Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Bush Doctrine

Texas is a state run by religious reactionaries that imprisons and executes many of its citizens--it also has oil. Let's invade them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How independent of Bush is McCain?

According to Congressional Quarterly, John McCain voted with President Bush 100 percent of the time in 2008 and 95 percent of the time in 2007 on issues where Bush expressed an explicit opinion. Critics will say this proves McCain is nothing more than Bush's third term proxy. But in his defense, the sample is flawed by its size. McCain hasn't bothered to show up for that many votes.

We liberals can be just as stupid as conservatives

Actress Sharon Stone, who is usually counted on our side of the aisle, gave reporters at Cannes her assessment of the causes of the Sichuan earthquakes and revealed a mind just as superstitious and inclined to blame the victim as any reactionary on the right.
“I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else,” Stone said Thursday during a Cannes Film Festival red-carpet interview with Hong Kong’s Cable Entertainment News. “And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?”

Karma sure has bad aim. It shot at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Beijing and killed thousands of innocent bystanders living in small towns over a thousand miles away. There is no difference between her silly statement and those of televangelists like Hagee and Robertson who claim Hurricane Katrina was the wrath of God on New Orleans for tolerating gays or that 9/11 was caused by feminists. Neither end of the political spectrum has a lock on superstition or muddy thinking.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Libertarians nominate Bob Barr

The Libertarian Party has nominated former Republican congressman Bob Barr as their standard bearer for the 2008 presidential race. It took six ballots for him to muster a majority. Barr beat former Democrat Mike Gravel and four real Libertarians to get the nomination. He will be the first nationally known candidate (outside Libertarian circles) they've ever had. I'm not sure that will help them. A lot of the Libertarian faithful think Barr is too Republican. On the other hand, he might get enough press time to attract a few votes get some of the small "L" libertarians who are still disappointed that Ron Paul isn't running to look at the Party. As a disaffected Republican, he could do some real damage to McCain. If Howard Dean and the Democrats are on the ball, they should be lobbying the networks to include Barr in the debates.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What does the religious right fear the most?

A poll that one of the giants on the right, Coral Ridge Ministries, sent to their members gives a revealing insight into their world view. They asked "How dangerous are the following to the spiritual health of America?" and provided the following list of possible threats:
  • The ACLU and similar groups
  • Pro-homosexual indoctrination
  • Abortion
  • Islamic terrorism
  • Hollywood
  • News Media
  • Darwinism/evolution
  • Cults and false religion
  • Atheism
  • Courts
  • Apathetic/uninformed Christians
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Public education (K-12)
  • Congress

They might as well have only given their flock four choices: education (evolution, college, and public schools), democracy (congress and the courts), sex (abortion and the homosexual agenda), and people who don't think exactly as they do (Hollywood, Islam, other Christians, Atheists, and the ACLU). The flock answered like a Pavlovian conditioned dog to the standard talking points of their culture warrior leaders; most of them chose all of the above. The order of the list is from most threatening (96 percent for the ACLU) to least threatening (63 percent for congress). Their fear of the modern world outside the close confines of their community is palpable. The outer world is all gays, free thinkers, and strangers who are out to get them.

The rest of the poll goes on to reinforce the standard culture warrior message. The "Family Values" section is all about abortion. The other questions are structured to evoke answers that are anti-gay, anti-evolution, anti-separation of church and state, and distrustful of information sources not under the direct control of their insular community. Several of the questions are quite open in their fear-mongering, for example: "If Christians don’t take action, how likely is it that the federal government will pass a law making it a 'hate crime' for pastors and others to speak out against homosexuality and religions like Islam--as other countries have done?" Seventy-eight percent answered Very Likely and ten percent answered Somewhat Likely. Only four percent answered Not Very Likely.

While many will notice the fact that there is little that might be called traditional Christian values in their list of culture war gripes, that's not what struck me as most alarming. After all, the the sex and Hollywood bashing brand of Christianity should be pretty familiar to us. It is what has dominated the politically active, religious right for almost forty years now. What struck me was the hostility that they showed to the instruments of democracy; two thirds of the respondents see Congress and the courts as threats to the spiritual health of America. Ninety percent think something needs to be done to improve that spiritual health.

