we keep this planet only somewhat overpopulated? And to call back the previous post - denying families on welfare access to birth control so they have ten rugrats running around unsupervised while mommy and daddy work their three jobs each is NOT a family value!

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

I really like this column:

What would Jesus filibuster? The question is bizarre, of course, but the fact that many prominent religious and political leaders believe that there is an answer surely marks our time as pretty strange.

How quickly it has all happened — that the media, particularly television, has convinced itself that Christianity is little more than a Republican political action committee. When the pope died, CNN's Wolf Blitzer introduced former Clinton aide Paul Begala and right-wing pundit Robert Novak this way: "Bob is a good Catholic; I'm not so sure about Paul Begala." At the bottom of the screen, CNN ran an informative factoid for the audience: "Many Catholic doctrines are conservative."

Gosh, WWJD? It makes me wax nostalgic for the days when people wore those bracelets and asked the question, "What would Jesus do?" At least people said his name then and pondered his ideas, using the question as the beginning of an engaged moral debate. Few would have appreciated those bracelets as much as the man himself — Jesus, who preached a new way of thinking about religion. Instead of taking orders from temple chieftains, Jesus provoked his followers into thinking for themselves. His preferred media outlet? A literary genre called the parable. It's a style of Q&A wherein the teacher doesn't give the answer but challenges the listener with a half-finished story that forces him to think through to the answer by himself. The radical right has swapped out this genius preacher for some easy listening. They insist that everything will be fine if we just nail the Ten Commandments above every courthouse.

Curious. Jesus updated the Ten Commandments in his most famous speech, the Sermon on the Mount. In it, one finds the Eight Beatitudes. Why don't we ever hear about nailing those somewhere? Here's why: It's not simply the law in the Ten Commandments that attracts fundamentalists. Rather, it's the syntax. The authoritarianism of so many "Thou Shalt Nots."

The syntax of Jesus' Eight Beatitudes is not so easy (Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are the peacemakers). These words invite the kind of hard questions that Jesus loved to tweak his followers with. How are they blessed? And why? It's just like Jesus to leave us with questions instead of answers.

But that Jesus is nowhere to be found on our televisions or in our newsweeklies. Ironically, mass-market Christians rarely cite or emphasize the living Jesus, the Jesus who speaks. They like their Christ dead. Or nearly dead, as in Mel Gibson's movie. In that film, the entire Sermon on the Mount — the most important words Jesus spoke — is relegated to a few seconds of flashback.
You should read the whole thing.

Al Franken has a joke - If you cut out of the New Testament all the parts where Jesus spoke of helping the poor and less fortunate, you'd have an excellent book for Rush Limbaugh to smuggle his drugs in. Splitting up families to send our soldiers off to die in a war of choice is NOT a family value. Keeping people permanently indebted to their creditors with no chance of finding their way out is NOT a family value. Forbidding gay couples to care for foster children so those kids have to remain in their abusive households is NOT a family value. Supporting Wal-Mart and the like not paying their employees a living wage, forcing them to work two and three jobs and never seeing their children is NOT a family value. Maintaining obscene pollution levels and coal burning plants so the water that children drink and the air they breathe is dangerously unhealthy is NOT a family value.

What would Jesus do, indeed.

Gannon Intrigue Revisited

Our favorite penis for hire right-wing shill is in the news again. And I would be remiss if I didn't say - told ya so! From Raw Story:

Guckert made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 White House press briefings.

Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.

Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.
Never processed out? He spent the night? That's so romantic - and expensive, I'm sure!
In March, 2003, Guckert left the White House twice on days he had never checked in with the Secret Service. Over the next 22 months, Guckert failed to check out with the Service on fourteen days. On several of these visits, Guckert either entered or exited by a different entry/exit point than his usual one. [ed. - snuck out the back door?] On one of these days, no briefing was held; on another, he checked in twice but failed to check out.

"I’d be worried if I was the White House and I knew that a reporter with a day pass never left," one White House reporter told RAW STORY. "I’d wonder, where is he hiding? It seems like a security risk."
If spooning with a White House staffer is a security risk, then I don't want to be secure.
Guckert sometimes stayed for an extended period of time before and after press conferences, particularly early in his tenure. This was especially common during his first few months, when he might be in the White House for as long as six hours.
It's always hottest and heaviest in those first few months, isn't it? Then after a while, you get tired of the way his bald head reflects the light in the press room, or the way he says your name when he calls on you to lob a softball question.

Anyway, you heard it here first, except that instead of blackmail it was bribery. Just like a Led Zeppelin concert, if you polish the bouncer's knob before the show, you just might get to meet Jimmy Page... and ask him leading and factually incorrect questions.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Volunteer Gestapo

This country is slowly but surely descending into fascism, and again I find it incredibly disturbing how willing right-wingers are to surrender their civil rights. Read this column by one of the "Denver Three":

Just over a month has passed since two friends and I were forced out of President Bush's town hall-style "conversation" in Denver about privatizing Social Security.

At the entrance to the March 21 event, a man wearing an earpiece and lapel pin was presented to us as a Secret Service agent. After Karen and I were told that we had been "ID'd," this man threatened us with arrest several times before stepping aside and allowing us to enter. (I asked if I was on some sort of list but received no response.) Before I'd had much chance to worry about what it meant to be ID'd by the Secret Service, the man with the earpiece was back to demand that we leave.

As he aggressively moved the three of us toward the exit, we kept asking why this was happening. He simply replied that it was a "private event" and we had to leave.

We now know that, despite holding valid tickets and being properly dressed, Alex, Karen and I were removed from the event because of the message on a bumper sticker on my car: "No More Blood for Oil." This detail was revealed during a telephone conversation with the Secret Service the day after the incident. A week later, in a face-to-face meeting, the Secret Service also informed us that the man who had removed us was not an agent but a "Republican staffer" on the host committee responsible for managing security. They would not disclose his identity to us, however.

