Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, June 30, 2006

Is Matthew Yglesias a Wanker?

I hear yes, hell ya.

Just read this this by post by qubit:
You know, for a philosopher by training, that is some really sloppy fucking thinking. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that there's a world of difference between "in official facilities" and "at official events," especially with the later clarification that, yes, he really does mean officially led and directed prayer.

OK, so Matt churned out some bone-stupid wankery in between his usually sharp wonkery; what else is new? Gotta keep up those contrarian and moderate credentials after all. I could just leave this at some snark, but for the benefit of those of you who grew up completely isolated from society (or were born yesterday), I'll point out just why his assertion that there is "no harm" in this is so hopelessly, stupidly, mind-numbingly wrong.

Let's start with the most clear-cut case of direct harm: schools. School is an official event children are required to attend*, so there is no opt-out cop-out here. Now, to avoid being accused of a straw man (who am I kidding, nobody reads this), let's say instead of an unconstitutional-since-the-50s forced mass prayer in class, it's at the pep rally (which, let me assure you from experience, is often just as mandatory as class). So you shamble on down there, sit down, and the principal leads the whole school in a non-denominational Judeo-Christian Christian Protestant prayer (credit where credit is due: Matt did at least recognize "non-denominational" prayer for what it is). Say you're an atheist, or that you're Muslim or Jewish or Wiccan. What is the clear, unambiguous message the government is now officially sending you? That you don't belong, that you're not a full member of society, that there's something wrong with your beliefs. Wait, you know what? Someone said the meaning of this far better than I ever could:

No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

And this takes us directly to how it is injurious when officially sanctioned in any capacity: it sends the clear message, exactly the message desired by those promoting this, to all Americans that part of being American is being Christian (specifically, Protestant). Therefore, if you aren't Christian, you aren't really a "true" American. It's officially sanctioned bigotry and marginalization of religious minorities, nothing less.
(there is so much more)

One of the Secrets to Living Longer.

Over at Straight Dope the question is raised about whether they've ever hung a millionaire in the U.S?

The answer is illuminating:
So the tally is one or two crime bosses and a few long-ago toffs lacking funds. You say the rich don't commit murders as often? True, but even a partial list of well-off, well-connected defendants who could have hanged but didn't is impressive:

* Congressman Dan Sickles, found temporarily insane in the 1859 killing of his wife's lover.

* Harry K. Thaw, son of a railroad baron, found insane in the 1906 slaying of architect Stanford White.

* Wealthy college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb; pleaded guilty to the 1924 thrill killing of a boy in Chicago and imprisoned but spared the noose.

* Texas oilman T. Cullen Davis, acquitted of the 1976 murder of his estranged wife's daughter.

* Real estate heir Thomas Capano, convicted of the 1996 murder of his girlfriend in Delaware; death sentence reduced to life without parole.

* Robert Durst, another real estate heir, acquitted of the 2001 murder of an elderly drifter in Texas.

And many more. Prosecutors often don't even pursue the death penalty against the rich--think O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Phil Spector, and John du Pont (of the chemical du Ponts). You needn't hire a Johnnie Cochran or a Clarence Darrow to get the treatment. An analysis of Georgia cases showed that prosecutors were almost twice as likely to ask for the death penalty when the defendant couldn't afford a lawyer. Nationwide an estimated 90-plus percent of those arrested for capital crimes are too poor to retain experienced private counsel. In Kentucky, a quarter of death row inmates were defended by lawyers who were later disbarred (or resigned to avoid disbarment); other states are similar. A few states have offices dedicated to providing a proper defense for capital defendants, but a Texas jurist summed up the attitude elsewhere: "The Constitution does not say that the lawyer has to be awake." So is it cynical to oppose the death penalty on such grounds? Nah. Just realistic.

So I googled, "Millionaire Life In Prison".

Oh well, it must be a malfunction...

(via Other Crap)

These boots are made for...

I'm sure glad that Flag Desecration Amendment didn't pass (source)!

Fold, Spindle and Mutilate - That'll Teach'em

Breaking News: White House Executes New York Times

Trial Next Thursday, Bush Says

In a hastily called press conference early this morning, George W. Bush fixed reporters with a steely eye and told them that the New York TImes was no more, calling it "the paper of the broken record."

