Recently in politics Category

The San Diego Chargers’ home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be blacked out after they failed to sell out by the 72 hour NFL deadline.

The NFL’s attendance issues for the 2010 season have been of major focus in the preseason and through the first week of the season. Most highlight the economic downturn and high ticket prices as the culprit but this is a more nuanced issue than most commentators are willing to accept.

Of course, Jacksonville has been the butt of the majority of blackout jokes for some time; 7 of the 20 blacked out NFL games in 2009 were Jaguars games. Is Jacksonville more economically-depressed than other NFL cities? Sort of. Jacksonville has the 73rd-highest unemployment rate for all US metro areas. How many NFL markets rank higher?

Three. Detroit, Miami, and Tampa.

The smallest of these markets, Miami, is still 250% bigger population-wise than Jacksonville. (San Diego is pretty much right between Miami and Jacksonville at a clean 1,000,000; this doesn’t count the sizable Mexican market).

Seems simple then, right? Jacksonville just doesn’t deserve an NFL team. There are 32 teams and Jacksonville’s in market 47… but Jacksonville’s the only market in Florida that’s actually gaining in population.

The key here (and this is where Jacksonville and San Diego cross paths) is in the demographics of that population. It matters little how many people live in a region; it matters how many people there fit the profile for a potential NFL fan.

Who is your NFL fan archetype? Fortunately, we know. The average NFL fan is:

Male 25-40 years old White Has a household income of $75,000

We have plenty of people like that in Jacksonville. There are plenty of people like that in San Diego, too.

You know what job pays a mean of $70,168? The military’s paying that much right now.

San Diego, Norfolk, VA and Jacksonville are the three cities with the highest saturation of active-duty military residents in the country. While combat operations are complete in Iraq, the United States military maintains more than HALF A MILLION TROOPS DEPLOYED OVERSEAS.

Put simply, San Diego and Jacksonville are great NFL cities demographically, but they’ve been stripped of their key ticket-buying demographic by the War on Terror. The people who were buying up Jacksonville Jaguars tickets during the Tom Coughlin era are now serving on aircraft carriers or in Afghanistan or Okinawa or Germany.

The same can be said for San Diego (more of them on aircraft carriers though).

Neither city has a lack of residents who love their football teams. Both cities have a lack of residents who are, well, resident… and not by choice.

The same can be applied across the NFL, of course; every city in America supplies troops to our military. But the NFL’s core ticket-buying demographic remains the exact same demographic the Department of Defense finds most preferable in war; until the War on Terror is scaled back to pre-2002 levels, the NFL will continue to struggle to find fans to buy tickets.

Conservatives are always wrong

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“Conservatives are always wrong.”

That’s all that liberal politicians should really say when it comes to contentious issues. Conservatives are always wrong. Throughout the entire history of the United States of America, the conservatives have always been wrong.

Conservatives stood for the status quo as Loyalists, willing to be subjects to an unelected King. They were wrong.

Liberal Framers like John Adams and Ben Franklin tried to write the declaration of a new nation that would consider all men free. Conservatives from the South fought (and won) for the exclusion of this language, and ensured that blacks would be enslaved for another 89 years. They were wrong.

Pro-business conservatives tried to block child labor laws. They were wrong.

Conservatives fought against women’s right to vote. They were wrong.

Conservatives banned alcohol. They were disastrously wrong.

Conservatives fought to keep interracial marriage illegal. They were wrong.

Conservatives stood for integrated schools and against the Civil Rights Act. They were wrong. They jailed Rosa Parks, which was wrong, but convenient, and a great act of IRL trolling.

Conservatives thought it was okay for employers to deny employment on the basis of race, sex, or religion. They were wrong. They thought blacks needed to use separate drinking fountains, which is both wrong and ridiculous.

Conservatives fought to keep homosexuality illegal. They were wrong.

Conservatives prosecuted John Scopes for teaching evolution. They were wrong.

Conservatives tried to stop the creation of Social Security for our elderly citizens. They were wrong.

Note here how many of these instances deal with conservatives siding with Big Business. In fact, it is an inevitability that when conservatives side with big business on the issue of social change, they are wrong. History ALWAYS records the conservatives as being on the wrong side; this is not because history writers are liberal, but because CONSERVATIVES ARE ALWAYS WRONG.

It has occurred to me that most of the individuals opposed to publicly-funded health insurance in the United States are also opposed to legal abortion.

This is very convenient, as there is a indefatigable argument you can make in response to these people.

If you are pro-life, then you must support publicly-funded health insurance. You cannot argue that a human being needs the protection of the public only until he or she emerges from his/her mother’s uterus. That is, frankly, a ridiculous concept.

If you believe that a human being deserves to be protected for his/her welfare, then that is what you believe. The age of that human being is irrelevant. You cannot be pro-life and anti-publicly-funded health insurance because that is prima facie hypocrisy.

Okay, so maybe you think that adults can fend for themselves. You’re still an idiot, but I’ll even grant you that. So we make a deal: everything is covered until you turn 18. Fair? None of this Medicaid stuff, no TANF, no food stamps. Single-payer for everything a child needs to be healthy.

If you do not support that, you cannot be pro-life. Period. There are zero arguments that can be made in favor of banning abortion that cannot be cross-applied to public support and health insurance for children.

I invite you to try, but you can’t do it. It’s impossible. If you believe in the protection of human welfare, then that is what you believe; a person’s right to live does not suddenly disappear once they arrive out of a vagina.

What the hell is wrong with Maria Shriver?

She’s sitting there at Ted Kennedy’s funeral, having a stroke.

Thumbnails link to fullsize versions.

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the final word on why merit pay is bullshit

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President Obama is on my television right now, reminding us all that he supports merit pay for public school teachers. He is very rarely a dumbass, but here he is a dumbass.

Merit pay is bullshit for a lot of reasons. Most of them have already been rehashed:

  • It penalizes teachers who are assigned students with bad parents or bad backgrounds

  • It establishes even more precedent for teaching to standardized tests rather than teaching critical thinking

  • It does nothing to address the fact that people who possess the skills that make for good teaching are avoiding the profession.

Yet I discovered another reason that merit pay is bullshit tonight: Student teaching.

Would anyone disagree that student teaching is an absolute necessity in the development of a strong teacher? Classroom skills in an age of unruly students raised by piece-of-shit parents are among the most valuable for a teacher, and are MUCH better learned under the tutelage of a professional teacher than “on the job.”

Yet what teacher would hand her/his classroom over to a student teacher if they knew their paycheck depended upon those students’ performance? Who would trust THEIR VERY INCOME to someone who HAS NO CLASSROOM EXPERIENCE? Teachers are already reluctant to take on student teachers, and establishing a merit pay system would eliminate student teaching opportunities entirely.

“Oh, they can do their student teaching of non-essential material,” you might respond. I laugh in your face. There is no such thing as non-essential material today. Everything depends on the standardized tests — and merit pay would simply increase this emphasis.

ESTABLISHING MERIT PAY ENSURES A FUTURE GENERATION OF GROSSLY INEXPERIENCED NEW TEACHERS.

In fact, that may be the most enduring impact of the establishment of merit pay — a generation of teachers who never properly formulated their classroom skills, or a gross teacher shortage because underprepared teachers quit under the pressure or stress of a difficult first year.

Merit pay is bullshit. If you don’t understand why, you are a stupid person.

the trouble with Michelle Malkin

Batshit insane Republican commentator Michelle Malkin has a problem with Meghan McCain:

You know what’s wrong with Meghan McCain? It’s not her weight. It’s not her voice. It’s not her looks. She’s a beautiful young girl with TV-friendly poise and natural charm. The trouble with Meghan McCain is that, like her father, she has no fixed ideological principles — conservative, liberal, or otherwise.

