Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Matthews and Clinton

As I have written before, and no doubt will write again, Chris Matthews has his good days and bad days. There are the days he is a crusader not taking bull and pressing interviewees to the wall, and then you have days where a smile, a claim, and being on a first name basis with him gets you through just fine. But there are also the times where I wonder what his own history has done to define him and his thinking.

In the past he has blasely declared that Hispanics make good and should be Republicans, as they create bodegas, etc. Talk to socially liberal Hispanics, or libertarians, and they wold say he was full of it. Then there was the glee he had in going through every nasty false claim about Al Gore. He has since admitted he voted for Bush in that election, so I just wonder where his head was? Doesn't help, the joy he has being around McCain and Thompson, wonder which way he's leaning for next year?

But this stuff almost seems to pale in comparison to what has been going on the last week, as Clinton has begun to get renewed support and numbers. He seems livid, and understated livid.

From Crooks and Liars:

Chris Matthews dismisses Carol Hunter of the Des Moines Register because of Hillary Clinton endorsement


Matthews: ….she may have gotten the Des Moines Register’s endorsement the other day thanks to her husband’s lobbying, with its female editors and publisher, but voters have spotted the dagger. They don’t like what it looks like.

C&Lers may disagree with Hunter’s pick, I leave that for you to decide (I like the Democratic field), but Matthews owes Carol Hunter an immediate on-air apology for his misogynistic outlook and very feeble view. The way the media has treated Hillary has been disgraceful since she has been ahead in the national polls, but Matthews couldn’t contain his hatred of Hillary to her alone this time. What does Carol know anyway, right Tweety? She’s just a female, probably with a shrill voice too… Chris should just announce his support for the cop on the street or the Aqua Velva man already and be done with it.


And this has been followed by shots at her supporters.

Hardball: Chris Matthews Calls Hillary Clinton Supporters “Castratos”

We’ve documented and made fun of Chris Matthews’ man-crushes before. How many times have we seen him get starry-eyed and gushy over Bush’s raw manliness, Fred Thompson’s manly smell or Mitt Romney’s broad shoulders? But his misogyny–especially as it applies to Hillary Clinton–is really offensive. And his blindness to it is astonishing, especially for a man to whom politics and campaigning is everything in life.

Case in point: we’re about to have the first primaries of the 2008 presidential race in less than three weeks. So naturally, candidates are lining up and trumpeting their endorsements. But for Tweety, having someone like Joe Lieberman cross purported party lines to endorse John McCain and break his promise to help elect Democrats isn’t nearly as outrageous as Democrats (and fairly moderate ones at that) backing the candidate at the top of the Democratic polls:

MATTHEWS: I’m talking about the moral weight on these people who are willing to do anything now. You got Vilsack out there now, Strickland, Evan Bayh. Everyday I pick up a paper, there’s another quote from some wannabe, saying whatever the Clinton people told him to say apparently. Do these lines look like they’re being fed?

CILIZZA: It’s politics, Chris!

MATTHEWS: Let me find some outrage here, can I get some from Chrystia? I’m not getting any from you. Chrystia, aren’t you appalled at the willingness of these people to become castratos in the eunuch chorus here, or whatever they are? What do you call them? I don’t know what they are. What do you think of these people?
Castratos, Chris? Eunuch chorus? Really nicely loaded imagery of Hillary as a literal emasculator. I’m not in any way endorsing Hillary, but I can’t see how having supporters and endorsements from them should be looked upon as some ball-busting anomaly. Taylor Marsh has more on the insulting double standards of the Presidential Beauty Pageants.

Methinks that Chris Matthews has some very serious issues with women in powerful positions.

And he owes Hillary–and her supporters–an apology.

So, I guess we can look forward to Matthews playing with every Clinton rumor, if she gets the nomination.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dinesh in Denial

Well...I think the last of my testing is done...sigh. Maybe now I will read some good books, or catch up on research paper reading, or maybe get some creative writing accomplished...but I will probably sleep, watch movies, and play games...

Still there is the healthy fun to be had with the likes of the goofy social conservatives out to win points, through MS Word.

Look at Dinesh D'Souza, conservative pundit and tool. He veers between attacking anyone that doesn't think exactly like him and the same.

Classic Dinesh:

"The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11 ... the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world."
...uh, yeah, I guess. Us freaky liberals think women should be able to do what they want with their bodies, from reproductive rights to wearing whatever they want - and not be prostitutes for it. Liberals are odd that way. We also think women shouldn't be stoned for being raped. Or be looked down on for having and expressing opinions. WEIRD! And we also have senses of humor - Mohammad the Bear - HILARIOUS!!!

So yeah it is our your sick little mind.

But politics sophistry is not his only specialty. He is a defender of the True Cross as well, battling for Christ.

Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes looked at some of his latest claims of victory for God, and deflates it good.


It’s an article, it's at, and it's called “Why Atheists Are So Angry.” Like everything else that has issued from Dinesh's pen recently, it is as useful as the mourning howling of an exceptionally inbred village idiot. (Write at your readership's level, I guess.) Recently, he debated the philosopher Daniel Dennett over the question "Is God a Creation of Man or is Man a Creation of God"? If you can bear a little atheist grandstanding at the beginning, I hope to systematically demonstrate how this conservative hack is an inveterate liar who is willing to say anything to promote his odious version of religion on the American public.


Suffice to say he cherry picks quotes to claim victory, and when he can't he cuts and paste so the insults and denounciations are accolades. The man is the potboiler of mouthpieces.

Here's a quick example.
"Let's face it, this guy has taken our best shots and still come out looking good. Maddening."

there’s something missing, Dinesh.

Lets face it, this guy has taken our best shots and still come out looking good. Not because what he says makes any sense, but simply by virtue of his patter. Maddening.
See what was missing from the quote he used? The man can't win an honest fight.

That is why it is suspect to even try to debate him and his ilk. After the fact they will lie, deny, and change the subject. It only gives the publicity.

Congratulations to Dodd!

Well, I wasn't sure it would work...

But Dodd did it! His filibuster of the FISA update has led to it being dropped, for this year. He got up and got some support from a small colleagues. Including Kennedy making an impassioned argument.

None of the ones running for president. They said they supported the move by Dodd. But as Countdown points to: (video)
Democratic presidential candidates oppose immunity, but when the FISA debate began today, only one had left Iowa to fight the battle in Washington.

Then Reid got up and announced the bill was being pulled.
"So, this is an issue that the American people are focused on. I've gotten in the last week or so, thousands of inquires from all around the country. This is an issue they understand, they don't like."

So congrats!

A lot of help came from concerned citizens.
Support on Dodd's Action Page, from
Daily Kos:

11,300+ people emailed the Senators (16,000 people visited the page, a 75% follow through rate)...
506,000+ emails were sent to the Senate...
5,700+ comments were submitted through the website (350+ were posted on Twitter) in 7 hours...
135+ people joined the Facebook group since 11am...
340 people reported the phone calls they made to the Senate...
And many others contacted their reps, or Harry Reid specifically.

On why Lieberman is backing McCain


Today on MSNBC, Lieberman admitted that McCain was the only ‘08 presidential candidate who sought him out, telling MSNBC’s Monica Novotny that “not one of the Democrats asked for my support”:


LIEBERMAN: Well, I did. I mean, to have full disclosure, not one of the Democrats asked for my support, which may be a story in itself. John McCain and I are friends. He did ask for my support.


