Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Plan B misconceptions

The DI editorial page today incorrectly says -- not once, but twice -- that Plan B causes abortions. I don't have time to write a letter to the editor pointing this out. Anyone else feel like doing it?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Take that Hal Lindsey!

The Israel-Lebanon conflict is settling down to a slow simmer, and doesn't seem to be about to erupt into the multinational, Middle-East-wide, End Times conflagration that the hysterical fundamentalist Christians were predicting.

FOX News had a "Middle East expert" on a few weeks ago. By "experts," of course I mean "people talking about Biblical prophecy of the Last Days." Do you think they will have him back on to say how it looks like the Rapture has been put off until at least next week? Yeah, I don't think so either.

One thing that seems fairly clear is that these sorts of prophets will always have a job. If there isn't a war this week in the Holy Land that shows the end is nigh, then there probably will be one next week.

The suckers always buy into it, and can't be dissuaded from it, no matter how many times they're shown to be wrong, because they have "faith."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Good night and good luck

Blogging will be light nonexistent for the near future as I have to go out of town for a few days.

I leave you with this: A judge has ruled that the Bush warrantless wiretapping is illegal. Finally. Someone with some sense. Let the right-wing shrieking about activist liberal judges that hate America and love terrorists begin ... wait for it ... now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm in the Advocate!

OK, it's completely unattributed, so you just have to take my word for it. This was a few weeks ago, when the Phelps clan's protests of military funerals were getting some press time. Some bills were introduced in some state legislatures to outlaw protests within x yards of a funeral or burial or something. Indiana passed one in March; I think there are a few others now. I guess when they were just protesting the queers, it was OK. Do it to the soldiers, and then people care.

There was a brief moment in the media where there was actually some discussion on whether this was constitutional or not. I just happed to be on the Advocate's website for some reason or another, and saw they were having a poll. So I gave them my 2E-02 dollars. My comment made it into the August 29 edition. Maybe it's not all that big a deal, but doggone it, people like me.

Q: Do you think Fred Phelps's antigay protests at military funerals are protected by the First Amendment.

Me: He is revolting, but the same thing that protects his right to protest is the same thing that allows us to have our pride parades.

There was a great interview with none other than the wife of the Cryptkeeper himself, where the FOX News anchor (of all people) goes fairly ballistic at her.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nice doggie

After Katrina, and during the cleanup and continued evacuation, I was struck by news reports of people choosing to stay behind in the devastation with their pets. The animals weren't eligible for evacuation, so would have to have been left behind. It seemed to have been elderly people, but they may have just been the ones unable to leave on their own devices before the hurricane struck. I can't imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to have to make that sort of choice.

There is a bill, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which requires "local and state disaster plans to include provisions for household pets and service animals in the event of a major disaster or emergency." It's been passed by both Houses, and is now in committee to work out the differences between the bills.

It's not that I can't see the point behind not letting people take their cats and dogs and birds and ferrets when evacuating, but service animals? You know, the dog that stops you a blind person from walking out into traffic? It's not like people were leaving for a weekend; many still haven't returned to their homes. What's next, some little old lady can't take her cane?

(Via Lycangeek)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Better than coffee

Yes, road construction is a pain. But it has one fringe benefit: hunky construction workers. Sure brightens up my morning commute.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Welcome home

Squire's back. Or, rather, TheSquire's back. Whatever.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Some are just more free than others

Remember back when the terrorists hated us because of our freedom? Matthew links to this story at The Observer:

Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the 'immorals' - homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution...

Homosexuality is seen as so immoral that it qualifies as an 'honour killing' to murder someone who is gay - and the perpetrator can escape punishment. Section 111 of Iraq's penal code lays out protections for murder when people are acting against Islam.

Holy fuck. I'm looking online for a copy of the penal code, but can't find it. To be fair, Iraqis probably have more important things on their minds than digitizing law books. (Like the death squads currently roaming the streets.) But Jesus, it's actually legal to kill gays and lesbians? Why, exactly, did we liberate them again. Strike that. Why, exactly, did we liberate some of them again?

Wikipedia says this about the relevant law:

He who discovers his wife, one of his female relatives committing adultery or a male relative engaged in sodomy and kills, wounds or injures one of them, is exempted from any penalty.

To add to the feeling of uncleanliness, in searching for the Iraq penal code, I came across articles talking about this same story several times. Some were just news sites, others were blogs. Then I came across the discussion at Now I need to shower.

From the "Not even literate hate" department:

Since this [article] is unsourced I suspect it more of the usual made nonsense from the Hate American First Leftists

From the "Freedom of speech" department:

Saddam was right about one takes an SOB to run an islamic country. I believe that homosexuality is a foul sin of perversion but not nearly as bad a perversion as fundamental islam.

From the "Respect for others department:

Of course its a known fact MoMo was a switch hitter himself..
Arafat is/was widely known as a pedophile..
Islam is indeed a mental disease like liberalism...
I guess it depends on the propensitys of the MOBSTER(Mullah) in charge that determines the (local) character of Islam.. Tribal governance is indeed democracy...
in Kuwait queerdom is accepted freely..

From the "Maybe the Nazis were just aiming wrong" department:

Until Iran is "eliminated" by high temperature...Iraq will always be a crap hole. (no pun intended)

From the "My God is bigger than your God" department:

The problem with Iraq.........Islam.

From the "Nope, no racism here" department: (emphasis mine)

Yes, no two ways about it. Why have we let them into the US? They just want to take over. It's a fifth column. They breed like rabbits. We're doomed.

From the "Fred Phelps" department:

but, but, but - Islam is a religion of mercy...

From the "Channeling Ann Coulter" department

Had we utterly destroyed them, especially fallujah, outlawed fundamental Islam and did other drastic things, THEN we could be in a position of strength today.

