Ben Domenech has imploded.

That didn’t take long.

Domenech has posted his excuses. Basically, he’s claiming that the plagiarism didn’t count because it happened when he was younger, that the WaPo editors “are convinced by my arguments on many of these issues”, and that he’s only resigning because of the “firestorm”. As is typical, he’s making rationalizations to avoid simply taking responsibility. And then there’s this nonsense:

But all these specifics are beside the point. Considering that all of this happened almost eight years ago, and that there are no files or notes that I’ve kept from that brief stint, it is simply my word against the liberal blogosphere on these examples. It becomes a matter of who you believe.

But for a really gagworthy comment, try this:

To my enemies: I take enormous solace in the fact that you spent this week bashing me, instead of America.

Oh, yeah. He took a bullet…for America!


Hey, now he’s got something else (besides exhibiting excessive hubris that gets him fired from a job he acquired through Rethuglican connections) in common with George Deutsch: he never graduated from his college. Isn’t it symptomatic of a movement in trouble that they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, grabbing young, unseasoned incompetents and stuffing them into positions for which they are unsuited and unprepared, except perhaps by their ideological leanings?

I worry that these are just the ones who are getting caught. How many young wingnut incompetents are settling into positions of power right now?

Maybe it’s just OK to torture sinners

Hey, who thinks torture is never justified?

Catholics 26%
White Protestant 31%
White evangelical 31%
Secular 41%
Total 32%

I won’t chew out all the Christians this time (because I take it for granted that religion, especially a death cult, is not a moralizing influence). Instead, I want to know what the hell is wrong with the 59% of my fellow non-religious people who think torture is sometimes acceptable!

I was also mildly amused by this quote at the National Catholic Reporter article:

During Lent especially, he [David Robinson of Pax Christi] says, the image of Jesus, who was tortured to death, should be powerful for Catholics, reminding them that “Christ is being crucified today through the practice of torture.”

After all, if it was good enough for Jesus…

(I was pointed to a post on this survey at Andrew Sullivan, who also has some pithy comments on it.)

How about if we give South Dakota to the Oglala Sioux?

They do seem to have some more sensible leaders.

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” she said to me last week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

(via Brutal Women)

Ben Domenech: creationist

Let us continue our Ben Domenech bashing. He’s got this somewhat high profile gig at the Washington Post, and one has to wonder what his qualifications are. I think we can rule out “intelligence.”

GWW made an interesting discovery: he’s a creationist. I don’t understand why the Right is constantly elevating these ignoramuses; there must still be a few conservatives who read this site (I can’t possibly have driven you all away)…aren’t you embarrassed by this kind of thing?

For instance, here’s some dumb-as-a-post reasoning:

[Read more…]

Hey, I’ve seen that movie!

Apparently, it’s going to cost me my credibility as bona fide liberal left-wing moonbat, but yes, I have seen Red Dawn. You know, the movie that that wacky new Washington Post blog touted as a talisman of righteous manliness.

Red Dawn? You must know it—the greatest pro-gun movie ever? I mean, they actually show the jackbooted communist thugs prying the guns from cold dead hands.

Saying it’s the greatest pro-gun movie ever is like saying mucous and sawdust make the best sandwich ever—it either says your taste is something execrable, or you’ve just insulted every other sandwich on earth. It makes me itch to ban guns, even though I don’t really have strong feelings on the topic, because if that’s the best defense they can muster, there must be something deeply wrong with guns.

It really isn’t a very good movie. It caters to the deluded wingnut belief that some American high school kids with hunting rifles could have defeated the Soviet army (which, if you think about it, is another backhanded sneer at the American military that worried about fighting the Soviets throughout the Cold War…if only we’d known then that the answer was the local football team, a couple of .22s and .30-06s, and a rusted pickup truck!) and that macho fantasy was the sole virtue of the story.

I’m hoping that Washington Post guy keeps it up. Maybe tomorrow he can tell us that Budweiser is the best beer ever, and Windows 95 was the best OS ever, mud and tree bark make the best coffee ever, and George W. Bush is the best Republican ever. I think that’s his schtick, anyway.

(via Brad DeLong)

Onward Christian soldiers

When I say it, I get a rush of protest proclaiming that not all Christians are like that. I know they aren’t, but we ignore the theocratic Right at our peril.