Why that hostility? Congress and the courts are the two branches of government that give voice to a multiplicity of opinions and that should aim at creating compromises that protect the interests of all Americans, not just the demographic majority or the self-proclaimed "real Americans." The executive, which was not offered as a threat, is the only branch that can act dictatorially as a stern father. The executive can only be one voice. Naturally, they like that branch because it reflects their authoritarian and hierarchical impulses. Even if they might not like a particular inhabitant of threat office, they like the arrangement and hope to someday take control of it and use the powers of the stern father to bring all of the other voices in America into line.

That's your modern conservative movement: fearful, authoritarian, and insular. And in their own words.

(Discovered via Thoughts from Kansas.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great Moments in Marketing

Behold, the awesome Spongebob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer.
I was shopping at the supermarket yesterday when I came upon a unique piece of Nickelodeon merchandising - a Spongebob Squarepants Musical Rectal Thermometer! Yes, it's musical. And yes, it's clearly marked for rectal use. It actually plays the Spongebob theme in your ass when your temperature is taken!

This ought to make James Dobson spin in his grave. What's that you say? Dobson's not dead? This ought to put him in his grave.

Effect Measure has more.

Your Republican Party, now whiter than ever

Just a few years after Ken Melman launched a highly publicized diversity effort for the big tent, the Grand Ol' Party is heading into an election season without a single minority candidate who has a chance of winning their campaign for House, Senate, or governor. If it wasn't for the older generation Miami Cubans and Bobby Jindal, the GOP caucus would be indistinguishable from a meeting of the Sons of the Confederacy. As for their beliefs, even with Bobby and the Cubans the GOP is completely indistinguishable from the SOC.

Friday, May 16, 2008

GOP targets Michelle Obama

The Tennessee Republican Party has released a video attacking Michelle Obama as unpatriotic. Have they forgotten that Cindy McCain is a former drug addict who stole drugs from a nonprofit organization? Do they think everyone else has forgotten? Would it kill them to actually campaign on the issues instead of turning this into yet another battle over whose spouse is the most unlikable? How stupid do you have to be to start this particular food fight?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Questions that should be asked

With tornadoes tearing across Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Georgia; destroying property; and killing people,why has no one in the mainstream press has asked John McCain's friend the Rev, James Hagee just what the Bible belt did to piss God off so badly. Hagee goes back and forth on whether he knows the mind of God. He originally said God sent hurricane Katrina to destroy New Orleans because they allowed their gays to get uppity. Then he said he shouldn't have claimed to know the mind of God. Since then he has gone back to saying the hurricane was divine punishment for the sin of tolerance. On the balance, Hagee, like Pat Robertson, feels he has a special gift for understanding the Almighty's intentions where weather is concerned. So, why won't anyone ask him about these tornadoes?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


has officially achieved oneness with life, the universe, and everything. Go over to his place and wish him a happy birthday.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Speaking of conspiracy nuts...

On Fox News' The Live Desk Christine O'Donnell, a Republican running in Delaware for Joe Biden's Senate seat says:
Well, keep in mind that Barack Obama is a time bomb. We have no idea what's going to happen between now and the convention. He is so far to the left, pushing for things -- Well, we can take a look at what he stands for. He and my opponent Biden are pushing for this global tax that would require America to pay tax to the UN So, as we take a closer look at him --

That tax will be used to buy more black helicopters for the day when Canadian troops working for the UN and NAFTA swoop down to confiscate all our guns and nationalize the white women. Paying taxes to the UN is classic Pavlovian code for surrendering US sovereignty and establishing a world government. I know nothing about O'Donnell, so I can't say whether she is intentionally ringing the conspiracy bell or if she is just stupidly repeating something she heard. In either case, this is not someone who should be allowed into a position of authority.

The view from Marrs

John McCain has a problem with the religious right. When he ran for president in 2000, he let his mavrickness get the best of him and he failed to be properly obsequious toward the irrational wing of the Republican Party. He refused to make a pilgrimage to Bob Jones University and slammed Bush for doing so. In 2002 he famously called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance." The religious right made McCain pay, so when he prepared to run this year, he changed his tune from straight talk to singing the praises of those whom he had just condemned. He gave the 2006 commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University and hinted that he would love to appear at BJU if only they would invite him. He arranged a series of summits with various conservative evangelical leaders to woo their support.

