Saturday, November 03, 2007

Best Line of Day

From the "I will have to use this line someday" department:

The absolute necessity of the dogs needing to go outside is inversely proportional to the amount of clothes I am wearing at the time.

-- James Wigderson

Mountains Out of Molehills

Regarding yawning, have you ever noticed that yawning seems to be contagious. Researchers have found that 40-60% of people who see a picture of someone yawning will yawn themselves. Even reading the word YAWN can make people yawn.

Apparently the same holds true for faux conservative outrage. Regarding Fred Dooley's (Real Debate Wisconsin blog author) taunt to Jay Bullock (folkbum's rambles and rants bog author) and his thought that a 1,000 word post is in the offing.


Be assured that 40-60% of conservative bloggers will follow suit.

Update: Mike Mathias and Nick Schweitzer chime in about the misplaced outrage.

And now Jay does add-on ... though with considerably less than 1,000 words.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Don Imus Returns and Give It a Rest

NEW YORK (AP) -- A little more than six months ago, Don Imus' career seemed doomed. The shock jock had been fired over a racist and sexist remark that ignited an uproar over the limits of taste and tolerance.

But the cantankerous Imus has clambered back from the professional brink before, and the Rasputin of radio is poised to do it again.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. announced Thursday that Imus would return to radio Dec. 3., confirming long-rumored reports that he was coming back to morning drive time on WABC-AM, based in New York - the same city where he was banished from the airwaves last spring.

Good. I have no problem with Imus returning to the airwaves. He was punished for his remarks and deserves forgiveness and a second chance ... something James Wigderson and others on the right would do well to consider the next time they decide to make insipid remarks about Senator Ted Kennedy.

Regardless of what tabloids James and the other righties read, the Kopechne family has moved on, with no indication they have not forgiven Kennedy for his role in their daughter's death. No one knows and it's borderline crazy to keep surmising otherwise.

Or just plain shallow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Where Torture Advocates Stand ... With Evil

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature - that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance - and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth?"

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Brothers Karamazov

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Voted Best Joke In Ireland, 2006

... at least my mom says so.

John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life between the legs of me wife!"

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night!

He went home and told his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the Best toast of the night" She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?"

John said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!" Mary said.

The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner .
The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary."

She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."

Olbermann Blasts Guiliani

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nothing Surprises Me Anymore

The New York Times is reporting that immunity was offered to Blackwater USA security guards. Well, of course it was. To not have offered immunity would have gone against everything this administration stands for. See below ....

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 — State Department investigators offered Blackwater USA security guards immunity during an inquiry into last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad — a potentially serious investigative misstep that could complicate efforts to prosecute the company’s employees involved in the episode, government officials said Monday.

The State Department investigators from the agency’s investigative arm, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offered the immunity grants even though they did not have the authority to do so, the officials said. Prosecutors at the Justice Department, who do have such authority, had no advance knowledge of the arrangement, they added.

Click here for more.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Zombies Lived

This piece written by Darksyde at Daily Kos should start you a shivering in the dark. Real-life zombies, brought to you by that most famous of plagues, the Black Death.

The near full Moon creeps toward zenith on the West Coast, and somewhere over the lonely Pacific Ocean, Midnight Breaks: The Witching Hour is at hand. Halloween is just around the corner, and soon homemade ghoulish gals and junior ghosts will prowl US streets seeking a sugary or salty snack. All in fun, all for show. What a delightful tradition Halloween is. In that spirit, gather thee round Kossacks, dim the lights, and hear a true Dark Tale from the DarkSyde.

Way back in the 'good ole days' of 1347, those carefree times of wanton slaughter, religious torture, and massive infant mortality, another abomination arose far more gruesome than any mere manmade method of killing. It swept across Eurasia, smothering it like a thick blanket, leaving many of the dark, foreboding icons we’ve come to associate with All Hallow’s Eve still hidden and lurking in its deadly wake. Make no mistake: this thriller is not the modern costumed version of a fake fright night; children adorned with made up faces highlighted in dark eye shadow with blackened glossy fingernails. Oh no, that is all just a game my friends.

This was a real Horror Show premiering in the Middle Ages written by Mother Nature gone mad. At its crescendo, entire communities were abandoned to the afflicted and dying; some burned to the ground intentionally or by accident. Leaving animated quasi-zombies oozing dark blood through cracked, blistered skin, stumbling hopelessly through the ruins and streets in mobs, dying en masse, with chunks of dead meat dropping off their disfigured bodies, flies buzzing around them, maggots already crawling through the flesh of the barely living. At times, useless eyes bulged or dangled from bleeding sockets escorted by clouds of gnats. If a team of demented bioweapons researchers led by Stephen King possessed by the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe had set out to conjure up a more terrifying apocalyptic vision, they would have been hard pressed to spin a more macabre fiction, than this sickening historical reality: The Black Death.