You know what’s wrong with Michelle Malkin (and most Republicans)? They think that having fixed, immutable ideologies is a POSITIVE QUALITY. And that’s the difference between a Republican and a Democrat: Republicans stick with their ideology regardless of whether it works or not; Democrats possess the ability to admit when their ideas don’t work (which is often).

Fix your RSS feed, Obama

The White House has a blog. And I think this is pretty cool, given that the previous administration’s level of technology familiarity began and ended with a Big Buck Hunter arcade unit.

But they seem to be using a software platform that is not sending out RSS 2.0-compliant XML. Instead of creating a new entry designate, it’s appearing to use the same GUID for each entry. Which means that when NetNewsWire receives an update to the RSS feed, it uses its “changes” function to apply the new news item to the old one. Which results in some rather hilarious typography. See this screenshot.

So the past is partially blind, and they’re busy using what used to be my money. Sounds about right!

Daft Punk vs. Adam Freeland - AER OBAMA

This is the most amazing video I’ve ever seen. How it escaped me for a full week is a mystery.


Daft Punk vs. Adam Freeland - “Aer OBAMA” from Gold Greendot on Vimeo.

Five hilarious minutes with John Ziegler

John Ziegler appeared on MSNBC today to pimp his “How Obama Got Elected” website. (No, I am not going to link to it.) He proceeded to start a war with MSNBC’s David Shuster, claiming that MSNBC engaged in “character assassination.” It is utterly hilarious how batshit insane John Ziegler is.

Palin supporter John Ziegler goes crazy live on MSNBC

And Don King agrees with me!

Yesterday I wrote about how impressed I was with President Bush’s reflexes.

America’s pre-eminent fight promoter and linguist Don King has chimed in with his opinion, and DON KING AGREES WITH ME!

DEFEND PLAGIARISM!

I’m currently holed up at my folks’ winter place trying to get my decades of life in order. I can, fortunately, pick up the ol’ hometown 620 WDAE in Tampa in order to listen to the Jim Rome Show.

I’ve written elsewhere about 620’s PM Drive host Steve Duemig. I’m not fond of the dude, to say the least. On Friday afternoons, he features a guest named Chris Landry. Landry’s a pro football expert and is very popular with Duemig’s listeners.

As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio discovered this week, he’s also an alleged plagiarist. And not even a very good one. For months, he’s been allegedly lifting content word-for-word from the National Football Post. Cleverly, he’s changed a word here and there to try and pass it off as his own — which only makes him look more guilty.

Why am I posting about it? Because I’m incensed by the reaction from Duemig’s listeners. Now, I have a lot of things to love about Tampa Bay, but the intellectual capability of its’ average resident is not one of them. Every single caller this afternoon is asking why this is such a big deal; “why should we care?” and “I don’t see the problem here” is a common thread.

Last night, I was tripped up by a 1941 copy of The Works of Gilbert and Sullivan. The book was a collaboration between a music professor and a master arranger and both provides an accurate choral and orchestral representation of the music in the duo’s operatta collaborations and an academic description of the origination and execution of each work. It was striking to realize that 120 years ago, intellectual property law in the United States was still in its infancy. The rabid popularity of early works like H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance led to copycat productions across the United States, mere weeks after the shows opened in London. Gilbert and Sullivan were unable to stop these productions, inaccurate as they may have been, because there were no laws in place to protect their work.

How did they end up winning the IP war? They simply prepared the work on both continents simultaneously (difficult given Sullivan’s tendency toward procrastination and the fact air travel, let alone intercontinental air travel, had yet to be invented) and opened on the same night.

Fortunately (with some reservations), the courts and Congress caught up with the times. Yet now we live in an age where Command-C and Command-V (that’s Control to you PC/Linux users) make plagiarism so easy anyone can do it. The ease and pervasiveness of filesharing make intellectual property rights even less meaningful.

Is the overall American trend toward defending plagiarism? Do we no longer feel a person’s work belongs to them, in some fashion? Or are we just not informed about what constitutes intellectual property theft?

(This post is published under a Creative Commons License, the details of which can be found at the bottom of the page.)

A group of people at Coachman Park in Clearwater, FL
A group of people whose livelihoods depend greatly on tourism and the Florida environment
A group of people chanting DRILL BABY DRILL

DRILL BABY DRILL

DRILL BABY DRILL

But I thought she was "more qualified"?

i love you all

So I woke up today and saw all these "You have a new message on Facebook" emails. And I started to freak out and wonder what I'd done on the Internet that led people to feel they needed to contact me. Then I realized it was people wishing me a happy birthday.

So that is sweet of you to do that. In return, I give you national household income distributions for 2007.

WE PUT THE WEAK IN ENTERTAINMENTWEAKLY

oh god it keeps getting better

Sarah Palin, interview with Newsmax, 29 August 2008

What is your take on global warming and how is it affecting our country?
A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

Sarah Palin, interview with ABC News, aired 11 September 2008

Do you still believe that global warming is not man made?
I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change.

So which is it?

*facepalm*

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

what the hell is wrong with Wasilla, AK???

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So, this is pretty much ridiculous.

"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town." -- Sarah Palin, 3 September 2008

Really? Living most of your life in Wasilla is a privilege? Perhaps you might want to rethink that.

2005 violent crime rates, per Uniform Crime Database (2005 is the most recent year full data is available, and is the last year Sarah Palin was the mayor of Wasilla)

Wasilla, AK - 1200
Chicago, IL - 1192
National average - 469.2

We all know Chicago is a violent place. It is, after all, the home of Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. But perhaps if Leroy were REALLY bad, he'd move to Wasilla. Here's something that should scare you.

2005 forcible rape rate

Wasilla, AK - 38.3
Chicago, IL - 33.8
National average - 31.7

Lest you think this is an outlier,

2003 (2004 the FBI did not publish rates for cities < 10,000 in population)

Violent crime

Wasilla, AK - 1728
Chicago, IL - 1300
National average - 475

Forcible rape

Wasilla, AK - 93.4
Chicago, IL - 45.0
National average - 32.1

Yes, you read that right. Under Sarah Palin, the rate of rape in Wasilla was nearly 300% the national average.

No wonder Palin wanted rape victims to pay for their own forensic rape examinations.

wasilla, AK is really not very large

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Karl Rove is notorious for claiming in this video that Sarah Palin was the mayor of Alaska's "second-largest city." (It's actually the fifth-largest.) But this is Alaska we're talking about. Much like Canadian money, those values don't convert to the same thing down here in the mainland.

To put this in perspective, consider that if Wasilla was in Ohio, it would be the 212th-largest city in the state. (Per 2006 Census Dept. statistics.)

And that's OHIO.

Speaking of Ohio, it is a shame college football games are 60 minutes long and not 45. And that is all I have to say about that.

someone tell john mccain to stop lying

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Today McCain and Palin made their first public appearance after the convention. McCain proudly told the crowd Sarah Palin sold the Alaska-owned luxury jet on eBay -- for a profit!

Of course, that's not true. She listed it four times, it failed to sell each time, and she ended up dumping it through a broker for $300,000 less than its appraised value.

Palin knew this, and yet stood by and said nothing.

Watch.

it speaks for itself

McCain wants to fight illiteracy. I think that's a good idea.

this should frighten you

what is a community organizer?

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Sarah Palin seems to be confused as to what, exactly, is a community organizer. Perhaps I can provide an answer.

well, how about that

and it just keeps getting better

she's a fascist, too!!!

as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Yesterday's Photoshop has spread around the Intarwebs like wildfire. Here's today's. I doubt it will be as popular.

I'M SO CLEVER

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HURR HURR HURR

awesome

On March 5th, 2008, Alaska's Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, announced to the media that she was 7 months pregnant with her 5th child. She is currently 44.

