Archive for January, 2008

Friday Memorial Quote & Dog Blogging

This week’s quote is from The Pillow Book. Peter Greenaway + Ewan McGregor + full frontal nudity = Quality!

Farewells can be both beautiful and despicable.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s dogs…

mischief.jpg

R.I.P. Woody’s most excellent and adorable dog Mischief.

January 25th, 2008 at 07:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Civility

So… tell me again how we progressives are the horrible uncivil people?

What is this guy, thirteen?

(h/t Caro Kay)

January 24th, 2008 at 08:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Sexism,Wankers

Downtown Construction Photoblogging

Construction (or demolition) is like catnip to me:

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1 comment January 24th, 2008 at 11:19am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

I Can Haz Leadership? (Updated)

As I understand it, the presidential primaries are supposed to be all about demonstrating to the voters of your party that you have the leadership qualities necessary to be President of the I-think-still-just-barely most powerful nation on Earth. We’ve heard all kinds of back and forth between the top three candidates about who can best effect Change.

Well, there’s this FISA vote coming up, wherein Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will attempt to ram through a bill granting telecom corporations retroactive immunity for turning their customer’s calls over to the Bush Administration without warrants. Reid intends to do this over Chris Dodd’s dead body, and will dispense with the courtesies that he granted to Republican opponents, such as honoring holds and not requiring actual reading-from-the-phone-book-until-you-keel-over filibusters. As if this were not bad enough, it appears that this is actually the outcome that the Senate Democrats want, and the only Democrats willing to stand with Dodd in support of a filibuster are Teddy Kennedy and Russ Feingold (of course).

The first time FISA almost came to a head, Hillary and Obama refused to tear themselves away from their campaigning, which was a non-response worthy of our current Ignorer-In-Chief. If Hillary and Obama really want to show voters, especially Democratic voters, that they have the mettle to lead our country, then they need to get their asses down to the Senate floor and help Dodd out. Vote against cloture, ask Dodd long rambling questions so he can take breaks, and perhaps most importantly of all, use the megaphone of your presidential campaigns to let the American people know that the Bush administration (with the active collusion of the Democratic leadership) is once again trying to chip away at the rule of law to let themselves and their corporate henchmen escape accountability.

If you want to show leadership, then lead, don’t hide. If you want to demonstrate your ability to effect change, then change something. If you want to show that you’re not beholden to corporations and lobbyists, then tell the telecoms who have been pelting you with money that you appreciate their support, but you have to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

Of course, even if you do all that, you’ll still be following Chris Dodd, who despite polling in the low single digits in his bid for the nomination, still managed to display more leadership in a week than either of you has shown in the entirety of your brief, cautious Senate careers. But at this point I have to take what I can get, and I’d rather have a fast follower for President than someone who hides under the desk every time Republicans shout “9/11.”

But what about Edwards, you ask? After all, he is the Officially Endorsed Candidate Of Multi Medium, is he not? He most certainly is – but what he is not is a sitting Senator. I would love to see him go down to DC in a show of support and solidarity, but Edwards can only affect the outcome indirectly, either by focusing the meager spotlight the media deign to give him onto the immunity issue, or by shaming Actual Sitting Senators Hillary and Obama into showing up so he can’t lord this over them for the rest of the campaign.

And as long as I’m on the subject of leadership, where the hell is ours in Congress? Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is actively facilitating an enormous gift to the Bush administration, and Nancy “Impeachment Is Off The Table” Pelosi still refuses to call a vote to hold Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt, over six months after they blew off Congressional subpoenas to testify on the US Attorney firings. If covering for a lawless, out-of-control Republican President is the kind of “leadership” our Democratic Representatives and Senators actually want, then God help us all, and we need better Democrats. Much, much better Democrats.

UPDATE: I forgot to ask: Why can’t Reid just say, “Sorry, fellas – as much as I’d like to help you with the whole shielding-corporations-and-Bushies-from-accountability thing, my hands are tied as long as that mean ol’ Mr. Dodd persists with his hold. And since it doesn’t look like he’s going to change his mind anytime soon, you might as well just pass the version without telecom immunity. And, I might add, the absence of retroactive immunity for telecoms does not in any way impede our ability to catch terrorists, regardless of what the Bush administration may say.”?

Am I asking too much?

3 comments January 24th, 2008 at 07:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Clinton,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Dodd,Edwards,Elections,Favorites,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Weirdness

If You Liked The Chart, You’ll Love The Database

George W. Bush: Lyingest president ever. All other presidential liars pale before him.

Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that the Bush administration racked up 935 lies on the way to Iraq; they lied every time they opened their vile mouths (boy, it sure would have been nice to have this 4 years ago, eh?). And it’s not just the Republican Congress that covered for them:

So what, you may well ask, ever happened to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s promised inquiry into whether the White House intentionally deceived the public in the run-up to war? That, presumably, would provide an accountability moment of sorts.

You may recall that more than two years ago, in November 2005, Democrats were so upset about Republican foot-dragging on the inquiry that they brought the Senate to a halt with a rare closed session to demand that work resume.

The Republicans, not surprisingly, continued to stall anyway. But the Democrats have controlled the Senate for more than a year now. Where is the report?

Wendy Morigi, spokeswoman for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, told me this morning that it will be out before the end of spring.

Why the delay? Due to the “lack of comity on the committee” when Rockefeller took over the chairmanship, he decided that pushing ahead with the inquiry right away “would again create tension,” Morigi said.