What's more, we have confirmed that the president's Social Security "conversation" was not a private event but, rather, a taxpayer-funded public event open to anyone with a valid ticket. While all this information is telling, as a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen with the right to peacefully express an antiwar statement on a bumper sticker, I believe I deserve more answers. Specifically, who is this person who represented himself as a Secret Service agent empowered to use physical force? Further, who was giving instructions to him and his cohorts?
What sort of person can possibly support this in a free society? Whether one loves or hates Bush, he's still your president. What gives Bush this right? What makes his supporters "more citizen" than his opponents' supporters?

Four legs good; two legs better!

I'm Back, Baby!

Hey folks. I'm back safe in the old U.S. of A. Woo-hoo! When I get a chance, remind me to tell you about Budapest and the three men I met there who work on reconstruction in Afghanistan. They would cringe that I say this, but they're real heroes.

In any case, I'm slowly easing back into the news here. Strangely enough, stuff still happened here even though I was away! Go figure... To kick things off for you, here's a little something I ran across that I'll just reprint verbatim:

The Marines in Company E have a pretty good idea of what an emergency is.

As the New York Times reports today in a must-read for anyone concerned about the way in which the Bush administration is caring for the troops it has sent to Iraq, more than a third of the 185 members of Company E were wounded or killed during a six-month stint in Ramadi last year. The survivors tell the Times that they suffered not just from a lack of armor but also from a "shortage of men and planning that further hampered their efforts in battle, destroyed morale and ruined the careers of some of their fiercest warriors." One sergeant describes Humvees outfitted with homemade body armor so jury-rigged that the doors on the vehicles couldn't close; Marines "chicken-winged it" by holding the doors shut with their arms as they drove. Another Marine says: "We were sitting out in the open, an easy target for everybody. We complained about it every day, to anybody we could. They told us they were listening, but we didn't see it."

Getting the troops the armor and other supplies they need strike us as real emergencies, emergencies to which the administration has been far too slow to respond. But that's not to say that Washington turns a deaf ear to all "emergencies." We wonder what the Marines of Company E would have to say about some of the "emergencies" that will get funding under the $81 billion appropriation the Senate approved last week. There's lot of money in there for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there's also $10 million to repair a flooded library at the University of Hawaii, $2 million to fund something called the Southeast Regional Cooling, Heating and Power and Bio-Fuel Application Center and $25 million for a fish hatchery in Montana. Maybe they're all good causes, but are they "emergencies" that need to be funded in a can't-vote-against-it war funding bill? And what would the Marines have to say about the "emergency" need for $500,000 for the Oral History of the Negotiated Settlement project at the University of Nevada, Reno. How much scrap metal could they buy for their Humvees with the $4 million the Senate approved for capital debt service for the Fire Sciences Academy in Elko?

Representatives from the House and Senate will meet this week to work out final details of the bill. The president has urged the two houses to work together on a final agreement "that focuses taxpayer dollars on providing the tools our troops and diplomats need now." We're guessing that the Marines of Company E would agree.
It's great to be back! I LOVE it here!

More to follow...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

How Many Virgins Hang Out Under Highway Overpasses?

This is pretty loony:

A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.
"We believe it's a miracle," said Elbia Tello, 42. "We have faith, and we can see her face."
The stain is likely the result of salt run-off, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agency does not plan to scrub it off the wall.

Ooooooookay... I wonder what would happen if someone gave these people the old Rorschach Test. I bet they'd see more virgins than at your average christian rock concert.

Also, I'll ask the same question I ask every time someone sees Jesus or satan in a taco or plate of pancakes or something: how do these people know what Mary looked like, anyway? Did she sit for a lot of paintings back in the desert in Nazareth?

That's It, Keep Talking

The lipless exterminator pops off about Justice Kennedy.

And he pointed to Kennedy as an example of Republican members of the Supreme Court who were activist and isolated.

"Absolutely. We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio on Tuesday. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."

He does his own research on "The Internets," eh? How dare he!? He should base all of his decisions on the holy bible, like all good Republicans!

Seriously, this idiot can only help the cause of progressive politics in America by shooting off his mouth every opportunity he gets. He's like a kid who loudly asks "What's wrong with that man's face?" or "Why is that lady so fat?" and embarrasses the hell out of his parents.

Bi-polar Disorder?

Or just plain stupidity? There's a new anti-piracy bill in Congress. Some of the provisions are:

The bill also would make it a federal crime to use video cameras to record films in movie theaters, and it would set tough penalties of up to 10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song prior to its commercial release.

"Imagine the frustration of spending months or even years working on an album only to have those carefully crafted plans usurped by an eleventh-hour theft," said Mitch Bainwol, chief executive for the Recording Industry Association of America.

And now the stupid part:
The bill's most controversial provision focused on new filtering technology that lets parents automatically skip or mute sections of commercial movies that contain foul language, violence or nudity.

Imagine the frustration of spending months or even years working on a movie, only to have your work neutered and compromised by some censoring DVD player because some idiot parent can't figure out that maybe they shouldn't be renting R-rated movies for their 10-year-old kid.

Meet the New Boss...

...same as the old boss. Since it's all-pope, all the time on the radio and TV right now (I think the P in NPR stands for Pope now), here's a litle article about the new pope.

As prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, he was the Vatican's iron hand.

His interventions are a roll call of flashpoints for the church: the 1987 order stripping American theologian the Rev. Charles Curran of the right to teach because he encouraged dissent; crippling Latin Americans supporting the popular "liberation theology" movement for alleged Marxist leanings; coming down hard on efforts to rewrite Scriptures in gender inclusive language.

