Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Anyway, there was a CNN segment on this latest fuss and they pointed out that there's no mention of global warming anywhere in the movie.
Oh, but it gets better. Soooooooo much better. Michael Medved claims "there’s a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Yes, that again. A subtle endorsement of the homo-sek-shul lifestyle--which is mainly apparent to professional bloviators--seems to be lurking under the surface of even the most innocuous kiddie movies.
Okay, now it's settled. I have to see this movie. I'm sure it'll be an adorable, clever, well-animated, and hilarious movie about plucky penguins and it won't have any dubious social messages. And it'll be good to giggle at the expense of the Cavutos, Becks, and Medveds once the movie's over.
He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
Gee, really? Will American civilization suddenly, inexplicably collapse because Ellison places his hand on a Koran? Is this some weird part of God's plan we don't know about? Could Prager explain how this is possible?
First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture.
Erm, Mr. Prager? Mr. Ellison is a politician elected to American government. He is a natural-born American citizen, raised right here in America. His culture is American culture.
What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.
I would be curious as to where Mr. Ellison has actually said or implied this. Somehow, if he had, it would be all over the wingnutosphere by now. No, it's clear that Prager is just making shit up.
Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible.
Who's this "America"? Does Dennis Prager have a friend named "America" whom he's using as a sounding board? Or should we trot out the usual "America is a melting pot/multicultural/religiously diverse nation" shtick that we have to use whenever Prager and his ilk try to rewrite American history?
Ellison is not trying to compel anyone else to take an oath of office on the Koran. It's his decision. And why should Prager give a hoot what holy book Ellison chooses to follow? When did this become Prager's business?
If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.
I'm wondering what law compels public officials to take an oath of office on the Bible and not some other holy book. Again, I suspect that Prager's making shit up. There's no law against it and any such law would violate the Constitution. I suspect Prager and his ilk know this. Meanwhile, I eagerly await the day when America starts electing Hindus, Buddhists, and maybe even a neopagan or two to office. Things are going to be fun, and heads are going to explode.
Of course, being a fan of the whole religion/state separation concept, I don't think any religious texts at all should be used when a politician takes the oath of office. Of course, that could come from years of listening to the Christian right babble away. Or maybe I'm just contrary. Or maybe I think separation of religion and state is good for religion in the long run. Or maybe I'm just being a contrarian.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Okay, now I've got to see this movie!
New slogan idea: "Annoy a wingnut--go to the movies!"
And here's Amon Duul II. On the one hand, it's a pretty weird video. On the other hand, it features Renate Knaup on vocals.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Remember Richard Adelman? The loyal Bush foot soldier who kept his mouth shut for so long out of, erm, "loyalty" (read: the desire not to look stupid)? USA Today quotes Mr. Adelman in a piece on embarassed neocons trying to distance themselves from the Iraq debacle.
Okay, so the good guys don't always win. Jean Schmidt still has a job to go back to. You have to wonder what color the sky is in Ohio's district 2...
The Happy Feminist weighs in on the best analysis of Girls Gone Wild and similar raunch culture I've read in a long time. No, disliking Girls Gone Wild does not make you a prude. No, feminists do not have a problem with nudity or raunch per se. The problem is misogyny, not nude girls. As I've mentioned before, I work on X-rated books for a living, and they're books written by and for women. NOT the same thing. I still think the answer to crappy, woman-hating porn is porn that doesn't degrade women or show sex as filthy and icky. But men as well as women seem to have a really skewed idea of sex. Hence Hustler and Girls Gone Wild.
Here's the Rummy-Saddam handshake!
I'm sure that Rummy, in his retirement, would prefer not to dwell on certain embarassing aspects of his political career. Which means he'll try not to think about his career at all. Meanwhile, Karen Kwiatkowski weighs in on his legacy. At this point, analyzing his handling of the Iraq war is like using a machete on a pinata, but this article is a must read.
