Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Mystery solved! We now know who was behind the North Carolina robocalls:


Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women’s Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among “unmarried women voters.”

What’s more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women’s Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn’t the group’s first brush with controversy. Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.


Women’s Voices Women Vote have an explanation worthy of the Bush Administration as to why this all happened:


The group’s spokeswoman Sarah Johnson confirmed to me that those were the group’s calls and said that they were part of an effort to register three million women voters in 24 states. The fact that the calls came shortly before the North Carolina primary, potentially confusing voters, was unfortunate mistake, she said. We’re “incredibly apologetic about the timing of
this.” The group was simply working at such a “high volume” that it was “extremely difficult to tailor the mailing to every single state’s schedule,” she said. The calls precede the mailers, she said, because it increases the rate of response.


Right. So… it’s “Women’s Voices Women Vote,” correct? Then who the fuck is Lamont Williams? They have no answer.

Carpetbagger notes:


Under normal circumstances, an aboveboard voter registration effort would start a robo-call by saying, “This is so-and-so from Women’s Voices, Women Vote and I’m calling to…” But that’s not what happened here; instead the robo-calls used a made-up person to leave messages and at least gave the impression that someone might need to complete some additional paperwork before voting.

The whole thing seems kind of odd, doesn’t it?


Why yes, yes it does. Smells an awful lot like voter suppression still, and I have just one question: why does this look like Hillary supporters trying to ensure potential Obama voters are under the impression they can’t vote until they’ve returned paperwork, eh? I hope an investigation ensues.

In other news, another Bush hack bites the dust:


At the request of the White House, General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan resigned last night as head of the government’s premier contracting agency, ending a tumultuous tenure in which she was accused of trying to award work to a friend and misusing her authority for political ends.

[snip]

Doan’s resignation came almost a year after Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he believed Doan could no longer be effective because of the allegations about her leadership.

Waxman’s committee began investigating Doan after stories in The Washington Post showed that she had approved a $20,000, no-bid arrangement last July with a business run by a friend and had tried to reduce the budget of the agency’s inspector general.

I’m sure she’ll be missed – by those she was doing the favors for. The rest of us are just happy to advise her not to let the door hit her in the ass on the way out.

At this point, it’ll be news if there’s an honest person left in that bloody Administration.

Speaking of dishonest fucking bastards, check out Dick Cheney’s latest hit:


The always-creative team of Dick Cheney and his lawyers are at it again.


The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed [Monday] that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.

The exception claimed by Cheney’s counsel came in response to requests from Congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president’s chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.

Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney’s conduct is “not within the [congressional] committee’s power of inquiry”.

“Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by law what a vice-president communicates in the performance of the vice president’s official duties, or what a vice president recommends that a president communicate,” Wheelbarger wrote to senior aides on Capitol Hill.


I see. So, last year, Dick Cheney couldn’t be regulated by executive-branch rules because, he said, he’s not actually part of the executive branch. This year, Dick Cheney can’t be regulated by the legislative branch, either.


Next thing you know, good old Dick “Shoot Your Friends in the Face and Your Country in the Head” Cheney’ll be claiming an exemption from God’s wary eye.

However, I doubt he’ll be able to run from a Democratic majority next year. Mwah-ha-ha.

John Derbyshire Gives Blogger Heart Failure

I hear your two questions: “Who the fuck is John Derbyshire?” and “Which blogger?”

This blogger. Me. And this is John Derbyshire. Everybody say “Hi, John!” Yes, I’m asking you to say hello to a conservative columnist. A cheery hello, at that. Even though he’s a homophobic racist hypocrite (as he admits himself), we can extend a cautious hand of welcome. After all, for a conservative, he is, as he says, “a mild and tolerant” racist homophobe, which is damned near miraculous for a National Review Online columnist.

He immigrated illegally from Great Britian before he became legal and started hating on all the brown immigrants, so that likely explains why he’s the kind of conservative who can give me heart failure for being rational, reasonable, and uplifiting.

I found him on The Panda’s Thumb. He’s one of the rare few conservatives who’s been quoted as saying non-outrageous things about evolution. I still hesitated before clicking that “Continue reading A Blood Libel on Our Civilization at the National Review” link. I mean, it’s the fucking National Review. It’s fuckwit central. But I like to think I have courage, and at times even an open mind, although that’s been hard to keep open after the abuse it’s taken from the neocons. So I steeled myself and clicked.

His article has a promising start. Right under the title, it asks, “Can I expell Expelled?”

Absolutely, John. You most certainly can. By all means. I’d be delighted to hold the door open while you boot them in the arse, even.