Yeah, Joseph? Take. A. Hint. No one really wants to be tied to you.

Later in the interview, Lieberman admitted he wouldn’t have supported a Democrat anyway. “I think it’s obviously because I have such a different view of foreign policy,” said Lieberman.


So, he was sad about not being asked...cause he didn't get the chance to reject them?

Christmas is about shoving baby Jesus into other peope's hands.

Huckabee has a new ad out, a Christmas greeting. I guess he wants to reinforce the warm fuzzy nice guy image, as we see his record and know otherwise. Yeah, sappy sweater, fireplace lit, warm lighting, and sappy music. I mean Silent Night? That song still puts me out faster than cold medication. As a kid in church, I'd be curled up and asleep by the time that song finished.

And he wants everyone to have a good you worship baby Jesus...right. Cause, if you aren't...just more codewords from Huckabee.

And that is the disconcerting aspect to the devout Christian view of this time of year. Apparently, it is THEIR time of year. People have to put up nativities. They have to say Merry Christmas. And so on. If not, they are attacking and destroying their faith. They are the victims of people not embracing their faith. Now, you could say, why not just skip Christmas? What do people think when you say, "I don't do Christmas?" Unless you are supplanting it with another religious event, you...are...a...freak. So the choices, embrace Christ, be anti-Christian, or be a freakish troll.

That is a little facetious. Plenty, I'd say the majority of us, enjoy the nonreligious parts Christmas time, Christians and Everyone Else. We do. We enjoy the gifts, the gift giving, the cookies, the trees, the lights, the trimmings, spending time with family, being a little more sociable with people you meet, and the general festivity. This time of year, Jesus or not, promotes giving and thinking about others. A common idea in the coming of Winter, helping out those that will struggle in the time of cold and lean. And with all the food banks that are running low, now might be a good time to think about those in need.

So I get a bit annoyed that Christians seem to think December is somehow a proprietary month.

PZ Myers looked at just one bit on disbelief in an Atheist Christmas. And shows his healthy love for this time of year.

Albert Mohler never disappoints. If you want a peek at the smug, ignorant heart of modern American Christianity, the weekly columns of the president of the Souther Baptist Theological Seminary are good places to start. In his latest effort, he expresses surprise that atheists might enjoy the Christmas holidays. He's positively baffled that Richard Dawkins admits sharing in the traditions of his culture.

The thought of Richard Dawkins singing any carols with explicit Christian content is difficult to hold — unless the Oxford professor intends to sing of a faith he does not profess.
Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionist, atheist Jew, and Marxist sympathizer, used to join a choir to sing Handel's Messiah at Christmas time. Note to Albert: Jesus didn't write it, the music wasn't brought to earth by a covey of angels, and it doesn't require supernatural intervention to either sing it or hear it. Enjoying great music, or for that matter, eating Christmas cookies, gathering with friends and family for a meal, or giving a child a toy, does not require one speck of faith of any kind. These are human acts; the only way you can have difficulty holding the thought that an atheist might do them is if you have difficulty considering atheists as human.

Although I suppose an alternative and more charitable explanation is that Albert Mohler merely holds an extraordinarily withered imagination that is pretty much incapable of doing much of anything.

The sight of an avowed atheist joining in the Christmas chorus is a bit hard to imagine. At the same time, there is something comforting about the idea that even the world's most famous atheist will move his lips to the songs that celebrate Christ's birth. Perhaps those words will move from his lips to his head and his heart. We should pray that it might be so.

Yep. Nonexistent imagination. It's a sad sight. Learn something, Albert.

Richard Dawkins celebrates Christmas. Greg Laden celebrates Christmas. PZ Myers celebrates Christmas. We aren't celebrating the Christian faith (we actually deplore that), but we do like parties and music and good food and a seasonal tradition and having fun with our kids.

I have no problem saying "Merry Christmas!" to people, or putting on a red santa hat, or seeing houses draped with Christmas lights. I'm joining in. It's my way of subverting the tradition — it's also a secular holiday, you know, and I aim to appropriate it. I'm following another tradition there, since Christians initially stole the pagan midwinter festival for themselves, so I'm planning to take over Christmas as an atheist celebration.

[Great Picture of Richard Dawkins]

One thing, though: I won't ever be baffled by the fact that Christians have a good time on Christmas, too. They're only human, after all. They're welcome to join in our good cheer.

Many Christians may loathe to admit it, but this is a secular holiday. It is for anyone to join in, if they want, and to celebrate anyway they want.

Monday, December 17, 2007

MAD about Creationism

PZ Myers has a scan of a page from the latest MAD Magazine.

It covers the twenty dumbest people, events, and things of 2007.

Number 14 goes to The Creation Museum of Ken Ham. The page.

Finally there is compelling evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong! For proof positive that man's intelligence has not evolved in eons, consider the Cro-Magnon brained imbeciles behind the recently opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum's exhibits don't merely challenge science, they ignore it completely! It's the only place in the world you can see man riding bareback on a dinosaur — except, of course, in an old episode of The Flintstones.

Some conservatives seem to be realizing what they have wrought.

A number of conservatives are starting to get uncomfortable with the rise of Huckabee. Seems the talk of the importance of faith, and the need for it to be preeminent in society, is reaping returns they just don't want.

From TPM:
It took a while, but David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter seems to have noticed a problem with the conservative movement's approach to competence.
It also has to be admitted: Many of us on the conservative side have fed this monster. (Rightly) aghast at the abuse of expertise by liberal judges, liberal bureaucrats and liberal academics, we have sometimes over-reacted by denying the importance of expertise altogether.

"'Heart' is crucial," one of George W. Bush's early evangelical supporters argued in a 2005 newspaper column. This same writer accused those conservatives who questioned Bush's "faith-based initiative" of having "holes in their souls."

So now instead of holes in our souls, we conservatives are getting candidates with holes in their heads.

More TPM:
It may be an exaggeration to say conservatives are having a major-league freak-out over the prospects of Mike Huckabee winning the Republican Party's presidential nomination, but only slightly.

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, conservative Stephen Hayes highlights the many ways in which Huckabee seems to have a child-like understanding of international affairs. In the new issue of National Review, conservative Rich Lowry writes that Huckabee's nomination "would represent an act of suicide by his party," in large part because the Arkansan is "manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States."


It's pretty obvious why the left is frightened by the notion of a Huckabee presidency -- we've already seen the results of electing a nutty southern governor who doesn't know anything about policy, who runs on his charm, his evangelical religion, and his appeal to far-right activists -- but what's up the right's apoplexy?


I think Kevin Drum's reaction was spot-on.

[A]s with blogosphere conservatives, mainstream conservatives are mostly urban sophisticates with a libertarian bent, not rural evangelicals with a social conservative bent. They're happy to talk up NASCAR and pickup trucks in public, but in real life they mostly couldn't care less about either. Ditto for opposing abortion and the odd bit of gay bashing via proxy. But when it comes to Ten Commandments monuments and end times eschatology, they shiver inside just like any mainstream liberal. The only difference is that usually they keep their shivering to themselves because they want to keep everyone in the big tent happy.

But then along comes Huckabee, and guess what? He's the real deal. Not a guy like George Bush or Ronald Reagan, who talks a soothing game to the snake handlers but then turns around and spends his actual political capital on tax cuts, foreign wars, and deregulating big corporations. Huckabee, it turns out, isn't just giving lip service to evangelicals, he actually believes all that stuff.