Spent Turkey Day at the home of Le Sweetie's family. It's a little weird to do that, because I was new to the way they do things. But everyone had a good time, except for Le Sweetie's grandma, who had vertigo and had to stay in bed. For Christmas, we're going to my mom's. Le Sweetie's family is Jewish and thus won't be doing much for Christmas.
Le Sweetie and I are going to Miami at the end of December. The week between Christmas and New Year's is generally dead, so my office is closed that week and so is his. To avoid the end-of-the-holidays funk, we're going to be where it's sunny and sandy. Should be fun.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled.
Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."
Cakewalk. Right. Because we all know invasions are just easy as pie to implement, don't we? Mr. Adelmen is proof positive of how unrealistic the White House Iraq group's expectations always were. Here's a special little clue for Mr. Adelman: An invasion does not just end when some US soldiers pull down a statue of a crazy, evil dictator. If I remember correctly, Dubya's Uncle Brent (Scowcroft, that is) has been saying for several years that the Iraq invasion was a dangerous gamble. You can't get more Bush family/Washington insider than Uncle Brent. But Adelman and the rest of WHIG just believed what they wanted to believe and addressed Uncle Brent and the rest of the grownups with a collective "NEENER NEENER WE CAN'T HEAR YOOOOOOUUU!"
Anyway, back to Adelman, who's now no doubt trying to figure out which condiment with which to eat his words:
"There are a lot of lives that are lost," Adelman said in an interview last week. "A country's at stake. A region's at stake. This is a gigantic situation. . . . This didn't have to be managed this bad. It's just awful."
Congratulations, Mr. Adelman! You're now this week's winner of the Counselor Deanna Troi Award for Blatantly Obvious Commentary! Anyway, since those unfortunate election results that have left the GOP smarting, the Republicans have come out of the woodwork to point fingers and blame everyone but themselves for the GOP establishment's failings.
"People expect a level of performance they are not getting," former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said in a speech. Many were livid that Bush waited until after the elections to oust Rumsfeld.
"If Rumsfeld had been out, you bet it would have made a difference," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said on television. "I'd still be chairman of the Judiciary Committee."
Nice set of priorities you got there, Senator. Do your country a favor and retire in 2010, will you please?
The WaPo article goes on to quote numerous DC establishment Republicans, all mad at the president for one reason or another. You have Colin Powell and company, who conveniently waited until Powell had tendered his resignation before they began to denounce the Iraq war. Or Christine Todd "It's my party toooooooo!" Whitman, who toed the White House line, right down to lying about the air quality around Ground Zero, and then began denouncing the GOP wingnuts after she'd left the EPA. You know guys, maybe if you'd said something sooner, or quit in protest, or taken some sort of principled stand before the White House could do any damage, you'd have some more credibility.
Similarly, Kenneth Adelman waited until he was no longer in the WHIG before making his views public:
Adelman said he remained silent for so long out of loyalty. "I didn't want to bad-mouth the administration," he said. In private, though, he spoke out, resulting in a furious confrontation with Rumsfeld, who summoned him to the Pentagon in September and demanded his resignation from the defense board.
"It seemed like nobody was getting it," Adelman said. "It seemed like everything was locked in. It seemed like everything was stuck." He agrees he bears blame as well. "I think that's fair. When you advocate a policy that turns bad, you do have some responsibility."
Most troubling, he said, are his shattered ideals: "The whole philosophy of using American strength for good in the world, for a foreign policy that is really value-based instead of balanced-power-based, I don't think is disproven by Iraq. But it's certainly discredited."
This party-before-country mentality is exactly what's wrong with the present Beltway GOP, and comments by Specter and Adelman seem to prove that they still don't get it.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Toys are donated to kids based on financial need and "we don't know anything about their background, their religious affiliations," said Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va.
As a government entity, Marines "don't profess one religion over another," Grein said Tuesday. "We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family."
But never fear, War on Christmas warriors! Before Gibson adjusts his glasses (he must've worn the same pair since 1978 or so) and sits down to update his "War on Christmas" book, Toys For Tots reports that everything has been straightened out. "Toys for Tots has found appropriate places for these items. We have notified the donor of our willingness to handle this transaction," says the organization's Web site.
