...OR "Another step in my Republicanization"
So, Thursday: I was en-route to Alabama for the Darby Family Thanksgiving (Kevlar advised) and, desirous to evacuate my bladder, I pulled into the Welcome station on the AL/GA line. It was a miserable rainy gray day (not particularly cold as this is Alabama, where I’ve more memories of wearing short sleeves on Xmas than not). I literally had not been out of the car for a second when I heard from behind
”Sir- I don’t mean you any harm…”
This invariably means one of two things. Either
1- It’s an angel coming to tell me that "Blessed art Thou, for thou art to give birth to the Redeemer of all mankind", and then when I express utter fear and confusion say with angelic vibrato “Dude, Thou art so punk’d!” as they disparate into a fiery exit, OR
2- It’s somebody begging money with a tale so tragic that the life of Anne Frank looks like Paris Hilton's party tape when compared to their misfortunes.
This was the latter for a change.
Gimme gimme more more more »
There was an oddity, though: this was a youngish and attractive-ish woman. She was clothed in an aqua-blue overcoat, wore a nice cross pendant and amber earrings, and was very soft-spoken.
The story, near as I can remember it, sounded more than a bit rehearsed, not unlike an egotistical freshman of moderate talent auditioning for a junior college production of OUR TOWN. Something to the effect of the following, spoken quickly with a tinge of quiver:
“My husband and son are in the rest area- we were traveling to see my family when we were hit by a drunk driver and our car was totaled. We had to stay in a cheap motel for two weeks until we found a car cheap enough to buy and it wiped us out. It got us here to this station but it’s leaking fuel and out of gas broke down and won’t crank and we're broke and desperate. Can you please help us out? We have got to get to my sister’s house- I can show you the accident report and I’ll be glad to give you my name and home address…”
When I was a wee lad of one and twenty or even five and twenty, hardly bigger than a 3 month old elephant bull seal, I had a total weakness for the assertively indigent. I’d come close enough to poverty and homelessness enough times to feel the cold heat of it and I had a major helping of the “There but for the grace of Perhaps go I” guilts. Even if I was relatively sure they were a drunk or an addict I’d usually still give something if it wasn't anything but some cigarettes since, after all, they were paying the price of their addiction. Over a period of several years and visits to New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and other metropolises I must have given an aggregate total of, by the most conservative estimate, well over three dollars to these people. Then at some point a negative epiphany:
Firstly, the realization that when I was penniless and, though you’d never tell it to look at me now, missing meals, I never begged money from anybody (not even my quite well-to-do siblings); everything I owned of any value found its way into pawn shops and I learned the places that pay the most for aluminum cans and I sure as hell held some jobs that weren’t exactly spiritually or monetarily rewarding, but when there was still no money I essentially saw that as a My Problem deal.
Secondly, I started to hear the same story just a few too many times. “Hey buddy, I have a pregnant wife in _________ and I’ve got to get to her, but the _______ went out on my car. There’s a place up here who can sell me one for $___.__” (always an exact figure) but I only have $___.__, is there any way you can find it in the goodness of your heart to help me out?”. (Variations have included offering a soiled teddy bear as collateral and even once a guy literally begging on his knees, but always the same basic story- I’m convinced that there are Panhandler Conventions complete with Power-Points and scholarly journals that help standardize stories, because I’ve heard variations on the same theme just a few too many times.)
Thirdly, I've known too many people like my friend Stef, who had a wife and newborn baby that he almost never saw because he was working three jobs; this person can’t find ONE?
Anyway, the main variant on this was that it was a woman whose outfit certainly didn't qualify as bedraggled. I had some money on me BUT I also had 80 miles still to go AND it’s the Christmas season AND I have a fairly major job interview that I need to be arraigned in glorious garments for AND my current paycheck has to last me until New Year's Eve, so I honestly don’t have the money to spare and she didn’t seem to be wired for credit cards. I said a polite “Sorry, can’t help”, started to go into the rest area (for my lizard was still most desirous of drainage), saw a young man and a small child who were almost certainly the husband/son she'd referred to, and, he was clearly walking towards me (he hadn't seen us together) probably to launch into the same spiel, so I decided “Screweth it, my bladder can wait another exit for its ritual cleansing” and I headed out.
So for the 30 miles to the next rest area I was cast into moral maelstrom about whether or not, to quote Herr Schindler, “I could have done more”. There really was a child after all, and a husband-like person, so she wasn't making that up. And it is a holiday and it is windy and wet and gray and miserable out. And I did have some cash on me. And dear lord she was wearing blue and had a husband and child- she could well be the Virgin Mary in disguise and I’ve just told her “no room in the Budget Inn for you” again. Ah sheesh, I’m going to hell…
Maybe Thom Felicia will decorate my flat though, maybe one with a small balcony overlooking Pandemonium Park that he could cast with a nice understated Ikea-ish neo-minimalist that doesn’t clash too much with hell’s overemphasis on Gothic and red, but…
Wait a minute… she spent two weeks in a motel before buying a cheap used car to complete her trip. Why not just buy bus tickets to wherever you were going? Even if that were to Fort Ketchikan, Alaska, it’d have to be cheaper than 2 weeks in a motel (figure $300 even if it’s a total fleabag) and car (figure $500 even if it’s nothing but 89 lbs of Bondo and a third hand carburetor).
And while yes, she did look better than the average beggar, Fantine sold her hair and her teeth and her body and you can’t even hock your jewelry? If you only get $10 then that’s $10 you don’t have to beg. (So Great Granny gave them to you on her deathbed- big deal- keep the ticket and you can redeem them- hell, I sold my father's wedding band to a used gold dealer to buy gas for my bombed out Yugo, sometimes sentiment must bow before practicality).
Also, you are two people with a child and you have no friends, relatives, employers or acquaintances who can wire you money (Western Union is 24/7/52)? You have to beg strangers? (Plus, the child essentially proves nothing; where is it written that grifters can’t be fertile?)
It also occurred: if I had a small child and I was stranded and penniless in a strange city, would I
A- beg for spare dollars from strangers
B- contact local charities and state agencies that would be able to provide more long term help [even Day Labor is better than begging- some of my favorite people have done it in bleaker days] and perhaps a place to stay? The most that a guy at a rest area is going to be able to give you is a few dollars and all that is going to do is get you to the next Rest Area- you need more than that.
The inner dialogue continued with an exchange that began “Are there no workhouses?” and concluded with “then perhaps they should, and decrease the surplus population”, which was followed by a few more moments of self-loathing based on the “but what if they were telling the truth? Certainly if I were going to lie I’d make up a more pitiful story than that one”, closely related to the Wallace “In-con-ceivable!” Shawn “which chalice has the poison” dilemma in PRINCESS BRIDE.