Nevertheless, the committee staff has “continued to work” on the report, she said. And a hearing on the matter will be held “within the next few months.”

Uh-huh. I’ll believe that when the image of the report is seared into my hot little eyeballs. Here’s how I see it playing out:

Report encounters delays, possibly due to White House stonewalling (the hell you say!). Report release pushed back to late summer/early fall. Rockefeller then decides that it would be inappropriate to allow it to influence the imminent election (God forbid voters should ever be reminded if what dishonest criminals the Republicans are at a time when it might actually make a difference), and delays release until December/January.

It’s not like the Democrats have given me much cause for optimism.

3 comments January 23rd, 2008 at 09:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Cuteness,Iraq,Republicans,Wankers,War

The 7-Year Gaping Chest Wound

The Democrats have a chart. Go look at the chart.

You know that old question, “Are you better off than you were X years ago?” I think the chart answers it pretty clearly for the U.S. as a whole.

7 more years! 7 more years!

(h/t dakine01)

1 comment January 23rd, 2008 at 08:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush

This Can Only Be Good For Talk Radio

Well, this is all well and good…

While right-wing talkers like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Melanie Morgan continue to spew inflammatory rhetoric to incite their base, there are increasing signs that their influence in the conservative movement is temporarily evaporating. Conservative radio host Michael Medved — who got his start guest-hosting Limbaugh’s show — wrote this recently:

The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight.

For more than a month, the leading conservative talkers in the country have broadcast identical messages in an effort to demonize Mike Huckabee and John McCain. If you’ve tuned in at all to Rush, Sean, Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and two dozen others you’ve heard a consistent drum beat of hostility toward Mac and Huck. […]

In other words, the talk radio jihad against Mac and Huck hasn’t destroyed or even visibly damaged those candidates. But it has damaged, and may help destroy, talk radio.

Medved’s observation can be witnessed in Limbaugh’s recent discourse about the leading Republican presidential candidates. Yesterday, Limbaugh said, “I can see possibly not supporting a Republican nominee,” adding that “it’s gonna come down to which guy do we dislike the least. And that’s not necessarily good.”

Yet I can’t help but think that maybe it’s not so much that Medved genuinely fears for the credibility and well-being of right-wing talk radio, so much as he’s just a really big McCain fan.

January 23rd, 2008 at 06:31pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Huckabee,McCain,Media,Politics,Republicans

Black & White Reflections Photoblogging

Hey, look! I managed to get a theme going!

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I like buildings reflected in other buildings. And I even have people, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

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A closer look.

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My God – it’s full of clouds.

1 comment January 23rd, 2008 at 11:33am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Romney Sticks Foot In Mouth, Is Partially Right

Very poor choice of analogy, but I agree with his basic premise:

In his remarks, Romney dismissed those who counsel diplomacy in the region — specifically the Baker-Hamilton Commission — as naively thinking “everything would be fine in the Middle East” if “we could just settle things between the Palestinians and the Israelis”:

The consequences of that accommodation of his [Hitler’s] press releases was devastating to the entire world, and most devastating to millions of Jews,” Romney said to about 200 people at a Republican Jewish Coalition of Florida function. “Today we have individuals who believe that the cause of the challenges in the Middle East is the conflict in Israel with the Palestinians, and that if somehow we could just have the Baker-Hamilton Commission imposed and we could just settle things between the Palestinians and the Israelis, why everything would be fine in the Middle East.”

Comparing attempts to broker peace between Israel and Palestine to the appeasement of Hitler is simply ridiculous. But so is believing that such a peace would somehow magically fix the rest of the Middle East. I think it’s the right thing to do for its own sake, and for the good of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, but I don’t think it would change anything else – it certainly wouldn’t have the slightest bit of impact on Iraq, Iran, or al Qaeda.

1 comment January 23rd, 2008 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Romney,War

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging

The Weekly World News uncovers NASA’s secret shame!

(By Mike Foster)

A creepy photo NASA has suppressed for decades proves that Apollo astronauts who landed on the moon were affected by the powerful lunar rays – and turned into werewolves!

The shocking picture, leaked by a space agency insider, shows a helmeted astronaut standing on the surface of the moon with wolf-like hair covering his entire face.

Controversial St. Louis astronomer Dr. Bernard Muselfreed, who received the mind-blowing photo from an unnamed NASA source, calls the bizarre image enlightening.

“We know that moonlight can cause some individuals on Earth to become lycanthropes,” he says. “It’s only logical that a person actually standing on the lunar surface and exposed to even more intense rays would be likely to undergo such a transformation.”

NASA’s reasons for keeping the eye-popping photo from the public are obvious. “Winning the space race by landing a man on the moon was a major propaganda victory for the United States,” notes aerospace historian Bob Dressel. “Certainly, news that or space heroes were turning into werewolves would have marred that success.”

Because the photo is undated, Dr. Muselfreed says it’s impossible to be sure which of the Apollo astronauts… is pictured.

But that’s irrelevant, he maintains, because “almost certainly” every man who walked on the moon spent minutes – or in some cases hours – as a werewolf.

“I believe that Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon… turned into a werewolf within moments of his arrival,” Dr. Muselfreed declares.

“We know that Armstrong almost immediately became disoriented, botching the line that had been carefully written for him – ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’ – and uttering instead the nonsensical ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

“What few Americans know is that Armstrong’s speech deteriorated rapidly and moments later Mission Control heard what sounded like growls coming over the radio.

