Monday, August 31, 2009

Dreary Posting

I've been in a bit of a rut lately, and I don't see myself breaking out of it anytime soon.

At some point I'll be inspired to write the next great work of blog, but for now it's probably going to be piecemeal.

To give you some interesting reading material, though, I present you with this post at Obsidian Wings displaying the fallacy of Cheney's argument that because Kalid Sheikh Muhammad gave us information after he was tortured, then the torture was what made him cooperate. In a nutshell, it would be like saying that since all serial killers drank milk at some point in their lives that the drinking of milk made them serial killers.

Additionally, my good friend Just Wondering at Vim and Vinegar has a good post here calling out the attorney general for his recent (in)action.

Glenn Greenwald has a very important post here about the recently released torture memos (note that Dick Cheney ended up back on the TV just a week after these new pieces of information came out - this is not a coincidence).

Any of the links on my blog are well worth checking out - but I wanted to bring a couple to the forefront today. Good day, and good reading.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stupid liberal media

Chris Wallace, A Teenage Girl Interviewing The Jonas Brothers - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Shared via AddThis

Going to the Zoo

There's only so much Conservative pundit/politician defending of torture I can take, and the kids need a day of break.

We'll share our experience later, I'm sure.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dinnertime

Just wanted to let you all know, Psych is a really good show.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Morning

It's a tough thing to wake up realizing that you're not happy with your job, you have few people there with whom to relate, and you're tired of driving 2 hours a day to go do it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy is Dead

I don't think I have any real emotion here. It happened.

I've also had a very busy couple of days, which might have played a part in this... (lack of emotion, not Kennedy's passing).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's see if they can get it right again

I posted, nearly two years ago, on Activist Judges attacking Christianity in California.

Fortunately (he said sardonically), the Supreme Court has the opportunity to fix this snafu, by hearing the case and engaging in blatant judicial activism by legislating from the bench and ignoring stare decisis, and can reverse this opinion once and for all.

Barry Lynn of Americans United has filed an amicus brief in favor of the removal of the cross and continued adherence to the 1st Amendment barrier between church and state (plus the bill of attainder that would benefit the constructors of the Cross in question.

I encourage you to click on all the links above to see what the hubbub is.

Hyperbole and Rhetoric

John McCain is part of it. Of course, in the world of the Republicans, as this provision has been taken out, even if it was "ambiguous," it's old news, and thus doesn't warrant discussion.

new phone

So I have a new phone. I picked up a mytouch 3G for T-Mobile. It's rather nice, but I'm still figuring out the bells and whistles.

For example, it's apparently equipped with adobe flash, yet I've been unable to figure out which plugin I need to download in order to play flash...

More later, I'm sure.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I got Nothing

So I'll post a quote from a very evil person, but the quote seems apropos: "The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They've Got Moxie, if not Facts

From TFN Insider:

The religious right’s tactics seem to have become ever more extreme in the past year. Today an organization with the credible-sounding name of The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) used the Christian Newswire service to blast out a press release suggesting President Obama is a deranged murderer of “preborn children.”

Of course, it's not really Religious Right unless it has inflammatory rhetoric:

“Americans don’t want to pay for mandatory insurance which defines baby-killing as ‘essential care.’ They are turning against ‘end-of-life’ counseling which is more coercive than consultative. It is becoming increasingly clear that this horrifying plan is designed to reduce the numbers of preborn children who could ruin their parents’ careers and the numbers of elderly parents who might spoil their children’s retirements.”

And Group Director Greg Cunningham has apparently encouraged supporters to send e-mails with an image of Barack Obama made up as the Joker (which is fine, in and of itself, I suppose), but they apparently have adapted it somewhat to include a bloody hand holding a scalpel over a dismembered fetus, clearly not interested in rational dialogue, but rather relying on carnal, gutteral imagery to create discomfort in those who view the debate contrary to their position.

I don't completely understand what it is about the anti-choice crowd that they so often have to rely on this gimmick to try to make their point instead of coherent, rational debate. I suppose it's akin to those who were deeply moved by The Passion of the Christ - it has to be as basic and primal as possible to evoke the strongest emotions in hopes that (perhaps) by making people just uncomfortable enough, they will change their position. But I digress.