So I journeyed on. I got to the next rest area, dehydrated my iguana, and as I’m coming out to my car what to my morally perplexed eyes doth appear but a begrizzled drifter with a cheap cap o’er his ears saying “Hey buddy, look, I don’t mean no harm, but I have a pregnant part in Wetumpka that needs a wife who costs $12.34…”. Thankful as I was that he was using Standard Grift 42.0A (I wonder if beggars are like AmWay and Mary Kay salespeople and the way you really make money is by getting people to beg under you?) I got into my car with all cash intact and entered the Holy City of Monkeytown a few minutes later to gorge myself on fried turkey, the World’s Greatest Camp Stew™ (my grandfather's WWI recipe), and other feast day accoutrement, occasionally eavesdropping onto CNN to see if there was a report of an ersatz Holy Family suicide pact in an Alabama rest area sandwiched between stories of Jacksonian molestation and Bush’s triumphant entry into Mesopotamia.
So, what would you have done? Do you ever give money or do you follow Dion Warwick's maxim and "Walk on By"? And is it a sign of aging or just the Alzheimers of my compassion that I increasingly think these people should be corralled?
« That's plenty, thanks!
While I find World Net Daily's angle on most everything pretty questionable, this deserves a closer look:
Canadian judges soon will be enforcing Islamic law, or Sharia, in disputes between Muslims, possibly paving the way to one day administering criminal sentences, such as stoning women caught in adultery.Regardless of the unlikelihood of the slippery slope to stoning, even considering applying Sharia law via the Courts is frightening. Folks, it's this kind of thinking that makes Roy Moore and his zealotry a threat in our own country.
Via the Discount Blogger.
Not that I was, but if I had been, that would have been a nice segue, don't you think? Of course you do.
Anyway, have a happy Thanksgiving, American readers - and a happy Thursday to the rest of you, unless you've finally accepted the reality of American cultural imperialism and are celebrating with us.
Blogging will be light to non-existent as the wife, Fiona, and I are off to dine with our friends, probably ending up both stuffed and moderately liquored (although Fiona is underage and the wife is our very own baby milk factory, so more wine and beer for the rest of us!). May your holiday be equally entertaining.
Well, if you're a woman:
Wanted: women to test new orgasm machine. No, really. An American surgeon who has patented a device that triggers an orgasm has begun a clinical trial approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States and is looking for female volunteers.Anyone? Michele? Vicky? Jo? Pieter?
Meloy, of Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is hoping to find eight more volunteers willing to have electrodes inserted in their spine and be connected to a pacemaker-size machine implanted under the skin to heighten their sexual pleasure.Somehow the words "electrodes inserted," "spine," and "sexual pleasure" don't go together for me. For Pinhead, maybe - for me, no.
The married woman who tested the machine, dubbed an orgasmatron, had not had an orgasm for four years. But during the nine days she used it, she had several.Be on the lookout for a lawsuit from these folks.
The Discount Blogger laments the dreaded combination of the holiday season and commercial radio:
What I really hate about Christmas music is not so much that it is played, but that some Program Director is naive enough and stupid enough to believe that people want to hear it 24/7 during the Christmas Season. There are good Christmas tunes - but no tune is good when you hear it all the time.I agree that it's a holiday horror, but if broadcasters do it year after year, there must be some group of people who encourage or demand such a relentless barrage of ol'time Christmas favorites. Perhaps like the kind of people who listen to KOSI 101 in Denver:
We're celebrating the Holiday season with Continuous Holiday Favorites everyday through Christmas Day.They say that like it's a good thing. Ack! Make it stop!
Those damned, dirty, Palestinian-baby-eating Jews are at it again!
In an act of compassion that sometimes seems unimaginable in that war-torn part of the world, Israeli doctors worked Wednesday to save the life of an Iraqi baby who was born with a congenital heart defect.I don't find compassion from Israelis unimaginable in the least. From the Islamofascists, well, that's a different story.
I've tried to avoid the Michael Jackson story, but something over at The Rant has prompted me to make this post. Tom Sawyer says:
Maybe it’s just me, but you would think this weirdo would have learned after settling out of court with the last kid’s family ten years ago. For one thing it cost him enough money. It also, unfortunately cost him a good part of his reputation. I mean, if he truly was innocent of child molestation, why would anyone settle and have to live with that suspicion?Sometimes it's easier to settle out of court and be done with it.
On the flip side, what kind of parent would settle for money when their child is molested? I speak as the father of a beautiful baby girl - if anyone sexually abused her, they would pay either through violent retaliation or prosecution in the courts. Money would not do it. Money could not undo it (nothing could), but locking the bastard away would keep it from happening again.
I personally find the original accusation and settlement suspicious. I won't be surprised if the newest one turns out the same.
is so juvenile and sophomoric that I can barely watch it repeatedly on a loop.
Well, not quite nix, but put on hold. There's simply no way in hell that I'll get 50,000 words before the end of the month - at least not 50,000 that I'd be happy to call my own or let anyone else see. After reaching my 3000+ words, the story sort of sputtered and losts its drive, and I wasn't sure why.
I think I know now.
I originally let someone read the first few pages. She's been hounding me to write more, and once upon a few weeks prior said to me that she liked the way the protagonist really seemed to care about another character. That got me to thinking, honestly I do think sometimes, and I believe I need to rewrite the story in the first-person point of view.
I originally envisioned the story from that point of view, but switched to an omniscient third-person view to include a wider array of scenes, thoughts, and personalities. At the same time, though, I lost my connection with the protagonist. I stopped caring about him. And the novel.
But maybe it's time to start over. Maybe. We'll see.
Some folks from my high school (and Tom's, I should mention) have gotten together to assemble a site for tracking down alumni. You can find it here: LAMP Grads.
If you attended the Lanier / Loveless Academic Motivational / Magnet Program, check it out, add your name, send some love.
You can find some more of our LAMP stories here.
I'm pretty sure it isn't this:
Pub grub is the inspiration for artist Mark McGowan’s latest stunt – sitting in a bath of baked beans for 12 days.However, I suppose if dropping a much-loved symbol of a deity in a jar and then pissing on it has artistic merit for some, then wrapping oneself in pork by-products and beans has its place. I've no idea where that place is, but it must exist. Somewhere. Unfortunately.
Mr McGowan, who started his stunt this week, also has two chips up his nose and 48 sausages wrapped around his head.
The bath is in the window of the House Gallery in Camberwell, South London.
“We don’t support our culture enough, so I thought I would celebrate a part of it by turning myself into a traditional English breakfast,” he said.I love English grub (bangers and mash, toad in the hole, roast beef and yorkshire pudding) for all its love-handle-building, artery-clogging beauty, but this is a bit much. If a foreigner criticized the hamburger*, I'd not slap myself between two giant pieces of bread and call myself a Whopper in protest.
And he claimed the idea was inspired by pub food. He said when a friend visited him from Italy he criticised traditional English grub.
* I'd rather they simply criticize the burger, though, than bastardize with it such horrors as pineapple and egg.
Hossein Barkhah of Iran dislocates his elbow attempting to lift 157.5 kilograms in the snatch category in group A of the men's 77 kilogram weight class at the World Weightlifting Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 18, 2003.
