Friday, May 13, 2005

Stating the Obvious 

I'm only mentioning this because I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else: but the reason the rogue plane/Capitol evacuation story the other day was such an important story, is because it once again allowed TV-viewing Americans to come in tantalizing proximity with what has long been* their deepest collective desire: to experience the fantasy of personally dying a spectacular, sensational death. Not an anonymous, quiet, mournful, invisible death: but a death where everyone is running through the streets, the whole world might be coming to an end, and there might even be gigantic explosions. (Although some people may, in fact, wish to die, the desire I am describing is not a desire to actually die, which would presumably involve pain; but rather to somehow live out a fantasy of personal and collective death; virtual death, or death as a spectacle of mass death.)

*It should be noted that although this collective fantasy has probably existed for a long time (who could say how long?), it erupted through to consciousness, slightly, on 9/11/01, and since then has been the sole ground of electoral politics in the United States.

P.S.--Happy Friday the 13th.

God hates your gay phone company 

Just when you thought your outrage meter was running on empty, take a pit-stop at these links and get a full tank of gas-o-spleen!

Some right-wingnutters just aren't reality-based! They don't even believe in DSL!

(via LibDog's Ironiblog)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Keep smiling, fuckface 


Here’s your “more realistic view of the world's dangers,” asshole:

14 Are Killed in Baghdad as Insurgents Press Their Offensive

…Today's violence [during which a suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle on a busy main street in the New Baghdad district, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding 80] followed a series of bloody attacks on Wednesday in northern and central Iraq that killed at least 79 people in three cities, and wounded at least 120 others, according to figures provided by the police and hospital officials. In the deadliest attack on Wednesday, at least 38 people were killed and more than 80 wounded when a bomber detonated his vehicle in the main street of Tikrit, the Sunni Arab hometown of Saddam Hussein, about 110 miles north of Baghdad….

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tinfoil/Tricornered Hat (Patriot Yarmulke) 

I know it's lame to crib from Atrios, but I read this last night and the idea has been haunting and infuriating me all day:
One reason I don't think it's at all paranoid to suspect that the Republicans have deliberately taken over the voting system in order to cheat is that they keep doing things that don't otherwise make sense. There's a rather long list of things you just wouldn't expect them to think they could get away with unless they really thought they could control the ballot box, because otherwise they would have to expect that the public would kick enough of them out to not only end some political careers but also make impeachment - and prison - a distinct possibility.

And then there's this nuclear option thing - why would they be willing to remove any possibility of stopping majority party initiatives unless they were absolutely sure that they could never become the minority party again?

Conservatives have made good use of the filibuster over the years, on judicial nominations and a lot of other things. Are they absolutely certain no one will wake up and get rid of them? Or are they just sure that how we vote isn't going to matter?
The scariness continues today with Digby's discussion of the passing of legislation exempt from judicial review.

What is there to say about this? If They really have cracked the vote--if they really did steal the 2004 election with Their black boxes--and the media won't see the extant evidence for fraud as having reached an acceptably critical mass--if they will never believe it, no matter how much evidence is amassed--and if there is some crucial evidence that can simply never be discovered...then what the fuck can anyone do? We're fucked.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

They are here 

First the north MoCo wingnuts, now this :

Assembly Bill 8036 introduced on May 3, 2005 and referred to the Committee on Education, would require that "all pupils in grades kindergarten through twelve in all public schools in the state ... receive instruction in both theories of intelligent design and evolution." It also charges New York's commissioner of education to assist in developing curricula and local boards of education to provide "appropriate training and curriculum materials ... to ensure that all aspects of the theories, along with any supportive data, are fully examined through such course of study." A08036, if enacted, would take effect immediately. Richard Firenze, who teaches biology at Broome Community College, remarked, "This bill is completely absurd. Those of us in New York who are concerned about our children's science education should sit up and take notice: it's not just in places like Georgia and Kansas that creationists are trying to sabotage biology education."

Mr. Firenze, you are really too modest. You clearly suffer from the sane man's tendency to understate. After all even the bill's own sponsor doesn't think this bill is nearly as absurd as it could be:

The bill's sole sponsor, Daniel L. Hooker (R), represents Assembly District 127, encompassing parts of Greene, Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, Ulster, Columbia, and Chenango counties. Hooker also recently introduced bills that would, if enacted, permit the display of the Ten Commandments on public buildings and grounds (A08073), declassify sexual orientation from civil right status (A07916), and prohibit the solemnization of same-sex marriages (A07723).

It seems like there's a couple plausible reactions to this news. The first and most obvious being panic and rage:


Thinking this makes me want to do something illegal and violent. Since I believe in the rule of law, and am a human-being capable of controlling myself somewhat, my reason will overcome my baser instincts of fight-or-flight. Thus Daniel L. Hooker (R) of Assembly District 127 will not die by my hand in the forseeable future.