The controversy arises from two sources: First, Palin does not appear pregnant in any recent photographs. The announcement came as quite a shock to people who had worked closely with her, and have been quoted as saying that she did not appear pregnant whatsoever during the prior 7 months. While this is debatable, you can judge for yourself here: http://gov.state.ak.us/photos.php

Second, Palin's daughter Bristol is 16 and attends an Anchorage high school. Students who have attended class with her report that she has been out of school for months, claiming a prolonged case of mono.

targeting your audience

how the three main cable nets fullscreened Sarah Palin. they do an excellent job of presenting the information in a way that their audience will respond to.

MSNBC:

CNN:

Fox News:

...and what our first thoughts are. Hooray Pixelmator.

take note

That is Barack Obama with his only wife and his only two kids. Note that his entire family is there onstage.

You will not see John McCain with his whole family onstage. You might see his CURRENT family onstage. But you definitely won't see his 41-year-old daughter Sidney, because he abandoned her (along with her mother, John McCain's first wife) back in 1980. She lives in Canada, and he hasn't spoken to her in a decade.

ONE HOUSE
ONE SPOUSE
OBAMA '08

start printing the buttons

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ONE HOUSE
ONE SPOUSE
OBAMA '08

oh my god i love america and here is why

it's not a big truck

A modest proposal

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Instead of deporting illegal immigrants, why are we not pressing them into military service? They're motivated workers and the military pays far better than agricultural or service industry work does. And it gets our American-born troops out of harm's way.

Almost 30,000 foreign nationals are already serving in our military. Wouldn't this solve two problems at once?

well, that's a way to go

Of all the ways to find out about Tim Russert,

In a hotel suite in Lexington, Kentucky

In an email from Reno, the guy who runs Tampa Team Trivia

Which I only opened because Gmail cut it off as "A Great Loss, Tim"

And I was worried I was being fired

OH MY GOD

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Fox News should be banned. Seriously, I'm a huge First Amendment defender, but when a major network shows such disregard for truth, facts, and history, I gotta shut 'em down.

While discussing the possibility of a Lincoln-Douglas style debate between Clinton and Obama, Fox put up photos of Lincoln and Douglas.

Except they didn't show Stephen A. Douglas' photo. They used FREDERICK DOUGLASS' PHOTO.

Fox News is not a legitimate news organization.

I guess we know the answer to one question: Is Fox smarter than a fifth grader? NOPE.

seriously, read a book or something

How, exactly, is it possible to not know that Gary Glitter is a child rapist?

It's not like it's something recent. He's been molesting children for decades. He's been kicked out of four countries!

Yet look at all the people they found in this article who had no idea the 'Rock & Roll, Pt. 2' guy was a chronic child rapist.

Oh, yeah, you might know a dude who gets quoted a few times in that article. Read all the way to the end, he sounds particularly smart there.

sad money :-(

Jim Cramer suffers from bipolar disorder. See what happens when he is off his meds.

Hey, ho, where'd you go, Ohio?

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Congratulations, Buckeye State, you've managed to be more racist than VIRGINIA and SOUTH CAROLINA.

i love America, but...

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Nothing has demolished my faith in this nation and its government more than watching this jibberish in Washington today. Our elected officials -- the ones who write and pass the laws under which we live -- are quite possibly the stupidest and most pandering individuals I have ever had the disgusting experience of listening to. The lower third on MSNBC says "Congress grills Roger Clemens" but I think they accidentally typed "grills" instead of "fellates." If you're going to waste my money investigating this nonsense, then ask real questions, and follow up on them when you get unsatisfactory answers. I have never in my life seen such a parade of idiocy and ridiculousness as this circus that is unfolding on my television screen right now.

I anxiously await a day when our citizens are educated to the point that they elect intelligent, capable legislators instead of the goons and clowns that I see in this hearing chamber.

uh, about last night

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That was a rant prompted by the projection Clinton was leading by 100 delegates.

I woke up today to find that... that does not appear to be the case.

BTW, that thing self-updates, is interactive, and is sure to make me look ridiculous as the primary season continues!

thanks for nothing, jerks

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Thanks to all of you who voted for Clinton. You've ensured four more years of Republican rule.

Seriously, I want to hear from one of you. Anybody. I want to know why you voted for Clinton. Why you believe she can transcend the vast nation of Americans who hate her guts and will never vote for her. Yes, her reputation is undeserved. But she doesn't possess the power or inspiration to overcome that.

Enjoy four more years of military-industrial complex. Four more years of restricted civil rights. Four more years of massive debt, four more years of right-wing judges, four more years of Halliburton and Blackwater and dead American boys and girls.

Defend yourself, Clinton fans. Tell me your delusion about how she suddenly becomes a superstar public speaker, who brings people to tears with her passion and hope to bring America together.

Obama speaks of not a blue state or red state but a United States of America.

Hillary is a human wedge.

Thanks a bunch, kiddos. (The demographic data shows Hillary was put over the top by women and Latinos, very few of whom voted for Obama. Since this blog is read by roughly 98% white dudes, this rant may be falling on deaf ears.)

Oh, and all those conservatives, throwing up in their mouths at the idea that "liberal" John McCain is their candidate? They'll be climbing over themselves for a third opportunity to vote in the box opposite from the one marked "Clinton."

Seriously, are you just idiots? Do you not possess the capability of rational thought?

the awesomest thing ever

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What the hell? This speech isn't even a week old yet, and dozens of actors/musicians/directors have somehow... well, if you haven't seen it yet, WATCH. NOW. Obama's speech turned into musical poetry, hip-hop but not, I have no words, I have no reaction, because what I feel goes far beyond the English language.

Fun game for white people! Try and name all the celebrities who appear in the video. If you don't get Kareem, you fail. If you don't get Scarlett Johansson, you fail. If you don't get Herbie Hancock, that just means you're white. Proceed to your nearest Wikipedia and research thusly.

As for me, I'll be the one in the corner, wiping away tears, rubbing down the goosebumps, and hoping Tuesday brings meaning to all that is meaningful.

a silent majority

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America is notorious for its silent majorities. It would seem that, at least within the Democratic Party, the Hillary Clinton supporters are one of these silent majorities.

The press maintains Hillary will have a "huge" Super Tuesday, yet I don't know a single person who is a Clinton supporter (I know a class or subgroup of people who are Clinton supporters, but I don't know any personally). It seems like the reasonable Democrat would realize Clinton is such a divisive individual that she couldn't possibly win a November election except against a similarly-divisive Republican candidate -- most of which have dropped out of the race.

So speak up, Clinton supporters. I need to know you're out there, and why you're sticking with her. Anecdotal evidence suggests not reasons for attraction to her but reasons to be repelled from Obama, which isn't really reason for supporting her at all. Notably, this process is going the exact opposite from 2004, in which friends and family who voted for Kerry in the primaries (I was, and remained until just days ago, an Edwards supporter) did so "because he can beat Bush," which (and maybe I was the only one) seemed rather ridiculous to me at the time -- fruit borne later in the general election.

The Republican candidate will end up being nominated after having been the choice of, at the most, 1/3 of his own party's voters. The Democrat will similarly be the choice of a minority population. That leaves a lot of votes left to be won. It seems obvious to me that the candidate most equipped to speak to that vulnerable population of voters is the one who can speak to them in a voice that gives them hope for a brighter future; a voice that can move the mountains that had become a permanent fixture on the horizon of their American consciousness.

It's clear there's one candidate left in the presidential race with those philosophically-terraforming capabilities. His name is Barack Obama.

oh goodness yes

My candidate, John Edwards, suspended his campaign today. He remains a voice of working Americans and a strong protector of union labor. I hope he uses his leverage to ensure the Democratic candidate does the same.

