Friday, December 30, 2005
WAR ON CHRISTMAS FIELD REPORT
The following tape was brought to the home offices of Satire News Services and dropped off. We have no information about the man who left it, other than he was tall, dressed in a dark coat, and had horns and a tail.
The tape transcription follows:
"Allies, infidels, and enemies of Christianity! Fellow brethren, I bring you the end of year report on the War on Christmas!"
"Before I begin, let us start with the traditional chant to our Gods."
(thirty minutes of chanting follows)
"...and all worship Eris, hail Discordia, and may the Flying Spaghetti Monster's tendrils wrap us in his noodly goodness. And now for the end of year report!
"It was a good year for the war on Christmas and, in extension, the war on Christianity. Several of our agent provocateurs succeeded brilliantly in our agitprop. We must thank Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson especially for their lies and disproven gossip, which led to much suspicion about the motives of the so-called protectors of Christmas and set back Christmas to the point of near expiration in many communities across the nation." (Loud applause, cheers, and chants of Gib-son, Gib-son, Gib-son)
"We must also mention the stellar cooperation we received from many megachurches, who elected to shut down on Christmas Day. This one act of placing convenience and attendance figures over the birth of their Savior did more to cast cynicism and doubt over churches than all our previous attempts such as The DaVinci Code, South Park and even The Book of Daniel. Sometimes you just get lucky in this line of work, I guess." (laughter)
"Hollywood also continues to be our ally, with movies like Brokeback Mountain doubtlessly causing many children across the nation to turn gay - and you will notice Christmas was never mentioned in it either in a subtle attack not mentioned. While there were some regrettable lapses - The Passion of the Christ and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe come to mind - the movie arena is still ours. We expect Hollywood to convert everyone to an anti-Christian by the year 2010." (cheers)
"We must single out one member for his idea of stirring a war over the greetings 'Merry Christmas' and 'Happy Holidays'. While people starved, froze and died in need of charity and help, Christians of all stripes chose to focus their attention over the difference between syllables uttered at Wal-Mart and Target by someone paid less than minimum wage. I cannot think of another case of missing the forest for the trees since Pope Benedict elected to blame gay priests for the sexual abuse scandals - kudos!
"We have some existing hopes for the new year as well. With polarizing figures such as Roy Moore announcing a run for governor of Alabama, the upcoming debate about whether Easter Eggs are really a tool to kill Christians by high cholesterol, and the old stalwarts Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ready to make a laughing stock of religion, we are confident that we will close even more churches, temples and mosques next year than we did this year, even without the help of the IRS. Onward, colleagues - we will destroy religion soon!"
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Trays were best item on menu
by Satire News Service
Today, in a surprise visit to Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appeared in a dining hall and served dinner to soldiers, making his total number of days in Iraq close to double digits. According to the soldiers present, Mr. Rumsfeld was an excellent server and very cordial. "In fact, I think that should be his new job," stated one soldier who asked to remain anonymous.
However, there were some problems during the days. The first one, a major faux pas, was when Mr. Rumsfeld wished "Happy Holidays" to several soldiers at the beginning of his ladle duties, thereby incurring the wrath of Bill O'Reilly and many others. Luckily, he was alerted to this error, and spent the rest of his time wishing people Merry Christmas instead. "I didn't notice," said Private James Leibowitz. "Seemed okay to me," stated Corporal Omar Duballah.
The next problem happened when the soldiers started to eat the meal. There were several complaints about the quality of the food, ranging from raw meat to watery gravy. Mr. Rumsfeld was visibly upset by all the complaints, and said heatedly, "Hey, you don't go to dinner with the menu you want. You go to dinner with the menu you have. And besides, if the food is so bad, why has everyone come back for seconds?"
"These trays are great!" responded Harold Cumin, banging on one for emphasis. "Me and my buds, we're gonna get as many as we can and solder it unto our Humvee. We're calling it the 'Lunch Wagon', ha! As soon as we get the better armor we were promised, we'll give the trays back."
The final, and most embarrassing incident, happened when one soldier realized that they were in an area around Tikrit, where Mr. Rumsfeld had claimed chemical weapons had been stored during the war with Iraq. He began making jokes about how people better watch what was in the salt shakers, saying the powdered sugar was really anthrax, and others jokes like that. Thankfully, Mr. Rumsfeld chuckled and even laughed out loud during the man's routine.
"Of course I'm laughing," he said. "I can laugh at myself, can't I? And besides, I control where that man goes next."
Democrats were quick to decry Mr. Rumsfeld's trip as a photo op and staged, even holding a press conference to claim they had at least three people in Congress who were much more proficient at wielding a ladle. When asked for names, they promised to get back to us later.
It's been a hectic Christmas season. My son's preschools all let out, so I had him all day, which cuts down on the time I can have to myself. He's gotten really good at opening the fridge and turning on water faucets, so leaving him alone for long lengths of time isn't the best idea. Add to that a fairly long bout with stomach viruses, and a trip to the emergency room for a crack on the head, and there's some of the reasons.
Also, my brilliant wife passed a business certification test which had required much study time on the computer, and also got accepted into an online MBA program as well. A late congrats to her, and I love you babe.
But I'm back now - and to whatever readers I still have, I thank you for your patience, and ask that you start leaving a few comments. I'll answer them as often as I can.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
"...this whole 'Happy Holidays' thing made me," says Jesus.
by Satire News Service
In a burst of incense-smelling smoke and accompanied by a Heavenly choir singing hymns, Jesus Christ came back to Earth today, which was quite a surprise for the Jews and many other religions. He agreed to be interviewed by our news service immediately.