The Republican Party's religious right base is supposed to be seen, not heard. Candidates are supposed to pander to this crowd, not actually come from this crowd.
Except it's clearly not working out that way this time. The panic is palpable.

I'm SO shocked!

Not really. But why is the media so amazed that Lieberman is backing McCain? Where is the surprise? They are old war support buddies, the topic that Lieberman is known for now. So who is really agaped?

TPM backs up my lack of surprise.

A few thoughts. First, this news hardly comes as a surprise. As far back as January, Lieberman said he would consider backing the Republican nominee in '08. Obviously, given that McCain and Lieberman have been joined at the hip in support of Bush's Iraq policy for five years, I would have been more surprised if he didn't endorse McCain.


Challenge of the Super Duper Friends

Will giant Obama be able to catch giant Cheney as he absconds with Iraq's money?

On Atom Films they have a hilarious take on modern politics.

Challenge of the Super Duper Friends

With Democrats and Republicans taking on the role of characters from the old cartoon Challenge of the Super Friends. HILARIOUS!

The Justice League of America
  • Obama (as a pseudo-Superman)
  • Clinton (as a pseudo-Wonder Woman)
  • Edwards (as a pseudo-Aquaman...I think...but, come on, when he is written well, he can be damn cool. How about Adam Strange, Defender of Rann?)
  • and Gore (as a pseudo-Green Lantern - GREEN, get it!)

The Legion of Doom
  • Bush (as a pseudo-Lex Luthor)
  • Cheney (as a pseudo-Riddler)
  • Rove (as a pseudo-Joker)
  • and Rice (as a pseudo-Catwoman. Hey, its either the catsuit (black, purple, or cheetah skin) or a leopard miniskirt, the shows then didn't give girls a lot of choices for being villainous...not that a bathing suit for the good guys is much of a step up.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Writers Strike update

The WGA looks to be preparing to negotiate with individual production companies. This way some, like Letterman's World Wide Pants, can move forward as they accept the WGA's demands.

Of course, I just saw them talk about this on the CBS News. No surprise that in covering it, they talked primarily to a AMPTP (the massive collection of producers/corporate powers), who is stonewalling the WGA. They had a brief clip of a TV star picketing, but it mostly went to the stuffed shirt, bemoaning the unfair manipulation of the WGA. How it is so unfair to try and include Reality Show and Animation writers. Yeah, it would be unfair, as the Reality Show writers would then have the backing of others, and the networks couldn't just go and dump and glut of reality show on the air during a strike. Better yet, the guy claimed that if that was off the table, they would just love to talk Internet and DVD rights...Yeah, right. Cause they have always been such straight shooters. And then they quoted and unnamed source that said the move to change negotiating strategy was a scheme on the unions part. Gee, I wonder who that source was, hmm?

Just a nice reminder about big media, and who is paying for the news.

Some good stories to read.

Christopher Trumbo on the History of the WGA's Fight for Writers

Paul Haggis: The Reality of Reality and Animation

Most Recent United Hollywood Posts
Links: NBC Under Siege Edition! But don't worry about NBC's ailing fortunes too much. They have a plan:

America, it's Media, and the FCC.

Here is a look at the state of US media. Plus Bill Moyers' cutting comments on the state of things and the need to push for change.

And remember the FCC wants to consolidate even more of our media by the end of the year if it can. So, also some thoughts on what everyone really thinks of the FCC.

Tell Congress to Stop Big Media. This is a fun video that sticks it to a media that is steadily growing more vapid and consolidated.

Bill Moyers - The Media and Democracy

Family Guy: The FCC Song

And finally...

Brilliant Eric Idle's own FCC Song

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Texas continues its educational backslide

PZ Myers has looked at the unfortunate state of education in Texas. The educational authority contiue to erode any credibility they have.

Many people have been sending me this story about Texas considering accrediting the Institute of Creation Research for training teachers, and I've just been reluctant to mention it because poor Texas has been getting walloped over creationism lately, and I was feeling a terrible sympathy for the place. It's as if the whole state has fallen into a pit of suck.
That is more reserve than I have with this story. The ICR? Maybe the brits can send someone over and open an accredited Jedi Academy.

The ICR wants to offer Masters degrees in science education, of all things; they claim they'd be offering instruction in evolution alongside their science curriculum, but we know that is a lie, since the people at ICR aren't competent to offer kindergarten level courses in pretty, pretty baby animals, let alone real biology. A state advisory board, in a fit of ignorance and insanity, has approved this plan, but it next has to go before the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for final approval.
Its basis is to deny and discredit real science. And a masters? Oh, brother. I think that Myers may have accidentally ommitted a word in that name, it must be science denial education. Right?

I hope Texas scientists can slap that Board into wakeful reality before that meeting, because if this goes through, the trust I can give Texas-trained teachers is getting flushed right down the sewer. And if Texans can't fix this, the rest of the country has to step up and deny certification to anyone trained in Texas — their diplomas and degrees will be worth about as much as Monopoly money.
It is sad, but true. What faith can anyone have in Texas accreditation? Where is the rigor? I know it seems harsh, but this type of betrayal of duty to education needs to strongly opposed. This would make attempts to miseducate students a valid thing. In no uncertain terms the people in power supporting this are betraying their duty to students, their state, and the country. it almost election time?

How are those voting machines? I mean, we have been talking about this for nearly eight years. They must have gotten around to fixing it by now. They must be done and ready for the next election.



All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state's top elections official has found.

"It was worse than I anticipated," the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. "I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others."

At polling stations, teams working on the study were able to pick locks to access memory cards and use hand-held devices to plug false vote counts into machines. At boards of election, they were able to introduce malignant software into servers.

Ms. Brunner proposed replacing all of the state's voting machines, including the touch-screen ones used in more than 50 of Ohio's 88 counties.
The Secretary of State's office is seeking legislation and funding to ensure new machines, which will include paper trails, are in place for November 2008.

Ah...Hurry up!

Same to the other states that haven't finished readying for the looming primaries and November.

The evil of blogging must be reigned in.

Crooks and Liars looks at David Hazinski op-ed on blogger news.

…having just anyone produce widely distributed stories without control can have the reverse effect from what advocates intend. It’s just a matter of time before something like a faked Rodney King beating video appears on the air somewhere….Journalism organizations should head that off. Citizen reports can be a valuable addition to news and information flow with some protections:

• Major news organizations must create standards to substantiate citizen-contributed information and video, and ensure its accuracy and authenticity.

• They should clarify and reinforce their own standards and work through trade organizations to enforce national standards so they have real meaning.

• Journalism schools such as mine at the University of Georgia should create mini-courses to certify citizen journalists in proper ethics and procedures, much as volunteer teachers, paramedics and sheriff’s auxiliaries are trained and certified.

Um, Mister Hazinski sir? There are just
a few bloggers who would like to have a word with you….

This is full of whooey. So...they shouldn't just take a story of the internet? Okay, they have to think about this? If they go to TPM and see a story they have missed. Call them, ask about their sources and legwork, then put it on air, heck check the sources and get added source. How about the networks and papers just not cut paste online stories into their work? How about some...ummm...journalism? Might that work?

In the end it bugs me he treats earnest people in a discussion online as if they are dirty and ignorant. Plenty of people are, but this is about a dislike for stories flowing around outside of the MSM, and the trouble MSM is having just grabbing something sexy and using it with confidence. Again, the trouble is that the MSM is falling down in doing its own work.

