Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Apparently, it runs in the family.

Following this link from First Draft, we have Laura Bush being almost as inarticulate as her chimpy mate:

In a country or a part of the world where one in three people have a sexually transmitted deadly disease, you have to talk about abstinence, you really have to. And in continents, on a continent, and in many countries where girls feel obligated to comply with the wishes of men, girls need to know that abstinence is a choice.

Why, yes, it only makes sense that, in a country where girls aren't given a choice, they need to realize that abstinence is a choice. Or something.

God help us all, she really is as stupid as her husband. I didn't think that was physically possible.

Fun with domain names.

Commenter Luna refers us all to http://jasonkenney.org.

"Going postal": Sometimes, it's not just a stupid cliche.


Oh, look. More wankery, neo-con lying.

You know, things are getting pretty bad when the freaking Attorney General commits perjury.

Richard Dawkins on Intelligent Design.

I'm feeling lazy today so why don't you just go read Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne beating up on ID? It'll be good for you.

This whole "patent" thing has gotten seriously out of hand.

All right ... whose dumbfuck idea was this?

Cingular applies to patent smileys

Cingular, the United States' largest mobile phone network this week applied to patent emoticons, better known as smileys.

Dear Cingular: Why don't you patent an emoticon for this?

CAVEAT: As I'm sure you can read if you follow a link or two, Cingular isn't actually trying to patent the emoticons themselves, but it's something almost as stupid -- they're trying to patent a dedicated key to generate them.

So, please, no dippy comments about how I can't read. I just had some leftover snark this morning and felt like doing something with it.

American progressives still not getting the point.

Back here, I smacked American progressives for not being able to turn their backs on Democratic poliicians who sell them out. Sadly, it's still happening as you can read here where well-known blogger and author David Neiwert still just doesn't get it:

Dear Sen. Cantwell:

I'm writing to explain why I won't be donating to your campaign.

Moreover, I'll add that I'm a journalist and blogger (dneiwert.blogspot.com) with a substantial readership. And I'll be urging them not to donate to your campaign either.

Good, good ... that's a start. Sadly, though, it's further down where Dave caves:

I'll vote for you, but not enthusiastically.

No, Dave, no! Bad progressive! No biscuit!

Telling someone like Cantwell that you'll hold your nose when you vote for her isn't going to faze her in the slightest. I suspect she doesn't give a shit how you feel when you vote for her, just as long as you vote. And until folks like Neiwert figure this out and actually learn to seriously punish people like Cantwell, they will continue to sell out progressives.

And folks like Neiwert will continue to make it all possible.

Apparently, miracles are in the eye of the beholder.

Shorter John Paul supporters: "She turned me into a newt!" "A newt?" "I got better."

AFTERSNARK: You know, I'd be a lot more convinced of these alleged "miracles" if they were a little more, you know, obvious. Hey, I know. Why not give some of these folks their missing body parts back? I bet they'd be ever so grateful. And I'd sure as hell be impressed.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Well, you didn't see THAT coming, did you?

Shorter Condoleezza Rice: Oops.

It all depends on whose version of the news you read.

[UPDATE: That first link apparently requires registration so you'll have to trust me that the story didn't contain the important details mentioned later on here.]

First, the good news: there's one less ignorant, dumbfuck pharmacist to piss you off with their sanctimonious moralizing:

A suburban St. Louis pharmacist filed a federal complaint after being fired from a Target store for refusing to dispense the so-called "morning-after" birth control pill.

Heather Williams had worked at a Target store in St. Charles, Mo., for five years before being fired last month. Her attorney says that until recently, the company accommodated her objection to dispensing the morning-after pill

But notice how this is being reported -- as if Williams had been accommodated all this time, and only now did Target (arbitrarily, it would seem) decide to do something about it. How strange. Or ... maybe not so strange when you read a different report that provides a little more detail:

Paula Gianino, chief executive of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis Region, lauds Target’s commitment to fill such prescriptions, and contends that Williams is at fault because of her refusal to refer patients or physicians elsewhere.

“She could refuse to fill the prescription, but she took it to the next level,” Gianino said. “Target has done everything possible to try to fill patients’ health-care needs and accomodate individual pharmacists.”

Ah, that's kind of a crucial detail, isn't it? Williams not only refused to fill the scrip, she refused to refer the customer elsewhere. Yes, the devil is in the details, isn't it?

More on this later.

THAT GOOD OLD RIGHT-WING HYPOCRISY: It's amazing how right-wing sites are slanting this story. Consider this article at the anti-choice site LifeSite, which has the dishonest headline: "Target Pharmacist Fired for Refusing to Dispense Abortifacient Morning-After Pill."

No, she wasn't fired for "refusing to dispense," she was fired for refusing to refer. If you're bored, feel free to scan the net for related stories and see how many of them gloss over this distinction.

Intelligent Design: God is a weenie.

There's an old science joke in which a professor is sitting in his office when a young assistant rushes in excitedly with an unlabelled graph. "Look," he says to the professor, "the results of the experiment are in, and the curve is trending upwards. That's great!"

"Yes," says the professor, "it matches my theory exactly."

The assistant leaves but, a short time later, comes in looking very sheepish. "I made a mistake," says the assistant. "I was actually looking at the graph sideways. If you turn it the right way, then the trend is actually going down."

"Hmmmmmm," says the professor, after a short pause. "That's OK, that matches my theory, too."

The joke, of course, is that the professor's "theory" is so wonderfully all-encompassing and accommodating that it doesn't really matter what the data are -- it will support his "theory" nonetheless. This, naturally, is your classic definition of a scientifically unfalsifiable theory, of which early creation "science" was the textbook example.

See, for years, creation scientists tried to have it both ways. On the one hand, they would point at gaps in the fossil record, or the apparently "abrupt appearance" of organisms, and claim that those discontinuities were splendid evidence for Divine Creation and the existence of a Creator God.

On the other hand, obvious evidence of structural similarities between life forms in the fossil record (which one would normally treat as evidence for biological evolution) was interpreted as that same Creator God simply "reusing" standard designs more than once. In short, gaps were evidence for creation science, while a lack of gaps was ... evidence for creation science. How convenient. But that's not why we're here.

What was amusing was listening to why God would mysteriously bother to reuse similar designs for different life forms. The explanation was that God was simply economizing as it were; why go to the trouble of constantly creating new structures when you can just keep using the perfectly adequate ones you already have?

It sounds reasonable at first, but down that road lies theological absurdity. Why would an omnipotent creator need to "economize" on anything? The concept of "economy" makes perfect sense for those of us who have finite time and resources and ability and so on, but it makes no sense whatsoever to apply that reasoning to an all-powerful, unlimited creator. In short, to support its unfalsifiability, that version of creation science had to present a picture of God as a finite, limited creator who was reduced to reusing previous parts for convenience. Theologically speaking, not such a good idea.

Which brings us to Intelligent Design, where some of its more asinine supporters are falling into the same trap, including one Casey Luskin, who writes from a fog of appalling stupidity:

1) Genetic similarities between humans and chimps:

This isn’t a new “breakthrough”—we’ve known about close genetic similarities between humans and chimps for over a decade. Sure, they just finished decoding the chimp genome but it actually lessened our knowledge of human/chimp similarities rather than upping it. Similarities could easily be the result of “common design” rather than common descent—where a designer wanted to design organisms on a similar blueprint and thus used similar genes in both organisms. This doesn’t challenge ID.

Sound familiar? Why, yes, yes it does. Luskin, apparently having learned nothing from the years of pounding creation science has taken, makes the same inane argument. His theory is, of course, utterly unfalsifiable and (as with creation science) suggests a "designer" who tries to save time and effort and economizes by using "similar blueprints" and "similar genes."

And given that the idiots at the Discovery Institute have made it clear that they believe the Intelligent Designer was, in fact, the Judeo-Christian God, one might point out that they really are treading on some dangerous ground, theologically speaking.

