Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Health Update

In the words of Mark Twain, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

I'm recovering quite well, to the point that I can travel again. So now we're off to Hawaii for a couple of weeks. Nothing like lolling around in the warmth of the tropics in the dead of winter to fix what ails you.

I'll be back on board in mid-January. In the meantime, thanks to all of you who sent emails and blog comments. They were all greatly appreciated.

-- The F Man

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dodging the Bullet

After many years of laughing in the face of my own mortality, I've finally got my comeuppance. Last Friday I experienced what is being referred to by the medical authorities as a "mild stroke".

Being the master of denial that I am, I of course ignored all the warning signs and went out for my usual Friday lunch of beer and kielbasa, until it all got to be too much to ignore -- the slurred speech, the inability to keep the sausage in the roll or the food in my mouth, etc, and I decided that something may be amiss.

So I went to the hospital and told them I thought I was having a stroke. Actually I said something like "Ahthikkamavashtroke"... but they apparently are expertly bilingual when it comes to these things and checked me in with alacrity.

After a tiring weekend in the hospital (who can get any sleep when nurses descend on you like the hordes of Atilla every two hours to take your blood pressure and your blood and shoot you full of stuff, including shots in both arms and in your stomach? Had they left all those needles in, I would now be doing a credible impression of a sick porcupine) I am home.

I am basically okay, except for a slightly sagging mouth and eyelid on my left side, a bit of slurred speech, and some noticeable -- and annoying -- lack of coordination in my left hand. Typing of course is very challenging, which is why I'm taking a break from blogging for a while.

Don't worry about me. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed is already planning the lifestyle changes for me which have been necessitated for my by this "unfortunate incident", and signs are good for a complete -- or nearly so -- recovery. See you next year.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The "Afghanistanization" of the Afghanistan War

I gotta tell ya, I didn't watch the speech. I was busy doing other stuff, but by now I've seen and read enough to know this:

Vietnamization of the Vietnam War didn't work 40 years ago, and Afghanistanization of the Afghanistan War won't work now.

I hate to see Obama pouring even more military and money into that rathole. But at this point I don't know what else can be done--there's no easy solution now. We've stepped into another lake of quicksand...

I'm still not sorry I voted for him. I can only imagine what Mad Dog McCain might be doing right about now. Assuming that Sarah Palin hadn't already arranged for that little cardiovascular "accident" and she, god forbid, was the president...

I knew all along that our foreign adventures in the Middle East would become "tar babies" and sure enough, here we are.

It's especially galling to learn that Baby Doc Bush reportedly had Osama Bin Laden in his grasp in late 2001 and let him wriggle away.

Remember when the GOOPers were champing at the bit to pillory Bill Clinton on the same exact charge?

I can't believe that there are still people who are willing to stick up for that fucking liar Dubya Bush and his evil meat-puppet-master Darth Cheney. It boggles the mind. It really does.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Huckabee and the Lakewood Cop Executions

I know that everyone by now has heard about the execution-style slaying of four Lakewood (WA) police officers over the weekend.

Lakewood is probably twenty minutes away from where I live, so this is awfully close to home. Especially coming so close after the Seattle cop shootings of a few weeks ago.

It turns out that the prime suspect in the Lakewood murders is a guy who was originally serving a lengthy sentence in Arkansas for armed robbery, but was let out by then governor Mike "Huckleberry" Huckabee because ... well, I don't really know why. Allegedly the guy convinced Huckabee that he'd "changed" and was going to be a good citizen from that point on.

So now Huckleberry is back-pedaling as fast as he can to try to put as much distance between himself and the alleged shooter.

It's the fault of the Arkansas justice system, he says, along with that of the state of Washington. Typical Rethug tactic, blaming everyone in sight for your own shortcomings. Or in this case, your own tragic misjudgment that resulted in the deaths of four police officers from small-city Lakewood.

Huckabee, you are supposed to be a big shot in the Xian community. It's nice that you had the compassion to let this fucker out of prison (probably because the prisoner claimed to have been "saved" by Jaysuss-uh!), but now it's time to stand up and tell the families of the murdered cops that you have compassion for them as well.

But chances are you won't take your share of the responsibility. That's too much to ask of a Repugnican...

Pretty much the only positive thing about all of this is that with this, his own "Willie Horton" moment, Huckabee will be pretty much out of the running for the GOOPer nomination in 2012.

Too bad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays to everyone, and I'll see you next week.

My plan for the next four days is to eat to excess, drink beyond excess, suffer from hangovers, avoid pissing off most of my relatives AND have fun with my grandchildren, especially my great-granddaughter, Allie:

[Who, as you can tell, is the most beautiful baby in the whole world!]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manhattan Declaration: It Always Comes Down to the Money

As most you will recall, the original Manhattan Project was the WWII project to develop the atomic bomb.

That was over 60 years ago. Now there's a new one that could also prove destructive. It's called The Manhattan Declaration, and at its core it says it's okay for people to disobey laws they don't agree with.

Well, isn't that special? I don't agree with the 60 MPH speed limit between here and Seattle. It offends my "deeply held religious beliefs". How's that going to stand up in court in Tacoma when I go before that notorious district court "hanging judge" up there?

This manifesto is, of course, the brainchild of the Religious Right. Sure, they go out of their way to couch it in religious/ethical/moral terms -- upholding "religious freedom", "traditional marriage" and all that anti-contraception anti-abortion "sanctity of life" crap.

In the words of DC council member David A. Catania "It's a shame they don't extend the same efforts to issues that really matter, like health care and homelessness."

So I guess they think that if enough of their sheeple followers start breaking laws, then those laws will become essentially unenforceable. And that's a handy-dandy giant step towards the theocracy they want to institute so much it makes them hurt.

But all that is just wild speculation. Here's what I really think is behind this is this: If you look at the list of declaration signers you will see a large number of religious organizations that have been granted the munificent largess of the federal budget to fund their "Faith-Based Initiatives" but they don't want to have to obey the federal laws regarding civil rights. Such as equality in hiring, recipient non-discrimination, etc. etc.

They had a free ride during the Baby Doc Maladministration, and now they are seeing the handwriting on the wall. Better to come in strong with a preemptive strike now than try to play catchup ball later on.

Come on, people. If you don't want to follow federal laws when it comes to how you spend federal money, then just don't ask for any! Problem solved.

Jeez, it does always seem to come down to the money with these people, doesn't it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

September 11 ... 1922

In the first few hours of the 9-11 tragedy eight years ago I was at work, with a cluster of my coworkers surrounding my cubicle listening to an Internet feed of the news reports coming out of WNYC, the National Public Radio station in New York.

I was a computer geek and had figured out how to configure Firefox to bypass the "net nanny" software that prevented everyone else from listening to the reports on their machines running Internet Explorer.

So I was a minor "hero" that day when we were all so starved for information, at least until WNYC went off the air for some reason or other. Then everyone sort of drifted off to their own desks wondering why we had been attacked, but I, Mister Analytical, was struck by the question "Why Sept 11?"

A bit of research on the Internets yielded this intriguing historical fact: On September 11, 1922, the British Mandate of Palestine was instituted, which provided, among other things, for a homeland for the Jewish people, to be carved out of land currently being occupied by Palestinians.

And we all know what happened with that plan.

So here it is, eight years after our 9-11, and I don't believe anyone has yet made that connection. I remember telling my buddy Larry about the odd "coincidence" of the date, and told him that he'd "heard it here first".

And apparently last. Maybe it was just a coincidence after all. I mean there are only 365 days in the average year, so a lot of historical stuff has to take up a day that's already been historical.

For example, see this page, which gives a generous paragraph to several other historical incidents that occurred on September 11.

If the hijackers had waited one more year, it would have made a nice round 80 years -- I'll bet then the media would have picked up on it and spread it far and wide, since we as human beings like being able to put patterns on things that have no pattern.

