Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sometimes, a little knowledge isn't such a bad thing.

Via PZ Myers, we learn what happens when people don't understand the basic concepts of science:

Five Mexican children were killed when a large metal cross they were praying at was struck by lightning in central Mexico, local media reported Monday.

Five children between 9 and 16 years old died and several others suffered burns when lightning struck a white-painted metal cross set on a hill in the town of Santa Maria del Rio early on Sunday, according to two newspaper reports.

I don't understand. After all, electricity is only a "theory," right? How could this have happened?

Oh, dear ... this is going to be delicate.

Why the Democrats must be destroyed.

If you ever needed that one single piece of evidence that the U.S. Democratic Party is just as hideously worthless and self-serving as the Republicans, well, allow me to oblige (all emphasis added):

With his ruddy tan and dark gray suit, Ned Lamont is an antiwar liberal with a twist. Rather than targeting a Republican, the millionaire Greenwich businessman is challenging a fellow Democrat, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, one of President Bush's strongest supporters on the war in Iraq...

Now, Lamont has turned the Democratic primary into a horse race, giving Lieberman his first real test since he joined the Senate 18 years ago, according to Democratic operatives and analysts in Connecticut. Party leaders were so rattled by the challenge that Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called Lamont asking him to back off.

"Some of the party brass said, 'Ned, don't jeopardize a safe seat,' " Lamont recently told students at Southern Connecticut State University, who gathered for a meet-and-greet session. "But you're not going to lose a senator. You're going to gain a Democrat."

So ... despite the fact that Democrats in general are furious with Lieberman for his sucking up to the Bush administration (to the point where Dems everywhere are referring to Lieberman as "Republican-lite"), the word from the top is to back off and leave him be. After all, he's a Democrat -- pay no attention to his perpetual back-stabbing of his Democratic colleagues and all that. Why take a stand on principles when there's a seat at risk?

In one sense, one can almost have more respect for the GOP than the Dems these days. Neither party has principles, but at least the GOP is direct enough to not even pretend anymore. In that sense, they're at least being honest, which is more than one can say for the Democrats.

AFTERSNARK: If the voters of Connecticut who are fed up with Lieberman want their say, it's not hard to do. They can make it clear that, if Lieberman is the Democratic candidate in November, they're going to vote for the Republican. What's to lose? Essentially, they'd be choosing between a fake Republican and a real one. Might as well have the real one.

. I'm hoping I don't have to connect the dots for anyone here.

Democracy is on the march.

I'm pretty sure it went that way.

Sometimes, snark just writes itself.

Um ... what?

A long-running effort by the Bush administration to send home many of the terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been stymied in part because of concern among United States officials that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments, officials said.

I have no response to that. Seriously.

It's a perspective thing, I guess.

Compare and contrast: this ...

Canadian companies have paid more than $5 billion in anti-dumping and countervailing (anti-subsidies) duties as a result of the dispute, which previous governments have tried and failed to solve.

and that:

The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has soared and may now reach $811bn (£445bn), says a report by the Congressional Research Service.

It's pretty embarrassing when the burning Canadian trade issue of the last few years turns out to be, in the end, approximately equivalent to rounding error in the grand scheme of things.

That's why you read the reviews.

The Spirit of Man writes:

Just got home from watching the United 93 movie tonight.

I am angry very much!

Yeah, I know the feeling. I remember walking out after "Batman and Robin" thinking, "I paid eight bucks for that? Son of a bitch!"

I'll never forget 9/11 and to me, it's like a personal loss!

By "personal loss," I'm assuming SoM means in a blogging keyboarder, Hugh Hewitt, Empire State building, ever-changing front on the "Global War on Terror"™ kind of way, right?

Let's roll and bomb the hell out of those freaking terrorists and their supporters wherever they are!

Fucking A!! And I know just where to start. Let's roll!

: Oh, look ... that makes two of them:

America's number one talk-radio host, Rush Limbaugh, is giving an enthusiastic thumbs up to the controversial new 9/11 movie, "United 93."...

"The whole movie is powerful," Limbaugh said.

"The overwhelming emotion I had was sheer anger at the terrorists, bordering on hatred," Limbaugh said.

Yes, you know you're on the side of the angels when you and Rush Limbaugh have a meeting of the minds. Although I'm pretty sure I'd draw the line at sharing hypodermics. There's only so much I'd want to have in common with that guy, know what I mean?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

You can resign, but you can't hide.

Sept 24, 2005:

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester M. Crawford announced his resignation yesterday, just two months after he was confirmed for the job. His e-mail notice to the FDA staff gave no reason for his surprise decision to step down...

Crawford, an affable Georgian who has worked at the agency on four occasions over 30 years, explained his departure yesterday by saying: "After three and a half years as Deputy Commissioner, Acting Commissioner and, finally, as Commissioner, it is time at the age of 67, to step aside."

A spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, who helped guide Crawford through his nomination, said Leavitt accepted the resignation "with sadness." Asked why Crawford had resigned, HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson said she could not discuss a "personnel matter."

Not so fast, dude:

WASHINGTON, April 28 — Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of food and drugs, is under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress, his lawyer said Friday...

Dr. Crawford resigned in September, fewer than three months after the Senate confirmed him. He said then that it was time for someone else to lead the agency.

The next month, financial disclosure forms released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2004 either Dr. Crawford or his wife, Catherine, had sold shares in companies regulated by the agency when he was its deputy commissioner and acting commissioner. He has since joined a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc.

And the Grand Old Police Blotter claims another victim. God, but I love those conservative, family values.

The liberal media! Run away! Run away!

Listening to CBC Radio One earlier this morning, with the female host explaining that the topic of the day was global warming and climate change, and how CPC Minister of the Environment and voices-in-her-head wingnut Rona Ambrose had earlier agreed to be on the show and the CBC was really looking forward to it but, gosh darn it (and, I'm guessing, to no one's surprise), Ambrose called up and cancelled the gig, at which point, the CBC simply filled that time with others who were more than happy to explain why the Conservatives are a bunch of egg-sucking, pig-ignorant hypocrites. (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating that last part. So sue me.)

In any event, a word of advice to Canada's whiny-ass, titty-baby wankers: If you're practically begged to appear on the CBC to explain your point of view, and you refuse, then you really don't have a lot of credibility when you subsequently accuse the CBC of being a left-wing, liberal cesspool of anti-conservative bias.

Please don't force me to explain that, OK?

Apparently, evidence is overrated.

You know, it really is possible to be a little too honest sometimes:

I appreciate Jackie Lee’s and Carmen Catanese’s letters, which together help to illustrate the breadth of freedom available to a Christian interpreting the physical evidence of nature. The danger to Christians from osmosing alien, materialistic presumptions, I think, far outweighs the danger of being wrong about any particular scientific point.

Translation: Reality can be a scary place. Best not to go there.

Right-wing snark. As it were.

Uh oh ... someone's got their Underoos in a bunch:

The "chickenhawk" epithet that has become very popular with far-left anti-war nuts (like those at DailyKos and Democrat Underground) is a dated, lame, illogical, irrational and just plain stupid insult.

As opposed to describing someone as an "unhinged, liberal moonbat," which is cool, hip and just too fuckin' edgy for words, know what I'm sayin'?

TBogg, of course, has his say, which will no doubt drive the newly-anointed Keyboardists into paroxysms of rage and extended-arm bitch slapping, followed by a quick truce and a group outing to watch the early afternoon showing of "Red Dawn."

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Get me copy, dammit!"

"Jesus Christ, Fred, I told you not to put those stories on the same page!"


Most American taxpayers would get $100 rebate checks to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote soon.


Chevron Corp.'s first-quarter profit soared 49 percent to $4 billion, joining the procession of U.S. oil companies to report colossal earnings as lawmakers consider ways to pacify motorists agitated about rising gas prices.