Prophetic Christians, Phillips writes, often shape their view of politics and the world around signs that charlatan biblical scholars have identified as predictors of the apocalypse—among them a war in Iraq, the Jewish settlement of the whole of biblical Israel, even the rise of terrorism. [Phillips] convincingly demonstrates that the Bush administration has calculatedly reached out to such believers and encouraged them to see the president’s policies as a response to premillennialist thought. He also suggests that the president and other members of his administration may actually believe these things themselves, that religious belief is the basis of policy, not just a tactic for selling it to the public.

I’m afraid the kooks and RaptureReady folks and Left Behind fans and Christian Reconstructionists and Dispensationalists and Bible Belt prudes are the face of American Christianity. Don’t complain to me: it’s the Christians who ought to be deeply, shamefully embarrassed about this…but as usual, I expect they’ll find it easier to complain about those damned godless people who dare to hold up a mirror.

Oh, and evangelicals might want to think about the fact that unbelief is growing faster than any religion (although I suspect the poll results likely reflect a shallow response to the bad rep of Christianity than any fundamental shift in philosophy).

It’s a beautiful day

I slept in this morning, got up, had a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of orange juice, and read about the probability that we’ll go to war with Iran.

I sat down in my easy chair and put my feet up and read that yesterday was the 38th anniversary of My Lai. As long as I’m looking at old atrocities, new atrocities are only a click away.

I sip some coffee while reading about yet more war drums in the distance, and my country’s security plan.

The document [“America’s National Security Strategy”], published yesterday, reasserts the right to pre-emptive strikes as a means of self-defence should the union deem itself liable to devastating attack by weapons of mass destruction. This reflects Washington’s view of Iran as a threat not just to Israel and Iraq, but also to America itself, a perception inadequately understood on this side of the Atlantic.

The skies are clear here and the sun is shining, I think I’ll put the computer away and go for a walk, do a little lab work and tidy up my office. No worries here…it’s just another quiet Saturday. We’re going to watch a play this evening.

Say, do you remember—I think it was only a few years ago—when we watched with horror and fascination as our military bombed Baghdad and our tanks rolled across the Iraq? We were assured our smart bombs would make this a clean war that would only help the Iraqi people, and our pundits crowed about our easy victory. I felt rage and pity, I was on the streets with a sign protesting, I wrote to my representatives and complained and cajoled and threatened. I howled in fury at the futile waste of lives and money, the jingoism, the injustice.

So today I’m going for a pleasant walk.

Does anyone care anymore?


This is how the monsters win, you know. They launch horror after horror, and as long as we have our electricity and orange juice and the quiet comforts of our homes, after a while we stop flinching, we just sit benumbed, we tell ourselves, “I’ll rouse myself for the next really big one,” and we remind ourselves that we couldn’t stop the last war, so how can we be expected to stop the next one? We tell ourselves that the democratic way to stop this ongoing nightmare is to elect better leaders at the next election (always the next, it rarely seems to be this one), and then we vote for soft, rotten representatives who, with rare exceptions, simply surrender to the insanity.

So I’m going for a walk.

I’m a monster, too.

The SF fanboy stirs again

More SF indulgence, excuse me: Gary Farber has been reading Heinlein’s rediscovered “first” novel (brief summary: it’s very bad), and Kevin Drum raises the question of correlation between early SF preferences and later political biases, with Heinlein inspiring conservatives and Asimov motivating liberals (Drum says, “Well, I liked ’em both, but I liked Heinlein more and I turned into a liberal.” I’m not touching that straight line.)

I disliked Heinlein’s stuff intensely. It was badly written, with a patronizing tone, and always smugly assumed that his simplistic opinions were absolutely true. Even his juveniles were irritating in that way, but those self-indulgent later doorstops with old men waited on by nubile vixens? Gah.

I also wasn’t a big fan of Asimov. He was OK, but those gimmicky stories didn’t do much for me.

My favorites began with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne—I was very old school. As I began to branch out in grade school looking for new stuff, after gagging over Heinlein and being bored by Asimov, I really got into Ray Bradbury. Later I favored a collection of British authors—Brunner, Wyndham, Moorcock—and then Harlan Ellison, Fritz Leiber, anybody who could actually write, a talent that eluded the old guard. Nowadays I lean towards Banks and Mieville.

I don’t know what that says about how my political inclinations were shaped. I think the stronger correlation is with my utter apathy towards engineering, not my politics.