Things then became a bit rocky, but I soldiered on:


What on earth has happened to Ben Stein? He and I go back a long way. No, I’ve never met the guy. Back in the 1970s, though, when The American Spectator was in its broadsheet format, I would always turn first to Ben Stein’s diary, which appeared in every issue. He was funny and clever and worldly in a way I liked a lot. The very few times I’ve caught him on-screen, he seems to have had a nice line in deadpan self-deprecation, also something I like. Though I’ve never met him, I know people who know him, and they all speak well of him. Larry Kudlow, whose opinion is worth a dozen average opinions on any topic, thinks the world of Ben.

Oh, deary, deary me. He loves Ben. No good can come of this.


So what’s going on here with this stupid Expelled movie? No, I haven’t seen the dang thing. I’ve been reading about it steadily for weeks now though, both pro (including the pieces by David Klinghoffer and Dave Berg on National Review Online) and con, and I can’t believe it would yield up many surprises on an actual viewing. It’s pretty plain that the thing is creationist porn, propaganda for ignorance and obscurantism. How could a guy like this do a thing like that?

Easy, my dear John. Ben Stein is an opportunistic assclown. He’s snookered you into thinking he has a frontal lobe. I am so sorry you had to find out the truth this way.

Heh. You said porn. Hur hur hur.

So far, not so bad. Gingerly, I continued picking my way through the piece, convinced that at any moment, I’d get my legs blown off by a sudden claymore landmine of neocon fucktardedness. There were moments where I’d stop, breathless, convinced I’d just tripped a wire:


The first thing that came to mind was Saudi money. Half of the evils and absurdities in our society seem to have a Saudi prince behind them somewhere, and the Wahhabists are, like all fundamentalist Muslims, committed creationists.


Awshit. Just when it was all going so swimmingly, here we go with the Islamofascists are responsible for everything bad!!1!1!!! spiel. What a fucking disappointment… holy fuck, what’s this?


This doesn’t hold water, though. For one thing, Stein is Jewish. For another, he is rich, and doesn’t need the money. And for another, the stills and clips I have seen are from a low-budget production. Saudi financing would surely at least have come up with some decent computer graphics.


Ye gods. Logic! Tortured, twisted logic, true, but considering we’re dealing with a conservative mind writing in the National Review, that’s pretty damned impressive. Most of them just leave it at “Islamofascists didit, blow them all to bits, the end.” The man questioned his assumptions. He tried applying reason.

This is where the heart attack happened. Clutching my chest, I continued to read:


It is at any rate clear that [the producers of Expelled] engaged in much deception with the subjects they interviewed for the movie, many of whom are complaining loudly. This, together with much, much else about the movie, can be read about on the Expelled Exposed website put up by the National Center for Science Education, which I urge all interested readers to explore.

Total. Heart. Failure. He, John Derbyshire, a conservative writer for the National Review, just referred his readers, nay, urged them, to visit ExpelledExposed.com, not to debunk or sneer but to learn.

I’d say “be still, my heart,” but you’ve stopped, so that’s redundant at this point.


My own theory is that the creationists have been morally corrupted by the constant effort of pretending not to be what they are. What they are, as is amply documented, is a pressure group for religious teaching in public schools.


My heart stopped already, right? Can it stop again? He even freely admits that these fuckers are trying to pass religion off as science!


One of my favorite comments came from “Pixy Misa” (Andrew Mazels) who correctly called Ben Stein’s accusing Darwin of responsibility for the Holocaust “a blood libel on science.”

I would actually go further than that, to something like “a blood libel on Western Civilization.”


Wow-e-wow. Just… wow. I know I’m dead, now. Conservatives in our country just don’t say things like this. I must have ended up going down the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time this morning. Total alternate universe. Has to be.


Western civilization has many glories. Ther
e are the legacies of the ancients, in literature and thought. There are the late-medieval cathedrals, those huge miracles of stone, statuary, and spiritual devotion. There is painting, music, the orderly cityscapes of Renaissance Italy, the peaceful, self-governed townships of old New England and the Frontier, the steel marvels of the early industrial revolution, our parliaments and courts of law, our great universities with their spirit of restless inquiry.

And there is science, perhaps the greatest of all our achievements, because nowhere else on earth did it appear. China, India, the Muslim world, all had fine cities and systems of law, architecture and painting,
poetry and prose, religion and philosophy. None of them ever accomplished what began in northwest Europe in the later 17th century, though: a scientific revolution. Thoughtful men and women came together in learned societies to compare notes on their observations of the natural world, to test their ideas in experiments, and in reasoned argument against the ideas of others, and to publish their results in learned journals. A body of common knowledge gradually accumulated. Patterns were observed, laws discerned and stated.