The economy roared ahead at an astounding 8.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the fastest pace in nearly two decades and a much stronger performance than previously thought. It raises hope that a long spell of lackluster business activity is finally over.I'm always wary of governmental tinkering with the economic engine, and this is no exception. It makes me wonder if the economy would have recovered at a more moderate pace, with less risk of inflation, had the Bush administration been more restrained in their approach to tax-cutting (although economists are saying inflation is not a great fear at the moment).
Regardless, it's been interesting to watch the Democrats turn from attacking Bush to attacking one another as they lose talking point after talking point. Only candidate John Edwards seems to get it:
North Carolina Senator John Edwards said all of the Democrats needed to quit fighting each other and focus on their vision for America. "Now, the Democrats are all at each other's throats," he said. "People are tired of listening to politicians yell at each other."Hey, keep on yelling if it keeps you out of office.
Just this morning, I rolled over and there was David Horowitz.
I am not going to argue the merits of preserving the institution of marriage as it has been traditionally understood. Personally, I believe the family is an institution under attack and needs to be defended, but I also believe that all citizens are deserving basic respect and individual rights and that society has a vested interest in recognizing and supporting stable relationships between consenting adults who do no harm. What I am going to argue is that the idea of amending the Constitution to resolve a political issue of the culture war is (no pun intended) to court disaster. This will not necessarily be a disaster for the political cause of the defenders of traditional marriage, but it will be to the durability of the Constitution and therefore the nation.Via Instapundit, where you probably read it eariler.
Natalie Maines, lead singer of The Dixie Chicks, was so distraught over the attention her group received the last time they criticized the President that she decided it was time to do it again:
"I think people were misled and I think people are fighting a war that they didn't know they were going to be fighting," Maines said Friday on NBC's "Today" show. "And I think they were misled by people who should have been asking questions and weren't."Oddly enough, the group released a live double-CD set and accompanying DVD the same day. No press is bad press, I guess.
Just remember, if you dare to put her down, or stop buying her CDs, or turn the radio station when the "domestic-abuse-can-be-funny" song comes on, you're obviously an enemy of her freedom of speech.
Natalie would do well to remember that just because you have freedom of speech doesn't mean anyone has to listen.
Ted Rall is endorsing Howard Dean for President, and Dean likes it. Hmmm, one more reason to not vote for him.
The change of season has finally hit Denver, as it has been blowing snow since 10am this morning and the temperature has been hovering around 15-20F. Unfortunately, I had to venture out to get my car's emissions test done (passed with flying colors - I'm so proud!). After that, a trip to Home Depot to look at paint samples. After minutes of feverish debate, the wife and I are leaning toward the all-mighty Southwesternish triumvirate of Sandpoint, Mexican Chile, and Peanut Butter (with an off-white trim). How exciting.
'Twas the ideal day for grilled cheese sandwiches and cream of chicken soup, prepared by yours truly. Ladies, I'm quite the chef. And off the market. But move on, girl, you'll be ok without me.
Lastly, today is the 2003 Iron Bowl. The day when Alabama and Auburn come face to face for, if nothing else, bragging rights. Given each team's record this season, that's about all there is to play for today. Kick off is at 5:45 Mountain time.
More blogging later.
Update: Matt Moore has a photo of the first snowfall. He lives about 4 miles from me.
Hopefully by now you've learned you can skip these posts if reading isn't your bag, baby.
Anyway, "Under the Banner of Heaven" has been thrown on the ever-growing stack of literary works I've consumed, figuratively speaking. Although, if I were starving, I'd eat a book or two if only for the fiber to keep me regular.
But to the point: a very good book. Naturally, the Mormons found their panties had wadded themselves right up their collective buttcrack, claiming it presented an unfair image of the Mormon Church, and unfairly linking them to the Mormon Fundamentalists in Colorado City. However, the picture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is quite balanced, portraying Joseph Smith as very much a human with all the virtures and foibles that come with the tag. And the modern LDS church can't pretend that Mormon Fundamentalism is not associated to their own way of life - the only difference is that the modern church got dragged along by progress, while the Fundamentalists have a firm grip on the church of days gone by.
Ah hell, go read it. Enjoy.
Well, not yet, but there's a wildfire heading my way, about a mile from the house. I say "heading my way" because the 30MPH winds are blowing in my direction, judging by the thick cloud of smoke floating past my neighborhood. Thankfully, a reservoir of water stands between it and me (not to mention, a whole bunch of other houses that would have to burn first - which would be sad, but better them than me, although in an ideal world none would go up).
Anyway, it looks like arson since the picnic pavillion seems to be where it started. It's now a flattened picnic-pavillion-resembling pile of smoldering embers. I think this is proof positive that al Qaeda really can't do much these days.
Wait, wait, wait one minute. If you look at this image and turn it upside down, it looks somewhat like a sickle - as in Soviet flag - as in Russian extremists!
We must invade Russia now!
You can get a live picture from Trafalgar Square in London here. Trafalgar Square is where the anti-Bush, anti-war crowd will be protesting to their free little hearts' content, while terrorists meanwhile blow up innocent Turks and Brits.
Granted, I wasn't a math major in college, but it doesn't look like 100,000 people protesting to me. I suppose they still have a few hours though.
Update: Thanks to Instapundit for the link - I wonder if the webcam site's owners are in a traffic panic right about now.
Update The Second: From the BBC -
Deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Andy Trotter said the attacks in Istanbul underlined that his officers were working for the protection of demonstrators as much as Mr Bush.Oh, but remember, my dear protesters, Bush is the senseless murderer, right? Idiots.
"As we have seen, terrorists really don't care who they blow up or who they target," he said.
"They would have no compunction to take out demonstrators, no compunction in any way at all. And that's a very difficult message to get across to some demonstrators."
Update The Third: Well, color me impressed, the London constabulatory says the protesters managed to swell their ranks to the 100,000 they claimed they'd get. Of course, the organizers now claim it is 150,000.
Either way, the Brits still are more passionate about fox hunting than Dubya.
Glenn Reynolds alerts us to the imminent demise of MP3.com. Once upon a long ago, it was a great place to find interesting, new, undiscovered bands from around the country or the world, bypassing the fickle ear of the recording industry. Of course, once the site needed a generous cash infusion, it became more or less a repeat posting of Billboard hits. Big media won again.
But they'll never stop the sound of Dodgy Lesbian Girl*. At least not until December 2, when the site goes down.
Get it while it's there! Or don't.
* It's no Patriot Act Woo, but it'll do, pig.
In previous comments, I've been told that - as a libertarian-leaning individual - I should be against judicial activism. Judicial activism is, from my experience, generally what someone calls a court's decision when it upsets them.
But I'm at a bit of a loss as to why I should be averse to judicial activism in a case such as the Massachusetts gay marriage brouhaha. When the executive (to a lesser degree) and the legislative branch (always too happy to trample on the minority in favor of the majority) fail to protect the equality of the individual under the law, to where can we turn?