I don't understand groups like CBR, and I disagree with their methods. It would appear that in this instance, they are more interested in vile rhetoric than a frank discussion of the facts, a trait that more broadly applies to many on the Religious Right.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

Five more days until
School starts and daycare expense
drops dramatically.

- not that we're counting.

As always, I look forward to your submissions.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood

Great show. I mean, outstanding. Good dialogue, excellent acting, terrific pacing... you could hardly ask for more in a play. The play itself was based on the Sign of the Four, the second Sherlock Holmes mystery. However, it wasn't the same as the story, it took just enough of a turn to make it a different story (an enjoyable one) and keep you from the direct answer.

Todd Waite, who has impeccable comedic timing and a countenance similar to Jim Parsons (Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory), was perfectly cast as Sherlock Holmes, but then again, all the roles were very well cast.

The show is done now - they're moving on to the next play (whatever that might be - I can't recall at this time), but should this show make a return to Houston, I think I would find a way to see it again.

The next play I want to see is The 39 Steps. Cross our fingers.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

All the World's a Stage

At least, the Alley Theater is. Tonight we get to see "Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood," which I understand to be a version of the Sign of the Four in play form.

I'm looking forward to it. And I'll be sure to let you all know how it came out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Insomnia

I just realized that, what with NFL preseason kicking in, for the next few precious weeks, even the Lions are still not mathematically eliminated from the playoff race.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Question That Needs to be Answered

The Republicans, through their leadership both in Congress and on the airwaves, have come out overwhelmingly against "Obamacare." They don't deny that health care reform is necessary, they simply oppose anything the Obama camp proposes (even stuff thrown in there by Republicans).

I think it's a fair question to ask "What is their alternative? What do they propose instead? If you don't have an alternative solution, then why not work with the administration to figure out a reasonable compromise?"

As far as I can figure, the opposition's position is "we don't like anything proposed by the Democrats, but rather than try to come up with our own ideas, we're going to to oppose this until it's in the dirt and then use the fact that there's been no health care reform as a launchpad for the midterm elections." Am I wrong? Other than saying "this isn't right," what else has the Right offered?

So confused

I just watched a 6 minute clip of a Fox News interview posted on Andrew Sullivan's site where the reporter was harassing the White House spokesman about the request the White House issued for e-mails with questions about Health Care reform be forwarded to the White House where these questions can be answered with the facts about Health Care reform.

The Fox News spin is that this is an enemies list, and the reporter made a pointed effort in using the phrase enemies list several times throughout the interview, even after this idea had been refuted by the spokesman.

The question then moved to "are you keeping these records of e-mails" that you claim aren't an enemies list (leaving the doubt in the mind of the listener)? The spokesman then answered in the negative, adding "why would we?" This led the reporter to castigate the spokesman, noting that there's a law in place that prohibits the President from deleting records he received (planting seeds of nefariousness), apparently forgetting the millions of deleted/lost e-mails from the Bush administration, which, to my knowledge still haven't been recovered...

The whole interview was a transparent attack on the White House and a specious implication that the White House is assaulting our 1st Amendment/Civil Liberties rights. The same rights that didn't matter too much under the previous administration (remember the poo-pooing of the warrantless wiretaps?) are apparently being "assaulted" by a request to answer legitimate misconceptions about what is being proposed. Strangely, it would seem that the Fox News interview is more geared towards silencing the reformers from getting their message out with an attenuated claim on loss of 1st amendment rights, as opposed to what they are claiming.

I would put the interview on here, but I don't want to give Fox News any more bandwidth.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday is Haiku Day

"Attorneys serve at
Pleasure of the President"
But don't piss off Rove.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Don't Take My Private Insurance Away!!!!

I don't want the government setting up death squads and killing babies and old people! I know it's going to happen because Obama is a fascist and only Sarah Palin truly understands the health care debate - she understands it so well, I'm not even convinced she's read it. Unless she's just outright lying (could it be?)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

School Days

So we got a letter in the mail from the Boy's intermediate school (5th and 6th Grade). Essentially, it's a welcome letter explaining what the school is like and a few tips and whatnot.

On the back page is listed a dress code. Two things struck me: 1. no "satanic" shirts and 2: No shirts with obscenities on it .