He also shows no flexibility on the church's views on priestly celibacy, contraception and the ban on ordinations for women.

In 1986, he denounced rock music as the "vehicle of anti-religion." In 1988, he dismissed anyone who tried to find "feminist" meanings in the Bible. Last year, he told American bishops that it was allowable to deny Communion to those who support such "manifest grave sin" as abortion and euthanasia.

Keep on clutching to that 2000-year-old dogma fellas. I'm sure that'll work out real well for you in the long run.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Queen of the Harpies

So Ann Coulter is on the cover of Time magazine this week. I refuse to link to it. I will link to a much better story about her at Media Matters for America. They've apparently read the story so you don't have to, so you can enjoy a vomit-free day.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Jeezuz Tom...

...why not just call for an armed right-wing revolution already and be done with it:

"When a man is in trouble or in a good fight, you want to have your friends around, preferably armed. So I feel really good," the Republican from nearby Sugar Land said.

This in addition to:
"We will look at an unaccountable, arrogant, out-of-control judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president," DeLay told the Houston Chronicle Apr. 1. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

A more direct quote Lautenberg cited DeLay made in the Washington Post in September 1997.

"The judges need to be intimidated," the Sugarland Republican told the Post. "If they don't behave, "we're going to go after them in a big way."

I realize the NRA thing is supposed to be a lame-ass joke. But imagine what screeching harpy Ann Coulter would be saying if Clinton or Gore had made a joke like that. Probably something like "Blah blah liberals hate America blah blah bomb the New York Times blah blah I'm an old hag."

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Well duh.

Millions of dollars spent to find out what anyone who's taken a plane in the last 4 years already knows.

Screening at U.S. airports is no better now than before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who was briefed Friday about an investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office and one by the Homeland Security Department.

"A lot of people will be shocked at the billions of dollars we've spent and the results they're going to see," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee.

So the billions we've spent on largely symbolic reforms, designed to give people a false sense of confidence when they fly and thereby prop up the failing, hopelessly outdated air travel industry haven't actually made us any safer? Who would have thought? Well, now that we know, things are gonna change, right?
Earlier investigations also found security problems.

On Jan. 26, the Homeland Security Department's acting inspector general, Richard Skinner, told a Senate committee that "the ability of TSA screeners to stop prohibited items from being carried through the sterile areas of the airports fared no better than the performance of screeners prior to Sept. 11, 2001."

Skinner said the reasons screeners failed undercover audits had to do with training, equipment, management and policy.

A year ago, Clark Kent Ervin, then-inspector general of Homeland Security, told lawmakers the TSA screeners and privately contracted airport workers "performed about the same, which is to say, equally poorly."

Clark Kent Ervin? Jesus, if even SUPERMAN HIMSELF can't save us, what chance do we have?

Seriously, we're suffering from a tremendous lack of fore-thought and imagination when it comes to homeland security. We're stuck fighting (and badly I might add) a phase of the war on terrorism that's probably already over. Airport security resources are poured into making sure little old ladies don't carry nail-clippers on airling flights. Does anyone think that a terrorist armed with a box-cutter is ever going to take control of an airplane again? No chance, he'd be dragged down and beaten senseless before he took three steps toward the cockpit.

Meanwhile, undercover agents are smuggling fake bombs onto planes, our ports are wide open, our chemical and nook-yoo-lar facilities are unguarded, and Wyoming is getting more homeland security funds per capita than New York. What's gotta happen before we pull our heads out of our asses?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Shut Up and Fill the Perscription!

I'm sure everyone has heard about this Nutty Nutterson by now:

Imagine walking into a pharmacy and timidly handing over your prescription for Viagra, only to hear a lecture on the potential damage the drug can do your health, along with a few choice comments on the morality of your lifestyle.

It wouldn't have happened if you took that prescription to Karen Brauer, a pharmacist at a suburban Cincinnati Kmart. She would have filled that prescription happily. "I helped a whole lot of old married men get lucky," she said.

But, if that man's wife came in with a prescription for birth control pills, she would have gotten a very different reaction. If the prescription called for a heavy dose "morning after" contraceptive, she would have refused to fill it. If it was for the traditional monthly pills, she might have filled it, but at a price.

"I'd work on them every month. I'd say, 'Hey, when are you going to get off the pill?' " said the Catholic pharmacist who serves as president of Pharmacists for Life International.

The Ohio-based group has gotten a lot of press as pundits debate last week's decision by Gov. Blagojevich to use his executive powers to ensure women in Illinois have access to the drugs their doctors have prescribed, whether pharmacists like it or not.

I don't even know where to begin. First off, nice double-standard, giving out the old boner pills to the men but screwing over the women. Although that's par for the course with Catholicism (reason number 1291 why I gave it up many years ago).

Second, you work and fucking K-Mart. You're like a step above selling Garden Weasels at the Blue Light Special cart. Stop being so high and mighty.

Third, if you want to be a pharmacist, do your fucking job. If you work at McDonald's you can't get away with refusing to sell fries to women because you find the thought of them putting someting long and thin into their mouths morally objectionable. If you're a bartender, you can't get away with refusing to serve coktails to women because you're uncomfortable with them putting something with the word "cock" in it near their mouths. Thank god this woman was fired. Furthermore, she should be banned from ever working as a pharmacist again.

And fourth, good job, Governor Blag...oh..jojo...vovovich. Nice to see that there are a few politicians who don't have their lips firmly planted on the snowy-white buttocks of the religious nuts of this country. You might consider a shorter name though. Or maybe a cool nickname. Might I suggest "Blag the Impaler?"