I refuse to endorse the legislative process as a respect-deserving tool of the will of the people when the will of the people is directly contrary to one's constitutional rights (or, perhaps, even with regard to rights that are not specifically enumerated). And when a court's interpretation of a law also runs counter to my view of said rights, I will not be sad when an interpretation I consider proper comes along, no matter how long the offensive interpretation stood.
Judicial activism's proper use is as a tool against the tyranny of the majority. In this case, the tool has been properly used. For me, this entire issue is not a subject in which the government should be involved anyway except from the view of enforcing contracts - but since the state has made it their business, I won't be displeased that they have ruled in favor of the rights of the individual.
Granted, allowing judicial activism does open the door for abuse when new rights-violating interpretations come along, but I would rather risk that and deal with each instance as needed rather than blindly proclaim that "the people have spoken, that is that, and rights be damned!"
That's a bit of a ramble up there, written off the top of my head, but oh well. Do a Google search for "libertarian" and "judicial activism" and you're bound to find someone more eloquent and well-versed.
Update: Andrew Olmsted gives his thoughts.
is no respecter of age or beauty. Former celebrity/former teen idol Jonathan Brandis (probably best known for Sidekicks, the Chuck Norris/Joe Piscopo movie that alternates with Beastmaster and Mississippi Burning for most overshown movie on cable) joins Katharine Hepburn and Nell Carter in the Choir Invisible. Odd choice for the next fatality; if I were a celebrity in 2003 I'd be hiring Thom Felicia to decorate all of my doorposts with vintage Lamb's Blood to be safe.
Gimme gimme more more more »
Is it coincidence he died mysteriously just after Jackson's arrest was ordered and on the day that the remains of Charlie "I've got a great idea! Let's go whitewater rafting in a third world Southeast Asian country filled with renegades during the Vietnam War!" Dean is found? I think not.
« That's plenty, thanks!
Let's see what Thursday brings.
Every asshole has one.
Thus spake Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:
The ruling Tuesday by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court amounted to a political grenade, which the court now has tossed to the state legislature.Tradition, ah, always a good reason to do anything important, such as view women as submissive to men, blacks as subhuman, Russians as evil, yada yada. Traditions are fine and dandy when we're talking about Turkey Day or Alabama football, not the rights of individuals.
By authorizing the granting of marriage licenses to homosexual couples, this court has defied not only tradition, but also democracy and common sense.
Democracy - see above. Also, someone inform Tony that the opinion of the majority doesn't matter when an issue of constitutionality is brought to the Courts. Constitutions generally serve to protect the individual from the tyranny of the majority or of the government (which that majority and/or government do their best to usurp, at least if they're right-wing).
Common sense. Common to whom? Based on what? Supported how? Tony might be shocked to know that it was once "common sense" that a baby didn't have a soul until the quickening (no, not "The Quickening," that soulless piece of celluloid poop), which would have made abort-o-fever perfectly ok until that point. I wonder if Tony accepts that so-called common sense is malleable and forever changing. Of course he does - but only when it suits him, and here it doesn't.
Marriage is the most fundamental institution of society.Opinion. I'd be more inclined to argue that some minor form of governance is the most fundamental institution of society, for without it, society becomes a bit unlikely in the first place.
The law does not create it, it merely recognizes it.Uh huh, that's why you have to get a marriage license just to be married and why it can be denied to same-sex individuals in almost every state. If the law does not create it, then same-sex couples should be able to marry themselves freely and on their whim - however, I imagine Tony will say "that's not marriage," undermining his own statement. Imagine that, incoherence from the fundie right!
Marriage exists to bridge the gap between the sexes by bringing a man and a woman together in the context that is best for the reproduction of the human race and for raising children to be responsible adults. Healthy families are beneficial to the state.Which is why Tony is pushing for a public referendum to prevent infertile or elderly couples, or those who do not want children, from marrying, unless they agree to adopt to help the human race along. Oh, he's not pushing for that? You mean he's babbling again?
A large and growing body of social science research......conveniently not provided here...
...has shown that husbands and wives and their children are happier, healthier and more prosperous than adults or children in any other living arrangement.Which, of course, has nothing to do with allowing gay people to marry. Perhaps he could use this nebulous research to argue against gay adoption, but the happiness of us straight folks when we're married only HELPS to make the argument that allowing gays to marry might make them happier. Damn, this guy doesn't have a clue on how to argue a point coherently.
The benefits conferred upon marriage under the law are not an entitlement - they are a recognition of the benefits that marriage confers upon society.Not an entitlement? I wonder what one calls rights of survivorship, the ability to sponsor a loved one for immigration, etc. Sure sound like entitlements to me, courtesy of matrimony.
Nope, no entitlements at all.
Other research has shown that same-sex relationships lack permanence and fidelity. Therefore, if such unions are recognized as "marriage," those values will be further stripped from the ideal of marriage that is held up to our children.Leaving aside the permanence and fidelity of heterosexual marriages (claims of which are rather dubious), one need only look at unmarried heterosexual relationships to see that they tend to lack the same. It's apples and oranges to compare same-sex relationships in general to married relationships; how about being honest and comparing committed homosexual relationships to marriage? Let me guess: Because that wouldn't help your baseless argument.
The deliberate creation of motherless and fatherless families will have the government's highest stamp of approval.Again, Tony, stay on topic. This isn't about gay adoption, but about gay marriage. But, while we're here, what about single mothers? The government just allows women to go out and have sex, make babies, and then raise them alone - holy cow, a fatherless family! Maybe we should imprison those women, or abort the babies, rather than give such tacit approval, eh, Tony?
Expanding the definition of marriage will weaken the institution, not strengthen it, in the same way that counterfeit money devalues even the real thing.In today's episode of piss poor analogies...
Counterfeit money decreases the value of real money in two ways: first, by increasing the apparent supply of cash (although I doubt it's enough to make a difference) and second, by reducing the trust people are willing to put in the cash they have in their own possession or in the cash that they might receive from another. Unless you're using marriage as a currency, your analogy is complete nonsense.
If the way someone conducts their marriage influences how you value your own, you are both undeserving of the marriage in the first place, and also a COMPLETE IDIOT.
The Massachusetts Legislature should begin the process of rolling back this decision by adopting the proposed Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment to the state constitution. It defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.How about polygamy, Tony? Don't want to piss off those god-fearing Mormon Fundamentalists in Colorado City just to fight the EAAHA (Evil Atheist And Homosexual Agenda) do you?
At the same time, Congress should pass and the states should ratify a federal marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to preserve that essential definition of marriage.Yes, let's tinker with the Constitution for every little thing. Also, if they did try this, and it failed (you know, via "democracy") - do you think Tony would shut the hell up?
No, I'm not taking bets.
Protecting marriage will be a major issue in the 2004 elections.Yeah, because that little thing of Islamofascists wanting all of us dead is surely running in second place. The need for our soldiers to win the peace in Iraq and come home is way down the list. It's amusing, or frightening, how much religion makes people blind to real issues (Iraq? How about you get your hands off our God!) and so-called conservatives ready to expand the government's money-spending ways (amendments! enforcement! court cases!).