Glories! Yes! “Spirit of restless inquiry,” even so! Science, “greatest of all our achievements,” absolutely! I’ll even forgive you that little sneer at other countries for not having a scientific revolution, because by your narrow definition of a scientific revolution, you’re right. They didn’t have one. But you understand the glory and importance of science, John, and that…


…brings to us a feeling for what the scientific endeavor is like, and how painfully its triumphs are won, with what sweat and tears. Our scientific theories are the crowning adornments of our civilization, towering monuments of intellectual effort, built from untold millions of hours of observation, measurement, classification, discussion, and deliberation. This is quite apart from their wonderful utility — from the light, heat, and mobility they give us, the drugs and the gadgets and the media. (A “thank you” wouldn’t go amiss.) Simply as intellectual constructs, our well-established scientific theories are awe-inspiring.


This, my darlings, is where I began to cry. Because John Derbyshire, a conservative, stated precisely how I feel about science. He expressed perfectly my own sense of wonder, my awe and appreciation, my love. His passion and mine recognize each other joyously. This is what draws us together over the divide. This is what makes those differences in ideology solvable. A conservative gets it. He understands, and respects, science. This is hope, people. This is fertile middle ground, this is. He can’t be the only conservative in this country who feels this way.

And how does he feel about Ben, now?


And now here is Ben Stein, sneering and scoffing at Darwin, a man who spent decades observing and pondering the natural world — that world Stein glimpses through the window of his automobile now and then, when he’s not chattering into his cell phone.


Ouch. And Intelligent Design?


The “intelligent design” hoax is not merely non-science, nor even merely anti-science; it is anti-civilization. It is an appeal to barbarism, to the sensibilities of those Apaches, made by people who lack the imaginative power to know the horrors of true barbarism. (A thing that cannot be said of Darwin. See Chapter X of Voyage of the Beagle.)

And yes: When our greatest achievements are blamed for our greatest moral failures, that is a blood libel against Western civilization itself.


Very ouch.

All that’s needed now is for more true conservatives like John Derbyshire to get so disgusted with the neocons and theocons that they wrest back conservatism from the assmonkeys destroying it. It can be done. That middle ground that I was pining for a bit ago, it can be created again. We’ll all be freely mingling in it, visiting from our respective ends of the political spectrum, cheerfully ribbing each other over what we consider each other’s silly ideologies, but able to debate rather than degrade, talk rather than shout.

That’s what this article has shown me. It’s still possible. The divide is not yet an impassable chasm. There are some people on both sides busily building bridges and caulking the cracks. They’re making it possible for us to reach each other.

And when we get there, won’t we ever have a delightful time bashing the IDiots? Once I get my heart started again, anyway.

Who Was it Who Loves the Terrorists, Again?

If there’s anything I’ve learned about the modern Republicon party, it’s this: the louder they decry something, the more likely it is they’re doing it. The party of purity loves them some prostitutes. The rabidly anti-gay get up to all kinds of shennanigans in airport bathrooms and White House dormitories. They preach small government and practice unfettered executive power. Bitch about Democrats being governmental spendthrifts while they flush our tax dollars down the national toilet. I could go on, but we’d be here all night, and I think you’ve got the idea.

So, when Newt Gingrich says that “the left wing of the Democratic Party, frankly, kind of admires American terrorists,” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?

Indeed. It occurred to Digby to ask which American terrorists the right wing of the Republicon Party kind of admires, and what do you know:


You remember Rudolph, don’t you? He was a God fearing right wing extremist who was on the run for several years for after “bombing an Atlanta-area abortion clinic in 1997 and a Birmingham, Ala., clinic in 1998. In addition to the clinic bombings, Rudolph was indicted in relation to the 1997 bombing of an Atlanta gay and lesbian nightclub that injured five people and the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, which killed one person and injured 111 others.”

And when they finally caught him:


Since he didn’t look as if he had stumbled out of a cave,
investigators believe Rudolph must have received help over the years. “If he’s been living in a mobile home, you’d assume quite a few people knew he was there,” says Ronald Baughn, a retired federal law-enforcement agent who helped investigate the Atlanta and Birmingham bombings. Indeed, Rudolph had become a local folk hero. In Murphy, T shirts and coffee mugs appeared saying RUN RUDOLPH, RUN.


That’s more than just admiration for American terrorism. That’s solidarity.


Indeed.

It doesn’t end there. Glenn Greenwald did some digging as well, and ended up with one of the most relentless indictments of the Bush Administration he’s ever written. It turns out the Republicons lurves them some foreign terrorists, too:


The New York Times, July 18, 1990


Cuban Linked to Terror Bombings Is Freed by Government in Miami

Orlando Bosch, a right-wing Cuban who is believed by American officials to be responsible for dozens of bombings aimed at the Castro Government, was released from jail here today in a deal with the United States Government [led by George Bush The First]. . . .