The other:

In the wake of the latest oil company profit report showing much higher earnings, President Bush on Friday rejected calls in Congress for a tax on oil company profits, saying the industry should reinvest its recent windfalls in finding and producing more energy.


"You keep using that word 'enterprise' ...

... I do not think it means what you think it means."

And since so many folks in Canadian politics are rushing to embrace "enterprisiness," one wonders if they're prepared to take a position on this:

Canada Post uses legal loophole to knock off rival

Lou Laforet still can't believe the successful service he runs is being put out of business in Canada -- by a Crown corporation...

He heads up the Canadian operation of Spring Global Mail -- a joint venture between several international postal companies. It ships bulk mail exclusively to destinations outside of Canada -- more quickly and economically than Canada Post -- according to Laforet.

International business mail is sent directly to foreign post offices, such as the U.S. Postal Service -- where it is then distributed, with postage, to its final destinations. Several large Canadian organizations, including the federal government, use Spring's services.

So what's the problem? Ah, here we go:

... Canada Post has taken legal action to put Spring out of business. The Crown corporation went to court -- arguing it has a legal monopoly over all Canadian mail.

Excuse me? A "legal monopoly?" Since when? Oh, since this:

Canada Post started going after Spring and others like it in 2002. It based its legal argument on a few words in the Canada Post Act. In English, that law states Canada Post has "exclusive privilege" over mail "within Canada." However, the French version of that same law makes no reference to geography.

Canada Post used the French version to make its case...

Garth Whyte believes the new government should be the [sic] held accountable, for the jobs and businesses lost.

"I would like the Conservative government to tell us whether this is their policy."

Me too, me too. And I'm curious about Gerard Kennedy's take on this as well, him being so "enterprisey" and all these days.

Dear Dems: Just this once, pay attention.

As the American midterm elections approach, there's more and more chatter about the possibility of a Republican-inspired "October surprise" -- some momentous event that will suddenly drive the votes in favour of the GOP. By way of explanation, here's John W. Dean:

As the 2006 midterm elections approach, this active/negative president can be expected to take further risks. If anyone doubts that Bush, Cheney, Rove and their confidants are planning an "October Surprise" to prevent the Republicans from losing control of Congress, then he or she has not been observing this presidency very closely.

What will that surprise be? It's the most closely held secret of the Administration.

Well, of course it is, else it wouldn't be a surprise, would it? And the possibilities?

One possibility is that Dick Cheney will resign as Vice President for "health reasons," and become a senior counselor to the president. And Bush will name a new vice president - a choice geared to increase his popularity, as well as someone electable in 2008. It would give his sinking administration a new face, and new life...

But more likely, Bush may mount a unilateral attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - hoping to rev up his popularity.

So what steps should be taken to cope with the eventual surprise by the Democratic leadership? (And by "Democratic leadership," I refer of course to those folks running the Democratic Party who were chosen based on their utter lack of leadership skills of any kind.) Personally, I think the only effective way to prepare for what's coming is to turn it into a game.

If the Dems had any sense whatsoever (a delusion of the highest order), they would start an online poll in which they would list possible October surprises and let readers vote on what they think will happen. Rather than hunker down in their cubicles desperately preparing for who-knows-what, they should go totally public with the notion that they know something's coming, and they want to make as much fun of it as possible.

Post a list, invite respondents, offer prizes. In short, make it entertaining so that, once the surprise finally hits, the Dems can yawn loudly, point at their list, announce winners and so on. At the same time, the GOP will be exposed for the crassly predictable, opportunistic hacks that they are.

What a brilliant idea. What cleverness. What pure fucking genius! Which is why you can rest assured that it will never, ever, ever happen. Remember, these are the Democrats we're talking about.

Beavis and Butthead do evolution.

Well, isn't this totally unsurprising? Is it a technical requirement to be a moron to work for the Bush administration, or is that just an unhappy coincidence?

The political hackery of Gerard Kennedy.

Back here, commenter "t" writes regarding my whack at Gerard Kennedy:

I do have to disagree with you that an avowed centrist is detrimental for the leadership candidacy. The Libs SHOULD be centrist and they were leaning far too far to the right during the election (to try to steal votes from the Cons), but it backfired and the NDP split the vote. The only way they can regain power is to remain centrist.

I don't care if Kennedy wants to run as a progressive, a centrist or a Martian -- that's his choice. What grinds my gears is how he's been portrayed as a progressive all this time, only to hide those embarrassing progressive principles in a desk drawer for the sake of political opportunism during the leadership contest.

Everything you've read about Kennedy recently is how he's young, he's cool, he's 10 pounds of hipness in a 5-pound bag, he's the new face of the Liberal party and, by God, he's a progressive. Unless, of course, it comes to winning the leadership of the party, at which point, hey, can you hang on to these principles for me for a few months, I'll come back for them later, thanks ever so much.

If Kennedy wants to run as a centrist, then let him embrace that label. Let him own it, and stop trying to perpetuate this myth of "Well, he's really a progressive, he's just doing this for the sake of political expediency."

Given the choice between a centrist who runs as a centrist, and an actual progressive who simply portrays himself as a centrist strictly for convenience, I would without hesitation vote for the former. At least that person is being honest, while the progressive is being a douchebag for hackery.

But that's just me.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

OK, this is just a bit weird.

Apparently, Canadians are the flavour of the day over at BuzzTracker. For no apparent reason, there are now (at least at the moment) two links to my little sandbox, from both WaPo/Bill Brubaker and CNN. And liberal catnip has a link from MSNBC under "Rove Testifies ..."..

What ... did they just discover we have the Internet up here in Canada?

The first rule of blog fight club.

You can't have attitude without the rules. Bring it, baby.

Deja vu all over again.

From a Canadian perspective, does this sound eerily familiar?

Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks

Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday.

Think hard -- it'll come to you.

Republican family values, orgasm edition.

OK, so ... they don't like sex toys, but they do like hookers.

I'm so confused.

Quick -- enjoy it while it lasts!

You like me! You really like me! Under "WASHINGTON POST / BILL BRUBAKER." Man, it's pretty heady stuff to be rubbing elbows on a short list with those folks. Maybe it's time to cut back on the profanity just a touch.

Oh, fuck, no.

The schizophrenia of the Globe and Mail.

From today's Globe, the editorial on page A20:

... it is welcome news that Ottawa and Washington have finally sketched out a framework agreement that could end this lingering dispute. Given the power of the U.S. softwood lobby, a negotiated deal, brokered between top players, was the only way to break the logjam ...

In the end, hard-headed diplomacy has yielded a satisfactory step toward resolving this nasty battle. Much remains to be discussed, but things are going in the right direction.

And just to the right, on page A21:

Ottawa's softwood capitulation


Details of a draft softwood lumber framework agreement suggest Ottawa is about to surrender unconditionally in the wood war, and drive the last nail in the coffin of NAFTA's Chapter 19 dispute-settlement process...

If such a deal is considered a victory, I'd hate to see what a loss looks like. After spending literally hundreds of millions on its legal case, Canada looks set to throw it all away, without accomplishing either of the fundamental goals.

But worse than that, this kind of deal could destroy NAFTA's Chapter 19 dispute-settlement mechanism. Considered the linchpin (for Canada) of the original Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement almost 20 years ago, Chapter 19 was designed to handle these trade disputes and get them away from the U.S. domestic political issues that have plagued trade relations for decades. The ultimate irony here: It was previous lumber wars that drove Canada to make dispute settlement a deal-breaker in the original trade negotiations.

Having lost virtually all the lumber cases through Chapter 19 -- not just in this case, but in previous cases as well -- the U.S. has been on a determined 20-year campaign to undermine the process. The culmination of that effort came last summer when the U.S. ignored what should have been the end of the softwood lumber case -- a final decision in Canada's favour on the threat-of-injury issue.