These two issues are a little problematic because as I understand it, it makes the school dress code Unconstitutional. Let me explain: first, the district is banning "satanic" shirts, however, no mention is made of a restriction of "Christian," "Muslim," "Jewish," "Hindu," or shirts of any other religion (satanism is a religion). In other words, the state (via the public school district) is adopting a policy that disfavors one religion over all others. This is a clear violation of the Lemon Test, the three prongs of which are: 1. a legitimate secular purpose (I'm not certain what the secular purpose of this might be), 2. a pimary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion (this CLEARLY inhibits religion as it's an outright ban on one religion), and 3. te statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion (which it probably doesn't). In order to be a legitimate code, the rule must pass muster on all three prongs of the test. Just by plain reading of the code, and then of Lemon, it is painfull obvious that this rule is violative of the 1st Amendment.

The second issue is a little less of an issue, and may very well be just fine. We know that a student's Constitutional rights do not end when they enter a schoolhouse, but we also know that a student's Constitutional rights are not as encompassing as a public citizen's outside of school. That said, it's been ruled in Des Moines that a student may wear an armband in protest, and we know that Bong Hits for Jesus resulted in a suspension upheld by the Supreme Court with Chief Justice Roberts writing the opinion (surprise - he supported the State!). It's possible that this is entirely kosher, but it's likewise possible that my child can wear a shirt with political speech that might be protected.

Of course, neither I nor any of my family to my knowledge is a practicing satanist, and I doubt that anyone in my family is going to wear a shirt that says "Fuck the End of Days war in Iraq entered into by President GW Bush" to school, but that's not the point, really. The point is that these rights need to be protected for those who DO want to do so, or who DO believe the way they do.

Anyway, what do y'all think? Particularly with regard to the second point, which is much fuzzier in my mind as to its Constitutionality...

Ahh, that Liberal Media

If it weren't for them we'd never hear anything from Republicans (except through blogs, like below).

Such as Sarah Palin's new diatribe against President Obama's Healthcare Reform.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Nowhere does she point to an actual section of any proposed healthcare bill that would subject ANYONE to this (it doesn't exist), but what's more surprising is that thousands of people will hang on her every word as though it's gospel, even when she's spouting a rejected "Outer Limits" story plot.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Unrelated Thoughts

I'm unconvinced that Paula Abdul won't be back on American Idol - she's very popular among the fans and the performers, and the show's ratings have been slipping the last couple of years. Having a mini-scandal about whether or not she's going to return is just the ticket they could use to have people talking about the show during the lean months that nobody is thinking about it. I would not be surprised in the least if she comes to some agreement at the 11th hour and the show is "saved."

Michael Vick is out of jail and is reportedly looking for a team to play football for. Roger Goodell has given him partial reinstatement and will reconsider full reinstatement to the NFL after training camp. I'm surprised (very) to not see Vick get suspended by the league. He was convicted of a felony - of raising dogs to fight, and of violating state laws. On top of that, when asked about his complicity by Goodell, he denied any involvement. In other words, he lied to the boss. That in and of itself, even without the conviction should be grounds for suspension. I don't buy the canard that he served his suspension while he was in prison - he was suspended by the league then, he was serving his debt to society, these are not concurrent acts. He continues to owe a debt to the league, in my opinion. I'm not one of those guys who says he shouldn't be allowed back in the NFL at all - though I don't particularly want to see him making the millions he made before the conviction. However, I do think that it's inconsistent to reinstate him with no suspension given the league's recent history of suspending all players convicted of crimes.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Conceding the Argument, Cont'd

Glenn Greenwald again - Rush Limbaugh comparing Obama to Hitler and Pelosi to Nazis

How anyone can seriously listen to Rush and consider him legitimate about anything is beyond me.

I don't expect the same level of outrage and noise denouncing Rush that the Republicans heaped on MoveOn.org back in 2004, but it SHOULD be there.

Is This Even Possible?

We know that President Bush is a born-again Christian, and that he depends on his faith to guide him. These are laudable, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this position.

What is wrong is this article from the Council for Secular Humanism.

I'm not even sure where to start with this. Let's consider this paragraph:
Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.
The article continues:
Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”
This is disturbing on several counts. First, it's that the President seems to believe that the End of Days are occurring on his watch and that it's his duty as a Christian to cast out the evil that is the sovereign state of Iraq. Even more concerning is that he apparently used this belief as the crux of his argument in attempting to garner support for his invasion of Iraq. But perhaps the most confounding of this is that this was never mentioned as one of the "justifications" for the invasion to the American people back in 2003, thus denying us the opportunity to see how his faith "guided" him.