Jesus Christ: "Please. I put on my shirt the same way you do - after I get it over my halo! Ha!"
SNS: "Well, first off, I gotta say, you look nothing like James Calavizel."
JC: "Eh, I would have preferred Leonardo DiCaprio, but you know Hollywood - I couldn't even get a cowriter credit on the film."
SNS: "Well, I guess I better ask this question right off: Are we in the End Times? Do we need to be on the lookout for an evil Romanian?"
JC : "What, that tale? Nah, the people you need to watch out for are the Sumerians. Them guys are tricky."
SNS: "I don't think there are any Sumerians left, though."
JC: "That won't stop them."
SNS: "So, why did you come back? Is it a statement about gay marriage? Or the treatment of the poor? Is it to show the world the true way, or to redeem people?"
JC: "No, I came for a more important reason, the most critical need the world faces."
JC: "The removal of Merry Christmas greetings - the whole 'Happy Holidays' thing made me come back."
SNS: (stunned silence)
JC: "Well, come on, can YOU think of anything else I should pay attention to beside two words?"
JC: "I mean, if known Christians like Jerry Falwell and Bill O'Reilly are upset about it, I have to be as well! Can you think of two more important, moral, saintlike beings than these two?"
JC: "So I've decided to come back to Earth and spread the word - by God, you better say Merry Christmas around this time of the year. Forget good works, forget helping the poor, forget charity, forget everything else. You don't say Merry Christmas, by gum, you're going to Hell."
SNS: "Um, I don't mean to sound doubting..."
JC: "That's okay, some of my best apostles doubted."
SNS: "I guess it sounds very, well, superficial. I mean, Happy Holidays is all inclusive, yes, but the sentiment of well wishing is there. Merry Christmas is the same thing but only targeted at one religion - Christians. Not to mention distilling your views of Christianity down to how you greet someone seems quite shallow."
SNS: "Um. Even ignoring that, it seems very shallow and selfish to demand a particular greeting to correspond to your own beliefs. I mean, if the Jews demanded Happy Hanukkah, wouldn't that seem a little selfish?"
JC: "Of course it would. But this is different - it's Christians doing the demanding."
SNS: "So Christians should be allowed preference here?"
JC: "It's all to the good here, which is why I support all those people who demand stores say Merry Christmas. I mean, where else can you find the spirit of Christmas but in stores?"
SNS: "Wasn't there something you said about "Render unto Caesar that which is chasers, and unto God's what is God's"?"
JC: "Well, yes, but I didn't say Wal-Mart, did I? And besides, Caesar was a Republican anyway."
SNS: "Why does that matter?"
JC: "Well, I guess I'll go ahead and spill the beans - the Republican Party and I have worked out a deal. I now formally support all their goals and actions. I mean, they've been claiming Me for so long I figured I'd go ahead and make it official. Don't want to embarrass them.
SNS: "So you and the Republican party agree on everything?"
JC: "Damn right! If you read between the lines of the New Testament, it clearly states I'm for tax cuts, invading Iraq, and the Ten Commandments on every wall space across the country! I don't know how people have gotten this whole 'help the poor, turn the other cheek, don't be a show off about your religion' idea. Strange.
SNS: "Well, once you've gotten the whole Merry Christmas deal taken care of, what will you do next?"
JC: "Well, I intend to follow the Republican path to success. I'm starting up the INRI Lobbying Agency on K street soon."
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Well, you can't argue about that. Several pieces of literature directly reference the Bible and allude to it. On the other hand, in all my literature classes, the few times I didn't recognize a reference the teacher pointed it out. A separate class wasn't called for.
I do have my suspicions about the motives of the Democrats. I would be willing to lay money that should some teacher start, I dunno, preaching instead of teaching, that would be okay to many of the people calling for this. On the other hand, if it was JUST teaching, that wouldn't be wrong. At least one religious right group doesn't like the textbook, which seems to imply it's not a religious tool disguised as education, a la IDiocy. Of course, it could always just be that the book doesn't go far enough for these people.
It's an interesting idea though, with me having leeriness about how it's to be implemented. From some of the sample pages given in the above site, the book does seem to encourage questions about the Bible, which if it's being taught as a source (and not THE Source) it should. I am open to see where it goes, while nervous about the central idea of this course being hijacked by true believers.
My answer to the first question - I would guess not too long at all.
The second question goes to the basic idea about the press - does it print any and all stories, or only ones that further a political position? If only certain stories can be printed, then it's not a free press, by choice or by edict. If it's a free press, it will end up printing stories that hurt the current party in power. (That, to me, would be its main job as a matter of fact - showing the grit and grime of the powerful.) If a certain story hurts a certain power, or the military, them's the breaks.
Another question that should be asked is: SHOULD the press not print certain stories if it would hurt the party in power or the military in a war? I would hope we can rule out stories that are badly sourced and questionable (Koran abuse), i.e. stories that shouldn't be printed anyway, but we've seen these stories out there. They shouldn't have been. But other stories, more fully sourced and, shall we say, TRUER ones that hurt the military or a party in power during a war, such as this propaganda one, the abuse stories...should they be printed?
The fact the story isn't printed doesn't make it disappear. Especially nowadays, a story will get out through several sources. Would it be of any help for the American public to be kept in the dark over Abu Gharib or propaganda, when the story is out elsewhere? We all know some fruitcakes who insist that Jews were behind 9/11 or something equally as insane, and we all view these people with at best mockery and at worst contempt, since they choose not to believe the facts. You can't believe the facts unless you know the facts, though, and we'd look just as stupid by claiming Abu Gharib didn't happen or that there is no propaganda in Iraq.
Perhaps instead of blaming the press for revealing these things, we should blame the people DOING these things. Just a thought.
