Monday, May 30, 2005

"Family" Means No One Gets Left Behind, Or Forgotten

You say you "support our troops"?

Perrspectives has a fantastic list of links to sites and services that let you do exactly that. Not cutesy ideas; not signs, slogans, bumper stickers, magnetic ribbons, or all that. Real ways to help the troops and their families.

Thanks to Tena at First Draft for pointing this one out.

Calling It Your Job Don't Make It Right, Boss

Yet another story you might not have heard about over the all-important Jacko trial:
Seven of 10 classroom teachers in a tiny school district resigned after a colleague was fired for helping an 11-year-old girl who was left alone in a playground to pick up rocks as punishment.

The fourth-grader in the East Lynne School District in Cass County was assigned the task last September for refusing to do her schoolwork, but she was unsupervised except for a security camera. The playground was near a road but inside a fence.

The fired teacher, Christa Price, went to the principal — who is also the district superintendent — and asked him to reconsider the punishment, but he wouldn’t. So on her free period, Price helped the girl pick up rocks. Other teachers watched the girl the next day.

At contract time in March, Superintendent Dan Doerhoff recommended firing Price, a popular teacher who had had good performance evaluations, for insubordination. Seven other teachers then chose not to return their contracts.

“If a teacher who advocates on behalf of safety of a student is not fit to be a teacher at East Lynne or anywhere in Missouri according to this administration, then none of us are fit to teach at East Lynne,” the teachers who resigned said Tuesday in a statement.

Okay, first thing: Picking up rocks? I got one for ya, bright boy, O District Superintendent -- why not have her do her schoolwork? Or are you just trying to inculcate that prison mentality a little early?

On multiple days?

How exactly is it, Mr. Doerhoff, that you're qualified to have anything with education, or, for that matter, children? What were the rocks for, asshat? Got a corner of the lawn that needs landscaping, or something?

The only thing this particular punishment would do, as far as I can tell, is to increase the girl's bitterness and resentment and physical danger. Unsupervised? Near the road? Oh, nothing ever happens to kids left alone like that.

And so, a teacher who finds this unfair helps the girl and shows her that not all the adults are stupid, petty, petulant, and arbitrary. And that teacher gets fired by the dipshit that started the whole thing.

And now you've lost 70% of your educators.

Thank you for single-handedly screwing up your entire school district. When are you up for re-election, again...?

Seems To Me, Cap'n, This Mission Is A Serious Misallocation Of Valuable Military Resources

I have actually seen and heard the phrase "Happy Memorial Day".

What have we become as a people, that for many today is a day off from work, a day to barbecue, a day to buy things on sale, and nothing more?

For those who have forgotten: This is what today is about.

And this.

And this.

And this.

And, though our government really doesn't want you to think about them, this, this, this, this, and this. (Not for the squeamish... but some people really need to take a good, long look.)

(Crossposted to Digital Acoustic LiveJournal.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I'll Do Anything For A Woman With A Knife

Sorry for not having anything for several days -- I'm getting ready for a big gig at MarCon in Columbus, and it's been consuming all my time and energy. But I would be remiss if I did not recommend this remarkable post by Athenae at First Draft. Just go read it all.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


A little G&S parodying for your morning, off this thread at Eschaton:
I am the very model of a right-wing intellectual,
My arguments are pedantic, ill-advised, and ineffectual,
I set up straw men, knock them down, declare myself too smart by half,
And contradict myself at least in every other paragraph;

I take a condescending tone, as if to teach a stubborn child,
I really want to soothe the rabble, keep them docile, keep them mild,
I play at being common man, though strictly of the ruling class,
And can't unravel why I'm called a who-d'you-think-you're-fooling ass.

I dare not ask a question of Dear Leader and his underlings,
They've promised that at some point I'll receive some minor Mordor rings,
So, to the hem of power I cling, and let things go to Heck I will,
In short, the very model of a right-wing intellectual!
Oh, better far to be a jerk
And complain my job is such hard work,
Than talk of problems that we've shared,
And act as if I really cared.
Away to the mundane world go you,
Where having three jobs is better than two;
But I’ll do better than Dad, the wimp,
And live and die a Pirate Chimp.

For I am a Pirate Chimp!
A lying, cheating, bone-stupid imp,
That's me, the Pirate Chimp!