This latest softwood lumber deal would be a complete vindication of the U.S. strategy. No Canadian exporter would ever again feel inclined to take the U.S. through NAFTA seeking redress, knowing full well the U.S. would ignore a result it didn't like, and that Canada would do nothing about it.

There is some hope. Canadian lumber producers have already signalled their opposition to this arrangement and, regardless of what is in the framework agreement, they have the legal right to continue litigation and insist on a 100-per-cent refund of the $5-billion. That money belongs to them, not the federal or provincial governments.

Provincial governments, too, might have serious reservations. Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay has already said in the Legislature that the draft he's seen doesn't meet Ontario producers' needs and his government won't sign off on it. Industry sources say British Columbia doesn't like a surge mechanism designed to keep volumes from that province in check.

Obviously, there is major opposition to the fundamentals in this latest agreement. Despite that, federal government lemmings are running full tilt toward the cliff. If this draft deal is what International Trade Minister David Emerson crossed the floor to accomplish, the country would have been better served if he'd stayed a Liberal.

I'm so confused.

The power of the blog.

Now this is an amazing story:

In just one day, before it has been released, and with literally nothing more in the way of marketing and publicity than a handful of bloggers discussing it and a very committed and passionate blog readership here, How Would a Patriot Act? went to #1 on the Amazon Top Sellers List last night, and it sits there currently.

Why does Glenn Greenwald hate America?

Dear Gerard: Fuck off.

Oh, yeah ... this is just the sort of thing that, as a progressive, you want to wake up to in the morning (emphasis added):

Kennedy to veer to the centre

Gerard Kennedy will run for the Liberal leadership as a centrist candidate, even though he is known as a "progressive," emphasizing enterprise and entrepreneurship in a bid to broaden his appeal, advisers say...

The advisers say that Mr. Kennedy does not need to advertise his progressive credentials and will take a centrist tack because he believes it is important to drive the economy to pay for social services and because it is good strategy to win a leadership race and elections.

Well, that's just ducky. An alleged progressive who, at the first opportunity, abandons his progressive credentials for the sake of political opportunism. Yeah, that's just the kind of Liberal leadership I was hoping for.

JUST FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:What is it with Liberal leadership candidates and this obsession with running your alleged principles through a shredder?

Dark horse contender Maurizio Bevilacqua will take on the big names in the Liberal leadership race Wednesday, warning that the party risks oblivion if it strays too far from the middle of the political road.

The 45-year-old Toronto MP and former minister will use his official campaign launch to challenge the widespread assumption that the party must shift to the left if it hopes to regain power.

And the funniest part of that CTV article?

The only unabashedly centre-right contender in the crowded leadership field, Bevilacqua will provide some counter-balance to the left-leaning tendencies of higher profile candidates, such as Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Gerard Kennedy, Stephane Dion and Ken Dryden.

I wouldn't worry about those "left-leaning tendencies" if I were you, Maurizio. Gerard certainly isn't.

Now THAT'S a lede.

Oh, man ... how can you not read the rest of an article that opens with:

President George W. Bush's presidency is a disaster - one that's still unfolding. In a mid-2004 column, I argued that, at that point, Bush had already demonstrated that he possessed the least attractive and most troubling traits among those that political scientist James Dave Barber has cataloged in his study of Presidents' personality types.

Now, in early 2006, Bush has continued to sink lower in his public approval ratings, as the result of a series of events that have sapped the public of confidence in its President, and for which he is directly responsible. This Administration goes through scandals like a compulsive eater does candy bars; the wrapper is barely off one before we've moved on to another.

Go read.

Ann Coulter does evolution.

Oh, Jesus, this should be good. One of the world's most loathsome human beings expounds on biological evolution, based on the expert counselling of one of the world's stupidest human beings.

I'm guessing they're going to need to invent whole new synonyms for the word "bad" just to be able to describe the result.

"Yeah, about that $1.7 billion ..."

There's just so much fun you can have with the Internets, isn't there? Three short years ago:

This is 1.7 billion.

(Off Camera) All right, this is the first. I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you're not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?

Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other countries who have already made pledges, Britain, Germany, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Iraqi oil revenues, eventually in several years, when it's up and running and there's a new government that's been democratically elected, will finish the job with their own revenues. They're going to get in $20 billion a year in oil revenues. But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.

Today (emphasis added):

The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends, the Congressional Research Service estimated this week.

Oh, and the 2,400 American dead. That, too.

Buh bye, Wayne.

To what I'm sure is the overwhelming relief of my long-suffering readers, I've just added recent arrival "Wayne" to the list of banned commenters, after his latest contribution here, which I present in its entirety (converted into actual link for reader convenience):

Check out this article.

And despite the fact that I am generally loathe to refer readers to wanker blogs, I am going to point you at Wayne's new contribution to online, intellectual discourse only because, if like-minded wanks wander over there, they will find a kindred spirit and settle in and that way, we can ignore them over there so that we don't have to ignore them over here.

See what I'm sayin'?

The war, and the "long war."

Chris from the Eastern Front draws our attention to this. Is this really the road we want to be on?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Free speech" and really stupid arguments.

If there's one thing religious nutbars absolutely do not comprehend, it's the concept of "free speech," as we can see here. Let's briefly set the stage:

... To come to the rest of the "mirror image" point, let's turn briefly to the case of Chris Kempling. He, after all, represents a case which, at first glance, appears totally related to free speech.

Kempling is the Quesnel, BC, public school counselor who was censured by both his local school board and the BC College of Teachers (the accrediting group for that province's public school system). His apparent departure from the college's professional standards came about because he wrote several letters to a local newspaper, criticizing gay and lesbian lifestyles.

The college maintained that his public criticism placed him in conflict, by hampering his ability to deal empathetically with gay and lesbian students who came to him for counseling.

Let's first understand that this situation is not primarily an issue of free speech, Rather, it's an issue of Kempling being an ignorant, bigoted dumbfuck who is hopelessly unqualified for that particular job.

I can't believe I have to explain this but, as a public school counselor, it would be Kempling's responsibility to counsel all students who might be having problems. That would, of course, include gays or lesbians, for whom that stage of life would be particularly traumatic and emotionally trying. It's hard to see how those students could even imagine going to Kempling for advice after he'd publicly, in the local newspaper, criticized gay and lesbian lifestyles.

As you can see, this has nothing to do with free speech. Kempling is simply unqualified for the position of counselor, in the same way that someone would be unqualified for the position of, say, math teacher if they didn't know any math. This is not a difficult concept. If you clearly dislike gays and lesbians, it's not going out on a limb to suggest that you are not the right person for a job that might require giving them wise counsel. How difficult can that be to understand? But there's more to it than that. In another way, this really is all about free speech, but not in the way you might expect.

Some folks undoubtedly argued that Kempling was being denied his right to "free speech," but those people would be hopelessly deluded. In fact, if you bear with me for a minute, Kempling still had every right to say what he wanted, as publicly as he liked, and no one was stopping him. If he wanted to continue to write letters to the local paper castigating gays and lesbians, he was completely free to do so. But here's the catch.

If he chose to exercise that right to free speech, he did not simultaneously have the right to continue to work as a public school counselor. This is also not a difficult concept -- it's based on the idea that, as conservative wanks love to lecture us, actions have consequences. If Kempling wants to continue to be an anti-gay bigot, no one's going to stop him but, at the same time, he shouldn't expect everyone to continue to accommodate him.

As another example, I personally despise Microsoft software, which I consider to be overpriced, bug-ridden crap, and my right to free speech lets me say that whenever and wherever I want. However, if I were to accept a job with Microsoft, I shouldn't be surprised if they made it clear that they wanted all that bad-mouthing to stop.

