Monthly Archives: May 2005

The Education President

Republicans just shouldn’t be in the education business.  Not since Quayle instructed a student to spell the word potato incorrectly, have we seen a boner like this:

It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of—and the allegations—by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble—that means not tell the truth.

Uh, don’t teach English, Dubya—it’s not your strong suit. “Disassemble“ means “to take apart”.  The word you were looking for was “dissemble“.

Worse Than Appeasement

Not long ago, the right-wing blogosphere was chastizing the left because (supposedly) we all wanted to “appease” Saddam.  Of course, “appeasement” in our view meant inspections, fly-overs, sanctions and a whole host of other active efforts which—let’s be honest—are just the opposite of appeasement.

Today’s LA Times has a piece by former NSC director Steve Andreasen which takes Bush to task for his appeasement of North Korea and Iran.  He makes the distinction between active appeasement, which is bad enough, and passive appeasement, which characterizes the Bush policy:

No one can accuse the Bush administration of making an active effort to appease North Korea or Iran. In fact, the administration has gone to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of “giving in” to Pyongyang or Tehran, refusing to engage in direct negotiations regarding their nuclear programs. Without negotiations, the reasoning appears to be, there can be no concessions, no agreement and no appeasement.

Or can there be? The administration seems to have forgotten the part about meeting the aggressor head-on. Indeed, the administration’s approach might be called passive appeasement — and the absence of energetic diplomacy or credible military threat may be just as injurious to U.S. interests as an active agreement recognizing renegade nations as nuclear powers.

***

Because of a lack of assertive diplomacy, the most isolated, dangerous regime on the globe has been permitted to increase its nuclear inventory. Only now — when North Korea appears ready to stage a nuclear test — is the administration considering establishing its own red line, backed by threats of negative consequences. But bilateral negotiations with the North apparently remain off the table.

Read the whole thing, and ask yourself, where are the cries of “appeaser” now?

NASCAR – The Sport of Pussies?

I don’t get the appeal of NASCAR.  I really don’t.  It’s as exciting to watch as butter melting, except when they crash, and I don’t find human mutilation to be entertaining.

I’ve always assumed that there is some technical prowess involved for the drivers, but as a spectator, I can’t appreciate it because I can’t see what they are doing.  But it looks like I may be wrong.  The success of a driver apparently depends on, not his skill, but his weight.  At least, that’s what Robby Gordon is indicating in his recent whine:

Robby Gordon accused Danica Patrick of having an unfair advantage in the Indianapolis 500 and said yesterday he will not compete in the race again unless the field is equalized.

Gordon, a former open-wheel driver now in NASCAR, contends that Patrick is at an advantage over the rest of the competitors because she only weighs 100 pounds. Because all the cars weigh the same, Patrick’s is lighter on the race track.

“The lighter the car, the faster it goes,” Gordon said. “Do the math. Put her in the car at her weight, then put me or Tony Stewart in the car at 200 pounds and our car is at least 100 pounds heavier.

“I won’t race against her until the IRL does something to take that advantage away."

Danica Patrick finished fourth in this past weekend’s Indy 500, the highest placement for a woman competitor.

To Gordon, I suggest you look at other sports.  Tall basketball players.  Midget jockeys.  Breastless gymnasts.  Huge linebackers.  You name it, size and shape plays a role in almost every sport, and in none of them do we try to equalize the body types.  If indeed NASCAR qualifies as a “sport”, then you better stop whining and switch to salads, Gordo.

New Rule on Amnesty International

NEW RULE: Amnesty International is a legitimate source for human rights violations of other countries, but is an unreliable and irresponsible source for reporting on the U.S.

On March 27, 2003, Rumsfeld said:

We know that it’s a repressive regime…Anyone who has read Amnesty International or any of the human rights organizations about how the regime of Saddam Hussein treats his people…

The next day, Rumsfeld even cited his “careful reading” of Amnesty:

…[I]t seems to me a careful reading of Amnesty International or the record of Saddam Hussein, having used chemical weapons on his own people as well as his neighbors, and the viciousness of that regime, which is well known and documented by human rights organizations, ought not to be surprised.

And on April 1, 2003, Rumsfeld said once again:

[I]f you read the various human rights groups and Amnesty International’s description of what they know has gone on, it’s not a happy picture.

Quite a contrast to the present Amnesty Internationalbashing by the Administration lately.

War Snapshot

The insurgents are on the run, says the blind man.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 28 – The surge of violence that has swept Iraq since its first elected government took office nearly a month ago continued Saturday, with at least 30 new deaths reported across the country, some of them in what appeared to be sectarian killings.

The latest attacks raised the total number of Iraqis killed this month to about 650, in addition to at least 63 American troops who have been killed, the highest American toll since January.

Read the whole thing.

Of course, the heart of the problem is Newsweek and CBS. rolleyes

Folks, it isn’t working.  We’re waist deep in the big muddy.

The New Postmodernism (or A Short and Hypocritical History of Media-Bashing)

E.J. Dionne has a must-read about conservative media-bashing, using the Newsweek-Koran outrage as a launching-off point.  The key graf (for me) is this:

Conservative academics have long attacked “postmodernist” philosophies for questioning whether “truth” exists at all and claiming that what we take as “truths” are merely “narratives” woven around some ideological predisposition. Today’s conservative activists have become the new postmodernists. They shift attention away from the truth or falsity of specific facts and allegations—and move the discussion to the motives of the journalists and media organizations putting them forward. Just a modest number of failures can be used to discredit an entire enterprise.

Here’s a specific example of the then-and-now transition of the neo-con reception to media:

Back when the press was investigating Bill Clinton, conservatives were eager to believe every negative report about the incumbent. Some even pushed totally false claims, including the loony allegation that Clinton aide Vince Foster was somehow murdered by Clinton’s apparatchiks when, in fact, Foster committed suicide. Every journalist who went after Clinton was “courageous.” Anyone who opposed his impeachment or questioned even false allegations was “an apologist.”

We now know that the conservatives’ admiration for a crusading and investigative press carried an expiration date of Jan. 20, 2001.

Ain’t it the truth?  Read the whole thing.

On Presidential Dynasties

USA Today reports that, according to a recent USAToday/CNN/Gallop poll, 53% of Americans say they are likely to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if she runs for president in 2008 (Link).

I’m frankly surprised that 53% of Americans have an opinion at all about who they would vote for in 2008, and it leads me to wonder if “I don’t know” was one of the possible answers given to respondents.  I suspect not.

I certainly haven’t made up my mind yet.  I have nothing against Hillary, and it would be nice to have a female Chief Executive in the White House.  But this will mean 16, or possibly 20, years of Presidents coming from two families.  It’s different from the Roosevelts, or even the Kennedys (if Bobby wasn’t assassinated), because in this instance, an entire generation will come of age only knowing “President Clinton” or “President Bush”.

That’s not Hillary’s fault, of course, and it shouldn’t be held against her.  If she’s the best candidate, I’ll vote for her.  But I was wondering if anyone else had reservations about “presidential dynasties”.

Qu’ran Mishandling Confirmed

Developing story, but here’s what is known so far:

WASHINGTON – U.S. officials have substantiated five cases in which military guards or interrogators mishandled the Quran of Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay but found “no credible evidence” to confirm a prisoner’s report that a holy book was flushed in a toilet, the prison’s commander said Thursday.

[Source]

Of course, the right wing blogosphere (aided by the lazy press, if the above is any example) is going to obsess over the flushing aspect of the story, and they’ll do their requsite “see, we told you so” victory dance.  But we all know that’s hardly exculpatory in light of the fact that the Pentagon has now confirmed mishandling of the Quran. 

Let’s be clear on this: The Pentagon has now confirmed that mishandling of the Quran occurred.

To say a “see I told you so” is the equivalent of Lynnie England (sp?) proving that the dog leash was on the loosest setting.

North Carolina Update

What a backwater state this can be sometimes. 

First, we had the Baptist preacher who kicked members of his parish out because they voted for Kerry (but, fortunately, there was a happy ending). 

And then we had another Baptist preacher who posted a sign in front of the church saying “The Koran should be flushed.” (Afghani deaths: Unknown).

And then, not to be outdone in the North Carolina Conservative Intolerance Competition, the Ku Klux Klan shows the love by burning crosses.

Fortunately, someone appears to have put the state in reasonably good light:

It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to “freedom fries” has turned against the war.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war “with no justification”.

Welcome to the majority, Congressman.  Set yerself here and have a beer. [Source]

Juan Cole Lays It Out

Do yourself a favor and read it.  These are the closing paragraphs, but the support for his argument preceeds it:

Therefore, I conclude that the United States is stuck in Iraq for the medium term, and perhaps for the long term. The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.