I am a Pirate Chimp!
You are!
Hurrah for our Pirate Chimp!
A cheerleader, not a commie symp,
That's me, the Pirate Chimp.
He is!
Hurrah for our Pirate Chimp!
Chimpy & Chorus.
Hurrah for the/our Pirate Chimp!

When I give a speech, my handlers quake,
Ready to correct the least mistake.
I break a few more laws, it’s true,
Than a legal monarch ought to do;
But the problem with democracy
Is it impedes aristocracy,
My circle must stay well-to-do,
How else can we keep from being like you?

For I am a Pirate Chimp!
And for food and health care I won't scrimp,
That's me, the Pirate Chimp!

I am a Pirate Chimp!
You are!
Hurrah for the Pirate Chimp!
Now bend over and take it till I'm limp,
'Cause I'm the Pirate Chimp.
He is!
Hurrah for our Pirate Chimp!
Chimpy & Chorus.
Hurrah for the/our Pirate Chimp!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Intelligence Officer! Stupidity Officer Is More Like It -- Pentagon Wants To Open A Stupidity Division, They Know Who They Can Get To Lead It

Mah-mah-mah-myyy Sirota found a beaut:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are [a] few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 11/8/54
Given that President Bush, a Texas oil millionaire, is trying to abolish social security as we know it, starve unemployment programs, weaken labor laws, and gut rural/farm programs, I predict that Pat Robertson and Zell Miller will publicly denounce Ike as a gay-kissing Hollywood welfare queen.

(Yes, I freely just copied and pasted this one. No credit to me; all credit to David Sirota -- I just wanted more people to see it, is all.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Just Get Up Off The Ground, That's All I Ask -- Get Up There With That Lady That's Up On Top Of This Capital Dome, The Lady That Stands For Liberty

The Princeton Fristibusters are trying to make noise and increase awareness of Bill Frist's efforts to gut Senate rules and destroy the filibuster. They're just hitting Washington, DC today, but there are similar efforts at colleges all across America. If you happen to see 'em, give 'em a little love, say hi, something. They're fighting for your democracy, too.

Thanks to genoasail at Atrios.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

You're Only Supposed To Blow The Bloody Doors Off

This is what happens when you jam your foot in your mouth and gargle:
A Baptist preacher accused of running out nine congregants who disagreed with his Republican politics resigned Tuesday, two days after calling the issue "a great misunderstanding."


"I don't believe he preached politics," church member Rhonda Trantham said. "I don't believe anyone should tell a preacher not to preach what's in the Bible."

But some congregants of the 100-member church in western North Carolina have said Chandler endorsed President Bush from the pulpit during last year's presidential campaign and said that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry needed to "repent or resign."

The church members said he continued to preach about politics after Bush won re-election, culminating with a church gathering last week in which the nine members said they were voted out.

At Sunday's service, the 33-year-old Chandler said the flap over the church members' dismissal was "a great misunderstanding" and he tried to welcome them back.

"No one has ever been voted from the membership of this church due to an individual's support or lack of support for a political party or candidate," he said in a statement.

As reported here a few days ago, this guy specifically kicked nine people out of his church for supporting John Kerry and voting Democratic. So he's a liar, as well as a big-mouthed weakling who folds quickly.

The fact that his church was officially reported to the IRS Monday for violating the no-electioneering laws for churches might've also had something to do with it.

In any case, I'm sure we haven't seen the last of Mr. Chandler. He'll be on O'Reilly and Hannity; he'll be a cause celebre for those who believe that Christians are oppressed in this country; heck, maybe he'll be former Judge Roy Moore's running mate in 2008.

And he'll still be wrong on every level.

"Ives... Ives... Oh, Yes. Archibald Ives. Scot. The Photograph Doesn't Do Justice." "I'd Like To See One Of You Under Similar Circumstances."

The ever delightful Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, R-WI, has snuck a piece of legislation that's odious even for him onto an Iraq War appropriations bill: The Real ID Act, which would standardize driver's licenses across the country, electronically encode lots of personal information into lots and lots of "common machine-readable technology" data bases, and barring illegal immigrants from getting a driver's license. So, even more government intrusion into your personal information, easy access for identity thieves, and a whole bunch of untrained, unmonitored, likely uninsured drivers. Good plan, fuckwit.