OK, I just have to stop now, but it goes on. Freepers disgust me. It's like reading Diet Stormfront.


The best part about the Lieberman/Lamont election, regardless of it's outcome, is that people will stop talking about stunning it is that Lieberman might not actually get reelected. I'm fed up with it.

It's almost as if people seem to think that Lieberman is somehow entitled to keep his seat in Congress because he's the incumbent.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Conservatives are why we have no serious political discussion anymore

After thinking long and hard about the vileness that is Ann Coulter this week, I'm next confronted with this from

Why liberals love pedophiles

Liberals love pedophiles, because they must do so to keep their own belief system intact...

Since modern liberalism's true goal is the actual eradication of God, moral values, and the ideas of absolute right vs. wrong, it should surprise no one that not a single leftist politician in America has denounced Distasio. Nor did they denounce Levine. The truth is liberals seek sexual utopia where no rules apply. Restraint has in fact become a dirty word to them. Self control - a thoroughly foreign concept...

For liberals to denounce pedophiles, ultimately they would have to denounce, lesbianism, homsexuality [sic], and their particular favorite - adultery. And that's just no going to happen.

This isn't some little-known extremist website like Stormfront. Technorati rates this website as number twenty-six on the Internet. Bill Bennett and Tony Blankley -- both mainstream conservatives -- also write for this website.

There's a reason that I refer to liberals tongue-in-cheek elsewhere in this blog as "baby-eating liberals:" because pretty soon that's all that's going to be left to call liberals. We're racist (because of affirmative action), we hate our country and love terrorists (because of the war), and we are actively working for the forces of evil (since we're all godless).

You think the idea of a conservative accusing a liberal of baby-eating is ridiculous? Twenty or thirty years ago, it's what people actually used to say about Jews, believe it or not. In this country, even.

If you can dehumanize a political enemy enough, anything is possible. We all know what happened sixty years ago in Europe. Twelve years ago, it happened again in Rwanda. There, newspapers and radio programs called the massacred ethnic group as "subhuman," shortly before the killing started.

There is a rising tide of eliminationism in this country, and it is only coming from the Right. When was the last time you heard a liberal say that conservatives liked raping babies? When they said it was part of the core of their ideology? No, you only hear this stuff coming from the Right. Why? Because other than Nazis (and there aren't really many of them left), child molesters are the closest thing we have in our society to pure, unquestionable evil. It's an intentional gambit intended to get you to stop thinking rationally and start reacting emotionally.

Last week, Deputy Sheriff Guy Adams (of our own Cook County) said that gays having sex with infants is "the new trend."

Expect to see more of this in the future.

(Via Seeing the Forest.)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Remember when they were going to greet us with flowers?

Remember this?

I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003

Then today, there was this:

Tens of thousands of followers of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr rallied in support of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah on Friday, denouncing Israel and the United States for igniting violence throughout the Middle East...

"Hezbollah, beloved! Hit Tel Aviv! Hit Tel Aviv!" the protesters said. "No, no, no, Israel! No, no, no, America!" they chanted. And, finally, "If Americans are strong enough, they should come face us!"

You know, if I didn't know better, I might think they didn't like us.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues

Showing possible proof the my life is actually guided by the hand of fate, David brought up John Dean's book Conservatives Without Conscience last night. I'd been meaning to blog about a recent posting by Glenn Greenwald over at his blog, "John Dean and Authoritarian Cultism - a Review" for a few days now, but forgot this is the same book he was talking about. Go read Glenn's post. It's written by a lawyer so it's got a lot of words in it, but it's very worthwhile. I'm going to have to pick this book up.

Dean's book is an analysis of the conservative movement, what drives it, and what attracts people to it.

Dean contends, and amply documents, that the "conservative" movement has become, at its core, an authoritarian movement composed of those with a psychological and emotional need to follow a strong authority figure which provides them a sense of moral clarity and a feeling of individual power, the absence of which creates fear and insecurity in the individuals who crave it. By definition, its followers' devotion to authority and the movement's own power is supreme, thereby overriding the consciences of its individual members and removing any intellectual and moral limits on what will be justified in defense of their movement.

I guess I've never really thought about things that way, but it makes sense. In reading this description, I was struck at how well it describes the evangelical Christian movement and why they are so attracted to authoritarian conservative political doctrine.

A major component of premillinenialist Christian doctrine is that, after the Rapture, after the post-Rapture Tribulations, Jesus will return to rule over the world as king. If you really stop and think about that, it's a remarkably medieval notion. Completely undemocratic. Positively un-American.

These Christians don't just look forward to the day that they will have an unquestionable ruler over them with absolute power, they long for it. It's a seductive doctrine, surrendering control over your life to an absolute ruler in which you have faith that he can do no wrong.

It's also an amazingly dangerous idea. It's not like people in our history haven't found what they thought was their Messiah, only to be proved frighteningly wrong. Seventy-six people died at Waco. Nearly a thousand people died at Jonestown.

Getting back to Greenwald's review of Dean's book, this is the part of this movement I think is so dangerous: (emphasis mine)

...those who submit to authority necessarily relinquish their own conscience (in favor of serving the conscience of their leader and/or their movement), those who are part of this movement are capable of acts which a healthy and normal conscience ought to preclude. They can use torture, break laws, wage unnecessary wars based on false pretenses, and attempt to destroy the reputation of plainly patriotic and honest Americans -- provided that they are convinced that doing so advances the interests of the authority they serve and the movement of which they are a part.

The most horrible of acts are never committed in the name of evil, but in the name of good. It is with that very sense of righteousness that we are able to hurt our fellow man so effectively. Any movement that swaddles its followers with that same righteousness is dangerous and one that can be twisted to do evil, even with the best of intentions.