Monday, November 30, 2009

The Huffington Inquirer

How shitty can the Huffington Post become?


Cyber Theft

Today is Cyber Monday. Just in case you didn’t already know. A rather apt name, don’t you think? (At least in the sense of fictional cyborgs, like the Borg of Star Trek fame.) Millions of American consumers robotically spending their money when they are supposed to be working. A day to forget about that which is ethical, because everyone else is. Wouldn’t want to miss out on that big sale over something as mundane as ethics, would you?

Isn’t all of this basically a form of theft? After all, if you are at work, are you supposed to be shopping and spending your money? I thought work was the place to earn your money. If you are not working, aren’t you stealing from those who employ you?

Yet, all of this seems to be sanctioned somehow. It’s as if one of the most religious nations on earth has decided it is OK to replace “Thou shalt not steal” with “God says it’s OK to steal on Cyber Monday.”

Since the religious are a majority in the United States, and the atheists are a minority, the behavior of many on Cyber Monday seems to disprove the religious claim of moral superiority. (You know, the argument that believing in God is the source of all morality, therefore atheists are incapable of being moral. What happens to that argument when the believers behave immorally?)

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. Now let’s get back to shopping!

Meet The New War President, Same As The Old War President?

From An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore by Michael Moore:

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.
When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.
There is more here.

I used to think that Obama was intelligent and moral. Now I’m not so sure. How smart is it to turn the Left against you when the Right already hates your guts? And, how moral is it to become the new War President?

Let's Hunt Down And Kill Oxymoronicy

It is hard for me to understand when there is great uproar and anger over proposed spending by our government (the health care debate), yet little uproar and anger over actual spending by our government. I realize that this is not entirely true, yet it sure seems to be. (Basically what I am trying to say is: Maybe giving a new idea a chance is a good thing. Maybe ideas that have been given a chance and don’t seem to work should be stopped. By the way, I am upset and angry that so much money went to Wall Street, just like the party people. However, I do think that the economy did, and perhaps still does, need some stimulus from the government. Only time will tell.) Do the partiers with tea get upset about the military budget? Do they get upset with actual military ‘death panels?’

The party people who seem drunk on something other than tea do not seem upset by the government's inability to be militarily intelligent. Are any of them upset by our inability to find Osama bin Laden? If so, why no parties about how pissed they are about it?

I propose two changes effective immediately. From this day forward the Central Intelligence Agency shall be called the Central Ignorance Agency, and the phrase military intelligence shall be replaced with the phrase military ignorance.

I also propose that the funding for these two groups be cut to something appropriate to the change in their names, and that the surplus be directed toward funding universal health care.

What is the harm in at least trying to fix our health care crisis? Is something/anything better than nothing? Or is nothing what we want?

What Kind Of Headline Is This?

Workers plow road to Polanski's Swiss chalet

Shall we all inform the Associated Press of the times we shovel our driveways this winter? I look forward to seeing the headline Paul Thoreau shovels driveway to his modest house many times this winter.

The people who control these things must like to screw with me. Now the headline reads: Polanski stuck in jail; must pay full $4.5M. This is the second time this has happened to me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yet Again I Am Reminded Of Why I Am Glad That I Am Not Famous

For 3rd time, Woods cancels meeting with police

Most Religious And And Least Prosperous

Matthew and Mark were close. They just left out the part about the first being last at the same time.

From Who Needs God When We've Got Mammon? by David Villano:

In a paper posted recently on the online journal Evolutionary Psychology, independent researcher Gregory S. Paul reports a strong correlation within First World democracies between socioeconomic well-being and secularity. In short, prosperity is highest in societies where religion is practiced least.

Using existing data, Paul combined 25 indicators of societal and economic stability — things like crime, suicide, drug use, incarceration, unemployment, income, abortion and public corruption — to score each country using what he calls the "successful societies scale." He also scored countries on their degree of religiosity, as determined by such measures as church attendance, belief in a creator deity and acceptance of Bible literalism.

Comparing the two scores, he found, with little exception, that the least religious countries enjoyed the most prosperity. Of particular note, the U.S. holds the distinction of most religious and least prosperous among the 17 countries included in the study, ranking last in 14 of the 25 socioeconomic measures.

Finish The Job

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Surely Barack Obama is aware of what happened to the Soviet Union when they tried to ‘finish the job’ in Afghanistan.