Not to mention that the Muslim World even uses a different calendar, which means that the handy correspondence between dates that I see doesn't really happen with the Muslims.

Oh, well. It was an interesting theory while it lasted.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

American Muslims and the Constitution

I've said on several occasions that the Muslim world doesn't see anything wrong with an Islamic theocracy. And it seems more or less true when you look around the world at nations that are primarily or overwhelmingly Muslim.

I think Turkey is about the only one that has any kind of representative democracy, and they seem to have the church and state thing under control.

Some time back I interviewed for a story I was writing a prominent and well-known American Muslim who had been in the national news just prior to my interview, and I pointedly asked him several questions about where American Muslims stand on the issue of church and state.

He was kind of cagey and seemed to dance around the issue, acknowledging that we do in fact have a separation of church and state in this nation, which is a good thing for Muslims as well as everyone else, but then the screw got turned a little more and I asked him what he thought would happen if Muslims became the majority and were in a position to institute Sharia Law, for example, in the US.

More dancing around, some hedging and hawing, and I didn't really get a definitive answer out of him. All of which more or less lent support to my previously-held stereotype of Islam and government.

Given that, it was with more than idle interest that I read Sheila Musaji's American Muslims must defend the Constitution of the United States over at the American Muslim website:

America is a secular and democratic nation with a clearly marked wall between church and state (thank God!). One of the reasons America has been a beacon to the world is the freedom that all Americans have to practice any (or no) religion. As an American Muslim I don’t believe that America can be defined as anything but a secular democracy (secular meaning neutral towards religion, not devoid of religion or hostile to religion) in which all religions are free to worship.
I don’t want to see Shariah, or Biblical law, or any other religious law replace the Constitution, and I don’t want to see any kind of a theocracy in place based on any religion. I agree with Rabbi Arthur Waskow that “When those who claim their path alone bespeaks God’s Will control the State to enforce their will as God’s, it is God Who suffers.”
Go ahead and real the whole thing. It was an eye-opening experience for me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sarah Palin's Genius Supporters Speak Up

Here are a couple of Sarah's Mensa-league supporters, caught on camera at her book signing in Michigan a couple of days ago:

It's scary enough that these people are allowed to vote, but they also have, I am sure, licenses to operate motor vehicles!

Sarah Palin: Going Rouge

One of my absolute favorite writers is a guy in Florida named Carl Hiassen, who writes a column for the Miami Herald and is also the author of a number of absolutely hilarious novels. I was waiting with baited breath (that explains the worm on my chin...) for his take on the new Sarah Palin "autobiography", Going Rouge Rogue, and he didn't disappoint me:

(Confidential response of Sarah Palin's book editor to the first draft of her upcoming memoir, "Going Rogue''):
Dear Sarah,
Thank you for turning in the manuscript so quickly. I thought only Stephen King could crank out 400 pages in four months! Seriously, there's some terrific material here, and all of us at Harper Collins are thrilled to be publishing your life story.
Before we move ahead, the fact-checking department has asked me to pass along a few notes and comments that may require some revisions on your part.
1. Eric Clapton spells his last name with a C. More significantly, his publicists tell us that you were not the inspiration for Layla, and that he doesn't recall ever having an affair with you. Is it possible you've got him confused with another rock star?
2. The mainland of Russia is indeed visible from parts of western Alaska during favorable weather conditions in the Bering Straits. Considering the ridicule you endured over this issue during the campaign, your desire to set the record straight is understandable. Still, 78 pages is a big chunk of the book. Perhaps it's possible to deal with the I-can-see-Russia controversy a bit more succinctly.
3. Our researchers can find no evidence that Tina Fey belongs to the Taliban. Could you send us the sourcing for that reference?
4. John McCain's campaign staff is vehemently denying the incident you describe in Chapter 13. Perhaps you could provide our legal department with the names of persons who actually witnessed the senator placing the duct tape over your mouth.
[Read more; it gets even funnier...]
Read the whole thing and you'll see why Hiassen is one of my favorites. I'm first in line when a new novel of his comes out, and if you haven't read him, you are missing out on some of the funniest stuff to come out of Florida since Flying Flagler and the Alligator Boys...

C Street Has to Pay Up -- Neener Neener!

Okay, I'm starting to sound like a spoiled-brat-fourth-grader with this shit, but give me a break. Most people would categorize me as a spoiled-brat-second-grader...

Anyway, it turns out that the mysterious Religious Right "retreat" at the infamous C Street address in Washington DC is essentially a dormitory for the the secretive religious organization The Family (membership including the likes of of Bart Stupak, David Vitter, Chip Pickering, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, James Inhofe, Charles Grassley, Sam Brownback, John Ashcroft, Edwin Meese -- you know, the "usual suspects", but also including such "liberal" luminaries as Hillary Clinton and Al Gore...) and is in deep tax trouble.

The DC tax authority recently held that the infamous C Street House does not qualify for a religious tax exemption, so consequently they owe some ten thousand dollars in property taxes for 2010.

Hmmm, it hardly seems fair, now that I look at it. That property is worth well over one million dollars, so you'd think that the property tax assessment would be a little higher. It's no wonder that DC is in bad shape financially. That's fairly close to the property tax that I pay on a one story 1600 square foot rambler in the city of Olympia WA, a house which is actually worth probably less than one-fourth of the assessed value of the C Street digs.

Something ain't right here...

RU Freakin' Kidding Me???

I've watched the battle in the upstate NY 23rd District with a certain amount of dispassionate pleasure -- after all, it isn't MY district, and the battle between the Democrats, the Rethugs and the new and improved "Conservative Party" candidate has been the basis of a lot of jokey cannon fodder.

But the latest development falls into the YCFMTSU category ("You can't fuckin' make this shit up").

Now, after being soundly trounced in the election by the Democratic candidate, the so-called Conservative Party candidate is going apeshit over the whole thing. First he conceded, then he un-conceded, then the latest is that he unconcedes his unconcession...

Fuck, the whole thing gives me a headache. The latest is, now that it's clear that he can't possibly win in a fair count, "fraud at the polls".

Does anyone besides me recall the 2000 election when the Rethugs (and their running-dog lackeys, such as the so-called Conservative Party of New York, which I believe in the year 2000 was nothing more than a PO Box) excoriated Al Gore for the very same thing????

Talk about you can have your cake and eat it too... It makes me fucking sick. That's all I have to say about it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch

Jeez, every day I am reminded of the fact that it's not enough for the wingnuttery to smear the president at every possible turn, but they also have to just make shit up to get their unthinking sheeple to forward any and all emails about him that paint him in any kind of a bad light.

Since I am proudly and publicly a Vietnam veteran, I get a lot of shit by email that really isn't intended for an unabashed liberal/leftwing neo-Anarcho-Syndicalist veteran like me.

Case in point. I just received one of those "viral" emails with this photo, the latest of that whole "Obama won't salute the flag" meme left over from the campaign, this time couched a little differently:

And accompanying the photo was the following missive:
Check out this latest picture from Veterans Day 11/11/09 at the Ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery. I don't know whether the National Anthem is being played, or the Flag is going by, or WHAT, but EVERYBODY in the picture is either saluting or has his hand over the HEART.

All except ONE.
Guess who.
I do not make this stuff up!
Yeah, YOU don't make this stuff up buddy because you lack the requisite number of brain cells to take a shit on a porcelain toilet, but you certainly don't mind passing this bullshit on to others.

Naturally, it ought to go without saying, it ought to be patently obvious to anyone with a working knowledge of how to negotiate to the nearest two-holer, it ought to be a non-starter in any political discussion, that the photo is likely a real one but the description is not.

I mean, come on! Do you really think that the President of the United States is going to do something like this at a public event???!!!

Jesus, people, just try to do the tiniest amount of research on this crap. Snopes is one of my favorite debunker sites, and they've already got the goods on this one: Check it out and be prepared to blast back at that IBIL* of yours when he brings this one up over the candied yams next week.