Is it a big deal? As Andrew Sullivan says, perhaps the simple fact we're using it isn't. It's war, and propaganda has been used in all wars, ranging from the chest-thumping accounts of heroic stands that embellish some facts (see Jessica Lynch), to lies told to keep a good image going (see Pat Tillman), to stats mangled and twisted (see body counts in Vietnam) to outright lies (see Baghdad Bob). So perhaps the mere use of it isn't, and all it's doing is telling the story from one side (you know, just like that damned LIBERAL media does).
What does hurt us is now that this story is out, people can look at good news from Iraq papers and wonder if it's real. (I just know that someone is going to say this proves the press is anti-American since they revealed it, more on this later.) The mirror image of Abu Gharib abuse cases making the false Koran stories more believable, here the tilted stories will make real stories more doubted. The fact that the stories had been labeled as written by independent journalists and that we paid the Iraqi papers to run these stories add some more layers as well - not only was the news slanted, it was slanted by intention and acts - this isn't accidental bias, it was meant this way. It also certainly taints the idea of a honest press in Iraq, which can't help at all.
This tactic may have been used in all wars, but nowadays I question whether or not it can work. It's a tactic that, especially nowadays, is more risky, given the worldwide nature of news and easier access to it, as Sullivan points out, and also specifically given that the Bush Admin. has been caught with its hands in the tilting public opinion cookie jar many times now. Once bitten, twice shy; once lied to, always doubted. We don't seem to have a good handle on how to use propaganda well, and you have to ask can propaganda like this work now, excepting countries like China and North Korea? Or is it more likely to backfire and sow doubts, both about any future stories and about how the U.S. is handling Iraq?
Is this another example of the Bush people not knowing how to handle the post-war phase? I have to say yes. Also, notice the fairly incestuous route taken to get the propaganda out - the good ol'boy network ain't doing a good ol' job.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
I've also written that the Republican party seems to be falling into this abyss, what with the redefinition of perjury, sliding standards for outrage, and things like that. And Brendan Nyhan brings up another excellent example:
Early in his speech, Johnson offered the standard line:
America, and the Congress, must stand behind our men and women in uniform because they stand up for us every minute of every day.
Any talk, even so much as a murmur, of leaving now just emboldens the enemy and weakens the resolve of our troops in the field. That is dangerous. If you do not believe me, check out al Jazeera. The withdrawal story is on the front page. We cannot do that to our fellow Americans over there.
It takes incredible chutzpah to say that "even so much as a murmur" about withdrawal "emboldens the enemy" after Johnson's own party introduced a resolution designed to forced a debate over withdrawal.
Rules and logic are different for true believers. They only exist for the other side. Also note the argument that the withdrawal story being carried by al Jazeera is "dangerous". Does that mean now that there are indications that the Bush people want to draw down troops, if al Jazeera carries THIS news, it's dangerous? Or will that be different?
Given the source, should we be shocked? Perhaps a better question to be asked is: When people have to stretch the facts this much to justify some claim, how weak are the real facts?
There are two ways Bush and co. could have lied. The first is to the public, and I don't think anyone who is honest can say they didn't. Information that was sketchy and incomplete and badly sourced and weak was presented in speeches and claims in public as solid, undenied fact. See nuclear capability, aluminum tubes, Atta meeting in Prague, links to al-Qaeda, and many more. In their P.R. campaign for war, the truth was rarely to be found. They did lie often - an exaggeration is still a lie.
The second way is a combination of pressure on intelligence agencies to come up with the "right facts" and selectively giving information out to Congress - the ultimate deciders of war declarations - to make their case more presentable. As of now, and contrary to the claims of both sides, we don't know if this was done. Bob Graham, in his editorial, says that the information had to be demanded from Tenet and when presented, revealed much more ambiguity and unsureness than admitted before. But the information was there - just unasked for by the White House for whatever reasons. (Graham also gives fairly convincing proof of the lies to the public, showing a vast disconnect between what he saw and what was shown to the public.)
The first lie is P.R., and it's especially reprehensible when used to justify a war. However, all Presidents lie when they're selling something they want done, and they lie the same way Bush and co. did - they minimize the problems, maximize the benefits, shrink the time needed for success and distort the cost. Bush and co. should be held accountable for this, and all their attempts to slither out of responsibility for their pre-war claims should be nailed. But I don't think it's an impeachable offense. The fact it was used for something so huge as the Iraqi war should always be remembered, but I don't think this can be used to impeach.
The second case could, though. If the Bush Admin. was forcing analysts to come up with information it wanted, or if they willingly lied to Congress about the intelligence, that would count. There's a vast difference between selling the points, and making up the points. This would, in my opinion, be an impeachable offense.
Now, did the Bush Admin. either force analysts or lie to Congress? Again, no one knows. The Silbermann-Robb Commission didn't look at this question at all - it wasn't in their charter. Claiming that since they found no evidence of intelligence manipulation Bush is innocent, as some on the right are, is like saying since Starr didn't find evidence of Clinton selling arms to China, Clinton's innocent there. Not quite. Simply put, this question hasn't even been looked at yet. And the way the Republicans and the White House are dragging their feet over it, it's a question whether or not it ever will be.
So as of now, I don't think there should be impeachment charges. I do think they should pay a price, but not before Congress.
(*) - from Andrew Sullivan, I found this piece, which may make impeachement charges more possible, given the fact that these PDB's refuting links between Iraq and al-Qaeda were never shown to Congress. I don't recall if that claim was made before Congress in justifaction of the war. If it was, here's some evidence of a lie.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
To everyone that checked in here, thanks, and I know you understand that real life trumps cyberlife.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Saturday, November 12, 2005
I think I need to restate this conclusion in a few ways. It's a good time to do so, given the President's recent speech where he says, "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," and ""These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will."