Now for a final word from the K-Mart Krusader:

Morally, she sees birth control, particularly the morning-after pill, as a form of abortion. And, she said, her refusal to dispense chemical birth control pills is good for women's health. "Why are women pumping themselves full of hormones so they can serve men?" she said.

Not all women view sex as a chore, as an onerous task performed out of obigation like you do, lady. Just all the ones I've even slept with...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Au Revoir!

I'm taking a break from DoG for a couple weeks while I explore the issue, "Do they really hate us in Europe?" for my next book. I know, I know, settle down! You're embarrassing yourself. I won't be gone too long; stay tuned...

In the meantime, I leave you in the capable hands of my co-editor, also known as The Other Michael. See ya soon.

Let them eat oil?

An unnamed Texas businessman has been indicted in the U.N. oil for food scandal.

A Texas businessman, along with a Bulgarian and a British citizen, have been indicted in a scheme to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime as part of the United Nations' scandal-ridden oil-for-food program, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The kickbacks involved funds otherwise intended for humanitarian relief in Iraq

I'm shocked...SHOCKED! A Texas businessman making money off a shady oil deal and screwing the poor while giving money to a corrupt government?! It's unprecedented!

Well, except for everything associated with Tom DeLay, and Halliburton, and Enron, and even George Dubaya himself.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Big Brother Is Watching You

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I promise to stop making Orwell references when the Bush Administration stops using 1984 as their political playbook. From Salon's War Room, (the Sun-Times link isn't working):

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, just prior to the public opening of "Axis of Evil, the Secret History of Sin" at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery, the agents arrived and took pictures of some of the art pieces -- including "Patriot Act," showing President Bush on a mock 37-cent stamp with a revolver pointed at his head. (See the Sun-Times link for the visual.)

The agents reportedly inquired as to what the artists "meant by their work" -- perhaps taking care of due diligence while also dispensing with the cost of the audio tour. But what came next starts to look more reflective of the aforementioned work's title, and how expression of dissent is treated in America under the Bush administration. According to the Sun-Times, the agents also wanted museum director CarolAnn Brown to turn over the names and phone numbers of all the artists. And, she said, they wanted to hear from the exhibit's curator, Michael Hernandez deLuna, within 24 hours.
Are the artists going to be shipped off to Guantanamo? Shall I prepare my copy of The Catcher in the Rye for an old-school book burning? Stay tuned for updates on our descent into fascism...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who Doesn't Love a Good Conspiracy Theory?

From Wonkette, make of it what you will:

Earlier today, we mentioned's efforts to blot out the White House in satellite photos. Since then, we've learned the campaign extends far beyond Google. Writes one operative: "It appears that they've gotten to, too." And another: "It's interesting that the more-detailed and taxpayer funded data sources (NASA's World Wind with USGS satellite data) has identical protection of the White House and the Capital."

But is this really special protection for the President from googling terrorists? Or just wishful thinking from anti-American software geeks who fantasize about a world in which George W. Bush simply doesn't exist? ("Also blurred is our chunk of the coastline at Keenebunkport, ME in not-so-subtle-or-even-well-blended white-out. Crawford: similar.") We were leaning toward the latter hypothesis until one of our correspondents convinced us otherwise: "It's rather interesting, however, what's NOT blurry: the Supreme Court and the Federal Reserve building. Who decided that it was necessary to 'protect' only two of the three branches of government?" Even worse is the Google Maps image we found when we looked at the address for the UN.
We can only speculate on what Tom DeLay might say about all that.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Truth About John Bolton!

It was revealed today that Bush nominee for ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton is in fact Jerry the mouse's Uncle Pecos from the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Compare the photo here with this photo and judge for yourself. Ask yourself, why is he hiding his true identity? And if he'll do this to Tom, what will he do to the Portugese or Norwegian ambassadors? Can we afford to take the chance?

Froggy went a-courtin', indeed.

Do Conservatives Hate America?

To alleviate any unnecessary suspense, the answer is yes.

Conservatives are on the rampage against “activist judges” who are unaccountable for their actions. Tom DeLay has placed a not-so-veiled threat on their lives. Senator John Cornyn has offered justification for violence against judges if you disagree with their decisions.

Our wise Founding Fathers invented a system of government with three branches, after giving it, you know, a lot of thought. The executive branch to be the singular head of state. The legislative branch to write our laws, and who represent the people directly. And the judicial branch, which was intentionally created to be independent of the people – to be the one branch that is. The Constitution was very specific about that. Judges are appointed, not elected, so they don’t have to make phony promises, or worse, be corrupted by the money flowing into their campaign war chests. They are appointed for life, with very large hurdles to overcome in the case of impeachment, so that politics wouldn’t interfere with their decisions, and so no one has any undue influence over them. The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution this way on purpose. The judiciary is supposed to be unaccountable to the people or to Congress. Furthermore, the judges are supposed to use their wisdom and lack of accountability in order to stop a runaway Congress. If 90% of the country insisted that people who wear blue jeans be publicly flogged, Congress would probably pass a law, because they need to be reelected. Thankfully, we have a branch of government consisting of people who do not need to fight for reelection who can stand up for the rights of the 10% who want to wear jeans. It’s called checks and balances. Look it up if you’re not familiar with the concept. Another thing to look up would be what happens in a country without checks and balances on power. I’ll give you a place to start – try Googling Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, or Joseph Stalin.

