Saturday, June 2, 2007

Steve Gilliard (1966--2007)


Dead? At 41?

No, not yet. We ain’t ready.

I’m not ready.

You see, Steve was the guy who first introduced me to Blogsville, and I couldn't have asked for a better tour guide. He opened up my eyes and my mind to the rich majesty of this new Wild Wild West. It was waiting to be explored and it wasn't to be found on the radio, TV, movies, newspapers, or magazines. It was a mouse click away.

This is where all the good writing is: Shakes, Lance, Avedon, Hunter, Fixer, Jersey Guy, Skippy, Kung Fu Monkey, and The Rude Pundit. But Steve was my favorite.

Steve’s prose was smart, funny, insightful, scary, invigorating, essential, unique, clear, direct, and tough. From the perfect Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe to a brilliant analysis of our present Big Muddy in Iraq to the fucking Yankees, he did it all. Steve was a proud, African-American man who kicked ass with his mind.

Steve made me want to be a better writer and a better man.

But now he's dead, and I'm gonna miss him.



MY God doesn't fear science

I struggled for a title for this post--indeed, I struggled with what to post about the Creation Museum, or even if I should post about it. It does seem ripe for mockery--anything so utterly filled with animatronic creatures is probably going to get a lot of that. The thing is, I *don't* want to make fun of what these people believe. But it does make me sad...

A photo from the official Grand Canyon web site.

During some down time at work, I read an article from last week's Columbus Dispatch about the opening of the Creation Museum. It's not available for linking any more, so I looked for another article and found this one at Salon. The teachings about the Grand Canyon are fairly new to me...
In Ham's view, the great flood explains not only where scientists find fossils today but also the topography of the modern world. The Grand Canyon, he informs me, was made in a matter of days or weeks as the waters of the flood rushed away and the land was reclaimed. In the exhibit, you walk through a winding canyonlike corridor with spinning, dizzying lights into a wide-open room with videos, exhibits and diagrams explaining the hydrology of instant canyon-making. Ham says that instant canyon-making is based on the fact that volcanoes, such as Mount St. Helens, created reservoirs of water for a time in their altered topography. When those reservoirs breached, deep grooves were cut by the flowing water, leading to the fast formation of canyons.
Inside the Confusion exhibit, I strike up a conversation with Tim Shaw, a high school student visiting from Florida. "I don't care how long it took to make the Grand Canyon," he tells me. "It's not how old it is that matters to me. What matters is being right with God. Darwin's theory has no God. It can't be right. I don't know if this story is truer than Darwin's theory, but I do know it's better."

I do empathize. When I first started to tenatively question some of the things I'd grown up believing, it was kind of anxiety-inducing. Sort of like I was tugging at a loose thread and could end up unraveling *everything* if I wasn't careful.

I suppose I should point out, though, that it wasn't creationism versus evolution that I was struggling with. *That* was never presented as problematic, and I was taught the theory of evolution in science class at the Catholic elementary school I attended. In the Dispatch article, Ham is quoted as saying that there is a "cultural war" going on between secular humanism and the Christian worldview. I disagree. Maybe evolution is threatening to *his* version of Christianity, but it has never been anything but compatible with mine.

Also at Street Prophets, My Left Wing and Booman Tribune

Friday, June 1, 2007

At Long Last, Bush Defines Victory in Iraq

Ward and June al Cleaver and their two sons, Walli and Beav al Cleaver shown here in their Baghdad home.
The photo above is said to depict the President's vision of "the typical Iraqi family in the "post Saddam era,
by that I mean the era that is after Saddam," the President is reported to have said. The photo was leaked exclusively
to Worldwide Sawdust by an anonymous but highly placed source who told this reporter that "this will be the
President's final comment on what constitutes victory in Iraq."

An Iraq that has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency.

An Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country.

An Iraq that is a partner in the global war on terror and the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, integrated into the international community, an engine for regional economic growth, and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.

From the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq - Victory in Iraq Defined

As the President has insisted all along "we are making progress in Iraq," so in an attempt to assist the pres in explaining his vision for victory I would like to point out some of the ongoing success stories.

Before our humanitarian invasion of Iraq the only people who could buy a decent armored vehicle were  those close to Saddam and his tight circle of fellow despots.

I'm happy to report that (the President doesn't want to seem as if he's blowing his own horn on this) is no longer the case. All Iraqi citizen's are now able to purchase armored vehicles for their own use for travel in their democratic and increasingly secure country thanks to a Texas company that specializes in refitting vehicles.