It's not that the folks at the Discovery Institute are so hopelessly ignorant at basic science that's so depressing. It's that they're so unspeakably fucking stupid at religion as well that just leaves your jaw hanging open.

BONUS SNARK: Remember how, back here, I pointed out how being an ignorant wanker basically meant never having to admit you were wrong? Well, isn't this marvelous timing, as over here, someone else takes an axe handle to Luskin.

And notice how Luskin predictably admits that, yes, he was wrong, but that that doesn't matter. As if it ever did with these dingbats.

Playtime at Open Bathrobe Media.

Via James Wolcott, we find Dennis the Peasant explaining, with gusto, how the wankers over at Open Bathrobe Media really need a grown-up or two to supervise them.

I love the part where they claim to attract "thought leading, tipping point type audiences." Yessir, if I was a thought leading, tipping point type of guy, I'd be lining up to read news like this:

ABC' S Bob Woodruff and his cameraman injured in Iraq

Orin of the BrothersJudd blog - who went to college with Woodruff - offers his prayers. Michelle Malkin has the coverage from ABC.

Although, now that I think about it, I probably could have got the same content off of, say, ABC, without the Michelle Malkin skank quotient as filler. Just sayin'.

UPDATE: Don't forget to read parts two and three as well. It just gets better. Or worse, depending on your perspective.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ho hum ... just another war crime.

Let's see ... there's this exciting new development:

U.S. forces in Iraq, in two instances described in military documents, took custody of the wives of men believed to be insurgents in an apparent attempt to pressure the suspects into giving themselves up.

Which seems to not quite square with this much older development:

Common Article 3 of the [Geneva] conventions bans the taking of hostages in internal conflicts while the Fourth Convention forbids civilians being taken hostage during times of war. Ignoring these prohibitions during an international conflict is a grave breach of humanitarian law, leaving those responsible liable to international pursuit and prosecution.

When it comes to the American military committing war crimes, after a while, you just lose count, don't you?

AFTERSNARK: One of the most enlightening things about watching the variety of war crimes committed by the American military is how those on the Right inevitably find a way to excuse them. They can do this because they have such wonderfully malleable standards and, as each new war crime comes to light, they shift the bar ever so slightly to cover that new crime as well.

The only way to deal with this is to establish whether those on the Right consider anything to be officially a war crime, so one could start by asking them a question like:

Imagine that American troops took the young children of a suspected insurgent and, in order to convince that insurgent to turn himself in, the troops publicly tortured those children to death. Would you classify that as a war crime?

Yes, of course it's graphic and horrific but that's the only way to figure out where these people might finally draw a line. If they don't consider that a war crime, well, there's really no point in continuing the conversation, is there?

If they do, however, then you have to back off a bit and ask again. What if the children were tortured publicly, but not to death? War crime or no? And you keep doing this until you finally find the boundaries. That is, if those on the Right even accept the existence of such boundaries.

Thus far, none of this seems to bother them a whole lot.

Putting the wankersphere under a microscope.

It's not the Jack Abramoff-Deborah Howell-WaPo sleaziness that interests me so much as the contorted dishonesty of the Right to lie about it. Following a link from The Poor Man, I ended up here, where a sad but typical representation of the wankersphere is wetting themselves over ... well, you can read it for yourself.

Savour choice phrases in the comments section like "anus-breathed trolls" and "lying shitwads" from commenters who have no actual response to the story itself.

Against my better judgment, I added a couple comments there which most sentient readers can see ask a simple, direct and unambiguous question -- does anyone have evidence that Jack Abramoff explicitly and specifically directed any of his clients' funds to Democrats?

I'm curious as to whether any of those earlier commenters will take up the challenge of actually responding to the substance of someone's position, and answer my question just the way I asked it.

Call it an experiment. I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised but, as they say, I'm not holding my breath.

THE FALLOUT: Well, that was pretty much a waste of time. If you have a strong stomach, wander over there and see how frantically the majority of commenters absolutely refuse to answer a couple specific questions. Apparently, being a wanker means never having to admit you were wrong.

No, wait ... let me rephrase that. Being a wanker means that any admission of being wrong always begins with, "Well ... OK, technically, you were right, but ..."

THE AMUSING IRRELEVANCE OF IT ALL: If you want to scroll to near the bottom of the comments section of that article, you'll find one Mr. "JackStraw" who demonstrates exactly what's wrong with the Right when it comes to trying to have an intellectual conversation, when he writes:

The distinction you are trying to make, one the left is all in outrage about, has nothing to do with that issue and you know it. The quote in ace's original post said as much. Howell said she should have phrased her statement better.

That's how it works in Wankerville. You're never technically wrong, you should have just "phrased it better" ("better" meaning truthfully or accurately, apparently).

It's like Saddam and WMDs. I mean, technically, Saddam didn't actually have any WMDs, per se, as it were. But he really, really, really wanted some, so I guess you could have just phrased it better. Yeah, that would have helped.

The "crazy uncle in the basement" syndrome.

Well, this is a bit of a twist. Even wingnuts can appreciate when they're just a bit too wingnutty for the general public:

Saskatoon MP Maurice Vellacott has penned an open letter to Stephen Harper asking for a "modest" role in his new Conservative government...

He also says he's concerned that if he were appointed to a senior cabinet role, he would be prevented from speaking his mind on certain issues, such as "ethnic outreach, marriage, family and life."

In short, Vellacott is an avowed opponent of same-sex marriage, and I can only presume he wants to remain below the radar so he can continue to be an ignorant dumbfuck on the subject without embarrassing his party.

I can't wait to see this government in action.

Cute overload.

Oh, God ... must ... resist ... overwhelming ... cuteness ...

(Stolen shamelessly from The Poor Man, who absolutely should be on your blogroll.)

The "welfare state," Palestinian style.

Well, the truth is out. In response to this piece in the Globe regarding the recent Palestinian elections and the surprising Hamas victory, we have "n atkins" from Austin, Texas, exposing those Palestinians for the lazy, shiftless wards of the international community that they are (emphasis added):

This is the best thing that could happen in the middle east.Hamas is going to fold very quickly when they discover that the U.S. and other governments that aided their 50 year "refugee" status have ceased making payments to continue their welfare lifestyle.And then hamas will discover that their arab "brothers" have no desire to fund their welfare lifestyle.The arab peoples in Gaza and other places wanted fatah gone because it was a corrupt mafia style gang left over from the arafat cabal.They don't have a desire to fight with Israel or convert to radical religious superstition embodied in the hamas cult.

They just want to keep getting the free handouts and being taken care of.Soon, they will learn that they need to get jobs.And those jobs aren't in Iran or Egypt.The jobs are in Israel.And if Israel closes it's gates, the arabs will starve.

Yes, by God; apparently, this entire struggle can be resolved if those parasitic Palestinians just put away their Cheetos, get off those couches, straighten up, put their caps on forward and get a freakin' job. Lazy bastards.

: It's amusing to hear anyone refer to the Palestinians as representing any kind of "welfare state," given the obscene amount of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel:

  • Since 1987, the US congress has annually been approving a foreign aid bill totaling an average of $3 billion of American taxpayers' money to Israel, $1.2 billion in economical aid, and $1.8 billion in military aid.

  • After the gulf war in 1991, the US has additionally been offering Israel $2 billion annually in federal loan guarantees, which brings the total US foreign aid to Israel to about $5 billion, or $13.7 million per day.

  • Other forms of aid to Israel are a result of "consequential" aid, such as the approximate $1.5 billion in total tax-deductible private donations from numerous Jewish charities and individual donors. "Consequential" aid to Israel adds up to an approximate $8 billion in total US foreign aid to Israel.