Context is everything!

[*IBIL = Idiot Brother-In-Law]

Civics 101

Back in the days when I went to high school (you know, three years after we came down from the trees and two years after we discovered fire...) we had a class that was mandatory for all graduates, and that class was called "Civics".

Civics was separate from all other so-called Social Studies classes, in that we learned about government at all levels, and especially about the US Constitution. And those are lessons that have informed my world view about politics and about the necessity to get involved and stay involved.

In the ensuing nearly half-century(!) that has passed since then (Jeez, where did all that time go???) the teaching of Civics has kind of fallen by the wayside, having been subsumed into other courses, or -- more likely -- just not taught at all.

So it was with great pleasure that I read this story from Bremerton, a small city just 60 miles or so north of me:

Clutching the microphone, Rhys Kerr found himself in the hot seat Tuesday over the separation of church and state.
A majority of Americans are Christian. So, Emalene Renna asked, could Congress enact a law requiring everyone to be a Christian?
Rhys hesitated, but didn't appear nervous. Staring into the distance, he replied that such an action would unconstitutional. A few seconds more of silence to gather his thoughts and Rhys said: "We have the freedom of religion so the government can't just say you have to be Christian." Besides, he added, the judicial branch would find the law unconstitutional.
"You really get it don't you? You really get the difference between the Constitution and the will of people," Renna said.
Rhys and the rest of his classmates in Rita Zipp-Dearey's fourth-/fifth-grade class at View Ridge Elementary in Bremerton were all on the hot seat at one point or another Tuesday.
As part of a mock congressional hearing, they argued for and against the elements of the Constitution and took questions from judges, including Renna, who is a retired school administrator and teacher, retired attorney Scott Smith and retired nurse Joyce Maddock.
[read more ]
Yeah, Rhys Kerr really gets it! Congrats to teacher Rita Zipp-Deary and the rest of the Bremerton school system for teaching Civics again, and especially for their focus on the issue that is nearest and dearest to me, the Separation of Church and State.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Really, What Would Republicans Do if They Ever Had the Chance?

Considering the unthinkable. A story over at Alternet really has my panties in a bunch.

If I wore any...

Anyway, back to the topic. The Smirking Chimp has an article on Alternet called 15 Awful Things the Republicans Would do if They Had the Chance.

Go ahead and read it. It's too long to reproduce here, but it's really spot-on in its indictment of the weird world of the wingnuttery, and it's an eye-opening look at the kind of society we will become if those motherfuckers actually get the kind of control they are lusting after.

Boy Scouts to Holocaust Liberators: "Kill the Jews!"

As if we needed yet another reason to excoriate, abjure and condemn that paramilitary neo-Hitler-Youth homophobic gay-bashing organization, The Boy Scouts, here's some alarming news out of Great Britain:

A scout troop is being investigated by the police after its members shouted death threats and racist abuse at Jewish war veterans during a remembrance parade.
Dressed in full uniform, the explorer scouts, who were taking part in Remembrance Sunday service in Romford, Essex were heard to repeatedly shout "Let's kill the Jews" at Jewish second world war veterans.
Years ago I refused to allow my son to join the Scouts, and this was long before the whole homophobic thing came up. I just didn't want him to be in a brownshirt paramilitary organization which, despite their claims to innocence, primarily served as a get-'em-while-they're-young training camp for future cannon fodder for the military neocolonialists which were champing at the bit to stomp the shit out of any number of weak Third World nations, especially those in "our own back yard", Central America.

When my grandsons started getting to the age where they were potentially Scoutable, I was not really in a position to dictate anything to them, but by this time the Scouts had shown their true colors and I was able to reason with them and explain in a way that they could understand why they should not participate in an organization that was anti-freedom, anti-democratic and anti-human rights.

They listened to me -- mirabile dictu -- and I'm proud to say that all three of them are now human rights supporters and leftwing liberals.

But so are all of my children, which reminds me of that old "not falling far from the tree" saying...

Note to Catholic Bishops and Idiotic Democrats: Keep Your Filthy Hands off My Healthcare

It is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was instrumental in the insertion of the infamous "Stupak Amendment" into the new and barely-passed House of Representatives health care bill.

For those living under a rock, this amendment would not only prohibit the use of federal money to pay for an abortion (which we already had in the equally infamous Hyde Amendment), which is bad enough, but Stupidak's proposal goes way beyond that, to also prohibit paying any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.

As bad as it is that a purely religious lobbying organization can pretty much dictate to a couple of true-believer Democrats (Stupak is a member-in-denial of the secretive fundamentalist and religiously-toxic C Street Gang) the content -- even the actual wording -- of potential legislation, it is much worse that Nancy Pelosi and by extension Barack Obama are pretty much rolling over and taking it.

Somebody needs to remind the Democrats that the party is supposed to stand for something. I'm afraid that next year, when it comes time to vote, many people -- that muddled middle -- are going to be faced with voting for a real Republican, or Republican-Lite.

And we know where that's going to go. Why settle for pale weak margarine when you can have fat yellow butter?

So Democrats, for crissakes grow a couple and kick the rightwingers to the side. If you look back in history at the milestones of progressive legislation you'll see that the Rethugs were always the "party of no". Social Security, Minimum Wage, Workplace Safety, Child Labor, Voting Rights, Medicare: These were all passed pretty much without any Republican support at all. No, back then the Democrats were in the forefront of passing progressive legislation and if the Rethugs didn't want to go along, the answer was "fuck 'em!". And that's how we got these terrific programs that work for all of us, even those asshole Republicans who rended their garments over the slide into socialism that they represented.

All this namby-pamby catering to the bastards isn't going to work and it will only serve to make the Democrats look weak.

Give it up, dudes. Ignore the braying of the jackals, and pass a goddam comprehensive health care package that will provide health care for the 90% of this country who are existing in the bottom third of the economy.

Victory in South Carolina

A federal judge ruled last week that South Carolina's "I believe" license plate, splattered as it was with that faux stained glass window and the Xian cross, violates the separation of church and state.

Here's a shout out to Judge Cameron M. Currie of Federal District Court for her heroic nerve to stand up to the Religious Right and for upholding our First Amendment rights, saying out loud in open court that the case presents "a textbook example of the need for and continued vitality of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."

Amen to that, Judge Currie.

One Andre Bauer, the lieutenant governor of SC and a prime mover behind the drive to add the license plate to the DMV lineup, of course disagrees. Apparently he was such a dick about the whole thing that the judge felt compelled to single him out in her decision:

Currie further noted that Bauer – in rallies leading up to the passage of the legislation – had characterized the issues in the case as a dispute between atheists, who were able to obtain a special plate, and Christians, who could not. That suggested the measure's aim was to foment political division along religious lines – "one of the principal evils against which the First Amendment was intended to protect," the judge said.
Bauer responded Tuesday, saying he was personally offended by Currie's ruling.
"For those who say proclaiming 'I believe' violates the constitution by giving preference to Christianity, I think this lawsuit clearly discriminates against persons of faith," he said.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State pushed back, arguing that the lawsuit actually prevents discrimination against persons of faith. The Washington, D.C.-based organization cited previous interviews when state lawmakers told media they would not support a Wiccan, Buddhist, or Muslim tag.
"The passage of this license plate made adherents of other faiths feel like second-class citizens," the group stated.
And also a big "good on you" to my friends at AU, who was involved in this case from the beginning. Way to go, gang!

It always floors me when the Religious Right insists on displaying their beliefs in public, anywhere and everywhere they can, especially in light of those pesky admonitions of Joshua Bar Joseph (aka Jesus) on the subject (KJV Matthew 6:5 through 6:8):
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
[Of course there are other versions of this, depending on which translation you rely on, but I intentionally used the KJV, since that is the only "one and true" translation that the RR follows...]
Hypocrites. Their god and savior called them out on their bullshit two thousand years ago, but as I've said before, the so-called "Christian" Right really doesn't want much truck with that proto-hippie love-thy-neighbor forgive-thy-enemies wimpy-assed Jesus. It's all about Old Testament wrath for them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm Back!!