But nevertheless, the conservatives are belittling our Constitution, our government, the Founding Fathers - in essence, everything America represents. So, I’ll ask the question again. Do conservatives hate America? Do they hate the Constitution? Do they hate Thomas Jefferson and James Madison? The answer to that question is self-evident.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

What's Wrong with the MSM

Example: At the end of Meet the Press today, they had a so-called "roundtable" discussion. Tim "Lapdog" Russert had two panelists - Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, and Kate O'Beirne of the National Review. You're a smart person; you see what's wrong with that, right? Tim's goal was to have two ideologically opposite points of view to rationally discuss some issues. But look who he chooses - a writer for a mainstream (leaning right) newspaper, and a writer for an extreme right-wing magazine. And HERE is the problem with the MSM. They think they need to kowtow to the right wing nutjobs by having a moderate and a right wing zealot debate an issue, (see also Hannity and Colmes). If you have Kate O'Beirne on a panel, the only way you're balancing that shit is if Noam Chomsky is her counterpart. So you have Mr. Robinson talking about how Tom DeLay might be in trouble because of his ethical difficulties, and Ms. O'Beirne saying that it's a liberal witch hunt to take down DeLay. Only one was telling the truth, and he was toning down his analysis so as not to offend the two Republican shills sitting to his right and left. I call bullshit.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Let's Everybody Just Take a Deep Breath

This is just plain nutty. A spammer was sentenced to NINE (9) years in prison. What the fuck? Hey - I hate spam as much as the next guy, but nine years? I'm sorry, but the punishment has to fit the crime. I suggest that he live his regular life, but for nine years, the government sets a server up to send all kinds of crazy messages directly to his address and he is required to check his email every day, deleting email after email after email.

Would that violate the 8th Amendment?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Junk in the Trunk

Didja hear about Jenna Bush flashin' the thong down at NerveAna over the weekend? Oh yeah. But even funnier is the way Wonkette describes it:

What!?!?! Jenna on "all fours" shaking her weapons of mass destruction for all of the reality-based community to see!!?!?
Don't you just love Wonkette? Clicking through one of Wonkette's links, I came upon pictures of Bush's niece, Lauren. Did you have any idea that Bush had such a smokin' hot niece? Damn!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's Morning in America Again

Good morning, America! How are you this morning? Did you sleep well? It appears to be time for you to rub your eyes, look at the news, and become frightfully aware of what has happened while you were asleep. And aware you are.

President Bush's approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this point in his second term, the Gallup Organization reported today.

All other presidents who served a second term had approval ratings well above 50% in the March following their election, Gallup reported.

Presidents Truman and Johnson had finished out the terms of their predecessors, and then won election on their own for a second term.

Bush's current rating is 45%. The next lowest was Reagan with 56% in March 1985.

More bad signs for the president: Gallup's survey now finds only 38% expressing satisfaction with the "state of the country" while 59% are "dissatisfied." One in three Americans feel the economy is excellent or good, while the rest find it "only fair" or poor.
And that's not all:
By 55%-40%, respondents say Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are "trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans" on moral values.

By 53%-40%, they say Democrats, who sharply expanded government since the Depression, aren't trying to interfere on moral issues.
Can I get you any coffee or anything? A muffin perhaps?
Americans by 53%-34% say they disapprove of Bush's handling of the Schiavo case. Congress' rating on Schiavo is worse: 76% disapprove, 20% approve.

By more than 2-to-1, 39%-18%, Americans say the "religious right" has too much influence in the Bush administration. That's a change from when the question was asked in CBS News/New York Times polls taken from 2001 to 2003. Then, approximately equal numbers said conservative Christians had too much and too little influence.
No? You're good? Good. Maybe we'll have some time to talk about a few things now that you're up and about.

Talk About a Permanent Vegetative State

Florida. Oh, Florida. Where would this country be without your hanging chads and your young Cuban refugees? How could we make do without your media firestorm over one person’s existence and the liberal activist judges who sentenced her to death? And then there’s the matter of your 27 Electoral College votes. You know what? I can’t go on with this charade any longer. Florida, will you marry me?

What’s this, you ask? Why the public display of affection for Florida this afternoon? The Florida House is expected to pass an Academic Bill of Rights. That sounds honorable enough, doesn’t it. It has the phrase “bill of rights” right in the name, how can that be bad?

Biology professors who teach evolution might be forced to lecture on creationism. History profs who teach about the Holocaust might be compelled to present the arguments of those who deny that the genocide of 6 million Jews occurred.

With these "rights" codified in state law, an aggrieved student could take a complaint to the courts. Instead of a school's faculty deciding what's taught, the content of courses could be decided in lawsuits.
Makes sense to me! Some people would prefer a faith-based education to a fact-based one, so they’ll sue to make sure that a degree from any Florida university is worth slightly less than the paper it’s printed on. Standards, be damned! What’s funny are these Republicans. The world is so keepin’ them down, man! They’re so sick and fucking tired of only controlling the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, most local governments and lower courts. They need to brainwash the children, or else their way of thinking will forever end up in the memory hole.
[Students] are being subjected to "biased indoctrination." Their tormenters are professors, or as Baxley calls them, "dictators."

The Republican state representative from Ocala has come up with a solution: An "academic freedom bill of rights" meant to help any student who feels pushed around by the liberals and secular humanists who are turning our campuses into anti-capitalist re-education camps -- like the gulag, only with kegs and football.

Baxley says the bill is needed because students with conservative views are now made to feel like outcasts.
Boo-hoo! Poor conservative kids. People laugh at them when they say the world was created by God 5000 years ago despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary. Kids can be so cruel.
"Just imagine, if, in medical school you had a requirement to teach Scientology or the efficacy of prayer or any other alternative that some students thought was a valuable scholarly approach," said Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. He and Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, cast the only "no" votes in last week's meeting of the House Choice and Innovation Committee. The six Republicans on the panel, including Susan Goldstein, of Sunrise, voted for it.

At the hearing, Gelber asked Baxley if it was true that his bill would give legal standing to students who wanted their courses to include Scientology or refute the Holocaust.