“At the time, this was dismissed as ‘static,’ but in light of this remarkable photograph, an educated guess would be that the astronaut was turning into a wolfman.”

Seven independent photo analysts who’ve examined the picture confirm its authenticity. While refusing to brand the photo an outright hoax, a NASA spokesman dismissed the werewolf report as “an exaggeration.”

Well, I guess that does all fit together, although I’m a bit unclear as to exactly what “lunar rays” are…

January 23rd, 2008 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

Disturbing Movie News

1) Heath Ledger ODs on sleeping pills. Sure does sound like suicide – it’s always baffling when someone who seems to have everything going for them decides to end it all.

2) Oliver Stone working on Dubya biopic. Gah. Right now it’s looking like Josh Brolin in the title role, but I agree with Xan Cooper that Timothy Bottoms, Anthony La Paglia, or Chris Cooper would probably make more sense. La Paglia actually kinda looks like him, and Bottoms and Cooper would both be good at capturing Dubya’s spiteful essence.

January 22nd, 2008 at 11:54pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Movies

No MO Better Blunt

Yet another corrupt Republican drops out.

I, ah, may have mentioned this guy before…

January 22nd, 2008 at 11:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Republicans

One Step Closer To My Dream

Some intriguing technology news by way of Engadget:

Most of the bionic eye systems we’ve seen involve clunky glasses-cam headgear, but the implantable camera now being developed at UCLA does it straight Terminator-style and keeps your face unemcumbered. The camera, which researcher Michelle Hauer and her team recently filed a patent for, is small enough to be implanted directly on the eye’s lens, and feeds image data to a chip at the back of the eye, where it can either be fed into the optic nerve to aid the blind, or just into a portable hard drive to aid the creepy. Hauer says power will come from on an onboard battery, but we’re more interested in the mention of “optical control signals” in the patent application — and by “interested” we mean “terrified of a zombie android army.”

W00t!!! And by “W00t!!!”, I mean “Resistance is useless. You will be assimilated.”

January 22nd, 2008 at 10:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology,Weirdness

Ask Ayman

Apparently conservatives and progressives aren’t the only ones who feel like their leadership isn’t doing enough…

It’s only a matter of time before the grassroots start backing primary challengers…

(h/t Caro Kay at MakeThemAccountable)

January 22nd, 2008 at 09:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Terrorism,Weirdness

Headline Of The Week

From the NY Daily News’ Giants blog:

Eli fulfills prophecy

And don’t you forget it, suckers.

January 22nd, 2008 at 06:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Great Headlines

More Random Downtown Photoblogging

And yet still more photos from downtown:

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No awning.

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Fluorescent awning!

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How Tyra has fallen since her supermodel days…

January 22nd, 2008 at 11:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Dick’s Gives Me Pause

So I couldn’t help noticing, that on the product page for a $2.99 dumbbell, Dick’s Sporting Goods offers both an Extended Service Contract and a “Take up to 6 months to pay” option.

Do people really have a lot of trouble with their dumbbells breaking down or malfunctioning? And does anyone really need six months to pay three dollars?

Yes, I have a pretty good idea of the technical reasons why those options are there, but I’m still amused by the absurdity of the end result.

January 22nd, 2008 at 07:05am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Sports,Weirdness

Thought For Martin Luther King Day

Upon reading this Bill Moyers piece about LBJ going out on a limb to pass the Civil Rights Act, with Martin Luther King providing both pressure and cover, I found myself first thinking what a good thing it was that Dubya wasn’t president back then, and then wondering how many other presidents or prospective presidents would have done the same thing. Certainly no Republican ones. I can see Jimmy Carter at least making the attempt, although I’m not sure he would have had the clout to actually pull it off. Other than that, I can’t really see anyone who would be willing to stick their neck out to do the right thing. And this is 44 years later.

It probably says as much about the political courage of today’s so-called “leaders” and the Republican co-option of our media as it does about the persistence of racism. Which I reckon would be even worse now if the Civil Rights Act had never happened.

So bravo to MLK and LBJ. Thank you both for being where and when we needed you, and having the guts to do the right thing. I only wish that LBJ had listened to MLK on Vietnam, too.

January 21st, 2008 at 11:04pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Racism,Republicans

Random Downtown Photoblogging

Some more random photos from my Downtown Photo Excursion:

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January 21st, 2008 at 08:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Monday Media Blogging – Pt. II

After the live-action re-enactment by the guy in the Garfield costume, it gets kinda weird. More Garfield re-enactment weirdness can be found at Lasagna Cat.

(h/t Comics Curmudgeon)

January 21st, 2008 at 05:57pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Word Of The Day

Today’s made-up word: Snacuum.

Definition: The total absence of junk food.

Usage: “Football abhors a snacuum.”

January 21st, 2008 at 04:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday Media Blogging – Pt. I

Bush is stoned!

They make a compelling case…

(from reader/Technorati pilgrim JJ)

January 21st, 2008 at 01:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Monday Media Blogging

Ian Welsh Explains It All To You

This is a long but excellent summation of how we as a nation have gone astray. Here are some excerpts, but do read the whole thing:

Walk with me a while and imagine you are mad. Crazy. Insane. It’s an interesting sort of insanity–you see the world as something other than it is. You are dead convinced that people are out to get you, but these people have almost no means to harm you and fear your retaliation greatly, because you’re a powerful person and they are weak.