Every candidate seeking the votes of pro-family Americans must be ready and willing to offer an unwavering defense of not only the word "marriage," but also the institution it represents.That's a blanket statement if ever there was one. I'm pro-family; all in favor of them. I also realize that what I consider a family arrangement that works best for me, might not work best for others. I'm willing to consider my household a family, two gay married men a family, a single mother with her daughter a family, and Tony's head shoved so far up his own ass that he can't see daylight a family.
(Warning: May not be appropriate or suitable viewing for straight people.)
about the ordination of Gene Robinson?
Well, according to some it seems he would make catty and libelous comments about anal sex, glory holes, and other things that while taboo sure do seem to be of inordinate and unhealthy interest to street-praying conservative Christians.
Gimme gimme more more more »
Personally, as a non-Episcopalian I couldn't be less concerned if they ordained a Siberian Husky and can't understand why any non-Episcopalian would be. I'll also go a step farther and say that I've never been able to understand how gay Christians reconcile their faith with the no-uncertain terms condemntation of active homosexuality in the Bible. But mostly I'm just glad I'm not a Christian because it distances me from people of this little class and, more unforgivably, this much witlessness. (Better captions would seem to be "Oh this old thing? I saw it in the window at Our Lady of Versace Wholesale..." or "Wafer? I don't even wanna touch-her!")
« That's plenty, thanks!
Found via Ocean Guy.
Massachusetts high court rules that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Details soon.Oh, great, next they'll be saying it's ok to boink your dog!
I kid, of course. This is good news.
Update: AP has more:
Massachusetts' highest court ruled Tuesday that same-sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution, but stopped short of allowing marriage licenses to be issued to the couples who challenged the law.A rather silly ruling, akin to saying that something is obviously wrong under the law but let's not do anything about it. In fact, let's give the other side time to shore up the state constitution so they can maintain their *cough* defense of marriage *cough*.
The Supreme Judicial Court's 4-3 ruling ordered the Legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days.
It'll be interesting to see if this goes the way of Vermont or not. Here's hoping.
And George W. Bush feels fine, because it's all his fault, don't ya know?
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, launched a stinging attack on President George Bush last night..."I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction."Look for the new film "Dubya Impact"* in 2004, in which the President of the United States single-handedly destroys all life on Earth.
Ken Livingstone will reprise his role as The Mayor of Simpleton.
Thanks to The Daily Ablution for the story.
* I know, that sounds like a porn title. My apologies. Boom chicka bow wow.
Reports of the death of America's reputation in the United Kingdom seem to be a bit premature:
More than half of Labour supporters back US President George Bush’s state visit to Britain, according to a survey released today.As with much of the war-related press, it seems that this was once again a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.
They were among an overall 43% of voters who told pollsters ICM they welcomed the visit – some 7% more than the 36% who said they would prefer the President to stay away. Twelve per cent were undecided.
The survey, to be published in The Guardian tomorrow as Mr Bush flies to the UK, contradicted the widely-held assumption that the visit will damage Prime Minister Tony Blair.
It recorded improved ratings for the Prime Minister personally, as well as a slump in opposition to the war in Iraq.
And it indicated that public opinion in Britain is overwhelmingly pro-American, with 62% of respondents agreeing the US was “generally speaking, a force for good”, compared to 15% who described it as “an evil empire".
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave terror lord Usama bin Laden's thugs financial and logistical support, offering Al Qaeda (search) money, training and haven for more than a decade, it was reported yesterday.
Update: Josh Claybourn says that the Defense Department is distancing itself from the memo. They start out by saying that the claim of a link is inaccurate, but sum up by saying the memo "drew no conclusions." In other words, feel free to draw your own.
Thanks to this blog, I've discovered the joy of MS Word's Auto-summarize function. I ran my novel-in-progress through it, condensing it to 100 words or less, and got gobbledygook. Anyway, rather than post that, I ran some other works through it.
Such as Thoreau's Civil Disobedience:
Why has every man a conscience then? Men at all? The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name--if ten honest men only--ay, if one HONEST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. A man may grow rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said: "If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame." If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man. Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it.Not bad, actually. Much better than what it did to my masterpiece, pulling dialogue from unrelated scenes, jamming it together, and resulting in something I never intended. I've read that when you edit your novel, you should seek to remove something like 10% of it - maybe I'll just let Auto-summarize do the work for me.
Well, that was fun. I'll have new toys to report on soon.
Naturally, the Roy Moore debacle has the Bamafundies coming out in droves to their local newspaper and television websites, espousing that we really need Jesus to save us, that atheists want to bring down America, that we're a Christian nation, and other such malarkey. I've joined the discussion.
First off, he looks like a complete twit. And his album is called "Measure of a Man"- but have his balls even dropped yet?I, for one, am unwilling to check if they have. Oh, Jon?
Vicky brings us a tale of the moral imperative, Billy Graham style: If you're bad, it's all your fault and you had better repent, because, sucka, you goin' straight to Hell. However, if you're good, it's all because of the Baby Jeebus and his proud papa.
I realize this is a common brain fart among the devout, those same people who thank God when something positive happens but neglect to blame the Almighty when a truck hits their dog (even if the truck did have a "Jesus is my Co-Pilot" bumper sticker).
Yes, folks, I can make puns off this guy's name all day long:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office Thursday for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.Moore, still possessed by his megalomaniacal theocratic delusions, is reported to have looked skyward and said "My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?"
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously imposed the harhest penalty possible after a one-day trial in which Moore said his refusal was a moral and lawful acknowledgment of God.
To which God replied: "Because you're an ass."
* Heaven's to Murgatroid, Jon and I came up with the same pun. I'll try to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Praise de lawd thank you Jeebus, the Right Reverend Hizzoner has been removed from the Alabama Supreme Court! More to follow as links become available.
The latest installment of the drinkfest known as The Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, this incarnation being v2.75, is on. Friday, December 5, at the Wynkoop - mark your calendars.
Zombyboy, who has graciously taken over planning duties from yours truly, has the details. Check here, there, and everywhere (maybe not everywhere) for updates as they become available.
I'll probably be there by 5pm, per the norm for a lush of my calibre and skill.
Walter in Denver points to this article by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. While he doesn't come right out and say it, the implication is that progress is the enemy of employment, that efficient markets and factories are a bad thing for the laborer.
I believe that's how the Soviets maintained an unemployment rate, and a short-term one at that, of around 2%. Yeah, let's follow that model, Bob.
To quote Walter:
I can scarcely believe he was once the Labor Secretary.
I recommend all of you join me in hating this man:
Stephen Cooke walked into the Georgia Lottery office in Atlanta on Wednesday morning thinking he'd won $13 million.Sigh.
He walked out with a check for $26.6 million.
The 60-year-old school bus driver from Roswell had two of the three winning tickets for the $70 million jackpot and didn't know it.
Shanti over at Dancing With Dogs is going to have a
litter of puppies baby! Go send your congratulations.