  • All in all, this is the largest amount of foreign aid given to a country, and constitutes over 30% of the total amount of US foreign aid budget.

And what about U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinians? Apparently, there's a little political expediency mixed in with that cash (emphasis added):

The United States spent about $1.9 million of its yearly $400 million in aid to the Palestinians on dozens of quick projects before elections this week to bolster the governing Fatah faction's image with voters and strengthen its hand in competing with the militant faction Hamas, American and Palestinian officials said Sunday...

American and Palestinian officials who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to the news media said the program, which started in August, was aimed at helping defeat Hamas and the government had done a detailed political analysis to try to aim at the various constituencies where Hamas was doing well.

USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives was allowed up to $30,000 in discretionary spending for each project instead of the $10,000 usually allotted.

The Bush administration: spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, one well-positioned bribe at a time.

Jason Kenney -- in his own hermetically-sealed universe.

Via Polunatic, we have CPC dimbulb Jason Kenney, waxing philosophical and doing that very badly indeed:

Canada's Conservatives can strongly disagree with the United States on issues like Arctic sovereignty and still be friendly, says MP Jason Kenney, who promised a more mature, diplomatic and sophisticated tone in bilateral relations.

Dear Jason: You are either with them or you are against them. Everyone else has figured this out. Sadly, it appears to be your turn. This might hurt a little.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Oh, those fighting young College Republicans.

Shorter college Republicans: "We're totally, completely, 110% behind other people staying and finishing the job over there."

BONUS TRACK: The lighter side.

Oh, this is going to be fun.

You can't say you didn't imagine this (emphasis added):

The incoming Hamas government will move quickly to make Islamic sharia “a source” of law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and will overhaul the Palestinian education system to separate boys and girls and introduce a more Islamic curriculum, a senior official in the movement said yesterday.

Wow. Revamping the educational system by adding ridiculous religious extremism to the official curriculum. Geez, who would have thought Hamas would have so much in common with this guy?

Politics, strange bedfellows and all that.

Dear neo-cons: Still supporting those troops, I see.

Via this piece at Think Progress, we see that the neo-con dictatorship down south is supporting the troops the only way they know how -- by boning them up the ass:

A Pentagon proposal that could triple some Tricare insurance costs for military retirees and their families is drawing sharp criticism from military advocacy groups and members of Congress.

The plan, being considered as part of the 2007 budget request to be unveiled Feb. 6, would increase Tricare fees for retirees under age 65 beginning Oct. 1.

Increases would be substantial — as much as $1,200 more a year by 2009with no end in sight because the plan calls for annual rate hikes in 2010 and beyond that would match inflation.

And don't you troops even think of whining about this 'cuz, if you did, well, you'd just be hating America, wouldn't you?

Have fun over there. Try not to step on any suspicious mounds on the road.

AFTERSNARK: By the way, I disagree entirely with the attitude expressed in that headline: "Tell Congress To Reject Administration’s Plan To Triple Our Troops’ Health Care Costs." Let me explain.

For the longest time, the Dems have been fighting the most appalling and idiotic legislation coming out of the Bush administration. For their trouble, they've gotten beaten down, vilified and accused of being obstructionists. Fine. So why not turn the tables entirely?

I propose that, at this point, the Dems simply agree to sign into law any and all legislation that comes before them. (Well, OK, I'll qualify that -- they can still fight any legislation that would cause irreversible damage, the kind of stuff that couldn't be fixed by subsequent administrations.)

Quite simply, the Dem leadership should make the following announcement:

"My fellow Americans. Having tried all this time to protect you from the lunatic policies of the Bush administration, we're finally just tired of it. We've done our best and, for our troubles, we've been slimed as traitors and America-haters and obstructionists, not just by the opposition, but by a large part of the traditional media.

"And because we're just tired of it, we're announcing a new policy. As of today, we are simply going to agree on every piece of legislation that comes out of this administration. And why? Simple.

"We want to show you what life under this administration would really be like if they got the chance to implement their entire agenda unopposed. We've tried as best we could to protect you and, in return, we've been accused of having no morals, no values, no principles. Well, fine.

"So, as of today, what the Bush administration wants, it gets. Slashing Medicare? Fine. Gutted student funding? No problem. Draconian finance laws that will drive more of you into personal bankruptcy while enriching the wealthiest Americans? Absolutely. Stop-loss programs that keep soldiers overseas and separated from their families? Sure. Tripling the cost of military health insurance? All right. Slashing civil rights and warrantless spying on Americans? Where do we sign?

"Again, we're just plain tired of fighting this administration to protect the American public, and getting pilloried for it. So, for the next three years, in the run-up to the 2008 election, we're going to show you, in stark detail, what America would be like under an unchecked neo-con administration. It's going to be painful but, quite frankly, we don't know how else to get this message across.

"The experiment starts today, and may God have mercy on your souls."

Yes, I think it's time for some tough love.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Project management for complete idiots.

YES +------------+ NO
+---------------| DOES THE |---------------+
| | DAMN THING | |
V | WORK? | V
+------------+ +------------+ +--------------+ NO
| DON'T FUCK | | DID YOU FUCK |-----+
| WITH IT | | WITH IT? | |
+------------+ +--------------+ |
| | |
| | YES |
| V |
| +------+ +-------------+ +---------------+ |
| | HIDE | NO | DOES ANYONE |<------| YOU DUMBSHIT! | |
| | IT |<----| KNOW? | +---------------+ |
| +------+ +-------------+ |
| | | YES |
| | V |
| | +-------------+ +-------------+ |
| | | YOU POOR | YES | WILL YOU | |
| | | BASTARD |<------| CATCH HELL? |<------+
| | +-------------+ +-------------+
| | | |
| | | | NO
| | V V
| V +-------------+ +------------+
+-------------->| STOP |<------| SHITCAN IT |
+-------------+ +------------+

Tolerance, intolerance, SSM, reproductive rights and every other damned thing.

At the risk of belabouring the animated discussion we're having back here, there are two arguments regarding same-sex marriage that are just so damned ubiquitous and annoying, I want to put the boots to them once and for all.

First, there's definite entertainment value when the wingnut demographic, with respect to SSM, howls about how other people's views on homosexuality are being "rammed down their throats," or some such rubbish. These would, of course, be the same people who, year after year, have no problem demanding that their views on abortion, contraception and reproductive rights in general be codified into law and inflicted on absolutely everyone else. No hypocrisy there, no sirree. But it doesn't end there.

It's not clear what these lunatics mean when they suggest that others are trying to force their "beliefs" on them, or are trying to get them to somehow "accept" homosexuality as "normal," or something equally inane.

If you look closely, you'll realize that no one is asking those folks to "accept" anything new in the way of beliefs. I really don't care what the fuck they believe. They're quite welcome to continue thinking of homosexuality as abnormal and deviant if that's what makes them happy.

They're free to be appalled by SSM, and they're free to continue to dislike gays if that's what they want. In short, they have my unbounded blessing to continue being exactly the same kind of ignorant, mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant buttheads they've always been, and more power to them. In other words, I'm not asking them to change anything whatsoever about their beliefs in even the tiniest way.

On top of that, none of us are asking these lamebrains to change their behaviour in any way either. All of them are still free to get married or not as they see fit, and to refuse to allow gays to marry in their churches. They're welcome to run their religious services in any way they prefer, and they're free (within the bounds of those religious beliefs) to be as bigoted and discriminatory as their shriveled little hearts desire. In short, they can keep doing precisely what they've been doing all these years, and none of us would give a shit.

But notice what happens when it comes to their position on things like abortion. The same folks whose lifestyles (if one can use the word "style" in speaking of any of them) would not be altered in the slightest by SSM are exactly the same folks who would inflict their anti-abortion position on everyone else in the country. And yet, the irony and hypocrisy of this is completely and totally lost on them. Go figure.