Firstly, some of what the President said was, well, rewriting history. Once again, it was indirectly claimed the Silbermann-Robb Commission found there was no political manipulation of intelligence, so any claims of "misleading" is wrong, to wit:
"Bush, in Pennsylvania yesterday, was more precise, but he still implied that it had been proved that the administration did not manipulate intelligence, saying that those who suggest the administration "manipulated the intelligence" are "fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments."
This is, at best, deeply irresponsible to say and at worst a lie. Once again:
And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: "Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry." (italics added)
One of my favorite authors is Harlan Ellison. You probably know him best for writing "City on the Edge of Forever", a classic Star Trek episode. It led to a huge, public feud between him and Gene Roddenberry, because Gene continually claimed the original script was badly written and had to be saved. (There happens to be a book about this from Harlan, and if you like well written rage, check it out - but buy it through the side link please!) Now, Gene once made a claim that the episode was, as originally written, far too expensive to shoot (not true) and that Harlan had Scotty dealing drugs (also not true). Harlan, at the time attempting to make peace, contacted Gene and mentioned those facts were wrong. Gene said oops, and promised he'd not make those claims again.
He did so for the next twenty years or so.
There comes a time when a mistake morphs into a lie. Bush and the Republicans are there in the claims of vindication from the Silberman-Robb Commission. I can allow one or two errors, but continual ones means they don't want to tell the truth here. You also have to ask why they're so desperate to claim they've been cleared.
The President also claimed that Congress saw the exact same intelligence he did, and therefore any claims he and others twisted intelligence can't be true:
In the same speech, Bush asserted that "more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."
Except once again, reality tells a different story:
But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers.
In addition, there were doubts within the intelligence community not included in the NIE.
That last point is the most important. As we've seen, there were a lot of people saying the intelligence was iffy, badly sourced, and plain wrong - such as the claims of Iraq training al-Qaeda in chemical weapons, to name just one. But those doubts were not reported to Congress. So, if the person telling you information leaves out doubts about said information, he can't claim you saw the same stuff he did. When you cherry-pick what you tell people, you can fairly easily get them to vote how you want them to.
Taking this into account, and remembering how frantically people of the Administration tried to link al-Qaeda and Iraq, and how Cheney and Rice drastically overstated the nuclear reach of Iraq against the intelligence estimates, and how 9/11 was always somehow close to Iraq in all pre-war speeches, and how they are desperate to claim they've been exonerated...
I've come to the it probably started out as groupthink, and perhaps for a good defense reason overall - change in the Middle East, taking out a possible danger, what have you - but at some point it seems the people in charge decided to make sure everyone thought they way they did through misdirection, selective presentation of intelligence, falsely dramatic claims, and using intelligence they knew was weak. The mistakes, possibly innocently, made at the beginning have now evolved into a lie to justify the mistakes. They chose to present intelligence to the American people in a deceptive way, painting iffy information as rock solid. They chose to leave off doubts and questions in the information supplied to Congress. They chose to link al-Qaeda and 9/11 in all speeches about Iraq.
The groupthink turned into a lie to justify the groupthink. They've become Gene Roddenberry, misstating stuff over and over to make themselves look good.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design.
"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network's "700 Club."
"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."
Okay, so we have Behe stretching the definition of science so much it includes astrology to fit ID in, we've got Pat "Throw the first stone" Robertson saying a vote against IDiocy is a rejection of God, we've got the Dover school board calling the sane people who argued against the IDiocy "atheist"...
...is it pretty obvious now that IDiocy isn't a science, but a thinly veiled (tissue thin in Patsie's case) attempt to get creationism in education?
Let's also keep in mind that Patsie, for all his stupidity and calls for assassinations, was someone reached out to by Karl Rove for opinions on Supreme Court judges. Yes, Karl thought Patsie's opinion was one to be sought out. For bonus points, which person is more stupid?
(renamed to morons b/c I saw a bunch of links looking for "boobs". I bet there are some disappointed linkers out there.)
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Strange aftereffects seen
by Satire News Services
The Kansas State School Board has once again voted to question evolution, this time going so far as to allow for "non-natural phenomena" in scientific explanations. This is seen as a victory for the Intelligent Design movement, which had helped rewrite the proposed standards, and for also medieval recreation societies throughout the state. However, there have been some odd things happening throughout Kansas.
- Plastic surgeries have increased fivefold. "Most people are coming in here to get their moles removed," says one surgeon. "Also webbed feet and odd skin markings as well." One customer who asked not to be named gave as her reason, "Better safe than sorry."
- Residents along the border of Kansas have reported massive waves of black cats streaming out of the state in oddly straight columns as well. "They seemed to be moving with a purpose," said Ellen Baum. "Like they just wanted to get out as fast as they could." The ASPCA and Humane Society have found homes for most of the runaways.
- Many bookstores have been quietly removing some now controversial books from their shelves. "The Origin of Species...what's that?" asked one owner in response to a question from this reporter. "Sorry, never heard of it." Another store had replaced their entire science section with Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. "You figure it out," he said.
The strange effects are easily explained by the professors at the University of Kansas. "It's just the natural reaction of people opening their minds," says Uri Gellar, new professor of Physics over a light lunch. "Sometimes when people are freed from artificial boundaries, like science that can be measured and defined, odd things can happen in responses. Damn, can you get me another spoon?" Tom Cruise and John Travolta, professors of Dianetics at Kansas State University, stated in a press release that, "Everything can be explained by bad engrams. Go and see our next movies to be cured."