From Obama May Add 30,000 Troops in Afghanistan by Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt:

President Obama said Tuesday that he was determined to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, and his aides signaled to allies that he would send as many as 25,000 to 30,000 additional American troops there even as they cautioned that the final number remained in flux.
These three comments speak for me and sum up my thoughts on this issue quite accurately:

From Baffled Observer:
"Finish the job"? What job is he talking about? The job of assuring economic ruin at home while developing an ever-increasing supply of terrorists abroad? The job of propping up one of the most corrupt regimes in the world? The job of appeasing the military-industrial complex, sponsoring and committing torture, and destroying our Bill of Rights? Or all of them?
From avrds:
Finish the job. I wonder what that means?

Bring both Afghanistan and the U.S. to its knees?

This is an occupation that neither country wants nor can afford and will probably prove to be the final blow to the U.S. empire.

Ironic indeed that President Obama will now be ultimately responsible for it, not the Bush-Cheney presidency.

When will this country ever learn?
From margaret:
Wonderful, just wonderful. So Obama has to prove he isn't an arugula eating sissy by out-Bushing Bush. The goof-ball doesn't understand that many, like me, voted for him, ‘specifically,’ because he promised to bring the troops home.

Why do I even bother to vote?
Real men end wars, they don’t prolong them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quote Of Note - Amanda Marcotte

“The point is that religion puts a value on irrationality, which makes it the perfect tool for promoting irrational beliefs like misogyny. Other ideologies can be challenged with evidence and reason, but religion is allowed a pass by most people. And that’s why it’s especially dangerous.” Amanda Marcotte

When Things Go Wrong

From Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan by Jeremy Scahill:

The use of private companies like Blackwater for sensitive operations such as drone strikes or other covert work undoubtedly comes with the benefit of plausible deniability that places an additional barrier in an already deeply flawed system of accountability. When things go wrong, it's the contractors' fault, not the government's. But the widespread use of contractors also raises serious legal questions, particularly when they are a part of lethal, covert actions. "We are using contractors for things that in the past might have been considered to be a violation of the Geneva Convention," said Lt. Col. Addicott, who now runs the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. "In my opinion, we have pressed the envelope to the breaking limit, and it's almost a fiction that these guys are not in offensive military operations." Addicott added, "If we were subjected to the International Criminal Court, some of these guys could easily be picked up, charged with war crimes and put on trial. That's one of the reasons we're not members of the International Criminal Court."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Sarah Palin For President in 2012

Will the World End in 2012?

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

More Republican Lies To Make Your Head Spin

From SPIN METER: 'War and Peace' in 209 pages? by Calvin Woodward and Douglass K. Daniel:

Republicans are using everything short of forklifts to show Americans that Democratic health care legislation is an unwieldy mountain of paper. They pile it high on desks, hoist it on a shoulder trussed in sturdy rope and tell people it's longer than "War and Peace," which it isn't.

Although they complain they don't have time to read all of it, they found the time to tape it together, page by page, so they could roll it up the steps of the Capitol like super-sized toilet paper and show how very long it is.
Read the rest here.

I’ll bet that the Republicans have only read the War part of "War and Peace," if they’ve read any of it at all. And I think that maybe Barack Obama skipped most of the Peace part as well.

Please Remind Me Who The Good Guys Are

From UK government suppressed evidence on Binyam Mohamed torture because MI6 helped his interrogators by Tim Shipman and Melissa Kite:

Material in a CIA dossier on Mr Mohamed that was blacked out by High Court judges contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to his captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

Intelligence sources have revealed that spy chiefs put pressure on Mr Miliband to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution, or to jeopardise relations with the CIA, which is passing them "top notch" information on British terrorist suspects from its own informers in Britain.
The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said.

Another source familiar with the case said: "British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn't do anything about it. They supplied information to the Americans and the Moroccans. They supplied questions, they supplied photographs. There is evidence of all of that."

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Do The Afghans Think?

“The world's goin' crazy and
Nobody gives a damn anymore.
And they're breakin' off relationships and
Leavin' on sailin' ships for far and distant shores.
You're my brother,
Though I didn't know you yesterday.
I'm your brother.
Together we can find a way” Ray Davies

Noam Chomsky condemns 'immoral' Afghan war

The Left thinks that Glenn Beck is crazy. The Right thinks that Noam Chomsky is crazy. Fine. To each his own, I suppose. I do have one question. Why does Glenn Beck get so much more attention than Noam Chomsky does? After all, they're both crazy, and the United States just loves crazy right now.