To all you rabid opponents of SSM, let me be clear: I don't care in the slightest what you believe or how you choose to worship. You're welcome to spend the rest of your worthless lives wallowing in your narrow-minded bigotry and hypocrisy. Go wild. Have a blast. Whatever turns your crank, as they say.

But for once -- just this once -- why don't you keep your venomous nastiness to yourself and just leave the rest of us the fuck alone? Is that really too much to ask? Just this once?


Wanker: "It's a fact that the gay 'lifestyle' is incredibly high-risk and self-destructive, what with all of that free, open sex and promiscuity and multiple partners."

Non-wanker: "Um ... well, actually, a number of gays just want the right to get married so they can commit to each other in a lifelong and loving, monogamous relationship."

Wanker: (Pause). "Well, that's just sick!"

A celibate homosexual and a transgender cross-dresser walk into a bar ...

If you haven't already, you really should read this piece by Cathie, who explains (quite correctly, I might add) that if you're opposed to same-sex marriage, you're not being thoughtful and taking a different position, or engaging in civil discourse, or anything of the sort. You're being a bigot. Deal with it.

To say that you think there should be a public discussion on the subject is like saying you want a public discussion on, say, whether blacks or aboriginals should be allowed to vote. Or whether Catholic priests sexually abusing altar boys has both benefits and drawbacks. Stuff like that. But the obsession surrounding the issue of SSM inspires a couple of technical questions.

If wingnuts are opposed to "same-sex" marriage, are they OK with marriage between an openly gay man and an openly gay woman? (Technically, that's not "same sex," is it?) Perhaps these two want the official status of marriage for, say, tax purposes. Or so they can adopt in places where that's available only to married couples. Or whatever. The question remains -- would the wingnut wankers be all right with that as a "marriage"?

Or what about between a couple where the "woman" used to be a man before the "operation"? OK? Not OK? Reasons? What if both partners had sex-change operations so that they're still, technically, of different sexes? Fine? Not so fine? Totally abhorrent?


OH, MY ... so much illogic, so little time to drag it outside and beat it to death with an ax handle. But ... what the heck. In the comments, "Anonymous" scribbles:

So if you don't support gay marriage, you're a bigotted homophobe.

I never wrote "bigotted homophobe," I wrote simply "bigot." Nice try at a strawman. (And it's "bigoted." We here at CC HQ are big fans of literacy.) In any event, fabricating someone's words is dishonest and sleazy. Please don't do it again. Onward.

Alright, so what about all the gays who don't want gay marriage to be legal? They do exist. (Look for information on Canada's own "Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism.") Are they bigotted homophobes, too?

Now that's an interesting bit of logic. Without even looking that group up, I find it fascinating that their existence could be used as a counter-argument.

So there are gays who oppose SSM, and their opinions should be considered? Using the same logic, there are numerous women who feel quite strongly (not surprisingly based on their religious beliefs) that women should stay home, barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Does this mean their opinions should be enforced on other women who don't agree with them? That certainly seems to be what you're saying.

In fact, there are an increasing number of Christians who are questioning the divinity of Jesus. Perhaps their opinions should be inflicted on other Christians who don't agree with them. I trust you can appreciate the absurdity of your position, yes?

You're being a bigot against conservative Christians and are trying to force YOUR beliefs down their throats ...

You are, of course, utterly deluded, since no one is forcing any beliefs down any conservative Christian throats. But I'm pretty sure that argument is a complete non-starter with you so I won't even bother to flesh it out. Even I recognize when I'm wasting my time.

BY THE WAY, Anonymous, if I went looking for this "HOPE" group, please tell me that it wouldn't be based on fundamentalist Christianity. That would kind of blow your entire argument out of the water, wouldn't it?

ABOUT THAT "HOPE" GROUP: No, I couldn't resist. A quick invocation of Google and we have, for example, this:

Canada should not be changing its marriage laws just to accommodate a "tiny, self-anointed" minority within a minority, says the head of a national homosexual group.

Only between 2-4% of Canadians are gay or lesbian, Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism (HOPE) executive director of John McKellar told the Calgary Herald. And of those, he said, "less than 1% are interested in same-sex marriage or even domestic partnership legislation. In other words, federal and provincial laws are being changed and traditional values are being compromised just to appease a tiny, self-anointed clique."

Well, now, that's an interesting position. See, on the one hand, we're told that the existence of SSM will result in the "wiping out an entire society in just one generation." Whoa. Powerful stuff, that SSM. And yet, at the same time, we're told that the number of gays that want to marry is so insignificant as to make SSM a waste of everyone's time.

Just once, I'd like to hear an anti-SSM argument that doesn't make its speaker seem like the world's biggest dumbfuck. Just once.

Open thread.

Because it's about that time, I guess.

Oprah and principles: still not comfortable with each other.

Wow. Oprah taking a stand for literary integrity? Who'da thunk it?

In a stunning switch from dismissive to disgusted, Oprah Winfrey took on one of her chosen authors, James Frey, accusing him on live television of lying about A Million Little Pieces and letting down the many fans of his memoir of addiction and recovery.

"I feel duped," she said Thursday on her syndicated talk show. "But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers." Frey, who found himself booed in the same Chicago studio where he had been embraced not long ago, acknowledged that he had lied.

But don't get too excited. Oprah still understands on which side her bread is buttered (emphasis added):

Winfrey's words also were harsher than her actions. She did not revoke her endorsement, which would have been publishing's version of the death penalty. Only once before has she turned, relatively mildly, on a book club pick: In 2001, she withdrew her invitation for Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, to appear on her show after the novelist expressed ambivalence over her endorsement.

So ... finding out a book is a pack of lies isn't enough to yank its endorsement, but being dissed by an author is enough to cancel his appearance on her show. Good old Oprah. It's still all about her, isn't it?

Congratulations, Kitchener-Conestoga. You've picked a real winner there.

Note carefully how, in the battle for the title of "World's Most Intelligent Community," it was just "Waterloo" and not "Kitchener-Waterloo" that's on the short list.

That's because an annoying number of people in Kitchener are, apparently, depressingly stupid.

Well, THAT was a short honeymoon.

This is going to have such entertainment value:

Stephen Harper may have run on a promise to improve relations with the United States, but the incoming prime minister showed there will be limits by crisply rebuking the White House's man in Ottawa over comments on Canada's Arctic sovereignty...

"The United States defends its sovereignty. The Canadian government will defend our sovereignty," Harper said. "It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States," Harper said, only a day after taking a 15-minute congratulatory phone call from President George W. Bush.

When it comes to foreign elections, I'm thinking that things just aren't working out all that well for Commander Chimpy:

Elections of Hamas will test U.S.

George W. Bush's democratic chickens are coming home to roost in the Middle East...

Mr. Bush broke with decades of U.S. doctrine when he decried propping up Arab dictators just because their repressive ways served U.S. economic or political interests.

In a bold, and widely welcomed, speech 26 months ago, the President vowed to back Arab democrats, wherever they led.

Now that pledge is being tested in the voting outcome of embittered Palestinians.

No joke. Let the spin begin.

BY THE WAY, this has to be at least a little embarrassing for the Bushies:

Uniformed voters each dipped a forefinger in purple ink to make sure they did not vote twice.

Live by the purple finger, die by the purple finger.

God, and the "perfect" example of an idiotic argument.

Not surprisingly, there are all sorts of amateurish theological arguments that totally grind my gears, and perhaps few more so than hearing some religious wank describe his favourite deity as "perfect" since, quite simply, this is an amazingly meaningless, content-free, vacuous piece of utter drivel. Let me explain.

People use the word "perfect" constantly, without appreciating that that word, by itself, means absolutely nothing. "That was the perfect action movie." "I had the perfect hamburger for lunch." "Grilled to perfection!!" Yeah, whatever. But what does any of that rubbish actually mean? In a word, nothing. The word "perfect" by itself isn't really meaningful. For it to have any meaning, it has to be applied against some property that you're trying to qualify.