"Well, freedom is a dangerous thing, isn't it?" Baxley answered. "You might hear some things you didn't want to hear. You might get exposed to something you can't control ... [Academic freedom] is not just to protect leftist views."
Alright, that’s quite enough! This isn’t funny anymore. The whole point of getting an education is to fucking learn something, you assholes. The mainstream media is the only place where any crackpot with a half-baked idea gets to present it as if it were equivalent to reality. But in a university setting, one presents facts and dismisses nonsense. That’s the fucking point.

And once and for all, people in academia aren’t liberal because they’ve been programmed to be so, they’re liberal because liberalism encourages nuance, the exploration of ideas, and most importantly independent thought. Just like universities. Conservatism as defined by Bush’s Republican party (and religion, by the way) encourages turning your brain off and letting someone else tell you what to think. There’s no nuance in calling Kerry, a true war hero, a coward after leaving Vietnam upon receiving his third purple heart. There’s no nuance in completely dismissing the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution and relying on a literal interpretation of a book written who knows how long ago. There’s no nuance in repeating 9/11, WMD, 9/11, WMD over and over in reference to Iraq, which, if you look at the FACTS, had nothing to do with either.

Florida, you know I’ll always love you, but if you change these rules and force the courts to lower academic standards in your state, you’re going to lose whatever academic prestige you might have thought you had. No one will be coming from out of state to go to school there, except maybe to party and watch football. And the kids that do go there with be the true victims of this story. They’re going to go to your universities with their sub-par standards, graduate ignorant, and work at Disney World. Is that what you want? Wouldn’t it be nice if at least a few could go on to work at NASA too?

[thanks to The Jeffersonian, ever vigilant in his fight against ignorance]

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Culture of Life Primer

It’s so hard to keep track of what the pro-life people consider a life worth saving. One could go mad trying to decipher the inconsistencies. The pro-lifers I know like to have a book to tell them exactly what to do, to prevent unnecessary brain activity. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list that you can print out, laminate, frame, whatever you need so you can study it, memorize it, and move on to the protecting of the lives worth protecting, and the killing of those who are not.

I have designated each item with either - “ALIVE” or as Tony Soprano might say, “DEAD TO YOU.” And don’t forget to save your last bullet for the liberal activist judge who convicts you.

  • Fertilized human egg before it embeds in the uterine lining – ALIVE
  • Fertilized human egg after it embeds in the uterine lining – ALIVE
  • Fertilized human egg sitting in the freezer of a fertility clinic waiting to be thrown in the garbage – ALIVE
  • Human baby the instant it is born – DEAD TO YOU
  • Doctor working in a family planning clinic - DEAD TO YOU
  • People who don’t make enough money to feed their family - DEAD TO YOU
  • People working in factories with sub-par safety standards - DEAD TO YOU
  • People in other countries with malaria - DEAD TO YOU
  • People in other countries with AIDS – DEAD TO YOU
  • People who haven’t yet been taught that condoms prevent the spread of HIV – DEAD TO YOU
  • Non-white people being killed in a genocide – DEAD TO YOU
  • Children sold into slavery - DEAD TO YOU
  • People making sneakers in sweatshops - DEAD TO YOU
  • People who live near a power plant - DEAD TO YOU
  • Citizens of Iraq (before mission was declared “accomplished” on USS Abraham Lincoln) - ALIVE
  • Citizens of Iraq (after mission was declared “accomplished”) - DEAD TO YOU
  • Citizens of any country ruled by a vicious dictator not named Saddam Hussein - DEAD TO YOU
  • Muslims - DEAD TO YOU
  • Friends of Muslims - DEAD TO YOU
  • Someone standing near a Muslim - DEAD TO YOU
  • People without health insurance - DEAD TO YOU
  • Children in inner cities - DEAD TO YOU
  • Judges you disagree with - DEAD TO YOU
  • Homosexuals – DEAD TO YOU
  • People wrongly convicted of a violent crime – DEAD TO YOU
  • Grandma whose pension was pilfered by corporate embezzlers – DEAD TO YOU
  • People in a permanent vegetative state being kept “alive” by machines – ALIVE
  • People in a permanent vegetative state being kept “alive” by machines without the money to afford the machines - DEAD TO YOU

    Now – go forth and spread your Christian love.

  • Activist Alert

    I can't go because I work uptown. But all you unemployed New Yorkers, (and I know you're out there), should go to Union Square tomorrow:

    Join us at noon on Wednesday, April 6th in Union Square Park to help preserve the filibuster and support the Americans for Fair Courts campaign.

    ACT NY has joined with numerous other progressive organizations in the Americans for Fair Courts coalition, a campaign to stop the right-wing attempt to hijack the Supreme and Appellate Courts.

    What: Media event and street action to raise awareness about the "nuclear option" and the importance of an independent judiciary to a well-functioning democracy. Television, radio, and print media expected.

    When: Wednesday, April 6 at noon. (If you can help set up please arrive at 11:00 AM.)

    Where: Union Square Park, south side, near 14th St.

    Why: Make sure Democrats retain a voice in the judicial confirmation process and continue to provide the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution. Help unveil the "nuclear option fallout shelter," collect signatures on petitions to be delivered to senators, wave signs, distribute flyers and bring public visibility to this crucial issue.

    Sign up to take ACTion on Wednesday.

    Whether or not you can attend, please be sure to sign the following People for the American Way petition to be delivered to 24 key Republican Senators urging them to protect the filibuster:

    See you Wednesday!
    I love a good protest.

    Right on!

    I love Paul Krugman. Today's article explores the "tyranny" of "liberal bias" at American universities.

