Thursday, April 28, 2005

good americans...

I have kind of tried to stay out of the pope was a nazi fray. Really, his creepy looks and creepier politics are more than enough for me to dislike him, so going back and reminding us that he was ok being a part of one of the worst episodes in modern history is overkill. And there is the whole, "he was a kid" thing, which for damn near any other post, I would think is a perfectly reasonable argument, but if you are supposed to be called by God... whatever. Not my beef. I'm not Catholic so he is just one more old creepy fellow with bad politics and power that he will probably misuse.

but I am linking to this Billmon post about the whole thing so I can steal this quote:

"Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!"

Whiskey Bar: The Good German

What are you willing to endure?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Thank you again, Jon Stewart, but...

Oliver Willis has a video from the daily show with Jon Stewart tearing into the new Texas law trying to keep gay people from being foster parents:

Lord Almighty, CNN Sucks | Oliver Willis

This is one of those moments where Jon is brilliantly indignant and terribly effective with his critisim and I salute him for calling out news hosts for not calling their guests on their bullshit.


While B was house sitting last week (ie-staying at a great apartment in convenient Manhattan location with Tivo and good cable), I caught an episode of the Daily Show (can't remember which day specifically) and dennis miller was the guest. Jon might as well have licked the bottom of his shoes for all the fawning he was doing. Was dennis funny? Yeah, better than he has been the last few years and he was on a roll, but he isn't running around just doing stand up these days, he has a show on a news channel and he uses his visibility to promote right-wing trash. So he said a few things about the righties being silly about their stance on gay marriage. Awsome, but you don't say that and then turn around and start calling environmentalism a bunch of horse-shit and expect to get rid of your label as republican do-boy. Jon, it is great that you call out CNN anchors for not calling idiots out who are misrepresenting sides of a debate, but what do you do when you have a guest on who is misrepresenting the evidence of global climate change? You lick his hairy butthole and act like you have never heard anything so funny.

I don't care if he is a comedian or not, if he is that funny and fast on his toes, he can handle being called on his shit and make a joke about his own damn ignorance. Maybe Jon isn't up on his climate science, but miller's assertions were pretty bluntly dumb. Even just a question about the source of his assurance or a "Who knew dennis miller was an authority on global warming?" would have been better than the gobbling up of the crap coming out of his mouth. He wasn't presenting his stuff as just jokes, his monologue had a solid and visible agenda: ridicule the science asserting global warming and ideas of the effectiveness of alternative energy sources. Even Joe Scarborough is more progressive on this subject, fuck, even frist is more progressive.

So yes, dennis, you are still a dumb right wing stooge. We are all happy that you realize that you can't reform all the gay men, but until you stop pushing the oil industry's propaganda line, fuck you.

Big 30 test results

I kind of love taking personality tests and similar things. I came across this one today through some google search I was doing. Anyway, here are the results if anyone cares to have a detailed explanation of my personality.

this is from

Advanced Big 30 Personality Test Results
Sociability |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 85%
Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 72%
Assertiveness |||||||||||||||||| 51%
Activity Level |||||||||||||||||||||||| 77%
Excitement-Seeking ||||||||||||||| 45%
Enthusiasm |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Extroversion ||||||||||||||||||||| 69%
Trust |||||||||||||||||| 56%
Morality |||||||||||| 40%
Altruism |||||||||||||||||||||||| 78%
Cooperation ||||||||| 29%
Modesty ||||||||| 24%
Sympathy |||||||||||||||||| 59%
Friendliness ||||||||||||||| 47%
Confidence ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Neatness |||||||||||||||||| 52%
Dutifulness |||||||||||||||||| 56%
Achievement ||||||||||||||| 41%
Self-Discipline ||||||||||||||| 49%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Orderliness |||||||||||||||||| 59%
Anxiety |||||||||||||||||| 59%
Volatility |||||||||||| 31%
Depression ||| 7%
Self-Consciousness ||| 8%
Impulsiveness |||||||||||| 37%
Vulnerability |||||||||||| 38%
Emotional Stability ||||||||||||||||||||| 70%
Imagination |||||||||||||||||||||||| 71%
Artistic Interests |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 86%
Introspection |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 87%
Adventurousness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 71%
Intellect |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 84%
Liberalism |||||||||||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Openmindedness |||||||||||||||||||||||| 80%
Take Free Advanced Big 30 Personality Test
personality tests by

Where will we get our batteries?