For example, mathematics recognizes something called a "perfect number." But what does that mean? The adjective by itself tells you nothing, until someone explains that a perfect number has a precise definition -- it's any positive integer that happens to equal the sum of all of its divisors:

6 = 1 + 2 + 3
28 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14

and so on. So you see that a "perfect" number doesn't represent some sort of weird standard of goodness above all other numbers -- it's just a number that has a particular property that someone decided to define as "perfect," nothing more. Without that definition, it would be meaningless. "Perfect colour," "perfect book" ... same thing.

So what does it mean when some badly-educated religious wank starts yammering on about God being "perfect?" In a nutshell, nothing. It's a worthless statement since it makes no attempt to define what the adjective means in that context. But it's not as if they don't try sometimes. Check out this example of theological inanity, in which the author considers objections to the perfection of God:

Whether God is perfect?

Objection 1. It seems that perfection does not belong to God. For we say a thing is perfect if it is completely made. But it does not befit God to be made. Therefore He is not perfect.

Objection 2. Further, God is the first beginning of things. But the beginnings of things seem to be imperfect, as seed is the beginning of animal and vegetable life. Therefore God is imperfect.

Objection 3. Further, as shown above (3, 4), God's essence is existence. But existence seems most imperfect, since it is most universal and receptive of all modification. Therefore God is imperfect.

The responses are classic bafflegab in the sense of, well, just making shit up out of thin air. Like this one:

Reply to Objection 3. Existence is the most perfect of all things, for it is compared to all things as that by which they are made actual; for nothing has actuality except so far as it exists. Hence existence is that which actuates all things, even their forms. Therefore it is not compared to other things as the receiver is to the received; but rather as the received to the receiver. When therefore I speak of the existence of man, or horse, or anything else, existence is considered a formal principle, and as something received; and not as that which exists.

Really? Existence is the most perfect of all things? Since when?

But perhaps I'm being too hard on that author. After all, I exist. Therefore, I must be perfect. So all you wankers might want to treat me with a bit more respect. I'm just saying.

BY THE WAY, it's worth pointing out that, when it comes to perfection, omniscience isn't all it's cracked up to be. Consider the following, Genesis 2:8-13, after Adam and Eve munch out on the forbidden fruit (emphasis added):

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

Maybe it's just me but, for someone who's supposed to be infinitely omniscient, the Lord God of the whole freakin' universe strikes me as singularly clueless. I mean, seriously "deer in the headlights" kind of clueless. Hey! Where are you? What just happened here? You did what!?!?

If this deity were any less clueful, I swear, he could be Donald Rumsfeld.

"But ... but ... but ... Bill Clinton ..."

Shorter Donald Rumsfeld: I have no idea what you're talking about, but it's obviously Bill Clinton's fault, anyway.

AFTERSNARK: Back here, an anonymous commenter suggested (in a fit of entirely inappropriate pique, I might add) that I was a one-trick pony, continually suggesting that the American wankersphere was always blaming Clinton for their incompetence and fuckups.

Well, dude(?), as they say, if the shoe fits ... I'm pretty sure you know how that ends, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Intelligent Design" and kid gloves: I don't think so.

If you follow the pseudo-scientific rubbish that is ID these days, you've probably noticed the new ID wanker talking point: "We're absolutely not proposing to teach ID in science class. All we want to do is teach the weaknesses and problems of evolution."

Here, let me translate that for you: "We want the freedom to introduce every nonsensical, idiotic, dishonest misrepresentation of biological evolution we can lay our sleazy hands on, while making sure that ID is totally out of bounds for any criticism whatsoever."

There. Now is it starting to make more sense?

Dave takes on the kids over at PowerTools and lives to tell about it.

Over at The Galloping Beaver, Dave recounts his descent into the land of Mordor. Or PowerLineBlog. Same difference.

Death by poverty -- it's not just for third-world countries anymore.

Here you go. Feel free to reconcile the stories of unspeakably obscene wealth in the oil industry these days with this story (emphasis added):

Unpaid Utility Bills May Have Led to Couple's Death

The Lubbock Medical Examiner said Alfredo and Adita Quiroz both died of "accidental hypothermia." The two were found dead inside their Central Lubbock home Monday night...

Mail that was still in the mailbox indicates the Quirozes may have died January 4th. Family members tell NewsChannel 11 nobody had contacted Alfredo and Adita for about a month. The couple was having financial problems. They had no power, gas or water in their house. The last time they paid an LP&L bill was May 6th. Their water was turned off August 8th and their electricity was disconnected October 4th. Atmos disconnected their gas October 4th.

Atmos officials said records indicate someone tried to obtain the couple's account information in order to help pay the bill, however without the couple's consent Atmos cannot give out account information.

Lubbock Police Public Information officer Lt. Roy Bassett said, "From what we're hearing, apparently he was a very proud man, a very proud couple and not one to go out and ask for help and unfortunately in this case, it appears that it proved to be fatal."

No power, gas or water. In oil-rich Texas.

When Stephen Harper yammers on about how much he admires the conservative philosophy, I'm hoping that's not quite what he had in mind.

Dear Stephen: You want troops? Get them from Quebec.

Now here's a fairly predictable political gambit by Stephen Harper:

On the one hand, [Harper] wants to radically decentralize power and taxing authority so that the federal government no longer plays a significant role in social areas, like medicare, that Canadians regard as national institutions.

On the other, he wants to focus and strengthen Ottawa's role in areas such as defence so that Canada can more effectively join the United States in what Harper has called the great moral battle against tyranny and terror.

But he has only a minority government. How does he plan on pulling this off? Ah, here's how:

But his twin ideas — decentralize internally; focus externally — promise to inform everything he does as prime minister.

They will help him get legislation through a divided Commons in which the Bloc Québécois holds the balance of power.

In short, Harper will suck up to the Bloc to get their votes. That's cool. A little quid pro quo, you know how it is.

I just hope that means that, when it comes time to send Canadian troops over to Iraq to get their nads blown off by roadside bombs, all those troops come from either Alberta or Quebec. Preferably Quebec. It occurs to me that, if Quebec is still serious about that whole sovereignty thing and Duceppe wants to prostitute himself out to Harper, the least Duceppe can do is not make everyone else pay the price for his selling out.

Hey, the Bloc once proposed that Quebec field its own hockey team for international tournaments. In that case, if Duceppe is really going to play this game, then let them field their own military force. And let those poor bastards get sent to Iraq. No point letting the rest of Canada suffer for this idiocy.

George Bush. Osama bin Laden. Flip. Flop.

Geoege W. Bush, 2001:

PRESIDENT Bush said yesterday that he wanted Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile, "dead or alive" in some of the most bellicose language used by a White House occupant in recent years.

George W. Bush, 2003:

"You know, I'm really not that concerned about bin Laden anymore.. he doesn't concern me that much anymore."

Geortge W. Bush, 2006:

Bush said they are taking Osama bin Laden seriously when he says he’s going to attack again.

“When he says he’s going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it,” Bush told reporters after visiting the NSA, where the surveillance program is based. “I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously.”

I think I just got whiplash.

Progressives to Dems: Go fuck yourselves.

Hmmmmmmm ... what interesting timing. Shortly after my piece back here, I read Dave Neiwert over at Orcinus who seems to be similarly fed up.

Hey, Dave ... that's sort of, kind of how many of us left-wingers in Canada felt about the Liberals this last election. We feel your pain.

THERE'S MORE: This whole "Last chance, Dems, I really mean it" meme seems to be picking up traction. This could get interesting.

BONUS TRACK: You know, sometimes I figure it's a good thing I can look at all of the madness down south from a Canadian perspective because I'm sure that, if I was an American citizen, my outrage would cause my brain to leap out of my ears and choke me to death just to put me out of my misery.