In the long run, say 15 years, the Iraqi Sunnis will probably do as the Lebanese Maronites did, and finally admit that they just cannot remain in control of the country and will have to compromise. That is, if there is still an Iraq at that point.

Judicial Activism

It’s one thing (a constitutional thing) for a private citizen to criticize another citizen’s religion, but this is entirely different . . . and unconstitutional:

An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge’s unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals.”

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Cale J. Bradford, chief judge of the Marion Superior Court, kept the unusual provision in the couple’s divorce decree last year over their fierce objections, court records show. The order does not define a mainstream religion.

Bradford refused to remove the provision after the 9-year-old boy’s outraged parents, Thomas E. Jones Jr. and his ex-wife, Tammie U. Bristol, protested last fall.

Let’s be clear about this: even though it comes in the context of a divorce proceeding, this isn’t about choosing one parental wish over the other parent’s wish.  This is the judge vs. both parents.

Wow, judges picking what are valid religions and what are not, over the objections of both parents.  And the Christofascists applaud.

Not to worry.  This will be overturned.

Quotes That Make You Go “Hmmmmmm”

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

— President Bush, 5/24/05

Oh yes, George.  We know, we know.

TOO-GOOD-TO-LEAVE-IN-THE-COMMENTS-SECTION UPDATELizard Queen completes the circle, by comparing the Bush quote to FDR’s:

"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, October 26, 1939

I know many here already do, but for those who don’t, check LQ’s site out.

ONE MORE UPDATE FOR THE ROAD: I think Sam Rosenfeld‘s take is right:

Bush is absolutely correct to believe that that kind of battering-ram repetition strategy has worked well for him in the past. The problem is that it doesn’t make for a particulalry limber or multi-dimensional approach; when the hard sell doesn’t gain him any ground at all, as in the Social Security fight, he ends up in a rut with little by way of exit strategy.

LAST UPDATE I PROMISE:

Another quote to compare with Bush’s quote:

“Freedom has a power all its own, requiring no propaganda to find recruits, no indoctrination to keep its believers in line.”

– Vice President Cheney, 4/15/04

Hmmmmmm.  Freedom requires no propaganda, yet Bush has to repeat things in order to catapult to propaganda.  Hmmmmmm.

The McClellan Challenge

L’il Scotty McClellan throws down the gauntlet:

“In terms of the intelligence, the – if anyone wants to know how the intelligence was used by the administration, all they have to do is go back and look at all the public comments over the course of the lead-up to the war in Iraq, and that’s all very public information. Everybody who was there could see how we used that intelligence.”

And sure enough, many did…

From Think Progress:

INTEL: In 1997, the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report saying there was no indication Iraq ever achieved nuclear capability or had any physical capacity for producing weapons-grade nuclear material in the near future. In February 2001, the CIA delivered a report to the White House that said: “We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

HOW IT WAS USED: In March 2003, Cheney definitively claimed on Meet the Press that Iraq “has reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

INTEL: In April 2001, the the Energy Department told the White House the aluminum tubes Iraq bought couldn’t be used for nuclear weapons production. In late 2001, the State Department also sent word they were ill-suited for that use.

HOW IT WAS USED: On Sept. 8, 2002, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told CNN the tubes were “only really suited for nuclear weapons programs.” Bush in his 1/03 State of the Union said the tubes which were “suitable for nuclear weapons production.”

INTEL: In the fall of 2002, the CIA told white house officials not to include the uranium-from-Niger assertion in speeches.

HOW IT WAS USED: Bush included it in his 2003 State of the Union.

INTEL: A September 2002 DOD intel report found “”no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has – or will – establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.”

HOW IT WAS USED: In October 2002, Bush claimed, without doubt, that Iraq “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons.”

And there’s even more side-by-side analysis from Downing Street Memo website.

And so ends the McClellan Challenge.

The Latest In Krazy Kristian Kookdom

Wake the kids and load the mini-van.  It’s time for a trip to the Creation Museum!

Wait.  Better not yet.  The museum will open in 2007 in Northern Kentucky, USA (natch), right near the Cincinnati Airport.

A 50,000 square foot facility, it claims to be “a wonderful alternative to the evolutionary natural history museums that are turning countless minds against the gospel of Christ and the authority of the Scripture”.  Cool.  And you can be sure that, in the words of Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park), “no expense will be spared”.

I anticipate your question.  “Speaking of Jurassic Park, will there be dinosaurs in the Creation Museum?  I mean, there’s no mention of the dinosaurs in the Bible, so I guess there won’t be any in the Creation Museum.”

Hahahahaha.  How wrong you are.  There will be dinosaurs.  Yesiree, Bob.  Kids and parents alike will be greated by two young animatronic T-Rex’s in the lobby who will give—I swear I am not making this up—“sworn testimony” about their origins.  That’s right.  Puppet dinosaurs giving “sworn testimony”.  I guess they will put their left claws on an animatronic Bible or something.

Visitors will learn that T-Rex’s were originally vegetarians (Genesis 1:30, apparently), until Adam’s sin brought a curse upon the world.  That’s when T-Rex’s decided they wanted meat.  Wow.  I can’t believe how I’ve been LIED to all these years.

And apparently, there is also a display which informs museum visitors that Adam named all the animals in the world, including the dinosaurs.  Which is a pretty neat trick when you think about it.  I mean, most dinosaurs have Greek names, so a hat tip to Adam for knowing Greek before the advent of the Greek civilization.

Read more about the museum here and here.

And for God’s sakes (literally!), book your tickets NOW!  He wants you to.

Lies and the Lies About the Lies

Editor and Publisher notes how Scotty McClennan is now denying that he ever suggested that the Newsweek article caused death in Afghanistan:

At a White House press briefing Monday, Press Secretary Scott McClellan, pressed by reporters and with Afghan President Karzai in disagreement, retreated on claims that Newsweek’s retracted story on Koran abuse cost lives in Afghanistan.

He also claimed that he had never said it did, even though a check of transcripts disputes that. On May 16, for example, he said, “people have lost their lives.” On May 17, he said, “People did lose their lives,” and, “People lost their lives” due to the Newsweek report.

Read the whole thing

So let’s sum up.  The White House lies about the Newsweek Koran story (contradicting the Pentagon), and then lies about the lies it told.

Imagine my surprise.

“Fair and Balanced” Lie Admitted

Imagine if Dan Rather said this:

"Even we at CBS manage to get some right wingers on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to George Soros."

If Rather had said that, you would never here the end of it from the wingnut blogsphere.  But, of course, he didn’t.  The above quote is actually (with modifications) from Fox News London bureau chief.  He said:

Even we at Fox News manage to get some lefties on the air occasionally, and often let them finish their sentences before we club them to death and feed the scraps to Karl Rove and Bill O’Reilly.

So if “fair and balanced” is a lie (as now admitted), I guess everything that Fox reports is likely to be a lie, right?  Right?

Rupert Murdoch Endangers Soldiers

From the New York Times

The United States military expressed anger and dismay today over the unauthorized release of photographs of a jailed Saddam Hussein in his underwear and performing menial activity. …

“These photos were taken in clear violation of Department of Defense directives and possibly Geneva Convention guidelines for the humane treatment of detained individuals,” the military statement, issued in Iraq, said, promising an investigation. …

The pictures were published today on the cover and inside pages of two tabloids controlled by the media magnate [and Fox News owner] Rupert Murdoch, The Sun, a British daily, and The New York Post.

Not surprisingly, a week after lambasting Newsweek, President Bush now suddenly can’t see much of a connection between media coverage and insurgent activities:

President Bush, when asked if he thought the pictures would stoke more anti-Americanism in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, voiced some doubt. “I think the Iraq insurgency is inspired by their desire to stop the march of freedom,” he said. …

You know, I don’t think a photo inspires murderers,” Mr. Bush said, at an appearance with Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen of Denmark.

No, only text, right?  Right?  rolleyes

I don’t mind it when theo-neocons take a contrary position to me.  That’s fine.  It’s their inability to adhere to their own arguments that makes them opportunistic and morally groundless pussies.  The strength of their convictions is about as solid as jello.

Somebody Fire The Editor Of The New York Times!

…for printing facts that reflect badly on America:

Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.

The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar’s face.

“Come on, drink!” the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. “Drink!”

At the interrogators’ behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

“Leave him up,” one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen…

It goes on, but you get the idea…

Sssshhhhhhhhhhhh!