Texas Armoring, a small San Antonio, TX vehicle security refitting company, has had over $6 million in sales in the Iraq marketplace. Servicing both reconstruction and non-reconstruction clients, Texas Armoring has been successfully marketing its products throughout Iraq with the help of local sales agents. All of the add-on parts used in the company?s refitting are manufactured in its plant at San Antonio. Over twenty-five new positions at its company plant have been created to support demand for its products as well as 3 Iraqi sales agents employed in the region.

Texas Armoring has been manufacturing its product for over 25 years. According to Ronald Kimball, president of Texas Armoring, ? We are pleased that we are a part of the efforts that are being made to save lives?.

In the bad old days it was next to impossible to get an appointment with anyone in Saddams government to do a bit of business. Not so any more, as part of our reconstruction efforts facilitating will be a growth industry just as it is inside the beltway.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, ( Yes, that Baker) a law firm with 10 offices across the South Central U.S. and in Washington, D.C., as well as a representative office in Beijing, China has established a presence in Baghdad and Sulaimanya, Iraq. Charles "Rick" Johnston, chairman of the firm's international transactions and trade group, has established the firm's presence in an effort to better serve a variety of international clients with interests in Iraq and the region. As part of its legal services, Baker Donelson helps companies identify business opportunities, facilitates business partnerships, introduces clients to interim Iraqi government officials and assesses the political, legal and business climate. Baker Donelson engages the services of Iraqi nationals on an as needed basis to augment client representation.

The firm made this move at the request of clients to provide a professional base of operations, expertise, and contacts within in Iraq's emerging economy, says Baker Donelson chairman and CEO Ben Adams. Adams says Johnston is "an exceptionally qualified international lawyer and under his direction the firm is well-equipped to serve the multidisciplinary needs of clients in this extremely dynamic environment." Baker Donelson sees Iraq as another opportunity to serve global businesses with interests in emerging international markets. With Johnston in Iraq, the firm will be identifying contract and business opportunities in the reconstruction of the country. The firm will help its clients communicate with government officials, decision makers and advisers overseeing the preparation and awarding of reconstruction contracts.

Nothing is left out of the President's vision for the reconstruction of Iraq. You might think that just because there's no clean water, electricity only flows for a few hours each day, and many homes are sort of bombed out that people would not be redecorating. You would be sooo wrong.

Home Essentials, a medium-size furniture leasing operation out of Dallas, Texas, has announced the opening of its office in Baghdad, Iraq. Home Essentials has entered into a partnership with URUK Furniture Design, an Iraqi furniture enterprise.

With this move it has become the first foreign furniture leasing operation to have a direct presence in Iraq. Home Essentials initial investment exceeds $500,000. The Iraq venture and partnership has already resulted in 15 new Iraqi jobs, however, the company anticipates this number increasing.

U.S. Department of Commerce officials assisted and advised Home Essentials in its venture into the Iraqi market. Assistance by the Iraq Investment and Reconstruction Task Force has been extremely helpful in helping Home Essentials expand its venture into the Iraq marketplace.

Home Essentials presence in Iraq is one example of the numerous private sector trade and investment opportunities in Iraq. Mr. Chris Exline, President of Home Essentials, stated, ?Those that deem Coalition contracts and U.S. contracts as the reason for entering Iraq miss the picture. Iraq has a need for everything. The consumer market and general population require consumables, raw materials, products, real estate expertise?anything we have in the U.S. is needed in post-conflict Iraq. The best days are ahead.?

If there is no electricity in Baghdad it's certainly not the fault of this next outfit which comes to us from Houston. They are also in the paint business for those who want to paint before they order furniture from Dallas.

The Khudairi Group, a large diversified company located in Houston, Texas, has a strong presence in the Middle East with offices in Jordan and Iraq. In addition to owning and operating several types of businesses in Iraq, The Khudairi Group is a major construction equipment dealer. Other areas of operation include paint manufacturing, food products, general contracting and a security company offering physical site protection.

The Khudairi has employed several dozen Iraqis in its operations and has brought Iraq engineers to its U.S. site for training as well. According to Mr. Aziz Khudairi the company's motto "Together we will rebuild Iraq" perfectly captures the spirit of The Khudairi Group activities.

Even the worst skeptics should be able to see from this brief list that enormous progress is being made in Texas from the fruits of Iraqi reconstruction and there are many more success stories.