Now I disagree with some. I do see that at some point that there may need to be some regulation. The Net can be used to bypass laws. Either to terrorize a person, cheat people of money, get around duties and taxes, etc. I know saying that gets one flamed onliine. But it may need to some control. Not now. It is like the Wild West, wild, unregulated, little law. But it came to the West. I hope that very little regulating occurs. I like the free reign of talk and flow of ideas and data online. It is the point of the damn thing. But change may need to come. Hopefully nothing more than a slim slight framework. But for some anything done is all bad. (And there are some who do want to get a stranglehold of the Net.)

And for the likes of the MSM to sneer and deride blogs, with as much wrong in their homes...come on. Novak is constantly wrong and treated like a sage. Drudge is treated seriously. And the cable news is impressively depth free.

Paging the Democrat backbone. Paging the...

Crooks and Liars looks at all the places that may surprise some where DNC has support and interest. The members of the military are eagerly donating to the like of Barrack Obama and Ron Paul, among the harshest opponents to continued war. And also, the clergy. Looks like around 56% are going Democrat. So they aren't all, or in a clear majority, blindly following Republicans around. And the amounts going to Obama puts Romney and Huckabee's fundraising to shame.

So...the public doesn't like this war. It doesn't like the president's policy. The military's members are looking to people who can give them something new, not just more of the same (WAR!). And the clergy and the religious are not being monopolized by the conservatives.

So...people want change...


I mean, I have been willing to give slack. Politics is a game of sorts. But a year on now and all I see are meager victories and retreat. Will they stand on FISA? No. Will they stand on nominees, a little, but not too far. On the war? And on the budget, they are putting up a little fight. But no one believes they won't be the one blinking.

Time and again. They all seem hunched, racing around keeping their heads covered, and their attache cases are covering their asses. Support for Congress is low now. But this comes from the image of a Congress that is gutless and ineffectual. When will we see the taking task portion of the promise list from the last election campaign? They yell, hold press conferences, and then concede to the president. They do know that they are an equal member of government to the president and Supreme Court?

Olbermann and Markos Moulitsas, of Daily Kos, about Congress.
Markos, like the rest of us, was at a loss as to why the Democratic majority seems to be so afraid to stand up to the minority party and their president. He also says that the Democrats shouldn’t fold like a cheap card table every time the Republicans threaten a filibuster — when what they really should be doing is MAKING them actually filibuster so that America can see exactly who is blocking progress in Washington.
Damn right.

They say that ID is not a religious thing...

Granted an occasional foot soldier slips...and Ben Stein's big new movie seems to constantly cry out that it is about the bible...But that will be it. Won't it?

Then there's Bill...Dembski one of the main and most noted proponents of ID. PZ Myer looks at an interview he recently gave. What is ID's core to Dembski:
I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

The designer is "Virgin" Mary's Baby's Daddy. Pretty clear. Further:

The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it's to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.

There's a big question within the intelligent design community: "How did the design get in there?" We're very early in this game in terms of understanding the history of how the design got implemented. I think a lot of this is because evolutionary theory has so misled us that we have to rethink things from the ground up. That's where we are. There are lots and lots of questions that are now open to re-examination in light of this new paradigm.

Early in the process? Dembski has been at this for years and is still no where. And evolution has mislead? How? Oh, right. It contradicts the bible...not that that is our sole basis for questioning the SCIENCE and RESEARCH of OVER A CENTRURY behind evolution. He has been on his lawn speculating on what the clouds in the sky look like to him. DO some actual work and then come back and have something to say. Quit regurgitating the same pablum and bull that is so thoroughly discredited.

Further, from Dembski:
It's going to change the national conversation. I don't see how you can read this book, if you've not been indoctrinated with Darwin's theory, and go back to the evolutionary fold. The case against this materialistic, undirected evolution is overwhelming. This really goes to the worldview issues that are underlying this whole discussion: Are we the result of a blind, purposeless, material process, and is our intelligence then just this evolutionary byproduct of our need to survive and reproduce? Or are intelligence and purpose fundamental to our existence? Were we planned? Or are we an accidental happening? That's really what is underlying this whole debate, and what this book, I think, addresses very effectively.

Intelligent design goes a long way in this culture, which is so infused with materialistic and atheistic ideology.

Has this guy got a job on the Romney or Huckabee campaign yet?

Being taught about science, research, and theories in science is indoctrination? I always thought that was a part of basic education. Sad, this scientist thinks it is an evil plot...explains his lack of real work.

And again, the case against "materialistic, undirected evolution is overwhelming"...Really? You got some good work done since the last time ID was foisted in a court? You have a paper ready for peer review? No? Am I surprised? No. Just another book...with the quality of scientific content of a Medved, O'Reilly, Beck, or Coulter book, hmm?

Here is PZ Myers preliminary review of it.

I've got the book he's talking about, and I'm partway through it. It ain't convincing. It's the same old bluster that Wells and Dembski have been pounding their fists over for the last decade; there's absolutely nothing new in it, just more rehashed chest-thumping from failed religious revolutionaries; I predict it will die a rapid death, simply because the IDers haven't been able to come up with anything we haven't already heard multiple times, and that has failed every time to convince anyone in the biology community with a scrap of sense.

O'Reilly loves...Yeah, you are already cringing.

This week we had another trip into the mind of Billo.

This week Billo pounced on the story of very young girls photographing themselves for boyfriends. The idea of this just got Billo salivating. He wanted to talk and talk about this, the greatest story...I mean threat in America. And he knew what punishment these scantily clad children needed. He is obsessed up America? Remember the photos of the beauty pageant star? He had so many great ideas for dirty shot shoots she could many thoughts...

Bill O’Reilly brings in Dennis Miller to talk about the apparently rampant problem of 11-year-old girls taking pictures of themselves in states of undress and sending them to their boyfriends. Funny enough, I could only find one such example of said problem in the news, so I have to wonder what exactly O’Reilly’s motivation was in bringing it up.


I think the funniest part is when Bill scoffs at the notion of “talking” to your child who is exhibiting inappropriate behaviors and demands that Dennis say how his father would handle it if Dennis had sent out photos of his naked 11 year old self (enough to make you gag, I know) and you can see Dennis physically stop himself from saying “He would have talked to me…” and you can see the mental cogs whirring to come up with an O’Reilly-approved punishment.

Billo's punishment involves being chained in a basement for months. So 11 year old girl, chains, his basement, months with him...I'm sure someone went to prison recently for this...Hey, I bet he loved Black Snake Moan.

Countdown gave him one of the WORST awards this week for the story. (With video.)

“Bill, steer out of this skid quickly - very quickly! Right now you’re
getting worked up over the thought of chaining naked 13 year old girls in the
cellar for maybe 18 months. Stop while you still can!”

Friday, December 14, 2007


Countdown has a new segment, Bushed. It looks at all the scandals of the Bush administration, in case the newest scandals have made all the old ones slip your mind. Kieth Olbermann wants to be sure the campaign season doesn't leave people forgetting all the malfeasance of the past 7 years.

Bush League Justice

Dan Abrams, on MSNBC, has been looking at the Bush Administration's politicizing of the Department of Justice and the Executive. With video.

Eugenics and those Creationists

PZ Myers looks at the truth of how science and us Darwinist see eugenics. To put in digest form, it is unsupportable. Here is an informed view and explanation.