Instapundit.
Powerline.
Blogs for Bush.
NRO’s The Corner.
GOPBloggers.
Andrew Sullivan.
Lashawn Barber.
Michelle Malkin.
Redstate.org.

As of this posting, not one of these blogs has a single word on Rick Santorum calling the entire Democratic party Nazis.

That’s how they work, folks. This is how they do it.

I guess we need someone like Newsweek or Eason Jordan to say it for them to notice.

[Hat Tip: Pandagon]

1,346

Amanda Marcotte notes something:

The number above is the number of days between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and V-J Day. Since it’s not unheard for the warbloggers to compare the War on Terra favorably to WWII, this number has some significance today, the 1,346th day after September 11th, according to Shakespeare’s Sister and Angry Bear.

Contrary to the heavy-handed war romanticism from the 101st Fightin’ Keyboardists, the Greatest Generation Part Deux we are not. Mostly we are a nation of sniveling cowards who re-elected someone we knew for a fact to be a goddamned lying, money-grubbing piece of shit who only squeaked by with serious fear-mongering. And he did so because he’s a coward himself, afraid to follow in FDR’s footsteps and tell us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself because he knew that kind of courage doesn’t win you elections. Not when you’re a smirking frat boy with nothing to back it up.

In the time it took the Greatest Generation to fight off both the Germans and the Japanese, the Cowardly Generation has managed to make Newsweek look stupid and Dan Rather retire, though, so I guess we can’t be too hard on them.

The Greatest Generation knew that a war effort this massive would require effort from everyone and with that end in mind, they intergrated women into the military for the first time with the WAC and while black Americans were still serving in segregated units, the contributions of both blacks and women during WWII set the stage for rebellions that came later and society progressed. The Cowardly Generation thinks the best way to win a war is to exclude gays and women from military duty as much as you can while rolling back social reforms at home.

The Greatest Generation rationed sugar, coffee, fabrics and mostly oil for the war effort. The Cowardly Generation decided that the best way to show support was to purchase massive SUVs that looked manly while increasing our dependence on the oil that got us into this shit to begin with.

The Greatest Generation fought because they had to, and they fought invading armies with long, long track records of aggression. The Cowardly Generation made up some bullshit about what a country that had nothing to do with attacks on us might do in the future possibly if what we know to be true could concievably be true according to some outdated information and used that as an excuse to divert military resources into an attack on a country that didn’t attack us.

Warbloggers of the world, please take note of the day and explain what the magic bullet is that will make all of this work out in the end.

More Bad Polls For Repubs

Another poll is out—this time by NBC/Wall Street Journal (yes, that bastion of liberalism, the WSJ)—and it looks especially bad for the theo-neocons in the 2006 election.  Democrats have a 47%-40% edge over the GOP in the generic ballot question for 2006, the largest advantage for the Democrats in this poll since 1994, while respondents felt by a large margin that Congress doesn’t share their priorities. According to the poll, the largest drop-off in support for Congress has come from Republicans.

This is remarkable since the Republican agenda is front and center, while the Democrats agenda isn’t even suited up for the game.  For example, Bush goes across the nation to sell his Social Security plan, and the views of him and his plan plummet . . . even without a Democrat alternative! (The Democrats offered no alternative because they deny the “crisis").  Imagine what happens in 2006 when Democrats actually start talking about their core issues again: health care, education, jobs and the economy . . . the issues that respondents in the poll thought are being ignored.  Even though the poll is down on Dems (although not nearly as much as Repubs), the meta-message is that it is time for Democrats to start pushing their (and the peoples’) agenda once again.

Thoughts On The Nuclear Option

I have no particular warm spot in my heart for the filibuster.  I don’t particularly loathe it either.  I just view it as one of many silly and arcane congressional rules that has been around for decades, like the entire committee process which can effectively kill bills from even being considered.  If I could make the rules for Congress, I would take power away from committees, and remove some partisanship by requiring that every bill be submitted “blindly” (i.e. no author or party affiliation tied to any piece of legislation).

Nor does by agnostic view of the filibuster change when it comes to judicial nominations (as opposed to legislation).  It is what it is.

My problem with the Repub’s nuclear option to get rid of the filibuster (for judicial nominations only) is that it involves cheating.  There’s no dispute that the Senate needs 67 votes in order to change an existing procedural rule, which the filibuster is.  But Repubs don’t have that 67%.  So we have the “nuclear option”, which in essence allows the Senate to change the rule with only a majority (50 plus Cheney). 

How can they hope to do this?  Only one way.  By taking the position that the filibuster is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, because (in essence, winnowing out all kinds of moronic legislative slang) you can change a “rule” if a majority of Senators agree that the “rule” is unconstitutional.  And since they are trying to preserve the filibuster when used for, say, legislation, the Repubs must take the position that the filibuster is UNCONSTITUTIONAL ONLY WHEN APPLIED TO JUDICIAL NOMINEES.

This is clearly an untenable position.  There are only two clauses of the Constitution that have major bearing on the present issue.  I’ll examine them separately, as well as the interplay between the two.

Article One, Section 5, Clause 3 states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings…”.  Now, occasionally, the Constitution might compel a rule—for example, the Constitution requires that each House keep “a journal of its proceedings”.  But in the absence of a specific Constitutional requirement, each House may determine its own internal rules of procedure—that’s clear as crystal.  This means that if the Senate Rules require that its members cast their votes by dropping their pants and farting once for “Yay” and twice for “Nay”, that’s fine as far as the Constitution is concerned. 

The filibuster, which is only slightly less stupid than my example above, is one such rule that the Senate has established for itself.  It is neither constitutionally compelled, nor constitutionally forbidden.  Like vote-farting, it is constitutionally permissable

Now, we turn to the other (arguably) relevant constitutional clause in the controversy.

Article Two, Section 2, Clause 2 says that the President “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States . . .”.  This is relevant to the nomination of appeals and district court judges as well—i.e., the current controversy. 

The Constitution does not define the form in which the “advice and consent” must be rendered—it certainly does not MANDATE an up-or-down vote, as some Repubs argue.  The Advice and Consent Clause merely gives the Senate a power, but is silent on the procedure to carry out that power.

Logically, therefore, the MECHANICS in which the “advice and consent” is given is left to the Senate.  Which means, we are thrown back to Article One, Section 5, Clause 3—the Senate gets to make up its own rules about how that advice and consent is given.

Therefore, nothing is unconstitutional about the filibuster, and nothing unconstitutional about the filibuster-as-applied-to-judicial-nominations.  And the dirty joke is that everyone, including Frist I’m sure, knows this.

So . . . get rid of the filibuster?  Sure, count me in.  But don’t break your own rules of procedure and torture the Constitution in order to do it.  As Josh Marshall write:

You can think the filibuster is a terrible idea. And you may think that it should be abolished, as indeed it can be through the rules of the senate. And there are decent arguments to made on that count. But to assert that it is unconstitutional because each judge does not get an up or down vote by the entire senate you have to hold that the United States senate has been in more or less constant violation of the constitution for more than two centuries.

UPDATE:  Josh Marshall makes an additional interesting observation:

Remember that this entire political uproar is supposedly about originalism, the need for judges who will interpret the law and the constitution not according to our personal wishes or the political needs of the moment, but according to its original and long-settled meaning. That is, we’re told, their aim. And yet to accomplish this they are quite happy to use a demonstrably bogus interpretation of the constitution to overturn two centuries of settled understanding of what the document means and requires.

Their very victory, should it come to that, is their badge of hypocrisy. Their arguments are all at war with themselves. But they don’t care.

Silent Majority Speaks Up

President Bush is, not surprisingly, speaking at the commencement of a Christian college in a few days.  But what warms my heart, is this, as reported here:

[Calvin College is] a liberal arts school that defines its mission as “developing the Christian mind,” and requires what its spokesman, Phil de Haan, calls “an allegiance of faith” from its faculty, and theology studies from its students.

But 100 members of the faculty and another 40 staff and former faculty members have signed an open letter of rebuke to the president that’s scheduled to appear as a half-page ad in the Grand Rapids Press on the day of the president’s speech.

While welcoming the president, the letter delivers a carefully worded critique of administration policies from a Christian viewpoint. It calls the Iraq war “unjust and unjustified,” expresses dismay at policies that “favor the wealthy … and burden the poor,” challenges policies of intolerance toward dissent, and environmental policies that are at odds with being “caretakers of God’s good creation."

The letter signers view the occasion of the president’s speech as a teachable moment.

David Crump, a Calvin professor of religion who helped draft the letter . . . says that news of the open letter has gotten response from around the country. It’s tapped into what he sees as "a silent majority in the Christian evangelical community that resents the Christian vocabulary being hijacked by the religious right."