One might argue (if one was a moron, that is) that Microsoft is trampling on my right to free speech. Hogwash. In fact, I still have the freedom to slag their software as much as I want, provided that I'm prepared to accept being fired for it. My freedom of speech is still entirely intact, as long as I understand that that goes along with Microsoft's freedom to kick my sorry ass out the door for exercising it.

Perhaps the best example of this total lack of misunderstanding involves the tax-exempt status of churches in the United States. Those churches enjoy the delightful status of being tax exempt, in exchange for which they are not allowed to get blatantly involved in politicking. It's a simple idea and yet, year after year, evangelical wingnuts complain about how this ban on political involvement is somehow an infringement on their right to free speech.

But no one is stopping those churches from getting as political as they want. If they truly want to start promoting political candidates, the solution is trivial -- they need only give up their tax-exempt status, at which point they're welcome to go totally bananas. Not surprisingly, that doesn't interest them since what they really want is to have their cake and eat it, too. They want all the perks that go along with being a church, with none of the legal obligations.

What this boils down to is a simple idea -- actions have consequences -- and the citizens of Wankerville are certainly familiar with that idea. Witness the latest dust-up involving Michelle Malkin and the publication of the personal contact information of those anti-war protestors. None of Malkin's adoring, brain-damaged groupies denied that those protestors had the right to protest. Rather, they argued that, if those protestors were going to do that and publish their contact info, well, they deserve what they get. Sound familiar? Yup -- actions have consequences.

Unless you're a Bible-pounding loon like Lloyd Mackey, who seems to want all of the rights of free speech without having to deal with any of the associated consequences. Sorry, Lloyd, it doesn't work that way. You (and Chris Kempling) have the right to be as publicly homophobic as you want. But if you are, you have no right to complain when the rest of us make you pay the price for it.

Actions. Consequences. See how that works?

BY THE WAY, it's not like you need another example to pound this home but, when it comes to mangling the entire idea of free speech, one doesn't even have to leave the confines of religious silliness.

Several years back, The Right Rev. Bill Phipps of the United Church of Canada made waves when he expressed doubts about the divinity of Jesus. But wait ... freedom of speech and all that, right? He was entitled to his thoughts, no? Fuck, no:

Sadly, it seems that all that some people are able to hear in Bill Phipps comments is heresy. But heresy, properly understood in origin is 'choice' or 'chosen path'. i.e. there is 'heresy' only when the choice is genuinely different not when certain lines are transgressed. And Bill Phipps has chosen to be and remains a follower of Jesus Christ.

And yet, in spite of this, a person like John Trueman, the President of the Community of Concern, (which is an alliance of conservative members and congregations within the United Church) has requested that Bill Phipps resign and even be disqualified from United Church membership.

Whoops. Apparently, there's more to this "free speech" thing than meets the eye. Apparently, actions have consequences. The mote in one's eye and all that. I'm sure you're shocked.

Son of a bitch ... where do I sign up?

Wow. Apparently, easy access to the Plan B emergency contraceptive might lead to "sex-based cults," I'm guessing in the same way that easy access to Bibles leads to stupidity-based cults. Sort of like that.

Dear Revenue Canada ...

The lighter side of tax time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reaping what you sow.


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL STATION, Cuba -- The Pentagon plans to release nearly a third of those held at the jail for terror suspects here because they pose no threat to U.S. security, an official of the war crimes tribunal said Monday.

Dear Americans: If those prisoners didn't want to kill you before, I'll bet they do now. Just sayin'.

Free speech, "Hotter than Hell" and the wingnut perspective.

Submitted without comment. Maybe I'll tear this apart later when I have more time.

GROG GOES TO TOWN: I'm certainly not done with that article but, in the meantime, let Grog entertain you.

Stupid people never learn.

If it worked this way last time,

Franken joked that he was "disappointed" the lawsuit had been withdrawn.

"I was hoping they'd keep it going for a few more news cycles," he said...

Publicity surrounding the case helped boost Franken's book to the top of the best-seller list. Penguin rushed the book into stores early and ordered additional copies printed after being sued.

what makes you think it would be any different this time?

Today via CBC his publisher announced that "Hotter Than Hell" has gone into an unexpected double-sized second printing due to public demand. Elsewhere a film deal has been mentioned.

Well, duh.

Jesus' General does Trailer Park.

It's never so surreal that Gen JC Christian can't crank it up another notch.

The gorge also rises.

Via commenter "wayne," we find a totally cringe-making example of presidential fellatio that should be read only by those with a strong constitution and who have waited an hour since eating. Apparently, dissidence is suddenly a virtue. Who knew?

If religion were run like a business.

(Inspired by the rev.)

Dear congregation:

Recently, some of our more conservative members have been publicly stating that our local government should be run more like a "business." Not wanting to seem hypocritical and being afraid to, as our young folks would say, "walk the walk," we have therefore decided that we are going to put our money where our mouth is and run our church the same way.

Effective immediately, the following new rules are being implemented:

  • Parishioners will now share a hymnal between two people. Yes, it may be more inconvenient, but we have a bottom line to worry about, as I'm sure you can understand. I mean, those little cocksuckers are expensive.

  • Due to the increasing expense, we will no longer be supplying cushions for the pews, but you are of course welcome to bring your own, or they can be rented on a per-service basis for two dollars, with a five-dollar refundable deposit. Sorry, no cheques.

  • We are installing parking meters to defray the cost of the upkeep of the parking lot. However, there will be a discount for those who choose to carpool. If you arrive with three or more people in a single vehicle, we will be validating at the end of each service.

  • Each parishioner will receive only half a wafer from now on.

  • Given the expense of maintaining the building itself, it is clearly not cost-effective to hold only one Sunday service. Beginning next week, in order to more efficiently use the facilities, we will move to two services, with each one being only half as long. This means that we expect worshippers to show up promptly (and, naturally, get the hell out equally expeditiously). This will, of course, necessitate cutting parts of the service out in the interests of time but we're confident that everyone will recognize how this will help us financially. Besides, those fucking Psalms are so depressing.

  • Perhaps our most difficult decision is that, in the interests of our bottom line, we will be starting a very careful accounting of collections and those who don't contribute their fair share will be dropped as customers ... uh, congregants. This wasn't an easy policy to introduce but, strictly from a business point of view, it only makes fiscal sense to re-assess your current customer base every so often and cut loose those who are simply not contributing to the financial health of the organization. Our saviour Jesus Christ may have been an advocate for the poor, but he sure as hell didn't have our utility bills, did he?

  • Finally, it should be obvious that one of our biggest expenses is the salary of Father McDougall. And while we appreciate the fine service he's given us all these years, we've determined that it would be far more economical to -- how shall we say this? -- "outsource" his job to a less expensive supplier. So say hello to Rajiv. He may be a bit difficult to understand at first, but we feel that the savings will more than make up for that.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

The last post you'll ever need to read.

Jesus. Christ.

Michelle Malkin, "Jinx McHue" and moving on.

As painful as this is for me, I'm going to defer to the better judgment of one of my recent commenters and consign Jason/"Jinx McHue" to the bidet of history. Quite simply, there isn't a whole lot of entertainment value in slapping the bejeezus out of someone who's too stupid to realize he's having the bejeezus slapped out of him. Where's the fun in that? So no more commenting from Weasel Boy but, before we move on, a couple loose ends to tie up.

First, can we please dispense with this asinine talking point that, with regards to that recent incident with the SAW protestors, those protestors deserved what they got because they made their contact information public in a press release? It's takes a special kind of stupid to hold that thought since, by that logic, anyone who publishes their contact information has implicitly agreed to be stalked or harassed using that info.

Really? So if a woman lists her phone number in the public phone book, that means she's implicitly given everyone permission to make harassing and obscene phone calls? Is that how it works? I had no idea. But there's something a bit weirder here at play.