The last company above is also the exclusive distributor of John Deere equipment in Iraq where such equipment has become all the rage, after all, nothing runs like a Deere.

Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

John McCain - Contents Under Pressure

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

I have been wanting to do a strip on the volatile nature of the 08 version of John McCain for some time, but I didn't know exactly how to draw the character. When he started explaining his foreign policies by singing filked versions of golden oldie tunes, it came to me.

The whole press conference where he was singing "Bomb Iran" wasn't Presidential unless you include Bush on that scale, then the curve bottoms out.

I believe cooler heads will need to prevail in the 08 election so we can exit Iraq. We have had enough of indiscriminate bombings in the Middle East, we don't need McCain to make the situation worse with his show tunes. Gak, an image just came to my mind of Rudy dancing the chorus line while McCain sings. That might have just ruined Broadway for me forever!

But we do need McCain to stay in the race, for nothing more than to push Fred Thompson's buttons. I quiver with excitement!

Goliah Beats David

Being a working class hero in the United States means you're already a day late and a dollar short. Yesterday, the Supreme Court just made it worse.

WASHINGTON — A sharply divided Supreme Court made it more difficult Tuesday for workers alleging race or sex discrimination to challenge pay disparities that occur gradually over several years.

The decision, viewed by employers as a victory and civil rights groups as a setback, immediately prompted some calls for Congress to amend federal law.

By a 5-4 vote along ideological lines, the court said workers cannot sue for paycheck inequities that become obvious only over time. The stance reverses a position taken by several lower federal courts and adopted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids job bias based on race, sex, religion and national origin, requires pay claims to be filed within 180 days of an employer's allegedly biased action. The dispute focused on what event could trigger the 180-day filing deadline. The court said Tuesday that only decisions that set pay qualify as such action. It rejected the view that each new paycheck could constitute a grievance and timely grounds for a claim based on earlier bias.

Justice Samuel Alito, voting on the side of the majority, said, "This short deadline reflects Congress' strong preference for the prompt resolution of...allegations." He added, "The deadline protects employers from having to defend practices that may be long past."


"The court's decision is a setback for women, and a setback for civil rights," Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center. "The ruling essentially says tough luck to employees who don't immediately challenge their employer's discriminatory acts, even if the discrimination continues." And, as dissenting Justice Ruth Ginsburg observed, this left workers with two bad choices: Sue early and bring a "less-than-fully baked case", or sue when the pay gap may be enough for a winnable case but get cut off by the deadline.

So, the erosion of rights of the working class goes on, as rich guys who own corporations got taken care of by rich guys wearing long black robes. It doesn't get any better, does it? The minimum wage is ridiculously inadequate, unions decline in power, there's outsourcing of jobs, the Incredible Shrinking Pension, layoffs, NAFTA, and seeing your life savings Enroned away.

What's next? Sharecropping? Debtors prisons? Indentured servitude? Leg irons?

Ahh, the Good Old Days.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

On becoming a butterfly

Originally posted at My Left Wing a couple days ago, and after posting about the school saga below, I thought I'd balance that out with something a bit more "uplifting".

I was reading some of the responses to Cindy Sheehan's essay at, and was pleasantly surprised when someone posted the text of a movie speech by Charlie Chaplin that I had never heard of before. It was from The Great Dictator in 1940, and you can read it as well as listen to the audio here. I've included an excerpt below, so that you can see what struck me about the words--which still ring very true today:

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me I say, "Do not despair." The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die; and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Do not despair. There is reason for hope. Here's some hopeful news:

The apparent political divisions notwithstanding, U.S. polling data reveal a startling degree of consensus on key issues. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities. Supermajorities want to see greater priority given to children, family, community, and a healthy environment. Americans also want a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination. These Earth Community values are in fact widely shared by both conservatives and liberals.
And finally, I'd like to round this out with a nice metaphor for you to ponder:

A more recent metaphor for starting in small groups and linking them for transformational change is supplied by evolution biologist, Elizabeth Sahtouris and found in David Korten’s book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community:

The caterpillar is a voracious consumer that devotes its life to gorging itself on nature’s bounty. When it has had its fill, it fastens itself to a convenient twig and encloses itself in a chrysalis. Once snug inside, crisis strikes as the structures of its cellular tissue begin to dissolve into an organic soup.