How very MLK of them.

“Traditional” Marriage

As reported here, an enterprising blogger sought to get a bead on what constitutes a “traditional” marriage.  He unearthed a judicial opinion from Kansas from 1886 (and can you get any more “traditional” than Kansas in 1886?), in which the judge wrote:

In my opinion, the union between E. C. Walker and Lillian Harman was no marriage, and they deserve all the punishment which has been inflicted upon them. … In the present case, the parties repudiated nearly everything essential to a valid marriage, and openly avowed this repudiation at the commencement of their union.

What did the couple repudiate, thus making it “no marriage”?

* the bride declined to take a marriage vow of obedience to her husband
* the bride declared her individuality by keeping her maiden name
* the groom acknowledged at the wedding ceremony that his future wife could “repulse…all advances of mine”; in other words, he acknowledged that he could not rape his wife-to-be
* the groom acknowledged that he would share responsibility for child-rearing
* the groom disavowed that his wife-to-be was to become his property

Yup.  So, as pointed out—in 1886, the idea that a woman owned herself, even when married, and had the right to not be raped was a radical redefinition of marriage, so much so that a court refused to acknowlege it as a marriage at all.  Moreover, there is hardly a marriage today that comports to this old-timey view of marriage.

The point, if it is not obvious, is that the societal concept of a “marriage” evolves over time, so it is simply incorrect to assume that there even is a “traditional” notion of marriage.

Puritanical Sexism

I don’t know what to say about this.  It boggles the mind.

Alysha Cosby, an Alabama high-school student, was banned from participating in her school’s graduation last night because she is pregnant.

So she announced her own name and walked across the stage anyway. (I love it!)

Cosby, her mother, and her aunt were then escorted out of the room by police.

Officials from St. Jude Educational Institute in Montgomery, Alabama told Cosby to stop attending the school in March, due to “safety concerns.” She completed her courses at home. And even though she met all of the academic requirements and received her diploma, the school refused to recognize her at the ceremony.

The kicker? The father of Cosby’s child– a student at the same high school– was allowed to graduate with the class.

From Feministing.

Iraq – A Sobering Assessment

Despite the pie-in-the-sky propagandistic high-fives of those in the non-reality-based community, it seems that things in Iraq aren’t going that well:

In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last “many years."

But the officer said that despite Americans’ recent successes in disrupting insurgent cells, which have resulted in the arrest of 1,100 suspects in Baghdad alone in the past 80 days, the success of American goals in Iraq was not assured. “I think that this could still fail,” the officer said at the briefing, referring to the American enterprise in Iraq. “It’s much more likely to succeed, but it could still fail."

He said recent polls conducted by Baghdad University had shown confidence flagging sharply, to 45 percent, down from an 85 percent rating immediately after the election.

The senior officer who met with reporters in Baghdad said there had been 21 car bombings in the capital in May, and 126 in the past 80 days. All last year, he said, there were only about 25 car bombings in Baghdad.

I mention this, of course, because it is the truth, not because I approve.  The Bush Doctrine simply has not manifested itself in the way that its proponents are claiming.  There’s no reason to think that it might eventually work, but that day is not upon us yet.  And even if peace and democracy do come to Iraq, it still does not translate to a “domino theory” of democracy spreading throughout the Middle East.  More importantly, it does not translate to a safer America.  Remember, 9/11 is what started this.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of “installing democracies” as being central to Bush Doctrine Version 3.0, let’s remind ourselves of how little that was a part of the original doctrine.  This time, let’s remind ourselves with linkety goodness.  There was no mention of “democracy” in President Bush’s address to Congress and the nation on September 20, 2001. Aside from a reference to Russia, it cannot be found in the June 2002 West Point speech. “Democracy” was absent from Bush’s September 12, 2002 address to the UN and his October 7, 2002 Iraq war justification in Cincinnati. And in the run-up to the invasion, democracy promotion remained essentially invisible in the 2003 State of the Union (ironically, it is mentioned regarding Iran), March 17 press conference, and even during Bush’s March 19 address to the nation declaring the commencement of hostilities.

Tolerance For Terrorism?

A guy plants a bomb on a plane, and it blows up, killing all the men, women and children civilians on board.  That’s a terrorist act, right?  And if were up to Bush—the architect of the “war on terrorism”—that guy would be captured, killed, prosecuted, tortured, etc., right?  Right?

Well, Daddy Bush picked up the bat on this issue once, and whiffed:

Most controversially, at the request of Jeb, Mr Bush Sr intervened to release the convicted Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch from prison and then granted him US residency.

According to the justice department in George Bush Sr’s administration, [Orlando] Bosch had participated in more than 30 terrorist acts. He was convicted of firing a rocket into a Polish ship which was on passage to Cuba. He was also implicated in the 1976 blowing-up of a Cubana plane flying to Havana from Venezuela in which all 73 civilians on board were killed.

***

Bosch’s release, often referred to in the US media as a pardon, was the result of pressure brought by hardline Cubans in Miami, with Jeb Bush serving as their point man. Bosch now lives in Miami and remains unrepentant about his militant activities, according to Bardach.

Now, it is the son’s turn—and this time—it is a post 9/11 world.  Kevin Drum sets the stage of the upcoming Dubya dilemna:

On Tuesday, immigration officials finally arrested Luis Posada Carriles, a man convicted of bombing a Cuban airliner in 1976 and subsequently accused of numerous other acts of terrorism since he escaped from a Venezuelan jail 20 years ago. Venezuela wants him back, so shortly we’ll know what’s most important to the Bushies: punishing terrorists or thumbing their noses at Hugo Chávez.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

UPDATE:  In case it’s not clear, both Bosch (the terrorist now living as a free man in Miami) and Carriles (the terrorist now in custody) are comrades-in-arms, having both committed the EXACT SAME ACTS of terrorism (i.e., bombing the Cuban airliner in 1976).

Frist Chokes Bigtime

Shorter Frist: Single judicial filibusters are constitutional, but judicial filibusters of more-than-one judge is not.

This morning on the floor of the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer asked Majority Leader Bill Frist a simple question:

SEN. SCHUMER: Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague [Sen. Frist] voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?

Here was Frist’s response:

The president, the um, in response, uh, the Paez nomination – we’ll come back and discuss this further. … Actually I’d like to, and it really brings to what I believe – a point – and it really brings to, oddly, a point, what is the issue. The issue is we have leadership-led partisan filibusters that have, um, obstructed, not one nominee, but two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, in a routine way.

Source

Bill Moyers Explains It All

More like this please.

Unfortunately, Bill Moyer’s speech on the failure of journalism and the independence of public television is far too long to reproduce here, even for an extended post.  I therefore encourage everyone to read it all.

Choice excerpts are below the fold.

On “radical right-wingers”:

Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control, using the government to threaten and intimidate. I mean the people who are hollowing out middle-class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class in a war to make sure Ahmed Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq’s oil. I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into a slush fund and who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets. I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy.

On what passes for “journalistic objectivity” nowadays:

Instead of acting as filters for readers and viewers, sifting the truth from the propaganda, reporters and anchors attentively transcribe both sides of the spin invariably failing to provide context, background or any sense of which claims hold up and which are misleading. . . . I decided long ago that this wasn’t healthy for democracy. . . . I realized that investigative journalism could not be a collaboration between the journalist and the subject. Objectivity is not satisfied by two opposing people offering competing opinions, leaving the viewer to split the difference.

On getting a news story nailed down as right:

This is always hard to do, but it has never been harder than today. Without a trace of irony, the powers-that-be have appropriated the newspeak vernacular of George Orwell’s 1984. They give us a program vowing “No Child Left Behind,” while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged kids. They give us legislation cheerily calling for “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” that give us neither. And that’s just for starters.

On right-wing idealogues:

This is the point of my story: Ideologues don’t want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right. They embrace a world view that can’t be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary. They want your reporting to validate their belief system and when it doesn’t, God forbid.

Moyers also talks about the forces—past and present—who seek to rein in the independence of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting because they don’t like the fact that, on occasion, the CPB reports the truth about power to the American people.  ("Power", by the way, is not limited to right-wing power, in Moyer’s view).  He then closes with faith in the American people, something which the interferors lack:

We’re big kids; we can handle controversy and diversity, whether it’s political or religious points of view or two loving lesbian moms and their kids, visited by a cartoon rabbit. We are not too fragile or insecure to see America and the world entire for all their magnificent and sometimes violent confusion. “There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by,” John Steinbeck wrote. “It was called the people.”