Consider this gem from Armando over at DK, where Armando reports on the Alito position of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu:

Because we have such a full plate of pressing issues before Congress, a filibuster at this time would be, in my view, very counterproductive. It is imperative that we remain focused on creating the tools New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast will need to rebuild. This includes passing the Baker bill and allowing our state to keep its fair share of offshore energy revenues. We simply cannot afford to bring the Senate to a halt at a time when we need its action the most. If called to vote for cloture on Judge Alito's nomination, I will vote yes.

Now, stop and think about this for a second. We have Samuel Alito, who's made it painfully clear that he doesn't much care for Roe v. Wade and will almost certainly try to overturn it. And now we have Landrieu, not only a female, Democratic senator, but from Louisiana, the state that got totally, completely and thoroughly fucked over by the White House with respect to Hurricane Katrina. And Landrieu has just made it clear that she's going to vote to confirm Alito.

There are no words for this. Truly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mine safety official to Senate subcommittee: Bite me.

Compassionate conservatism in action -- a Bush administration mine safety official decides he's had enough tough questions for the day and walks out on a Senate subcommittee. But the best part is that worthless hack Arlen Specter's reaction:

“I can’t recollect it ever happening before,” Mr. Specter said of the departure. “We’ll find a way to take appropriate note of it.”

Gee, Arlen, I'm not even an American and I can recall something like that happening before:

Two dozen members of the House Armed Services Committee had not yet had their turn to question Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at yesterday's hearings when he decided he had had enough.

At 12:54, he announced that at 1 p.m. he would be taking a break and then going to another hearing in the Senate. "We're going to have to get out and get lunch and get over there," he said. When the questioning continued for four more minutes, Rumsfeld picked up his briefcase and began to pack up his papers.

Jesus Christ, but Specter is a hack.

The night of the long knives.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, please be true. Please, please, please.

The annoying hypocrisy of "progressive" American Democrats.

Now here's an interesting piece from John Aravosis of AmericaBlog, talking about another DINO (Democrat In Name Only) who just announced his support for right-wing loon Samuel Alito for U.S. Supreme Court:

Will I continue to support [DINO Bob] Casey over Santorum? Define "support." Would I vote for Casey if I lived in Pennsylvania? Yes. Will I pull out all stops to help Casey? Unlikely.

And right there is the biggest problem with American progressives -- when push comes to shove, they cave under the pressure.

If you've been following the big left-wing blogs in the U.S. the last little while, you'll know that most of those bloggers have been absolutely pleading with the Democrats to vote "no" on Alito, and further pleading for a filibuster on him as well. "Please," they're saying, "show some spine, take a stand, suck in that gut and just flat-out reject Alito and damn the consequences." But when it's time for those same progressives to take a stand, well ... they just kind of fold.

So what should they do here? Simple. Make it clear they're going to support, and vote for, Sen. "Man-on-Dog" Santorum. No, I'm serious, and the reasoning is quite simple.

As John points out, a number of Dems seem to have this attitude of "Well, who else you gonna vote for?" And the answer should be, if both candidates are going to act like Republicans, they might as well vote for the real Republican as opposed to the fake one.

Isn't this a bit extreme? Perhaps. But look at it logically. It might seem to be cutting off one's nose to spite one's face but, really, all it would take is a couple of these to teach the Democratic establishment that it can't keep putting forth worthless candidates who expect to get progressive support just because they'd be considered the lesser of two evis. That way lies madness. And Zell Miller.

And if the Dem in question is going to act like a Republican, what difference is it going to make anyway? Sadly, though, the same progressives who are howling for the Democratic Party to take a principled stand on their behalf are, in too many cases, the same people who seem more than happy to hold their noses and vote for losers like Casey.

So, John (and the rest of you), if you're going to get so cranked up about the Party showing some spine and acting on principle, you might consider doing the same. If Casey is going to be this worthless of a liberal, make it clear you're all going to support Santorum. And mean it. And see what kind of reaction you get.

Sure, it might be painful the first couple of times. But maybe it's time to start showing a little of that "principle" you so badly want others to demonstrate on your behalf.

Line of the day.

From The Borowitz Report:

Elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. announced that it was cutting 30,000 jobs, including Job One.

Irony as a blunt instrument.

And the sad thing is, David Frum is apparently dead serious:

After years of childish self-indulgence under two old men, this young prime minister will at last lead Canada back to the grown-ups' table.

Um ... yeah, that's just what we need at the moment: an unabashed neo-con and Bush groupie, lecturing others on the dangers of childish self-indulgence.

I think my brain just exploded.

(Props to Ms. Z.)

Oh, those onerous workplace decisions.

This morning's hilarity, courtesy of the Globe and Mail:


This week's question:
Your company has a policy requiring employees not to use the Internet for personal business during office hours. You are bored in the middle of work one day and decide to take a peek at a colleague's blog and are disturbed to see a long rant about how he wants to take a gun and go on a killing spree at work. Do you immediately go to security with your discovery, thus exposing your forbidden surfing, or does the perceived safety of your colleagues take precedence?

Man, that's a tough one -- read today's "Dilbert" or try to prevent the possible massacre of numerous co-workers. Grapple, grapple ...

Oh, man, that Dogbert is such a card with his get-rich-quick schemes. See, he puts on a tie, and then he rents this conference room ...

The Juno excitement is just palpable.

Does it get any more freaking exciting than this?

Coldplay, Michael Buble and Nickelback will bring their star power to this year's Juno Awards, organizers announced Monday.

And right opposite that "According to Jim" marathon. Of all the rotten luck. Decisions, decisions ...

"I've got mine," Canadian style.

Shorter Kate McMillan: Now that I've had my 15 minutes of fame on the CBC, there is clearly no reason for it to exist any longer.

"Oh ... THAT detailed early warning."

Maybe if they'd titled it "Hurricane Katrina Determined to Strike in U.S." Then again, we all saw how well that worked the first time.

YOU KNOW, it might just save time if the Bush administration introduced a Department of Official Stonewalling.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The U.S. Supreme Court, Samuel Alito and Intelligent Design.

From over at Daily Kos, there's a comment that Republican Senator and Official GOP Cat Killer Bill Frist is denying Democrats the chance to speak on the floor of the Senate.

Some enterprising Democrat should start collecting examples of this kind of suppression and use it the next time some right-wing dumbfuck suggests that it's reasonable to teach Intelligent Design because, you know, it's only fair that students get to hear "both sides."

Don't make me have to explain this, OK?

The stultifying hypocrisy of blissful ignorance.

Recently, as American progressives (and others with functioning brain stems) have savaged Kate O'Beirne's hacktacular piece of drivel, numerous members of the right-wing, echo chamber wankersphere have lashed back, accusing those reviewers of not even having read the book before panning it.

Good point.

In the same vein, then, I might suggest those same wankers either learn something about biological evolution or just shut the fuck up about it.


The Chronicles of Ralphia: New minority conservative government edition.

One wonders whether, with a new conservative government up here, American uber-Christian, political hack and all-around douchebag for Christ Ralph Reed is going to be a more frequent visitor. I'm thinking he might get a better reception here than he's getting down south these days:

Ralph Reed wants a good crowd at today's annual gathering of the Christian Coalition of Georgia. And he's willing to shell out cash for it.

His Republican campaign for lieutenant governor sent an e-mail to supporters this week offering to pay the $20 entrance fee and — for out-of-towners — an overnight stay in a hotel.

Reed campaign manager Jared Thomas characterized the offer as routine. "Certainly, we want our grass-roots people to be well-represented," he said.

Especially those grass-roots people who have no problem with bribery. That's pretty much Ralph's base these days.

TOUCHY, TOUCHY: Oh, my, but Ralph is getting a mite defensive these days.

