Friday, June 30, 2006

A Conservative Plot?

That anyone would actually propose that the attacks on 9-11 were orchestrated by the U.S. government is absolutely crazy. The present administration may be many things negative, but to suggest they had a hand in that tragedy deserves condemnation.

Having said that, conspiracy theories have been around since the beginning of time ... Check out the number of books and essays surrounding the mystery of the Kennedy assassination and you get a good idea that crackpots are everywhere (though even I admit there are unanswered questions).

The University of Wisconsin system is doing the right thing to investigate Kevin Barrett’s class syllabus and materials and “ensure that his course content is academically appropriate.” [From a written statement by Provost Patrick Farrell]

However, we must also ensure that the right to speak one’s mind is not infringed, no matter how reprehensible the views.

Penis Envy

This is important news from Slate ... man/woman Ann Coulter should listen.

Testimony has ended in the trial of Donald Thompson, the former judge accused of using a penis pump while presiding over an Oklahoma courtroom. According to the AP, jurors giggled at an exchange that began when a defense attorney referred to the penis pump as an out-of-date treatment for erectile dysfunction. “I still use those,” said an expert witness. "Not you, personally?" asked the lawyer. "No," replied the witness. "I recommend those as a urologist." Wait, do penis pumps really work?

Read on.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Ten What?

This kind of says it all about the Christian Right.

"Um...Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't can't name them all."
-- Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, (R-Ga), co-sponsor of a bill requiring Congress to display the Ten Commandments.

It's Dark in Here

The safest place for conservative bloggers.

Just Another Chickenhawk

h/t The Original Above the Borderline

Got to love the antics of conservative blowhards. They talk big about war, guns and the right for a man to determine whether a woman will carry to term, but when it comes right down to it, they’re mostly all fakes. They promise you nothing and they deliver. Read this most excellent article by Dennis Jensen about Teddy Nugent, top five lame ass conservative chickenhawk …

Don't you just love the Nuge?

Here's a true-blue, red-blooded guy that any patriotic American could really get behind.Ted Nugent is an avid hunter, a member of the National Rifle Association and hosts two outdoor shows. Every time he takes the stage, Nugent can be seen waving the American flag at his rock concerts. And he's not afraid to say what he thinks.

The Nuge is also a big fan of the current war in Iraq.

In fact, the 57-year-old rocker also "told it like it is" during the Vietnam War. Here's Ted on what he would have done if he went to Vietnam:"… if I would have gone over there, I'd have been killed, or I'd have killed, or I'd kill all the hippies in the foxholes … I would have killed everybody," he told the Detroit Free Press in an interview published July 15, 1990.

Fortunately, for our hero, Ted didn't go to Vietnam. And how Ted managed to avoid the draft makes President Bush look like a war hero. In that 1990 interview with the Free Press and from information collected from the Chickenhawk Web site, Nugent told about how he avoided the draft: "He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment."

Read more here.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Eeew. Why would anyone throw shit at a fan?

It's the Woman's Choice

Owen Robinson, author of the blog Boots and Sabers, has a new column in the West Bend News. This one is on the subject of abortion and Robinson goes off the deep end with this one. But not right away. He sounds very reasonable and throughout most of his essay I found myself nodding my head in agreement.

You see, my wife is 12 weeks pregnant and we saw the ultrasound pictures of our baby a week ago. The baby is just 2.5 centimeters long. The baby was quiet at first, but then s/he began kicking and moving about. I was transfixed by the show. Life is so incredible.

On the way home, those pictures evoked a discussion with my wife (who is rather conservative by the way) about abortion. We are both pro-choice, but we could not help but question some of the tenets of what we believe after seeing our baby.

Robinson nicely lined up all the points of our discussion in his, but most importantly he asked as did we: when does life begin? He decided that that life begins at conception. I tend to agree with him, but that still does not change the fact for me that it should only be the woman’s choice to continue or end a pregnancy.

I would prefer to see abortions so few that the only times they are performed are in cases of harm to the woman or rape (more on this). However, I cannot go so far to make it illegal. I am not a woman and cannot ever know how gut wrenching it must be to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

I do feel disgust, though, with Robinson’s decision that women who have been raped have no recourse. He’s right; he will never have to face that decision. He’s not a woman. Here’s hoping one of his daughters or his wife never has to face that decision either. Or will they be good little troopers like Robinson?

Here’s hoping that Robinson never has to experience watching his daughters or wife go through the psychological and physical agony of carrying to term the reminder of the day hell descended on them.

I’ll bet he couldn’t do it. He’s lying if he says he could!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Confess

It's true. True, I tell you. We liberals hate conservatives for no reason at all ... especially George. Tom Tomorrow tells the story of the reason for liberal discontent. Sleep better tonight conservative brethren, your fears have been justified.


