Monthly Archives: October 2006

Rip It Up

Shredthumb_2Isn’t it interesting that with Democrats set to take over the House, and possibly the Senate — and with the prospect of investigations against the White House to come about as a result — that there should be a paper shredding company truck parked outside Dick Cheney’s house?

Hmmmm.

Good Christians Hate Halloween

An actual excerpt from the Christian-published children’s book, "Mommy, Why Don’t We Celebrate Halloween?"

Mommywhydontwecelebrate‘October 31st again and all the kids are trick-or-treating,’ said Jerry as he looked out the window in front of his house. ‘Mom, why can’t we go trick-or-treating like all the other kids? Are you afraid we’ll eat too much candy and our teeth will rot?’

‘Well, Jerry,’ said Mom, ‘I certainly don’t want your teeth to rot, but no, that isn’t the reason you can’t go trick-or-treating. As Christians, Daddy and I don’t let you take part in Halloween because we know Jesus doesn’t want us to do such things.’

‘But why, Mommy?’ Sarah exclaimed. ‘What’s wrong with Halloween?’

‘Think for a moment, children, about other holidays we celebrate. Take Christmas, for example. How does Christmas make you feel?’ asked Mom.

Happy!’ exclaimed Sarah.

Excited,’ added Jerry.

‘That’s right,’ said Mom. ‘Christmas is a time of happiness and excitement as we celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. Do you remember what the angel told the shepherds the night He was born?’

‘Yes,’ said Sarah. ‘The angel told the shepherds good news of peace and great joy.’

‘That’s right,’ said Mom. ‘Halloween has none of these. Halloween is filled with fear, meanness, and sadness.’

‘I don’t understand, Mom,’ said Jerry. ‘How is dressing up in funny costumes and going door-to-door to get candy scary or sad?’

‘The devil is very good at making things look wonderful on the outside that are wrong on the inside. Halloween is one of those things,’ Mom said.

‘Many Christians haven’t been taught the true meaning behind Halloween. They can’t see the truth behind the costumes, parades, and candy of Halloween,’ continued Mom. ‘Only when we know the truth about something can we know whether it is good or bad for us. That’s why the Bible says we are free when we know the truth.’ (See John 8:32.)

‘So, what’s the truth about Halloween, Mom?’ Sarah asked. ‘Why shouldn’t Christians take part in its fun?’

‘Let me see if I can explain it a bit better,’ Mom said. ‘First, let’s think about Christmas again. When the three wise men came to visit Baby Jesus, what did they bring Him?’

‘Presents!’ Sarah said.

‘Yes, presents,’ Mom agreed. ‘When they gave Jesus the presents, the wise men knelt before Jesus to show that they honored Him.’

‘What does it mean to honor someone?’ Jerry asked.

‘To honor someone means that you show great respect for that person. You show that you understand his importance and great worth,’ Mom replied.

‘But we don’t kneel before anyone at Halloween,’ Sarah protested.

‘You see, Sarah,’ Mom said, ‘there are many ways to show honor. One way is to set aside a special day, a holiday, to remember some important person or event.’

‘Yes!’ Jerry agreed. ‘Thanksgiving reminds us of the big dinner the Pilgrims shared with the Indians to thank God for His help in the New World.’

‘Exactly,’ Mom responded. ‘What event do we celebrate at Easter?’

‘That’s when the angel rolled away the stone,’ Sarah answered. ‘Jesus wasn’t dead anymore!’

‘That’s right,’ Mom replied. ‘At Easter we remember God’s love when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We also honor God for His great power that brought Jesus from death to life.’

‘So what do we honor at Halloween?’ Jerry asked.

‘A long time ago,’ Mom answered, ‘many people did not believe in God or honor His Son, Jesus. Instead they honored statues made of wood or stone. They also worshiped things in nature like the sun and the stars.’

‘Do you mean they bowed down to them like the wise men knelt before Baby Jesus?’ Sarah asked.

‘Yes, Sarah,’ Mom said. ‘They sang praises to their statues just like we sing praises to Jesus. They believed that the sun and stars had great power.’

God must not have liked that! He wants us to worship only Him,’ Jerry said.