This was all reported by former French President Chirac, who confirmed it, according to the article linked above. While this hasn't been confirmed by the Bush White House, and I doubt it will be because of the hyper level of fanatical nonsense involved, perhaps an actual denial from Bush and company might be necessary to at least give a counter-point - though with all the other "reasons" for the invasion holding no water, it's unlikely a denial will ring terribly true.

And the religious Right, who are attempting to vilify President Obama as a Muslim now, were all up in arms about his connections to (Christian) pastor Jeremiah Wright. Wright is a loudmouthed boor, but to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't attempted to convince anyone that he is on a mission from God to relieve the world of Gog and Magog.

The Reporters in North Korean prison

While I am happy to see them released, and bemused that Bolton is criticizing the means by which we secured their release, I must say I think the point that people need to remember is that these two reporters illegally entered North Korea willingly and knowingly, aware of the reputation of their "hosts." They brought their fate upon themselves, and really owe President Clinton et al more than they will ever realize.

The coup of all this is not that North Korea is going to get some sort of quid pro quo out of this - that was going to happen regardless as we weren't going to let these two young women sit in jail for over a decade no matter who was president. No, the coup was that they were stupid enough to go into North Korea and give this nation of syphillic leaders leverage to negotiate. A stupid voluntary act by Americans that makes those we purport to be our enemies some power at the bargaining table.

At least this time the idiots were just journalists and not the Executive Branch.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Bush-Nixon ideal

Nixon and Bush both made little secret of their desire for the Supreme Court - "Strict Constructionists" who would only participate in judicial activism when it suited their interests, not others.

I wish I could remember right offhand who said it and what the exact quote was, but someone once made a reference to the importance of several mindsets on the judiciary and how reaching a majority in such a manner was very important.

What we see right now is evidence of single-mindedness, particularly with regard to the Bush-appointed justices, Roberts and Alito, who according to the National Law Journal, ruled with each other in 92% of the cases heard by the Court last year. These same two justices also ruled with Justice Scalia 87% of the time.

The voting records for the justices are all (un)surprisingly high along the idealogical lines, but there is clear evidence that the triumvirate stick together...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rare Glimpse - Birthers in Action!

See how they act here!

Ahhh, good times

John McCain - where would we be without him? The man who supported President Bush through his 8 years of executive branch power grab, who NOMINATED SARAH PALIN for Vice President, and who still came exceedingly close to the office of the President, just showing how well-oiled the Republican machine is... is undecided on Sotomayor because he's not certain she understands the limits of judicial power...

I'm not certain Senator McCain understands the limits of Judicial Power, but more importantly, I'm concerned the Senator McCain is seemingly more interested in constraining the mythical "activist judiciary" than he is in containing the aggressive federal expansion that took place during the Bush administration - the USA PATRIOT Act, the 4th amendment violations, the unitary executive theory, the premise that a sitting president could order the crushing of a child's testicles if he (in his own counsel) determined it necessary for "national security," the holding of non-combatants as "the worst of the worst" indeterminately with no trial, no access to the evidence against them, and not even a charge - even AFTER they've been cleared of any wrongdoing (sometimes before they were detained by us, even), the record deficits in a period of growth, etc.

But we gotta watch out for that activist Bush-appointed (Bush 41) "wise latina." She's going to destroy the country.

"See? He's Failing!"

That seems to be the message that the Republicans wanted all along - that Barack Obama was a partisan who wasn't *really* interested in cooperation. In fact, it's the message Senator McCain spouted on CNN, according to this Politico article.

Now, granted, I've not been paying 100% perfect attention to the goings-on in Washington, but what I have noticed is that the Republican Party's goal appears to be "reject ANYTHING President Obama puts forward regardless of merit or need so that we can undermine his claim to be bipartisan." The stark difference between this and the previous administration's position of "you're either with us or against us" is confounding.

It's come to the point that I have a hard time believing I could ever vote for a Republican again on the national stage, because it seems very clear to me that they are only interested in making others look bad, while the actual result is that they appear the whiny, petulant, petty children who think that Sarah Palin was a good choice for VP.