Speaking of labor, the WGA strike continues, and I continue to proudly wear my WGA strike shirt every chance I get. The AMPTP's ridiculous behavior in refusing to negotiate honestly has ruined a great many lives and careers. Yet there are a few positives, one of them being SAG/DGA's ongoing "Speechless" campaign, the most recent episode of which is... well... HOTHOTHOT

Happy primary day, Florida!

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I may be a registered independent (and were I a registered Democrat my vote would still be left unheard) but that doesn't mean primary day isn't important to me. My first ever vote was in an Ohio primary at the young age of 17 (I voted for California's Pete Wilson, which is again proof that teenagers are stupid). So I'm headed out the door in a few minutes to make my way back to my Florida birthplace, East Pasco County, to register a single vote: NO on Amendment One.

It seems to me that there are more people today interested in politics than public speaking. As someone who has been living in the sphere of both nearly since birth (though, unquestionably, my understanding of the need for skills in the latter were impressed upon me as a tyke by the former a regarde a whistlestop visit from a campaigning Mr. Potatoe) it has been an exciting weekend. And so I present you, if you missed them, two truly exemplar American speeches -- the kind that give you goosebumps, make you cry, or have Viagra-like effects, depending on how sexy you find public speaking or simply being inspired. If you haven't seen them, please watch them. Or at least open this in another tab and listen while you read Deadspin or something.

Barack Obama's South Carolina victory speech Saturday night (greatest in my lifetime):

Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama Sunday (skip to 3:00 to get past Caroline, who is a truly commendable woman but, let's face it, her father and uncle simply were taken from her before their oratory ability could leave an impression):

And here's Obama's acceptance of the endorsement, which is laudable on its own, pale only to the two diamonds of American oratory above:

As for Ted Kennedy's endorsement, and obviously I'm a NOW supporter, but what the hell!?!!:

Senator Ted Kennedy Betrays Women by Not Standing for Hillary Clinton for President; Ultimate Betrayal Felt by Women Everywhere [...] We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one).

That wasn't, apparently, enough. I'm not making this up people, go to the NOW-New York press release yourself:

Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President by Marcia Pappas, President NOW - New York State

Reading this kind of divisive language, implying that women ought to support Clinton because she's a woman and for no other reason, simply highlights the brilliance of Obama and Kennedy's speeches. (NOW really ought to consider why the public perception of feminism is so misguided; press releases like the above two are a primary reason. Antagonizing people with ridiculous language is not the way to adhere noncommitted individuals to your cause.)

you have got to be kidding me

Hackers on steroids take to the streets (specifically, the Orlando Scientology HQ) for some IRL trolling. And it works! The best part is "Go, Anonymous, Go!"

Go indeed. Truly anonymous is legion...

idiots!

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1. I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter per se, but if another Clinton in the White House means another government that saves more money than it spends, I am in favor of it.

2. $300 did nothing last time. It'll do even less this time.

3. We're borrowing this money from China. Like a collection service calling when you've missed a few credit card bills, China will be coming for us. Soon.

4. People spending money combined with cutting corporate taxes will not result in corporations hiring more workers. Corporations have plenty of money. In fact, corporations are doing amazingly well -- they can afford to pay utterly inept CEOs who drive can't-lose franchises into the ground millions just for leaving. Do you really believe corporations will use extra money to hire workers? THEY HAVE EXTRA MONEY NOW.

America is systematically defiling herself, and until we all wake up and pull our collective heads out of our asses, we're going to be heading toward a future in which our kids aren't being drafted to fight brown people, but yellow ones.

Fiscal responsibility. Now.

Fox News: A paragon of insight

Fox News commentator:

"Bhutto's assassination is clearly a setback to her campaign for change."

Well that's not surprising. Being dead tends to get in the way of one's productivity.

Unless you're Tupac, or Biggie. Those dudes turned it into a real shot in the arm.

Get it? "Shot" in the arm? I'm hilarious.

The difference between Canada and the U.S.

Beyond less crime, free medical care, and more civil liberties, there is one significant difference Canada has over the United States.

In the U.S., a certain group responsible for lulz are hackers on steroids and an Internet Hate Machine.

In Canada, the same is an Internet Vigilante Group, kind of like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but without the ninja skills or being, well, turtles.

All hail Anonymous!

We are not SAFE

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I was going to post here about the SAFE act, a law passed nearly unanimously by the U.S. House (one of the two nay votes came from the only tolerable Republican Presidential candidate, Ron Paul) that would, upon passage, make nearly the entire Internet illegal.

This YTMND explains it much more clearly than I could. Plus, the soundtrack is good.

This should just about clear it up for you

If you haven't figured out who to support in the TV writers' strike that is crippling late-night TV, this feature from the writers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart should help clarify things for you:

(HT: Wil.)

Incidentally, that video also makes it pretty clear that Jon Stewart gets far too much credit for the humor on his show. In the same vein, it's nice to see people using formal logic syllogisms to state their claims:

Viacom: "Content online has value."
Writers: "We write content that you put online."
Thus,

Writers make content that has value and for which they're not paid.

parity error

That's a huge deal, especially to me, and even bigger to other people. It will be ignored by the media, and the few sources that do report it will be speaking to an audience of Americans who have no idea what it means.

No idea whatsoever.

Welcome to the Idiocracy

57 percent of Americans do not like learning about political issues in other countries.

That's right. They're not just ignorant to those issues, they actively avoid them.

It's begun. All hail President Camacho.

I'm totally adding this to my resume

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I'm an "Islamofascist sympatyzer" !!!

No, srsly. I don't know what a sympatizer is, maybe one of those machines made by Bob Moog in the waning days of the analog synthesizer? I'm guessing if I'm an Islamofascist version I have cool vox like the rebab.

I wrote an article last week for Sticks about USF students Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, and how I don't think they're terrorists. In response, the thoroughly unreadable blog Winds of Jihad called me the aforementioned insult (?):

A few day’s [sic] ago some Islamofascist sympatyzers [sic] accused Sheik Yer’mami in being judge, prosecuter [sic] and executioner, telling us the 2 smiling creeps from Tampa are ‘not terrorists’ and perfectly ‘innocent’-

Yeah, I just copied-and-pasted the [sic]s. Bloggers like this crazy woman are enjoying the Google connections between other accused terror suspects and the students, but again, I really recommend you not bother reading the sites, because they're so rife with spelling and grammar errors that they might make your head explode.

The comments, though, are comedy gold.

Just throw the two damn dirty bedouins the hell out of this country!! Put their sorry ass-faces on the no-fly-list, and don't EVER allow them to set one foot on OUR US soil.

and

But, all they'll do is take a course in Spainish and come back later.

and

As for these guys.. turn them into the pork sausages they are. Why do we allow foreigners into this country to cause all kinds of mayhem? Is every politician in Washington stabbing us in the back? There is a large and conservative movement in this country. With the right person, we can still accomplish a lot.

and

I wish there would be a Republican candidate who would be brave enough to run on a platform of ending ALL Muslim immigration into our country.

and

Smiling, laughing hyenas!

That is to say that they'd be comedy gold if they weren't absolutely frightening. These are your American voters, folks.

Election being played under dispute

On November 3rd, 2000, I wrote this article, one I think might be the funniest piece I ever wrote. If the phrase "Pine Tar Incident" doesn't mean anything to you, read this first.

ORLANDO (ROOTERS) -- Voting authorities have announced that the presidential election is being "played under dispute" following new allegations that some citizens voted with an illegal amount of pine tar.

Governor George Bush's campaign is arguing the votes previously recorded for Vice President Al Gore should be thrown out in all-important Royal Springs County.