John Edwards, Dean of the brand new Scientific Healing, Intuition and Thaumaturgy college in Topeka offered his opinion. "What it probably is, is all the spirits that had been blocked from communicating by the "logic" and "meaning" of "science" are now overwhelming the public with their calls to be heard. I'm available to hear them for you, and a low special rate."
For everyone worried over the strange things happening, Kevin Trudeau, head of the Medical College at KSU, says everything will be fine once his new regimen of coral calcium is made mandatory.
Surprisingly enough, the kids are happy over the new standards. "How can I fail now?" asked one. "I mean, you can write ANYTHING down! Unicorns, aliens, psychic spies from China...4.0, here I come!"
The Kansas School Board issued a statement through the Discovery Institute that this would be the last modification they made to the curriculum until next year, when they will tackle making pi equal to 3 and declaring the Bible an official textbook in science classes.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Does this mean people like James Dobson and Tony Perkins will soon get a knock on the door for their roles in Justice Sunday 1 and 2, the anti-Democrat parade with Bible floats and 10 Commandment medallions? Pat Robertson, for his comments on his 700 Club program saying God had told him Bush would win in a blowout and "the Lord has blessed him"? How about churches handing over membership lists to the Republicans in 2004? Like the example listed for reasons of recusal below, I would argue that any of these are much more blatant.
But nah, let's go after one church for ambiguous statements. There's nothing more OBVIOUS to go after, you and the SEC.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Firstly, I was a little surprised and upset at the reasoning behind the original removal - the judge had given to MoveOn.org. This was supposed to show a bias against DeLay. Well, for one, a person can give to a group for many reasons. For example, I may contribute to the ACLU for their efforts against IDiocy, yet still condemn them for other acts they do. Even ignoring this idea, how is it that a contribution is evidence of bias, yet duck hunting with a defendant in a case isn't? If "Social contacts with high-level executive officials (including Cabinet members) have never been thought improper for judges who may have before them cases in which those people are involved in their official capacity, as opposed to their personal capacity," as Scalia said in that case, how come a impersonal monetary donation IS improper? Or maybe comments from a Supreme Court judge that showed clear bias in Bush v. Gore, and Scalia's mentioning he would like to be Chief Justice and that could only happen under a Republican President, or Scalia's sons working for law firms that represented Bush, or Justice Thomas's wife e-mailing people telling them to send resumes to the Heritage Foundation for assistance of consideration for positions in the next Presidency AS Bush V. Gore was being decided? I would argue strenuously that any of these show clear bias much more so that a blanket contribution to an organization - perhaps not enough for recusal, but enough where it should have been noted and brought out and proven not to be too influencing. Had the MoveOn contribution been earmarked specifically for anti-DeLay campaigns, okay, yes. But it wasn't. Somehow, this act is more egregious in bias than any of the ones mentioned above. The back-and-forth that's developed now between the defense and the prosecution is silly in the extreme - it's a judge/jury of your peers, not one of your ideological clones.
But on the other hand, now if DeLay is convicted, it will be very interesting to see him scream about bias (which you KNOW he will). One less plank for the martyr to dance on. That's to the good.
I can't wait for some Democrat to try this maneuver and the Republicans to scream. Rest assured, both cases WILL happen. Probably sooner rather than later.
(As a side note, I still feel Bush v. Gore was a horrible decision, but I would feel the same way if it had been Gore v. Bush. For one case and one case only, standards were seen to be overridingly important - yet the second the gavel fell, no lasting effect was had. It was a one-time-only case involving something used in many other states (hand counting and no set state standards), yet only in Florida was it seen to be bad - and again, only for 2000. If it was so bad, why wasn't a standard demanded in all states, much less in Florida?)
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
"People get well and do bad things...better they go to their judgment early."
by Satire News Service
Today, President Bush announced plans to combat the growing threat of an avian flu pandemic, calling for spending to stockpile medicines and for accelerated development of a new vaccine. The hope is to get the United States prepared for what could be a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed over 500,000 people, young and old, sick and healthy. However, in a surprisingly blistering attack, some of the President's usual allies criticized the plan.
"Who are we to interfere in God's work?" demanded Goodman H. Thumper, the spokesperson for Families Out of Focus, pounding the table with a Bible. "If there is to be a vast destruction of human life, it is God's will. Who are we to develop drugs that could cure people, even if we are perfectly able to?" The press conference was briefly interrupted when the Bible bounced off the table and smashed into Thumper's head. After he was revived, he continued his thoughts with his forehead emblazoned with PSALMS 75:4.
"People, if we dare to block God's plan, look at the consequences! Every sin the healed do is on OUR head. Every iniquity shall be our fault. When they're ill with the flu, fever spiking, limbs aching, they won't be sinning then, no sir, can I get an Amen? They will be good, and they will call to the Lord! Why should we stop this act? Try and usurp God's authority, and the people will get well and do bad things and sin and condemn themselves into the pit! No, I feel we let God be the final doctor, and if He decides so, better to let them go to their judgment early. Anyone got an aspirin, my head is killing me."
Elsewhere, Parisee J. P. Stoner, speaking for the Family Study Group, said, "I think we need to look long and hard at the consequences of making a vaccine. First of all, if we lose a good proportion of the United States's population, you've got the whole Social Security problem solved right there. Crime will go down as well. And the money we saved from not making this vaccine could be placed into several other worthwhile endeavors - fighting to keep gay marriage illegal, say, or even mandating school prayer. I know which causes God would bless, and I would hope that President Bush does as well."