Yet guided by some deep inner wisdom, a number of organizer cells begin to rush around gathering other cells to form imaginal buds, new and initially independent multicellular structures that begin to give form to the organs of a new creature. Correctly perceiving a threat to the old order, but misdiagnosing the source, the caterpillar’s still intact immune system attributes the threat to the imaginal buds and attacks them as alien intruders.

The imaginal buds prevail by linking up with one another in a cooperative effort that brings forth a new being of great beauty, wondrous possibilities, and little identifiable resemblance to its progenitor. In its rebirth, the monarch butterfly lives lightly on the earth, serves the regeneration of life as a pollinator, and is capable of migrating for thousands of miles to experience life’s possibilities in ways the earthbound caterpillar could not imagine.

I really like that metaphor. I mean, sure, it's pretty, and gives me an excuse to post a nice picture of a butterfly. But it also gets at why what we're trying to do is *so hard*, and why we face so much opposition. And sometimes in the face of all that, it can be hard to stay hopeful.

But I really felt like we needed something hopeful and ('scuse the pun) "uplifting" tonight. Hopefully, some of you will find something worthwhile in one of the excerpts I've included here. And if not, maybe you can post something that *does* give you hope and lift your spirits.

From the annals of unhelpful advice

This past Monday, I spent my day off from work trying to help my son salvage a project for his science class. I explained the course of events that led to this emergency data collection here and elsewhere. The basics--Son in Ohio is almost 14, has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, and is taking 8th grade science and math as a 7th grader. Demetrius was told on Friday that Son's grade was in jeopardy because he didn't have the data collected for a major project that was due this week. I put out an appeal for help, and the response was amazing. Son ended up with about 50 subjects for the study he was doing, when he was only trying for 32. Since I asked for help publicly, it seemed right to offer a public update of how the project went.

I wish I had a happy ending to report, but at the moment there isn't one. At least not for this project, but we continue to press forward in our efforts toward positive academic outcomes for our gifted, special needs son. We don't expect the job to be easy, or to have any magical "happily ever afters", but after all these years, it's kind of disappointing that we still need to butt heads like this with people who are supposed to be helping.

From a very unhappy e-mail I received from Demetrius when I was at work on Tuesday:

Apparently, after (teacher) told us on Friday that (son) might be failing science and math, we were supposed to spend our weekend consoling him to that fact instead of trying to help him. She keeps going on that (son) needs to take responsibility for his procrastinating.
Son's grade may still be salvagable, but the bigger issue is that his teacher is still saying stuff like this. "He has to take responsibility", he "has to learn" to do X, Y, or Z. Thank you for that headline from the esteemed research journal, Duh. Yes, of course he has to learn those things. When is someone going to start teaching him those things? Or even talking seriously with us about putting together a plan for how we are going to work together to teach him those skills?

I mean, what kind of social Darwinian attitude is it to say of an individual with any deficit, whether it be physical, cognitive, or emotional, "you're just going to have to learn"? How about tossing a non-swimmer into the deep water, and then "helpfully" shouting "You'd better start swimming or you'll drown!"

Shocking as it may seem, I really expect better than that from the people who are charged with providing my son with that Free Appropriate Public Education to which he is legally entitled. I'm even so bold as to expect that his teachers remember that Asperger's Syndrome is, by definition, a pervasive developmental disability--meaning that it affects many areas of his life. It's not just a social deficit. Yes, my son is classified as gifted, but that pervasive disability of his still has a cognitive component. He has trouble with something called "executive function", a set of skills involving

1. Working memory and recall (holding facts in mind while manipulating information; accessing facts stored in long-term memory.)

2. Activation, arousal, and effort (getting started; paying attention; finishing work)

3. Controlling emotions (ability to tolerate frustration; thinking before acting or speaking)

4. Internalizing language (using "self-talk" to control one's behavior and direct future actions)

5. Taking an issue apart, analyzing the pieces, reconstituting and organizing it into new ideas (complex problem solving).
And since that is a deficit our son has, it's something he needs help with. More effective help than urging him to "get organized" or "stop procrastinating". As far as helpfulness goes, those suggestions are right up there with "You'd better start swimming or you'll drown!"

Race matters in America - The Channon Christian-Christopher Newsom Murders

Is this a case of Color Arousal that caused acts of violence. Why are black bloggers not reporting on this crime. Are bloggers like making good point, when she writes, If a young black couple in Knoxville, TN go out for a night on the town, but instead are viciously murdered - their bodies mutilated and burned, after being brutally gang raped, sodomized, and tortured at the hands of five white thugs. The story easily makes it onto the front page of the national news, right?