You believe that you are hale and hearty; but in fact you’re ghastly, obese and ill. You think you’re rich, but in fact you’re poor. You think you have the best doctor around, but in fact your doctor is worse than almost every other doctor and charges 50% more than them. You think you’re tough, and you certainly haven’t let the fact that two ninety pound weaklings seem to be able to stand up to you get in the way of that.

(…)

The illness goes deeper though, a deep decay in your brain. The parts of your brain that make most of the decisions for your body think everything is wonderful. They seem only able to take in sensations from the taste buds these days, and for the last thirty years you’ve been on a rich diet. So they think everything’s great. Your once lean body, packed with muscles, has been replaced by a flaccid one, paunchy and fat, but somehow the key parts of your brain don’t know that. They don’t feel your sore back, they don’t hear the broken down breathing and they don’t see the gut hanging over your belt.

(…)

Americans went along with going to war with Iraq then because they thought Iraq had attacked them and had nukes and could attack them again. A complete propaganda tissue of lies. But if you believe it all, well of course Iraq needed to be attacked.

What looked to the rest of the world as crazy was entirely logical. It was, however, still insane. If I see a tentacled monster from the fourth dimension attack me and I respond by grabbing a knife and slashing apart my next door neighbour who’s waving at me, well, I had a logical, coherent reason for what I did, but I still murdered him, and I’m still insane.

This is the first type of insanity in the US and it runs deep. I often feel like I spend more time correcting outright lies, outright propaganda, than anything else. Just this week I had to explain to a left wing blogger (who should know better) that single payer health insurance is cheaper and gives better results than private insurance system. Now in the US this is somehow still in doubt, but that’s insane–this isn’t in question, every other western nation that has single payer insurance spends about 1/3 less than the US and has as good health metrics or better either in most or all categories. This isn’t something that’s up in the air; this isn’t something that is unsettled. This is a bloody FACT.

(…)

The second is worse, in a sense. When Diamond wrote his book on why societies collapse he came to the conclusion that it occurred when elites weren’t experiencing the same things as the majority of the society–when they were isolated from the problems and challenges the society was facing.

For 30 years ordinary Americans haven’t had a raise. And despite all the lies, Americans are beginning to get that.

But for the people in charge the last thirty years have been absolutely wonderful. Seriously, things haven’t been this good since the 1890’s and the 1920’s. Everyone they know–their families, their mistresses and toyboys, their friends–is doing well. Wall Street paid even larger bonuses for 2007, the year they ran the ship into the shore, than they did in 2006 when their bonuses equalled the raises of 80 million Americans. Multiple CEOs walked away from companies they had bankrupted with golden parachutes in excess of 50 million. And if you can find a Senator who isn’t a millionaire (except maybe Bernie Sanders) you let me know.

(…)

This is the second insanity of the US–that the decision making apparatus in the US is disconnected from the results of their decisions. They make sure they get paid, that they’re wealthy, and let the rest of society go to hell. In the end, of course, most of them will find that the money isn’t theirs, and that what they’ve stolen is worth very little if the US has a real financial crisis.

The third insanity is simpler: it’s the wealth effect. At the end of World War II the US had about half the world’s economy. Admittedly that’s because Europe had been bombed into oblivion, but even when Europe rebuilt the US was still far, far ahead. The US was insanely rich and powerful. See, when you’re rich you can do stupid and unproductive things for a long time. There are plenty of examples of this but the two most obvious ones are the US military and the War on Drugs.

(…)

All of this is what makes predicting the US so surreal. It’s not just about knowing what the facts are and then thinking “ok, how would people respond to that?” You have to know what the facts are, what the population thinks the facts are, what the elites think the facts are, who’s making money off of it, and then ask yourself if these facts are having any real effect on the elites and if that effect is enough to outweigh the money they’re making off of failure (how many of them have children serving in Iraq? Right, not urgent to fix.)

And then you have to go back to the facts and ask yourself “what effect will these have even if they’re being ignored.” Facts are ugly things, they tend not to go away.

(…)

But here’s what I do know–you can get away with being nuts as long as enough people are benefiting from you being insane. When the credit cards are all maxed out, when the relatives have stolen even the furniture, suddenly all the enablers go away and the kneebreakers or the men in white pay you a visit. At that point you can live in the real world, or you can go to the asylum.

I wonder which way the US will go?

Alas, I’m thinking… Down. Unless we can get some clearheaded, straight-talking people in charge of both our government and our media, and it’s difficult for me to envision how that will happen.

2 comments January 20th, 2008 at 11:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Iraq,Politics,Republicans

WOOHOO!!!

This is literally unbelievable. I never would have imagined the Giants going to the Superbowl this year in my wildest dreams. It reminds me a little bit of the 1990 team, which was good-but-not-great in the regular season, squeaked through the playoffs, and then miraculously beat an unstoppable juggernaut in the Superbowl.

I hope two weeks is enough time to get all their corners completely healthy – they’re gonna need ’em.

7 comments January 20th, 2008 at 10:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Sports

Sunday I-Got-Nothin’ Photoblogging

Well, I can’t think of squat to write about (not that unusual on a Sunday), so I might as well start working through the photos from my most recent ramble:

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Brown-paper coat with a plastic-bag scarf. Frugal, but probably not very warm.

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Reflections in an empty shop.

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Reflections on a metal awning.