Dear Americans:

In case you hadn't noticed, that's how you run an election.

Go, Dook!

Well, the boys lost their first game of the season to Georgetown, but the women are rolling right along, laying a thumping on Tennessee. Could be an interesting March Madness this year.

Dear progressives: What will you do if the Liberals move to the right?

In an earlier comments section, "the rev." wrote thusly:

The Liberals are unlikely to swerve left in choosing a new leader. I think they will pick a red tory and shift a little further right.

If this does indeed happen, I'm curious as to how progressives will react.

From my readings, it seemed that a lot of progressives weren't overly thrilled with either the Liberals or Paul Martin in this election but they realized that the Conservatives were a far greater evil so those progressives held their noses and voted Liberal.

But what if the Libs move even further to the right? What then? At what point does a genuine progressive scream "Enough!" and walk away from them? How far is too far? So, in the spirit of the challenge I laid for conservatives a while back as to when they would admit that Stephen Harper lied, I have a challenge aimed specifically at Canada's progressives.

Put together a list of likely candidates to succeed Martin, and let me know which of those candidates, if they became the new party leader, would cause you to abandon the Liberals. Obviously, there are going to be candidates you'd support, and ones you're not sure about. But I want to know which ones would be just downright unacceptable to you.

Or would the choice of a new leader simply not make a difference?

: Canadian WIld Blog has a list of possible successors, including, of all people, Belinda Stronach. Belinda Stronach!?!? Refresh my memory but wasn't she running for the leadership of the CPC not that long ago? Doesn't that kind of disqualify her from this position until she at least bolsters her street creds or something? Sheesh.

Well, I'd say that worked out rather well.

And on the positive side:

  • Paul Martin is finally gone. And good riddance to that hack.

  • Having been spanked soundly, the Liberals can do a thorough housecleaning and perhaps return politically to somewhere left of centre, geography they seem to visit only on occasion.

  • Good For Jack Layton, having picked up 10 seats nationally.

  • With only a minority, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Harper tries to do something unspeakably stupid and his government gets defeated. I'm thinking a September election.

Suddenly, I'm feeling a whole lot better about this.

Physical beatings: It's all a matter of context.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Bill Frist is kicking himself since Mitt Romney's comatose photo-op is so much cuter, being only 11 years old and all:

The governor of Massachusetts has ordered an investigation into whether the state repeatedly failed a brain-damaged 11-year-old girl, long before she became the center of a right-to-die struggle.

See? Republicans really can be concerned when someone is beaten into a coma or perhaps to death. Who'da thunk it?

Monday, January 23, 2006

A multi-talented young man, that Mike.

Over here, we learn of the political ambitions of the son of our very own "Cathie from Canada," one Mike Fornssler:

who decided to go into politics after his garage band with the unfortunate and absurd name of "Pink Floyd" disbanded due to a lack of commercial success. That would be Mike, second from the right:

The whereabouts of his former bandmates is currently a mystery.

"Moral absolutes?" I don't think so.

Of all the grating arguments I hear from sanctimonious Christians, perhaps the most irritating is that, without some sort of religious grounding (translation: theirs), one simply cannot have any moral foundation for life.

These folks will whine on about moral "relativism" and claim that one can't lay claim to any sort of "morality" without a pre-written code of moral absolutes of some kind, at which point they will smugly whip out a copy of the Ten Commandments as if that somehow clinches the argument. So for all those wanks, I have a simple thought experiment.

Let's consider the Ten Commandments, then, shall we? (And which set would that be? Oh, let's not get into that, it would just make this more complicated than it has to be.) And let's consider that "don't commit adultery" admonition.

According to the wankish devout, adultery is clearly a bad thing, and they would have no problem pointing to the moral absolutes of the Commandments to back them up. Fair enough. But what if the situation changed?

Let's imagine that a stunning archeological discovery proved, beyond any doubt, that the universally-accepted Commandments had been transcribed incorrectly; specifically, that that aforementioned commandment really should have read "Thou shalt commit adultery." (And, please, don't argue with me about how unlikely this is -- that's why it's called a "thought experiment." Deal with it.)

So ... this new evidence comes to light and Biblical scholars the world over accept the overwhelming evidence that, yes, they've been wrong all this time. What happens to the argument from moral absolutes? More to the point, what happens to the moral absolutist? Well, there really are only two choices, aren't there?

If the absolutist changes his or her opinion to mesh with the evidence, well, that means that what had been an unshakeable moral "absolute" all this time was no such thing. For years, the absolutist would have been adamant that adultery was "wrong," but that same person now happily flip flops completely, which makes it clear that what was once "absolute" is now totally arbitrary. So much for absolutes.

But what if the absolutist refuses to go along, and sticks by her position that adultery is wrong, no matter what the new evidence suggests? If that's the case, then she has openly admitted that there is such a thing as morality quite independent of Scripture, no? Which is precisely what she's been denying all these years.

In short, this is a no-win situation for the absolutist, isn't it? Damned if you do, damned it you don't. But I mean that in a strictly rhetorical way, of course.

BY THE WAY, the above example of changing morals in mid-stream is not as far-fetched as you'd like to think. In fact, it happens frequently as you pass from the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Consider Matthew 5:38-39:

You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I [Jesus] tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Now isn't that a major about face when it comes to the concept of justice? When Jesus himself rewrites the rules for retribution before your very eyes, it's safe to say that the entire Scriptural concept of morality is more than a little malleable.

WaPo ombudsman Deborah Howell: Redefining "dense."

As much as I want to move on to local election-related stuff, there's one more point I want to make regarding WaPo ombudsweasel Deborah Howell's tortured illogic in trying to tar Democrats with what is solely a Republican scandal, since I haven't seen anyone else discuss this particular point.

In her infamous non-apology column here, Howell writes:

I wrote that he gave campaign money to both parties and their members of Congress. He didn't. I should have said he directed his client Indian tribes to make campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.

Now, as I already explained back here, Howell has most emphatically not made the case that Abramoff personally directed his Indian client tribes to contribute to Democrats. But even if he had, the proper response would be ... so what?

Think about it: Abramoff arranges with his clients (those would be the clients he was stealing from, by the way) to quietly funnel money to some Democrats. If that were the case, that money would appear to the Dems to be coming, not from Abramoff, but from the tribes themselves, no? In short, a Democrat would see nothing but what appeared to be a perfectly legal campaign contribution. In what way does this implicate the Dems in the scandal?

In any event, Howell's career as anything resembling an objective representative of readers' concerns has effectively gone down in flames and, as Thomas Huxley once famously said, "Life is too short to occupy oneself with the slaying of the slain more than once."

Making fun of Wal-Mart.

Why does Miss Cellania hate America?

If you don't vote, bad things will happen.

Like this. You've been warned.

: Deja vu.

Then there are the counter-examples ...

Well, this is exciting -- Waterloo is in the running for "world's most intelligent community." That's impressive and all, but I'm guessing the selection committee never got around to chatting with the sad collection of dumbasses responsible for this total clusterfuck.

Oh, well ... there's always a few folks who insist on skewing the bell curve all by themselves.

Intelligent Design and its groupies.

It's not so much the uneducated idiocy of this ID article over at the American Spectator as the sight of the mouth-breathing freepers here clapping their little paws with glee over it that's really disturbing.

Make sure you read the comments. Jeezus ...

Halliburton to troops: Eat shit.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Dear Paul:

It didn't work well here:

What makes you think it would go over any better here?

Jeezus, what a goober.

WHAT THE HELL? So I find an embarrassing pic of Martin jammin', and the Globe jerks it out from under me. What a bunch of wanks.

Deborah Howell, journalistic whore: Document the atrocities.

Rather than disemboweling Howell's latest piece of crap myself, I'll leave it to my readers to identify at least six logical howlers or misdirections in that single piece.