If you don't live in NYC, this post may make no sense to you, but if you have a commute long distances on the subway, you are no doubt familiar with the folks selling batteries and other assorted junk on the train. This may be a product of my conspiracy leaning mind, but I have noticed lately that the battery folks aren't as bold as usual and was wondering if the cops have been cracking down? I ride the same train and see the same little Asian ladies with their batteries everyday. They used to be bold, belting out their warning cry of 'baaaaaaaaaaaaaterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesss' and shaking noise-makers so even if I fell asleep I would hear them coming from the other end of the car. These days they keep their wares almost hidden and their announcement demure, so you almost don't see them til they are on top of you.

They look gun-shy lately and I can't help but assume there is a reason for this. I pray they are left alone because batteries are expensive and inconvienent and expensive to buy elsewhere. Please leave the battery sellers alone.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

apology for a problem I am not quite sure how to fix.

Blogger has been kind of funny lately and eaten a few posts and done various strange things. The most recent and annoying of these quirks is that the sidebar on the blog now comes at the bottom of the page instead of on the SIDE where one expects a sidebar to be. I haven't changed anything on the template which would account for this so there is nothing I can change back. I am not sure if this problem shows up on all computers, so hopefully on your computer everything is hunky-dory and you have no idea what I am talking about, but on my computer if I look at the blog I have to scroll all the way to the bottom to get to links and archive stuff. Anyone else had similar problems?

Monday, April 25, 2005

scarborough on Maher

I always liked Politically Incorrect, and have only seen a few episodes of Real Time but have liked what I have seen. I watched friday for the first time in a long while and I guess I should say I liked the show, but some of the dialogue on it was fairly painful. Bill Maher does a pretty good job as the comedian gadfly, but he cowed to some pretty silly arguments by joe scarborough.

There was plenty to complain about in what scarborough said, although it was less annoying than he usually comes across, but the argument which he was given a pass for which left smoke shooting from my ears was his glib dismissal of religious leaders'(specifically the pope in this case) responsibility in the spread of HIV, particularly in Africa. His argument was that if folks were going around having multiple partners and extramarital sex, then they obviously aren't paying too much attention to what the church thinks about moral matters anyway and the church's position on condoms is not why they aren't using them.

In so far as the assertion that the church's position on condoms is not directly influencing most individual decisions directly, he is ok. The problem is that his assertion deflects attention away from the real issue in which the church is implicated: influencing public policy to make birth control and information about disease and prevention less accessible to the public.

I have no beef with a preacher telling his congregation that they should not use condoms and should only have sex in matrimony and that when they follow his advice and have children coming out their ears that they shouldn't have an abortion. I would argue with what he says, but I got nothing against his right to say it, in so far as he is explicit about his intentions towards influencing the hearts of individuals. The second it steps over into attempting to directly affect public policy to take away options from those individuals whose hearts he can't sway, he is implicated in the outcome of his efforts (rather than the individual, since he was no longer trying to influence their choice but rather control it).

This is the fundamental difference and one which joe either missed or intentionally ignores. A religious leader telling his flock that they are to do this or that or face an unhappy deity in the after life is fine with me (so long as his flock can choose another shepherd if they think he is crazy); a religious leader who works to influence public policy to limit the availability of health care options and disease prevention to the public is way, way out of bounds. The Catholic church has enormous influence in Africa and has used this influence to affect public policy in such a way as to make contraception and other reproductive information and services less available. president bush and his cronies are guilty of the same crime with all their riders on HIV funding requiring abstinance only bullshit and emphasis of the imperfection of condoms. Both groups are knowingly killing people.

So, if you are a curmudgeonly comedian with a political antagonism show and one of your guests makes the assertion that the church has no responsibility in the spread of AIDS in Africa because the sinners doing the dangerous deeds ain't been listening to the pope anyway or they wouldn't be screwing around so much, tell that guest to STFU until the the church stops trying to influence public policy to limit access to condoms and information about reproductive health.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Right-wing Cry Babies on the march.

My crazy cousin (who, incidentally, is a joy to be around in real life and who I can't actually remember her ever bring up politics around me but who sends lunatic fringe junk via email, so if I am writing about her on the computer, she is my crazy cousin) sent me a link to this petition: (I am not linking to it, but you can go to the site if you wish).