1 comment January 20th, 2008 at 06:09pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

Bill O’Reilly Was Right!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Bill O’Reilly, explaining that the 200,000 homeless veterans are addicts or mentally ill rather than poor:

[A]ccording to the government census, poor households in America have lots of stuff. 97 percent have a color TV, 78 percent a DVD player, 80 percent an air conditioner, 73 percent a car or truck, 63 percent cable or satellite TV, and 43 percent of poor households in the USA own the home they are living in.

So if the poor are not destitute in America, and they obviously are not, why are so many veterans sleeping under bridges, John Edwards? The answer again they’re mostly addicted or mentally ill. It has nothing to do with the economy.

Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano, explaining why he left his $100,000-a-year position on the NJ Superior Court:

I really was tired of being poor.

Apparently the Republican definition of “poor” is a little bit different from ours.

(h/t Caro Kay of Make Them Accountable)

5 comments January 19th, 2008 at 08:32pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Wankers

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

From Pharyngula, by way of fourlegsgood, the Fundies Say The Darnedest Things Top 100. Some of the quotes are almost certainly parody, but it’s not easy to be sure which. My personal Top 25 (more or less):

o No, everyone is born Christian. Only later in life do people choose to stray from Jesus and worship satan instead. Atheists have the greatest “cover” of all, they insist they believe in no god yet most polls done and the latest research indicates that they are actually a different sect of Muslims.

o Gravity: Doesn’t exist. If items of mass had any impact of others, then mountains should have people orbiting them. Or the space shuttle in space should have the astronauts orbiting it. Of course, that’s just the tip of the gravity myth. Think about it. Scientists want us to believe that the sun has a gravitation pull strong enough to keep a planet like neptune or pluto in orbit, but then it’s not strong enough to keep the moon in orbit? Why is that? What I believe is going on here is this: These objects in space have yet to receive mans touch, and thus have no sin to weigh them down. This isn’t the case for earth, where we see the impact of transfered sin to material objects. The more sin, the heavier something is.

o I am a bit troubled. I believe my son has a girlfriend, because she left a dirty magazine with men in it under his bed. My son is only 16 and I really don’t think he’s ready to date yet. What’s worse is that he’s sneaking some girl to his room behind my back. I need help, God! I want my son to stop being so secretive!

o The word of God has been in heaven forever. The KJV has always been there. The so called Hebrew words like Alleluia are English words. The English did not borrow them from the Hebrew but rather the Hebrew borrowed them from the English. If the KJV has always been there and is the original word of God then there is no other conclusion. The same can be said for any so called Greek words that were borrowed from the Greek or transliterated. It is a matter of what bias you approach this particular subject.

o [Replying to ‘as for not seeing evolution it takes several million years… incase you missed that memo…’]

several million years for a monkey to turn into a man. oh wait thats right. monkeys dont live several million years.

o If u have sex before marriage then in Gods eyes u are married to that person if a man rapes a woman in Gods eyes they are married it sucks for the girl but what can we do lol

o How can anyone beleive we evolved from monkeys heres a few questions for people who beleive that

1.If we did evolve from monkeys then how come babies arent born monkeys

(…)

4.how come we cant speak monkey

o [Talking about an eleven year old girl who was raped and then buried alive]

god was sacrificing this child as a way to show others the light. much as he did his own child. what a beautiful gift he has given us.

o Make sure your answer uses Scripture, not logic.

o A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However he should not penetrate, sodomising the child is OK. If the man penetrates and damages the child then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl, however does not count as one of his four permanent wives. The man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister.

o To say the Bible was written by men and may contain inaccuracies completely contradicts the word of the Bible.

o Me and like-minded Christian students are trying to organize a mock stoning of openly gay students at our campus. We will be using crumpled up gray/brown construction paper to represent rocks, and will recite bible verses in opposition to their sinful nature. We will throw a volley or two of these “rocks” at every Gay person we happen to encounter that day.

o Apes are just creatures twisted by Satan to mock Jesus by giving EVILolition credibility. Further more they are naturally lust crazed for human women. Since they are not natural creatures they should be exterminated forthwith as the tools of evil they are.

o Everyone knows scientists insist on using complex terminology to make it harder for True Christians to refute their claims.

Deoxyribonucleic Acid, for example… sounds impressive, right? But have you ever seen what happens if you put something in acid? It dissolves! If we had all this acid in our cells, we’d all dissolve! So much for the Theory of Evolution, Check MATE!

o Constants seldom are … pi changes depending upon the strength of the gravitational field involved.

o …I know that some of the times when I was right in the very act of looking at, not pornography, but lingerie ads or some of those things, my wife would run down the stairs because she had just had a dream where she’s being chased by Satan and she couldn’t find me in the dream to protect her. I really think that the effects of my sin were causing my protection to be taken off of her.

o all the evolutionists, tell me something. i know how the big bang “has happened, but tell me, wouldnt an explosion, especially one that size, take away life instead of allow it? think about it.

ex: the a-bomb, the h-bomb, grenades, cannon balls (when fired from a cannon of course), mines, rocket launchers, and anything and everything in between. they all have taken lives.

o What do the other human persons here think ?

No doubt someone will object, saying something obviously ridiculous like, but atheists are persons.

But clearly this is mistaken because anybody without a well developed belief in God is obviously not a full human person.

What could be more obvious than that ?

How many full human persons do you know without a well developed belief in God. Obviously none, because if they were full human person they would have a well developed belief in God.

Now some people might object to killing atheists for there (and obviously it is there and not thier as they are not whos but whats ) organs but think of all the full human persons that would benifit from the organs and the medical research that could be done on these non-persons.