[snip]

The Guardian, December 2, 2002:


The brother of President George Bush, the Florida governor, Jeb Bush, has been instrumental in securing the release from prison of militant Cuban exiles convicted of terrorist offences, according to a new book. The Bush family has also accommodated the demands of Cuban exile hardliners in exchange for electoral and financial support, the book suggests.


[snip]

Rosa Brooks, The Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2007:


LIKE PIRATES, terrorists are supposedly hostis humani generis — the “enemy of all mankind.” So why is the Bush administration letting one of the world’s most notorious terrorists stroll freely around the United States?

I’m talking about a man who was — until 9/11 — perhaps the most successful terrorist in the Western Hemisphere. He’s believed to have masterminded a 1976 plot to blow up a civilian airliner, killing all 73 people on board, including teenage members of Cuba’s national fencing team. He’s
admitted to pulling off a series of 1997 bombings aimed at tourist hotels and nightspots.
Today, he’s living illegally in the United States, but senior members of the Bush administration — the very guys who declared war on terror just a few short years ago — don’t seem terribly bothered.

I’m talking about Luis Posada Carriles. That’s not a household name for most U.S. citizens, but for many in Latin America, Posada is as reviled as Osama bin Laden is in the United States. . . .


As Digby said, that’s more than just admiration. That’s solidarity.

Every time the Republicons start throwing stones, I hear the merry tinkle of shattering glass. In this case, it appears the damage is the result of pipe bombs.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

When policies, truth, and just plain good campaigning fail, try voter suppression:


Here’s another for the annals of vote suppression. Calls have gone out to an untold number of North Carolina voters telling them that they need to fill out a registration form before they vote. Democracy North Carolina, a government watchdog that has posted audio (wav) of the call, says that the calls went out to “black neighborhoods.”


Sounds like the usual Republicon tried-and-true method for making sure Democrats don’t get out and vote, although TPM Muckraker hasn’t been able to trace this back to a particular group. Still, if you’re in North Carolina, might be a good time to let your friends know that this message is a steaming pile of bullshit.

Speaking of steaming piles of bullshit, Bush wants us to believe all our economic woes are due to folks not thinking his tax cuts are permanent:


To hear Bush tell it, the economic anxiety Americans feel right now is somehow related to tax cuts that expire in 2011 — tax cuts that primarily don’t help the middle class or low-income families anyway.

In all seriousness, how many people who are worried about their families’ finances right now are going to say, “I’ve been really worried, but now that I know my tax rate will remain the same in 2011 as it is 2010, I’m feeling better again”? That, in essence, is what the president argued with a straight face this morning. The answer for economic angst now is maintenance of existing tax cuts three years from now.

Ben at TP recently offered a competing explanation for economic anxiety.


[M]aybe American negative attitudes toward the economy stem from the housing and credit crises, job losses, rising unemployment, a volatile stock market, high gas prices, high family debt, flat wages, increasing budget deficits, a weak dollar, and rising health care costs — not to mention the effects of the $12 billion per month war in Iraq that is being bankrolled largely on borrowed funds.


Don’t know about you all, but I’m for Ben’s assessment. I think the latest round of tax cuts saved me all of $50. That doesn’t go very far toward filling the gas tank these days. Sure as fuck didn’t help my wages. You know how much of a raise his tax cuts gave me? $.02 per hour. Two. Cents. I’ll pay higher taxes in exchange for a better wage, thank you so very much.

And for those reality-challenged sorts who think tax cuts for the wealthy trickle down, just let me ask one thing: why is it that when my company’s taxes go down, my raise doesn’t go up?

McCain still needs to be bashed in the head with a clue-by-four:


This seems like an easy story for the media to pick up on, if reporters were interested — McCain keeps visiting specific locales for campaign purposes, but in nearly every instance, he either has or intends to undercut the facilities he’s visiting. This should be quite an embarrassment for McCain and his campaign. And yet, I have a hunch this will go completely unmentioned.

And just as an aside, I’ve been mulling over where McCain could go to talk to people who would benefit from his policy agenda. Country clubs? Corporate board rooms? Military-contractor conventions? No wonder McCain is showing up in odd places; he has limited options about where he can realistically go.


Too fucking right. You really need to go read up on his visit to a childrens’ hospital in Miami to get the full-flavored fuckwittery involved in this.

In better news, teens and young adults are far wiser than McCain:


The Pew Research Center’s latest report notes, “Trends in the opinions of America’s youngest voters are often a barometer of shifting political winds.” If so, the winds are at Democrats’ backs, and will be for a quite a while. While young people shifted to the Democratic Party a bit in the 1990s, the bottom fell out for the GOP and younger voters during Bush’s presidency.