But conservative evangelical leaders have big egos and long memories and the results for McCain have been mixed. John Hagee and Ron Paisley have given McCain the endorsements he wanted, but Robertson has not and James Dobson has loudly hinted at supporting a third party candidate rather than McCain. Still further out on the political spectrum, the resistance to McCain is even stronger. In the sales pitch for his "Exclusive Intelligence Examiner Report" conspiracy writer and leader of the "Power of Prophecy" ministry Texe Marrs lets us know what the far, far religious right thinks of McCain. It's not pretty.
Senator John McCain is clearly favored for President by Israel and the Jewish billionaires who secretly control America’s Washington, D.C. political and banking establishments. In this exclusive report, Texe Marrs reveals why this is so. Discover the startling facts about the Rothschilds’ funding of McCain’s insane bloodlust to kill and ravage Iran and any other nation that doesn’t bow down before Israel’s warmongering machine; McCain’s many sexual infidelities; McCain’s plan to increase taxes on ordinary Americans ten-fold to pay for a disastrous World War III; McCain’s handlers, like the Mossad’s chief stooge, Senator Joe Lieberman; McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, butcher and anti-American traitor who permitted Israel’s Air Force to savagely attack the U.S. Navy’s Liberty vessel and kill scores of courageous American sailors; McCain’s close relationship to Neocon crazies like Pastor John Hagee and the bigoted Jewish rabbis who are clamoring for more blood and treasure to be heaped for Israel’s benefit. If this evil man is elected President, he will destroy America as a nation and push us into the North American Union. This wicked, dark reprobate must not be allowed to occupy the highest political office in the nation.

This is just the teaser and sales pitch. Marrs promises to go into all the gory details in his investigative report John McCain: Rothschild Puppet, Conservative Chameleon, Zionist Warmonger available in CD for a mere $8.00 plus postage and handling. I think I'll be saving my money. Marrs is recycling the same antisemitic, Illuminati conspiracy claims that have been made about every American president and presidential candidate since FDR. We've seen it before.

Monday, May 05, 2008

All the latest polls

TPM has a round up of the latest polls. Most predict Obama taking North Carolina and Clinton taking Indiana tomorrow. That means they cancel each other out and the fight continues. Oh, and we'll get to hear why Indiana voters are more authentic and matter more than North Carolina voters. I want to be the first to welcome our North Carolina friends into the bi-coastal elites. Sure, you might miss being part of the real America of the heartland, but the coffee here more than makes up for it.

If, as it appears, Obama gets to the 2025 magic number before the convention, what do you think the Clinton campaign will do?
  1. Gracefully give in to the will of the party.
  2. Try to start a fight at the convention.
  3. Accept the nomination from the Lieberman Party.

Superstition is mavericky

John McCain won't take a salt shaker from your hand because it's unlucky. He won't throw a hat on a bed because it means death will soon visit. He carries a lucky penny, and a lucky nickel, and a lucky quarter, and a lucky four leaf clover, and a lucky feather, and a lucky compass. In the past he has also carried a lucky rock, a lucky pen, and worn lucky shoes. But he won't pick up an coins he finds unless they are heads up. If someone says something optimistic, he knocks on wood to avoid being jinxed. “Am I superstitious? I’m that,” he says. “But I don’t think I’m alone there.” Many people take comfort in being part of the crowd. It serves a purpose.The late paleontologist Jack Sepkoski explained it: "I see intelligence as just one of a variety of adaptations among tetrapods for survival. Running fast in a herd while being as dumb as shit, I think, is a very good adaptation for survival." Mavericks are still herd animals.

Send Your Name to the Moon

NASA is putting a microchip onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that will contain the names of anyone who wants to be part of the mission later this year. It's as close as most of us are ever going to get to that space vacation that Walt Disney, Werner von Braun, and Collier's Magazine promised us when I was a kid.

Teacher Fired for Wizardry

A substitute teacher in Florida who performed a simple slight of hand trick to entertain his students has been fired amid accusations of wizardry.
Substitute teacher Jim Piculas does a 30-second magic trick where a toothpick disappears then reappears.