I'm back from my annual trip to the Americans United for Separation of Church and State meeting in DC. It was great to see many of my old blog buddies, including Fran of There Will Be Bread , Doctor Z, Beth of Yikes!, Tim of Jesus General (where, if you look closely, you can see a picture of me...) and especially my friend Alicia Morgan of Last Left Turn Before Hooterville, who was this year's recipient of the annual -- and prestigious -- AU "Postie" Award for the best blog against theocracy.

So Alicia -- you go, girlfriend!. Now my goal for this year is to be next recipient of the award, but as a cursory examination of any of the Bloggers Against Theocracy blogs in the right column will show, it's a tough field to compete in.

I even had the opportunity to do some lobbying with my two senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, over the issue of school vouchers in the DC school system. Not with the senators themselves, of course, but with their staff. And I learned that senators can't pick their neighbors -- directly across the hall from Patty Murray's office was the office of Tom Coburn (R-Idiot).

Anyway, after a lo-o-o-o-ong cross-country flight from Washington DC to Seattle by way of Charlotte NC(!) sitting directly in front of a screaming baby who squalled for three of the five+ hours we were in the air (he even got around my iPod's in-the-ear headphones with the volume turned all the way up; I was listening to opera, on the theory that if I had to listen to screaming, at least it would be set to music...) I got home about midnight Tuesday, only to have to turn around and go back to the airport the next day to pick up my son who flew in from Alaska.

So I'm still in recovery, but I'll be back full time in a few days.

As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Outta Here

I'm leaving for my yearly "pilgrimage" to Washington DC for the annual conference of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Be back next week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Treason: No More Mister Nice Guy

You may recall that No More Mister Nice Guy was the subtitle of the heavy-metal-ish album put out by, of all people, Pat Boone a number of years back in a pathetically embarrassing attempt to revive his career.

Okay, while that may have verged onto self-parody, even though it wasn't funny, it was nothing when compared to the product of his new career as ... a political commentator!

For Newsmax.

Wherein he wrote a column on Monday calling for the assassination of President Barack Obama.

Okay, he didn't really come out and say it in so many words. That would be treason and our boy Pat is 100% Amurrican. He's even a descendant of American icon Daniel Boone, for crissakes. At least he claims to be.

That aside, I wrote recently about this topic, that inciting someone to murder the president is treason, and this case is almost identical to that one.

Newsmax almost immediately took the story off of its website, but not before the cool kids over at Media Matters grabbed a screenshot of it. Check it out and you can find Pat bloviating about the White House need for "tenting" and a mob of exterminators to rub out the "vermin" that are inhabiting it.

Read it for yourself. No more Mr. Nice Guy indeed. In fact, as I've long known, the guy is a Religious Right asshole.

Saving Traditional Marriage

Finally! A petition drive that will really do something to save traditional marriage. In California there's an active drive to get signatures on a petition called Ban Divorce in California.

From their website:

Protect Marriage!! Let's ban divorce in California!!
How can the "yes on 8" people argue with that? It's so family-friendly. Besides, with the divorce rate being about 50%, divorce is a MUCH bigger threat to traditional marriage than is gay marriage. Divorce makes a mockery of marriage, and degrades the institution completely. It destroys children and encourages them to be future divorcees.
Come on everyone! Let's put it as a measure on the next California ballot!
What's that? Who am *I* to tell people they can't dissolve their own civil marriage contracts if they choose to? Well heck, a bunch of random people just told me that I can't ENTER into a civil marriage contract. I figure I ought to be able to tell them that they can't GET OUT OF their civil marriage contracts. Turn about is fair play, especially since "equal protection" under the constitution doesn't mean squat now.
I wonder how that "sanctity of marriage" crowd will view this one? Probably as another example of that intrusive Big Brother government sticking its nose into the personal business of its citizens...

Not so funny when it comes to your own life being affected, is it? Hypocrites.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fox News Lies

Yeah, I know, that's a dog-bites-man headline. Ho hum.

But, thanks to the Thom Hartmann show this morning, I learned about something that pretty much flew under my radar.

Way back in the last century, a couple of enterprising reporters for a Fox News outlet in Florida tried to do a story on the harmful effects of a synthetic growth hormone introduced into the ecosystem by way of milk cows.

As a result, the Monsanto Corporation called up the local Fox News station and complained about the story. With the result that the local executives at the station told the reporters to "correct" the report.

After twenty-some rewrites, finally it came down to the local affiliate telling the reporters to LIE ABOUT THEIR FINDINGS.

They refused and consequently were fired. Then they filed suit for wrongful termination, which went to a jury trial and the local jury found in favor of the reporters.

So that was the end of it? Not!

The station appealed, and the appeals court (packed with Rethug appointees, need I bother to point out?) reversed the jury decision.

Why? Because Fox News with its "corporate personhood", had a RIGHT to lie. And the poor reporters who refused to lie for Fox News?

Out the door.

Read all about the case at www.foxbghsuit.com/.

And the next time that IBIL* of yours says that Fox News is fair and balanced, blast him with this.

[*IBIL=Idiot Brother-in-Law]

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life and Death of a Pumpkin

NOTE: Not for the faint-hearted. You'll never look at a carved pumpkin the same after seeing this:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Celebating Hallowe'en

No less an authority on all things pagan than the Baptist Church of Bumfuck USA has started a program to -- I am not kidding here -- burn books!

No, really, I'm NOT kidding. Chief among the offending books are as follows:

Satan's bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, ESV, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect [sic]. These are perversions of God's Word the King James Bible.
We will also be burning Satan's music such as country, rap, rock, pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, southern gospel, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.
We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort, Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll, John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart [sic], Mark Driskol [sic], Franklin Graham, Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, James White, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, Will Graham, and many more.
We are not burning Bibles written in other languages that are based on the TR. We are not burning the Tyndale, Geneva or other translations that are based on the TR...
[Emphasis added]
Oh, and BTW, they WILL be serving fried chicken...

Okay, I think it's gotta be a fuckin' joke. But remember Poe's Law...

Really, as I've said so many times before, you can't make this shit up...

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

In answer to that age-old question, here's a video shot by a fellow trucker in my battalion:

I wasn't in the Reefer Kings, but they were a part of my battalion in Vietnam. This is as true a picture as you're likely to get (aside from, of course, A Bad Attitude) about the US Army Transportation Corps in Vietnam.

Larry David Pissing on Jesus???

OMFG, this is really too much.

The wingnuttery hates Hollywood. It also hates most Jews (Jomentum Lieberman excepted, of course).

So when this week's episode of Larry David's terrific HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm aired, the Taliban wing of the Rethug Party -- I guess I shouldn't call it a "wing", since now it's pretty much the whole torso and then some -- got into high lather over a scene in the show in which Larry, having taken a medication that causes him to urinate like a horse, accidentally splashes a drop on a kitschy painting of Jesus in a bathroom. Naturally the fundo-quasi-catholic loonies who live at the house see it as Jesus weeping, and then the fun ensues.

But to hear the wingnuttery scream about it, you'd think that Larry David, that atheistic commie-pinko purveyor of morally bankrupt Hollywood trash, had literally thrown the picture down and intentionally pissed all over it.

Like I always say, Jesus protect me from your followers.

Obama v. Bush -- Dead Soldier Edition

Late Wednesday night President Barack Obama made a visit to Dover Air Base to honor the war dead returning from Afghanistan.

I don't need to remind anyone that this is more than George W. Bush did in the entire seven years of his administration when the coffins came in on a regular basis.

No, Baby Doc and his Unca Dick were too busy to honor the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that they sent to be slaughtered in two stupid senseless unwinnable wars.