You may recall the event a few weeks ago at the University of Minnesota in which John West of the Discovery Institute attempted to tell us how Darwin was responsible for eugenics. Greg Laden has mentioned that we now have an account from Mark Borrello, who rebutted West in a too-brief ten minutes after the talk; he gets to stretch his legs a little more online and tears West's premises to shreds. In addition, Jim Curtsinger, who missed the talk but watched it online, gets to tell us something about the practice of teaching science: we Darwinists often talk about eugenics in our classes (I did, just this week), and we tell our students not that the strong must destroy the weak, but that eugenics is unsupported by our modern understanding of evolution.

Keep those two articles in mind next time you hear a creationist spout off about the evils of survival of the fittest, trumpeting their simple-minded misunderstandings of evolution. And you will hear that, many times over.

O'Reilly and the foisting of religion on America by the Left

O'Reilly...ugh...again, shows how confused he really is.

Crooks and Liars:

Billo brings on former White House Spokesman Tony Snow to agree with him that the left and their media are completely out of touch with America. Actually, I just described EVERY O’Reilly Factor show, didn’t I? However, in yesterday’s edition of “When did I wake up on this side of the looking glass?” O’Reilly claims that it is the left wants the election to be all about Jesus so they don’t have to deal with the areas in which they’re weak...


Um, yeah. That’s why the Republican candidate Mitt Romney had to talk about faith equaling freedom–because the left wanted him to. And that’s why Huckabee’s website has a banner that says “Faith.Family.Freedom” in that order–because the left wanted him to. And why the right came to McCain’s defense when he called the U.S. a “Christian nation”–because the left wanted him to.


Dodd to the leadig candidates: Are you going to join the fillibuster?

The new FISA renewal is looming. It has telecomm immunity, allowing this industry to escape any responsibility for possible criminal actions in passing on customer data to the government.

Dodd has been talking for months about filibustering this bill. Other candidates rushed out to say they agreed. He wants to know now, do they still mean it? Will they be there to stand against this blanket immunity in this poor bill?

Challenge to you Clinton and Obama.

Gore takes the Bush adminstration to task.

Crooks and Liars:

The United Nations has been meeting this week in Bali to negotiate steps industrialized nations will take to reduce emissions and combat global warming. Predictably, the Bush administration’s delegation is doing what it always does — block progress, stall for time, and undermine the process.


“My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali,” said Gore, who flew to Bali from Oslo, Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize for helping alert the world to the danger of climate change. […]

Of course conservatives see this as hating America. Tucker blew a gasket when a guest actually backed Gore and his take on the history of the Kyoto Accords. And on CNN, they had on Glenn Beck, and pretended that the man was sane. Beck's take is this is part of global control.

Paging the black helicopters. He started at first on how it was a question of how to pay and change things. But that isn't as exciting. On to global taxes from the UN.

But it is interesting how many of these denial situations so often flow into New World Order, the UN, and cabals of power or the evil scientists.

Go out and look. See how often this is where the denial seems to flow. The UN is taking over, or creating a neopagan religion. And scientist are hiding the truth of God, or poisoning your children. Funny that pattern, hmm.

Maybe funny isn't the right word.

If the KBR rape story was not bad enough...conservatives find a way to switch it up to 11.

The KBR story is horrible. The story of a woman raped, and then detained by her employees to keep her quiet. Of her begging her guard for a phone so she can call her dad in the States to tell him what has happened to her. There is nothing good here.

But some conservative bloggers have stepped up to kick the victim back onto the ground. Don't you love those pious traditionalist.

Crooks and Liars:

Others might have been taken in by the sheer, overwhelming “factiness” of the Jamie Leigh Jones rape/kidnapping/extortion case, but not the Heroes of the Wingnut State. John Swift (satire, but still) takes up the tale:

… Indeed, if the terrorists wanted to undermine the war effort and destroy Western Civilization as we know it, this would be the perfect way to do it. Find an intelligent, attractive young woman to claim she was gang raped by contractors who work at the Vice President’s company, and then get a Republican congressman and the State Department to back up part of her story. It’s brilliantly evil and almost foolproof! There was just one thing these clever terrorists didn’t count on: bloggers like Shackleford, Curt and Ace who would see right through their fiendish plan. …
Jon Swift has links to the right wing bloggers in question, as we don’t like to link them here, ahem….

Left or Right, this kind of treatment is not acceptable.

Hope for more good programming

Word has it the Rachel Maddow is taping a pilot for MSNBC. Could it be we could get more sound commentary and discussions of the news and politics. This is one insightful host who knows how to engage an audience. She is great on Air America and in her appearances on MSNBC. Makes this happen. And let it coincide with Tucker Carlson getting the boot!

Can we hope and hope, and maybe get it for Christmas!


What Christian Nation?

Rosenhouse at Evolutionblog looks at the ridiculous view and reverence for religion in the media, and on Hardball.

Matthews seems determined to prove that Republicans talk about and look at this country as a christian one. As long as they use codes and hand signals, all is well. Sure, they demand religion on pledges, coins, and in the Congress. Sure they want to foist prayer and whine about the lack of nativity scenes. Sure they lambaste those that aren't of a faith, and often those of different ones. But how could any of this be construed as a Christian centric worldview?

I always find Chris Matthews bouts of willful ignorance a pleasure.

MADDOW: Well, it's two sides of the same coin, as far as I can tell. And the real substantive story here is that almost all of the Republican candidates have argued against the separation of church and state, have argued for it to be less, have argued that it's been overdone, that there ought to be more religion in the public sphere and that candidates' religion ought not to be just seen as a private matter, which is what Kennedy argued in 1960.

Once you cross that line, one you say that religion ought to be a public matter, yes, you're going to get ugly attacks on one another's religions, particularly if you've got minority religion candidates in the race. This is what--this is what American politics look like if you get rid of the separation of church and state. I feel like this is a civics lesson for all of us.

MATTHEWS: OK. Matt--I guess we've never really had full separation because the Civil Rights movement was led by ministers, wasn't it.

Consider: That's Chris Matthews. Former Peace Corps volunteer. He worked for Jimmy Carter and Tip O'Neill. A journalist for over twenty years. A man who's been steeped in politics for most of his adult life. And yet he seems to believe in all seriousness that religious leaders being active in a social movement has anything to do with the separation of church and state. Or at least he is willing to pretend to believe that to pander to his right-wing viewers. Just incredible.

Even more remarkable is the context. Maddow said what you would hope would be the opinion of sane Americans everywhere. That it's a bad thing when Presidential candidates make religious faith a major issue in a campaign, either as a positive or a negative, and that if you dislike it when people are attacked for their religious beliefs you should also dislike it when those same people deliberately make their faith the issue. And this was the moment Matthews decided to get surly and truculent.


MADDOW: If that's all they were fighting for, then there wouldn't be controversy about Mitt Romney saying, for example, that he wouldn't put a Muslim in his cabinet. There wouldn't be controversy about the Republican candidates calling America a Christian nation. That's the kinds of issues that are substantively what we're fighting about. Whether or not "In God we trust"...

MATTHEWS: Who did that? Who did that?


MATTHEWS: Name one Republican in this race for president who's called this a Christian nation.

CONTINETTI: I'll give an example. John McCain said we have Judeo-Christian heritage...

MADDOW: But that's different.