Pentagon Kettle Meets Newsweek Pot

Pentagon spokesman Larry Dirita today announces some uncorroborated and unverified “facts” to the world:

We’ve found nothing that would substantiate anything that you just said about the treatment of a Koran. We have, other than what we’ve seen – that it’s possible detainees themselves have done with pages of the Koran. And I don’t want to overstate that, either, because it’s based on log entries that have to be corroborated.

Sounds like DiRita is well on his way to repairing relations with the Arab world.  Heh.

Meanwhile, some Pakistanis are asking good questions.  If the Newsweek story was wrong and/or volatile and/or a “defamation of the troops” (*rolls eyes*), why did the DoD greenlight its publication?

"The damage cannot be controlled by the belated retraction from Newsweek under U.S. government pressure,” Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the leader of the religious-party alliance, said in a telephone interview from Islamabad.

Ahmad noted that Newsweek, before publishing the item, had run it past a senior Defense Department official to check its accuracy. “The fact that the story was given by Newsweek to a U.S. government official and the Pentagon cleared it before publication tells a lot,” Ahmad said.

Hiding From The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Trall

Uses for a towel: “wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Trall (a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you–daft as a brush, but very very ravenous).”—from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Bushtowel Galaxy.

Apparently, HGTG is a book read by the Bush Administration, as they play the “If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist” game.

[Hat Tip: Wonkette]

Scotty McClellan’s playing the towel game now.  Fifteen days after the Downing Street memo story broke in a London Times story, eleven days after Representative John Conyers and 87 other congressmen wrote a letter to the White House asking for an explanation, and ten days after Knight Ridder wrote the first story on the British memo, the White House finally responded.

Claims in a recently uncovered British memo that intelligence was “being fixed” to support the Iraq war as early as mid-2002 are “flat out wrong,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday.

[Source].  “Flat out wrong”.  In what way, Scott?  When asked to elaborate . . .

McClellan also said he had not seen the “specific memo,” only reports of what it contained.

15 days after the memo was published, he claims he hasn’t seen it.  Too bad the memo wasn’t published in Newsweek—then the White House might have seen it.

Conyer’s Letter

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) has just issued a sharply worded letter to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan over the Administration’s response to a Newsweek article.  Full text below the fold.

GOP Titanic Sinking — Repubs Blame Newsweek

Poll taken 5/11-15. Margin of Error=4%. (March 2005 results in parentheses)

Bush approval ratings
Approve 43 (49)
Disapprove 50 (46)

Congressional Republicans
Approve 35 (39)
Disapprove 50 (44)

Congressional Democrats
Approve 39 (37)
Disapprove 41 (44)

Latest Pew Poll

From social security bamboozlement to Schiavo to “nuclear options” to Delay to hyperkinetic ‘blame the media” fits, the American public knows bad leadership when it sees it.

Oil-For-Food Kickback Scheme and U.S. Fingerprints

I think I know why the White House is screaming about Newsweek.  It’s diversionary.

They knew another story was about to break, and break it has:

The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.

In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil – more than the rest of the world put together.

“The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions,” the report said. “On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.

Read the full article for details. And here, too.

Let’s get this straight.  Bush and the GOP have the gall to call for Kofi Annan’s head over the administration of the Oil for Food program, and now it turns out that Bush let a member of the Axis of Evil profit from illegal transactions.  And then, mere months later, Bush cited Saddam’s noncompliance with UN requirements as a justification for the Iraq war.  Feel dicked around yet?

Red State Morality

Tennessee has a law on its books which makes it legal for a husband to rape his wife.  In other words, Tennessee outlaws rape, but it carves an exception for spousal rape.

In an attempt to enter the 21st century, some Tennessee legislators introduced a bill to make spousal rape illegal, just like any other kind of rape.

Would you believe it?  The bill probably isn’t going to pass.  One of the opponents of the bill claims that the proposed law will violate the "sanctity" of marriage. 

Whaaaaaaaaa??

Apparently, raping your spouse is one of the sanctimonious aspects of marriage.  At least in Tennessee.  Read more here.

Newsweek/Qur’an

There is a lot of stupidity and hyperbole surrounding this story about a story.  It’s been tough to pick out the most outrageously over-reactive response.  But the White House tipped the scales of stupidity:

The White House said on Monday an inaccurate Newsweek report based on an anonymous source had damaged the U.S. image overseas by claiming U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

Since when has the White House been concerned about the U.S. image overseas?   When Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called the Geneva Conventions "quaint?" When Rumsfeld referred to France and Germany as "Old Europe?" When the Bush Administration walked away from the Kyoto Protocol without offering any sort of alternative plan? When Bush nominated John Bolton to be our ambassador to the U.N., a man whose best quality is his blunt disdain for people he disagrees with? When they blithely dismissed torture in Abu Ghraib as just the work of "a few bad apples?"

Not to mention the biggest image-destroyer of all: the Iraq War itself, premised on non-existent WMDs.  At least when Newsweek got bad information, it had the balls to admit to retract.  Your move, White House.

The Downing Street Memo

Since the press isn’t going to report it, it is a good thing that bloggers are doing the analysis. Here’s a nice summary table from downingstreetmemo.com:

Facts of the Memo:
July 23, 2002
Words of the
Bush Administration
leading up to War in Iraq
“There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD

“No decisions had been taken, but he thought the most likely timing in US minds for military action to begin was January, with the timeline beginning 30 days before the US Congressional elections.”

We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force”

– George W. Bush,
Radio Address Mar. 8, 2003

“I think that that presumes there’s some kind of imminent war plan. As I said, I have no timetable.”

– George W. Bush,
Aug. 10, 2002 while golfing

“But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy

[and don’t forget…]

“Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.”

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 17, 2003, the War begins

"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," […] "This war came to us, not the other way around."

– Condoleeza Rice
May 15, 2005,
Rice makes surprise visit to Iraq

“The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime’s record” "America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations."

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 17, 2003, the War begins

“There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.”

1,600+ US Soldiers Dead
12,300+ Wounded
Iraqi casualties 20,000 – ?????

– CBC,
May 9, 2005, Casualties in Iraq War

"Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq."

– The White House,
March 16, 2003, Statement
of the Atlantic Summit

"Liberated people don’t misbehave."

– Former Secretary of Army
Thomas White,
( on Cheney and Rumsfeld’s
post-war views
leading up to the war)

July 7, 2003, War in Iraq’s
aftermath hits troops hard

Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran.” "The President has made no decisions about what the next step will be. Clearly, we will continue to talk to the United Nations about the inspection process."

– Ari Fleischer,
Oct. 12, 2002, White House
press briefing

"This is about disarmament and this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. If he chooses not to do so peacefully, then the United States is prepared to act, with our friends, to do so by force. And we will do so forcefully and swiftly and decisively, as the President has outlined. But the President continues to seek a peaceful resolution. War is a last resort."

– Scott McClellan,
Nov. 12, 2002, White House
press briefing

"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region…"

– George W. Bush,
Jul. 14, 2003, White House
press briefing

"He cautioned that many in the US did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route." "And now they must demonstrate that commitment to peace and security is the only effective way, by supporting the immediate and unconditional disarmament of Saddam Hussein.

The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations. He is a danger to his neighbors. He’s a sponsor of terrorism. He’s an obstacle to progress in the Middle East."

– George W. Bush,
Mar. 16, 2003, in the Azores

Is Real ID A Good I.D.-a?

Congress is attempting to pass the Real ID Act (text of the bill and the Congressional Research Services analysis of the bill), which would establish uniform standards for state driver’s licenses, effectively creating a national ID card.

A number of criticisms of the idea have made their way around the blogosphere.

For example, the Real ID Act requires driver’s licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology." This will make identity theft easier, since that data will easily find its way on to many databases — like the kinds that were recently hacked at companies like Choicepoint.

Real ID requires that driver’s licenses contain actual addresses, and no post office boxes. There are no exceptions made for judges or police — even undercover police officers or CIA spies.  This creates an unnecessary security risk.

Real ID also prohibits states from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.  So what will be the result?  Illegal aliens driving without licenses — which isn’t going to help anyone’s security.

Real ID is expensive. It’s an unfunded mandate: the federal government is forcing the states to spend their own money to comply with the act.

What’s more, none of this is required.The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, signed into law last year, included stronger security measures for driver’s licenses (the ones recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report).

They Have Girlfriends In Canada, I Bet

Three guys — proud virgins all — who couldn’t get laid on their best day.  Three guys who are socially inept because they were homeschooled and don’t know how to talk to women, even if they got within the vicinity of one.  These are the poster boys for the conservative youth movement on college campuses.  Ezra puts the spotlight on them.