How could anybody object, they are not human persons and if you think we should not kill them then that is just because of out dated ideas and because they must really just want people to suffer. For shame on you !

So what do people think ?

Should we kill these atheist human non-persons for the benifit of fully human persons ?

o so you think if no one believed in any religion there would be no wars or fighting? i think it would be worse. i know if i didn’t fear god’s judgement i would have killed many many times.

o All elements in the universe (periodic table) get their properties based on their combinations of 3 specific sub-atomic components. Protons, Neutrons, & Electrons. No element has the same combination. (ie…Gold has 79 protons, 118 neutrons, 79 electrons)Carbon (man) has 6 protons, 6 neutrons, 6 electrons. [666]. This will be the number in which the Anti-Christ will be identified by. And because a clone does not have working sexual organs, this explains why a “cloned” Anti-Christ will not have need for a woman.

o I am 100% pro-life, unless we’re talking about capital punishment, in which case I am 100% pro-death.

o No one knows what’s happening until the flood comes (according to Matthew). And the flood is here – it refers to the apocalypse. There is a huge amount of supporting evidence on the site. For example, there is evidence for the wh0re of Babylon due to a 666 mile long penis in Mexico.

o I’m not talking about a simple power outage. I’m talking about enriched plutonium which comes from the conversion of uranium into WMD. It is considered the most dangerous substance known to man and absolutely will shut off the electricity present in planes. All any terrorist has to do is drop large quantities of plutonium from airplanes onto American soil and it will render electricity completely useless. And the chain reaction that will occur from the US shutting down will be global. We Americans have had the capacity to do that to our enemies for years. I had erroneoulsy thought that atheists knew that since they claim to know so much about our universe.

o Don’t you know that evolution is basically a racist concept? Some evolutionists still teach that white people evolved from “negroes” who evolved from apes– Meaning “white people are more evolved!”

o According to evolutionists, it’s a fact that aliens ruled the planet before the dinosaurs because that can’t be disproven.

We have deformed skulls to prove that these aliens once had ape-like foreheads, and some walked on 2 legs and others walked on 4 legs. And since there have been confirmed sightings of alien spacecraft, that proves that they have come back to check on how things are going on planet earth.

We don’t know who the first alien was, but from the few skulls and bones we have, we can tell that there were millions of them. Then when they had explored planet earth, they found it boring and decided to leave but not before some of them had died here which is why we still have their skulls and bones. From them, we can tell what they wore, what color eyes they had, and that they were covered in hair. These are what evolutionists call facts, so we’ve proven that aliens once ruled the planet earth.

o Masturbation can sometimes be wrong and it can sometimes not. If you masturbate thinking about how pretty the flowers are and how you want a puppy, essentially that’s not wrong. But most times, that is not the case. I believe that when one masturbates a high percentage of the time they are fantasizing about a sexual partner therefore making masturbation lust. Lust, as the Bible states, is a sin. But masturbation is something that people in general should stay away from because it’s hard not to lust whilst doing it.

And finally, I apologize for the length, but this was just too crazy to leave out (I have attempted to insert paragraphs to make it semi-readable):

Just imagine vast fields of our sisters in Christ — sisters brain damaged and comatosed, never to mentally return to this Earth full of sin — inserted into pods that are themselves connected to a myriad of wires and hydraulic tubes (I know, it sounds exactly like the Matrix, and I freely admit, although it’s certainly a very evil movie, some of the imagery is inspiring and inspired this post).

The pods will be the most comfortable places on Earth, playing soothing music like Bible hymns and Mozart, their insides like a massage chair and covered in silk. A few intruding wires and tubes will, of course, have to connect to the women inside the pods to monitor their temperature and overall health, as well as the babies’ of those that are pregnant.

And of course there will be one tube reserved for the insertion of a man’s seed whenever the women are at their most fertile. And only the best semen will be used.

I haven’t quite settled on a selection process yet, but I’m thinking some sort of Christian council could perhaps vote on the man who is honorable and moral enough to breed generations of these children. Perhaps one man won’t be enough, for a little bit of diversity is always good. We should, therefore, most likely have a multitude of different men, one of each race.

When the children are born, they can be sent off to special adoption centers, where they can be delivered to good Christian parents who are unable to themselves breed. Those that may be left over can be raised in God, brought up in Christian schools, where prayers are said thrice daily (at least), and in the summer, they can be sent to Jesus camp. If the schools are as good as I envision, then these children will make the perfect leaders for our future.

But not just leaders, for if this idea is near as good as I am thinking, we will breed enough of these children to one day make up a huge percentage of our population, such that they can elect only the most Christian of people to the government. So even those that are not the brightest and best can contribute to God in some way.

Wow. Just wow. I also like the commenters who think they’ve come up with a brilliant, conversation-ending counterargument, like the one about DNA being acid, or the one about the Big Bang being an explosion, or the one about monkeys not living for several million years. They run rings ’round us logically.

January 19th, 2008 at 06:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Religion,Weirdness

Changiness & Journalimism

Yeah, Matt Taibbi is a scab and kind of a jerk sometimes, and he seems to bear some deep personal grudge against Hillary Clinton (my deep grudge against her is purely political), but he’s absolutely right that our political system has become a farce, and the media are largely to blame:

…[W]hen Hillary finally arrives, her speech turns out to be the same maddeningly nonspecific, platitude-filled verbal oatmeal that every candidate has spent the last year slinging in all directions — complete with the same vague promises for “change” we’ve heard from every last coached-up dog in this presidential hunt, from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney.