The White House was quick to note that the New York Times would be convicted of treason in a completely fair trial before a military tribunal next Thursday. The judge will not be permitted to see the evidence because of national security concerns; but President Bush has already personally assured him that the New York Times was "way guilty." The New York Times was not earlier given notice of the trial or execution for fear that that would "give aid and comfort to the terrorists."

The President appeared puzzled by a question from a reporter asking how the White House could convict the paper using a military tribunal similar to that which the Supreme Court ruled illegal yesterday. The President, smirking, scratched his head and said, "That applied to Guantanamo. Last I heard, the New York Times wasn't anywhere near Cuba.(read the rest)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Suburban Guerrilla in the City Tonight

Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla will be visiting and will be Drinking Liberally at Zeitgeist tonight.

Stop on by!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Patriotism, Puritanism and Privilege

Larry Spohn: 'Phony issues':
Thank God for the Republican Party, which isn't going to be fooled into solving any ordinary issues, like: record deficit budgets; murder and mayhem in Iraq; failed American diplomacy on every front from the Middle East to the environmental health of the planet; the threat of a nuclear Iran; the existence of a nuclear North Korea; congressional corruption; executive incompetence; an eroded minimum wage; a federal debt that is approaching double what it was six years ago; a propped up house-of-cards economy primed to crash when somebody - like our buddies in China - yanks out a bottom card of exponential debt; gasoline prices that make Jimmy Carter look like a genius; illegal wiretaps; corporate ethics; immigration; and a dysfunctional health care system imploding under the weight of runaway costs, expensive middlemen and inaccessibility to the poor and middle class.

Never mind. We got real problems, like: flag burning; same-sex marriage; a woman's right to control her own body; rampant teen sex; the death tax; life and death decisions made by families instead of the right-to-life crowd; activist judges; gun-control fanatics; the national language; and illegals - people and drugs.

Thank God Republicans control, and have for years, both the House and the Senate and have exhibited absolutely no interest in oversight, accountability or competence.

Thank God that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have been in command at the White House these five years. We've got problems. They've got priorities. They know the difference between that hard-working, two-income family in Albuquerque's South Valley still in need of health insurance - and fourth generation Texas millionaires who need more tax cuts and repeal of the estate tax.

Thank God for Bill Frist, leader of the Senate, a true red Republican and a doctor. He knows how to treat an ailing America - at least the upper 1 percent. And he's an expert at the three Ps, not to mention a videotaped diagnosis of Terri Schiavo - never mind the family's or coroner's conclusions.

Thank God for these men and their values - like greed, prejudice, discrimination, cronyism, arrogance and incompetence. Did I mention greed? With just five months to the election, they know that all this rampant flag burning in the streets must be stopped.

And with gays petitioning to be treated like any old American heterosexual has been for 230 years, Republicans realize - with just five months to go - that the public must be warned, the alarm must be sounded, the red flag must be raised. Marriage, weakling that it is, cannot possibly withstand the withering onslaught of all those gay folks marching to the courthouse.

Thank God I can see through all this bullshit...

Funny things you learning while hyper-surfing the net...

After following a post from Bifurcated Rivets I came across this message board about Bibical Prophecy? - The Mark of the Beast
From: JackOfTraDeZ (16740455) Jun-5 1:14 am
To: reddiamond (10510974) unread (3 of 15)
5246.3 in reply to 5246.1

I believe the Mark of the Beast will be some kind of RFID chip; the technology -already exists and it is being used to monitor pets and livestock already. Some advocate implanting chips in people as a really good and secure way of handling financial transactions, citizens' ID, etc., and honestly, there are good arguments for all of that. But what they fail to see is the horrendous possibility for abuse and enslavement.

Could you get by today without a credit card, or for that matter, telephone or even internet? Technology has a way of creeping up on us until we are totally dependent, enslaved by it.

Yes, the chips are coming, and you will not be able to get by ("buy, sell or trade") in the brave new world without it. A logical place to put them (ease of use, scanning, etc., would be the forehead or wrist). We are truly in the End of Days.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: Assign a number to each letter of the alphabet, starting with A=6, and increment by 6 each letter. Thus B=12, C=18 etc. all the way to Z.

Now add it up for the word COMPUTER.

So I did, and according to that insighful mathematical fomurla the word "COMPUTER" does add up to 666. I mean, there was dicussion when I was a child if I should get a Social Security Number because it was a plausible satanic numbering for the end times.