The current complaint from the whiny-ass titty babies on the Right is that, in response to this incident, poor Michelle received such disturbing hate mail/e-mail/missives from the beyond/whatever that she is being forced to relocate. OK, then, show of hands ... how many people are really so stupid as to believe that? (Put your hand down, Jinx -- you don't count here anymore.)

If you think about it, Malkin has made an entire career out of being a hateful, bile-filled screech harpy, so one has to assume she's received her (thoroughly justified) share of nastygrams of one form or another, but it hasn't slowed her down. So why would this incident be any different? Does anyone actually believe that this incident was so quantifiably worse as to drive Michelle from her current palatial place of residence to another equally palatial abode? (Life's tough, isn't it? Possibly having to break in a whole new crew of servants or whatever.)

But is it even remotely reasonable to think that Malkin is actually relocating because she's in fear for her personal well being? The last time I looked, real estate records in the U.S. were public, which means that anyone has the right to dig into them and figure out where Michelle goes. So moving isn't a solution here, is it? Chances are, her new address would be public knowledge before she even finished unwrapping the good china. (You know, the heirloom stuff, with the family crest of the screeching gargoyle.)

But, really, there's a more amusing possibility here. Personally, I think it's more likely that Michelle got absolutely nothing that caused her even the slightest discomfort, but is using this as an opportunity to play the victim. I mean, for someone who's made a living at reviling entire demographics, it is just a bit odd that she wouldn't be able to handle a little return fire.

So I'm guessing that it's a cheap public relations stunt -- poor Michelle, cowering behind her curtains because of those mean ol' liberals and having to steal away under cover of night to protect her family -- a solution that, as I have already pointed out, would solve absolutely nothing. But it sure makes for good copy, doesn't it? And I'm guessing Malkin's rich enough that actually picking up and finding another place would be worth the financial hit, in return for the public relations bonanza.

In any event, given the insipid idiocy of Jinx's comments here, yes, we are moving on. I can't promise I won't take the occasional pot shot at him (metaphorically speaking, of course -- had to make that clear 'cuz you just know that if I didn't he'd accuse me of publicly wanting to assassinate him, the dumb bastard).

But no more comments from the Weasel Boy. Life is just too short to let one person single-handedly bring down the intellectual level of the entire blog. If I need that kind of contribution, I'll hire Pete Rempel.

P.S. It's not like I'm going to lose any sleep over this, but it might be amusing to check in on occasion to see if Malkin actually does move. As I've already explained, that wouldn't necessarily prove anything in terms of death threats, but it would certainly be enlightening if it turns out she doesn't move, wouldn't it?

Feel free to keep me posted. The e-mail address is over to the right. No ... the other right.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The liberal threat.

God forgive me but ... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

In all fairness, though, Jinx has a point. We liberals have an unfortunate propensity for unprovoked and fearful violence, don't we? There was the time that liberal wacko killed that doctor by shooting him in front of his family with a rifle and ... no, wait ... the shooter was a right-wing, Christian nutball. My mistake.

Oh, wait ... how about the time that liberal lunatic blew up a Ryder truck full of explosives in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people ... hang on, sorry ... religious, white supremacist there.

All right, easy one here ... the time that young liberal kicked that female protestor while she was being held down by three Secret Service agents ... aw, shit, my mistake ... that guy was a Republican. Damn.

Of course, one might also point out the singular flaw in Jinx's logic. If we liberals are so dangerous, why do you right-wing fucktards keep pissing us off? Seriously, if you conservatives live in such fear of a sudden explosion of left-wing rage, then just how fucking stupid do you have to be to pull shit like this? You claim we're dangerous, then you do everything you can to infuriate us?

If that's true, then, really, you have just redefined the concept of "stupid" for the ages.

Presidential popularity, comparatively speaking.


With the Monica S. Lewinsky/President Clinton scandal consuming all of last year and the beginning of 1999, President Clinton is still a popular president...

President Clinton's job approval rating has not seen any dramatic slippage from positive to negative all through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In January 1998, Clinton's job approval rating was 68% in a Times poll, which is when the country first learned of the president's "inappropriate relationship" with Lewinsky, to 65% in an August Times poll when Clinton was called before the grand jury, to 64% in a September Times Poll after the Starr Report was released on the internet. The president's ratings remained high even after the House of Representatives voted to impeach him and even now while the Senate trial to remove him from office is continuing. As a matter of fact, after the president's State of the Union address, his job approval spiked into the mid 70's as seen in CBS News and CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls.


President Bush's approval ratings have sunk to a personal low, with only a third of Americans saying they approve of the way he is handling his job, a national poll released Monday said.

In the telephone poll of 1,012 adult Americans carried out Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN, 32 percent of respondents said they approve of Bush's performance, 60 percent said they disapprove and 8 percent said they do not know.

If you're a big fan of the Chimpster, your life must really suck right about now.

Worst. President. Ever.

The joy of history.

The current state of things:

OPEC ministers conceded on Monday there was nothing they could do to halt surging oil prices that threaten consumer nations' economies and could trigger a collapse in demand disastrous to producer states.

Only a few years ago, 2001 (see the comments section):

Q Is one of the problems with this, and the entire energy field, American lifestyles? Does the President believe that, given the amount of energy Americans consume per capita, how much it exceeds any other citizen in any other country in the world, does the President believe we need to correct our lifestyles to address the energy problem?

: That's a big no. The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one. And we have a bounty of resources in this country. What we need to do is make certain that we're able to get those resources in an efficient way, in a way that also emphasizes protecting the environment and conservation, into the hands of consumers so they can make the choices that they want to make as they live their lives day to day.

You have to love that "bounty of resources in this country" bit. Apparently, Ari just plumb forgot that the U.S. in an oil importer.

Details, details.

We're at war? Since when?

Like many other leftie bloggers, Liberal Catnip weighs in on the flag flap, but it's something else in that piece that caught my eye (emphasis added):

My member of Parliament, Jason Kenney, defended his Conservative government's decision to not fly the Canadian flags at half-mast on Parliament Hill to honour the recent deaths of 4 Canadian soldiers by stating on CTV's Question Period that Canada should proudly fly its flag high at all times because we are at war.

I'm sorry ... we're at war? When the fuck did that happen?

No, seriously, when precisely did Canada declare war officially? And against whom? Because this is starting to sound an awful lot like the dishonest bullshit you hear down south with so many people talking about being "at war," the Global "War" on Terror, George W. Chimpster being so terribly morose about having to be a "wartime" president, and on and on and so dishonestly on.

However, the last time I looked, the U.S. president doesn't have the power to declare "war" all by himself but, gosh, it sure is convenient to just start using the word, isn't it? It's even more convenient when almost no one calls you on it. (Hello? Mainstream media?)

Of course, being in this funny grey area of war/not-war has its advantages, since you can pretty much declare martial law but, at the same time, ignore all of those pesky Geneva Conventions since, well, you're not really at war. Not that kind of war, anyway, where you have to fill out forms in triplicate or get official approval or something.

So what exactly is going on up here? Are we technically "at war?" Against whom? And when exactly did that happen, and what did it require? Because if we're not really at war, then I'd like to see every person who makes that claim get immediately bitch-slapped by whatever media wank they're talking to at the time just to keep them honest:

The Hon. Stephen Harper: "Well, it's important for our country, in a time of war ..."

Craig Oliver (reaching over): (SLAP!)

The Hon. SH
: "Hey! What the fuck was that for?"

So ... what's the story? War? Not war? Enquiring minds would dearly like to know.

WHY THE QUESTION MATTERS: I don't imagine I need to spell this out for most of my readers, but I think it's critical to establish whether Canada is, as a country, officially "at war" or not. The reason this matters is that there are very clear rules that govern behaviour in a time of war, such as these.

Note well some of the central underlying principles of those laws, including things like knowing your initial political goals so you can tell when they've been achieved, the fact that the conflict should be brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible, and so on.