“Some people think you get change by demanding it,” says the former first lady. “Some people think you get change by hoping for it. I think you get change by working hard for it every single day.”

(…)

In a vacuum, of course, this is the most meaningless kind of computer-generated horseshit, the type of thing you would expect to hear coming out of the mouth of a $200-an-hour inspirational speaker at a suburban sales conference. But in this tightest of presidential races, Hillary attacking “hope” amounts to a major rhetorical offensive. “Hope,” after all, is Barack Obama’s own personal spoonful of oatmeal, and by disparaging it, Hillary has given this gym full of political hacks tomorrow’s sports headline.

And the hacks deliver, right on cue. AN OBAMA-CLINTON TEMPEST BREWS roars The Los Angeles Times, noting that Hillary’s shot at “hoping for change ” is directed at Obama, while “demanding change” is code for John Edwards.

The next stage in this asinine process is the obligatory retorts. Obama responds by crowing, “I don’t need lectures about how to bring about change.” The “change-demander,” Edwards, stakes out his own platitudinal turf, insisting that change isn’t about work or hope at all, but about “toughness” and “courage.”

Reading all of this crap the next day, I’m amazed. Here we are, the world’s lone superpower, holding elections at a time when we’re engaged in a catastrophic war in Iraq, facing a burgeoning nuclear crisis in Pakistan, dealing with all sorts of horrible stuff. And at the crucial moment, the presidential race turns into something from the cutting-room floor of Truly Tasteless Jokes #50: “Three change-promisers walk into a bar. . . .”

I mean, is this a joke, or what? What the hell is the difference between “working for change” and “demanding change”? And why can’t we hope for change and work for it? Are these presidential candidates or six-year-olds?

(…)

And while it’s tempting to blame the candidates, deep in my black journalist’s heart I know it isn’t all their fault.

We did this. The press. America tried to give us a real race, and we turned it into a bag of shit, just in the nick of time.

EVERY reporter who spends any real time on the campaign trail gets wrapped up in the horse race. It’s inevitable. You tell me how you can spend nearly two years watching the dullest speeches known to man and not spend most of your time wondering about the one surefire interesting moment the whole thing has to offer: the ending.

Stripped of its prognosticating element, most campaign journalism is essentially a clerical job, and not a particularly noble one at that. On the trail, we reporters aren’t watching politics in action: The real stuff happens behind closed doors, where armies of faceless fund-raising pros are glad-handing equally faceless members of the political donor class, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars that will be paid off in very specific favors over the course of the next four years. That’s the real high-stakes poker game in this business, and we don’t get to sit at that table.

(…)

Give an army of proud professionals nothing but a silly horse race to cover, and inevitably they’ll elevate even the most meaningless details of that horse race to cosmic importance.This is how you end up getting candidates bludgeoned to death on the altar of such trivialities as “rookie mistakes” and “lack of warmth”; it’s how you end up getting elections decided because candidates like John Kerry are unable to overcome adjectives like “looks French” and “long-faced Easter Island statue.”

That’s what happened in Iowa. For once, voters tried to say that they were perfectly capable of choosing a president without us, that they could do without any of this nonsense. But they were wrong. Nonsense would have its day!

(…)

Locked in a tight race with Mitt Romney, [Mike Huckabee] has so far taken the high road, refusing to mention his opponent by name, even though Romney has been whaling on Huckabee’s tax record in recent days with a series of savage negative ads.

For that offense against the unwritten laws of campaign-trail horseshit, Huckabee, the one-time media darling of this race, has lately been taking a beating in the press. Reporters aren’t interested in the real story line — Huckabee the innovative economic populist against Romney the unapologetic Wall Street whore, the Republican who mortified party leaders by talking sympathetically about the poor versus the coifed speculator for whom injustice means the capital gains tax. What the press wants out of Huckabee isn’t more detail about his economic ideas, but evidence that he is willing to “fight back” against Romney. “Can Mr. Nice Guy go on the offensive?” wondered Politico.com, a weirdly aggressive torch-waving newcomer to the media witch-hunt game. “That’s the question facing the surging Mike Huckabee. . . .”

…Previously smiling and Muppet-like in most of his stump addresses, Huckabee today is positively monomaniacal in his fixation on Romney — he sounds like a late-stage Lenny Bruce ranting about cops and Francis Cardinal Spellman. “I did not grow up privileged,” he croaks. “I did not grow up with a last name that opened the door. In fact, my last name probably closed a few. Never in my life did I ever remember somebody asking my dad would he be willing to come out and endorse a candidate.”

To me it’s Huckabee’s worst performance, but the press reviews the next day are exultant. NICE-GUY HUCKABEE FIRES BACK IN IOWA shouts the Baltimore Sun. HUCKABEE DROPS ‘R-BOMBS’ IN IOWA seconds a satisfied Politico.

This scene is a perfect example of the dynamic that dominates virtually all campaign coverage. No matter which issues or grass-roots support elevate a candidate to the limelight, in order to stay there he ends up having to play this game, a sort of political version of Fear Factor in which candidates must eat bowl after bowl of metaphorical worms to prove their worthiness.