In 1992, Republicans enjoyed a slight edge in party identification among 18-29 year olds, 47% to 46%. Four years later, Democrats claimed a six-point edge, 50% to 44%. By the time of the 2000 election, Democrats’ lead had expanded slightly to eight points, 49% to 41%.

And voters under the age of 30 have been making a beeline from the Republican Party ever since. In 2004, Democrats’ lead among young voters’ party ID expanded to 11 points, 51% to 40%. And in 2008, the margin became a landslide — Democrats 58%, Republicans 33%.


Who else gets the feeling the GOP has become the party of dinosaurs?

Hangover Discurso

There’s so much delicious depravity I just can’t keep up these days. It’s time for morning-after opining on the public discourse once again. Bring me some hair o’ the dog and let’s get to it, my darlings.

First up, dday at Digby’s Hullaballoo has a delightful dissection of “McCain’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Week”:


I hope somebody’s taking notes on this week’s travails for John McCain, because if this was October and anyone was paying attention, his entire staff would be fired and the RNC would be gamely talking about random downballot races and how “2012 looks to be an up year.”


It’s a whirlwind tour of some of the most outrageous bullshit ever to come out of a presidential campaign. Simply gorgeous. Go read it. I’ll just sit here sipping quietly until your return.

Welcome back. Let me pour you another. I’ve got another brilliant take-down of McCain, this time from the incomparable Glenn Greenwald, who points out just how far John “Torture is Wrong – Let’s Authorize More!” McCain has gone in creating the moral morass we find ourselves in today:


An article by The New York Times’s Mark Mazzetti this morning discloses a letter (.pdf) from the Justice Department to Congress which asserts “that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law.” In other words, even after all of the dramatic anti-torture laws and other decrees, the Bush administration insists that American interrogators have the right to use methods that are widely considered violations of the Geneva Conventions if we decide that doing so might help “thwart terrorist attacks.”

There are two reasons, and two reasons only, that the Bush Administration is able to claim this power: John McCain and the Military Commissions Act. In September, 2006, McCain made a melodramatic display — with great media fanfare — of insisting that the MCA require compliance with the Geneva Conventions for all detainees. But while the MCA purports to require that, it also vested sole and unchallenged discretion in the President to determine what does and does not constitute a violation of the Conventions. After parading around as the righteous opponent of torture, McCain nonetheless endorsed and voted for the MCA, almost single-handedly ensuring its passage. That law pretends to compel compliance with the Conventions, while simultaneously vesting the President with the power to violate them — precisely the power that the President is invoking here to proclaim that we have the right to use these methods.


Isn’t that precious? The President gets to decide. I guess McCain really took all that “I’m the decider” malarkey to heart. His political ambitions even overcome the fact that he understands the evils of torture from first-hand experience. I don’t know about you, but I truly do not want a deceptive shitsack like this as our next President.

And you might notice something about this little snippet that sounds an awful lot like Scalia’s recent “torture doesn’t violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment because it’s not punishment” poison. This is what our culture has been reduced to: semantic arguments. They torture bodies, and then they torture the law to justify it.

I can’t put too fine a point on this: I fucking despise these goddamned motherfucking assholes.

And I loathe their media enablers:


Last week, Politico reported that John McCain has an “unorthodox strategy” to capture the presidency — he “will rely on free media to an unprecedented degree to get out his message.”

Interesting word, “rely” — the American Heritage Dictionary defines it not only as “to be dependent for support, help, or supply,” but also as “to place or have faith or confidence.”

Planning a presidential campaign around confidence that the news media will get your message out for you might ordinarily be considered a risky gambit. But the media wasted no time in establishing that McCain’s faith will be rewarded.


Jamison Foser of MediaMatters.org is relentless in deconstructing the media’s passionate desire to attach their lips firmly to McCain’s bare buttocks. It’s just sad that he has so much material to work with. “Fair and balanced” has apparently come to mean reporting fair and lovely things about McCain while balancing vicious attacks on the Democratic candidates equally between Obama and Hillary.

I feel a desire to protest coming on. Someone get me a picket. Preferrably a sharp one.

From that same article comes this statement that fair took my breath away:


On Tuesday, The New York Times ran what should have served as a reminder to other media outlets that stipulating to McCain’s purity is not journalism, it is cheerleading. The Times revealed that McCain helped Donald Diamond, one of his biggest fundraisers, purchase a stretch of California coastal land from the Pentagon — a purchase that netted Diamond a $20 million profit. Diamond explained: “I think that is what Congress people are supposed to do for constituents. … When you have a big, significant businessman like myself, why wouldn’t you want to help move things along? What else would they do? They waste so much time with legislation.” (emphasis incredulously added)


Oh my fucking gods did Diamond really just say something that outrageously stupid?