Given that numerous right-wing whackjobs have publicly stated that they think the "War on Terror" will never be over, this would seem to suggest that, by definition, it cannot be called a "war."

In any case, this question needs to be answered, and it needs to be answered soon and unambiguously.

The Bush administration as a parable.

Fuckin' A.

What the f**k is up with blogger?

I swear, it's time to ditch blogger and find a new home with software that doesn't run like a piece of Microsoft shit.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A sad, sad little play, in two parts.

Curtain rises on a lone figure on stage ...

"He was a DEMOCRAT! A lying DEMOCRAT! Sure, he claimed he was an embarrassed Republican, but that was a lie! He LIED! He was a DEMOCRAT, and he got caught lying!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!"

"Well, OK, even if he was a Republican, he donated to Democrats! That's the same thing, isn't it? Isn't it? Huh?"

Fade to stupid ...

Just another dead Iraqi. (Part 2.)

(Start here. I mean it.)

So ... what's behind this major wanker-oriented outpouring of grief over a faceless, nameless Iraqi non-blogger? I'm glad you asked.

It shouldn't be surprising that, on a regular basis, the majority of Wankerville needs to do something actually, you know, caring and compassionate to prove that they're still remotely human. After all, when you spend 23 hours out of every 24 being bitchy, shallow, mean-spirited, hateful, Bible-pounding, Christopathic screech harpies whose mission from God is to treat all of the less fortunate like crap, it's useful to make up for it briefly to try to balance the scales, as it were.

(Naturally, you will show this occasional compassion only to ideological fellow travellers. Murdered peace activists who appear to be liberals are still cause for celebration. If you know what I mean.)

But it's not enough to cry over a dead comrade. No, it must be done in unison, in a massive public outpouring of concerted and simultaneous support that just dares anyone else to take issue with any part of it. What it requires is (and you knew this was coming) the text message.

It requires that everyone in Wankerville suddenly get an urgent missive on their cell phone to descend en masse on that golf green -- to drop what they're doing and collaborate on a sweeping show of support and compassion just to let everyone else know that, yes, Goddamit, we care deeply and passionately about a dead Iraqi who we've never met, whose words we may have never read and whose name we don't even know, but that doesn't matter because we are compassionate conservatives who care unless it's for the other 30,000 dead Iraqis and, in that case, fuck 'em, and if you so much as question even the tiniest bit of our bogus, exhibitionist compassion, we will rip you a new one, bee-yotch. So there.

You think I'm kidding, but you've seen this before, haven't you? Yes, you have. And her name was "Terri Schiavo."

The parallels with Schiavo are downright creepy. For years, no one in Wankerville had the slightest interest in Schiavo. She languished in her vegetative state with nary a glance from all those "compassionate" conservatives. And then, suddenly, with neck-snapping speed, she became the story. People who had never even heard of the condition of "persistent vegetative state" were suddenly terribly, terribly concerned about someone in one. People who had never, ever heard of Schiavo (and who hilariously, in some cases, couldn't even spell her name properly) referred to her constantly on a first-name basis and descended like locusts on her to weep and pray and rend their garments. And all because they got the text message.

As I said, the parallels are just creepy. The years of complete indifference or ignorance; the sudden and overwhelming interest; the obsession with the single individual to the exclusion of anyone else whose condition was identical; the annoyingly public weeping and praying to make sure that everyone else knew what was going on ... yes, it just went on and on, didn't it? And, in the end, the final parallel will be when all of those mourners lose interest and wander off the golf green to wait for the next text message.

It really is all too predictable, isn't it?

Words as weapons.

Man, I wish I could write like this. Uh ... him, not her.

Just another dead Iraqi. (Part 1.)

PROLOGUE: The opening scene of an episode of "CSI Miami": Early morning ... the sun is just coming up on a golf course. It's completely quiet ... all you see is the totally empty, meticulously-manicured green of one of the holes. Dead silence, now being broken by ... a quiet rumbling of some kind, picking up in intensity, getting louder, louder, until, suddenly, heads of people walking quickly appear over the edge of the green. More and more of them, striding briskly, dozens, maybe even a couple hundred, rushing onto the green, mingling, talking excitedly with one another and, just as quickly, they leave, and the golf course is empty again ... except for the body of a young woman lying in an adjacent sand trap.

The twist here is that the young woman had been murdered the night before and all of the people had been text-messaged that next morning to show up for an impromptu gathering of some kind. (I forget what the name for it is, but it involves a rapid-response approach to being able to gather a crowd quickly, perhaps for a protest or show of support or something like that.) In any event, it was the murderer who arranged for the gathering in order for the crowd to trample the green and destroy any possible evidence of his crime.

What an interesting concept. All those people, involved in their own little worlds, suddenly getting a call to drop what they're doing and congregate with little explanation for a higher purpose ... fascinating ...

As many of you will have already read, one of the storylines in Wankerville these days is the murder by terrorists of the brother-in-law of the authors of the blog "Iraq the Model." This, naturally, necessitated an overwhelming, heart-rending outpouring of grief from everyone in Wankerville. I, of course, had my own take on this, with which you're free to agree or disagree.

I didn't get a whole lot of flak over that piece, but blogger "liberal catnip" wasn't quite as lucky. I'm a little baffled as to how a fairly innocuous (and, IMHO, respectful) post by "catnip" could have generated 61 comments, including this opener:

I think you shame yourself twisting his grief (and anger at the anti-democratic terrorists, you know... the part you left out) into an "illegal war" post. His hopes and dreams for his country are in direct oppostion with your nostalgia for the days of Saddam and his sons.

What the hell? How is it that someone who almost certainly has never even met the blog's authors, much less the brother-in-law, can get so wildly cranked up over LC's post? And only after several minutes of thought did all of this become clear to me:

None of those people give a fuck about the dead brother-in-law.

Quite simply, all of those people currently in public mourning couldn't care less about that dead man. Not even a little bit. And this is going to require some explanation so make yourselves comfortable.

For starters, I couldn't quite figure out why the wankersphere was so (allegedly) devastated by this one death. I mean, they'd certainly never shown any overwhelming compassion for tens of thousands of other Iraqis dead at the hands of terrorists or the U.S. military. In fact, if you could sum up the general attitude of the wankersphere towards all of that Iraqi "collateral damage" in one word, that word would be "indifference." Remember, these are the people who weren't interested in keeping body counts even of U.S. casualties, so why the sudden outpouring of emotion over this Iraqi?

OK, there is the fact that he wasn't a complete unknown to them. If you're a regular reader of a blog, and that blog's author shares some sad news, it's only natural to sympathize and pass on condolences. After all, if you read someone long enough, you start to feel like you know them, and their sorrows become your sorrows. Perfectly understandable, right?

Except that, as far as I can tell, the man who was murdered was not one of the blog's authors. He was only the brother-in-law. And while I'm not trying to diminish his death that way, it certainly makes it a bit more puzzling as to why so many people were howling in emotional anguish over someone whose words they may never have even read. (Disclaimer: I was never a regular reader of that blog so perhaps I'm wrong and the brother-in-law was a contributor. If someone wants to correct me on this, feel free.) But none of that is the weirdest part. The weirdest part is that, as far as I can tell, none of these mourners even know the dead man's name.

Go back and read the original ITM post. See what I mean? No name. All we read is that it's the "sister's husband." Think I'm making too much of this? Check out Crazy-Assed Racist Bitch who, while weeping crocodile tears over this, doesn't appear to know the name either. All we get from her is a reference to "the family of Mohammed at Iraq the Model." You don't even know the guy's name, do you, Michelle? (I should also point out that, for someone who seems so saddened by this, Michelle doesn't have ITM on her blogroll. You can make of that whatever you wish.)