    Scientific American may think that evolution is supported by mountains of evidence, but President Bush declares that "the jury is still out." Senator James Inhofe dismisses the vast body of research supporting the scientific consensus on climate change as a "gigantic hoax." And conservative pundits like George Will write approvingly about Michael Crichton's anti-environmentalist fantasies.

    Think of the message this sends: today's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party.

    Conservatives should be worried by the alienation of the universities; they should at least wonder if some of the fault lies not in the professors, but in themselves. Instead, they're seeking a Lysenkoist solution that would have politics determine courses' content.
    His premise is baically that academia has turned it's back on conservatism because conservatism has turned it's back on academia. I'll go one step further, and say that anyone who is serious about pursuing knowledge (like, oh, say a college professor) will find that there aren't always easy, black-or-white, right-or-wrong, yes-or-no answers to every question. And this, of course, if directly at odds with most contemporary right-wing conservative "thought."

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    They Hate Us

    I thought all they did in Norway was drink, ski, and fuck. But apparently, they also rap about assassinating George Bush and burning down our embassy. See the video for yourself.

    Note: the editors at DoG do not endorse the message contained in the video, Alberto. It's just a song, dude. (Besides, his death would only make him a martyr. Oy, can you imagine the Christ imagery?!)

    Saturday, April 02, 2005

    Rest in Peace

    Pope John Paul II has died. I find that his passing is moving me more than I expected. I grew up Catholic, and have since given up all tenets of the faith, but that doesn't diminish the stature of the man. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with much of the Pope's teachings - birth control, abortion, he was a little too quiet on the child abuse scandal. But I think the actual specifics of his beliefs are a little beside the point. No one can deny that compared to most public figures, he was always consistent, with complete lack of hypocrisy. I may not agree with what he had to say, but I respect him for saying it.

    Furthermore, his legacy is something to be revered. He apologized to the Jews for the Catholic Church's inaction during the Holocaust. He apologized to the Muslims for the Crusades. He absolved Galileo. He was greatly influential in the collapse of the Soviet Union. He didn't take the Catholic Church all the way to the 21st century, but he brought it much closer to the present than anyone before him. He truly was a great man.

    The Catholic Church is an extremely old-fashioned institution. In most cases, that keeps it out of touch with the realities of life in today's world. But watching the ceremonies in Rome today, I feel a strong connection to history. One can imagine that everything they're going to do over the next week or so is identical to what they might have done 1000 years ago. With all the technology and modernism in contemporary society, it's a powerful feeling to reflect on the past and realize that they were the same as we are today, minus the cellphones and Starbucks.

    Your Holiness, my prayers would probably do you a disservice in the eyes of God, but I wish you well in the afterlife. I honestly hope that you're right, I'm wrong, and you have found your paradise in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Play Ball!

    The baseball season is upon us! I, for one, am crazy excited. The crack of the bat, the smell of the hot dogs and freshly cut grass. Summertime is here! Unfortunately for me, however, the bastards at Time Warner are forbidding us to view the Mets on cable TV. Or, perhaps it's Cablevision who is keeping it from us. I don't really know, and I don't really care. They're both evil, but on the evil meter, I'm thinking TW comes out a touch ahead, so let's blame them.

    Let's back it up a step. As an expatriate of Detroit, I am first and foremost a Tigers fan, (Bless You Boys!). But when you move to a new town, it's fun to take up a local team so you have more baseball to watch on TV. After moving to New York, I had a choice to make. Do I like the Yankees or the Mets? For me, it was the easiest decision I've ever made. It was 1999, so the Yankees were in the throws of their unstoppable domination, and besides, it's the YANKEES! I've never understood these people who move here and decide to cheer for the Evil Empire, or as I like to call them - Everything That's Wrong With Baseball. Basically, there are three types of Yankee fans in New York:

  • People who grew up in the Bronx, (or I'll even give you the greater tri-state area). These people are absolved. Their parents probably liked the Yankees, so they grew up under a regime of propaganda and had no choice. Plus, they were probably following the Yankees either before the Steinbrenner era, who turned the Yankees into the money-grubbing, player-stealing, steroid-encouraging empire they are today, or during the bad years, when they actually didn't win a championship for 10, 15 years or so.

  • People who moved here and hop on the bandwagon of any team with great success. You will recognize these people by their Lakers hats, and more recently Tom Brady jerseys.

  • Ditzy girls who know little about baseball, but like to go to bars where lots of men are and get drunk and slut themselves out at the end of the night. These girls can be identified by their pink Yankees caps, Derek Jeter t-shirts that don't cover their navels and tight jeans that don't hide their thongs. They are probably laughing a little too hard at some meathead's joke, and loudly asking him stupid questions about how many innings there are in a game.
  • I do not fit into any of these categories, and therefore I follow the Mets. But this year, the powers-that-be want to build a stadium in Manhattan for the New York Jets. I'm not completely up to date on all the ins and outs of this issue, but I know that Cablevision, Time Warner's main cable delivery rival in the City, is trying hard to stop the stadium from being built. For the record - I agree with them 100%, but for completely different reasons. Publicly financed stadiums are one of the hugest government scams perpetuated on the American people. Why on fucking earth should my tax dollars go into the pocket of a billionaire? Studies have shown that publicly financed stadiums give nothing back to the community that was robbed. So essentially, they are taking money away from our schools and fire departments so they can make themselves richer. It's outrageous. Cablevision owns Madison Square Garden, and they simply don't want another stadium and convention center cutting into their profits. But that's not the end of it.