‘You are right, Jerry,’ Mom replied. ‘God’s first laws for His people teach us not to worship any other gods or to bow down to their statues.’ (See Exodus 20:3-5.)

‘But, Mommy, we don’t worship any statues or other gods at Halloween,’ Sarah said.

‘In many parts of the world,’ Mom answered, ‘Halloween is a religious holiday – a holiday when people worship satan and honor evil. In fact, it is the biggest holiday on satan’s calendar, kind of like Christmas and Easter on our calendar.’

‘But why?’ Jerry asked. ‘Where’s the evil in Halloween?’

Somehow, on reading this except, I think the kids have the stronger argument.  And I think "Mom" is making it up as she goes along.

What “Waiting For Godot” Would Be Like If The Characters Had Cell Phones

Waiting20for20godotESTRAGON: You’re sure it was this evening?

VLADIMIR: What?

ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.

VLADIMIR: He said Saturday. (Pause.) I think.

ESTRAGON: You think.

VLADIMIR: I must have made a note of it. (He fumbles in his pockets, which are bursting with miscellaneous rubbish.) What’ll we do?

(Beeping sound as ESTRAGON dials number.)

VOICE OF RECORDING ON PHONE: You’ve reached the number for Mr. Godot. Mr. Godot told me to tell you he won’t come this evening but surely will tomorrow.

ESTRAGON: Well, shall we go?

VLADIMIR: Yes, let’s go.

– From McSweeney’s

Will Voting Machines Work?

Good article in Time:

A woman walked into a polling place in Peoria, Ill. last week and proceeded to use one of the new electronic voting machines set up for early voting. She logged on, went through each contest and seemed to be making her choices. After reviewing each race, the machine checked to see if she was satisfied with her selections and wanted to move on. Each time, she pressed YES, and the machine progressed to the next race. When she was done, a waving American flag appeared on the screen, indicating that her votes had been cast and recorded.

But there was a problem. The woman had not made any choices at all. She had only browsed. Now when she told the election judges she was ready to do it again–but this time actually vote–they told her it was too late. Pressing the last button, they said, is like dropping your ballot in an old-fashioned ballot box. There’s no getting it back.

So what?

So this: In one week, more than 80 million Americans will go to the polls, and a record number of them–90%–will either cast their vote on a computer or have it tabulated that way. When that many people collide with that many high-tech devices, there are going to be problems.

Read the whole thing.

Free Online Discount Coupons

If you buy online — and more and more people will do that this Christmas than before — you probably have seen those boxes and the "checkout" page where you can enter a "promotional code" or a "coupon code" and get a discount on your purchase.  Sadly, you probably don’t have a code, right?

Fear not.

Retailmenot.com is an online depository of discount codes.  It was just launched, but it is sure to grow.  (It’s done by the same people who started bugmenot.com – the online depository of passwords in case you don’t want to register).

So the next time you go shopping, don’t forget your code!

At Last — A Reason To See A Movie Soon

Christopher Guest — who brought us Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, and A Mighty Wind — has assembled his usual crew of actors (Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Michael McKean, Catherine O’Hara, Harry Shearer, Fred Willard), and a few new ones (Ricky Gervais) for another film.

This one lacks the "mockumentary" style, but it could be good.

It’s called "For Your Consideration".

Cool Stuff

Modular shelving that’s shaTetrisshelvesped like the game Tetris:

"Sure, this is somewhat prohibitively expensive, but the idea of creating a bookshelf out of Tetris-like shelving units was too good to pass up. Designed by Bravespace, the pieces are made from walnut and ash wood and come in five shapes that you will recognize from Tetris–they are even called Tetris Shelving Pieces. Each is interchangeable and reversible, allowing you to make your own configurations, and the shelves provide a depth of 11".

The price for this is $600.

Voting Machines Already Changing Votes From Democrat To Republican

This doesn’t make me very confident about our democratic process.  From Miami:

Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist.

That’s exactly the kind of problem that sends conspiracy theorists into high gear — especially in South Florida, where a history of problems at the polls have made voters particularly skittish.

A poll worker then helped Rudolf, but it took three tries to get it right, Reed said.