Mockingbird's Medley has actually had a look-see at this Talking Jesus, and seems...well, floored by it. I think the big question is: does this Jesus merely recite Bible verses or does He also sing passages from Jesus Christ Superstar? Because if he did, it might be awesome. You could have Judas and Mary Magdalene figures to go along with it.
In the meantime, for the little secular humanist or science geek in your life, there are Giant Microbes. Wide-eyed, plushy, utterly adorable virus toys. Yes, virus toys. As in toys that look like cute, cuddly viruses. Huggy-snuggly-wuggly viruses. What a great gift idea!
Actually, on second thought, you might want to be careful with these toys. Imagine if your second-grader says, "Guess what, teacher? Mommy gave me kissing disease for Christmas!"
Personally, my favorites are the alimentary viruses.
This little guy is E. Coli.
And this cutie-pie is Salmonella.
The perfect critters to cuddle up with when you're home sick in bed--wouldn't you say?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
After reading this transcript, I'm curious.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I mean, you go back in history and you’ll find that there was always adversarial
politics. There was always gut fighting. And it’s probably a little worse now
given the electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things.
Poppy reminds me of an overly indulgent parent who spoils his kid silly and then acts all surprised when the kid turns into an overindulged loser who keeps getting into trouble and whom nobody likes. Maybe because...well, that's the kind of parent that Poppy really is?
At last, Rush Limbaugh got his comeuppance. And he did it all by himself.
As a matter of fact, my favorite Election Day moment occurred at the very end of the process, when newly elected Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill slyly thanked Limbaugh for his role in her victory.
Yes, revenge was sweet for the Democrats. And why not? Limbaugh had delighted in kicking sand in their faces for years, luxuriating in the GOP's dominance in national politics.
In contrast to Limbaugh's trademark, piercing proclamations, McCaskill made her remark while flashing a big, triumphant smile. But she clearly relished in twisting the knife.
Fair enough. Limbaugh went too far when he blasted actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, on the eve of the midterm elections.
One view is that all's fair in politics, and Fox had put himself in the public arena by becoming a spokesman for the pro-stem cell research faction. But everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. Whether Limbaugh was guilty of bad manners or bad politics, it didn't matter. And even when he explained his remarks afterward, his comments had a hollow ring.
In hindsight, it would have been wise for Limbaugh to leave Fox alone, especially after Fox shook violently during television commercials. But Limbaugh couldn't
Instead, trying to make Fox look as bad as possible, Limbaugh said he suspected that Fox hadn't taken his medication. He reckoned that Fox had exploited his illness as a slick way to boost the public's appeal for federally funded embryonic stem cell research. The stem-cell issue had become a pivotal part of McCaskill's campaign in Missouri (and the initiative ultimately passed).
Here is the irony. If Republican Jim Talent had defeated McCaskill, the Republicans would have held on to control of the U.S. Senate. Not only did Limbaugh hurt Talent, he ended up screwing the whole Republican Party.
Well, there's a still a bright side to all this. Rush has been liberated from having to carry water for the likes of charisma-free rubber-stampers like Talent. I'm sure the GOP appreciates that.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Of course, that's the way I've always seen it, but the truth seems to be more complex. There is not simply one version of feminism, but many. There are the radical feminists, the moderate feminists, the libertarian feminists, the eco-feminists, the egalitarian feminists, the womanists...heck, there's probably some newly emerging branch of feminism I don't know about. Just check out Wikipedia's entry and you'll see 'em all listed.
That said, there are plenty of feminists who've mangaged to completely distort what feminism stands for. Yes, I'm talking mainly about the now-outdated Dworkin/MacKinnons, with their toxic view of sex and their willingness to ally themselves with the religious right to get rid of dirty pictures. As it turns out,I edit erotic romance books for a living. Books written by and for women. And I don't believe that porn/erotica is inherently evil. On the other hand, really badly written porn is more laughable than sexy. But that's neither here nor there. The antiporn feminists, along with the goddess worshippers and the recovered memory therapists, are largely relics of the 1980s and 1990s. With the return of liberal populism, the time has come for feminism's reemergence. But this version will have to be very, very different from the feminism of decades past.