Takes One To Know One?

Directly below is a post about several on the homo-obsessed Religious Reich who won’t rest until Jesus’ work is done by eradicating and condemning to hell anyone with an alternate lifestyle.

You may wonder, as I did, how these homophobes got to be so supposedly knowledgeable about perverted sex.  Meet Neil Horsley, America’s leading anti-abortion webmaster, is the profane voice of the extreme Christian right.  He runs a site which is too disgusting to link to — it contains (among other things) the names, addresses and photos of abortion doctors, so the more imbalanced on the right can go out and, you know, kill them in a frenzy of "culture of life" advocacy.

Neil, a 57 year old Georgian and Bob Dylan fan knows all about abortion.  Why?  Well, he once knocked up a girl and then urged her to get one. 

And he’s an expert on sexual perversion, too.  Why?  Well, he’s had sex with animals.  Read this description of his interview with Alan Colmes:

Colmes asked Horsley about his background, including a statement that he had admitted to engaging in homosexual and bestiality sex.

At first, Horsley laughed and said, "Just because it’s printed in the media, people jump to believe it."

"Is it true?" Colmes asked.

"Hey, Alan, if you want to accuse me of having sex when I was a fool, I did everything that crossed my mind that looked like I…"

AC: "You had sex with animals?"

NH: "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule."

AC: "I’m not so sure that that is so."

NH: "You didn’t grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?"

AC: "Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?"

NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality… Welcome to domestic life on the farm…"

Colmes said he thought there were a lot of people in the audience who grew up on farms, are living on farms now, raising kids on farms and "and I don’t think they are dating Elsie right now. You know what I’m saying?"

Horsley said, "You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You’re naive. You know better than that… If it’s warm and it’s damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it."

It’s nice that he repented and all, but…you know…  Just because you were a disgusting pervert once, Mr. Horse-lay, doesn’t mean everybody else is.  You’re the outlier, sir.

Krazy Kristian Kook Roll Call

It’s a good thing that bloggers like Pam Spaulding take ventures into the dark side, so that I don’t have to.  Below, she presents and comments on a few of the scarier wingbats.  Please note that all of them seem to have a greater obsession with homosexuals than most homosexuals I know:

PeterlabarberaPeter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth and Executive Director of the Illinois Family Institute, www.illinoisfamily.org, 630-790-8370: "I have monitored the homosexual movement for 15 years, with special focus on its campaign to penetrate schools…Most parents, especially those living near big cities, simply have no clue as to the many ways that the ‘sexual orientation’ agenda works its way into their children’s education."

[He’s the nutcase that feels the Religious Right is "in the closet", being persecuted by the pagans, atheists and homos that are allegedly in charge of everything and that the fundies are being persecuted.]

Linda Harvey, President, Mission America, Columbus, OH, www.missionamerica.com, (614) 442-7998: "Based on my 10 years of tracking and researching the growth of homosexual activism in public schools, I know that very few parents are aware that the majority of public school districts are selling our children the dangerous and false notion that homosexuality is a normal and acceptable lifestyle."

[I’ve not heard of her before. Here’s a snippet of her bio, full of ties to the usual suspect AmTaliban organizations: "She has contributed to materials published by Focus on the Family, and has been a speaker at their "Love Won Out" youth conferences. She is interviewed regularly by AFA Radio, CNS News, SRN News, the Beverly La Haye Show, and has spoken at national conferences for Concerned Women for America, Heartbeat International, and Reclaiming America. She was a featured speaker in 2002 at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by the Culture and Family Institute of Concerned Women for America on the topic of the homosexual agenda in American schools."]

Robertknight Robert Knight, director, Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America (202) 488-7000: "Under the rubric of "diversity," "tolerance," "safe schools," and AIDS education, homosexual activists are selling a pansexual agenda right under parents’ noses. They gain access to public schools by initiating something with obvious appeal, such as the anti-bullying program "No Name-Calling Week." Such projects are a Trojan horse for promoting homosexuality as normal and inevitable for some kids. Parents then find themselves being accused of bigotry for trying to steer children away from a set of behaviors whose risks are well documented. By the time it reaches that stage, the activists and their materials are entrenched in the school system."

[This dude is off the wingnut scale: "Bob Knight of the Culture and Family Institute says he is well aware of the huge effect being exerted by the homosexual population of DC. "I myself have talked to people who have been in the ‘gay lifestyle’ and in Washington and have since left it — and they said that it’s a lot bigger than people realize."]

Satinover Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, M.S., M.D., Department of Politics, Princeton University and Laboratoire de la Physique de la Matiére Condensée, Université de Nice USA+1 (203) 221-0031 jsatinov@princeton.edu: "Any program, club, or curriculum that signals to students that homosexual behavior is ‘just another lifestyle’ places children at tremendous risk. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that for boys and young men in North America who identify themselves as homosexual even if the identification is only temporary, which as has been documented in numerous large-scale sociological studies in America, France, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, as is the case with the majority of such self-identified homosexuals – the risk of being either HIV positive or dead by age 30 may now be as high as 65%."

[Another discredited "scientist", Satinover is the author of "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth" and specializes in "reparative therapy" for gays, saying the American Psychiatric Association was misled into removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973.]

Throckmorton_3 Dr. Warren Throckmorton, Associate Professor of Psychology, Grove City College 724-458-3787, ewthrockmorton@gcc.edu: "As a result of over 20 years of clinical experience and academic research concerning education and sexual orientation, it is clear that schools are increasingly being used by groups such as the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as focal points for their advocacy. Instruction time is being given over to political activism, much of which has as its purpose to change traditional beliefs concerning sexuality. Most parents have no idea that this is going on or that public school officials collaborate with political activists to attempt to alter the beliefs of school children."

[Throckmorton‘s science has been discredited, yet the Religious Reich forced the reversal of a decision by the country’s largest mental health management company, Magellan Health Services, to boot this ‘ex-gay’ advocate Dr. Warren Throckmorton from its advisory board.]

Terror Alert Was Raised On “Flimsy Evidence”

USA Today reports what many of us already suspected:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.

Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled.

His comments at a Washington forum describe spirited debates over terrorist intelligence and provide rare insight into the inner workings of the nation’s homeland security apparatus.

Ridge said he wanted to "debunk the myth" that his agency was responsible for repeatedly raising the alert under a color-coded system he unveiled in 2002.

"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert). … There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, ‘For that?’ "

Stem Cells

Excellent news on the stem cell front: even Republicans want to ditch George Bush’s lame and indefensible restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. In a recent poll of Republicans — in which 90% approved of Bush’s performance in general — a solid 57% said they favored embryonic stem cell research.

What will Bush do? Legislation to open up stem cell research is widely supported even by Republicans and it has broad support in both the House and Senate too. So if a bill lands on his desk, does he sign it or veto it?  Keep in mind that he has never vetoed a bill in his entire presidency.  Can he veto one that even Republicans support to curry favor with the krazy kristian kooks?

Hello, Ladies!

"A Democratic polling memo released yesterday found that women, who voted for President Bush last year in large numbers, have begun migrating back to their traditional home in the Democratic Party as the public’s agenda has shifted from homeland security and terrorism to domestic concerns such as jobs and the economy," the Washington Post reports.

Long List of Tony Nominees

Splash_tony This looks like a really good year for the Tonys and Broadway in general.  Some heavy-hitters and great shows.  I’m especially happy for Hank Azaria, who I declined to cast as the lead when I directed "Chicago" in college.  I guess he showed me!