”I’m shocked because I really want . . . to trust that the issues with irregularities with voting machines have been resolved,” said Reed, a paralegal. “It worries me because the races are so close.”

Iraq Getting Messier

More bad news:

U.S. soldier death toll passes the 100 mark (up to 105, if you include "unconfirmed") for October, making this the deadliest month since January 2005, and the fourth deadliest since the war started.  Grand total no 2,815.

And the quagmire worsens:

Thousands of weapons the United States has provided Iraqi security forces cannot be accounted for, and spare parts and repair manuals are unavailable for many others, a new report to Congress says.

The inspector general’s office released its report Sunday in a series of three audits finding that:

  • Nearly one of every 25 weapons the military bought for Iraqi security forces is missing. Many others cannot be repaired because parts or technical manuals are lacking.
  • "Significant challenges remain that put at risk" the U.S. military’s goal of strengthening Iraqi security forces by transferring all logistics operations to the defense ministry by the end of 2007.
  • "The unstable security environment in Iraq touches every aspect" of the Provincial Reconstruction Team program, in which U.S. government experts help Iraqis develop regional governmental institutions.

    The Pentagon cannot account for 14,030 weapons — almost 4 percent of the semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weapons it has been supplying to Iraq since the end of 2003.

  • Your One-Stop All-Purpose Zombie Post

    ZpromZombie Prom

    I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Theatre Alliance’s Zombie Prom on Thursday.  It was fantastic.

    For those not familar with the muscial, the plot is simple.  Girl meets boy.  Boy kills himself in nuclear suicide.  Boy comes back as zombie.  Boy and girl get back together again.  School authorities ban zombie from the prom.  Boy and girl go to prom anyway.  It’s Grease meets Footloose meets Night Of The Living Dead.

    In other words, it’s stupid fun, with a special emphasis on fun.

    The Theatre Alliance production of "Zombie Prom" started off with energetic silliness and never let up.  There simply was no weak moment in the entire show.  The ensemble cast — on stage for most of the show in various roles — all had wonderful comic timing and each managed to stand out in their own unique way.  And they did it while singing and tapping.  In fact, if I could see the show again, I would go just to look at them — there were all kinds of things that I know I missed.

    The leads were absolutely perfect.  Gray Smith played the strict and aptly-named Delilah Strict, the evil schoolteacher who was the nemesis to the youthful love affair between teeny bopper Toffee and Jonny (Toffee’s zombie boyfriend).  I always knew Gray could sign and dance; I didn’t realize he could do both in high heels.

    Jonny (Jay Smith), the rebel zombie who spells is name without an "h", had a terrific voice and a wonderful presence which shined through his green body paint.  John Bennett was fantastic as Eddie Flagrante, the roving yellow journalist intent on bringing Jonny’s story to light.

    But for me, this was Emily Mark (who played Toffee) at her finest — again.  A gifted singer and actress, she never ceases to blow me away.  She’s hot, too.  To demonstrate the impact she has — after the show, I was talking with a gay (male) friend, and a (straight) female friend, and we arguing with each other as to who was in love with Emily the most.  (In my opinion, I won that debate).  That’s the kind of performer Emily is — after seeing her, everybody wants to make out with her.  But seriously — even in the silliest roles, Emily can knock your socks with her voice, as she did with the showstopping "Easy To Say".  That, and the Flagrante-Strict tango duet ("Expose") were two of the three highlights of the night.

    The third highlight was a pure Jamie Lawson creation — a curtain call that served as an homage to great horror film villians.  Done in a fast-paced Benny Hill style chase — but with hip-hop and dancing and lights and special effects — the audience was treated to the likes of Frankenstein, Jason, Freddy Kruger, Hannibal Lector, Carrie, and the girl from Poltergeist — just to name a few.  It was a three-ring circus of fun and fear, a capper to a fantastic night at the theater.

    Sadly, if you didn’t see it, you’re out of luck, because Zombie Prom closed this weekend.  But not to worry – they’ll be a movie version soon.