It must be that damn liberal media. They’re just plain crazy.

Assuming that the Afghans aren’t crazy, they probably think that all Americans are crazy.

Time To Out-Crazy The Crazies?

“If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you.” Benjamin Franklin

And, the crazy wolves (Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and all the rest) are the scariest of all.

From Time to Out-Crazy Glenn Beck by Jere Hester:

The latest “SNL” also featured a “Weekend Update” segment with Al Gore, whose efforts to raise awareness about global warming were once likened by Beck to the Holocaust.

Gore joked in the “SNL” bit that it’s time “to out-crazy the crazies.” He was talking about going to extremes to get attention for the fight against global warming, but he might as well have been giving political advice to the Democratic Party and mainstream Republicans.
“Instead of science, I’m going with crazy.”

Hey Obama, my man, maybe it’s time to loosen up, get down, and start acting crazy.

It’s the latest craze.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Un-American Under God

“Shouldn't the government pledge allegiance to the people rather than the other way around?”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So Many Words At The Tower Of Babel

From Some questions for modern liberals by Lyle Duell:

From observing many of the letters to the editor, I gather that modern liberals seem to be true believers in big government. If this is the case, I'm curious to know what they want to be liberated from. The word liberal infers that there is something that they want to be liberated from. If it is not big government like classic liberalism believed, what is it? Could it be God? Morality? Normality? In having faith in big government, have not the new liberals betrayed the spirit of the founding fathers and classic liberalism, both of which had a healthy skepticism of government? Maybe one of the new liberals could tell us where liberals' faith in government has come from.

Does it come from the great job that government has done in handling the US Post Office, Social Security, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the War on Poverty, Medicare, Amtrak, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the public school system? At the same time maybe they can tell us why the American people should trust big government with running our health care and dealing with global warming.

Recently, I have noticed that the new liberals are referring to themselves as progressives. My question is: What have they progressed beyond? Have they progressed beyond liberalism? One would hope so, but I don't think that is the case. Maybe there is a progressive out there who can tell us the difference between the illiberal liberalism of the new liberals and progressivism? Still another question is: Why are the new liberals referring to themselves as progressives? What do they mean by progressive values? Do they mean values that are not traditional or Christian? If so, what are they?

I believe the new liberals, or progressives, owe it to the American people to explain exactly what they believe and to explain their progressive values. Of course, the truth is that the new liberals are just playing games with words. There really isn't anything new or progressive about their beliefs or values. The reason that they have changed their label is that linguistic experts (propagandists) have told them that people respond better to the word progressive than the word liberal.
I am sorry Mr. Duell, you make it very difficult for me to respond to you without it sounding like I am belittling you, mocking you, and talking down to you. I will try hard to be somewhat civil. The regular readers of this blog know that I am not always successful at this. Oh, the words that come to mind that I could use to describe you. Who is actually “playing games with words” here? I will try to be polite. You’re just pulling that “propagandists” stuff out of your ass, aren’t you Mr. Duell? OK, now I’ll try to be polite.

Let’s start with two words that seem to confuse you. Liberal and liberate. Please notice that these are two words, not one. Perhaps there is a reason why. Perhaps they have two different meanings, not one. Let’s examine that thought.

Merriam-Webster says this about the word liberal:
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin liberalis suitable for a freeman, generous, from liber free; perhaps akin to Old English lēodan to grow, Greek eleutheros free
Date: 14th century
1 a : of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts b archaic : of or befitting a man of free birth

2 a : marked by generosity : openhanded b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way c : ample, full

3 obsolete : lacking moral restraint : licentious

4 : not literal or strict : loose

5 : broad-minded; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

6 a : of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism b capitalized : of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; especially : of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideals of individual especially economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reforms designed to secure these objectives

synonyms liberal, generous, bountiful, munificent mean giving or given freely and unstintingly. liberal suggests openhandedness in the giver and largeness in the thing or amount given
liberal with her praise>. generous stresses warmhearted readiness to give more than size or importance of the gift generous offer of help>. bountiful suggests lavish, unremitting giving or providing bountiful presents>. munificent suggests a scale of giving appropriate to lords or princes munificent foundation grant>.
Wow. That’s really cool. Even I’m learning some things here. However, I don’t see anything about liberals believing in big government. Why would people who believe so much about freedom, and being free men, want to be enslaved by big government? I don’t see anything that infers that there is something that liberals want to be liberated from. I wonder why that is?