Does this assclown not realize that Congress is the fucking legislative branch? They write and enact legislation. That’s what they do, at least when they’re not in bed happily humping “big, significant businessmen” like Diamond.

Remember, McCain likes to present himself as a straight-talking, straight-shooting, lobbyist-and-earmark-fighting maverick. I think that myth has been as thoroughly debunked as the “scientific” theory of Intelligent Design, don’t you? If you’re undecided, go read the Times article. It even shocked me, and I thought I was long past being shocked by McCain’s scumbaggery.

This is our political landscape, my darlings. Look upon it and weep. And then get bloody angry and vote these fuckers out of power, flay the media that licks their toes, and boycott the businessmen who turn our lawmakers into toadying douchebags.

They Cannot Defeat the ERV!

This is by way of a public service announcement for those who might’ve gotten a nasty shock yesterday morning when trying to drop by ERV. It’s all very mysterious, and Abbie’s not saying much other than she considers it “malicious behavior,” but ERV vanished into thin air.

Wailing and rending of garments commenced. And I really mean it. Abbie’s one of the best science bloggers out there.

So it’s appropriate that she’s now got a happy home on ScienceBlogs. No one could deserve such fortune more – I just hope they know how lucky they are they’ve got her.

Let that be a lesson to malicious fuckwits who try to get blogs like Abbie’s removed, if that is what happened: you’re only making it worse. Abbie now has the might of ScienceBlogs behind her. She’s a force that cannot be stopped.

Be warned.

Be afraid.

Now go the fuck away.

Right, my darlings. In honor of the new ERV, raise your glasses high. Salud, mi amiga!

What’s Up With the “Mike Argento” and “Expelled” Search?

Sitemeter is like the Dark Lord. It sees all, knows all. And yes, I’m afraid my Lord of the Rings fangirldom just got the best of me there. Do pardon me.

What it doesn’t know is why a few of you have stumbled into my cantina after doing a Google search for “Mike Argento” and “Expelled.”

What’s up with that?

In the best traditions of investigative journalism, I searched both Mike’s columns in the York Daily Record and Argento’s Front Stoop, and found nary a thing. I knew I wouldn’t discover anything through Google because you lot kept ending up here. So I found a Deep Throat source – i.e., emailed Mike – and he says he hasn’t written anything yet but likely will after he’s seen the film. We’ll all have to troop over and read it. The man’s a modern-day Mark Twain, and besides the fact he’s that good, he’ll deserve love after the suffering.

I’ll keep you posted, so by all means, if you stumbled here looking for Mike Argento and Expelled, stumble back soon. In the meantime, might I suggest some recent Mike:


Bury the groundhog metaphor

MIKE ARGENTO
Article Last Updated: 04/27/2008 02:19:12 AM EDT

Now that it’s over, the first thing we should do to recover from our close-call with the electoral process, as a state, is kill that groundhog.


You know you’re going to end up spitting your drink all over the screen and then cracking your ribs with laughter. How do you know? Because I just did.

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Aw, the poor widdle Republicons are all upset because the meanie DNC’s using McCain’s own words against him:


It was as predictable as the sunrise. The Democratic National Committee launched a very good ad hitting John McCain — in an entirely fair and accurate way — for his comments about keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for another century. Given that whenever anyone, anywhere, mentions the words “John McCain” and “100 years” in the same sentence Republicans get apoplectic, it stood to reason that the new DNC ad would cause quite a few GOP operatives to really a blow a gasket.

And, right on cue


The Republican National Committee wants CNN and MSNBC to stop airing the DNC’s new national television advertisement, calling it “false and defamatory” and illegally coordinated.

“This is a complaint about the facts that are being misrepresented in the ad, and this being a deliberate falsehood, that we are saying, stations have an obligation to protect the public from airing a deliberate falsehood,” said Sean Cairncross, an RNC lawyer.

The RNC provided no evidence to support their change [sic] that the communication has illegally coordinated, aside for a few newspaper articles pointing out that some Democrats work for both a candidate and the committee, like pollster Cornell Belcher. DNC chairman Howard Dean said this morning that neither campaign saw or heard the ad before the [sic] put it out.

The RNC is ginning up the threat of legal action to give weight to their criticism of the ad’s content. Cairncross would not say whether the party will sue CNN or MSNBC, the two cable networks airing the ad, if they refuse to kill it.


Aren’t they adorable? They’re just like little four-year old tyrants: they go around the playground beating up other kids, but the second somebody hits them back, they run crying to Mommy. Fairly warms my heart, that does. I say we keep hitting. You can go view the awful, mean ad here, along with Carpetbagger’s patient explaination as to why every single point the RNC’s making is complete bullshit.