Basically, it is load of horse shit. Since when did religious leaders tip-toe around about social and moral issues? They just aren't allowed to campaign for political candidates in the pulpit. They can address the issues all they want, and if they really want to campaign, then they can give up their tax exempt status. But the biggest cry-babies in the country, the radical religious right, are playing the martyr again to try to get their way so they can consolidate even more power in the loony fringe hand.

you can read more about their efforts here:

American Civil Liberties Union : Letter to the House Urging Opposition to H.R. 235, the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act

This is one of those things that I wish I could just ignore and say, "this will never pass" but that is kind of how I always regarded the creationist morons and now they are crippling science classes all over the country and getting the NYTimes to run op-eds on ID. So lets watch this one. And for God's sake, if you hear one of your friends or relatives mentioning this stuff and trying to get people to sign it, speak up. Don't let these things go.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

New Pope Reconsidered

Early I stated that it seemed like this new pope might just be more of the same so maybe it wasn't too much worse than it could have been. I think I have to reconsider that statement.

I'm not Catholic, so I don't come to the table with a mound of knowledge about who is who in the church and am only slowly piecing together an understanding of who this pope is. And the more I learn, the more he scares me.

Perhaps it is juvenile, but when I look at him, I can't help but feel like he is evil. John Paul II looked jovial even when his politics werer scary, but Benedict XVI would look frightening even if he were kissing a baby or petting a kitten. Maybe especially if he were kissing a baby or petting a kitten. Perhaps this is from the Star Wars movies being too strong an influence in my developmental years and his uncanny resemblence to the Emperor, but I can't shake it.

Last night at dinner friends suggested that it was ok that he was creepy and scary, cause he is old and will die soon. I somehow don't buy it for a second. Evil old men keep right on living for terribly long times. I have this gut feeling that he is going to cling to that position til he is over 100.

But again, who knows? I just find the fellow creepy and wish the papers would stop putting his face on everything. I keep expecting lightning to shoot out of his hands as he cackles watching the suffering of a young jedi knight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Little League Prayer: Hit It Till It Breaks.

Steve Gilliard links to a post over at Kos by a mother whose son's little league team has just found the power of prayer and decided to start the games off with it and play Dobson's radio show in the refreshment stand. She is annoyed by this intentional poke in the eye, and questions what to do, basically liking the folks she is being irked by and not wanting to cause a stink. Steve echoes her concern:

"But how does one stand up for one's principles and not start a fight? Or maybe one does start a fight."

Exactly, you do start a fight. Every damn one of us should be picking a fight with our families and friends right now. As I said a few months ago, hit it til it breaks!!!!

I realized over Christmas that my family expects the more reasonable folks to just take things in stride and kind of ignore the stupider statements and politics that some members of our family and community sling around. Deference is given to their statements because everyone knows that they will blow up and not let an argument go no matter how wrong they may be. So people avoid talking politics with them and just kind of 'un-huh' s their views.

But thankfully, I am at least marginally known for being obstinant and stubborn as well and folks seem to be getting the idea that if they really want to step to me on politics or religion, they had better be ready to go the distance because I am not just going to agree with them and they won't get a pass for being annoying and they better be able to back up their assumptions because I am going to ask them their sources and I am going to check them.

After a while they start backing off. I am living away from home, but I have put every relative who I can find an email address for on an email list and I send them forwards of progressive articles and cartoons and whatever else damn near every day, often several a day. And I often write prologues to give them a little bit of an idea as to why I am sending them what I am sending. From some, I still get the occasional retaliatory letter, criticising me for criticising the prez, but I just take that as an invitation to tell them why I think the prez needs to be criticised.

I am under no delusion that suddenly my family is going to be transformed into this super liberal, progressive bunch, but the next time I am home and someone wants to crow about how great the president is, they are going to try real damn hard to make sure I am not around and if someone does make the mistake of doing it at the dinner table or in a room full of people and the rest of the room gets tired of politics, the peacemakers and soothers are going to target the otherside when they try to pick a party to calm down. Because I have taken the offensive and put them on notice that being dumb about politics will not be fun if I am around.