CONTINETTI: ... which is different, absolutely, from what--the kind of thing that Rachel is saying. It's a different idea to express American heritage...
Ahem. John McCain did say that America was a Christian nation:


I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn't say, “I only welcome Christians.” We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.
Fred Thompson later chimed in with this:

Speaking to reporters after the event, Thompson defended rival McCain's statement that the United States is a Christian nation. “Factually, the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United States is certainly a fact. I don't know what he said past that. But I think that is in fact the fact.”
Matthews, of course, would not have a problem with that. He didn't actually say “America is a Christian nation.” Certainly not. He preferred instead to use code about the nation's heritage. That allows Matthews to play the fool on the Republicans' behalf.

Broadening our scope a bit, here's Iowa Republican representative Steve King weighing in on the subject:

I recognized that we're a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, and we're coming up to Christmastime. ... It's time we stood up and said so, and said to the rest of America, Be who you are and be confident. And let's worship Christ and let's celebrate Christmas for the right reasons.
The Texas Republican Party had it as part of its 2004 platform that America was a Christian nation. And that's just what I found in five minutes of Googling. And that's limiting ourselves specifically to the phrase “Christian nation.” Somehow I think that Mike Hucakebee saying as recently as 1998 that he wants to reclaim America for Christ, or Mitt Romney decrying secularism and coming as close as he possibly could to saying that atheists are not true Americans without actually saying it are very much in the spirit of Maddow's comments. They are, indeed, common sentiments among Republicans, but Matthews and his brain-dead right-wing guest were perfectly happy to pretend otherwise and berate Maddow with their condescension and ignorance.

It's impossible to watch something like this and still take seriously the folks who think Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are what's wrong with the religious conversation in this country.

So, really, Chris. No Christian Nation crap?

Yeah the people saying that religion shouldn't be crammed down a kid's throat are the problem. Not the guys calling everyone else outsiders and dangers to society.


Birth Control of the 70's. Whoda' thunk?

I watch too much TV. I love to watch History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc. (I could get into the things I have issues with their programming...) And I catch all sorts of shows, one went into the history of contraceptives, such as birth control.

It is interesting to note that after The Pill came out, beyond the outrage and controversy, there was a vision that in the years to soon follow it would be easier and easier to get. Over the counter, or on the shelf by the aspirin. But decade after decade passed and very little changed. But apparently in England they are getting ready to move the science of birth control ahead, all the way into the 70's.
One of the UK prime minister's leading surgeons announced that a new pilot program may be put into effect which allows women to obtain the pill from pharmacists and nurses without having to go to a doctor for a prescription.

However, it wouldn't be without an assessment process that the women would have to undergo at the pharmacy, which would be similar to getting a prescription but a helluva more convenient. ...

Trafficking women in the US of A

It is a sad truth. Women around the world are being forced into the sex industry and then are kept and forced to work in inhuman and degrading conditions. There are the stories of Thailand. And then there are stories of Israel. What Americans refuse to face is that it is happening here, in your own backyard.

It is time to get aware, be vigilant, and be sure people are being protected from those that would prey on them and use them. It can happen here. It does happen here. What are you going to do about it.

I know a woman from South America who spent her first night in the Big Apple in a brothel overlooking Roosevelt Avenue in Queens. With a timer at her side she “serviced” 19 men – a veritable United Nations parade of taxi drivers to restaurant workers who literally queued up for a turn to have 15 minute sex sessions with the women at this brothel.

If you never had a picture of what the low-budget, factory-style prostitution that makes up much of the local NYC sex industry, this is it – up close, uncomfortable and a mockery of sex and all it stands for – pleasure, sharing, sexual empowerment and women’s liberation.

At the beginning of each shift, the women are given a produce box top with two rolls of paper towels, a bottle of lube, alcohol and a baggie filled with unwrapped condoms. The condoms are prepped much like vegetables at restaurants before the rush hits. There are tips that go to the men who stand on the corners as dusk sets in and pass out business cards for the brothels and give directions to the houses where sex can be bought $30 for 15 minutes. The price went up this year from $25.

It would be a year before “Carmen” could get out from the grasp of the trafficker who she “worked” for. She endured long nights of anonymous men in the beginning, a method that is used the world over by pimps and traffickers (one and the same) to break down a woman’s spirit, resolve and fight. Serial rape will do that to you.

After that, the threat of violence kept her in place coupled with a threatened smear campaign of her reputation back home. Her traffickers told her if she didn’t stick it out, they’d drop the news in her town that she’d become a whore in the US. She should just suck it up, make some cash and get home soon. For a Latin woman from a small town in South America womanhood is defined largely by being in the respectable camp or the whore house.

This year, NOW-NYC and the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition had a big role in shaping and getting an anti-trafficking law passed. It was way overdue. The DAs spend loads of money investigating scams and shakedown operations but not human trafficking. The cops hardly know what trafficking is. We have a campaign called “Ask A Cop” in which people ask cops on the street about the new law so that we can make a report and convince the NYPD that training is seriously needed. I asked two cops on the subway platform recently and they told me trafficking is only a problem in New Jersey, it was happening in NYC?!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

More hair

The media keeps at it and the hair. Is the editorial board of the Washington Post facing a follicle-challenge?

Crooks and Liars:
Don’t look now, but the Washington Post is on the hair beat again. Washington Post’s fashion writer Robin Givhan had this 500-word piece in yesterday’s A Section about a certain former governor’s perfect locks.


And on and on it went. Givhan, who has also been overly-fascinated with Hillary Clinton’s
pantsuits and cleavage, not only scrutinized the quality and appearance of Mitt Romney’s hair, she parlayed this overwrought analysis into a political examination, explaining what voters will think (and expect) from a candidate’s coiffure.

Worse, the WaPo followed it up with yet another reference to — you guessed it —
John Edwards’ hair.

In the earlier post I pointed to all the Post's references to Edward's haircut. One was made by Dana Milbank, who often appears on Countdown. The last time I saw him on, he conceded to Olbermann that they all did do it. And his justification was that it was a way to represent something in the subject.

I see...So what does an expensive haircut say about someone who is advocating for the poor? he a hypocrite? Why? Because he is successful in life? Why is it that the well off are not allowed to be of service? Edwards made a success of himself, through the law, and also helped out families put in distress in the process.

So what does the haircut say? He's vain, perhaps. But he also takes that hair and shakes hands, rubs, shoulders, and spends time with people in need of help. So what is the point being made?

Does Clinton cackle? Does Edwards overpay for haircare? Does...


No one should, unless you want to whisper about you know who doing you know what.

A precarious line...

And is it precarious.

I give the campaigns a little slack. One rep or worker says a dumb thing does not mean the campaign is at fault. When Romney or Huckabee say dumb things it is there fault. When Obama comments on Clinton and dynasties, comments may follow. When someone uses bad analogies, they deserve a tiny bit of grief.

And with the dumb comments out of the Clinton campaign, I have given slack. When a member of the campaign say a stupid ass things, it is not good, but not the fault of the candidate. But the number of stupid moments is growing, that has to reflect on the whole campaign and candidate.

So we come to the latest slip up, about Obama's past use of drugs as a youth. There is a point that Republicans will smear him about it. But no matter who is the candidate, they will get smeared with something. It is just how the Republicans approach the game. No, the point here, by this fellow was to pop up an unsavory bit of Obama's past and pick at him. It is just a cheap shot.

And the trouble for Clinton is that when this keeps happening, it means either that she is not keeping control, or she is letting these guys do the cheap dirty work. So I agree with the Obama campaign comment that in the future they will hold Clinton herself at fault for nasty comments. And I can see why, and agree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Parsing Torture

The parsing…the parsing.