Speaking of adorable arguments worth of a four-year old, Scalia’s all ready to explain to us why torture is fine by the Constitution:


Last night, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia granted his first broad-based television interview, to Lesley Stahl on CBS’s 60 Minutes. There he explained that the torture of detainees does not violate the 8th Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment” because, according to Scalia, torture is not used as punishment:


STAHL: If someone’s in custody, as in Abu Ghraib, and they are brutalized, by a law enforcement person — if you listen to the expression “cruel and unusual punishment,” doesn’t that apply?

SCALIA: No. To the contrary. You think — Has anybody ever referred to torture as punishment? I don’t think so.

STAHL: Well I think if you’re in custody, and you have a policeman who’s taken you into custody–

SCALIA: And you say he’s punishing you? What’s he punishing you for? … When he’s hurting you in order to get information from you, you wouldn’t say he’s punishing you. What is he punishing you for?


Well, imagine that! By this reasoning, my darlings, any cop in the country can torture information out of you, as long as it’s from a spirit of inquiry rather than punishment. Does anybody else notice the grease on this slope?

I can’t believe this fucktard sits on the Supreme Court.

That makes this little gem much less surprising:


When Indiana passed a voter I.D. law, it was ostensibly to protect the integrity of the voting process. What better way to prevent voter fraud than to require those participating in an election to produce identification?

Was there any evidence of a voter-fraud scourge in Indiana? No. Would the law make it harder for “certain kinds” of voters (i.e., the elderly, minorities, and the poor) to participate? Yes. Did this look a whole lot like Republican lawmakers trying to discourage likely Democratic voters from taking part in elections? You betcha.

But that didn’t stop the Supreme Court today from approving the Indiana law.

No, of course it didn’t. Remember, this is the same bunch of assclowns that threw the 2000 election to Bush. A little thing like enabling disenfranchisment ain’t nuttin’ compared to that, now, is it?

Carpetbagger has an excellent breakdown as to why this law is wrong in so many ways.

Our nation: going to hell in a handbasket since January 2001.

Expelled: Extreme Failure Edition

Yes, it’s been a while since I did an Expelled post. Got bored, didn’t I? They weren’t doing anything new and exciting, aside from failing spectacularly. But now, there’s some fresh opportunity for fun at their expense.

Premise Media, the assclowns behind Expelled: the Flop, sent PZ Myers and other poor unfortunates on their mailing list an email that has to be seen to be believed:


BUT BEN STEIN NEEDS YOUR HELP…

Secular critics, atheist groups, and now the beloved Yoko Ono are black balling EXPELLED and trying to get it out of theaters.

Seriously. Go read the whole thing. PZ had the patience to present it in all its inane glory, complete with bizarre font changes and pathetic whining. I’m just going to sit back and laugh myself sick at the fact their piss-poor propaganda is flopping so badly they have to send out desperate pleas for rescue. “Ono! It’s Ono, suing us for totally stealing John Lennon’s stuff! The evilutionists and mean, nasty atheists are all against us! And we’re totally lying about everything, but we think you’re stupid enough to believe us anyway!”

Numbnuts.

All of their claims can be thoroughly debunked, but one in particular is too easy:


#5 in per screen box office ($3,000 per screen)
#9 overall, despite being on only half the screens of its competitors


Um. No.

TOTALS TO DATE

1. Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! …. $147.9 million
2. 21 .. $ 75.8 million
3. Nim’s Island ……. $39.0 million
4. The Forbidden Kingdom …………. $ 38.3 million
5. Prom Night ……… $ 38.1 million
6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall ……… $ 35.1 million
7. Baby Mama ………. $ 18.3 million
8. Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay …….. $ 14.6 million
9. 88 Minutes ……… $ 12.6 million
10. Deception ………. $ 2.2 million

Looks like Expelled got itself expelled from the Top Ten over the weekend. Where are they? Oh. 13th. Well, you know, 5, 9, 13, what’s the difference?

I know what you’re thinking. These blindingly stupid, morally depraved, terminally truth-challenged ass bandits deserve to be slapped across the face with a fish.

Funny you should mention it

Intolerancia

En Tequila Es Verdad is proud to present a brand-spanking-new feature: Intolerancia. And when I say spanking, I mean spanking: this is where we’ll take a whirlwind tour through the world of intolerant religious fuckwits and lay the smackdown upon them. They claim they are holy. We shall leave them holey. Ah-ha-ha.

Ahem. So:

Today’s smiting of intolerant bastards.

For those of you still convinced that extreme evangelicals don’t pose a threat to your own self, think again:


FORT RILEY, Kan. — When Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending.