Best Play

Democracy
Author: Michael Frayn
Producers: Boyett Ostar Productions, Nederlander Presentations, Inc., Jean Doumanian, Stephanie P. McClelland, Arielle Tepper, Amy Nederlander, Eric Falkenstein, Roy Furman

Doubt
Author: John Patrick Shanley
Producers: Carole Shorenstein Hays, MTC Productions, Inc., Lynne Meadow, Barry Grove, Roger Berlind, Scott Rudin

Gem of the Ocean
Author: August Wilson
Producers: Carole Shorenstein Hays, Jujamcyn Theaters

The Pillowman
Author: Martin McDonagh
Producers: Boyett Ostar Productions, Robert Fox, Arielle Tepper, Stephanie P. McClelland, Debra Black, Dede Harris/Morton Swinsky, Roy Furman/Jon Avnet, Joyce Schweickert, The National Theatre of Great Britain

Best Musical

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Producers: Marty Bell, David Brown, Aldo Scrofani, Roy Furman, Dede Harris, Amanda Lipitz, Greg Smith, Ruth Hendel, Chase Mishkin, Barry and Susan Tatelman, Debra Black, Sharon Karmazin, Joyce Schweickert, Bernie Abrams/Michael Speyer, Barbara Whitman, Weissberger Theater Group/Jay Harris, Cheryl Wiesenfeld/Jean Cheever, Clear Channel Entertainment, Harvey Weinstein, MGM on Stage/Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber

The Light in the Piazza
Producers: Lincoln Center Theater, André Bishop, Bernard Gersten

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Producers: Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization, Arielle Tepper, Stephanie McClelland/Lawrence Horowitz, Elan V. McAllister/Allan S. Gordon, Independent Presenters Network, Roy Furman, GRS Associates, Jam Theatricals, TGA Entertainment, Clear Channel Entertainment

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Producers: David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theatre

Best Book of a Musical

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Book: Jeffrey Lane

The Light in the Piazza
Book: Craig Lucas

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Book: Eric Idle

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Book: Rachel Sheinkin

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Music & Lyrics: David Yazbek

The Light in the Piazza
Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Monty Python’s Spamalot
Music: John Du Prez and Eric Idle; Lyrics: Eric Idle

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Music & Lyrics: William Finn

Best Revival of a Play

Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Producers: Elizabeth Ireland McCann, Daryl Roth, Terry Allen Kramer, Scott Rudin, Roger Berlind, James L. Nederlander, Nick Simunek, Joey Parnes

Glengarry Glen Ross
Producers: Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Jam Theatricals, Boyett Ostar Productions, Ronald Frankel, Philip Lacerte, Stephanie P. McClelland/CJM Productions, Barry Weisbord, Zendog Productions, Herbert Goldsmith Productions, Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard, Julia C. Levy

On Golden Pond
Producers: Jeffrey Finn, Arlene Scanlan, Stuart Thompson

Twelve Angry Men
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard, Julia C. Levy

Best Revival of a Musical

La Cage aux Folles
Producers: James L. Nederlander, Clear Channel Entertainment, Kenneth Greenblatt, Terry Allen Kramer, Martin Richards

Pacific Overtures
Producers: Roundabout Theatre Company, Todd Haimes, Ellen Richard, Julia C. Levy, Gorgeous Entertainment

Sweet Charity
Producers: Barry and Fran Weissler, Clear Channel Entertainment, Edwin W. Schloss

Best Special Theatrical Event

Dame Edna: Back with a Vengeance!
Producers: Creative Battery, Harley Medcalf and Boxjellyfish LLC

Laugh Whore
Producer: Showtime Networks

700 Sundays
Producers: Janice Crystal, Larry Magid, Face Productions

Whoopi, the 20th Anniversary Show
Producers: Mike Nichols, Hal Luftig, Leonard Soloway, Steven M. Levy, Tom Leonardis, Eric Falkenstein, Amy Nederlander

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

Philip Bosco, Twelve Angry Men
Billy Crudup, The Pillowman
Bill Irwin, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
James Earl Jones, On Golden Pond
Brían F. O’Byrne, Doubt

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

Cherry Jones, Doubt
Laura Linney, Sight Unseen
Mary-Louise Parker, Reckless
Phylicia Rashad, Gem of the Ocean
Kathleen Turner, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

Hank Azaria, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Gary Beach, La Cage aux Folles
Norbert Leo Butz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Tim Curry, Monty Python’s Spamalot
John Lithgow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

Christina Applegate, Sweet Charity
Victoria Clark, The Light in the Piazza
Erin Dilly, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sutton Foster, Little Women
Sherie Rene Scott, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play

Alan Alda, Glengarry Glen Ross
Gordon Clapp, Glengarry Glen Ross
David Harbour, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Liev Schreiber, Glengarry Glen Ross
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Pillowman

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

Mireille Enos, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Heather Goldenhersh, Doubt
Dana Ivey, The Rivals
Adriane Lenox, Doubt
Amy Ryan, A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

Dan Fogler, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Marc Kudisch, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Michael McGrath, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Matthew Morrison, The Light in the Piazza
Christopher Sieber, Monty Python’s Spamalot

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

Joanna Gleason, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Celia Keenan-Bolger, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Jan Maxwell, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kelli O’Hara, The Light in the Piazza
Sara Ramirez, Monty Python’s Spamalot

Best Scenic Design of a Play

John Lee Beatty, Doubt
David Gallo, Gem of the Ocean
Santo Loquasto, Glengarry Glen Ross
Scott Pask, The Pillowman

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Tim Hatley, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Rumi Matsui, Pacific Overtures
Anthony Ward, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Michael Yeargan, The Light in the Piazza

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jess Goldstein, The Rivals
Jane Greenwood, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
William Ivey Long, A Streetcar Named Desire
Constanza Romero, Gem of the Ocean

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Tim Hatley, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Junko Koshino, Pacific Overtures
William Ivey Long, La Cage aux Folles
Catherine Zuber, The Light in the Piazza

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Pat Collins, Doubt
Donald Holder, Gem of the Ocean
Donald Holder, A Streetcar Named Desire
Brian MacDevitt, The Pillowman

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Christopher Akerlind, The Light in the Piazza
Mark Henderson, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Kenneth Posner, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Hugh Vanstone, Monty Python’s Spamalot

Best Direction of a Play

John Crowley, The Pillowman
Scott Ellis, Twelve Angry Men
Doug Hughes, Doubt
Joe Mantello, Glengarry Glen Ross

Best Direction of a Musical

James Lapine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Mike Nichols, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Jack O’Brien, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Bartlett Sher, The Light in the Piazza

Best Choreography

Wayne Cilento, Sweet Charity
Jerry Mitchell, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Jerry Mitchell, La Cage aux Folles
Casey Nicholaw, Monty Python’s Spamalot

Best Orchestrations

Larry Hochman, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Ted Sperling, Adam Guettel and Bruce Coughlin, The Light in the Piazza
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures
Harold Wheeler, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Regional Theatre Tony Award®
Theatre de la Jeune Lune
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Edward Albee

For those keeping score:

14 – Monty Python’s Spamalot
11 – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
11 – The Light in the Piazza
8 – Doubt
6 – Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
6 – Glengarry Glen Ross
6 – The Pillowman
6 – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
5 – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
5 – Gem of the Ocean
4 – La Cage aux Folles
4 – Pacific Overtures
3 – A Streetcar Named Desire
3 – Sweet Charity
3 – Twelve Angry Men
2 – On Golden Pond
2 – The Rivals

More Jesus Sightings

Thawing sludge appears in a Chicago underpass, and everybody flocked to see it because it was the Virgin Mary.

Chicago

And now, Jesus shows up in a woman’s womb.  Well, the ultrasound of it.

Jesussound

Actually, it looks like a full grown woman to me, but what do I know?

Now, I know that God moves in strange and mysterious ways, but why the coy cat-and-mouse game?  Why are religious icons appearing only inside people, in smelly underpasses, and on tortilla shells?  How about, you know, moving the nighttime stars so that they form a LightBright depiction of the crucifixion and resurrection?  That will get my attention.

In My Neck Of The Woods

WAYNESVILLE, N.C. — A pastor of a small Baptist church led an effort to kick out church members because they didn’t support President Bush, members said.

The nine members were voted out at a Monday meeting of the East Waynesville Baptist Church in this mountain town about 120 miles west of Charlotte. WLOS-TV in Asheville reported that 40 other members resigned in protest.

"It’s all over politics," said Selma Morris, the church’s treasurer. "We’ve never had a pastor like that before."

Pastor Chan Chandler had told the congregation before last year’s presidential election that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic Sen. John Kerry should either leave the church or repent, said Lorene Sutton, who said she and her husband were voted out of the church this week.

Because Jesus was a Republican, right?  Read the whole thing.

Update On The Kansas Evolution Hearings

As most people know, the Kansas State Board of Education is having hearings to determine if evolution should be taught and/or if the "Intelligent Design" theory (which, by the way, isn’t science) should be taught. 

Everyone knows it is a bit of a sham, as the outcome as already been predetermined.

What’s striking about it, however, is that those who oppose the science standards taught in Kansas don’t even know what those science standards are!

Give Me a C!

Mom I’m 42, so writing about cheerleaders at my age has kind of an ookey feeling about it. 

But the door has been thrown open, as cheerleading as become the ookey topic du jour.  For example, the State of Texas recently tackled that life-or-death problem of cheerleader booty-shaking.  Rest easy, America — Texas is on the case.