Naturally, as this was stuck onto a different bill which had no debate, it's already passed the US House. So read up on it and contact your Senator.

(Cross-posted to Digital Acoustic Livejournal.)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Do You Ever Think About Things That You DO Think About?

Scopes 2: Electric Boogaloo has already got one of the great quotes of the year:

The scientists' boycott was led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Kansas Citizens for Science, which believe the hearings are rigged against the teaching of evolution.

Scientists said they don't see the need to cram their arguments into a few days of testimony, like out-of-state witnesses who were called by advocates of the "intelligent design" theory.

But the boycott has frustrated board members who viewed their hearings as an educational forum.

"I am profoundly disappointed that they've chosen to present their case in the shadows," board member Connie Morris said. "I would have enjoyed hearing what they have to say in a professional, ethical manner."

(Emphasis mine.)

Lessee -- that would be the scientific peer community, you superstitious ditz. Studies, data, analysis, everything checked and double-checked and then checked again, before it's finally written and published... and then checked and double-checked and then checked again by scientists around the world, making sure that the results are duplicatable. Everything they've ever said on the subject has been in the full light of day, professionally and ethically available for review and, if necessary, refutation.

As opposed to the much easier to describe, but slightly more difficult to verify, "Let there be light".

And I Thought, "What The Hell, Let's Try It Once With A Woman And See What Those Straight Guys Are Raving About"

Hey, gay-bashers! Suck on -- erm, read this:
Gay men's brains respond differently from those of heterosexual males when exposed to a sexual stimulus, researchers have found. The homosexual men's brains responded more like those of women when the men sniffed a chemical from the male hormone testosterone.

"It is one more piece of evidence ... that is showing that sexual orientation is not all learned," said Sandra Witelson, an expert on brain anatomy and sexual orientation at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Witelson, who was not part of the research team, said the findings clearly show a biological involvement in sexual orientation.

Which is what we've been trying to tell all these people who insist that gays can be "reprogrammed". Look, if you happen to be one of those folks, here's a lot of useful, honest information about sexual orientation, mm-kay? Read it and get back to us, and quit abusing your children.

You're A Team -- Like Bert And Ernie! Superman And Clark Kent!

Arianna Huffington has got a new super-blog going. The line-up is spectacular, including Senator Jon Corzine, Larry David, John Cusack and Walter Cronkite. Joe Bob sez check it out.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Well, My Nuts Are Halfway Up My Ass, But, Other Than That, I'm Perfect

You may have gleaned that I have a little problem with religion as practiced in America. It's almost comforting to know the feeling is mutual.

As reported first at Democratic Underground and expanded upon at The Daily Kos, but most importantly as broadcast over local TV news, the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina has kicked out all of its Democratic members.

The minister spearheaded an effort to communicate nine members over abortion rights and homosexuality. Pastor Chan Chandler (sorry, not sure of spelling) believes that if you supported John Kerry or the Democratic Party, you are against the church... but he says his actions are not politically motivated. Forty other church members have left in protest.

The Kos page has some interesting strategies and ideas, foremost being challenging the church's tax-exempt status. But, as far as I'm concerned, the big message from this is:

The war for the soul of America is on.

These people, these superstitious, frightened folks who can't imagine living in a world where God didn't wave his Almighty hand and make stuff, who value the act of birth more than they value the health of the mother or the post-birth life of the child, who think that same-sex marriage is a greater threat than rising deficits or being in an illegal war, want to turn America into the Republic of Gilead -- a theocracy in which the law of God is more important than the laws of men.

Which is, y'know, one of the reasons that the law of God was not even mentioned in the Constitution.

The religious flakes want to cast different-thinking people out of society, folks.

The war for the soul of America is on.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Has This New Land Turned Thee Into A Heathen?

Bad law, bad law, what you gonna do, what you gonna do when they're tracking you:
Spurred by the killing of a 9-year-old girl, Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday signed a law imposing tougher penalties on child molesters and requiring many of those released from prison to wear satellite tracking devices for the rest of their lives.


The Jessica Lunsford Act was quickly drafted after Jessica's death was discovered in March and was pushed through by lawmakers outraged that the man accused of killing her was a registered sex offender. It passed both the Senate and House unanimously.