Too busy. Just sooo fucking busy...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Obama-Nixon Parallels

Thanks to Bobwurst, a commenter over at Think Progress, for pointing out some striking parallels between Barack Obama and, of all people, Richard Nixon:

· Nixon got elected because the population was sick of the current president
· Obama got elected because the population was sick of the current president
· Nixon got saddled with a crappy war
· Obama got saddled with a crappy war
· Nixon talked to our sworn enemies, the commies
· Obama talks to our sworn enemies, the islamofacists
· Obama has a hot wife
· Nixon had a hot…ah well the comparison was bound to fall down at some point.
It's obvious that Bobwurst put a lot of thought into this...

And of course I am reminded of that list of equally striking parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy:
· Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
· John F Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
· Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
· John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
· Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
· Both Presidents were shot in the head.
· Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
· Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
· Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
· Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
· A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe, Maryland.
· A week before Kennedy was shot, he was in ... Marilyn Monroe.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Public Option Annie

Speaking of brilliant, I don't know exactly how this guerrilla-theatre troupe infiltrated the AHIP conference, but here's the stunning result:

As I say, brilliant. We need more of this kind of thing.

How to Choose Your Religion Scientifically

Here from Holy Taco by way of Bay of Fundie is a brilliant flowchart that takes the guesswork out of picking the right religion for you:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Let the Bloodletting Begin

Things aren't looking so great over on the Rethug aisle these days. Sarah Palin (R-Moron) and Michelle Bachmann (R-Batshit Crazy) are both supporting a non-Republican candidate in New York's special election to fill the vacant 23rd Congressional District seat.

I don't know what their boy, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, has going for him, but both wackjob Rethugs are putting their considerable weight behind him and not his opponent, Real Republican Dede Scozzafava.

And not content just to campaign for the upstart Hoffman, our Sarah goes out of her way to rip her former Rethug cronies:

Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of ‘blurring the lines’ between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections," she added, launching into an attack of the Republican Party.
"Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate that more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket," she wrote. "Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual."
When Palin was followed immediately by Michelle "Me Too" Bachmann, it proved to be too much for me to stand without outright laughing.

And so it begins. The self-immolation of the Republican Party. Let the bloodletting begin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Secret Service Under Strain from Wingnuttery

In a story in the Boston Post the other day, "The unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama, a rise in racist hate groups, and a new wave of antigovernment fervor threaten to overwhelm the US Secret Service".

This is troubling to me on a number of points, but mostly because of the geometrically-increased number of death threats against the president. And they are, sadly, not going to go away. Not with the wingnuttery out there shouting out their hate-filled spew on the 24-7 Faux "News" cycle, not with the MSM/SCLM/CPM* gladly giving them coverage for non-stories that they have in fact generated themselves. Like the whole teabagger phenomenon, which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of ClusterFox News, ginned up among the great uneducated, the thinking-impaired, and then breathlessly covered by Faux News itself as if it were a spontaneous outburst by "the people".

Back when I was an aspiring hack journalism student and editor of my college newspaper, we had a staff member who pulled a Faux News type of stunt. He called a local store three times to rant and rave about something (the topic of which I don't now recall - hey it was 36+ years ago), disguising his voice every time, and then he finally called back and said he was a reporter from the college paper and what's all this he's hearing about the blahblahblah controversy. And then wrote it up as a "news" story.

Naturally I didn't publish it in the paper. And I also fired his ass from the newspaper staff, which was I believe the first time in the history of the college newspaper that a reporter had been fired.

I don't know what happened to that little jerk, but it would not surprise me to learn that he was a producer at Faux News. I suspect that this is the kind of journalistic integrity that is not taught so much these days, but that's a little too grim for me to contemplate...

Anyway, back to the Secret Service. With all the extra work they have to do investigating each and every death threat, plus all they have to do on the financial side of things, it's no wonder that they are showing strain. They are overworked and strung out on phony death threats beyond belief.

So if something does happen to the president, those asshole loudmouths on the right will proudly proclaim another victory in their "government doesn't work" campaign.

Just once I'd like to see them live for a while without that awful government that they hate so much getting in their way. I wish we could dump a bunch of them on a deserted island somewhere, like the tv series Survivor, but without all of the rules that hobble its participants, and watch them through remote cameras a la Big Brother, as they try to live without any government at all. It would be enormously entertaining, in a car-wreck-on-the-freeway kind of way, to see them eventually turn on each other and start maiming and killing each other. I would actually pay good money to see that reality series.

But I just don't want to see the inevitable random coupling that would occur prior to that. I mean come on, Rush Limbaugh and mAnn Coulter grappling naked on a tropical beach?


[*Main Stream Media/So Called Liberal Media/Capitalist Pig Media]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

In case the action in Honduras has kind of fallen off your radar (I know, there's a lot on our plates at the moment), here's a quick-study "Cliff-Notes" kind of thing to get you up to speed.

Over at Alternet.org they've got a short graphic novel that gives you the background of what's happening in Honduras:

The United States still has a lot to answer for in our mistreatment of Central America over the years, not the least of which was the Nicaragua policies of the Reagan Maladministration, which if you'll recall, referred to the Contras, a terrorist organization, as the "moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers".

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Okay, Today's Pop Quiz

What does this group of senators have in common?

Alexander (R-TN), Barrasso (R-WY), Bond (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Gregg (R-NH), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johanns (R-NE), Kyl (R-AZ), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Wicker (R-MS)

Trick question. They are all Republicans, all white males, mostly southern, okay. But there's more to this story.

These are the only members of the senate to vote FOR rape. In the aftermath of the notorious Halliburton employee rape case, the senate then took up the cause with the Franken Government Contract anti-rape bill. Seems to me that this would be a straightforward slam dunk, with all 100 senators supporting it.

Nope, not these guys. And I note that there are a couple of names in there who have made the news recently for sexual-misconduct issues, particularly Vitter and Ensign. How they can have the nerve to vote against something like this is beyond me.

Anyway, all of you people who live in the states "served" by these assholes, here's your job for the next couple of years: Send these fuckers home and replace them with Democrats!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Using the Bible in Capital Crimes Convictions

Down in Texas a man is facing execution for murder because the jurors passed around a copy of the Xian Bible during sentencing deliberations, with the appropriate "death penalty" passages highlighted.

Okay, even putting aside the obvious Church-State issues, is this really the way we want our jurors to behave, putting a man's life on the line for something written in a 2000+ year old book of grim fairy tales?

Anyway, this got me to thinking about the verses in the Xian Bible that support, even demand ("he shall surely be put to death"), the death penalty. I recalled that there were a lot of them, but after checking out this Wikipedia entry, I was surprised not only at the number but also at some of the "crimes":