Or are bloggers trying to create more of a racial divide in America? or is it racism, in white and black?

Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

The Channon Christian-Christopher Newsom Murders

National Media Blackout?In January of 2007, 21 year-old Channon Christian and her boyfriend, 23 year-old Christopher Newsom, were the victims of a horrific crime in Knoxville, Tennessee. During what appears to have started as a carjacking, the criminals decided to abduct the two and set in motion a disturbing series of events.

The suspects allegedly tortured and raped the young woman for several days before killing her. The young man’s life ended sooner but his treatment was no less brutal.

The amount of savagery that took place in this case is of such magnitude that bloggers and their readers are asking, “Where’s the national media?” What happened to these two young people is right up there with Jeff Dahmer’s deeds on the list of wicked things that people have done to each other.

So why isn’t the mainstream national media talking about it?

There are different theories as to why this may be so. Some believe that the media places such little value on our intelligence that they think all of us want to know every detail of Anna Nicole’s life and death or Britney’s latest shenanigans. Others think that the national media outlets are ignorant themselves– that they just don’t realize how interested America is in this case.

Is race a factor?

Still others see a more sinister hand at work. The suspects who have been apprehended for the horrific crime against those two young people are black; the victims were white. Many seem to think that the race of the alleged perpetrators is the issue.

Had the perpetrators been white, and the victims black, they say, the case would be all over the television and newspapers. Many cite the much-publicized dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. as an example.

Also troubling, according to some, is the contrast between the national media coverage of the alleged Duke rape case and this one. Visitors to the blogs I viewed also cited similarities between this case and the Wichita Massacre, a black-on-white rape/torture/murder in 2000, and other little-known cases as proof of a recent history of “blacking out” certain news stories. Read More HERE

The people pictured in the link below; car-jacked, then raped Christopher Newsom, cut off his penis, then set him on fire and fatally shot him several times while they forced his girlfriend, Channon Christian, to watch. An even more cruel fate awaited her!

Dr. Jim West had it right "In the blogosphere, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom are an indictment of mainstream media. On the Internet, they are a Wikipedia entry. Among white separatists, they are a tool. Within a racially divided America, they are a cause. That they are murder victims in a horrific Knoxville crime has gotten lost in all that noise."

No sad songs Hillary - You voted for the war!

I just got an email from the Hillary Cinton Campaign.

It reads: “Time is running out for you to vote in the final round of our campaign song contest. Your votes narrowed down the initial choices, and we’ve added some of your great suggestions. Please take a moment to cast your vote.”


AA Political Pundit says:

Hey Hillary, While some bloggers are amused, I’m not.

I don’t want to hire the next President as a “song and dance lady” I want to hire a President who can attempt to fix the Washington mess and get our women and men out of Iraq. It would be nice for you to lay out plans to address how you are going to help fix New Orleans and have the thousands of residents (mostly black) who have lost their property that goes back generations, to be able to come back to New Orleans and reclaim their property.

Candidly, I could give a royal crap what song you have for your campaign. But I’m sure the women and men in Iraq have some ideas for a song and dance for Hillary.

PS: Even if you made your campaign song “I Wish I Was in Dixie” as part of your effort to get the white southern vote at this point in American political history I would not be surprised.

Sheet music cover, c. 1900

But please no sad songs Hillary, you voted for the war. Those sad songs are coming out of Iraq.

Does the GOP See an Opening?

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

With whispers expressed through a bullhorn, Fred Thompson seems to be running for President. Undoubtedly this will energize the Republican base and certainly it will make it more difficult for Pelosi, Reid and the Defeat-o-crats to get the issue of the war solved. Unless there is a tidal shift on the left, the 2008 election will be up for grabs by either party.

But, and there is always a “but,” but there is yet another “known unknown,” to use a Rumsfelding term, for the progressive political side and it is Al Gore. If Gore gets in to save us from the GOP and the Clintons, it will be an interesting race, especially between two Southerners, two former Senators from Tennessee.

More or Less

ROPER Arrest him!


MORE For what?

ALICE He's dangerous!

ROPER For libel; he's a spy.

MARGARET Father, that man's bad.

MORE There's no law against that.

ROPER There is! God's law!

MORE Then God can arrest him.

ROPER Sophistication upon sophistication!

MORE No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.

ROPER Then you set man's law above God's!

MORE No, far below; but let me
draw your attention to a fact--I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God...

ALICE While you talk, he's gone!