Good news for those us who like to drink the beer that eats like a meal:
The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may be true after all, according to researchers. A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as an aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.Ah, music to the ears, as during winter I like to go to the faux-Irish, overly-commercial restaurant Fadó, sit in the under-lit corner by the fireplace, and imbibe our dark friend by the happy hour pint glassful.
Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from Wisconsin University told a conference in the US.
It's about as close to the feel of a true pub that I've been able to find, as somewhere along the way of translating British/Irish culture to America, our forebears forgot about the good cheer and good beer of the community drinking establishment.
The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease.Lucky dogs.
Just when you think Ted Rall can't get any more stupid, he proves you wrong once again. Today's episode of "Ted Rall Makes Michael Moore Look Smart" has our pal drafting an imaginary letter from the (nominally) Iraqi resistance to a new member:
It is no easy thing to shoot or blow up young men and women because they wear American uniforms. Indeed, the soldiers are themselves oppressed members of America's vast underclass. Many don't want to be here; joining America's mercenary army is the only way they can afford to attend university. Others, because they are poor and uneducated, do not understand that they are being used as pawns in Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s cynical oil war.It makes one wonder then just how much pain these terrorists felt when they attacked the Red Cross compound, doesn't it? I mean, after all, those Red Cross employees were there, giving aid to the wounded and those in need, and all because of a horrible lie. Since the terrorists couldn't disabuse them of the notion that giving medical aid where it is needed is a good thing, they had to die.
Unfortunately, we can't help these innocent U.S. soldiers. They are victims, like ourselves, of the bandits in Washington. Nor can we disabuse them of the propaganda that an occupier isn't always an oppressor. We regret their deaths, but we must continue to kill them until the last one has gone home to America.
And, oh ho ho, the United Nations employees, the way they oppressed the people of Iraq and rolled in tanks and guns and things that go boom. Yes, surely, even though they wanted to avoid this war, right or wrong, they must die as well.
Ted Rall's Brain: Where logic goes to die.
"The Pleasure of My Company" complete, I am now engrossed in "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. For a more complete treatment than I can currently offer, you might want to check out what our own Jon had to say.
It does raise interesting questions, even early on: Where do we draw the line between common sense and religious belief? Is it only God talking when he says fluffy puppy things, or is it him when the order is to kill? How can apparently sane people believe such nutty things, such as God wanting them to kill a toddler, their own kin? Why is it that society accepts god-belief until it turns violent? Gods have a pretty bad record when it comes to non-violence, after all.
Further, reading the story of Joseph Smith, one can imagine how the legend of Jesus Christ or Mohammed sprung up from a simple story and grew in power and influence, through intentional deceit, sheer lunacy, or the fog of the passage of time. Already, according to Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology and religion at the University of Washington, Mormonism:
"stands on the threshold of becoming the first major faith to appear on Earth since the prophet Mohammed rode out of the desert."And, much like other religions, Mormonism has its share of internal inconsistencies and a habit of denying its own tenets as society progresses (you know, that whole thing about considering black folks equal to whites, for example). Don't be surprised if, come 2100, those WWMD (What Would Moroni Do?) hypergalactic holographic bracelets are all the rage.
The Wall Street Journal today has a good article on the Canadian healthcare system, and universal healthcare programs in general. Unfortunately, I only have the paper version - and the online version only provides a blurb without a subscription. Here's the blurb:
Universal Care Has a Price: WaitingSuch is to be expected when a necessarily limited supply of medical care is confronted with an effectively limitless demand for "free" care. As with many other leftist philosophies, it's not a case of everyone being equal, but of everyone being equally poorly off.
In Canada, the public-health system generally promises free, equal-access care to all citizens. But the trade-offs are steep, as Canadian hospitals are slower to adopt the latest technology, and patients can often expect long waits.
I'll pass, thanks.
Bottom line: If you don't like Steve Martin's brand of humor, avoid the book. I happen to like his brand of humor, and thus found the book amusing, entertaining, and worthwhile. The straightforward presentation of the protagonist's neuroses is terrific, particularly his incessant need to touch all four corners of all the copiers at the local Kinko's. OK, it reads better in context.
The horrific outcome of our toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Hmmm, which word in the passage below doesn't fit?
Chess legend Garry Kasparov was forced to draw with computer program X3D Fritz on Tuesday despite dominating most of the enthralling three and half hours of play.
Update - Bonus Round: Same question, different passage, multiple possibilities:
Playing white, Kasparov began the match with "audacious" speed. "You couldn't have asked for a more exciting start to the match - it was a sharp battle from the very start," said commentator Mig Greengard.
It would appear that some Britons aren't too keen on our President:
In a poll published in The Times Tuesday, 59 percent of respondents said America's standing in the world has diminished under Bush's presidency, while 60 percent disapproved of his handling of the situation in Iraq.Damnit, I just knew that passing that Amendment giving the British the right to vote in the United States would... oh, nevermind.
Forty-seven percent said Bush didn't seem up to the job of being U.S. President, while 40 percent believed Britain benefits from the close relationship between Bush and Blair.
Yes, yes, they are.
Hire a businessman to run Denver, and you have a city that gets down to business:
During the past week, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper chalked up a series of victories that many experienced politicians would crave in a year.Hickenlooper is a tremendous improvement from the previous resident of the mayor's office: the obstinately partisan, nose-in-the-air, tax the people and swell the budget Democratic elite named Wellington Webb.
Hickenlooper capped his first 3 months in office with a steady drumbeat of airport deals and ballot success, budget wins and fulfilled campaign promises.
"I'm in awe," said Dick Lamm, former Colorado governor and co-director of the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues at the University of Denver. "I've never seen a mayor with a faster start than this guy's got."
A huge thanks to all of our military personnel, past and present. Thank you for your contributions to the safety of our nation and the world.
While many of us have the day off, or - in my case- are simply griping about being in the office, let's take the time to remember all those who have sacrificed for our country, and especially those who aren't getting a day off today or in the forseeable future.
I wouldn't imagine that a day off in Iraq or Afghanistan is quite the same as a day off in Anytown, USA either. Let's win this current battle (hollering quagmire-monkeys notwithstanding) and get them home to enjoy the same luxuries as the rest of us.
Instapundit links to this story regarding how some countries are pushing for the United Nations to take ownership of the internet. If that happens, I predict a Google search for "Kosher recipes" will come up blank while "suicide belt instructions" will provide copious details to the up-and-coming martyr.
For all my picking on Mark Shea, he periodically does provide something with entertainment value:
Universism is a freethought religious philosophy intended to unite people who have found affinity with Atheism, Deism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, Transcendentalism, and other rational perspectives.Um, I can't think of many atheists who would (a) capitalize "atheism" and call it a religion, simply because it isn't one or (b) who would consider deism, agnosticism, pantheism, or transcendetalism to be rational perspectives.
Deism: god kicked off the universe and now it's careening along on its own just fine, thank you. I've got no good reason to assume that god was involved other than my own personal thoughts on the matter. Thomas Aquinas light.