1. Religious Crimes:
  • Sacrificing to gods other than God alone [Exodus 22:20; Leviticus 27:29]
  • Passing children through the fire (human sacrifice) [Leviticus 20:1-5]
  • worshipping Baal Peor [Numbers 25:1-9]
  • False prophecy [Deuteronomy 13:1-10; Deuteronomy 17:2-7; 18:20-22]
  • Necromancy, masters over ghosts and those who gain information from the dead, gastromancy and enchantment [Leviticus 20:27]
  • Witchcraft [Exodus 22:18].
  • Blasphemy [Leviticus 24:10-16]
  • Sabbath breaking [Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36]
2. Sexual Practices:
  • Rape by a man of a betrothed woman in the countryside [Deuteronomy 22:25-27]
  • Being either participant in urban sexual activity, in which a betrothed woman consensually loses her virginity to a man [Deuteronomy 22:23-24]
  • Loss of virginity by a woman prior to marriage, to someone other than her husband [Deuteronomy 22:13-21]
  • Adultery with a married woman [Leviticus 20:10]. Sexual activity between a married man and an unmarried woman was not forbidden.
  • Marrying your wife's mother [Leviticus 20:14]
  • Certain forms of incest, namely if it involves the father's wife or a daughter-in-law [Leviticus 20:11-12]. Other forms of incest receive lesser punishment; sexual activity with a sister/stepsister is given excommunication for a punishment [Leviticus 20:17]; if it involves a brother's wife or an uncle's wife it is just cursed [Leviticus 20:20-21]; and sexual activity with an aunt that is a blood relation is merely criticised [Leviticus 20:19].
  • Prostitution by the daughter of a priest [Leviticus 21:9]
  • Certain "activities" with a male [Leviticus 20:13; Leviticus 18:22]; the gender of the target of the command is commonly understood to be male, but not explicitly stated.
  • Bestiality [Exodus 22:19]
3. Miscellaneous:
  • Murder [Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:17-23; Numbers 35:9-34]
  • Striking a parent [Exodus 21:15]
  • Cursing a parent [Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9]
  • Being a "degenerate son" [Deuteronomy 21:18-21]
  • Kidnapping [Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7]
  • Negligent homicide, specifically by ox-goring [Exodus 21:28-32]
  • Contempt of court [Deuteronomy 17:8-13]
  • False witness to a capital crime [Deuteronomy 19:15-21]
What is particularly striking in this all-encompassing list is that there is nothing in there from the New Testament, which it seems, ought to have precedence over the Old Testament -- as Joshua bar Joseph himself implied -- but after all, that wimpy New Testament Jesus has become something of an embarrassment to the purveyors of the faith, which is why they are now embarked on a quest to silence him and all that Prince of Peace love-thy-neighbor turn-the-other-cheek crap of his.

This is just a little taste of the kind of criminal law that will rule this nation if the Religious Right Dominionists get their way and we become the theocracy they want. These people are domestic terrorists of the first order, and they are infinitely more dangerous than a few disgruntled radical Islamists hankering for those seventy virgins.

So please, consider joining an organization such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State and help us hold back the rising tide of radical Christianist fascism.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Your Bible Too "Liberal"? Change It!

You had to know this one was coming. A bunch of wingnuts are now engaged in rewriting their holy bible to give it a more conservative -- a more freemarket -- slant.

As with so many things lately, I thought it was a joke, a parody. But when it comes to the wingnuttery in this country, they are doing so much batshit crazy stuff that it's really hard to come up with something that would clearly be parody. Remember Poe's Law?

You can check this out over at the so-called Conservapedia (I won't provide the link since I don't want to drive up their stats). While they don't specifically say it, I'm sure that they're going to make some major changes to the "red letter" stuff in the New Testament, especially all that wimpy-wussy nancy-boy proto-hippie Jesus crap:

  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [Matthew 5:9]
  • Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [Matthew 5:39]
  • I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you; [Matthew 5:44]
  • If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. [John 8:7]
  • Do not judge, lest you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [Matthew 7:1 & 2.]
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy [Matthew 5:7]
  • But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [Matthew 6:15]
  • Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. [Luke 12.15.]
  • Truly, I say unto you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 19:23]
  • You cannot serve both God and Money. [Matthew 6:24.]
  • Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. [Matthew 22:21]
  • Love your neighbor as yourself. [Matthew 22:39]
  • So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you. [Matthew 7:12.]
  • If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. [Matthew 19:21]
  • But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. [Luke 14:13&14.]
Like I say, you had to know it was coming. For a long time these precepts have been a major discomfort to those in the Prosperity Theology camp, seeing as how the teachings of Joshua bar Joseph, aka Jesus, are pretty much all antithetical to the Bizarro-World Christian theology promoted by the Religious Right.

They've gotten away with it this long because I would hazard a guess that upwards of 90% of all professed believers in Christianity have never actually read their holy book.

That aside, it was something that had to happen. Too many people have been pointing out over the years that they are wrong, and all you have to do is look at their bible to prove it. So the obvious answer? If what you are doing and saying contradicts your "holy text", change the text!

It would not surprise me if they came up with an answer to that awkward question, "Who Would Jesus Bomb?"

Iran. Followed by all Muslim infidels. Followed by anyone else they want.

After all, war is good business, and their Jesus will, I am sure, be firmly on the side of Big Business in their new holy writ.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm Okay

I'm just taking a few days off. Be back next week.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hey, I'm the Victim Here!

This is from our "Are You Fucking Kidding Me?" file. I mean really, my fucking jaw dropped when I read this shit.

Turns out that I, along with the whole Farnsworth clan, are victims of the slavery system. Yes, that's right. Because my great-great-great-etc. grandfather, Rufus Leeking Farnsworth, owned slaves (jeez, after all, we came out of the "shallow south", i.e., Tennessee and Arkansas), then according to Glenn The Beckster's guru, one W. Cleon Skousen, it was the slave owners who suffered the most from slavery, and NOT the slaves!

Well, in words of Jane Ace, you coulda knocked me over with a fender!

Oh, and BTW, I do need to add that, in addition to his membership in the John Birch Society and other extremist rightwing organizations, that Skousen was also a Mormon. The same church that our Beckster, evidently coming down from a hangover of monumental proportions, joined and now crows about with the stereotypical zeal of the convert.

Over at Media Matters, you can read an in-depth analysis of the weirdness that is Skousen -- and of course, by extension, Glenn Beck himself.

I used to think that the Beckster, along with his moronic cohorts like Limpdick and Slanthead and mAnn Coulter, couldn't possibly believe the crap that they were spewing out on the peoples' airwaves. That the gurus recognized that they were nothing more than entertainers who gave their audience what they wanted...

But that was before I learned that Beck was a Mormon convert. And anyone that can even entertain the remote possibility that Joseph Smith was a "prophet, seer and revelator", chosen by god himself, is someone that will believe pretty much anything: Up is down, black is white, left is right, day is night ... the list is endless, but if the current "prophet, seer and revelator" of the church dictates it, then the true believer (in other words, the theologically retarded challenged) will have to parrot the new party line, regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

I am not making this shit up. It's true. I have had the occasion to know personally a number of Mormons over the years, and when The One True Church finally, if belatedly, recognized in the mid-1970s that they were being racist and changed the rules on African-American membership in The One True Church, many of them were privately disgruntled (racist as they were and pretty much still remain) but publicly extolled the virtues of the "prophet, seer and revelator" by having a new "revelation from god" that absolutely contradicted every other "revelation" about the "Negro Problem" that any previous "prophet, seer and revelator" at the head of the church had dictated. Which included the whole "curse of Cain" crap from a theology that went out of favor -- and credibility -- about the time of the First Crusade.

So back to my ancestor the slaveholder. I'll bet that Grampa Farnsworth is resting easy in his grave these days. Despite the fact that he actually enlisted and fought for the confederacy, lost a leg in the process, and ended up in the so-called "Indian Nation" (aka Oklahoma) where he found a bride among the Cherokees and spawned a progeny that includes me, the most liberal of the Farnsworth dynasty, he should be happy that we are all, to this very day, among the uncounted white victims of slavery...

Obama as Hitler. Again.

Jesus, will somebody give this a rest? In Sunday's edition of our local newspaper, some moron wrote a screed on that favorite wingnut topic, Obama is like Hitler Because...