But after performing it in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land 'O Lakes, Piculas said his job did a disappearing act of its own.

"I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue, you can't take any more assignments you need to come in right away,'" he said.

When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell and went much farther than he'd hoped.

"I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,' [he said]. Wizardry?" he asked.

Tampa Bay's [Channel] 10 talked to the assistant superintendent with the Pasco County School District who said it wasn't just the wizardry and that Piculas had other performance issues, including "not following lesson plans" and allowing students to play on unapproved computers."

Notice that they don't deny that wizardry was part of it.

Texas and Kansas are falling behind in the annual competition among school systems for the title of laughing stock of the nation. At this point even Congolese penis thieves are laughing at Florida.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Obama Takes Guam

Barack Obama thundered to a dramatic victory of seven votes in Saturday's Democratic caucuses of the territory of Guam. Clearly, he's the candidate with the most Guamentum going into Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries. And, yes, the only purpose of this post is to use the word "Guamentum."

Friday, May 02, 2008

Memphis defends its weiner

The Memphis City School District has issued a statement on the ACLU complaint against Daphne Beasley, the Hollis F. Price Middle College High School principal who outed two gay students. The school district, after consulting with their lawyers, have decided to admit no wrong and concede no ground to the complaint. Their statement does not provide much in the way of new information, but it does provide some interesting spin.

As to why Beasley was collecting the names of couples:
We are at all times proactive in assuring that our students are provided a safe, nurturing and disciplined learning climate. Unfortunately, in fall 2007, we received numerous complaints from LeMoyne-Owen College faculty and staff that some of our student couples were involved in explicit sexual behavior in public view on the college campus.

In light of this information from LeMoyne-Owen faculty and staff, the principal of Hollis F. Price made several general announcements to the student body that this behavior would not be tolerated. Regrettably, the improper behavior continued. Therefore, the principal felt it appropriate to notify the parents of those children she knew to be involved romantically. This was done in an effort to gain the support of the parents in reinforcing the message that such behavior is in violation of Memphis City Schools’ Student Code of Conduct.

The choice of words is interesting. What do they mean by "explicit sexual behavior in public view"? Were students having sex in public? Was there more necking and groping going on at Hollis F. Price than at any other high school? They say there was some sort of a problem, but they are vague about the nature and extent of the problem.

In addition, the school district narrative leaves out several important points. They don't address the aspect of the complaint that Beasley was very specific in criticizing the young men to their parents for being homosexuals and said she would not tolerate homosexuality in her school. Was this call different that the calls to the parents of heterosexual couples? The issue of whether the young men were singled out for different treatment than other couples is the core of the complaint.
The principal did not list any information other than students’ names on her personal call list, and she certainly did not specify the sexual orientation of any student.

This is disingenuous in the extreme. It was a list of couples. Two male names were listed together as a couple. Hollis F. Price is a school for gifted kids. Are they suggesting that in Memphis even the gifted kids couldn't figure that one out?
Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school.

The complaint doesn't say that it was posted in public; it says it was posted in her office where any visitor could, and many did, see it.
It is the position of Memphis City Schools that the principal did act in an appropriate manner in order to correct a serious issue at the school and that Memphis City Schools has not subjected either of these students to discriminatory treatment.

The last part of that sentence glosses over all of the specific complaints of discrimination. Were the two students subjected to verbal harassment by faculty as a result of Beasley making their orientation known? Were they prohibited from socializing or studying together on school grounds while other couples were not limited in this way? Was one of them prevented from going on a school sponsored trip because the faculty were afraid he would engage in "improper" conduct and embarrass the school?

Finally there is the question that they do answer. Many bloggers and commenters were struck by the creepiness (and utter impracticality) of a high school principal attempting to keep tabs on all the romantic connections in her school. In both the ACLU complaint and the Memphis City School District response, it is stated that Beasley collected the names of all the couples that the faculty could identify, not just those who were believed to be "involved in explicit sexual behavior in public view." It appears that this kind of prudish voyeurism is considered appropriate by Beasley's supervisors. I'm a purist on the right of privacy, but I think slipping into this kind surveillance culture is something that should alarm any American. There's always a good reason to give up rights, but once they are gone, they are almost impossible to get back.