Here is Redneck Feminist, libertarian and rock 'n' roll drummer, explaing why "feminist" does not equal "victim."
Just because I realize that sexism still exists (against both women and men) doesn't mean I think life sucks and I'm oppressed. It just means that I recognize it exists. It's a little hard not to notice when a guy walks up to me during a sound check and says, "Are you really the drummer? Really?" Um, no...I'm just the band's eye candy. And they let me tune the drums. Cuz that's hot.
Personally, I think that she should just mention Maureen Tucker, Cindy Blackman, Terry Lynne Carrington, Patty Schemel, Sheila E., or Gina Schock next time a guy acts all surprised that a girl, like, plays drums.
For me, feminism should encourage women's responsibilities along with women's rights. I've discovered a new blog by Erin Solaro, author of a book on women in the military and proponent of what she calls "civic feminism." "Now we’re pretty much equal and it’s time for a feminism for the hard years ahead," Solaro writes. I'm not sure if men and women are entirely equal at this point. In the USA, yes, things are pretty good. But you look at the Senate and how many women are there now? Sixteen. In Sweden's parliament, half the members are women. We still have yet to elect a female president.
But at the same time, women in America aren't sentenced to be gang-raped or subject to genital mutilation. We don't need permission from our fathers, husbands, or brothers to travel. We can drive and go to college. And in my opinion, the Feminist Majority Foundation deserves credit for keeping the plight of Afghan women in the news, years before 9/11. I think it's important to remember this. Feminism can be effective when addressing gender discrimination around the world.
Solaro, meanwhile, is justifiably annoyed at feminists who focus on frivolous issues, proposing a new, relevant version of feminism:
Women have a stake in the United States of America. But America is not immortal, and is currently walking open-eyed into disaster. This new civic feminism, while continuing the fight to remedy past injustice and remove the remaining barriers to equality, now concentrates on preserving this
What the new feminism offers is the belief that civilization is nothing less than that which men and women together add to, create, guard and defend, as public and private equals.
This sounds like a version of feminism worth following and, in time, worth supporting. With disparate feminist voices out there, it's possible that a new feminist movement could emerge from the grass-roots movement along with the new American liberalism.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I feel libertated. I'm just going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry water for people who I don't think deserve to have their water carried. Now, you might say, well, why have you been doing it? Because the stakes are high. Even thought the Republican party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country's than the Democrat party and liberalism does.
Orcinus deciphers Rushbo's blather into plain English.
Gotta laugh at Wart-on-Ass's comment about "beliefs." What beliefs? And he's implying that his beliefs are the same as the rest of the country? Now I know he needs to check into rehab--fast. Plus using "Democrat" party instead of "Democratic" party is, like, so 1998.
Still, it didn't take too long (like, about one day) for him to admit it was all a put on and that he's not going to be just another knee-jerk wingnut anymore. Oh, but I guess he's going to reinvent himself as a straight-talkin', no-bullshit political commentator, yessir! Look for Rushbo to embark his own straight-talk express, a la another GOP sellout, John McCain.
Hey, if the political shift undergoes the kind of shift I think it will, we might even see Rush--gasp!--turn liberal! The ranks of conservatism have several former lefties (David Horowitz being the most notorious example--and the right can keep him). Of course, you wonder a. how many of these left-to-right conversions really happened and b. how many of them simply went where they saw the power and opportunity were. Now that conservatism is on the wane, I wouldn't be surprised to see some professional conservatives take note and abandon the movement for greener pastures. And by "greener," I mean "where there's money to be made."
Let's face it: most (if not all) of these professional conservatives--particularly the rabid radical righties--are interested in money, fame, and publicity. Now that being a Bush personality cultist is no longer popular or fashionable, they need a new schtick. So who--if anyone--among the right wing crazies will try to reinvent themselves as principled moderates, political mavericks, or--gasp--liberals? Rush? Coulter? Hannity? Some second- or third-tier wingnut like Medved, Malkin, or Glenn Beck? You can bet they'll be trying to rewrite their own history and repositioning themselves as a new different kind of a political animal. Maybe even a donkey. But if they go that far, the proper response should be, "Kiss my ass."