So I set up a spreadsheet to see what other words or names equaled the triune of 6.
-Blogger/s, nope
-Blogosphere, nope
-Blogtopia, close
-Daily Kos,nope
-Markos Zuniga, not even close
-Markos Moulitsas, still not close
-Blogofacism, nope
-Lee Siegel, nope
-Joe Lieberman, nada
-Ned Lamont, not even remotely close
-King of Zembla, too many letters

I'm sure there are many, many more combinations. Alas, while my brief research shows absolutely nothing, I still am thinking the sign of the beast is probably in the IP address format since it's so tricky, devilish to set up and so, so traceable...

The final word goes to message boarder:
From: Kings Kid (11259352) Jun-14 10:31 pm
To: JackOfTraDeZ (16740455) (5 of 15)
5246.5 in reply to 5246.3

Just a thought here,

If we are going to assign numeric value to letters should we not be using the hebrew alphabet? Perhaps the greek?

In Christ,


Kids King (or Gary) you may have a point there...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Prehistoric Evidence of Guys Trying to get Laid

Seashells are forever: Ancient bling from 25,000 years ago

Joke so clean you can tell your Mother...

Saint Peter is checking in people at the Pearly Gates. When Albert Einstein approaches St. Peter says, "How are you going to prove you're really Albert Einstein?"

So the famous theoretician asks for some chalk and a blackboard and proceeds to jot down complicated mathematical formulae about the speed of light.

St. Peter says, "Wow, I guess you really are Einstein! Go on in."

A little latter Pablo Picasso approaches and St. Peter says, "How are you going to prove you're really Pablo Picasso?"

So the famous artist asks for some charcoal and an artpad and proceeds to sketch out a woman's face with the both eyes to one side of the nose.

St. Peter says, "Wow, I guess you really are Picasso! Go on in."

When George Bush finally shows up, St. Peter says, "How are you going to prove you're really George Bush after what I just put Eintstein and Picasso through?"

And Bush asks, "Uh, who are Eintstein and Picasso?"

St. Peter says, "Wow, I guess you really are Bush! Go on in..."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Antidote to Blogcoma

It's been hard to write when everything seems to heading towards Hades. Reading the news, blog posts and observing the world in general, "we are in a world of shit." Pardon the gratutious Kubrick quote*.

Rove appears to have gotten off and is now back to stroking-off the hardcore liberal haters. Congress enjoys meaningless foreplay over fags and flags, culminating with a stand firm, no pull out vote.

What's a poor blogger to do? Lately, I've been thinking of selling everything and reduce my possesions to a backback and one-way ticket to somewhere else. I did that once before in my twenties. I'd just like to do it again before the rest of the world doesn't want to crucify on sight anyone with an American passport.

Problem is I think that half the world is already at that point because of what our government is doing. That is, they are making the world unsafe for Americans!

So to combat this mal-humeur I search out some comedie:

Here is new blog that made me smile: The Washington Beltsider

How Italians reacted to the 1-1 draw with Team USA at the World Cup helps if you can read Italian.

Video of Stephen Colbert on the Letterman Show

Video of when Bush vists Baghdad

The photoshop contest of How America Views the World

And lastly, I think I found a picture of Anne Coulter's shriveled soul...

*Full Metal Jacket

Monday, June 12, 2006

Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war'

After reading PR, suicide style I was having second thoughts about trying to break into the world of PR. Little did I know that killing yourself could be considered a PR stut.

But it gets worse:
Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war':
The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says.

The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were 'committed' and had killed themselves in 'an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us'.

This asymetric PR advantage is definitely not a pys-ops many would consider. But to continue.
Rear Adm Harris said he did not believe the men had killed themselves out of despair.

'They are smart. They are creative, they are committed,' he said.

'They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.'