Here's the full text of the letter (without the dope's name -- I don't want him to get any more publicity than is necessary -- but it does rhyme with "dunce"...):

A recent Olympian article by Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald, strongly objected to comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was a skilled schemer, politician, organizer. Obama definitely exercises the same skill levels.
Hitler acquired his following through his ability to arouse street crowds with his speeches. Obama, with his teleprompter, accomplishes the same.
Hitler and Obama began their political careers with small groups; Hitler with the German Workers Party, later becoming fuhrer (leader) of the Nazi Party. Obama, with the infamous political group ACORN, as a community organizer and now a U.S. president.
Hitler organized his private army of hoodlums known as storm troopers and later the SS or Schutzstaffel. Obama has expressed his demand for a civilian youth corps equal to our military. Kindergartners next? Why?
Hitler involved himself strongly in labor unions, business, industry, agriculture. Why? Obama destroys our infrastructure, demanding government intrusion into our financial world, industrial capacity, labor unions, energy, health care, education, communications. Why? Obama is making fools of us all.
For every "why" the answer: Conquest, power, control, mind manipulation — socialism. Hitler demanded a strong socialistic central government. Obama, demanding the same, is still in the process of implementing his socialistic master plan for America. Where will it end?
History will judge.
Hitler in hating Jewish people became a racist monster, spreading death as no man before.
All true Americans, blessed by our Constitution, freedom and liberty, absolutely must keep this nation a free republic, for our children and future generations.
God, I am so fucking sick of this shit, and this one was the last straw. So here is my response to this dickhead, submitted to the paper that same day. On Monday I got called with the usual questions (i.e., "did you write it yourself?" "Is it a form letter?" etc.), so it ought to be in print within a week.
Fox News followers and lockstep Limbaugh listeners (aka "dittoheads") can apparently parrot the "Barack Obama is like Adolf Hitler because…" crap endlessly, with reckless abandon, as we saw in Sunday's letters. And sadly, the reasonable-sounding sophistry of this specious "proof" can have a certain superficial appeal.
While you can use those same arguments in a comparison between pretty much any politician and Adolf Hitler, I am particularly amused by applying them to a much different icon of the US Presidency, Ronald Reagan.
Reagan, too, "acquired his following through his ability to arouse … crowds with his speeches"; "involved himself strongly in labor unions, business, industry, agriculture"; "was a skilled schemer, politician, organizer"; and "began his political career with small groups" (e.g., the Screen Actor's Guild and the GE board of directors, at whose bidding he once railed unsuccessfully against the freedom-killing "socialist slavery" of Medicare).
Those who blindly follow the rightwing's marching orders, without exercising a single iota of critical thinking, are the sheep that the true wannabe dictators of this nation can happily call on to bleat on command whatever absurd talking-points they want them to spout.
Thus we have a litany of "Obama is not an American; Obama is a socialist; Obama is a fascist; Obama is a communist" etc. etc. Who knows what'll be next, but I don't think they can do much better than their "Obama is a fascist-communist-socialist-racist-atheist-Muslim-Kenyan-radical" rant.
About the only thing left is "Obama is a War-of-the-Worlds Martian".
Watch for it.
While I was pretty much free to choose most any politician as representing those talking points, I was more than happy to apply them to Saint Ronald, in a blatant attempt to piss off the letter writer and the literally dozens of Rethugs that we have in the liberal bastion of sanity (mostly) that is the state capital.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Still More Treasonous Rethugs

Remember that movie from the early 60s, Seven Days in May?

The story was a fictional account of a planned military coup of the President of the United States. Altogether a fascinating premise and a terrific motion picture, but it was obviously speculative fiction of the it-can't-happen-here genre.

But now we're forced to ask, "Or can it?"

Some dickwad named John Perry, a regular columnist over at über-fascist rag and wingnut website Newsmax -- which is a monetarily-supplied quasi-subsidiary of the RNC, no less -- just came out with one of his regular columns, this one entitled "Obama Risks a Military Intervention", wherein he appears to fall just milimeters short of calling for the military to overthrow the Obama Presidency. As a backdoor trapdoor escape from charges of blatant treason, he says that that he is "describing what may be afoot" but that "is not to advocate it".

Bullshit. I don't give a rip how many mealy-mouthed fake "disclaimers" he struts out, he is calling for a military takeover, an armed coup.

Which he claims will be "bloodless". Yeah, right, and I can play center field for the Yankees.

Immediately after the leftwing blogosphere got ahold of this, Newsmax took it off of their website. But never fear, Con Web Watch, which keeps a constant eye on this kind of thing, managed to get a copy off of Newsmax and onto their own server. You can read it at http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/graphics/nmperrycoup.pdf.

And I think I'll keep my own personal copy as well. If there was ever a candidate document for permanent flushing down the Memory Hole, this is it, so a few months from now that can deny that it ever existed.

What am I saying? If Obama papered the Washington Monument with copies of it and projected on the wall of the Pentagon, they'd still deny that it ever existed.

Anyway, what Perry is advocating (his denials aside) stops little short of treason. The question is how much longer can we as a nation continue to function with this constant yapping in the background, these constant calls for the overthrow of the US Constitution and the end of our representative democratic republic?

Of course I think that was is partially behind this crap is the feeling on the part of those doing it that they are hoping for a confrontation and a silencing. That way they can dance around like headless chickens shouting, "See, told ya so. Police state! Repression! Communist Fascists killed free speech!"

It's Banned Books Week

Every year the American Library Association, along with others, "celebrates" Banned Books Week, while extolling the freedom to read.

From their website:

Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
Check them out. There's a lot of information on their site, including lists of banned books, and ways you can help in your community.

It's always interesting, but not surprising, that the Religious Right and other "social conservatives" of their ilk are always in the forefront of the torch-and-pitchfork mobs demanding that a book be banned, isn't it? I think the tip-off was that "intellectual freedom" thing. It's a concept that scares them to death.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Inciting to Murder is a Crime. In Fact, It's Treason

Back in my earliest days at college I, along with a bunch of other we-can-save-the-world freshmen, used to occasionally engage in the "What If" game. You know, what if you could back to Ford's Theater in 1865 and stop John Wilkes Booth from shooting Abraham Lincoln? How would things be different today?

Sure, it was basically a college bull session, but it was a fun intellectual exercise. However, there was also a "moral dilemma" version: What if you could go back to Munich in 1923 and kill Adolf Hitler, knowing that you likely would die yourself if you did it?

Pretty universally we all agreed that we would do it. You know, that old sacrifice yourself for the greater good ethos. And even today, I can say that given the opportunity I would still do it. Remember, Hitler was a historical malignancy, a butcher, a mass-murderer of unlimited proportions and unthinkable evil. Hell, yes, I'd do it.

"Farnsworth, so what?" I can hear you saying.

Just this. Wackjob Congressman Trent Frank of Arizona, at last week's wingnut thugfest in Washington DC, said the following:

Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now I gotta tell you, a president that will do that, here's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. You shouldn't, we shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity.
I added the emphasis there to show what these assholes are really about. It's an easy step from a United States Congressman calling the President of the United States "an enemy of humanity" to someone taking my old "What If" game to a logical level, updated for a new century.

Yes, I'm talking about the assassination of the President by some halfwit wacko convinced that he is saving the world, saving humanity, saving god from the liberal-commie-fascists embodied in the form of the antichrist Barack Obama.

And of course all those loudmouth agents provocateur, those inciters to murder on the right, will throw up their hands in mock dismay at the very notion that anyone would take what they say seriously.

Oh, and what does Franks say when the uproar ensued? He issued one of those half-assed Rethug non-apologies and then sent an aide out to confuse the "liberal" media with the Obama birth certificate distraction -- "Oooo, look, shiny keys!"

Fuck Franks. If someone does try to take out the president, then at the very least Franks and all of his fuckwit cronies on the right (are you listening, Crybaby Beck, Slanthead Hannity and Bill Orally?) ought to be indicted for treason. They will be criminal conspiracy accessories before the fact of the murder of the president, and I while I don't personally believe in the use of the death penalty, I'd be willing to make an exception in their case. After all, they believe in it, and who are we to deny them something that they fully and unequivocally support?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Poe's Law

Sometimes you see something that is so obvious, so naturally right-on, that you end up scratching your head in wonder that you've never heard of it before.