Liberals are generous. What the fuck is wrong with them? Who let them out of the loony bin?

Merriam-Webster says this about the word
Etymology: Latin liberatus, past participle of liberare, from liber
Date: circa 1623
1 : to set at liberty : free; specifically : to free (as a country) from domination by a foreign power

2 : to free from combination

3 : to take or take over illegally or unjustly liberated from a nearby construction site — Thorne Dreyer>

synonyms see free
That’s pretty cool too. Two words, two different meanings. The word free seems to be a link between liberal and liberate, but that’s about it. It is interesting that the definition of liberate doesn’t mention liberals at all.

Perhaps it seems that I am being petty. I assure you that I am not. Words and what they mean are extremely important if we are to understand one another, if we are to understand anything at all. Without a solid understanding of what words mean we have the Tower of Babel. (Amazing isn’t it that I, like Richard Dawkins, believe that knowledge of the Bible is important.)

Balance. Mr. Duell makes me think of the word balance. (You can look this one up yourself, if you feel the need to.) A little sense of balance is in order here. Balance implies two sides to every story, not one big dead weight weighing down the narrative into the depths of obfuscation.

Mr. Duell, you seem to be unbalanced. No, not mentally. Unbalanced in a way that I’m at a loss to find a word for. I think that all of us, including me, fall into this trap. We have our beliefs and we frequently use any means necessary to defend them, even if those means are wrong, misguided, or do not make any sense. This trap can ensnare any denomination, and any political belief system. We all need to be vigilant.

You seem to have your own set of beliefs about liberals and progressives. I think that you are misguided in your beliefs. I could go into great depth here, but I will try to keep this brief.

It is false to say that liberals believe in “big government.” Liberals believe that government has the potential to (and sometimes actually does) help the common good.

Not all liberals trust the government. In fact, I think that very few of them do. Let me point out that liberals tend to not trust big corporations as well. It seems, Mr. Duell, that you don’t trust the government, yet it seems to me that you have great faith in corporations. I fail to see the logic in this. For every government agency that you see as a failure, I can name a corporation that actually has been a failure. Enron, Lehman Brothers, etc. (Please don’t say that they failed because of the government. Please don’t go there.)

I tend to think of the government as us, not them. (“We the people” and all of that). I tend to think of big corporations as them, not us. (“We the corporation”)?

Mr. Duell, you say: “…maybe they can tell us why the American people should trust big government with running our health care and dealing with global warming.” Can you tell me why the American people should trust big corporations with running our health care and dealing with global warming? At least with the government involved with these issues there is a sense of balance. The power does not exist solely with the big corporations. Are you honestly pleased with the way that big corporations have dealt with these issues in the past?

Again, not to be petty, but liberal and progressive are two words. They mean different things. For a better understanding of progressives a good place to start would be The Progressive. These “new liberals” have been around for 100 years. Shocking, isn’t it?

Mr. Duell, you seem to seek an understanding of liberals and progressives. In some ways we are alike. I seek an understanding of Conservatives, Libertarians, and right-wingers. It is difficult for me to get past what I see as a bunch of crazy, inflamed rhetoric from the right. Perhaps you have the same problem with the left. I think it is important for both of us to keep trying. Don’t you? However, we will never understand one another at the Tower of Babel.

The right-wing has stolen the word liberal from us. I want it back. The right-wing assigns evil and negativity to the word liberal. Reread the definition. Do you see evil and negativity? I certainly don’t. I want my word back. The right-wing chooses to live in the Tower of Babel. I choose not to.

Belief Change

From Number of atheist groups growing in some US campuses:

As teenagers move into young adulthood, some leave God behind. But not in huge numbers.

More than three-quarters of young adults taking part in the National Study of Youth and Religion profess a belief in God. But almost 7 percent fewer believe in God as young adults (ages 18 to 23) than did as teenagers, according to the study, which is tracking the same group of young people as they mature.

What young adults are less likely to believe in is religion. The number of those who describe themselves as "not religious" nearly doubled, to 27 percent, in young adulthood.

Growing hostility toward religion was found, too. About 1 in 10 young adults are "irreligious" — or actively against religion — after virtually none of them fit that description as teenagers.