You now owe your life to The Enlightenment, Daniel. You're welcome, you ignorant slut.

Turning to a less coronarily stimulating interpretation I'd have to say that my money is on this piece of legal offal getting voted down handily and then being used by Fox to prove how much sodomite New York hates people of faith.

Any other ideas about why someone would do this in one of the bluest of blue states?

John Tierney: Conservative, stupid, or both? 


This is the first column I’ve read by John Tierney, who assumed William Safire’s spot on the Times’ Op-Ed page, to very little fanfare, a couple months ago.

I’m not sure if Tierney generally comes at his subjects from a position of feigned naivety / disingenuousness, or actual stupidity, but in today’s column (“Bombs Bursting on Air”), at least, he comes across as a real idiot.
If a man-bites-dog story is news and dog-bites-man isn't, why are journalists still so interested in man-blows-up-self stories?

Huh? Is riffing on Rick Santorum? I don’t get it.
I'm not advocating official censorship, but there's no reason the news media can't reconsider their own fondness for covering suicide bombings. A little restraint would give the public a more realistic view of the world's dangers.

Here, he’s saying the media is “fond” of covering suicide bombings. And that not covering suicide bombings would “give the public a more realistic view of the world's dangers.” How does not covering a news event make the news more realistic than covering it?
Just as New Yorkers came to be guided by crime statistics instead of the mayhem on the evening news, people might begin to believe the statistics showing that their odds of being killed by a terrorist are minuscule in Iraq or anywhere else.

“Their odds” of being killed by a terrorist in Iraq are miniscule? Well, maybe the odds of the typical stateside Times reader being killed by a terrorist in Iraq are pretty slim, but the odds of someone in Iraq getting killed by a terrorist seem pretty high, given that every day some 10-12 such attacks are attempted, killing some 30-40 people on average. But then again, I guess I’m the guy reading that “unrealistic” coverage of those events… “unrealistic” by the mere fact, of course, of those events being covered at all.
Terrorists know the numbers are against them and realize that daily bombings will not win the war. All along, their hope has been to inspire recruits and spread general fear with another tactic, the bombing as photo opportunity. For some reason, their media strategy still works.

So this strikes me as the kind of willfully, irresponsibly head-in-the-sand argument that George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld might make, which leads me to ask (seriously, because I don’t know):
Does Tierney have a particular political viewpoint he aims to advance in his columns? Is he a “conservative”? Does that viewpoint lead him to write columns like these? Is Tierney a new “conservative voice” on the Times Op-Ed page, or is he merely stupid? (Or both?)


The "news" from the WaPo:

Women Returning to Democratic Party, Poll Finds

Well no shit they're "returning"--who isn't, these days, what with all the cute 'n' fuzzy talk about economic stuff, and medical stuff, and retirement stuff?

But throw out a swift-boat ad and an orange terror alert or (god forbid) an actual terrorist incident allowed by Republicans via intention and/or negligence...and watch 'em go galloping back to Daddy's Ranch.

The last election proved, amazingly, that women are as stupid as men--and there's no evidence I've seen to indicate that anyone has gotten any smarter.

Update: I knew someone would call me out on the more basic point, as one of our commenters does:
No "return" needs to be postulated to explain the poll numbers. The poll numbers are in fact consistent with poll numbers since February, 2004, when the American people collectively and decisively rejected Bush. Their rejection of him has not changed since that time. Only one poll, on November 2, 2004, suggested that Bush had popular support. But that poll has been utterly discredited.
Obviously true. But my point still stands, since even though the election was stolen through computer fraud, it still appears to be a fact that women voted for Chimp in much larger numbers than they had in 2000.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


N.C. Church Kicks Out Members Who Do Not Support Bush

And in other news:
German authorities on Sunday averted the spectacle of thousands of neo-Nazis marching past the capital's most visible monuments, including a new Holocaust memorial, as police and counter-demonstrators bottled up a rally by skinheads and other extremists on the 60th anniversary of the country's surrender in World War II.

Update: Rat adds the following:

The NC Democratic Chair criticized the pastor, "saying Chandler jeopardized his church's tax-free status by openly supporting a candidate for president. 'If these reports are true, this minister ... [is] potentially breaking the law,' Chairman Jerry Meek said."
Chairman Sissy makes it sound like a close question. It's not. Religious organizations, including churches, are among those that are tax-exempt under IRS Code 501(c)(3). Under this section, according to the IRS, "Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria violate the political campaign prohibition of section 501(c)(3)." The federal courts have upheld this prohibition.
See, e.g., Branch Ministries v. Rossotti (D.C. Cir. 2000).

In cases of a "flagrant violation," as here, "the IRS has specific statutory authority to make an immediate determination and assessment of tax. Also, the IRS can ask a federal district court to enjoin the organization from making further political expenditures."

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/ arti...=122887,00.html

I'm not holding my breath.


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