So, to recap, what we have here is the death of a man that, by all accounts, was utterly unknown to the readers of that blog, whose life and achievements ("He was a brilliant young doctor with a whole future awaiting him...") had to be explained to those readers, and whose name was not even provided and, based on that, we have the entirety of Wankerville rending their garments in sorrow. Not to sound crass and hard-hearted but, really, what the fuck is going on here? And then it all became clear.

(Continue reading Part 2 here.)

You got your good, and you got your evil.

There's this:

Now 70, [David] Suzuki is still haunted by the childhood memory of being forced with his family from their Vancouver home into an internment camp for Japanese-Canadians a few months after Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

It is a humiliation that he has never been able to completely shake and one that has shaped his character and helped chart the course of his life.

"I've been very ambitious to do well, and part of it is because after the war we were completely impoverished, and my dad said the way out is education and hard work," Suzuki explains during a stop in Toronto to promote his new autobiography. "He said if you're ever going to compete with white people you have to work 10 times harder.

"It's within me," concedes Suzuki, the Canadian-born son of Canadian-born parents of Japanese descent. "When I meet a white person, I still feel that the first thing you're seeing is a Jap."

Oh, come on, Dave. It's not just the white people, you know.

Dear Wayne: Time for you to move on.

To recently-arrived commenter "Wayne," I think it's time for you to take your act elsewhere. It's not that I necessarily disagree with you (in fact, I've noticed that, in many cases, you agree with me wholeheartedly).

But, all by yourself, you've almost out-commented everyone else put together. If you have that much to say, you're better off starting your own blog. My comments section is for people to make the occasional comment to add something to the dicsussion, it's not for strangers to wander in, pitch a tent and set up shop.

It's obvious you have a lot to say, just as it's obvious that you're not very good at this sort of thing since a good deal of what you've posted is sadly shallow and simplistic. You're more than welcome to pop by on occasion but, given how much you feel you need to say, it's time for you to get your own forum and your own audience somewhere else.

Good luck.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Save the Internet.

Hmmmmm ... potentially ugly developments regarding the Internet down south. How does that affect us up here?

Well, well, well ... "Jinx" has a point.

Well, how about that? Our favourite wingnut Jason/"Jinx McHue" has a valid objection to something I wrote. Back here, I slapped him around thoroughly and, in closing, was all over him regarding the alleged number of Iraqi "civilian" casualties. He left a comment which I, as I have already explained, deleted. But the gist of that comment makes for some interesting reading.

His point was that the number of less than one thousand Iraqi civilian casualties was not the overall total since the invasion began, just those inflicted specifically by U.S. forces since "the fall of Baghdad," which is, in fact, what that article is saying. So, technically, Jinx is correct. So what happened here?

Well, I definitely have to shoulder some of the blame since, in my skimming the actual claim, when I read, "Over two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad," I kind of missed the "over two years" part and just read "since the fall of Baghdad." And, given how all of us were told how much of a "cakewalk" this whole thing was going to be, I mistakenly assumed that the fall of Baghdad conicided with the beginning of the invasion. Silly me.

I never realized that the "fall of Baghdad" had been redefined to not include the first couple years of intense fighting that killed so many more civilians. It must be wonderfully convenient to be able to pick your starting point when you begin counting the dead, thereby avoiding the really embarrassing periods of massive slaughter.

Of course, even if you accept that definition, this suggests that almost one thousand civilians have died at the hands of U.S. troops even after the city was supposedly locked down. And this is good? This is humanitarian?

In any case, you can read the tables and accompanying text for yourself to see how cleverly the worst part of the killing is simply defined away. Hey, with that kind of selective ability, I'm pretty sure I could make almost anything sound perky and upbeat.

Always that "context" thing, isn't it?

For ten marks, explain why these two situations are totally, totally different. First, there's this:

Four military recruiters hastily fled a job fair Tuesday morning at UC Santa Cruz after a raucous crowd of student protesters blocked an entrance to the building where the Army and National Guard had set up information tables.

Then, there's this:

The high-stakes intensity of the campaign could also be seen Monday in noisy confrontations between Kerry and Bush supporters and the use of bullhorns and air horns by a small group of Bush supporters to try to disrupt the speeches, prompting Kerry and his wife to respond to what the candidate termed "goons."

For five extra marks, explain clearly why the protestors in the first case were a bunch of irresponsible troublemakers who deserved whatever they got, while those in the second case were upstanding examples of conservative intellect, simply exercising their constitutional rights to act like total assholes.

You have five minutes. Your time begins now.

Juat another America-hating, traitorous little slut.

Let the "Pinking" of the traitors begin. After all, getting "Dixie Chicked" is so ... so ... yesterday.

Another broken CPC promise: Funding for the arts.

Briefly, based on a partial clip from CBC Radio One a few minutes ago, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women Bev Oda now says that, when she originally promised that the arts would be funded, she was speaking only "for herself." Links, anyone?

Dear Judge: Bite me.

It's always fun, when you check out the result of a recent court case, to read the dissenting opinions and realize that, yes, even the mentally retarded can become judges.

Over at Cathie's, in the case of a the public school, gay-bashing t-shirt, we have that dissenting judge's opinion:

There was no evidence that gay students were harmed by derogatory messages of the type conveyed on Harper's T-shirt, Kozinski said.

"No harm, no foul," is that it? "Sticks and stones" and all that? You know, I'm betting that judge would think differently if counsel started giving him some attitude along the lines of "With all due respect, Your Honor, you really are an ignorant, dumb-as-shit horse's ass." Yeah, I bet that would get his attention, probably to the tune of a charge of contempt of court or something. Of course, that judge would have been in no way actually "harmed" by that expression of disrespect, but I doubt that would have stopped him from being thoroughly hypocritical on the subject, if you catch my drift.

Of course, let's not forget that making derogatory comments against gays these days is simply free speech, or religious expression, or whatever, while making derogatory comments against Christians is clearly evidence of a worldwide, pernicious, disgusting "War on Christianity."

What is it like to be that hypocritical? Seriously.

Whack the wingnut pinata!

Yes, I know I shouldn't be doing this but, really, when you have an overpowering urge to bitch-slap some unfortunate, feeble-minded wingnut, well, there's only one place to go. Follow along as we eviscerate Jinx-approved logic (at least until my gorge rises to the point where I have to give up and scamper back to the reality-based community for some fresh air):

Test Number One: The Iraq War is not going well because American military casualties are too high.

False: Each fatality is painful and each life precious; however, given the risk in war, a statistical analysis shows that casualties have been low for a major war.

Ooooh ... a "twofer." First, there's "Each fatality is painful and each life precious ...". Yes, yes, that would of course explain the appalling lack of body armor and up-armored Humvees and shipping bodies back as cargo and ... well, you get the idea. Beating up on this idiocy any further would be like sandblasting a soup cracker, so let's move on to the second half, shall we?

"... given the risk in war, a statistical analysis shows that casualties have been low for a major war." Uh ... yeah. So let's see ... we take, on the one hand, a Middle Eastern nation crippled by years of international sanctions and constant aerial bombardment, send in international inspectors to make sure they have no serious weapons left and even make them start to destroy missiles which they arguably are entitled to, and then, after they have been thoroughly disarmed, we throw at them the power of the strongest military force that history has ever seen, along with the most advanced weaponry ever devised, and what we find is ... hey! Coalition casualties are lower than average for a major war. Fuckin A! I'm guessing that's a testament to the brilliant tactical strategery of military geniuses like this.

But let us not tarry overly long here. Onward.

Test Number Two: The Iraq War is not going well because, as a result of creating more terrorists than we are destroying, American civilian casualties are too high.

False: There have been zero civilian casualties in the United States since the Iraq War began.

Of course, there have been zero War on Terror-related civilian casualties in Canada all that time as well. Wow. We managed to achieve the same stunning military success by simply not invading. Are we fucking brilliant or what? Next.

Test Number Three: The Iraq War is not going well because Iraqi civilian casualties are too high.