It is actually quite fascinating to watch the parsing among conservatives. Especially on the question of torture. Not just on one aspect. Oh, no, there are a number of things on which they take the issue and disperse the troubles.

Scarborough is deeply offended about the recording aspect. He resolutely says that the recordings were alright and good. And the CIA was right to get rid of them. And anything after that is just whining. Really? The fact that the White House counsel and Congressional oversight said to not destroy them is not something to consider, Joe? The fact that the 9/11 Commission wanted some of the tapes of the connected terrorist for their work, not to be considered? Really?

It is just a lot easier to look the other way when you don’t think about it, isn’t Joe?

And today I saw a proponent arguing that it was all no big deal. See, it wasn’t explicitly illegal to water board in America. See? No Big Deal. Don’t look behind the curtain. The king has left the stage. Everyone go home. Wow, I guess that ends it all. Except, that most everyone considers this a brutal act. It is illegal internationally. The fact that the CIA, the White House, and Congress have moved to protect interrogator from legal responsibility…they don’t move that fast if there isn’t money, votes, or bad publicity involved.

Bad things happen to us. And it seems we did bad things in response. Now, we don’t what to talk about it. That is not healthy for a nation, for a people. We shouldn’t have to fight to keep the evidence from being destroyed.

Too many conservatives, including this administration have shown a disdain or willful ignorance. It has cost of across this nation, socially and economically, across the globe, diplomatically and militarily, and across history. Let us make the record, set the record, and learn something from all of this.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Of haircuts and pantsuits.

I was going to talk some about yet another story about Clinton's clothing. But the stories are not hitting the big time that often at the moment.

But looking at the way the Washington Post talks about Edwards, it has got to sting and bother.

From TPM Horses Mouth:
Yesterday I heard that The Washington Post was set to weigh in today with a big profile of John Edwards, so a friend and I started gaming out the key question: Is there any chance that the piece won't mention Edwards' $400 haircut high in the piece?


These days, Edwards's $400 haircuts and $6 million house garner the lion's share of attention...

Well, yes, WaPo, Edwards' $400 haircut does get "the lion's share of attention,"a lot of attention, because...



The article then gives a good list of the repeated use of the haircut to take jabs at Edwards.

It is just a cheap way to make a cheap shot.

After these shootings...What the hell is this guy even talking about?

Between the two shootings in Colorado Springs there was some comments about who would do it. Before any traction could be made of a secular/atheist assault on God's people. But then he struck again and died.

So people have learned he was a potential missionary. He wanted in and to be a part of the religious gang. But he got passed on. Apparently they had concerns about him. Some talked about some party where he started playing some weird, to them, music, and made everyone nervous.

It seems he was a troubled Christian who felt that he was expelled. And then he got angrier and angrier, and then snapped.

Sad. But one can see the predictable trail.

But some see another path to "the truth". Tony Perkins, of Family Research Council, says it is the secular media. Really?

Crooks and Liars:
In its Action Update today, the Family Research Council (FRC) partially cast blame for the tragic shooting at a megachurch in Colorado yesterday on “the secular media.” In the e-mail, which was sent under the name of FRC Action President Tony Perkins, the group says it’s “hard not to draw a line between” the shooting and “hostility” by “some in the secular media toward Christians”...
It is hard not to draw a line between the hostility that is being fomented in our culture from some in the secular media toward Christians and evangelicals in particular and the acts of violence that took place in Colorado yesterday. But I will say no more for now other than that our friends at New Life Church and YWAM are in our thoughts and prayers.
When Perkins can’t explain why this sick young man turned against his church and why God spared some people, but allowed others to be slaughtered, he sloughs it off on “evil secularists.” Tony, do you think that the fact this kid was kicked out of the missionary school he shot up had anything to do with it? Isn't it possible that this rejection may have driven him to seek revenge? The secular media didn't reject this young man, nor did it give him access to the gun. Mr. Perkins, you might want to look at the real root causes of this tragedy rather than blaming secularists.

Of course, remember what the media has done against Christians...hmmm...

Okay, give me a minute...I am sure there is something nasty that the media has done to churches...

What is he talking about? I notice he didn't want to say. My guess, he knew he would like an utter ass if he actually tried to back that up.

More on torture, taking pictures, and then feeling a bit guilt...if your in the government.

Crooks and Liars has the latest on the CIA's torturing of suspected terrorist, and the destruction of the evidence of what the did and learned.

The #5 story on Monday’s Countdown delivered a bombshell - John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent who actually led the team of agents who appeared on the destroyed torture tapes has come forward in an interview with ABC to confirm the tapes DID show waterboarding and that while he believes the technique was effective, he now believes it is torture and is wrong. It’s becoming more and more difficult for President Bush to convince the world that he hasn’t committed war crimes.

On torture.

Torture does not work. But it can. If you put people under duress they will say something eventually. It seems they might have got some good intel from this. But, this guy is speaking of second hand word to him, so perhaps, someone was trying to make him feel what they did was worth it?

What happen here was they captured a guy who was in the middle of soldering a bomb to use. He probably was a terrorist. So he had something to give, and they might have been lucky and got facts and not lies. But what about Guantanamo? What percent are actually terrorist? What percent know anything of value? Or new?

It is just hit and miss. And when you inflict it on someone what does it say and do to us as a society? How about when they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time? How should we feel then? Torture as policy, just a tool in the box, bespeaks a good deal about a people. I have a family friend who lived in Afghanistan during one of the previous unpleasant periods, and he can tell stories of torture, electricity and water don't mix.

What are we becoming as a people? Who are we? Are we truly the people who proclaim that might makes right?

Maybe not. The government still seems scared to get caught. Maybe we have it in us to rebuff the temptation of false security.

Huckabee just brings the charm.

Well, we have seen Huckabee's ignorance on gays, AIDS, and the prison release system of Arkansas.

Just in case you thought that would be it, here is another.

Daily Kos:


In August of 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which declared: "I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention." What was in the family statement from the SBC? "A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."

The ad wasn't just a blanket, "we support the SBC statement," but rather highlighted details. The ad Huckabee signed specifically said of the SBC family statement: "You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership."


Doesn't this guy get more and more wonderful? The bible is a literal truth. Rapist need out of prison. Sick people need interning. Our problems come from the gays. And women should shut up and take to steps behind him.

This guy is a contender? ... well, for Republicans, yeah. I am just surprised he hasn't had a George Allen moment yet.

That's disturbing...

From Feministing: (You can see the underpants in question on there site.)

Who needs credit cards..

Reader Scarlett saw these oh-so-charming panties in the junior department of her local Wal-Mart on Kildare Farms Road in Cary, NC. There's nothing quite like telling adolescent girls that they don't need to worry about finances since they have their very own moneypot between their legs.

Contact customer service here and corporate offices here: let them know that preteen vaginas aren't commodities.
Is there a good way to read this? An innocent one? Who would produce this? And who would sell them? Is this supposed to be worn with wee teeny tiny t-shirt with the bedazzled word Slut? What part of the sense of humor is this stuff tickling?

An excellent reminder of the state of the stewardship of the nation


Lives are at risk because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is woefully behind in the latest scientific advances and is underfunded for its vast responsibilities, an expert panel will tell the FDA on Monday.