Be nice, don't make it personal, and don't budge an inch. Don't scream, don't huff, don't accuse, but be firm and clear and make your objections known. Become the one they don't want to piss off and those in your association who hate conflict will do the work for you.

In Steve's comments, there was a link to this article:slacktivist: And whenever you pray

The people's comments are pretty damn idiotic, but you know why they are saying them? Because they can. Because no one is calling them out for being retarded. No one is making the point this article is making (and that their preachers should be making instead of feeding their damn idiocy) that if anything, prayer should be private and that praying as a public show of faith is anathema to Jesus' teachings.

You don't have to just sit back and take it. At this point sitting back and taking it is a luxury none of us can afford. When you are confronted by idiocy, oppression, bigotry, intolerance, or ignorance, hit it til it breaks. It will take a few swings to make the first crack, but after that it is easy.

New links...

I am a slow moving. At least when I can be. So sometimes I am slow to post things and often times I am slow to update things about the blog, but I felt that I had to add a few links to reflect my daily reading.

Majikthise and Steve Gilliard came to me by way of James Wolcott's blog (I should link to them in the text here and now, but since I am not commenting on a specific post and they are now in the side bar of links, I'll let you click over there). Both are great and have become daily stops for me.

Lizz just got her new site up and running and although I am sad to no longer have her on the radio, I am happy to have her on the web.

New Pope...

so there is a new pope now. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I'm not Catholic, so the pope matters to me only in so far as he is a world leader. This fellow(can't spell his name and you can google it anyway) seems to be more of the same -#2 under Pope John Paul II, 78 yo, from the vatican powers that be- so I guess that is about the best we could have hoped for. It didn't look like there were really a lot of terribly progressive candidates and there were some terribly scary possibilities, so more of the same is at least not a loss.

but who knows what the future holds or what an old man will do. So now we enter into another pope-out wash of all news and events, so I have already had to turn my radio station away from NPR so I can listen to music and not hear pope stuff all the time. I turned to the lovely KEXP out of Seattle which has a reliable and user-friendly webcast. I think I am going to go listen to their archived live performance by the Decemberists.

KEXP 90.3 FM - where the music matters

"So friggin' what?"

James Wolcott lead me to reading roger simon's simpleton crap about the new play about Rachel Corrie. Unfortunately I continued to read down into the comments:

Roger L. Simon: Raising Rickman: "A third point, mine, is, what if the dozer DID run over her on purpose? So friggin' what?"

What a fucking prick. Culture of life, my ass.

These goddamned idiots who run and scream about Hollywood/the liberal elite's lack of values and cry and moan about all these abortions and assisted suicides are a bunch of heartless pricks who just want to control other people when it comes down to it. A young woman feels so strongly about a cause that she stands in front of a bulldozer which mows her down and the commentary comes to, "So friggin' what?"

roger simons, buddy larsen, and the rest of your pals: fuck you and the crusty little emptinesses where your hearts should be.

Friday, April 15, 2005

She'd a been a good women if there had been someone there to throw a pie in her face every day of her life.

My apologies to (1 you my readers for linking to ann coulter and (2 Flannery O'connor.

I link to ann because when people first tried to describe her to me I thought their descriptions to be impossibly ridiculous and stupid. Surely this person they described was a creation from a SNL skit, or just some joking exageration. No one could be that stupid and annoying and rude and still be published or allowed to talk on tv. This thing just couldn't be real.

Then I read some of her columns. And saw her on tv. And changed the channel as it was the only appropriate response. It is hard to describe her without using explitives and cruder slang terms, so I won't bother. She couldn't be parodied; she is the parody.

But what gets me most about her and all these other retarded idiots given air time (notably rush, sean, bill) is that they are all cry-baby wimps. It is one thing for a child to act tough and then cry alot and try to get their parents to retaliate when the kids on the playground get tired of their shit, but for grown adults to act this way is pathetic. So you have a show or a column and lots of cash and can berate anyone who doesn't bend to your whims. You still whine and whine and whine like a baby when ever anyone disagrees with you or calls you on your shit.

Or throws food at you.

I am of the ilk that thinks that food throwing is one of the nicer ways that people can express their dissatisfaction with this type of high-profile trash. But if you have been hit with (or missed being hit by) a pie hurled at you, this is not the equivalent of someone trying to inflict serious bodily damage. They obviously chose something soft and mushy to hit you with. They could have thrown bricks.