MORE And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

ROPER So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

MORE Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

ROPER I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

MORE Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you--where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast--man's laws, not God's--and if you cut them down--and you're just the man to do it--d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

--"A Man For All Seasons", by Robert Bolt

Wake up and smell the vitriol.

Darth Cheney, the Sith Lord of the White House, spoke at West Point the other day. Yes, it's hard to believe, but a man who took five deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam, had the chutzpah to stand before the 978 new graduates of the US Military Academy and pontificate about serving admirably in combat. Shameless. Anyway, here's the money quote:

As Army officers on duty in the war on terror, you will now face enemies who oppose and despise everything you know to be right, every notion of upright conduct and character, and every belief you consider worth fighting for and living for. Capture one of these killers, and he'll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away.

In short: All's fair in Love 'n' War, and I love war!

Fuck the Geneva Convention, and fuck the Constitution of the United States. Oh yeah, and fuck all of you stupid jarheads, too. If you dumb white trash assholes get captured in Iran--er, Iraq, don't come crying to us when those sand niggers put a drill through your eye.

Huh, I wonder if 24 is on tonight? I hope it's not a repeat.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Inside The Watergate Basement

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

The new strategy of the GOP is emerging it seems, give ownership of the war to the Democrats, start a draw down of troops in time for the election then claim victory in Iraq.

Maybe I am a cynic, but the push seems to have already started. If the Dems capitulated on the Iraq funding bill due to a fear of GOP rhetoric, it seems they got it anyway.

Rule of Thumb #129: If the GOP doesn’t have anything to really complain about, they will simply make shit up, therefore you should always do the right thing.


Go to hell, Jerry.

As a recovering ex-Catholic who still believes in God but not the church, I didn't waste my tears on Jerry Falwell. If there's any justice, his soul should be impaled on a pitchfork right now. Still, even though his physical carcass is gone, his hateful malignancy is still alive. No, he didn't do it all by himself, but Falwell helped give religious intolerance clout, legitimacy, and a new car smell. It won't go away.

Here's the evidence:

Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies.

Ewa Sowinska, government-appointed children rights watchdog, told a local magazine published on Monday that she was concerned the popular BBC children's show promoted homosexuality.

She said she would ask psychologists to advise if this was the case.

In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late US evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: "I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy."

"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby ... Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."

Never mind about that child-molesting priest hiding in plain sight at the parish, boys and girls. It's Tinky Winky you should be worried about. That's right, a midget wearing a fuzzy purple costume in a make-believe world is a threat to children. (The beloved kiddy icon is probably carrying the dreaded Origin of Species in his purse) If you take a Bible and beat yourself over the head with it repeatedly, this ridiculous hallucination will make perfect sense. If it doesn't, get a bigger Bible.

Falwell's dead, but his legacy lives on. God help us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Get ready to fight them here!

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

I am still upset over the Democrats caving last week. All they had to do was refuse to send the bill for a floor vote. They could have rammed one with deadlines right through committee, just like the GOP has done for years and then have a vote on a Bill with deadlines. Yes, it may not have passed, but at least the Dems would have done the right thing and still been in the position of power.

Now it is going to be another year in that God-forsaken desert. Will Iraq be safe once "Shiadelic September" arrives? Nope, that is just when the Pentagon will BEGIN evaluating to see whether the surge did any good.

And when is that report due? March, 2008.

Welcome to the Real Long Slog.


SATAN, n. One of the Creator's lamentable mistakes, repented in sashcloth and axes. Being instated as an archangel, Satan made himself multifariously objectionable and was finally expelled from Heaven. Halfway in his descent he paused, bent his head in thought a moment and at last went back. "There is one favor that I should like to ask," said he.

"Name it."

"Man, I understand, is about to be created. He will need laws."

"What, wretch! you his appointed adversary, charged from the dawn of eternity with hatred of his soul — you ask for the right to make his laws?"

"Pardon; what I have to ask is that he be permitted to make them himself."

It was so ordered.

--"The Devil's Dictionary," by Ambrose Bierce

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on a late-term abortion method and gave hope to the nation’s abortion opponents in their 30-year crusade to overturn Roe v. Wade. The new ruling was the first time the court approved abortion restrictions that contain no exception to protect a mother’s health.

In other words, you're on your own, ladies.

Good luck.

Monday, May 28, 2007

It’s Memorial Day, have a hot dog.

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

Today, Bush will place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and sadly, I find it laughable.