It establishes a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life behind bars for people convicted of certain sex crimes against children 11 and younger, with lifetime tracking by global positioning satellite after they are freed.


The 25-year minimum would not apply to anyone convicted of molesting older children. Those offenders would have to be monitored electronically only during their probation, not for life.

Some offenders already on the street could be ordered back to jail or be placed under GPS monitoring if they violated their probation.

Lots of other states have minimum mandatory sentences for sex crimes against children. A number of states already require some form of lifetime supervision of sex offenders, including GPS tracking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

However, Florida's new law may be the first requirement of lifetime GPS monitoring for an entire group of people who commit a certain crime, the NCSL said.

Florida's new law could also open the door to the death penalty for more killers, because it allows a defendant's status as a sexual predator to be considered as an aggravating factor during sentencing for a murder.

First, the yes-Saddam-was-bad part of the argument. Sexual abuse in any form is bad. Sexual abuse of children is particularly awful. This case was tragic.

But this law is wrong. Dangerously, stupidly wrong.

First -- it sets differing legal values to different ages of children. For an eleven-year-old, we'll hound you for the rest of your life, but for a thirteen-year-old, just for twenty-five years. You don't think this will be challenged, noisily?

Second -- and, again, I am no fan of any sex offender, expecially one whose target is children -- when people are convicted of a crime in this country, they have to pay a "debt to society". But, as we've seen for several years, with child molesters having to register where they live and some of them wearing GPSs for finite periods of time, they keep paying and paying. Now they want to create a class of former criminal that they still know the whereabouts of 24/7. What the hell chance is there of someone rebuilding their life under these circumstances? How can, and why should, they even try to fit into a society that will not let them atone for their past misdeeds?

(This is not so much a note of sympathy for child molesters -- although I believe they suffer a form of mental illness and need some damn help -- as it is pointing out that, when you corner a predator, it does tend to strike back. Hounding these people and calling them "SEX CRIMINAL" with every breath will tend to reinforce that, y'know?)

Third -- this lifetime GPS tracking. If they can do it for one crime, one circumstance, one anything, they can and will do it for others. And if you say, "Well, I'm not a criminal, they won't do any such thing to me", I will point out that some people in this country want to disqualify others from public office on the basis of their faith or race. How long before such disqualification slid down into crime, given the right amount of elbow grease, lung power, and collective bigotry?

We as a people have a tendency to deal with symptoms rather than solving the core problems. Any time we do go after the core problems, we make things better for decades at a time, e.g., labor laws, Social Security, etc. This is another instance of treating the symptom but ignoring the disease, and we're too good a country to keep doing that, dammit. It might actually be fairer to just declare all child molestation crimes punishable by life in prison without parole -- because all this is is a big, permanent, electronic scarlet letter.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Look! A Four-Legged Aeropolane!

As my colleagues Athenae and Tena are so fond of saying, HIT 'EM WITH THE CHAIR:

Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a "runaway bride" to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers. The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so.

The Times reports, based on a newly discovered document, that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a meeting in which he expressed his support for "regime change" through the use of force in Iraq and was warned by the nation's top lawyer that such an action would be illegal. Blair also discussed the need for America to "create" conditions to justify the war.

The document itself is revealing as it indicates that "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." This is the British government proclaiming foreknowledge of the manipulation of intelligence many of us have alleged for some time.

It also quotes the British Foreign Secretary as stating about the case for war: "the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force."

This should not be allowed to fall down the memory hole during wall-to-wall coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and a runaway bride....

Following that is a letter, written to the President, basically calling him on his bullshit and demanding an investigation. If you haven't already followed that link above, do it now and go read it.

This is the kind of thing that every Democrat in Congress should be trumpeting about every day. You guys can each take a favorite atrocity if you'd like -- it's not like you'll run out.

Meanwhile, go visit Mr. Conyers and show some love.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Relax, Baby -- This Is Better Than Sex

Of course.

Dear Governor Bush:

I am writing you concerning the pregnant 13 year old Florida girl known as "LG" who is currently in the custody of DCF.

I'm sure you are familiar with the details of this case, so I will press the most urgent point of the entire matter.