Agnosticism: I'd join your organization but since knowledge is impossible, I probably shouldn't step out of bed because maybe the floor isn't really there. Heck, maybe this bed isn't really here. Maybe I'm a brain in a jar!
Pantheism: Watch me redefine "everything that exists" as "god" and end up adding nothing meaningful to any conversation on the topic. I also like to confuse people by referring to "up" as "down" and "left" as "right."
Transcendentalism: I am one with the ultimate reality, whatever that is, and no, I can't prove it to you or explain it, kind of like theists and their gods. But mine is reasonable!
This "universism" group seems nothing more than an attempt to rally all the non-Big-Three-Western-Religion folks into a group, the point of which escapes me unless the hammer of oppression is about to fall on us. I don't think we're quite there yet. Or close even.
And for all their claims of promoting "rational perspectives," they then spout off with gobbledygook like:
A person's perception of reason is relative. Each mind is a unique combination of the myriad forces of biological evolution, the physical laws of nature, unique personal experiences and environment. Thus, there is no uniform belief about the ultimate nature of existence.They've just told us that reason is relative. That logical conclusions are, theoretically, impossible. Which, unfortunately, reduces any positive affirmation or argument on their site to sheer nonsense - or at least unsupported nonsense.
Once upon a time, I was out drinking with another blogger - Matt Moore, I believe, although the haze of the aftermath of several beers makes me uncertain - and we began to discuss a new version of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," one that we called "White Trash Eye for the Queer Guy." It would have involved educating gay men in the fine art of decorating one's double-wide with wood paneling, ceramic Jesus and Elvis statues, and velvet blacklight posters of AC/DC or Toby Keith; of how to make overalls and backwards baseball caps work for you in any situation; of how to forgo expensive wines in favor of The Beast. You know, a stereotypical free-for-all.
Apparently someone from Comedy Central was eavesdropping:
U.S. cable network Comedy Central is planning to turn the American make-over hit "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" upside down with a new show called "Straight Plan for the Gay Man."Bastards. This demands a lawsuit!
Debuting in February, the new show will parody the Bravo channel's "Queer Eye" series and male stereotypes in general as a team of straight comedians -- the "Flab 4" -- teaches a succession of gay men how to pass as heterosexuals.
On second thought, do we really have to teach homosexual men how to act straight? Doesn't living in a society where certain people despise them make most of them pretend to be straight until their egos overcome the indoctrinated self-loathing?
Maybe what we really need is "Open Eyes for the Fundamentalist Guy" or the like.
You can get an interactive preview of Microsoft's to-someday-be-released flagship operating system, Windows/Longhorn here. Wow, only two more years to wait!
Thanks to North Georgia Dogma for the link.
It's amusing that Mark Shea will continually whine and moan and invoke the holy wrath of the Lord Jesus anytime he thinks that Catholics will soon be up against the wall, only to turn around and paint his perceived enemies as nothing more than criminals (and nevermind his affection for calling homosexuals "brownshirts" either - classy!). Ah, Christian love and brotherhood - for me, but not for thee, eh?
Let us pray it is true:
Alabama's attorney general asked a judicial panel on Monday to remove suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore from office for defying a federal judge's order to take his Ten Commandments monument off public display in the state judicial building.OK, no need to pray, because look how much good it did for keeping that monstrosity of a monument in the Court rotunda. Well, that and that little issue of god(s) not existing further complicate the whole prayer thing. Anyway, let's just hope that this is the end of Judge Moore's "look how dumb Alabama is" campaign.
In a pretrial brief filed with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, Attorney General Bill Pryor said Moore should be removed because he "intentionally and publicly engaged in misconduct, and because he remains unrepentant for his behavior."
It's not like the state needs any help with that. I kid, I kid.
Apologies for the light posting - I promise to endeavor to do better in the future, but right now life is taking a front seat (as it should, you see). It's going to be a busy week at work, and my not-so-copious-before free time is being further devoured courtesy of National Novel Writing Month, in which I've fallen woefully behind and am doubting I'll make the 50,000 words by the end of the month. Oddly, I'm not bothered by that, as I am more focused on telling a good story properly and honing my skill than by being able to say "Woo, I wrote 50,000 words and 49,000 of them sucked!"
On top of that, with portions of the WWR-extended-family coming to visit for the holidays next month, I want to get some things taken care of around the house. This includes: buying a new television (leaning toward this one); replacing my surround sound system (recommendations welcome - think $800 or less); painting the family room; finding a bold color-block rug; and buying a chair from Pier 1.
No, unlike Howard Dean, I'm not a metrosexual - just tired of bare white walls and a house that looks like a small cyclonic disaster passed through. Oh, I'm also a good cook and can put together a shirt and pants that don't clash. You know, if anyone is keeping score at home (I find such traits a nice contrast to my beer-drinking, couch potato characteristics).
Sorry, ladies, I'm also married. Better luck next time.
More blogging soon. Promise.
Looking for the usual snarky cynicism regarding current events? Read no further: this post is just to update Zuly's Reading Room, as I have completed Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail."
I must admit that I was surprised by the book as, unlike much of Bryson's other work, it was consistently entertaining and the punchlines were not telegraphed when the reader was still fifteen miles back on the trail. And, unlike his usual "Ha, ha, my fellow Americans are so helpless and dumb in a quaint, cute way" shtick, he actually seems to have some real sentiment regarding the hike. I suppose the blisters on one's feet are more inspirational and involving than antagonistic criticism while sitting on one's ass typing away.
Do defense attorneys wonder why so many people don't like them? They shouldn't.
Lawyers for confessed serial killer Gary Leon Ridgway -- who admitted in a plea deal Wednesday to killing 48 women -- said their client is a polite, pleasant man.Um, yeah, except for that whole polite and pleasant thing about killing 48 women.
I've got my finger in my ear!
Japanese phone firm NTT DoCoMo has created a wristwatch phone that uses its owner's finger as an earpiece.Aside from the fact that it will be the death of shaking hands with others, this is cool.
The gadget, dubbed Finger Whisper, uses a wristband to convert the sounds of conversation to vibrations that can be heard when the finger is placed in the ear.
Attorney General John Ashcroft's PATRIOT Act has racked up another win, protecting the homeland from the threat of terrorist attack.
The investigation of strip club owner Michael Galardi and numerous politicians appears to be the first time federal authorities have used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe.Oh, so sorry, I meant he's protected the homeland from bouncing boobies, something sure to piss off Steve Green.
Government officials said Tuesday they knew of no other instances in which federal agents investigating allegations such as racketeering and bribery of politicians have employed the act.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said she was preparing an inquiry to the FBI about its guidelines for using the Patriot Act in cases that don't involve terrorism. The law makes it easy for citizens' rights to be abused, she said.Knee-jerk, poorly envisioned, reactionary votes handing over additional power to the government have a way of doing that. You elected idiots got precisely what you voted for - it being well known that our legislators have a problem when it comes to actually thoroughly reading the laws upon which they vote. Unfortunately, the American populace got it too. Thanks!