No one knew from whence it came or when it might depart. And while science can now explain the basics of infectious disease, what few people understand is, it’s only a theory ...

... click here for the rest of the story.

Edmund Burke - 18th Century Blogger Fan

In this article by Jonathan Schwarz in Mother Jones about Edmund Burke, Schwarz makes the argument that Burke was being prescient in his writings concerning blogs, the new journalists. It's interesting, though I'm not sure that I agree with his point that Burke would have been in step with MoveOn versus today's conservatives (Though, I'm also not sure one can compare conservatism in the 21st century to that practiced in the time of King George II, regardless what George Will may think). Nonetheless, I too think Burke would have made an excellent advocate for bloggers.

What did the famous British parliamentarian and political philosopher Edmund Burke (1729-1797) have to say about the internet and our current political circumstances? Quite a bit, it turns out.

Burke is beloved by conservative intellectuals. George Will, for instance, mentions him all the time. Quoting Burke gives their pronouncements a nice glossy sheen.

Yet their Burke-worship is genuinely bizarre. Few people understand this, since few people (including conservative intellectuals) bother to read what Burke wrote. Anyone who does, though, will immediately understand how strongly Burke would have opposed today's conservative movement, since he strongly opposed their 18th century equivalents.

This is particularly clear in Burke's 1770 pamphlet, "Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents." It's not merely that Burke was writing during a time of uprisings in overseas colonies, and in opposition to a monarch named George who was trying to expand executive power and neuter the legislative branch. Almost every sentence Burke wrote applies precisely to today.

For instance, in one passage Burke sounds like he's describing current efforts by MoveOn and blogs to prevent Congress from granting telecom companies immunity for violating FISA:

Whilst men are linked together, they easily and speedily communicate the alarm of any evil design. They are enabled to fathom it with common counsel, and to oppose it with united strength. Whereas, when they lie dispersed, without concert, order, or discipline, communication is uncertain, counsel difficult, and resistance impracticable. Where men are not acquainted with each other’s principles, nor experienced in each other’s talents, nor at all practised in their mutual habitudes and dispositions by joint efforts in business; no personal confidence, no friendship, no common interest, subsisting among them; it is evidently impossible that they can act a public part with uniformity, perseverance, or efficacy. In a connection, the most inconsiderable man, by adding to the weight of the whole, has his value, and his use; out of it, the greatest talents are wholly unserviceable to the public. No man, who is not inflamed by vain-glory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours, are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Burke also covers George's insistence on appointing incompetent hacks to positions of power, to habituate Parliament to impotence; the way the King's cabal is mired in the "deepest and dirtiest pits of corruption" yet purports to be motivated by the "most astonishing prudery, both moral and political"; and the "futility, the weakness, the rashness, the perpetual contradiction, in the management of our affairs" in colonies across the sea. Then there's his description of a corrupted, weak legislature, which could have been written yesterday:

A vigilant and jealous eye over executory and judicial magistracy; an anxious care of public money, an openness, approaching towards facility, to public complaint: these seem to be the true characteristics of an House of Commons. But an addressing House of Commons, and a petitioning nation; an House of Commons full of confidence, when the nation is plunged in despair; in the utmost harmony with Ministers, whom the people regard with the utmost abhorrence; who vote thanks, when the public opinion calls upon them for impeachments; who are eager to grant, when the general voice demands account; who, in all disputes between the people and Administration, presume against the people; who punish their disorders, but refuse even to inquire into the provocations to them; this is an unnatural, a monstrous state of things in this constitution.

Parliament cannot with any great propriety punish others, for things in which they themselves have been accomplices. Thus the controul of Parliament upon the executory power is lost; because Parliament is made to partake in every considerable act of Government. Impeachment, that great guardian of the purity of the Constitution, is in danger of being lost, even to the idea of it. [Italics in original]
So if we truly want to remember the past, rather than repeat it, Burke's pamphlet is a good place to start. As another old dead guy, Thomas Jefferson, said:

...experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny...the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, and more especially to give them knowledge of those facts, which history exhibiteth, that, possessed thereby of the experience of other ages and countries, they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.