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Oh, happy happy day!
On the minus side there are a bunch of stupid laws banning civil unions that somehow passed. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Third cool quote of the night comes from La Hill: "I think democracy is great."
Of course, it's only 10 PM, but right now, the outlook in the House is good.
The Democrats have all kept their jobs. No Daschles this year.
La Hill is still a senator. Gee, who didn't see that one coming?
Bob Menendez is also still a senator.
Socialist Bernie Sanders has gone from congressman to senator. Yes, you heard that correctly. A socialist in the Senate. Somewhere in Wingnutville, someone's brain is exploding.
Li'l Ricky Santorum is, alas, no longer a senator. Oh well, maybe he can get a job as a commentator on Fox News.
Mike DeWine is also no longer a senator.
New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio now have Democratic governors.
Polls in New York closed about half and hour ago. More results will be coming in as the night goes on.
I've been wringing my hands all day, but right now I'm pretty happy.
Exit Li'l Ricky. Enter a socialist senator. 2004 seems like a century ago.
Update: NBC projects that Ben Cardin will become Maryland's next senator, replacing Paul Sarbanes. In other words, this seat stays blue.
Second update: CNN projects Whitehouse as the winner in the Rhode Island Senate race.
Third update: Nancy Johnson, 24-year Republican congresswoman, has lost to Chris Murphy. I'm hoping that Chris Shays joins Johnson in retirement soon.
Fourth update: The Democrats have won 129 seats; the Republicans have won 118. Meanwhile, Kerry's making a speech following Ted Kennedy's (hardly surprising) campaign victory. He seems to have a sore throat, but at least he hasn't put his foot in his mouth. Massachusetts has elected its first African-American governor, and is first Dem governor in what seems like forever. C'mon, can't Kerry sound more enthusiastic?
Fifth update: Democrats are up to 144 house seats, compared to Republicans' 124, per CNN. Six more seats, and the House is ours. Say, what's happening in Tom DeLay's old district? Did Lampson win?
Sixth update: Just one more vote and we have a Democratic House! Okay, now the suspense is really killing me!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
George Allen has cost the Republican Party two members in Texas. And one in Staten Island. It breaks my heart, but I won't soil my name by supporting this party anymore. Winning isn't so important that we should stoop this low, and if this team has forgotten that, then it's not a team I want to be on.
I was wondering how long it would be before people became disgusted with smear campaigns against military veterans. Now I know.
(Via Parenthetical Remarks)
This is ADII performing "Eye-Shaking King" from the Yeti album. Missing in action here is the band's vocalist, Renate Knaup. She took a brief hiatus from the group and doesn't appear on their Tanz der Lemmings album. I've tried to find a clip featuring Miz Knaup, but for now, this will do. Looks like Chris Karrer handles the vocals for this one.
Below is the legendary Can performing "Paperhouse" from Tago Mago. From the looks of things, they're on the German program "Beat Club."
Here's a photo of Ted Haggard with his
Saturday, November 04, 2006
When is this editorial going to appear? Monday. The day before the election.
Great timing, isn't it?
The Rev. Ted Haggard said Friday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.
All the people who thought "I didn't inhale" was silly have to admit that this excuse is way dumber.
I've always suspected that this guy is a serious closet case as well...
Of course, in a few days, he won't be a senator anymore, so nobody cares.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
This part wasn't so funny, however:
"I don't think water boarding is torture," DeLay said. "My definition of torture is you physically harm someone by cutting them, by cutting their fingers, sticking things in their eyes, sticking their fingers in electric sockets. Water boarding is a frightening experience. But the person does not have physical damage."
And to think, he couldn't get off the GOP ballot in his district, and now it looks like Democrat could take his place soon. Stinky, isn't it?