Now these people also tried the hunger strike spin until the were force fed by concerned prison wardens. Maybe it wasn't quite like this description of forced feeding:

Force-feeding of humans was a common practice in the USSR. A brief, first account experience of a force-feeding session given by Vladimir Bukovsky describes the procedure in detail: "The feeding pipe was thick, thicker than my nostril, and would not go in. Blood came gushing out of my nose and tears down my cheeks, but they kept pushing until the cartilages cracked. I guess I would have screamed if I could, but I could not with the pipe in my throat. I could breathe neither in nor out at first; I wheezed like a drowning man - my lungs felt ready to burst. The doctor also seemed ready to burst into tears, but she kept shoving the pipe farther and farther down. Only when it reached my stomach could I resume breathing, carefully. Then she poured some slop through a funnel into the pipe that would choke me if it came back up. They held me down for another half-hour so that the liquid was absorbed by my stomach and could not be vomited back, and then began to pull the pipe out bit by bit." [5] Large feeding pipes are traditionally used on hunger striking prisoners [6], for example in Guantanamo Bay [7] whereas thin pipes are preferred in hospitals

On second thought, maybe their suicides could be attributed to Prozac:
At the same time, attempts at suicide and self-harm fit into a broader
pattern. Chief surgeon Edmondson says that the most common ailment among the
Gitmo prisoners is depression. More than a fifth of Camp Delta's inmates are
taking Prozac or other antidepressants.

Depression is always asymetric...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Let's hope there's an emerging GOP minority?

Until I read this article by H. Brandt Ayers: I never knew that Kevin Phillips, who wrote the recent and disturbing book,American Theocracy also wrote the seminal piece on The Emerging Republican Majority.

This part really caught my eye and gave me a reason for hope:
Thus did the party of Lincoln, founded in opposition to slavery, not only abandon the black man, but use prejudice against him to pry the South away from its Democratic moorings. When the black man became a Democrat, the white South became Republican.

If Phillips is right that cycles of party dominance last roughly 36 years, then this year may be a turning point. Phillips himself was turned off some time ago by the party's narrow right-wing leadership.

Now the GOP is the party of social engineering: The federal government should decide who may marry whom, and when a woman, brain-dead for 15 years, should be allowed to pass away.

Those private decisions have become governmental responsibilities in the judgment of the current party leadership, which has given us a misbegotten, mismanaged and stymied war in the Middle East, an inept Katrina response, deficits as far as the eye can see, declining real wages, bloated oil company incomes while gas prices at the pump are pinching working and middle-income people, a still-spinning web of scandal, 45 million people without health insurance, etc., etc., etc.

Social issues such as the gay marriage amendment still have resonance in the South, as Alabama demonstrated Tuesday, and the historic comfort of a majority white party will keep Dixie Republican a while longer.

But the black urban rebellions are history; the symbol of the Black Power salute has lost its power. Even in the Alabama Black Belt, whites vote for the able black Congressman Artur Davis, and the nation would have elected Colin Powell president if he had run.

Democrats are focusing on pocketbook issues, leaving social engineering to the majority party. We may be seeing the early signs of an emerging Republican minority.

It's a topsy-tursvy world we live in. Now it's the conservative elites who are the social engineers, telling people how to live their lives, and suprisingly it's the Democrats who are arguing for fiscal sanity.

Maybe it is the end of the world....

May Fever & maybe a June bug

I have been suffering from the annual draught of postings lately - kind of an allergic response or an annual retreat in the form of bloggus interruptus.

Last year I missed my blog anniversary. And, once again I missed the date of May 18th, when I started this sordid affaire; where I once had passion and couldn't stop posting.

So here's short-list of my favorite posts from that first May.

Some of them are listed for the pleasure of the hits they generated or the pleasure of the writing/researching the topic.

Click through to visit my first month of posts, starting with why I chose the name of Saramouche:
I Didn't Choose this Class War...

Or, when I wrote how the administration decided that they had unimpeachble - nay, un-varnished evidence of WMDs: They didn't really lie! Really! Not at All...

Or, when this pic was tops on Google for Smiling Dog:I Don't Do Friday Cat Blogging

Or, for what always cracks me up Bush Planted in the Ground -or- Where the Dubya' Meets the Road

Or, maybe thereal reason creationists dont'like the breeding theory of evolution: Neanderthals Down by the Gene Pool

Or, my first good joke(which needs to be updated): Bush Playing with Saddam's Pistol

Or, my favorite (I might even work in this building now): If I still worked downtown....

After this, it feels sometimes like it is all down hill. Then I understand
the process of blogging is an exercise in finding your voice: strident sometimes; witty the next.

So, I guess I'm saying is blogging is like breathing like oxygen
You get too much you get too high. Not enough and you're gonna die