At Iowa State, most of the club's roughly 30 members are "former" somethings, mostly Christians. Many stress that their lives are guided not by anti-religiousness, but belief in science, logic and reason.
From 'Sinners' gather at atheist meeting:
Interest in local atheist groups has roughly doubled since the United Coalition of Reason erected a billboard off of Sixth Street in Queensgate Nov. 12 reaching out to non-believers, organizers said.

The billboard states "Don't believe in God? You are not alone" and lists the local chapter's Web site. Coalition leaders said they've heard from many people who didn't know that there were groups out there for non-believers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Maverick Put in Charge Of World's Largest Nuclear Arsenal

“Seeing stupidity everywhere can quickly become a full-time job.”

I stole my headline from here.

Adoration Of An Asshole

Isn’t this some kind of violation of the first and second commandments? (If you’re Catholic or Lutheran, then just the first commandment applies here.)

The Military System's Virtues

From Holder's reasonable decision by Jim Comey and Jack Goldsmith:

…Holder's critics do not help their case by understating the criminal justice system's capacities, overstating the military system's virtues and bumper-stickering a reasonable decision.
There are many things that I do not understand about the far-right wing. Here is one. Why do they see the Republican Party as well as the United States military as infallible? Why is the Democratic Party constantly wrong in their eyes? These things seem like statistical impossibilities to me.

From what I understand, the logic (or illogic) of the right wingers is that the government is bad, can’t be trusted, screws everything up, and takes all their money in the form of taxes.

Here is what I don’t understand. The military is part of the government. From the perspective of the right, why is the military always good, why can they always be trusted, why do they never screw up, and why does the enormous amount of tax dollars given to the military never seem to bother the right? Why does the right have faith in military courts, but not civilian courts?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monster Raving Loonies

From Not So Funny After All by William Rivers Pitt:

The problem, however, is that people like Palin stopped being funny a while ago. The prominence they enjoy in our political discourse is so far out of whack with their abilities and intentions that it vastly exaggerates their influence over a variety of very serious matters that affect each and every one of us. The British have the Monster Raving Loony Party, who are a joke and exert no real influence, and we have the Republican Party, filled with monster raving loonies who exert a tremendous amount of influence because the news media thinks we are a nation of people who like to look at car accidents on the highway, which, by and large, we are. We've been well-trained by 20 years of shock television to mistake clowns and jesters for serious people, and because of that mistake, these people's deranged opinions and deformed ideas get taken seriously.
Actually, the biggest wreck on the highway is the news media, and not all of us want to look at it. Some of us are sick and tired of it, fed up, bored too, and mostly just plain pissed off. Something is very wrong when someone like Sarah Palin is given such a large stage to be an idiot, and then is taken seriously by so many.


From Atheist billboards are misguided by Jan Ainsworth:

In their latest poster campaign, Ariane Sherine and members of the British Humanist Association appear to have decided that it is a Very Bad Thing that parents might try and bring up their children within a religious or philosophical framework of their choosing. They suggest it is wholly unacceptable that anyone might suggest that their own child might belong to a particular religion.

While I know I risk offending the loyal and noble readers of Cif here, I genuinely can't believe that people actually donated good money to spend on billboard advertising that proposes such a misguided and patronising argument.

It is telling that Sherine resorts to quoting Richard Dawkins when she needs to find someone to explain the rationale for the campaign: "Children are routinely labelled with the religion of their parents", Dawkins suggests. By who, exactly? And if the answer is by their parents, who are the BHA to tell them to stop?

It is surely central to the role of a parent, whether committed to a religious faith or not, to want to pass on to their child the things they value most, the beliefs and world view that shape how they live. It is also consistent with that role to want to have those beliefs and world view acknowledged and affirmed as part of their children's education.
Read the rest here.

Why does this seem to bother Jan Ainsworth so much? Her spurious arguments and reasoning can simply be reversed and used to support Ariane Sherine and to denigrate herself. Of course this would be as useless and as pointless as what Ainsworth is trying to do. Yes, people should have freedom of religion. People also should have freedom of speech. If Sherine wants to spend money to express herself, then who is Jan Ainsworth to tell her to stop? All of this seems so pointless.

Speaking from personal experience, what matters the most to me about this issue is that people can end up getting hurt. If the child makes the choice to turn to another religion, or to atheism, there is immense potential for things to get very ugly.

The indoctrination of a child into a religion puts the child who doesn’t believe in their parent’s religion in a terrible position. The child must choose between what he/she sees as the truth, and his or her parents. Were his parents lying to him, or simply misguided? This is not an easy thing to deal with. The more that the religion defines who the parents are, the harder it is for the non-believing child.