The Minister Priestly "Pastor" Reverend Jr., speaking on behalf of American Family Alliance, read from a statement. "We at the AFA are opposed to the creating of a new vaccine. The virus is one of God's creature, intelligently designed and created from scratch for a purpose. Surely, He will use His creation for only good...say the killing of liberals." The statement was also signed by members of the Institute of Discovery.
President Bush said in reply that he was firm in his conviction about the vaccine, and the fact he was going to appoint these three people to lead the Center for Disease Control in no way was a denial of the need for the vaccine.
Gimme a break. What's next, eliminating anesthesia during childbirth so it can be as God intended - punishment for the fall of man?
And continuing on my comments from yesterday about the Republican party dancing to the shrill tunes of these morons, one of them has been installed at the the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC. I'm sure he's just as good as expert as everyone else on the committee - like Philip Cooney was.
The argument that a mandatory vaccine will make kids decide go and screw like bunnies just doesn't ring true. I doubt many kids even knew about cervical cancer and the link to sexual activity - as I said, I don't think it played a part in people deciding not to have sex before, the triumvirate of AIDS, VD and kids taking precedence. And this was the same argument that conservatives made about free condoms being available - isn't teen pregnancy DOWN over recent years? (Except in some Texas counties that only teach abstinence...)
The only reason these people seem to fear actually, you know, not letting people die is because in some form, fashion or fantasy it will increase teenage sex. Not necessarily pregnancy or VD rates, but teenage sex. In short, they'd rather have kids be monks and die then be active and live. Just like Jesus wanted: "Suffer the children to come to me...unless they be hos."
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Well, here's one that is on the other side of the coin. "Fall-O-Ween"? Flying Spaghetti Monster, protect us.
I know that people who've come in here and read my blog must think that I am a Democrat, or a liberal. The two sites which have been nice enough to mention my on their blogrolls - The Moderate Voice and Balloon Juice - have me on the left voices section, as per my request. I do consider myself to be an independent moderate; it's just nowadays I find much more to be annoyed at from the Republicans than the Democrats. This is most definitely not to say that the Democrats are innocent of making me angry. It's just that their offenses seem lesser than those the Republicans offer, both due to the usual ineptitude of the party itself and the fact that they're not in power to do much damage.
Beyond that, though, the Republicans (and by this I mean the loud ones, the ones who are in charge nowadays) have hit several points of my psyche that grate like sand in the mouth.
I did not and do not appreciate being told that since I hold a different opinion about the war than those in charge, I am against America. Folks, if America was ever not embodied in a group of people, it would be Frist, DeLay, Cheney, Bush, Dobson, Perkins, and their kind. I do not say they are bad people in toto - I do say that when it comes to politics, they are bad people in situ. The only other example I could add to the antimatter embodiment is Joe McCarthy - and this tactic of smearing people who disagree makes him not fit in this group only by the small impediment of him being dead.
I do not and did not like the way the group of people in office acted with the maniacal energy of true fanatical believers, trampling over laws and customs to get their ways enacted. I fear the way the loud ones feel that extremitism in the act of THEIR conscience is not a virtue, it is a calling. And while I have to laugh at the hypocrisy displayed in their defense of it - see perjury and how the crime decision is based on which party does it - I also have to shudder that they don't a.)seem to NOTICE they're this hypocritical and biased or, perhaps worse, b.)don't think it matters anyway.
I do not and never will like the unholy conjoining of religion and the Republican party. We saw the square-dance calling the Republicans danced to in the Terri Schaivo case, performing the steps demanded of them by the guys in the painted on haloes playing the tin harps. We've seen how much pull they have by helping to destroy Harriet Meirs's candidacy, since she didn't seem like the "right type" according to their dip-in-the-moral stricture litmus test. (Of course, Ms. Meirs didn't need they help in self destruction - her appointment was the closest thing to a political suicide attempt I've seen in a while. That being said, the self appointed censors certainly pulled some weight in this matter.) We see that for these people, morality is a distant second to power, and the image they want to remake their neighbor in is called a "mirror".
I hate the way any fact that doesn't mesh in the puzzle pieces making up the loud Republican's view of the world is discarded. (The Republican War on Science exposes much of this.) It reminds me far too much of
"E pour si muevo", or Japan's rewriting of Pearl Harbor in their history books. It is a reflection of IDiocy; refusing any and all facts that call your beliefs into questions. There's the crux - to these people, science is merely a casting of belief - those facts that match your faith are okay, whereas those that don't are wrong. I wish I could have used this kind of reasoning in school.
Believe me, I groan at many things the Democrats do. But what they do that makes me angry, or embarrassed, are just not as important as being told that I am a traitor since I doubted the WMD information (odd to have been called so many names for being right), that science is wrong since it doesn't adhere to a conservative stance, that religion should be used for political power and separation, and that what was wrong when a Democrat did it is right when a Republican does. These ideas (for lack of a better word) are anathema to me.
So you see, I can remain independent and yet criticize the Republicans mainly. From polls I've seen, I'm not the only one doing so.
Libby now seems to be ready to use the "I forgot" defense. This may be hard to get people to believe, since evidence is coming out that Libby knew about Mrs. Wilson by his own request just a few days before he leaked it:
On June 9, the CIA faxed classified accounts of Wilson's assignment "to the personal attention of Libby and another person in the Office of the Vice President." Two or three days later, Grossman told Libby that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and had been involved in planning Wilson's trip. An unidentified "senior officer of the CIA" confirmed Plame's employment for Libby on June 11, and Cheney told Libby the next day which part of the agency employed her.
Yes, it IS possible to forget things, but is it believable? Time will tell. However, if true, Messr. Libby may need to buy some gingko biloba:
On June 23, Libby allegedly crossed his first big line. At a meeting in his office with Miller of the Times, he said Wilson's wife might be a CIA employee.