But minutes into the talk, the officer, Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” Major Welborn said, according to the statement.

What’s this to do with you? You’re not in the military, so it doesn’t matter, right? Wrongo. Let me just put it this way: how happy are you about the idea that a bunch of frothing lunatics have access to the heavy weaponry?

I think we all know what happens when crazed religious fundamentalists get their hands on armies. ‘Tain’t pretty.

And if that didn’t put a chill rushing down your spine, try this:


But Mikey Weinstein, a retired Air Force judge advocate general and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the official statistics masked the great number of those who do not report violations for fear of retribution. Since the Air Force Academy scandal began in 2004, Mr. Weinstein said, he has been contacted by more than 5,500 service members and, occasionally, military families about incidents of religious discrimination. He said 96 percent of the complainants were Christians, and the majority of those were Protestants. [emphasis added]

A special note to you good Christians in the audience: the fundamentalists’ Christianity isn’t yours. Let them get in power. Let them clear out the atheists, pagans, Muslims, Jews, et al, and then they will come for you. I guaran-fucking-tee it.

PZ Myers and John Lynch both have good takes on this New York Times piece. Drop by and take a gander.

So, moving on, then. What are all you all doing on May 1st? I can tell you one thing I won’t be doing: praying.


The National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 1. I oppose it. I believe religious leaders should call people to prayer, not government officials. I believe religious services should take place in houses of worship, not government buildings.

Alas, the federal courts do not agree with me. Thus, we have a National Day of Prayer. Of course it has been taken over by obnoxious fundamentalist Christians who sponsor exclusionary programs that promote their narrow brand of Christianity.

Of course. Having a heart attack from not surprised here. But Morbo doesn’t stop there, oh, no. He has to go and grind some salt into the wounds:

If we have to have a day like this, it ought to be interfaith. But the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group run by Religious Right honcho James Dobson’s wife, Shirley, tells its volunteers not to let anyone near the microphone who has not signed off on a fundamentalist statement of faith.

That statement reads in part:

“I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God. I believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his miracles, the atoning work of his shed blood, his resurrection and ascension, his intercession and his coming return to power
and glory.”

Jews and other non-Christians can attend the event. They just get to stand there and be window dressing for the Jesus-athon.

Oh, yes. Truly inclusive, that. Maybe The National Day of Prayer Task Force can call up Major IllWelborn for some troops. Nothing like spreading the word of God with the barrel of a gun, is there?

Finally, by way of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, I present you with a pristine exemplar of the brain rot that can occur when you believe that faith = detatch completely from reality:


This has to be one of the strangest lawsuits I’ve ever heard of. A woman named Joyce Marie Edwards filed a lawsuit in Federal district court in Connecticut – representing herself – against the Federal government, and specifically the Supreme Court, claiming that the Court’s ruling against mandatory school prayer violates the Declaration of Independence and has caused all kinds of bad things.

Apparently Edwards was a volunteer at a local school in her hometown and was told that she could not preach to the kids about Christianity.


Hoo boy. I need a drink before I can even touch this stinking pile of rotten logic. Firstly, where the fuck in the Declaration of Independence does it mandate school prayer? I looked and could not find a single mention of school or prayer, let alone both together. Secondly, what fuckwit thinks you can go bring a case against the Supreme Court without a lawyer? Butterknife to a gunfight, anyone? Thirdly, WTF?

And it gets better. The ever-sharp John Pieret has more detail on her complaints, and he tears her down like a cardboard house in a rainstorm:


Examples from the decision should make the difference between “exposing” the children to something and what Ms. Edwards was doing
clear:


First, while a presenter was discussing the Native American belief in the healing properties of certain stones during a school field trip, Edwards stated “that the only thing I found to truly help me stop doing bad things and healed me was receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior (by reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible).” Second, while distributing candy canes to her oldest child’s class, Edwards stated the
students “could read the Bible and find out
what the white and red mean and why this gift is first for the Jewish people, and then for everyone else.” (References omitted).


Not so strangely, as a result of these incidents, Edwards was precluded from participating in any activities at Booth Hill School during regular school hours by the school principal.


Smart principal, that. I’d be of the opinion that the children would be better off without exposure to the batshit insane, too. Thankfully, this suit was thrown out by the courts, or I would’ve lost all hope of recovering our government from the clutches of the crazed religious.

We do not need people like these dictating how citizens of this country should think. There’s no thought involved, just knee-jerk intolerance of any but the most narrow interpretation of Christianity and a frightening degree of certifiable insanity. I’m all for letting people have their religion, but, for fuck’s sake, there are limits. Freedom of religion does not extend carte blanche for one religion to annihilate the others.

Here endeth the post. The smiting of the intolerant goes ever on.