Call me crazy, but when I was a teen in high school, I liked the girls in short skirts.  Everyone did, even the parents.  After a local football game, my town did not engage in huge orgiastic sins.  I didn’t go and rape anyone afterwards.  I swear.  You see, everyone thought that those girls were pretty (not to mention peppy), not dirty.

And although as an adult my reverence to God is, well, shaky, I assure you that it had little to do with seeing Susan Reid in a short skirt 25 years ago.

So can someone explain the Christian Cheeleaders of America to me?

I love their motto: "Building People Before Pyramids".  But my favorite page is the one where the CCA states its mission and goals, including

to teach "state of the art" cheerleading techniques, material and methods while maintaining Christian standards…being "contemporary without compromise"

I don’t know what that means, so I looked at the photo accompanying the page.

Cca

Short skirts, girls up in the air, arms splayed open, smiles . . . yes, I can really tell the difference.

Then there’s the part described as the "Philosophy of Cheerleading" (I wonder if there’s a college-credit class for that).

The Power
"And whatsoever things ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance:   for ye serve the Lord Christ."  (Colossians 3:23-24)

The Preeminence
"…that in all things He might have the preeminence."   (Colossians 1:18b)

It goes on like that.  And while the philosophy is fine, I don’t understand what it has to do with cheerleading (as opposed to, say, life).

I don’t have a problem with Christianisty or cheerleading.  But is seems to me that using one to boost the other is, well, silly.  What’s next?  Christian bowling?

Question Time

Sharon Hughes, a conservative columnist at Alan Keye’s Renew America site, asks some pretty dumb questions:

Could it just be possible that teaching evolution as fact, that students come from animals and without purpose, be responsible in any way for the increase of crime and other social problems, such as rape, that we’re seeing amongst our youth today?

No.

For instance, as pointed out by Gary DeMar in his editorial, "The Dark Side of Evolution," two evolutionists, writing in the Academy of Science magazine, The Sciences, stated, "Rape is a ‘natural, biological’ phenonmenon, springing from men’s evolutionary urge to reproduce." Couple this with the over-the-edge sex-ed now being taught in schools, should we be surprised when we hear that middle school kids are having sex, even in the classroom?

See, that’s what is wrong with kids today — instead of coming home and playing Sony Playstation games, they’re at school, reading obscure and scholarly articles in the Academy of Science journal.

When they’re not screwing each other in the classrooms, that is.

Fourth Circuit to Establishment Clause: “Fuck You!”

Like in public meetings around the country, the Chesterfield County (Va.) Board of Supervisors begins its meetings with a religious invocation offered by local clergymen of various denominations. As you might expect, the invocation itself is non-denominational, but alway always always invokes a monotheistic supreme being.

Cynthia Simpson, a member of a non-Judeo-Christian pantheistic religion — a religion with hundreds of thousands of adherents in America alone — wrote the Board seeking to address the Board with an invocation. She was denied.

To make a long story short, there was a lawsuit about this. The lower court found for Simpson.

But, as reported here, the Fourth Circuit overturned. The reasoning is complicated, but trust me — even if you followed the reasoning, you would still find it tortured.

Basically, it boils down to this: the Board did not have a discriminative motive against Simpson’s pantheistic (multiple-God-believing) religion. Why? Because the Board permitted a wide spectrum of monotheistic (one-God-believing) clergymen to speak at the invocations.

Now, to me, that’s like saying "This country club doesn’t discriminate against blacks because it allows in white people from Minnesota, off-whiteish people from the midAtlantic, and tan-white people from Florida. So there’s no discrimination against blacks." Pretty fucked up reasoning, right?

By the same token, if a Chesterfield Board of Supervisors only permits monotheistic religions to speak at invocation, then it IS making a religious judgment about pantheistic ones. It IS discriminating against them. By definition almost. Even the 4th Circuit opinion tacitly acknowledges this,when the judge writes "our instititutions presuppose a supreme being". A supreme being. One of them.

He talks out of both sides of his mouth by essentially saying, "The Board didn’t discriminate against multi-God religions because it’s okay to discriminate against them, because we as a nation officially recognize only one God". Shades of Dred Scott, if you ask me.

So to all you believers of "unacceptable" religions where there are more than one God, don’t expect the Constitution to protect you. And don’t expect to be treated equally in the eyes of the government. At least not in the Fourth Circuit. Because, the courts here have ruled that your dumbass religion is too far out of the mainstream, and the Constitution is apparently supposed to only protect majority-approved religions (you know, the correct ones).

Schism on the Right Widens

It’s nice to see people like Glenn Reynolds,George Will, Christopher Hitchens, Eugene Volokh, and even self-proclaimed “born-again Christians" speak out today and take principled stands against the excesses of social conservatism as thrust upon us by the holier-than-thou religious right.  I like Hitchen’s quote best:

The need of the hour is for some senior members of the party of Lincoln to disown and condemn the creeping and creepy movement to impose orthodoxy on a free and pluralist and secular Republic.

He’s right, of course. 

But it’s interesting (well, not really) that this level of criticism didn’t appear prior to the election (despite the fact that certain center-to-right commentators like Andrew Sullivan had the, er, balls to speak up about it). 

I expect the schism on the right to grow, not because of the “South Park Conservatives”, but because of the unyielding and unbending nature of the prurient religious right.  They know they put Bush over the top, and now they feel they are owed.  Looks like the Repub Party has to deal with the devil it slept with.

School Band Not Permitted To Play “Louie Louie”

I am playing a role in a local production of "Footloose", a stage musical based on the 1980’s Kevin Bacon movie in which a teenager tries to "cut loose" with dance fever in an uptight small town—a town which has banned dancing as obscene.  It’s a silly movie, and a silly musical, because no place in America could be that prurient and stuck-up.

Or so I thought:

Louielouie_1 BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – A pop culture controversy that has simmered for decades came to a head when a middle school marching band was told not to perform "Louie Louie."

Benton Harbor Superintendent Paula Dawning cited the song’s allegedly raunchy lyrics in ordering the McCord Middle School band not to perform it in Saturday’s Grand Floral Parade, held as part of the Blossomtime Festival.

In a letter sent home with McCord students, Dawning said "Louie Louie" was not appropriate for Benton Harbor students to play while representing the district — even though the marching band wasn’t going to sing it.

Where to begin?

First of all, the band is only playing the music—not singing the lyrics, so someone please explain to me how the C-F-G chord progression is "inappropriate".  Secondly, even IF the lyrics were to be sung . . . well, WHO THE HELL KNOWS THE LYRICS TO "LOUIE, LOUIE" ANYWAY?  How does anyone know they are obscene?!?

UPDATE: Ban Lifted!

Joint Chiefs Call Out Bush’s Lie

Bush at the April 28 press conference:

Q: …Do you feel, as you are confronting these problems, the number of troops you’ve left tied up in Iraq is limiting your options to go beyond the diplomatic solutions that you described for North Korea and Iran?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that question. The person to ask that to, the person I ask that to, at least, is to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, my top military advisor. I say, do you feel that we’ve limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq? And the answer is, no, he doesn’t feel we’re limited. He feels like we’ve got plenty of capacity.

“Plenty of capacity”?  Mmmmm.  Then explain this, Mr. President:

The concentration of American troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan limits the Pentagon’s ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts, the military’s highest ranking officer reported to Congress on Monday.

The officer, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Congress in a classified report that major combat operations elsewhere in the world, should they be necessary, would probably be more protracted and produce higher American and foreign civilian casualties because of the commitment of Pentagon resources in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bushgoof175

So what’s the excuse for Bush’s statement: lie or mistake?  Either way, it’s clear that he is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.

Kansas To Debate Whether Adam Had A Navel

Amanda Marcotte notes:

Also on the agenda for the Kansas Board of Education–whether or not unicorns simply forgot to board the Ark and if "the curse" is women’s punishment for being daughters of Eve. It’s science! Well, it’s better science than Intelligent Design theory.

It’s time to face up to it–these religious nuts are not about to give up thinking that wishing will make their beliefs reality. So, I agree with Katha Pollitt that it would be best to compromise, and they can live in their fantasy world and the rest of us can keep living in reality.

Under the new plan, creationists could continue their efforts to wreck science education and dumb down their kids–but first, they would pledge to abstain from any real-life benefits of evolutionary theory. Flu vaccines, for example, rely for their effectiveness on yearly reformulation to account for the evolution of the influenza virus. No evolution? Achoo for you!

The secondary advantage is that, during flu season at least, you can tell whether the person passing out fliers on the street corner is inviting people to a concert or fixing to lecture on Jeebus by whether or not they’re sneezing.

Hurry up, Rapture! The only people that want it more than the believers are the non-believers.