"It was never my intention that the Patriot Act be used for garden-variety crimes and investigations," Berkley said.
Hmmm, I think Angela Cortez, of the Denver Post, should get her tongue examined. It's quite obviously forked. In an op-ed defending Democrats against the charge of being anti-gun, referring to the Second Amendment she says:
I do understand that constitutional right and will fight with all my might to protect it.Apparently she wants the bulk of us to do that mighty fighting with our bare hands:
I don't want people owning guns if they're not hunters.I'm sorry, Angela, what were you saying about understanding the Second Amendment? She tries to spin it a bit by saying:
But I'm also a realist, and I don't make the rules. Anyone who has the right to own a gun can do so.Even though it's pretty apparent that if she made the rules, we probably wouldn't have such a right. So much for fighting with all her might for the Second Amendment.
Just saw, via a ping to Blovel from Dave Jansing, that someone has created a graphical progress gauge for National Novel Writing Month. A nifty little toy. Here's mine - yeah, baby, I'm crankin' right along, eh?
Much like the Bible, but we've been down that road before.
Nothing to get over-excited about, kids.
From the most recent Democratic debate:
In a Democratic presidential debate that veered from hip to heated, Howard Dean's most persistent foil was the Confederate flag, his favored response the non-apology.Maybe I'm misreading, but that sounds to me like Dean just said the Democratic party should welcome racists with open-arms. You know, anything to beat ol'Dubya.
"It's a racist symbol but I also think the Democratic Party has to be a big tent," Dean said Tuesday night, refusing to recant his statement that the party must court Southerners who display the symbol of the Confederacy in their pickup trucks.
More evidence from the left that it's really not about the war, it's all about Bush:
Fox News has obtained a document believed to have been written by the Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee that outlines a strategy for exposing what it calls "the administration's dubious motives" in the lead-up to the war in Iraq.That's right, let's not get to the bottom of things in a timely manner; let's potentially endanger the security of the United States in order to win in 2004. I'd dare say that Ann Coulter is right about Democrats hating America if I didn't think the Republicans would be equally sleazy given the opportunity.
The memo, provided late Tuesday by a source on the Committee and reported by Fox News' Sean Hannity, discusses the timing of a possible investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence in such a way that it could bring maximum embarrassment to President Bush in his re-election campaign.
I considered posting on this item last week, but it just seemed way too easy. But, not everything in life has to be challenging.
Personally I think the lightning struck because people were standing outside in a lightning storm with electronics on an elevated location, but the real irony of the situation to me is the silence that accompanied it. Had lightning struck a gay pride parade or a production of Corpus Christi it would have been on every Christian blog and newsletter from here to Kajikistan, but when it strikes not just an extra but "the Star" himself of a religious movie, that's when the Fundies will admit "sometimes weird things just happen".
On November 23, he is back!
I sing Hosanna! Hosanna!
Emblazoned on our banner is
Welcome back Opus!
Judge Roy Moore, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and publicity-loving Pharisee, is doing his best to stay in the news:
A "thunderous roar that's going to be heard across this country" will be the result of the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear his case on the controversial Ten Commandments monument, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore predicted Monday.(pin drop)
The lawyer who was the victim of the well-filmed, multiple-gunshot attack is thankful to be alive:
"It's weird. It's the kind of thing that always happens to someone else," Curry said. "This is the thing you see on TV, but this time it happened to me. But the main thing is that I survived, so I'm very grateful."He then continued by saying he managed to survive no thanks to the camera crews that stood by filming his potential death rather than helping him and would they kindly just go straight to hell.
I know that Halloween has come and gone (with but a handful of trick-or-treaters courtesy of the frightful weather), but enjoy this nightmare vision of album covers past.
Found via NoodleFood.
There are people who run on purpose, even when they aren't being chased? And some of them do it a lot.
Ah, humanity, you confound me so.
My future best-seller has stalled at around 1400 words and I'm not sure if I'll continue along with the same tale. Perhaps I'll keep the opening and change the aftermath; or perhaps I'll send it all on its way to the big Windows XP Recycle Bin in the sky. Odd how the inspiration to write would build and build, only to implode when the calendar turned to November 1. But then again, our expectations have a nasty habit of exceeding our realities. Yes, you may quote me.
So, having paused from the task of writing, I instead completed my reading of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Lord Henry, such a hoot - but perhaps it's my cynical nature that had me finding so many quotable quotes in his dialogue. I'll have to read more of Wilde's work.
After I write my own.
Perhaps the Christian fundamentalist moralizers are right - ever since we took prayer out of school, and started teaching the evil of evolution, things have just gotten worse and worse regarding the moral fabric of our once great nation. Oops, wrong.
Atlanta-AP _ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pregnancy, birth and abortion rates dropped from 1990 to 1999.Damnit, you teens, if we are going to ruin this country as they fear, you really need to pick up the pace and quit slacking. Get out there and make babies to abort! If you don't help us, the Evil Atheist Liberal Homosexual Non-Christian People We Don't Like And Ideas We Loathe Agenda will fail!
Pregnancies fell seven percent, to six-point-28 (M) million in 1999. The birth rate declined nine percent, to 64-point-four per one-thousand women ages 15 to 44. And the abortion rate went down 22 percent, to 21-point-four per one-thousand women.
Teen pregnancy rates reached historic lows, dropping 25 percent. The teen birth rate dropped 19 percent, and the teen abortion rate was down 39 percent.
The Bush administration is ready to admit that their steel tariffs are a failure.
The steel tariffs are regarded inside the administration as having done more harm than good, both politically and economically. Whatever help they gave the ailing steel industry was overridden by damage to steel-purchasing manufacturers -- especially the auto parts industry.Well, that's hard to believe. Unless, of course, it isn't. I think most libertarian bloggers were beating the drums of "you are dumb" when the tariff idea was first proposed. It seemed then, and seems now, to have been naught but a political appeal to steel states, at the cost of the economy and workforce at large. Remember, kids, free markets are a good thing.
For those participating in NaNoWriMo, I am hosting a copy of the spreadsheet some kind person developed for tracking progress, forecasting how poorly you'll do, etc. You can find it here, in Excel format.
I've got 654 words written so far, aiming to add at least another 1,000 - 1,500 before midnight. We'll see how that goes.
And nobody came?
Many parents kept children away from classes in the capital, worried about a "Day of Resistance" against the Americans called for in leaflets attributed to Saddam Hussein's party. But as the day went on in the capital with no dramatic attacks, traffic returned to normal.The articles also goes on to indicate that the recent spate of attacks is due to insurgents, possibly Al Qaeda in nature, and not the Iraqi people themselves. All of the Democratic Presidential contenders calling for us to bring the troops home right now are really saying "leave the people of Iraq at the mercy of the enemy."
But that's ok, they also said we should leave them at the mercy of Saddam Hussein. And here we've always been taught that the left is where the heart of the humanitarian lies. Odd that.
Here's an idea: Bring our troops home when the job is done.