Bush Deputy Campaign Director Billy Martin declared, "The votes shouldn't count. Gore should be out. The voters had more than 18 inches of pine tar from ballot to pen."

Election officials are considering the plan to throw out the votes, while Florida Attorney General Lea MacPhail is promising to overrule her own umpires if they make such a decision.

"If the votes are called out, we will have a resumption of the voting at a later date," she said.

Meanwhile, voters are furious. "I've been waiting my whole life to see Al Gore finally win an election. I can't believe that these officials are going to throw my vote out based on such an irrelevant and silly rule that no officials ever enforced before," stated Gore supporter and Cuban immigrant Jorge Brett.

Bush supporters are adamant he won the election. "I couldn't beat Al Gore before, but I think I know why now," stated former vice presidential candidate Goose Gossage.

Lynn Wachtmann is an asshole

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Lynn Wachtmann is an asshole. (HT: Consumerist.)

Since 90% of you aren't from Ohio, you might want to know who Lynn Wachtmann is. Lynn Wachtmann is a politician from my hometown of Napoleon, Ohio. Through my childhood, he served as our representative to the Ohio House, then moving on to the Senate, then back to the House (leaving office only as a result of term limits) where he currently serves. He has a long track record of being an asshole, including:

1. Beating up a teenage girl he thought was his daughter, but wasn't.

November 7, 1994 Columbus Dispatch

A state legislator said he is sorry he slapped a 15-year-old girl who was at a party with his daughter.

State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, said he mistakenly slapped the girl Sept. 25 after he and three other parents removed their children from a party where alcohol was being served to minors.

All were being driven from the party in Wachtmann's van, which he stopped later to discipline his daughter. In the dark, Wachtmann said he slapped the wrong girl.

Note that he didn't apologize for slapping a 15-year-old girl. He apologized for slapping the wrong girl. If he had slapped his own daughter, apparently, that would have been fine. He was re-elected in a landslide following the incident.

Also, I totally wasn't at that party or anything.

2. Got arrested for drunken boating.

October 3, 2000 AP

Sen. Lynn Wachtmann pleaded guilty to a charge of operating a boat while impaired on a Michigan lake and will be sentenced in November.

Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, was charged Sept. 3 with operating a pontoon while under the influence of liquor.

According to court records, Wachtmann registered a 0.13 blood-alcohol content when tested by Branch County Sheriff's Department officers.

You have to be pretty soused to operate a boat so badly you get pulled over for it. Trust us, we own a boat. Sort of. We totally don't know someone who was on that boat at the time he got busted.

3. He voted against switching from the electric chair to lethal injection as Ohio's form of capital punishment.

November 16, 2001 Dayton Daily News

The vote in the Senate was 26-3 with Sens. C.J. Prentiss, D-Cleveland, Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, casting the "no" votes.

The Georgia Supreme Court in October struck down the use of the electric chair, saying it violated the state Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

You know you're in bad shape when Georgia looks positively advanced by comparison.

4. He voted against a crackdown on telemarketers.

May 7, 2003 AP

Democrats joined Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate to vote 32-1 in favor of the bill. Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican from Napoleon, who voted 'no,' said the bill was bad for small businesses and consumers.

If consumers really didn't want companies to call, telemarketers wouldn't bother them "because there wouldn't be the demand," Wachtmann said.

*Facepalm*

5. He similarly voted against a crackdown on internet spam.

November 18, 2004 Toledo Blade

COLUMBUS - A northwest Ohio lawmaker was the sole dissenter yesterday as the Senate voted 29-1 to approve a bill aimed at putting e-mail spammers in the can.

"This is overkill," said state Sen. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), saying that companies that accidentally send as few as five e-mails could be targeted. "This is in the eye of the beholder. Do we want to hamper and create such a burden on commercial users of the Internet?"

But state Sen. Ron Amstuz (R., Wooster) said Mr. Wachtmann misinterpreted what the legislation says.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Kathleen Walcher (R., Norwalk), would make it a crime if someone uses false information to register five or more e-mail accounts and fraudulently uses them to transmit unsolicited commercial e-mail.

None of these atrocities, however, compare to his latest caper, his co-sponsoring of 2007 HB 287:

To enact section 2919.124 of the Revised Code relative to requiring paternal consent before an abortion may be performed.

Oh, it gets better.

A pregnant woman seeking to abort her pregnancy shall provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the person who is to perform or induce the abortion.

What if she got pregnant at a sperm bank? What if she was raped?

A copy of a police report or a complaint, indictment, information, or other court document that gives the person who is to perform or induce the abortion reasonable cause to believe that the woman became pregnant as the result of rape or incest.

Only 16 percent of rapes are reported to police, for reasons you might imagine. But wouldn't the co-sponsors of this bill (there are seven more of them) have considered this? Let's take a look at them.




One of these things is not like the other,
One of these things just doesn't belong.

Anyway, it gets better. Here are some circumstances under which a woman could not get an abortion:

1. Her husband impregnates her, is called up to the Army, and is killed in Iraq. The woman decides it's wrong to raise a child by herself in these tough times, and... WHOOPS, WHERE'S THE FATHER'S SIGNATURE? Sorry, he's dead.

2. Two fourteen-year-old kids fool around and she gets pregnant. Obviously this girl is in no position to raise a child and she and the parents decide she'll get an abortion. The father is run over by Stephen King in a van and goes into a coma. He can't sign the form, so the girl can't get the abortion (even though her parents approve!)

It gets better. Say I'm a man (I am) and a woman I didn't sleep with claims I'm the only man she slept with. You know, like Billie Jean. I'm forced to submit my personal DNA to THE STATE in order to prove I didn't do anything wrong, and that's on the public record. If I refuse to provide the state a sample of my DNA, I'm ARRESTED FOR ABORTION FRAUD.

Anyway, this law is just bizarre, and that Wachtmann is behind it doesn't surprise me one bit. He's a prick, and I don't call people that often, especially people I see in person on a regular basis. But, then, I live in Florida now.

The man has gone completely mad

President Bush is speaking live on television right now. He just said something so absurd ... I'm almost at a loss for words. Almost.

"People will try and tell you [Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11]...it's like they watch a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun and saying he's just there to cash a check."

Whut

Florida: "Don't touch our flag"

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I wrote this for Sticks of Fire, but as Tommy's on vay-kay I thought I'd post it here.

A Tampa man is in jail for violating Florida's flag-desecration law.

Police say 45-year-old Donnie White stomped on the flag, sat on it, and "rubbed it on himself." He's charged under Florida statute 876.52, under the category "Criminal Anarchy, Treason, and Other Crimes Against Public Order" (check it out, it's almost entirely made up of laws aimed at the KKK):

Public mutilation of flag.--Whoever publicly mutilates, defaces, or tramples upon or burns with intent to insult any flag, standard, colors, or ensign of the United States or of Florida shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

First degree misdemeanors are punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. It isn't White's first clash with the cops; Hillsborough County records show several open container and disorderly conduct violations. Yet Donnie may have more than a public defender on his side this time around; flag desecration laws were struck down by the 1989 Texas v. Johnson Supreme Court case (one my Public Speaking students know very well).

I love America. I cheer for us in the Olympics and World Cup. I vote. I blow sh*t up on Independence Day. I have a flag I fly from time to time. Yet I recognize the semiotic difference between signifier and signified. Donnie White wasn't stomping on America; he was stomping on the symbol of an idea -- an idea that, by way of the First Amendment, protects his right to stomp on it (though I doubt Donnie had any particular political expression in mind).

Flag desecration laws are fairly ludicrous on their face, however -- regardless of their unconstitutionality. This is for several reasons:

1. The U.S. Flag Code is regularly violated. Here's a few examples:


2. To ban desecration of an object, you have to define that object. How do you define the American Flag? If I draw it on a blackboard with chalk, am I not allowed to erase the blackboard? If I make an American Flag cake am I not allowed to eat it?