Same parents or same tailor? A case could be made for the latter. And, both are kind of conservative and live in lands that don't like foreigners (people who don't look like them). Serious hair issues, though. I think James has the wit advantage. However, Kim has a bigger army.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Baby News

From Kelly ...

Baby Rock had his/her first ultrasound this afternoon (June 19, 2006). Measuring in at a whopping 5cm (2 inches) from head to butt. The heart could be seen beating strongly at a normal fetal rate of 162 beats per minute. We won't be able to hear the heartbeat until next month. The male/female question will not be answered until August or September. S/he was motionless at first but then did jump up and down several times while the technician was trying to get pictures (typical of a kid, right?).

The due date from our first appointment was estimated at 1/9/07. Based on the ultrasound, I might be slightly ahead of that, maybe 1/3/07. Since it isn't an accurate science (Baby Rock will make his/her appearance whenever s/he darn well feels like it), the official date still stands at 1/9.

I think it's a boy. Tim thinks it's a girl. 2 weeks ago we each thought the opposite. I've consulted 3 chinese birth charts. One says it is a boy. Two say it is a girl. Since Tim is "older" as fathers go, there is a slightly higher chance (53% or 58% - can't remember now) that it will be a boy. The girl name stands at Sophie right now. The boy name is Kellen. Lots of time left to get your vote in.

I am doing very well. I need to start eating better (read that as "MORE VEGETABLES!"). The nausea lessens every day. I still am tired a lot but I do have moments during the day where I feel energetic. Maternity clothes don't fit yet. But Tim's shirt and a pair of sweat pants are more comfortable than any other clothes of mine at this point.

Tim is doing well. I think he would say there are only moments of hormonal instability during the course of a day. Abby says my belly is only a little bit bigger. And Ian is still hoping for a boy. Max and Molly have no idea what's coming.

Back from the Boonies

I left on Monday, June 19 for Baraboo to lend a hand to my good friend, Tim Heilman, to get his home and yard prepared for this year's invasion of larchers for LarchFest 2006. You see, I was the Larch Master by virtue of winning the backgammon tournament the previous year. Therefore it was my duty.

We spent Tuesday and most of Wednesday cutting grass, cutting branches, spreading mulch, cleaning the garage and the house (all of Tim’s summer chores are now done). On Wednesday night, Craig Freeman, Russ Rich, his wife Cindy and their daughter Jackie arrived and we drank beer and played cards until the wee hours.

After a misadventure by Craig and I (we tried to find the local KFC, wound up heading toward Wisconsin Dells and finally settled on take out at a local bar … after a couple of drinks), we tried playing some Texas Hold’em (Tim and I held our own playing this game Tuesday night at a local bar, the same one Craig and I visited).

Since we were not playing for money, betting was a bit irregular. We tried adding “stigma” to betting out of hand by awarding black chips to those who had to “buy” more. All of us having had a few to drink, “stigma” instead became the unofficial “word” of LarchFest 2006, along with “Stella” and “hot beef.” We laughed until tears flowed from our eyes.

I guess you had to be there.

More larchers arrived on Thursday, including my wife, Kelly and the two kiddies, Ian and Abby. But it wasn’t until Friday that LarchFest begin in earnest, when the bulk of the regular larchers arrived -- about 30 in total. The backgammon tournament was begun and a trip to Devils Lake was made so the kiddies could get some swimming and beach time. The rest of the evening was spent drinking, eating, reminiscing and joking around. But really, on everyone’s minds was the big event the next day.

Saturday was planned as the big Birthday party for the five guys who graduated in 1974 from high school in West Bend: Dave Shallow (a real “rocket scientist” who could not make it because of a launch scheduled in the Pacific), Craig Freeman, Tim Rock, Tim Heilman and Russ Rich.

This was the reason LarchFest was held at Tim Heilman’s home instead of our usual camp place. Many more family members and friends had been invited and it was thought Tim’s place was better because of its relative central location in Wisconsin and because it still provided plenty of room for campers.

We anticipated anywhere from 80 to 100 people showing up for the birthday celebration, so Heilman and Rock rose abnormally early on Saturday (just a little hung over) and began the final preparations for the big shindig.

Craig was there by noon. Lillian Rich, Kelly Rock and others provided additional assistance.

The tents were risen, the grill, tables and chairs were set up, food, utensils, condiments, beer were purchased … more beer was drunk.

The highlight Saturday was the band “Tracks Outta Town.” The guys were incredible. They even let my daughter, Abby, join in on tambourines ... and later, John, son of Gary and Sarah Heilman joined them and did a terrific job on drums, finishing with a fast riff that drew a round of applause.

During the day, the backgammon tournament continued and the kids played volleyball in the background. At night, with alcohol finally seeping into their brains, revelers got out onto the grassy area in front of the band and began to dance.

Finally, the four "old guys" were saluted with cheers, jeers and some fun gifts.

Afterward, Russ defeated his sister Sarah for the backgammon title and became Larch Master for 2007. Next year, up north!