(…)

How did one of the most genuinely interesting primary contests in American history devolve into a Grade-D smack-down that even Vince McMahon would be ashamed to promote? The real story of the campaign has been its unprecedented unpredictability — and therein lies the problem. On both tickets, the abject failure of media-anointed front-runners to hold their ground was due at least in part to voters having grown weary of being told by the press who was “electable” and who wasn’t. Both the Huckabee and Ron Paul candidacies represent angry grass-roots challenges to the entrenched Republican party apparatus, while the Edwards candidacy is a frank and open attack on his own party’s too-cozy relationship with corporate America. These developments signaled a meaningful political phenomenon — widespread voter disgust, not only with the two ruling parties, but with a national political press that smugly enforced the party insiders’ stranglehold on the process with its incessant bullying of dissident candidates.

But there was no way this genuinely interesting theme was going to make it into mainstream coverage of the campaign heading into the primary season. It was inevitable that different, far stupider story lines would be found to dominate the headlines once the real bullets started flying in Iowa and New Hampshire. And find them we did.

A month ago, I was actually interested to see who won these first few races. But now that this whole affair has degenerated into a mass orgy of sports clichés and celebrity catfighting, I find myself more hoping that they all die in a fire somehow. And something tells me that most of America would hope that my colleagues and I burn up with them.

The media have their own ideas about how the game is supposed to be played, and any candidate who doesn’t want to play that way risks being dismissed as weak or non-viable. The media also clearly have preferred candidates that they want to see do well, and uncool candidates that they wish would just go away. Have you noticed how many times political pundits and “analysts” have called for Edwards to drop out, yet no-one ever calls for Rudy or Fred to drop out, even when they finish in single digits and behind Ron Paul?

Also, I emphatically agree with Taibbi that the argument about “change” is ridiculous, especially since I really can’t see Obama or Hillary doing much to shake up the status quo, or even making an attempt to. I worry that Obama will compromise rather than fight; and I worry that Hillary will fight for the wrong things.

(h/t Caro Kay at Make Them Accountable)

2 comments January 19th, 2008 at 03:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics

The Stimulator-In-Chief

I’m sure I’m very late to the party on this one, and this has probably all been said already, but I need to get it out of my system because all of Dubya’s little nuggets of wankery are just sticking in my craw and this is the best way to get them out. Some select quotes from his press conference today about his economic stimulus plan, and my reactions to them:

To be effective, a growth package must include tax incentives for American businesses, including small businesses, to make major investments in their enterprises this year. Giving them an incentive to invest now will encourage business owners to expand their operations, create new jobs, and inject new energy into our economy in the process.

Tax cuts for businesses! Woohoo! They will surely spend them in ways that stimulate and enrich the economy and create jobs!

To be effective, a growth package must also include direct and rapid income tax relief for the American people. Americans could use this money as they see fit — to help meet their monthly bills, cover higher costs at the gas pump, or pay for other basic necessities. Letting Americans keep more of their own money should increase consumer spending, and lift our economy at a time when people otherwise might spend less.

“Higher costs at the gas pump,” eh? How did that happen, I wonder. And I’ve always loved that charming antitax catchphrase, “Letting Americans keep more of their own money.” Taxation = Stealing!

Passing a new growth package is our most pressing economic priority. When that is done, Congress must turn to the most important economic priority for our country, and that’s making sure the tax relief that is now in place is not taken away. A source of uncertainty in our economy is that this tax relief is set to expire at the end of 2010. Unless Congress acts, the American people will face massive tax increases in less than three years. The marriage penalty will make a comeback; the child tax credit will be cut in half; the death tax will come back to life; and tax rates will go up on regular income, capital gains, and dividends. This tax increase would put jobs and economic growth at risk, and Congress has a responsibility to keep that from happening. So it’s critical that Congress make this tax relief permanent.

Yes, that’s right; the economy is tanking because people are worried about losing their tax cuts three years from now. Also, I seem to remember that jobs and economic growth were doing pretty well under the Exorbitant Tax Burden of the Clinton years. Bonus points for using the “death tax” euphemism; “estate tax” makes it sound like it only applies to rich people or something. Hey, maybe Congress could pass something to just make the marriage penalty fix and child tax credit increase permanent, whaddaya say?

In a vibrant economy, markets rise and decline. We cannot change that fundamental dynamic. As a matter of fact, eliminating risk altogether would also eliminate the innovation and productivity that drives the creation of jobs and wealth in America. Yet there are also times when swift and temporary actions can help ensure that inevitable market adjustments do not undermine the health of the broader economy. This is such a moment.

The stock market plummeting is actually proof of what a strong economy we have! Awesome! I feel so much better now that I know that this is just an inevitable market adjustment rather than reckless fiscal policy pigeons coming home to roost.

By passing an effective growth package quickly, we can provide a shot in the arm to keep a fundamentally strong economy healthy.

Just because we need a stimulus package right away, that doesn’t mean that the economy is actually bad. Phew, what a relief. Hopefully Congress will keep that in mind when Dubya starts pressuring them to pass a package that’s 70-80% corporate tax cuts right away or the world will end…

January 19th, 2008 at 12:46am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Economy,Wankers

Other People’s Photoblogging

This is just amazing. Some HDR (high dynamic range) photos from Japan:

hdr_8.jpg
Nihonbashi (Tokyo) – Photo by Altus

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No.6 (Kanagawa prefecture) – Photo by dokool

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Machinery (Tokyo) – Photo by heiwa4126

Unbelievable, especially that last one. More Japanese HDR photos here.

(h/t Pink Tentacle)

3 comments January 18th, 2008 at 11:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Art/Architecture,Coolness

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