False: The Coalition intervention has dramatically decreased the rate of civilian casualties in Iraq.

I'm sorry ... decreased the rate of civilian casualties in Iraq compared to what? What they were when Saddam Hussein was in power?

That's it? That's your marketing shtick? "Operation Iraqi Freedom! Because we'll kill fewer of you than Saddam will." It's pretty pathetic when your argument for personal virtue is that you're not going to be as homicidally evil as the tyrant you just deposed. That's pretty much the definition of "damning by faint praise," isn't it?

And on that note, I really have to stop. Feel free to deal with the rest of that silliness if you wish. Even I have my limits. Where the fuck is that exit door?

I CAN'T RESIST: I have to address the very next myth refutation since it's so beyond the pale, it's hard to believe that even someone as criminally stupid as Jinx McHue could begin to take it seriously:

Test Number Four: The Iraq War is not going well because the U.S. military in particular has destroyed the infrastructure and killed many Iraqi civilians.

False: Over two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad, much of it urban warfare pursuing un-uniformed combatants concealed within the civilian population, with less than 1,000 civilians killed as a result of U.S. action is a spectacular humanitarian record.

I'm sorry -- is this seriously suggesting that only 1,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the invasion? One thousand!?!? You must be joking.

Even Commander CrotchBulge has finally assigned a number to this:

On Monday, President Bush directly answered a question about the total Iraqi death toll, including civilians, without issuing the familiar brusque dismissal. Instead, he offered his own estimate of "Iraqi citizens" killed since the invasion: "30,000, more or less."

30,000. Not 1,000. 30,000. Of course, wankers will immediately counter with, "Yeah, but that includes terrorists and civilians. Only 1,000 of those people were actual civilians."

In the first place, how stupid do you have to be to think that, with the indiscriminate air attacks that the U.S. has launched against crowded population centres in Iraq, their terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio is a staggeringly successful 29:1!? Really. That's absurdly optimistic. But you don't even need to point out that howling illogic.

The Post article makes it clear that that figure is meant to represent civilians (emphasis added):

Of the publicly issued totals, Bush's "30,000, more or less" most closely tracks the numbers kept by the Iraq Body Count (IBC). This private group compiles reports from major international news outlets, the Red Cross and other sources. As of Friday, the group's Web site was reporting that between 27,383 and 30,892 civilians had been killed since the start of the war.

To seriously propose that only 1,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq all this time shows a pathological dishonesty I didn't even know existed. Even in Jinx McHue.

With friends like this ...

What is wrong with this picture?

Legislation that would ban most abortions in the state [of Louisiana] passed a Senate committee 7-0 Wednesday after the bill's author agreed to make go into effect only if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Senate Bill 33 by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, cleared the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare after the provision was added. The bill would allow abortions only to save the life of the mother. But Sen. Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans, said she wanted to "make it more pro-life" by not allowing any exceptions.

Think hard -- it'll come to you.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Cats doing very strange things.

There's a fine line between genius and madness.

The Malkin standard.

So here's how it works:

  • Protestor who shouts down Chinese president Hu Jintao and is escorted out by Secret Service? Fucking A, we're talking hero, and I'm not jackin' you around, no sir. A "remarkable woman" who has "confronted the Chinese regime face-to-face before." We're talking a "bold American" who "rocks."

  • Protestor who ... well, shows up by invitation from a member of Congress and whose cardinal sin is to do nothing more than wear a T-shirt encouraging people to "support the troops?" Traitorous little slut.

Life is so uncomplicated in Michelle's bubble, isn't it?

BETTER AND BETTER: Michelle must be having an absolute "ragegasm" right about now.

And now, the good news from Iraq ... oh, crap.

[OOOOOH ... BONUS. I'm guessing that, when your entire genocidal, Middle East, neo-con, imperialist fantasy is turning to shit all around you, it's easier to lash out mindlessly at the people who saw it coming rather than suck it up and admit how full of crap you've been all these years. That's why they call US the "reality-based community."

: If you're feeling up to it, compare what I wrote with what Mr. Fly quoted, and notice the convenient omissions of my deathless prose completely unrepresented by your typical ellipses to show that something has been dropped. Quite simply, Mr. Fly happily quotes my position, while deleting my rationale for said position. Around here, we call that being a lying, little ratfuck. Down there, they call it being a Republican.]

Well, now, this is an ... interesting development:

Mohammed and Omar, the writers of the "Iraq the Model" blog, lost their brother-in-law to a terrorist bombing last week:

He was a brilliant young doctor with a whole future awaiting him, the couple were the top graduates in their branch of specialty. They had to travel abroad to get their degrees and the war started while they were there but months after Saddam fallen they decided to come back to help rebuild the country and serve their people.

And what makes it so interesting, you ask?

Well, for the longest time, the blog "Iraq the Model" was used as a shining example of just how swimmingly ducky things were in Iraq. If you suggested that maybe, just maybe, Iraq wasn't all it was cracked up to be by the Bush administration, why, a whole passel of wankers might just respond with, "Oh, yeah? Well, these Iraq the Model guys are Iraqi, and they live in Iraq, and they say different. Who you gonna believe, huh? Huh? So there."

Oh, yes, those boys were serious heroes to chickenhawks in the right-wing wankersphere everywhere. In fact, they were such relentless pro-Bush cheerleaders that some folks started to wonder if they were just a front for some U.S. State Department project. The New York Times thought it was worth checking out, as did Justin over at I mean it's one thing to be optimistic; it's quite another to paint a picture so rosy and pro-American that you get invited to the White House to meet the Chimpster himself.

Which is why it has to be just a wee bit inconvenient for one of their relatives to have gotten himself blowed up recently. That puts a definite crimp in the story line, doesn't it? It's gotta hurt when one of the prominent voices proclaiming the wonders and security of Iraq takes that kind of hit. But, in a funny way, it's just part of a larger pattern. There seems to be a real epidemic of Iraq cheerleaders who, in one way or another, have absolutely no right to be painting a picture of democracy and progress over there.

With respect to the ItM guys, it's maybe not their place to be that perky if they've been living dangerously all this time, to the point where one of their own finally gets killed by "terrorists." But it doesn't end there.

There's been no end of Iraq-related perkiness from all sorts of wankers, from senior White House officials who only bother to pop into Iraq on "surprise" visits and scamper out a day later, having ventured no further than the security of the heavily-fortified Green Zone, to members of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders, who are just delighted to extol the virtues of Iraq from the safety of their law offices in Minnesota -- that sort of thing. (And don't even get me started on this egotistical, self-absorbed dumbfuck.)

But when reality intrudes in such a disturbing way, well, you get crap like this:

Stories like this fill me with heartache and despair over what has happened to Iraq, disillusionment over the American military's failure to protect its people, and near-uncontrollable rage at the sadistic Iraqi "resistance" and their blinkered apologists in the West. They aren't "freedom fighters". They're the opposite. They trample and spit on the graves of everyone who has ever fought so that his people may live in peace and freedom.

Yeah, Damian, let's dump on all those nasty, evil terrorists, shall we? That would be easier than admitting that maybe, just maybe, things haven't been as peachy keen over in Iraq as you and your Wankerville buddies have been putting on all this time. That would constitute an "oopsie" and, as we all know, you folks just don't do "oopsies," do you?

BY THE WAY, it is moderately amusing to see the wankersphere so distraught here. After all, these were the people who just didn't do "body counts," and for whom thousands of dead Iraqis were just "collateral damage" and, anyway, if you didn't like the current march toward "democracy," well, do you think they were better off under Saddam, huh? Well?? Huh???

To paraphrase George Orwell, even if all Iraqis are equal, I guess some are more equal than others.

... I realize I have a bad habit of linking to TBogg way too often but, seriously, how timely is this? And make sure you read the comments.