3. What, exactly, is desecration? How do you delineate between burning the flag in protest and burning it to dispose of a used or worn flag?

Certainly if this story makes any kind of national news, the ACLU will come to Donnie White's aid -- and they should, as Florida's law is in clear violation of Texas v. Johnson. Interestingly enough, Donnie would be in the same situation if he'd stomped on the Confederate flag -- that's illegal in Florida too.

Thoughts?

Real story or Onion article? YOU DECIDE.

http://www.theolympian.com/112/story/60302.html

Gore's 'Truth' restricted at schools

FEDERAL WAY - The school board in this suburb south of Seattle has restricted showings of Al Gore's movie on global warming, including requiring that it be balanced with an adequate opposing viewpoint.

...it's a science movie. Didn't you people watch it?

The board also required Superintendent Tom Murphy to approve when the former vice president's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," can be presented.

You know, because he doesn't have anything better to be doing.

The decision was sparked by complaints from parents who said their child was taking the film as fact after viewing it at school.

...it's a science movie. It's not just fact, it's "Truth."

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who doesn't want the film shown at all.

Chill out, Frosty. I can see why you'd be in denial about global warming (can this possibly be a real name? This is definitely an Onion article) but what do condoms have to do with a movie about climate change? And is all you want shown in schools people who are actual teachers? That really limits the multimedia opportunities.

Also, seven kids? Maybe condoms belonged in your school.

"The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is," Hardison told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

*head asplode*

"We have to ensure that our schools are not being used to politically indoctrinate anyone," said board member Dave Larson, who with Barney and board member Charlie Hoff voted Tuesday for the requirements. None has seen the movie.

I'm glad they're fiating policy with an informed opinion.

"I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision," the movie's co-producer, Laurie David, said in a prepared statement. "There is no opposing view to science, which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now."

Duh.

But Larson offered two opposing articles, including one by author John Stossel that said many scientists discredit global warming predictions. He also cited NASA and NOAA Web sites referring to debate and disagreement over climate change.

Ahhhhhahaha John Stossel -- this article went over the edge of cliche with this one. It must be fake.

The film also has been denied a showing at Tacoma's Remann Hall, a high school for juvenile offenders, where Principal Rue Palmer denied a teacher's request.

"YOU'LL RUE THE DAY YOU TRY AND SHOW THAT MOVIE," Palmer said.

Gerald Ford dead at 93

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Stunning news from Yorba Linda today, as Richard Nixon's corpse climbed out of his grave and strangled Gerald Ford to death.

Sweet, found a screen cap. Dana Carvey should have never left SNL.

Anatomy of an ad

In the 1980's, Republicans looked to contemporary culture for their youthful hero-men. Most notably, they pointed toward Family Ties character Alex P. Keaton, the Reagan-loving Young Republican, as an icon for the age. In 1984, the Republican Party came to Michael J. Fox, the young actor who portrayed Keaton, hoping he'd perform in a role supporting the re-election of Ronald Reagan. Fox refused the request, saying that it would be improper due to his being a Canadian citizen.

Looks like he's changed his mind when it comes to supporting candidates.

Vote Democrat. Not just because Michael J. Fox said so, but because Republicans would rather see Mr. Fox suffer than do the right thing. Which is, of course, permit federal funds to be used for stem cell research. Throwing aside Iraq, the rest of the world laughs at us when we do things like ban stem cell research. It makes us look as backward-ass as the Arabs we claim to be at war with.

Watch the video again. Think about where we could be. Think about where we are. Think about the pen as a bridge to where we ought to be.

What a difference a day makes

This morning, I woke up and fried two eggs for breakfast.

Then Bush vetoed funding for stem cell research.

This morning, I woke up and fried two chickens for breakfast.

The world is coming to an end.

Batten down the hatches, it's the Day of Reckoning. Collect money for all your kids, and earn your pension based on your profession. Maybe spin that crazy plastic wheel that always flies out of its holder one more time for memory's sake. Why?

1. A Fox News anchor, NOT Bill O'Reilly, told a guest, "You are the DEVIL!"

2. I actually agreed with her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCdT9dfrb-Q

Just your average Friday

Edit: If you haven't gone and seen Jobsite Theater's We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! then you're missing out and this is your last chance to see it so GO TONIGHT because it's amazing and my full review is coming soon

After a day spent pleading with poker players and writers to let me interview them, I tripped down the BBD to check out the film An Inconvenient Truth on its opening night in the Tampa Bay area.

I was pleased to find a nearly-packed theatre. The film itself is beyond description. I can only say that if you don't see this picture, you're doing yourself and our country a great disservice. It's beyond epic. I wish it were longer, but I suppose director Davis Guggenheim decided 105 minutes of powerful material was enough. The end of the film is the best part; make sure you stay through the credits, as they're probably the most important part of the picture, and the only "activist" one.

I walked out shaking and called my parents, urging them to see the film, and I urge you all to do the same. I only wish Mr. Gore had been so clear and charming (and funny!) during the 2000 campaign.

After the film, I ran down to the UA Hangout to meet Tina and Charles. We pasted two #1s on the rest of the country in the span of 90 minutes, and Tina and Charles took off leaving me with a stack of plastic shot cups, signifying the free drinks we'd earned for our superior intellect.

So I crossed the bar and chatted up the two girls who kept looking at me. The blonde scenester type was, as I'd predicted by her body language, the bartender's girlfriend. The other, the brunette, apparently also had a boyfriend, but was awfully interested in my shirt -- a Teen Girl Squad baseball shirt. After explaining Cheerleader, So-And-So, What's-Her-Face, and The Ugly One to her, she asked my name, and I hers.

I strained to hear it through the tones of the Geto Boys' "My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me." I thought she said "Manda."

"Manda?"

"No, Nanda," she replied.

That's not your full name....

"Fernanda," she explained, and my evening's soundtrack hit the Play button, and would be all Abba, all the time.

So Ferndanda was Brazilian, and I discussed several ways of forcing her to prove her heritage, though she eventually resorted to simply showing me her ID. The eighteen middle names listed were proof enough to me. I've never understood why Brazilians have eighteen names but only go by one of them.

I start using my free drinks to buy shots, something called a "Funky Monkey" or ... I don't really remember. They were Kahlua, Bailey's, Banana liqueur, and cream, and I gobbled them up while I plotted my escape. It wasn't to be, and Fernanda dragged me to the dance floor where we did whatever people do on dance floors. "How old are you," she asked. "Mid-20s," I truthfully responded. She rolled her eyes, and I concluded ambiguity wouldn't be enough. I told her the truth, and we danced a while, before I begged off and said I really have to get going.

She ran to the bar and yelled for a pen, rushed back with a cocktail napkin, and told me to write down my number.

I didn't bother to ask for hers.

Edit: While collecting my things to go down to MacDinton's I found a cocktail napkin with the name "Fernanda" and a phone number written in someone else's handwriting. She must have stuck it in my pocket when I wasn't looking. Not like I'll call her. I can only imagine what a Brazilian's boyfriend must look like.

Off to watch the USA pound the living pasta fagioli out of the Eye-talians. Have fun, kiddos. Oh, and here's something special for y'all: I uploaded Neko Case's Wednesday Letterman performance to YouTube. Enjoy!

A question for anyone with an answer

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Okay, so a Weapon of Mass Destruction was found nearby at a porn shop up Rt. 301. I can't figure something out:

Anthrax:

Killed five. Weapon of Mass Destruction

Weird chemical mix at the porn shop:

Killed zero. Weapon of Mass Destruction

TEC-DC9 used by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold:

Killed 12. Not a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Speaking of things that make one vomit

Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach:

"Homosexuality makes God want to vomit."

