Archive for September 27th, 2007

Republican Race To The Bottom Continues

First we have President George W. Bush, who has vowed to veto:

  • The anti-hate crimes bill which just passed the Senate 60-39. Even Lieberman voted for it, so you know it has the Centrist Stamp Of Approval.
  • Expanded healthcare for children, which passed with a veto-proof majority in the Senate, but not the House. ‘Cuz, y’know, Americans hate children almost as much as they hate terrorists, gays, and illegal immigrants.
  • A family leave rights bill which allows a wounded vet’s relatives to take time off to care for him or her. ‘Cuz, y’know, Americans hate our troops almost as much as they hate children, terrorists, gays, and illegal immigrants.

And then, of course, we have the reliably vile Rush Limbaugh, declaring that any troop who speaks out against the war is a “phony soldier.” Others have already pointed out the irony of a chickenhawk who never served calling actual soldiers and vets phonies. And the fact that this follows right on the heels of the Senate’s condemnation of MoveOn for questioning General Petraeus’s integrity (with considerably more concrete evidence to back them up, I might add).

In fact, The Left Coaster notes that one of the most prominent “phony solders,” the recently killed Omar Mora, is from Texas, represented by John Cornyn, the sponsor of the anti-MoveOn bill, and challenges Cornyn to show the same outrage for a dead constituent that he showed for a real live Republican shill.

Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath. The GOP’s disapproval for smears against the military only applies to pro-war military, because, quite frankly, most Republicans agree with Rush. Sure, it’s always bad to smear soldiers, but if they’re speaking out against the war, then they’re obviously not “real” soldiers, so they’re fair game. If we’re really lucky, some of the Republicans might even be dumb enough to say this out loud.

So, to sum up, Bush, Rush, and most of the GOP are in favor of war and hate crimes, and opposed to children and troops. Good luck with that platform in 2008, fellas.

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 10:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Bookcellers

And I thought blogging from my Treo was kinda weird…

When Satomi Nakamura uses her cellphone, she has to be extra careful to take frequent breaks. That’s because she isn’t just chatting. The 22-year-old homemaker has recently finished writing a 200-page novel titled “To Love You Again” entirely on her tiny cellphone screen, using her right thumb to tap the keys and her pinkie to hold the phone steady. She got so carried away last month that she broke a blood vessel on her right little finger.

“PCs might be easier to type on, but I’ve had a cellphone since I was in sixth grade, so it’s easier for me to use,” says Ms. Nakamura, who has written eight novels on her little phone. More than 2,000 readers followed her latest story, about childhood sweethearts who reunite in high school, as she updated it every day on an Internet site.

In Japan, the cellphone is stirring the nation’s staid fiction market. Young amateur writers in their teens and 20s who long ago mastered the art of zapping off emails and blogs on their cellphones, find it a convenient medium in which to loose their creative energies and get their stuff onto the Internet. For readers, mostly teenage girls who use their phones for an increasingly wide range of activities, from writing group diaries to listening to music, the mobile novel, as the genre is called, is the latest form of entertainment on the go.

Most of these novels, with their simple language and skimpy scene-setting, are rather unpolished. They are almost always on familiar themes about love and friendship. But they are hugely popular, and publishers are delighted with them. Book sales in Japan fell 15% between 1996 and 2006, according to the Research Institute for Publications. Several cellphone novels have been turned into real books, selling millions of copies and topping the best-seller lists. “Love Sky,” one of the biggest successes so far, is about a boy with cancer who breaks up with his girlfriend to spare her the pain of his death. It has sold more than 1.3 million copies and is being made into a movie due out in November.

Methinks that maybe I am not using my phone to its full potential…

(h/t Carolyn Kay)

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 09:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Technology,Weirdness

Strange Moments In Legal History

Hard not to notice a headline like Court Won’t Declare Chimp a Person, but the story itself is pretty interesting too:

He’s now got a human name — Matthew Hiasl Pan — but he’s having trouble getting his day in court. Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to Austria’s Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.

A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp’s behalf.

The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a ”person” so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.

Group president Martin Balluch insists that Pan is ”a being with interests” and accuses the Austrian judicial system of monkeying around.

”It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can,” Balluch said.

(…)

The legal tussle began in February, when the animal shelter where Pan and another chimp, Rosi, have lived for 25 years filed for bankruptcy protection.

Activists want to ensure the apes don’t wind up homeless if the shelter closes….

Their upkeep costs about euro4,800 (US$6,800) a month. Donors have offered to help, but there’s a catch: Under Austrian law, only a person can receive personal gifts.

Organizers could set up a foundation to collect cash for Pan, whose life expectancy in captivity is about 60 years. But they contend that only personhood will give him the basic rights he needs to ensure he isn’t sold to someone outside Austria, where he’s now protected by strict animal cruelty laws.

In April, a district court judge rejected a British woman’s petition to be declared Pan’s legal guardian. That court ruled that the chimp was neither mentally impaired nor in danger, the grounds required for an individual to be appointed a guardian.

(…)

The Association Against Animal Factories points out that it’s not trying to get Pan declared a human, but rather a person, which would give him some kind of legal status.

Otherwise, he is legally a thing. And with the genetic makeup of chimpanzees and humans so strikingly similar, it contends, that just can’t be.

”The question is: Are chimps things without interests, or persons with interests?” Balluch said.

”A large section of the public does see chimps as beings with interests,” he said. ”We are looking forward to hear what the high court has to say on this fundamental question.”

I suspect that Pan and his friends don’t have much of a legal leg to stand on, but I’m rooting for ’em.

September 27th, 2007 at 08:19pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Great Headlines,Weirdness

How To Tell When It’s Time For A New Puppet

From Rick Perlstein’s great review of two recent Republican revisionist Vietnam War histories:

With Diem overthrown and assassinated… two generals worthy of Diem’s thuggish legacy, Nguyen Cao Ky and Nguyen Van Thieu, acceded to the civilian leadership of South Vietnam. “Ky, Thieu, and the other generals began their rule,” [author Mike Moyar] rhapsodizes, “by holding what they termed a ‘no breathing week.'” (Ky… had recently been asked who his heroes were. He said he had only one: Hitler.)

I would really prefer not to have any Hitler fans on my team, but maybe my standards are just unreasonably high.

1 comment September 27th, 2007 at 07:11pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Quotes,War,Weirdness

Bitter Irony

By way of ellroon, Asia Times is reporting on al Qaeda’s plans to take over Pakistan, which, as you may remember, is where they and the Taliban ended up after an inattentive and Iraq-obsessed Dubya failed to finish them off in Afghanistan.

So, in other words, because Dubya falsely claimed that we had to invade Iraq to prevent Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons, al Qaeda is now in a position to acquire nuclear weapons.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

4 comments September 27th, 2007 at 11:50am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Terrorism,War

Getty Villa Creepy Statueblogging

It’s the eyes…

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I have more, but I haven’t processed them yet.

2 comments September 27th, 2007 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging


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