Yeah...I've known this for years. The FDA and other regulatory bodies are being underfunded. The move to let business regulate itself is sadly a strong one. And haven't the toy makers been making a good go of supporting that argument? As have spinach producers and meat packers.

Regulation is a needed step. Business will rarely regulate itself. Hence the parts of HIPAA that regulate medical service use of patient data, and the FDIC's pull with financial institutions. Hospital and banks would not take the needed steps without the pressure on them to do the right thing. It just is not prudent for business demands.

It is like the current issues with credit cards. The pressure is on getting rates lower for people in debt. Fine. That is good. But what about your digits? The ones in the system, at the stores, in those databases, just sitting there. Are they protected? What are the rules? There are no rules and inadequate protection. Moves in the industry to regulate are slow and whines about. If government stepped in and said, certain cards would no longer be allowed, if changes weren't made, or a chain store would not be allowed to take cards, unless...Well, change and security would sweep in.

With critical industry, we need regulation. And for regulation, funding and support.

In many cases lives are at stake.

But as a liberal I obviously only just want big government.

Purity <> Edgy

Feministing takes attempts to call Purity Balls, and all the notions surrounding them, to task. Edgy to swear fealty to daddy? Isn't this an even more twisted variation of the sandal wearing pastor with the guitar trying to play off Jesus as some sort of hippy? Again, this is a lot lamer and disturbing.


If girls and women really want to rebel against the sexified pop culture that breeds Britney Spears and The Pussycat Dolls, purity balls aren't the way. In fact, they're just more of the same. Pop culture tells women that their bodies are public property and that they have to be sexual in order to be desirable and loved. Purity balls and the like tell women that their bodies are private property (though not our own of course--our bodies belong to our fathers, husbands, and the men in our life) and that they have to be virginal in order to be desirable and loved. In either case women's sexuality belongs to everyone but women. There's nothing counter-cultural or cutting edge about that.


Rape in the Green Zone.

Crooks and Liars points to a disturbing reminder of what this government has tied itself to.

A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave. Read on…

Challenge to the US and China

AMERICAblog has nobel lauriate Al Gore's challenge to the United States and China.


But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — most of all, my own country –– that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.


Thou shalt not blaspheme against Python

Well, the papers are in for the semester. Now I just have to wait for the exams to be released so I can get to work on them.

Luckily, some fun is to be found.

PZ Myers links to a classic Not the Nine O'Clock News bit. Indeed, how dare they blaspheme against the wonder that is Python.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Something fun to do.

Right now on CNN, Campbell Brown is scaring us about IRAN.

On PBS right now, Bill Moyers is reminding us about the bad journalism before IRAQ.

Very interesting.

The Latin shift.

Crooks and Liars:
By 57 percent to 23 percent, more Hispanic registered voters say they favor Democrats than Republicans, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Pew
Hispanic Center.

That 34 percentage point Democratic edge — which includes people who said they lean toward either party — has grown since July 2006, when a Pew poll measured a 21 point difference. Then, 49 percent of registered Hispanic voters said they favored Democrats and 28 percent chose Republicans.

Wow. I guess Chris Matthews doesn't know Latinos as well as he thought.

Huckabee and Gay Marriage

No not another dark secret from Huck's past.

Daily Kos looks at one of his comments about the social destruction that is caused by messing the the tenets of marriage ("There's never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived. ") and make an excellent point to consider when someone says that gay marriage is an End of the World sign.


So, I'm wondering, who were these civilizations that re-wrote the meaning of marriage or family, and met some horrible doom. Was it the many civilizations were marriage was arranged and decided long before children were of marriageable age? Was it the Jewish civilizations of Jesus' day where brothers were required to marry their brother's widows? Was it civilizations that allowed siblings to marry? How about first cousins? Could be it civilizations who adopted the silly idea that you should marry for love. Perhaps it was the Mormons who decided to practice polygamy. Perhaps it was those who decided to stop. Or maybe it was the polyandrous cultures in many mountainous or arctic regions.

The truth is that every society rewrites the rules of marriage and family. That's what happens to all our social values as they respond to changes in how we live, what we know, and our available resources. Yes, friction occurs when the boundaries of a social convention no longer match those of a society in which it's embedded, but the societies that survive are exactly those which demonstrate the flexibility to change and adapt.

We stand at the end of a long line of rule-changers, of civilizations that have made institutions like marriage work for them, instead of against them. The dust under our feet is composed of all the civilizations that just the kind of rigidity that Huckabee wants for us now. The civilizations who fail are not those who acknowledge changing conditions and reshape their rules, but those who don't.

"Marriage" has changed shifted in so many ways since people started having "permanent" couplings. Heck, Catholic priest could once get married. Rules change left and right.

So, please, cut the bull conservatives. You just don't like the idea of gay marriage. That's your problem, not the worlds.

Juan Cole on the Romney Speech

Juan Cole gives his considered opinion of The Religion Speech. He hits on a number of good points and some added context from the words of some of his supporters.

Mitt Romney's speech in Texas on Thursday was supposed to be an attempt to fend off religious bigotry. Instead, it betrays some prejudices of its own (against secular people), and seems to provoke others to bigotted statements. It has been likened to the speech of John F. Kennedy on his Catholicism. But we knew John F. Kennedy, and Mitt Romney is no John F. Kennedy. Kennedy strongly affirmed the separation of religion and state. Romney wants to dragoon us into a soft theocracy (not as a Mormon but as a Republican allied to the Pat Robertsons of the world). Kennedy wanted to be accepted as an American by other Americans. Romney wants to be accepted as a conservative Christian by other conservative Christians.


What Romney omits is that many of the "religious people" among the founding fathers were Deists, who did not believe in revelation or miracles or divine intervention in human affairs. Thomas Jefferson used to sit in the White House in the evening with scissors and cut the miracle stories out of the Gospels so as to end up with a reasoned story about Jesus of Nazareth, befitting the Enlightenment.Some Founding Fathers were Christians, some were not, at least not in any sense that would be recognized by today's Religious Right. Jefferson believe that most Americans would end up Unitarians.As for the insistence that you need religion for political freedom, that is silly. Organized religion has many virtues, but pushing for political liberty is seldom among them. Religion is about controlling people. No religiously based state has ever provided genuine democratic governance. You want religion in politics, go to Iran.

Liberty can survive religion, especially a multiplicity of religions within the nation. Because that way there is not a central faith that imposes itself on everyone, as Catholicism used to in Ireland or Buddhism used to in Tibet. But organized religion would never ever have produced the First Amendment to the US constitution, and the 19th century popes considered it ridiculous that the state should treat false religions as equal to the True Faith.

Deists, freethinkers and Freemasons--the kind of people that Romney was complaining about-- produced the First Amendment. When Tom Jefferson tried out an earlier version of it in Virginia, some of the members of the Virginia assembly actually complained that freedom of religion would allow the practice of Islam in the US. Jefferson's response to that kind of bigotry was that other people believing in other religions did not pick his pocket or break his leg, so why should he care how they worshipped? And that's all Romney had to say. But he did not want to say that. Romney said the opposite. He implied that is is actively bad for a democracy if people are unbelievers or if there is a strict separation of religion and state.

We know the Founding Fathers and Romney is no founding father.


So Romney's so-called plea for tolerance is actually a plea for the privileging of religion in American public life. He just wants his religion to share in that privilege that he wants to install. Ironically, the very religious pluralism of the United States, which he appears to praise, will stand in the way of his project.