This also puts the parents in a terrible position. If they truly believe, then their child will suffer for being a nonbeliever. Look out below, my kid’s going to hell.

I realize that some parents may be able to respect the wishes of their child to not believe as they do. However, simply by definition, their religion will not allow them to see their child as whole anymore. God will not accept him anymore. If they truly believe, then how can they accept him anymore? To me, this is absolutely monstrous. I find all of this to be very hard to put into words adequately, so I hope that some sense of what I mean is coming through.

Religious people claim to be compassionate. To me, they never seem to be very compassionate when this issue is brought up.

Oh, and it’s even worse if the child is gay or has had an abortion.

Before I go, here is one final quibble. Why the hell does Ainsworth write: “It is telling that Sherine resorts to quoting Richard Dawkins when she needs to find someone to explain…” Why is this “telling?” Could someone tell me? The only reason I can think of for Ainsworth to write this is because it comes off as some kind of insult directed towards Ariane Sherine. Poor woman, she can’t think for herself, she has to quote Dawkins. Yet, it’s not an insult to say that she quoted Dawkins, is it? I hate it when people do this kind of thing. It serves no useful purpose. Is it telling when Ainsworth quotes from the Bible? (I assume that she does, frequently.)

Horse Mackerels

It sounds like a cuss phrase, but it’s just the name of a fish.

From What's in a name? More than you might think by Kylie MacLellan:

A London-based translation firm is offering parents-to-be the chance to check the meaning of prospective baby names in other languages to avoid inadvertently causing their offspring future embarrassment.

Celebrity couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes might have thought twice about naming their daughter Suri if they'd known that it means "pickpocket" in Japanese, "turned sour" in French, and "horse mackerels" in Italian, suggest Today Translations.

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

A George W. Bush fundraiser is now embroiled in an alleged $1 billion scam

Wonder if Bernie Madoff contributed money to the Republicans as well? Turns out, he liked Democrats. Go figure.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm With Bing On This One

Except I don’t find Sarah Palin to be attractive. I’m not very attracted to people who scare me. I’m not very attracted to ignorance. I’m not very attracted to people who are out of their freakin’ minds.

From Please, God, let Sarah Palin’s book tour be over! by Stanley Bing:

I know there are many, many people who want to see Sarah Palin. Even Oprah did and gave her a nice, friendly launch for her platform, too. It’s just that I’m not one of the people who does. She’s a very attractive person, no question about it. But she scares me. Perhaps “scares” is not the right word. Whenever I see her I get a stabbing feeling that the world is not of my making.
By the way, wouldn’t it be more honest of the book promotion machine to have the person who actually wrote the book be the one promoting it?

Also, I might be more willing to give the believing in God thing more of a chance if he would only stop his childish need to constantly barrage us with plagues of locusts.

A Question

"How is it that it will take 'decades' for history to judge the Bush administration yet we know already that the Obama administration is a failure?"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh No, Not THAT Guy!

Picture yourself at a party, a social gathering of people you know well and some whom you don’t know very well. Picture that guy that you make every effort to avoid. You move out of the room that he’s in because you don’t want to be trapped by him, because you can’t stand him. He’s loud, pompous, boisterous, arrogant, opinionated, never listens to what you say, and never, ever shuts up. Isn’t that guy Rush Limbaugh?

Moral Grounds

“No one cares whether you want your tax dollars spent on pointless wars, but abortion is another story entirely.”

Aesop Or Jim Cramer?

Troy Adkins thinks that Aesop wins the race. His choice for the best book on investing is The Tortoise and the Hare:

Given the simplicity of the famous fable "The Tortoise and the Hare," it may seem out of the ordinary to recommend it to people as a guideline for their retirement-planning decisions. However, the moral overtone provides meaningful insight in terms of helping people plan for their retirement by keeping them grounded in proper virtues that will likely lead to successful investing over time. Unfortunately, the simple principle of this story seems to have been largely forgotten, as evidenced by the fact that many people do not prepare adequately for retirement, and they tend to make very foolish mistakes while investing.

"The Tortoise and the Hare" is a story that is based on a race between a rabbit and a turtle, and the story explains why a turtle ends up winning a race that should have been won by a hare. The simple moral of this fable is that a slow and steady pace will win a given race. The essence of the story has pertinent meaning to the retirement planning process, because it stresses the need for people to start saving at a young age, and to follow a systematic and methodical approach to building their retirement nest egg over time, rather than getting greedy.
Good advice. Take that, Jim Cramer!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bizarro World

David Brooks on Sarah Palin: “She's a joke. I just can't take her seriously.”