Gov. Jeb Bush, who appointed Dozier to a group that nominates judges in South Florida, didn't directly respond to the remark, but praised Dozier.

"Far be it from me to judge about people's faiths and what occurs because of it," Bush said. "He is very sincere. Rev. Dozier's a good man."

more on this

Of course, this is the same guy who said Jesus told him Republican Charlie Crist will be the next Florida governor.

Seriously, who can listen to Rush anymore?

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Re: http://mediamatters.org/items/200604030004

(via Hughes For America)

Seriously, how is it any way appropriate to refer to a rape victim as a "ho"? How is this man even still employed?

(Sorry I've been absent lately. Traffic, papers, I-75 traffic, work, and I-75 being a parking lot have contributed.)

Fundies

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Fellow Ohio (and other midwestern university) alums will remember fondly/not-so-fondly Brother Jed, the fundamentalist preacher who along with Sister Sarah and a group of little tykes brainwashed to believe the "truth," informed college students daily of their certain path to Hell. Masturbate? You're going to hell. Drink alcohol? Hell. Lesbian or Gay? You'll burn in Hell with the pain of a thousand suns. One memorable Brother Jed episode involved a riot between the College Republicans and himself versus militant lesbian group (and some of my favorite people on campus) the Swarm Of Dykes.

It was May 7, 1999, and I was there.

Today the hateful fundies made their presence known next to Cooper Hall on USF's campus. I guess they're around often, but today's group attracted quite a crowd:

Perhaps the litany of sinners on the sign drew all the attention. After all, crazy fundies regularly inform us God hates gays, lesbians, witches, Mormons, Jews, "druggies," cheaters, masturbators, sex0ringors, porn watchers, and women. These guys' signs had all of those bases covered. But there was one group singled out that I'd never seen before:

You can't read it, considering how I took the photo with my telephone, but it reads "Sports Fanatics."

Sports fans are going to Hell?

Sure, gamblers are regularly singled out, and maybe rightly so to a degree. Even the usually openminded Jesus of Nazareth wasn't fond of the fellows throwing bones in the temple. But just being a fan is a one-way ticket to eternal damnation? Should I not watch the basketball games this weekend?

So, yeah, there were some shoving and screaming matches. LJ kiddos, you know what to do.

So wait, I'm confused...

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We justified invading Afghanistan because the evil Taliban was a repressive, Islamist regime. Heroes like Pat Tillman, and others, lost their lives to ensure a free democracy would result in the volatile region.

And what did we get?

A government that is repressive and Islamist, to the point of executing non-Muslims.

Whoops! Guess we messed up attempt #1 at nation-building. That's okay, we'll make sure that Iraq's government is free and democratic for all citizens, right? We justified invading Iraq because the evil Saddam Hussein was a repressive dictator...

And what did we get?

A government that is repressive and Islamist, to the point of depriving women of the rights they had under the evil dictator Saddam Hussein.

This is what happens when you take out a secular dictatorship and replace it with a government whose constitution is written according to the anti-woman ideals of Islam. Now, as a good liberal, I'm entirely open-minded about religious freedom... I have no more bias against Islam than I do against Southern Baptistry. Yet it's not a good light to be in for a religion when its principles oppress 50% of a country's citizens more severly than the "evil dictator" who ruled the previous 20 years with the proverbial iron fist.

It's not a good light to be in for us, protectors of the world, supporters of democracy, to be in the business of providing agency to those who would see our own principles of freedom be stomped into a mudhole.

And yet our media isn't covering these glaring dissonances. We hear about war dead -- important, yes, but not really communicative -- and not the fact the VERY REASONS WE ARE THERE ARE FAILING.

I'm sorry. We're there to fight "terra." I keep forgetting.

Bush on why we went to Iraq

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Happening right now...

Helen Thomas: "Why did we want to go to war in Iraq?"

Bush: "9/11 changed our foreign policy."

He's shouting down Helen's calling-outs of his lies. This is classic.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is irony

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060318/D8GE1GLO8.html

Irony: A public school drama teacher forced to resign when local church members object to her plans to put on a production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

I really do fear for the future of our country, and issues like this one are things I can't do a damn thing about. I'm certainly not from a liberal community but my high school put on Grease, The Crucible, and Midsummer and nobody cared. It's the theatre. Sheesh.

*pissed*

More insanity

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This isn't meant to be a political blog, but sometimes things just make so little sense that I have to bring them up.

The Sago mine where shoddy safety standards led to the deaths of twelve miners paid $60 in fines for two violations.

CBS paid $500,000 in fines for showing a boob. For .5 seconds.

The Bush administration has openly relaxed mine safety regulations and cranked regulation up at the FCC.

Bushies, speak to me. Explain to me how the deaths of human beings are 10,000x less important than a breast?

[re: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/janet-jacksons-nipple-ve_b_16676.html]

Sage observation

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Re: http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/13984932.htm

The only abortions allowed under the bill would be if the life of the pregnant woman were in danger. There would be no abortions allowed in cases of pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

[08:46] <Bubbaprog> seriously, what is this country coming to
[08:46] <Bubbaprog> we literally are walking backward in time
[08:46] <Bubbaprog> er, not literally. figuratively.
[08:47] <sueb[work> we're not walking
[08:47] <sueb[work> we're running

suebhoney2005suebhoney2005 may be right, but I'm not cynical enough to believe her. Yet.

Seriously, in whose world does rape not put a woman's life in danger to begin with?

ignore the post hoc ergo prompter hoc

A quotation for the ages

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"We are a great country... a great people. We are greater than the people who are leading us."

-Mike Barnacle, on Don Imus' show this morning

1. US economic growth during the last quarter was an anemic 1.1%, the worst in 3 years.

2. The US inflation rate has jumped to 3.4 percent, the highest rate in 5 years.

3. The number of daily attacks in Iraq rose from 52 in December, 2004 to 77 in December, 2005.

4. A third of US veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 40,000 persons,exhibit at least some signs of mental health disorders. Some 14,000were treated for drug dependencies, and 11,000 for depression.

5. Increases in American consumer spending come from borrowing.

6. The $320 - $400 bilion deficits run by the Bush administration may push up the cost of mortgages and loans.

7. 58% of Americans think Bush is painting Iraq as rosier than it is. A majority thinks we should never have invaded the country.

8. The US military is at a breaking point.

9. In fact, The US and Iran are tacit allies in Iraq.

10. More money would be needed to finish the US reconstruction projects begun in Iraq.

from nanovirus

On unions, doctors, and Thanksgiving turkeys

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Tonight's Grey's Anatomy featured a nurse's strike as the umbrella plot device. While I wasn't happy with its portrayal, considering it fairly trite and one-dimensional, there were issues raised by it that stirred a few responses in me.

But these things I have done, I cannot deny

Bush is on television right now, and while I don't know for what reason, he got nary a paragraph into his speech before bringing up September 11th. Has he not worn out the 9/11 welcome? Seriously?

I'm in a crabby mood this morning. Why? Because Level3 and Cogent are being crybabies. What this means for me is that I can't access any usf.edu servers -- which means my email is useless, but more importantly, I can't get on Blackboard to download my readings for class tonight. I'd consider using an open proxy, but I'm not about to send my auth info through an open proxy.

September the 11th. He just said it again. Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda. September the 11th. Nukular. September the 11th. This is getting absurd.

"They aim to create a vast Islamic empire stretching from Spain to Pakistan." Domino theory, anyone? IS IT TIME FOR ISLAMIC DETENTE? He just dropped a Weapons of Mass Destruction. Who takes this guy seriously?