This morning I stumbled on a terrific new (to me) blog The Bay of Fundie, Keeping the Radical Right at Bay, where I discovered this little gem:

Serious fundie watchers are familiar with Poe’s Law. But like any concept that is mostly internet based, you may encounter it many times before finally finding out what it is.
[Quoting from the Urban Dictionary] “Similar to Murphy’s Law, Poe’s Law concerns internet debates, particularly regarding religion or politics.
'Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.'
In other words, No matter how bizarre, outrageous, or just plain idiotic a parody of a Fundamentalist may seem, there will always be someone who cannot tell that it is a parody, having seen similar REAL ideas from real religious/political Fundamentalists.[emphasis added]
I bolded that last phrase, because that’s an important part. Another way of phrasing this is to say that some fundies are so absurd as to be self parodies.
We need that perspective on the definition to truly appreciate the almost Poe-worthy description over at Conservapedia. As we all know, Conservapedia is so ridiculous that it frequently is a self parody.

Be sure to scroll down the page to read the Conservapedia quotation and look at the hilarious comic panels.

I confess to a certain degree of personal chagrin when I consider that up to this point I was unfamiliar with Poe's Law, given how much I like to rail against the Religious Right.

Great stuff, and thanks to Ron Britton, the blog owner, for providing it. I'll be adding the site to my blogroll and reading it regularly.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scalia: Out of the Theocracy Closet

As if we didn't have enough to worry about, now I learn -- sadly to no surprise -- that SCOTUS flack Antonin "Quack-Quack" Scalia has finally come out of the theocracy closet and stated that "whatever the Establishment Clause means, it certainly does not mean that government cannot accommodate religion, and indeed favor religion."

In an exclusive interview published in, of all places, a Brooklyn newspaper called Hamodia: The Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry, we get a fascinating -- albeit frightening -- look inside the mind of Scalia, and it's not a pretty sight:

When I first joined the Court, I needed to spend a lot of time researching what the original understanding was, since the lawyers would just quote the last Supreme Court case. There are now two for sure, thoroughgoing originalists on the Court, Clarence Thomas and myself. And I think the Court as a whole has become more receptive to originalism. I think - or perhaps I just hope - that American jurisprudence is moving away from an evolving Constitution to an enduring Constitution.
I have been here for a long time now - 23 years. In that time, I think the Court has become more receptive to the needs of religious practice. We have allowed government practices that favor religion, practices to which, in the 60s and 70s, we were quite hostile. Earlier we weren’t hostile. When I was in elementary school in Queens you were able to get out early on Wednesdays for religious instruction. In the early 1950s the ACLU challenged this as violating the Establishment Clause...
A decade later the Court changed its mind and adopted the so-called principle of neutrality - which states that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion. This is not an accurate representation of what Americans believe. The Court itself has contradicted that principle a number of times - including the case approving tax exemptions for houses of worship (Walz v. Tax Commission) and cases approving paid chaplains in state and federal legislatures. More recently we have allowed the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Texas State Legislature. I think we have been moving back towards what the American Constitution provided.
I am not sure how Orthodox Jews feel about the Establishment Clause, but I assume they do not like driving G-d out of public life. We had a monumental decision last term involving the Establishment Clause, which has been the principal instrument to that end. During the Kennedy administration, Congress passed a bill that gave federal aid to public and private schools. It was challenged by the ACLU, and the Supreme Court ultimately disallowed the aid to private schools. The case that allowed that suit to proceed, Flast v. Cohen, reversed a long-standing principle of law that there was no standing to challenge a law simply because you are a taxpayer. Flast v. Cohen says a taxpayer who is not personally affected has standing to challenge an alleged violation of the Establishment Clause. Last term we limited that holding to suits challenging congressional action. To challenge executive action on Establishment Clause grounds you must be personally affected.
Did you get that bit about "driving g-d [sic] out of public life"? I don't know about your town, but where I live you pretty much can't throw a rock without striking a church. You can't get much more public than that, and I don't see any of them having to tear down their steeples so the "public" won't be offended by looking at them.

There's a lot more to this wide-ranging interview, including near the bottom of the article this little gem: "My court has a series of opinions that say that the Constitution requires neutrality on the part of the government, not just between denominations, not just between Protestants, Jews and Catholics, but neutrality between religion and non-religion. I do not believe that. That is not the American tradition."

Cut through to the core and this means that all of us godless secular humanists out here in the Reality-Based Community are going to be fucked big time if the theocrats, aided and abetted by the likes of Scalia and his ilk, ever get their Dominionist way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Palin's Pallin' Around with Who?????

According to reports out of Hong Kong, Sarah I-See-London-I-See-Russia Palin spoke before a rapt -- or is that wrapped? -- audience in her first foray into the international-woman-of-mystery scene.

Reactions were ... mixed, shall we say. One European delegate to the CLSA Investors' Forum said that "she was brilliant". He spoke, however, under conditions of anonymity. Jeez, imagine that...

Two US delegates walked out, with one saying -- also anonymously -- that "it was awful, we couldn’t stand it any longer".

Read the snarky report over at The Raw Story, and you Rethugs out there, maybe you can explain this:

Palin also tackled the recent US trade spat with China, a country she said the United States should have the best possible relationship with.
According to delegates, she said US President Barack Obama’s administration worsened an already difficult situation when earlier this month he slapped duties on Chinese tire imports blamed for costing American jobs.
So, if I'm getting this right, Sarah Palin, after accusing Barack Obama with "pallin' around with terrorists", is now pallin' around with ... Communists??????

Oh, the horror, the horror...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Taking Our Country Back, One Sucky Job at a Time

And it's about fucking time. Now there's a HU-U-U-U-GE movement on the part of Real Americans to stem the tide of illegal immigration by Taking Our Jobs Back.

And I'm talking about REAL jobs, not some layabout medical-insuranced retirement-planned do-nothing getover government job like, say, air traffic controllers or police officers or firefighters. No! We're talking about REAL jobs for REAL people.

Like washing dishes and cleaning toilets and picking lettuce and working on the killing floor in slaughterhouses and shit like that. Now there'll be no more of that waiting "at home on their couches, with an ice-cold Coors, a family-sized bag of Chee-tos and a clicker in their hands as they wait around for the job that never seems to materialize."

No More, I say! And not only No More, but HELLA NO MORE!!!

Thanks to my blog-buddy Alicia over at Last Left Turn Before Hooterville, I just got educated on this whole new movement:

Yes, from the ashes of the failed Minute-Man Movement, the Gimme Back My Job, Dammit Coalition (GBMJ,DC) has risen, and it has spread like wildfire among conservatives sick and tired of illegals taking the jobs from deserving American citizens. No longer content to wait for the government to do it for them, these patriots have taken matters into their own hands. Now they're doing more than just protesting or watching from the sidelines - they're taking back their Constitutional, God-given right to a job. Suddenly, you see them everywhere - on the sidewalk with a leaf-blower strapped to their back, in the parking lot of your favorite restaurant with the keys to your car or inside, balancing a heavy-laden bus tray full of dirty dishes as they adroitly refill your iced tea glass on their way back to the kitchen. You may find them bent over in a lettuce field under a blistering sun with a rake in their hand, or endangering their limbs with casually-maintained but lethally sharp meat-cutting machinery for fourteen hours or more a day while earning somewhere around three dollars an hour, with no benefits, medical insurance, workman's compensation, or even bathroom breaks.
Most of them say they've never been happier.
"For the first time in my life, I feel needed," says Coalition member Chuck B. Liggett, 70, a former accountant who now works in a chicken-packing plant in Amarillo, Texas. "When the floor boss screams at me for slowing down, I feel a surge of pride because what I do actually matters. Now, I do an honest day's work for my pay, and by the time I collapse on my filthy mattress on the floor of my stinking room at the end of my fifteen-hour shift, I know I really earned that forty dollars!"
Really, why should those goddam illegals take all of the good jobs and get all the fucking breaks? I mean, hello, welcome to the real world, people...

You can read the whole thing over at Alicia's blog. It's well worth it.

Sidebar to Alicia: You go, girlfriend and I hope to see you in DC again this November.