Governor Bush, under no circumstances should LG's baby be killed by abortion. I am begging you to not allow a repeat of the Terry Schindler fiasco, which results in the death of another innocent person.

Please Mr. Governor, use every means at your disposal to ensure that this innocent unborn child is brought to full-term, and delivered alive. Pro-abortion zealots at the ACLU and pro-abortion judges must not be allowed to snuff out the life of this unique human being.

Moreover, it is clear that LG is a deeply troubled young woman. God knows that she is probably the victim of multiple sexual crimes against her. If she is not already there, she is certainly on track for a long list of self-abusive and self-destructive behaviors which could (God forbid) bring her life to a tragic and premature end.

If she is permitted or pressured into having this abortion, it will be one more mountain of guilt that she will have to carry on her young back. This will be a horrifying, defining moment for her, which will bring no long term relief or solutions to her turbulent life, and will only compound her grief and the emotional crises she will face in the future.

For whatever reasons that Providence has permitted, the eyes of the nation continue to focus on life and death issues in Florida, and hence on you as our Governor. I pray that you will be a stalwart champion for life and justice, unflinching in the face of criticism, a man equal to the battles the lie before you.

Please fight for this baby's life, and do not surrender this unborn child to the hands of his would-be slayers under any circumstances.

God's peace and long life to you,

Randall Terry

cc: Governor Bush's press secretary; Legal Counsel for Governor's office

I'm not even sure where to start.

Yes, I am. Randall Terry is a religious terrorist. He is one of the slimiest, most sanctimonious hypocrites imaginable. He butted into the Schiavo circus; he has incited other religious terrorists to murder health care providers.

And now he wants to force this thirteen-year-old girl to bear a child she herself knows she is not able to care for, a birth far more medically risky than an abortion.

This is why we have abortion laws in this country. This is why we have privacy laws.

It is no business whatsoever of Randall Terry or any-damn-body else except her whether or not she chooses to have an abortion. It is not his call whether a lump of cells with the potential to grow into a human has more rights than an actual human.

And, of course, his smarmy propaganda cap was on with this little missive. The reference to Terri Schindler, as if she hadn't gone by the name Schiavo. Already calling LG's fetus male.

Equating the Schiavo circus to this situation at all.

See, on the one hand, we had a woman who had expressed wishes not to be kept alive in a vegetative state, who hadn't written those wishes down. She suffered a terrible illness which literally destroyed her brain. Her husband fought for fifteen years to simply let her go so he could respect her wishes and remember her as she was. Her parents didn't want to give up their baby. A whole lot of court action and a whole lot of ugliness later, that family is shattered, and who is on their side now? Is Randall Terry or Jeb Bush or Dubya or Tom Delay or Bill Frist calling up the Schindlers and inviting them over to drown their sorrows and commisserate?

On the other hand, we have a young woman -- a girl, yet biologically capable of having a child -- who's been put in foster care because of her home situation. We don't know exactly what it was, but, hey. They took her out of it and made her a ward of the state. And she ended up pregnant, almost certainly as a result of statutory rape (it could be a Romeo & Juliet thing, but I'm not holding my breath). And she was counselled, and -- because she was so young, because she couldn't get a job, because it was physically dangerous to bear a child at her age, because as a minor the state would take the baby from her anyway -- she decided that the best thing to do would be to have an abortion. It is her legal right to do so. But now a man who doesn't know her, who will not care one whit for her or her baby after its birth, a man who puts his God's "law" well before the laws of man, state and society -- a man whose only goal is his sociopathic power agenda against women and their wombs -- is writing to the governor of Florida... and everybody is perfectly aware that the governor might listen to him.

Randall Terry has no goddamn business butting into anyone else's life. Period. He refers to the ACLU as "zealots" because they attempt to enforce and protect the Bill of Rights. The zealot is Randall Terry himself.

And, once again, I have to ask: Is their God so weak that He must employ thugs such as this to enforce His will? Or is His will being perverted to the vile purposes of Randall Terry and his type? Or, horror of horrors, Mr. Terry, what if in fact there is no God, and you just like having power over women in the most intimate and personal matters possible?

Thanks to OrangeClouds115 for his diary on this at The Daily Kos.

(Edited slightly for clarity.)

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