Two weeks later and Libby claims he forgot he's the one who knew about this? Two weeks? Does this say a lot for the qualifications needed to be a top staffer in the White House? Not only that, but the man who can't remember something two weeks old is able to remember a false story he tells to the grand jury more than once - a story that could have easily been disproven by a simple glance at, say, the June 9th notes. Yeah, right. Sorry, but this defense seems laughable. On the other, more stupid hand, gloves sizes have helped people walk, so who knows?
If I'm right and Libby did intentionally lie - which I do feel is more than likely - why did he? There's an interesting question. The answers range from he didn't want to be caught (quite likely) to wanting to avoid embarrassment to the White House on a case which he never thought would happen (also likely) to wanting to protect someone else. The last choice I list is possible, especially given hints like "other officials" in the indictments and Cheney's involvement, but it's still unknown. I hope people accept that as of now, there is no real evidence of a conspiracy. Lots of hints and thoughts, but nothing real yet. It could very well just be Libby doing something stupid - I mean, isn't that what most people feel is the hallmark of the Bush Admin anyway? (However, keep your eyes on the Niger forgeries for some interesting possibilities - but as of now, that's all they are. They may develop and they look worth checking into - but NOT using them as evidence yet.) I don't want to see Monica redux, where every single conspiratorial theory is trotted out as serious evidence and the investigation to follow them commences. I don't want to see the Democrats morph into the Republicans from the 90's, following the lead of Republicans morphing into the Democrats.
Friday, October 28, 2005
"Mr. F" and "Ms. P" next on list
by Satire News Service
Today, as expected, Scooter the Muppet was indicted on charges of perjury, misleading statements and bad gofering. He immediately turned in his resignation and swore to fight the charges, "assuming my uncle who owns the theater doesn't make them disappear." His resignation was accepted by Kermit, manager of Muppet Theaters, and Robin the Frog was appointed in his place.
The charges stem from the outing of some secret agents, Statler and Waldorf. They had been assigned to the Muppet Theater to keep tabs on the audience and performers, to make sure snacks weren't being smuggled into the theater illegally. "The owners were especially fixated on cake, for some reason - yellow cake," recalls Statler. "Yeah, they hate yellow, so they really hate your teeth!" chortled Waldorf, leading Statler to smack him in the mouth. Assault charges are expected.
The pair was going about their business as usual one day when a column by one Fleet Scribbler appeared in the Muppet Times, outing them and their spying. The story was quickly picked up in a Muppet News Flash, further spreading the story. The backlash was immediate and harsh. "We used to be the ones booing that bear; now the crowd was booing us - and the bear was joining in!" said Waldorf, cringing a little. Statler sighed, "You don't know what it's like, having that furball of a joketeller leading the crowd in taunting us." There are also unconfirmed reports of pie and flying fish throwing, and even an attempt on the duo's lives by a dynamite attack. Lew Zealand and Crazy Eddie are currently wanted for questioning; consider them armed, dangerous, and strange.
The investigation centered on a as-yet unrevealed character, Mr. F, suspected of leaking the information to the paper and TV. Fleet Scribbler refused to name Mr. F., and went to Muppet Jail, however, he was quickly released accidentally and has since been writing his memoirs, "Pulling the Strings." Muppet Police Sergeant Link Hogthrob, when asked about the release, stated, "Well, my Patrol Bear he swore he was innocent!" Patrol Bear Fozzie refused to answer questions about the case, preferring to crack bad jokes.
Scooter was linked to Fleet Scribbler when Fleet printed a story, "I will never reveal my source, since Scooter asked me not to." He was quickly identified as the leak and was shown to have lied and misled the investigation many times, although his boss Kermit stated that Scooter was pretty forgetful anyway and may just have forgotten what happened, as he so often forgets to mention things like guest stars cancelling and roofs falling in. However, the jury felt Scooter's actions rose to the level of criminal activity. "His grave error may have been offering to get them all coffee and never doing it," stated his friend Rowlf the Dog. "Say what you want about Scooter, but don't say what you want to him - you'll never get it."
There is another mysterious figure in the investigation as well, a "Ms. P." This woman, presumed French from the transcripts supplied, seems to be more interested in causing trouble for Muppet Theater to drive the manager, Kermit, into a needed vacation and possibly a higher billing in the cast. When asked to reveal "Ms. P", both Fleet and Scooter refused vehemently, stating fear of their lives. "You don't understand, she knows karate!" stated Fleet, before running away.
Gonzo the Great, once a suspect in the case due to general strangeness, has been told that indictments are not forthcoming. He will celebrate the news by playing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on a xylophone whilst - and at the same time - trying to crack a safe before a bomb explodes.
Kermit the Frog, the seeming overall target of the case, has come in for charges of cronyism on his appointment of Robin to Scooter's vacated position. Robin is the cousin of Kermit. When asked about the seeming cronyism, Kermit said, "Hey, it ain't easy being green, so I try to help when I can."
Thursday, October 27, 2005
If holding a vigil is, in actuality, a party...
...does this mean that every January 22nd, people like this are actually just finding a reason to crack open a cold one? Or every December 7th, these guys are kicking out the jams?
And as for the response from one proponent of this theory:
"They obviously don’t like it when their sick plans are exposed."
This isn't an argument - it's a dodge. Call someone a name and they respond, suddenly it's THEIR fault? (I refer to sane responses, by the way - not slander, name calling, and lies. In other words, sane discussion and not any wannabe Ann Coulters. But the links listed are all at least sane.)