Bush has not gone to a single funeral for a soldier who has died in his War on Terror but Bush does find time to go to a soldier’s grave that he HASN’T had a hand in killing.

It is my belief that the average American spends more time worrying about the soldiers than the President does. Bush only worries about it when he is in front of a camera.

The thing Bush does spend a lot of time worrying about is if he can get oil to $100 a barrel. His time is running out.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

thanks for everything, kos; or, ralphie boy was right

cross-posted at skippy and a veritable cornucopia of other community blogs.

by now everyone should be over their initial depression of the democrats selling out to awol's war earlier this week.

tho we ourselves had high hopes that the dems had grown spines ( indeed, there had been some reports of such skeletal formations spotted in the last few months), we were not at all surprised when the very people that were elected to stop the war in iraq pulled down their pants, bent over and said "thank you sir, may i have another?"

the majority of americans think things are going badly in iraq; the majority of americans think we never should have gone into iraq; the majority of americans support a timetable for withdrawl from iraq.

and yet, the democrats that america voted into office last fall gave up their fight to acknowledge and appease such majority views.

thanks, democrats. oh, and thanks, markos, for convincing us to vote for those democrats.

the brooklyn rail, reviewing crashing the gates last year, pointed out markos' platform vis-a-vis progressives:

kos has repeatedly called for progressives to approach the party as a “big tent,” with room for positions that deviate from the ostensible party line on abortion, gun control, the death penalty, the environment—or the legion of “social” issues that the pundits argue have made it a pariah in many states.
and so we voted for anyone who had a big "d" next to their name...whether or not he or she actually believed in, not only what we believed in, but also in what he or she actually said he or she believed in.

in his quest to become the "not leader" of liberal blogs, markos banned jews, palestinians, feminists, and everybody who posts at my left wing.

yes, mid-ameirca can now read the daily kos without see the "f" word in the titles of diaries. and the right-of-center can rest easy that nobody will raise the ugly spector of issues like abortion or what really happened on 9/11.

but as a wiser man than we once said, "those who stand for nothing, fall for anything." sure, there are numbers of great quantity in the middle, but the fire is along the edges of american politics.

bob fertik says today at

kos the impeachment koward just kondemned one of my favorite progressive bloggers, poputonian:

digby defends the iraq supplemental bill out of the house. this, on the other hand, is utter horseshit. there's little worse in progressive politics than "holier than thou" purity trolls. they are just as destructive to the progressive movement as dlc trolls.
what did poputonian write to get kos so enraged?

poputonian quoted david swanson's criticism of democratic house leaders for blocking a vote on the lee amendment, and swanson's criticism of moveon for aiding and abetting that vote denial through their dishonest member "poll"…

so apparently if you agree with any of these points, kos believes you are a "holier than thou" purity troll who is just as destructive to the progressive movement as [a] dlc troll.

it seems that those of us fought to the end for the lee amendment have touched a very sensitive nerve by objecting to the manner in which it was killed by house democratic leaders and their allies in the "progressive" movement, most conspicuously moveon.

if moveon, sirota, and kos were mere spectators in that effort, their lies and vicious attacks wouldn't make much sense.

could it be that some of our "progressive" allies were working with house democratic leaders in the runup to the supplemental to help them kill the lee amendment?

maybe poputonian unwittingly hit the nail on the head when (s)he wrote america: still an insider's game?
and markos has tried like hell to become one of those insiders in that past months.

congratulations, markos. you've made it. the stephanie herseths, the jim webers, the john testers owe you a big, big debt of thanks for helping get them elected.

those are the guys who voted for the stripped down iraq funding bill, right?

now, we don't think markos is to blame for the dems' caving on the iraq funding bill (he is, however, obvioulsy responsible for the virginia tech massacre).

but we do think that his pointed efforts to "play to the middle" at the expense of actual convictions, plus his obvious work for getting anyone elected that claimed to be a democrat, is indicative of the core problems with the entire party.

the repubbblicans, for all their wrong-headedness, bigotry, selfishness and fantasy-world beliefs, at least have some beleifs. we often (and lately especially) have come to think that the only thing elected democrats believe in is getting elected.

as to those who say the dems are acting just like the repubbbs, we ask:  does the name ralph nader ring a bell?


It's an ugly paradox.