    I guess Time Warner is either investing in the West Side Stadium, or they just want to stick it to the competition, but they want the stadium to be built. So Cablevision is kicking the pissing contest up a notch by removing the Mets' cable channel (the MSG channel) from Time Warner cable subscribers. Or TW is taking it off the air out of spite. But either way, the two of them are bitchslapping each other for their own personal amusement, to the detriment of Time Warner cable subscribers like myself who have to go without the Mets on opening day. It's completely unacceptable. The fans are caught in the crossfire between two corporate giants and their babyfight. Shouldn't the local baseball team be something that's part of the public trust? There should be no option to remove something like that from everybody's television sets. Like how teachers or air traffic controllers aren't actually allowed to go on strike, even thought they both have a union.

    Cablevision/Time Warner! I demand that you grow up and do something for the greater good for once in your lives. Bring the Mets back to cable TV.

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    New Rule!

    Printed in its entirety, here is Bill Maher's take on abstinence-only:

    Abstinence pledges suck -- literally

    As news spreads that teens who pledge chastity have lots more kinky sex, millions of aging boomers ask: Where was Bush when I was in high school?

    New Rule: Abstinence pledges make you horny. A new eight-year study just released reveals that American teenagers who take "virginity" pledges of the sort so favored by the Bush administration wind up with just as many STDs as the other kids.

    But that's not all -- taking the pledges also makes a teenage girl six times more likely to perform oral sex, and a boy four times more likely to get anal. Which leads me to an important question: where were these pledges when I was in high school?

    Seriously, when I was a teenager, the only kids having anal intercourse were the ones who missed. My idea of lubrication was oiling my bike chain. If I had known I could have been getting porn star sex the same year I took Algebra II, simply by joining up with the Christian right, I'd have been so down with Jesus they would have had to pry me out of the pew.

    For a bunch of teens raised on creationism, these red state kids today are pretty evolved -- sexually, anyway, and for that they can thank all who joined forces to try and legislate away human nature, specifically the ineluctable urge of teenagers to hump.

    Yes, the "What do we tell the children?" crowd apparently decided not to tell them anything. Because people who talk about pee-pees are potty-mouths. And so armed with limited knowledge, and believing regular, vaginal intercourse to be either immaculate or filthy dirty, these kids did with their pledge what everybody does with contracts: they found loopholes. Two of them to be exact.

    Is there any greater irony than the fact that the Christian Right actually got their precious little adolescent daughters to say to their freshly scrubbed boyfriends: "Please, I want to remain pure for my wedding night, so only in the ass. Then I'll blow you." Well, at least these kids are really thinking outside the box.

    There's a lot worse things than teenagers having sex, namely, teenagers NOT having sex. Here's something you'll never hear: "That suicide bomber blew himself up because he was having too much sex. Sex, sex, sex, non-stop. All that crazy Arab ever had was sex, and look what happened."

    Well, that's our story -- of how faith and the party of smaller government combined to turn your kids into a generation of super-freaks. Which shouldn't be surprising: Prohibition didn't work, "Just say no" didn't work, and I understand there's a host of Americans who illegally obtain and smoke marijuana. They're the ones who've been giggling every time I say anal sex.
    Next to The Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher is the best political commentary on TV. It's live on Fridays at 11pm (Eastern). Watch it.

    The Nuclear Option

    John Kerry (remember him?) is placing an ad in USA Today on Tuesday. He needs our support, both verbally and financially. Here's what the ad says:

    Imagine a world in which every appointment to the federal judiciary is tightly controlled by an extreme element within one party. Imagine the kinds of judges that will sit on the federal bench - even on the Supreme Court -- if George W. Bush never needs a single Democratic vote.

    Imagine the kind of decisions those judges will make on everything from civil rights to civil liberties to a woman's right to choose and family privacy.

    Republican leaders in the Senate have done more than imagine. They're getting ready to force a Senate vote that would take a giant step towards creating that kind of America.

    Senator Frist, the Senate Majority Leader, has a plan to make President Bush's judicial nominations immune to a Senate filibuster. If he can convince enough Republican Senators to go along, the nomination and confirmation of judges will become a tightly-controlled, one-party affair.

    We're calling on Republican Senators to pull their party's leaders back from the brink. It's time to stop advancing a dangerous tactic that would deny millions of Americans any meaningful role in decisions vital to America's future.
    Agreed, Senator. Go to his website and show your support for this issue.

    And That's Not All

    Bush is indeed a hypocrite. But he's in good company. Check out this line from Tom DeLay.

    "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior,"
    Jesus Christ, dude! Where is your sense of irony? One can barely keep track of your evil behavior.
    Asked about the possibility of the House's bringing impeachment charges against judges in the Schiavo case, DeLay said, "There's plenty of time to look into that."
    Wow. Tom, it looks like you need a like Constitution refresher course. The judicial system is one of three (3) branches of the United States government. The three branches were set up that way in order to provide what is known as "checks and balances" on one another. This way, we don't end up with a tyrannical monarch or militaristic dictator such as Joseph Stalin or that wacky King George from whom we declared our independence. You see? That's how the government works - sometimes the people in Congress might be outrageously corrupt or perhaps evil to their rotten core with the intent of world domination. The courts, which in this case followed the law admirably, (and surprisingly so, I might add), keep people like you and Bush in your place, in as much as possible.

    So go fuck yourself.

    Hungry, Hungry Hypocrite

    Let us take a look at "Parsidint" Bush's statements about the death of Terry Schiavo:

    I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.
    Except , I guess, for the 152 people executed in Texas while Bush was governor, the 1710 coalition soldiers killed in Iraq, and the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed in the war.
    The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak.
    That is of course, except for the working poor, poor Americans, um people who aren't rich, poor children, sick people injured by shitty products from big, rich corporations, sick people injured by malpractice, poor people who need to file for bankruptcy, hell, ANYONE who needs to file for bankruptcy... do I even need to go on?
    In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.
    Except, again, in any of these cases. But I'm sure Bush took every precaution to make sure he erred on the side of life. Right? Right?!