Howell really has learned nothing from this latest adventure. God, but she is a worthless hack.

: Driftglass dumps a steaming load on Howell's plate.

THE VALUE OF VERY CAREFUL SEMANTICS: What follows is an example of why you should be very careful about how you read someone else's prose. In Howell's latest piece is the puzzling paragraph:

But there is no doubt about the campaign contributions that were directed to lawmakers of both parties. Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff's Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004. The Post also has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with his personal directions on which members were to receive what amounts.

Let's deconstruct this one sentence at a time, shall we?

Howell, in that first sentence above, quite clearly claims that campaign contributions were "directed to lawmakers of both parties." (She strangely omits mentioning who did the directing, so we'll assume it was Jack Abramoff.) But, ignoring whether or not this is even true, a simpler question is: Why would Abramoff explicitly direct money to Democrats at all?

It's well known that Abramoff never gave a cent of his own money to Democrats, so isn't it a bit odd that he would direct his own clients to do that? Why? What would be the purpose? Abramoff was a Republican -- why would he encourage his clients to give money to the opposition party? In any event, Howell clearly seems to be suggesting that this is, in fact, what happened. Or is she?

Note the very next sentence:

Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff's Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004.

Whoa, hold on. While the above shows that Indian tribes did contribute to both parties (and, again, no one is denying that), there is absolutely nothing in any of that that supports Howell's claim of "direction" by Abramoff to Democrats, so it's not clear what Howell's point is. Howell seems to be using this information to bolster her original claim of "direction" to Democrats but it does nothing of the sort. It simply shows that money was donated to both parties by Indian tribes. So what?

But it's Howell's final sentence in that paragraph that's maddeningly provocative:

The Post also has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with his personal directions on which members were to receive what amounts.

Wow! So the Post actually has explicit evidence that money was directed to Democrats by Abramoff? Well, no, not quite. Note that that sentence says only that the Post has evidence as to Abramoff's personal directions but mysteriously doesn't make the claim that those directions involve both parties. Is this just poor writing on Howell's part? Or is it extremely careful phrasing so she has plausible deniability later?

Note how badly the three sentences in that paragraph hang together. The first makes the claim of direction of money to both parties, but without mentioning Abramoff's name. Curious, no? The second sentence talks only of well-known (and perfectly legal) contributions from Indian tribes to both parties, without claiming simultaneous "direction" of those monies by Jack Abramoff. And the third sentence claims proof of "direction" by Abramoff without including the Democrats in that claim.

Either Howell is one of the most incompetent journalists in the history of journamalism. Or she's being awfully careful to leave herself an out.

HOLY CRAP: Now this is a smackdown.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

"My doctor said Panexa."

Because your kick-ass lifestyle demands it. Panexa.

CNN's Lou Dobbs involved in racially-motivated gang rapes of black teenagers.

See, here's how it works. Over here, Atrios reproduces some total swill from CNN flunky Lou Dobbs:

For the record about a third of the money from Jack Abramoff and his clients did in fact go to Democrats and 2/3 to Republicans. That's the reality. Don't blog me! It's the fact.

Now, as we all know by now, Jack Abramoff never gave a cent of his personal money to a single Democrat. And that's a fact.

But notice how cleverly Dobbs words his claim -- that the money is coming from "Jack Abramoff and his clients." So, technically, Dobbs is correct -- as long as you understand that all of that money came from the clients, and none from Abramoff himself. But if Dobbs conflates the two, well, it's your fault if you happen to conclude that Abramoff actually contributed any of that.

Using a similar rhetorical device, I could justifiably claim that, between the combination of them, Dobbs and a local white supremacist group have gang-raped a total of five black teenaged girls. Of course, I'll cleverly omit the fact that Dobbs had nothing to do with it but, technically, I would of course be entirely accurate as long as I refer only to the total package of perpetrators. (The whole gang rape thing is entirely hypothetical but I could, of course, just scan the local papers to find something equally heinous and it would work just as well.)

Aren't semantics fun? Now, about Bill O'Reilly and al Qaeda being personally responsible for thousands of American deaths on 9/11 ...

Dear Canadian wankers: How will we know if Stephen lied to us?

Since all of the polls suggest that Stephen Harper will probably be Canada's next prime minister, I'd like to invite Canada's wankersphere to submit hypothetical scenarios for which we can, with no fear of contradiction from said wankers, conclude that Harper lied to us. No defense based on careful parsing or semantics or fingers crossed behind his back. No, just flat-out lied. Let me explain.

As one example, CBC coverage back here reported that Harper, when quizzed on same-sex marriage, responded as follows (emphasis added):

Harper said he would never use the notwithstanding clause on that issue.

If you need more than one data point, well, you can read the first sentence here as well:

Opponents of same-sex marriage say they're unhappy but undaunted by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's promise not to use the notwithstanding clause to overturn the law -- even if he's doomed to fail without it.

So Harper's position on this seems fairly clear -- no notwithstanding clause. Which inspires the following simple and straightforward question: If, should Harper become PM, he invokes the NWC with respect to same-sex marriage, will you openly admit that he lied?

See, I feel I have to ask this question beforehand since, after the fact, you folks have a nasty habit of dodging, weaseling and tap-dancing. We might get some sort of wankery excuse like, "Well, he never said he wouldn't, he, uh ... he, um ... he just said he didn't think he'd have to. Yeah, that's it, he figured he'd never need to. But you guys forced him into it. Yeah, it's all your fault. So there."

In general, then, I'm throwing out a challenge to both ends of the Canadian blogosphere. From the progressives, I'd like to start a list of what appear to be clear and unambiguous promises made by Harper during the campaign. And from the Right, I'd like the same kinds of clear and unambiguous admissions as to which of those promises, if Harper reneges on, we can accuse him of lying and you will back us up on it.

I'll start that list with the SSM issue and Harper's claim about the NWC. Is there a single wanker who's willing to go on the record as prepared to hold Harper to that promise?

The lines are open.

BY THE WAY, if you need an example of how not to honour your on-air promises, well, Fox News bloviating blowhard and total hack Bill O'Falafel is pretty much your poster child.

Will Canadian wankers have any more integrity? Not if history is any guide but, hey, I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Some people take themselves WAY too seriously.

Remember the Golden Globes? Remember George Clooney going up to accept one? Remember him taking an off-hand swipe at hardcore con-man Jack Abramoff? Some folks should grow a thicker skin.

(Credit to Driftglass.)

[Updated to refer to the Golden Globes, not the Oscars. Fine. Be that way.]

Harper's obsession with missile defense is getting downright phallic.

What is it with Stephen Harper and that asinine missile defense program?

Harper open to missile-defence talks with U.S.

Stephen Harper said a Tory government would consult Parliament about whether Canada should join the U.S. missile-defence system.

Harper told Radio-Canada in an interview Thursday that he would wait for a formal, written offer from the U.S. before deciding whether Canada should participate in the ballistic missile defence program.

He said Parliament would then hold a free vote.

Is it too much to ask that Stephen get a fucking clue before making an even bigger dick of himself than he already has?

Test Failures Slow U.S. Missile Defense

Behind the heavy barbed wire at this snowy range are silos containing eight interceptors designed to shoot down incoming enemy missiles. There were supposed to be as many as 16 in place by now.

But after an embarrassing series of test failures in the ambitious, expensive and highly criticized program to build a national missile-defense shield, the U.S. military is slowing the deployment of interceptors while it conducts more testing...

The government has spent about $100 billion on missile defense since 1983, including $7.8 billion authorized for the current fiscal year. Interceptors, however, have failed five times in 11 tests, even though some critics of the program say the tests have been practically rigged to succeed.

Did you catch that, Steve? Even rigging the tests, they still fail almost half the time.

I don't dislike Harper and his wingnuts because they're conservative. I dislike them because they're, well, stupid.