Anyway, the main point of Level3's argument with Cogent is that Cogent is pushing wayyyyyy too much content and not paying for it. Cogent's not a real Tier 1 ISP, and they give bandwidth to customers away like candy. Mainly to porn sites. So my rants and railings against internet porn being the downfall of the internet as a whole are appearing to be more than the unlikely doomsday scenario you all said they were, eh? I can't access my readings for class tonight. I can't email my prof to tell him why I missed class yesterday (my Jeopardy! audition ran long. Oh, yeah, I had a Jeopardy! audition yesterday. It went well. I'm on the list. Maybe I'll write a story about it, but the long and short of it is I was the youngest, and by far the most attractive [by that i mean, not suffering from severe weight/skin issues], person amongst the 100 or so auditioning), I'm pretty much miserable and it's all because of internet porn.

Here's your artifact of the day, BTW. Dr. Alison Snyder-whatever makes a second appearance. Interestingly, I have held this photo since September 1993 and never noticed the caption-writer switched the names of the two girls in back.


"We were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001. And Al Qaeda attacked us anyway. No act of ours incited the rage of the killers." Really? Is that why they attacked us, and not, say, CANADA? Or Holland?

This speech is scaring the shiat out of me. The rhetorical structure is very, very similar to some of Hitler's early speeches.

Here's some things you ought to be reading.
1. Van Morrison had to record an album to fulfill a contract obligation early in his career. Instead of using it as inspiration for a great song ("One Down") like Ben Folds, he recorded a bunch of nonsense backed by a guitar he didn't even bother to tune. It's quite hilarious. Check out the mp3s here.
2. Zombie takes a look at the anatomy of a photograph, showing how the San Francisco Chronicle's clever cropping changed the meaning of a captured event entirely. It's a good example of media bias.
3. Enough has been written about Harriet Miers that I won't go into it except to say that the one positive quality Bush has said about her is that she is "unwavering," a clear message to conservatives that she's not a Kennedy, Souter, or O'Connor. Yet she was a Catholic Democrat her entire life until only a few years ago. That's unwavering? David Bernstein is much more eloquent than me.

This post was supposed to be about having really unwelcome feelings for someone and how I'm too old to be having unrequited crushes, and how they always lead to inspiration but that my schedule doesn't allow me to write, and how I feel stifled and upset because I can't even get the one positive thing that can come from those emotions, but I never really got around to that, did I?
Current Mood: annoyed

Question

I sincerely need one of you to answer this question for me.

The federal government has spent $200 billion so far on the war in Iraq. The arguments for and against the war have been repeated ad nauseam; suffice to say that the current argument for our involvement there is that it's for the best of the Iraqi people.

Yet we are constantly being urged as citizens to donate money to help the victims of Katrina.

Explain to me how our government has the money to "help" Iraqi citizens but not to save our own American citizens.

Please. I need to know this. It is an utter embarrassment that our government is coming to the citizens for MORE money (the Defense Department alone gets $500 billion a year, or $5,000 from every household in America). The world is mocking us.

(That having been said, please give what you can. Even though we shouldn't have to.)

Busting mad rhymes

"It appears that the money has been moved in the President's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose thats the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees cant be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."

-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

Spread the news on menus nationwide, if you care. Seriously, as longtime readers know, I love hurricanes, but I'm amazingly depressed by everything I see in Biloxi, Gulfport, and NO. It takes a lot to elicit empathy from me. I love disaster and danger and destruction, but I'm not getting my normal thrill from this. Instead, I'm just sad. A lot of sad.

Meanwhile, shiat went down like CRAZY at rehearsal tonight. I was reprimanded for being a bad role model in my criticism of our "esteemed" director. I could go into details, but let's just say that if she wasn't off the deep end before, she is now, and this show is an embarassment that I'm ashamed to be taking my friends to it. While I know that I'll be great, and so will Stef, Darrel, Jeanine, and a few others -- but the lack of direction just has the entire show sloppy and we all know it. We haven't received one note on our performance in weeks. I'm quite sure the director isn't even watching the rehearsal.

I adore my new friend Stefani and I'm glad she stood up for what we need to put together the best show possible.

School tomorrow. Drinking vodka. Trusting in Rachel*'s judgment.

Sometimes I cry

http://www.cleveland.com/schultz/index.ssf?/base/living/112314795736070.xml&coll=2&thispage=1

I pride myself on being a fairly stoic person when it comes to negative emotions. Yeah, I get pissy from time to time, but most of the time it's all performance, not actual reflection of emotion. We wear the mask that grins and lies, after all.

But today, well, today I'm crying. I'm crying because I'm a selfish ass who loves his home state and can't believe her citizens continue to vote for a President whose policies have done nothing but hurt them. I cry because I'm not open-minded enough to understand the mindset of a town that has lost dozens of residents in multiple attacks in Iraq, yet fosters this kind of response:

"I was checking on my reenlistment paperwork when I heard they'd been killed," Morgan said. "I know if I reenlist, I'm going to Iraq. I don't care. I need to be there. I should have been there, with them, when this happened." His brothers, 19-year-old twins James and Ryan, have joined the Marines. One is at boot camp. The other will leave for boot camp later this month. Morgan's mother says she prays that she won't lose all three sons.

I'm crying because I'm hateful when that's the one emotion of which I'm trying to eradicate the world. I'm crying because I'm not doing a damn thing about it. (I'm also crying because I have a piece of dust in my eye and it's been there since last night.)

Voinovich

Throughout my life I have been very critical of Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) but after seeing this on the news this morning, I have a newfound respect and admiration for my fellow Bobcat alum.

http://dembloggers.com/story/2005/5/25/193922/824

When was the last time a senator CRIED while on the floor?

Bloody bumfuck

Before my political rant, here is a clothing-related one.

What the fuck is up with the fact I can never find anything in my size? Every time I find a shirt I like, it's only available in XL, XXL, or XXXL. This is happening time and time again here in Tampa. I WEAR SIZE SMALL. And I'm not even that small a guy. So people smaller than me are *really* fucked. I honestly do want to know why stores only stock XL, XXL, and XXXL-sized shirts. All I want is a nice Devil Rays shirt to wear to games, but nobody can help me.

Political rant below. I'm not lj-cutting it because it deserves to be read.

If there is any better reason to despise our current federal administration, here it is:

Tonight's 60 Minutes reported on the rise of abstinence-only sex education in public schools. Now, I've come out strongly against this in the past, but tonight's report made my blood pressure dangerously high. Abstinence-only sex ed is now being taught in ONE THIRD of U.S. public schools. The main supplier of materials for teaching purposes is a firm that has been awarded funding from the federal government. But that's the wrong thing to focus on. Here's what we *should* be focusing on:

-Teachers are forbidden from discussing the effectiveness of condoms. They are only allowed to report that condoms fail "14 to 16 percent of the time" (which is a PATENT FALSEHOOD. The Centers for Disease Control, A U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCY, EXPLAINS THAT CONDOMS ARE NEARLY 100 PERCENT EFFECTIVE).

Furthermore, if a student asks a teacher how to properly use a condom (a necessary condition for condom effectiveness), THE TEACHER IS FORBIDDEN BY LAW FROM INSTRUCTING THEM.

Not only are we *not* teaching safe sex, OUR TEACHERS ARE BANNED FROM TEACHING IT.

Sorry for all the caps, but I'm livid. Every student, EVERY STUDY, ever done on abstinence-only sex education programmes have concluded that they are "ineffective" at best, and INCREASE INCIDENCES OF STDs AND TEEN PREGNANCIES in most cases (google for the Minnesota study for more info).

Goddammit, I fucking hate this administration. It's a shame that we won't feel the full brunt of their blunders for another fifteen-twenty years.

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