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The policy also prohibits students and teachers from discussing intelligent design in class after the statement is read.
Said policy being the one where:
The school board voted a year ago to require students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact," has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to a textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.
So, to expose kids to "different schools of thought" (a common IDiotic claim), you mention it as an alternative to evolution, and then you refuse to allow any debate on it? Or questions? Or arguments? This isn't scientific exposure, it's the equivalent of a flasher's indecent exposure!
Is Cheney in trouble? Not as such from this report. Maybe he didn't know that Mrs. Plame was undercover and mentioned the fact in "innocence". Maybe not. We don't know. We do know that Cheney was extremely misleading in public, though. He kind of threads the needle on lying, but it sure seems like he knew more than he was telling Russert, given the fact he had been briefed on all that just three weeks before. What was it that was said so often during Clinton's numerous investigations - "Where there's smoke, there's fire."
Check out Just One Minute for some intelligent counter proposals. He does a good job bringing up timelines and questions - but he also admits he feels some people are going down for this. Also, for some suppositions about why Fitzgerald is looking into the Niger documents, look at Washington Monthly - I do find it possible, if still nebulous right now. And for some late news that could be rather huge check this out.
Monday, October 24, 2005
So...infidelity was the real Clinton impeachment reason? Funny, I seem to recall it was perjury. Ken Starr, dude, you just got dissed! It was "just something to show"!
"Other people sympathetic to Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have said that indicting them would amount to criminalizing politics and that Mr. Fitzgerald did not understand how Washington works."
Dammit, we in Washington don't HAVE to follow the laws! Wasn't this DeLay's defense as well? "Everyone does it, so I do to!" Hey, I also seem to recall that was the argument for Clinton as well..."everyone cheats on their spouse!" But these Republicans, they follow the Bible, which CLEARLY mandates the sanctity of marriage and says nothing about outing spies or doing illegal fundraising and contributions. (In other words, these guys like their Constitution to be viewed in a strict constructionalist style and their Bible in a loose interpretation way.)
Some Republicans have also been reprising a theme that was often sounded by Democrats during the investigations into President Bill Clinton, that special prosecutors and independent counsels lack accountability and too often pursue cases until they find someone to charge.
Which is just hunky dory in some cases, apparently.
So, once again in politics, we see that if WE do it, it's okay, but when THEY do it, it isn't.
You must have flexible morals and views to be a politician. Call it the Karma Sutra of hypocrisy.
"I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust," Frist replied. "So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock." He added that the trust was "totally blind. I have no control."
Two weeks before that interview, M. Kirk Scobey Jr., a Frist trustee, informed the senator in writing that one of his trusts had received HCA stock valued at between $15,000 and $50,000.
And the answer is...DR. FRIST IS A BAD DOCTOR.
See, he skipped that day in medical school when eye problems were covered and doesn't know what "blind" meant. Heck, even being a bad doctor, he's a heart surgeon anyway ("Nurse, we're ready to begin, now, where's the chest?") so eyes are AT LEAST a few inches away for his concern and expertise anyway. I mean, do you expect a proctologist to know about athlete's foot, barring some limber sex play? Or do you really think that an ear, nose and throat doctor would have the knowledge to diagnose a knife in the chest? Please.
Of course, there is the logic puzzle of if Mr. "VHS" Frist didn't KNOW he had HCA stock, how could he have directed his stockbroker to SELL said HCA stock (paging Uri Gellar, stockbroker!)...but Dr. Frist isn't a logician either, so we can excuse him that as well.
So Frist is either a bad doctor or a bad liar. Or both.
Friday, October 21, 2005
The side effect of this flexing is the relatively minor fact that astrology is also a science:
Eric Rothschild, attorney for the plaintiffs, asked beau about whether astrology was science. And beau, after hemming and hawing and launching into an abbreviated history of astrology and science, said, under his definition, it is.
Which means that the guy who writes your horoscope in the local paper should be addressed as "DOCTOR", if you please.
Of course, "Mousetrap" also dispayed the almost inbred trait of true believers to deny that things are what they say:
As the cross-examination continued, another pattern developed. Rothschild would show beau, on a big screen in the courtroom, a quote from "Of Pandas and People" and ask him a simple question about it.
The quote said, "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact Â fish with fins and scales, birds with feather, beaks and wings, etc."
Rothschild asked him whether he believed that statement said intelligent design meant life began abruptly on this planet.
It apparently was a trick question becausebeaue had a hard time answering it.
"I disagree," the scientist said.
Don't think it says what it says, think it says what I think it says!
And this is the main guy for IDiocy, ladies and gents. Maybe we should start debating him this way...
Thursday, October 20, 2005
For the first time since the trial began in a U.S. Middle District courtroom three weeks ago, a scientist testified that intelligent design is science, one based on a fully testable, falsifiable theory.
Attorneys for Dover Area School District started presenting their case with Michael Behe, the Lehigh University biochemistry professor who came up with the term "irreducible complexity."
Just as a mouse trap's working parts reveal a designer, design can also be determined in nature by the "purposeful arrangement of parts," Behe said.
He (Behe) uses the bacterial flagellum as an example, arguing that for the propeller-like appendage to move, between 30 and 40 protein parts are needed. Removal of any one of those parts causes the system to stop working — just as a mousetrap depends on all its pieces to operate.
Miller had testified that if 10 of the protein parts were removed, the flagellum would take on a different function, one allowing bacteria to inject poisons into other cells.
Miller says the separate purpose is an explanation for how a complex system might have evolved through genetic mutation and natural selection. To illustrate his side of the argument, Miller showed up the first day of the trial wearing a partially disassembled mousetrap as a tie clip. He took it off before taking the stand.