Mark Shields on Barack Barack Obama: “And I think it makes me nostalgic for those days when we had a manly man in the White House who could say, “Let’s kick some tail and ask questions afterwards” you know? That’s what we really need instead of any reflection.”

Of course if you watch the video of Shields it is obvious that he is being sarcastic. No one at ThinkProgress (and other sites as well) seems to have picked up on that, however. By jove, DougJ has got it after all.

The world, for one short moment, is not so bizarre after all.

I’m still going to retreat to my fortress of solitude, however.

UPDATE: ThinkProgress has seen the light and updated their original post. It’s a little disappointing that Mark Shields had to tell them that he was being sarcastic, though. Come on ThinkProgress, I expect better from you.

James Taranto Needs To Take A Remedial Reading Class

Is James Taranto incredibly stupid, or does he just think that his readers are?

From How Code Pink Supports the Troops (A "peace" group appeals to the authority of a mass murderer) by James Taranto:

"We support our troops when they shoot their officers," read a banner held aloft by some "antiwar" protesters back in the spring of 2003. Well, jejune anarchists have as much right to free speech as the rest of us, and anyway, surely they were just being provocative. They don't really believe that, do they?

Don't be so sure. On Veterans Day, six days after the Fort Hood massacre, a group that styles itself Code Pink: Women for Peace issued a statement urging President Obama not to send more troops to Afghanistan. It began as follows:
This Veterans Day, our hearts ache for the soldiers and their families affected by the recent shootings at Ft. Hood. Our hearts also ache for the soldiers and their families who continue to be affected by war in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis. Now more than ever, CODEPINK is committed to helping to heal the hearts of those touched by war, and doing whatever we can to bring our troops home.
(Hat tip:

It's bad enough to draw a moral equivalence between professional soldiers, who volunteer to risk their lives in defense of their country, and murder victims. But it gets much worse:
Our soldiers clearly need more care; the last thing they need is to be put into more harm's way. Even US military officers think so--Matthew Hoh resigned from the Foreign Service in protest of the lack of clear mission and achievable results in Afghanistan, and of course the Ft. Hood shooter was a Major who did not wish to be deployed to Afghanistan.
We have read a lot about the background of the alleged killer, Nidal Hasan, and we don't know of any basis on which to think he agreed with Code Pink's stated position that "our soldiers clearly need more care." In any case, mowing them down in cold blood would seem an odd way to give voice to such a view. Yet the Code Pink ladies are eager to have us believe that the killer is a kindred spirit. They think that imputing their opinions to him strengthens their case via an appeal to authority: "Even US military officers think so."

This isn't precisely the same as the banner we cited atop this item. But Code Pink's motto could be: "Our officers support Code Pink when they shoot their troops."
How low can you go? How slimy must you be to write something as vile and dishonest as this? To say that this is misleading is an understatement.

First of all, Code Pink is not a “peace” group, it is a peace group. They are not pretending, they are real.

What the hell does “appeals to the authority of a mass murderer” even mean? Even though I don’t know what it means, I am certain that Code Pink has never made such an appeal, even though James Taranto tells me that they have.

Trying to connect what was on a banner from 2003 specifically to Code Pink and to what Code Pink wrote on November 11, 2009, is quite a stretch, don’t you think? Just a tad bit deceitful, no? It doesn’t seem to bother James Taranto, but it bothers the hell out of me.

Code Pink never draws a moral equivalence between professional soldiers and murder victims. Just because James Taranto says that they do does not make it so.

Nowhere does the writing of Code Pink state that they view murderers as kindred spirits.

I’m with Code Pink, our soldiers need more care. Is James Taranto trying to say that they do not?

Nowhere does Code Pink claim the motto "Our officers support Code Pink when they shoot their troops."

Here is the original and unabridged writing by Code Pink that James Taranto so crudely distorts for his own evil and twisted machinations.

James Taranto is full of shit.

More Headline Fun

Paris Hilton's vacant? Billboard industry seeks new ways to fill empty space

Headline Fun

For some reason this headline brings the word oxymoronic to mind:

GM reports $1.2B loss, says it shows progress

UPDATE: Now they have changed the headline to: GM says improved quarter shows signs of stability. Oh well.