In a racist culture that brutalizes and marginalizes them, people of color have died in white men's wars throughout history because that was the only way to finance a piece of the American Dream. Sure, it's inequitable and dangerous, but I know too many brothers and sisters that were able to get good jobs and buy houses only because they enlisted. My father was able to open his barber shop because he earned a degree during his time spent in the Navy in World War II. The military has always been the biggest employer for minorities.

Of course, the nasty contradictions staring African-American soldiers in the face were as clear as a "White Only" sign. It was a bitter joke to fight and die for "freedom" overseas when you couldn't even shit in the same place as a white man. Every black man during the turbulent years of the 60s knew what Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali meant when he defiantly said, "No Viet Cong ever called me nigger." The struggle of people of color wasn't just confined to the United States. It was global.

So what happens when the black pawns refuse to play this game of imperialistic chess anymore?

In a fascinating and provocative essay, Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson explains how and why enlistments of African-Americans are at their lowest numbers since the all-volunteer military was created in 1973. "This is not a black people's war," an African-American veteran of the Iraq war said. "This is not a poor people's war. This is an oilman's war."

Gregory Black is a retired Navy diver who created the website Black Military Black says that quote is representative of how African-American veterans feel about the Iraq invasion and occupation.

"African-Americans detest this war," Black said yesterday in a phone interview. "Everybody kind of knows the truth behind this war. It's a cash cow for the military defense industry, when you look at the money these contractors are making. African-Americans saw this at the beginning of the war and now the rest of the country has figured it out. It's not benefiting us in the least."

Asked about the reference to an "oilman's war," Black said, "It's basically about oil, basically about money. It's an economic war." He said veterans are saying they are tired and burned out. "Guys are saying we're halfway around the world fighting people of color under the guise of democracy and we can't see how it's benefited anyone," Black said. "It's hard to fight halfway around the world for people's freedom when you're not sure you have it at home."

People of color wearing khakis and carrying guns are the hired help, that's all. To the aristocracy, the soldiers are no different than the faceless non-entities who wash the cars, mow the lawn, and clean up the stinking mess in the kid's diapers. Yeah, I hear all sort of noise about "supporting the troops", but you and I know that's code for "Hell, no, I ain't going."

Except African-Americans have translated the code, too. "In 2000," Jackson reported, "23.5 percent of Army recruits were African-American. By 2005, the percentage dropped to 13.9 percent. National Public Radio this week quoted a Pentagon statistic that said that African-American propensity to join the military had dropped to 9 percent."

Hell, no, I ain't going.

Black said that he still believes "without a shadow of a doubt" that the military still provides one of the best opportunities for African-Americans to advance in a nation where civilian opportunities remain checkered. But he said the military may underestimate how young people are absorbing the horrific images in Iraq's chaos. Pentagon officials largely attribute the drop in African-American interest in the armed forces to "influencers," parents, coaches, ministers, and school counselors who urge youth not to enlist.

"I think some of that is true," Black said. "But I taught ROTC in high school, and the kids themselves are a lot smarter about this stuff. They see the news and they can't justify going into a fight for something they have no faith in."

I remember seeing a poster that read: "What If They Gave A War And Nobody Came?" Still, it's a good thing for the military that there's enough poor whites in this country to make up the difference, huh?

And it's not even April 1

The source isn't The Onion, today isn't April Fool's Day. So, help me out here--how can these people POSSIBLY be serious about this...

Business chiefs and lawmakers criticised the use of the term McJob Thursday as fast food chain McDonald's launched a campaign to get an influential dictionary to change its definition.

Figures including Sir Digby Jones, former head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and David Frost, director-general of the British Chamber of commerce, complained that the term was "insulting" and "out of touch".

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED), seen as the definitive guide to the English language, describes a McJob as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."
Okay, I fully understand the business industry folks not liking that definition, but the proposed change is going to make people laugh out loud.
But Jones, Frost and 13 others said in a letter to the Financial Times that the dictionary should change this "to reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career progression."

Their letter coincided with a push by McDonald's to get the OED to change the definition -- it is launching Thursday a public petition in British restaurants and on the Internet.
In recent days I've heard Al Gore speaking on The Daily Show and elsewhere, as part of his promotional tour for his new book The Assault on Reason. It's pretty distressing to realize how much financial interests have morphed the "news" into a different sort of creature entirely. That's bad enough. But, the freaking dictionary?

The letter has to be, at least to some extent, tongue-in-cheek. Jones, Frost et. al. can't seriously expect the OED to change a definition to the opposite of its everyday usage. If society ever sinks to that level, the chimps may want to deny that they're related to us.