Reading more of her whining cry-baby shit makes me think that perhaps they should have.

Ann Coulter: It's only funny until someone loses a pie

There are not enough pies in all the world to express the scorn with which this woman should be regarded.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The bitter taste of one's own medicine.

Turn-about is fair play.

New York Post Online Edition:: "'One gay student asked whether government had any business enacting and enforcing laws against consensual sodomy. Following Scalia's answer, the student asked a follow-up: 'Do you sodomize your wife?' The audience was shocked, especially since Mrs. Scalia [Maureen] was in attendance. The justice replied that the question was unworthy of an answer.' "

Why the hell isn't it worthy of an answer? If you, in your capacity as a judge, are willing to say that the government has a right to intrude upon and sanction private citizens for consensual private acts, it is fairly pathetic for you to then suggest that one should not question another about private sexual behaviour between concenting adults. If you support the law being able to intrude upon another's bedroom behavior, you should be ready and willing to stand firm and discuss your own.

Either your refusal suggests guilt on your own part ('I won't incriminate myself') or that the subject matter of the question (sodomy between consenting adults) should be off-limits to third party scrutiny. Which is it?


The New York Times has an article and an editorial about a new study showing that over-hydrating can be lethal or lead to brain damage. I remember reading something about our now at peace Teri who had suffered braindamage caused by low sodium, how she drank copious amounts of liquids as part of her dieting. I know it was supposed to be all about the bulemia, but one wonders...

Regardless, this is scary and something to think about:

The New York Times > Health > Study Cautions Runners to Limit Their Water Intake: "That year, a 28-year-old woman reached Heartbreak Hill, at Mile 20, after five hours of running and drinking sports drinks. She struggled to the top. Feeling terrible and assuming she was dehydrated, she chugged 16 ounces of the liquid.
'She collapsed within minutes,' Dr. Siegel said.
She was later declared brain dead. Her blood sodium level was dangerously low, at 113 micromoles per liter of blood. (Hyponatremia starts at sodium levels below 135 micromoles, when brain swelling can cause confusion and grogginess. Levels below 120 can be fatal.) "

Friday, April 08, 2005

Please, please let Lynn Magulis respond to these idiots.

so something is funky on their page that makes copying specific sections damn near impossible, so you will just have to go there to read the stuff for yourself, but really folks, if you are familiar enough with Lynn Margulis's work to quote her, you probably shouldn't be quoting her in support of intelligent design/creationism bullshit. Yeah, she picks fights with other biologists and isn't really gentle about it, but she is still a scientist and a damn good biologist. Scientist argue with one another all the time.

go read their idiot invocation of her:

Intelligent Design the Future - Evolution: Cloaking Ignorance in Terminology

now tell me their characterization of her squares with this synopsis from her bio on the U Mass website:

Lynn Margulis: "Her publications, spanning a wide range of scientific topics, include original contributions to cell biology and microbial evolution. She is best known for her theory of symbiogenesis, which challenges a central tenet of neodarwinism. She argues that inherited variation, significant in evolution, does not come mainly from random mutations. Rather new tissues, organs, and even new species evolve primarily through the long-lasting intimacy of strangers. The fusion of genomes in symbioses followed by natural selection, she suggests, leads to increasingly complex levels of individuality. Dr. Margulis is also acknowledged for her contribution to James E. Lovelock�s Gaia concept. Gaia theory posits that the Earth�s surface interactions among living beings sediment, air, and water have created a vast self-regulating system."

She doesn't attack natural selection. She is no enemy of Darwin. She takes a different route on what is the most significant in terms of origin of variation. But perhaps I speak too much for her. If she becomes aware of this charterization of her work, I would love to hear her response.

jonah goldberg Opens His Trap About Science Jobs

I am not going to attempt to smack ol' Jonah Bologna down. Already been done a couple of times by folks who are better equipped to do it than I am.

This was my first visit to the Abstract Factory, but I think I will visit there again:

The Abstract Factory: In which Jonah Goldberg performs feats that bend the laws of space and time

In the comments section following this, some one wrote, "Maybe professors are liberal because teaching involves helping people." Nope, nice sentiment, but professors tend towards liberal because they are smart. jonah is a right-wing pundit for the opposite reason.