    How To Date A Zombie

    Zkearly2It is becoming increasingly difficult for the libidinous Deathhacker to find someone to go out on that hot date. It seems like all the good ones are either being torn apart by their entrails or lumbering around as the cannibalistic undead. Even in the best of times, it was hard to find a compatible partner — now, it sometimes seems impossible! But wait — why not date the dead? That’s what many prospective necrophiles are asking themselves.

    The answer: no reason at all! Here’s some tips we’ve collected on how to find that special undead someone.

    Don’t be hemmed in by your own sex appeal. Dating the walking dead means never being not good enough for someone. That dashing, lantern-jawed Gucci model you see sometimes at Starbucks? The sultry sylph at your office with the wiggle in her walk? While asking them out before Z-Day would have resulted in them pointing you and hysterically guffawing while pantomiming vomiting sounds in the back of their throat, who’s laughing now? They’re dead and you’re alive. That means you’re the hottie.

    Their lips may scream "Brainsssss!" but their eyes say "Yes!" Easily lure your new lover to your bedroom with a piece of meat. Then chain them to the wall like you’d always planned to do if you’d ever gotten a boyfriend or girlfriend in real life. Remember: dead girls don’t say no!

    Just because they’re zombies doesn’t mean you can’t have romance. Although taking bubble baths together is right out, there’s still lots of romantic things you can do with your new sweetie. As rigor mortis sets in, your lover will appreciate a sensuous massage. A heart shaped candy box filled with pulsating morsels of raw human flesh is the perfect gift to show you care — if you can’t find a heart-shaped candy box, how about just a heart? Languid walks on the beach can be accomplished with a leather collar attached to a sturdy ten foot pole. And the zombie apocalypse is the perfect opportunity to have that obnoxious in-law over for dinner!

    Dress him the way you want! There’s no reason your undead beau or belle has to walk around in the slimy, beetle-infested tatters of a garbage man’s uniform, or in that gore-soaked ballerina’s costume. The zombie apocalypse is the perfect reason to do what you’ve always wanted to do for your living significant others anyway: transform them into giant, sexually-active Barbie and Ken dolls! Now you can transform Joe Shlub into James Bond or Mousy Miss into Slutty Catholic Schoolgirl.

    No Frenching. This one really should be obvious, but we’ve heard enough Deathhackers sloppily gurgling about this through mouthfuls of bloody soup to pass on a word of warning. Obviously, no matter how great the attachment between you and your loved one, you need to keep away from teeth and claws. Many necrophiles have recommended bringing your lover to the local dentist and having the teeth taken out. But why pay so much money for something you can do at home for free? Simply put your lover’s head in a garage vice and take them out with a hammer or pair of pliers! Your lips will thank you!

    Like real lovers, the undead are disposable. Sick of your sweetie’s midnight gaseous emissions? Weary of a monotonous sex life that always seems to end with you feeling ashamed and filthy? Is your lover’s personal cleanliness becoming an issue? Remember, just like dating a living person, an undead lover is an emotionless meat puppet, disposable the moment you’ve satisfied your base and selfish urges… but unlike the living, you can just kick them out of bed, shoot them in the head, then go out and get yourself another! Finally, an end to messy break-ups!

    Miscellaneous Zombism

    How to look like a zombie

    Use Google Maps to track zombies in your area

    The 100 Scariest Movie Scenes Of All Time

    As determined by the folks at the popculture site, retroCRUSH (my comments are in italics):

    100. The Wicker Man – "It’s YOU!"never saw it

    99. Return of The Living Dead – "BRAAAAINNNNS!"not sure if I saw it or not

    98. To Kill A Mockingbird- "Jem is truly outrageous"scary, if you’re five years old I guess

    97. Frankenstein- "Little girl takes a dive"not scary, but funny

    96. Blue Velvet- "Frank comes home"weird scary

    95. The Hitcher- "You want fingers with that?"never saw it

    94. Jaws- "Quint tells a story"a great scene, but I wouldn’t call it "scary"

    93. Creepshow- "Creature in the crate"never saw it

    92. Confessions Of An Opium Eater- "Vincent Price trips out!"never saw it

    91. The Hills Have Eyes- "Geekin’ out!"never saw it

    90. Dumbo- "Pink Elephants On Parade"never saw it, but it doesn’t sound scary

    89. Them!- "THEM!"never saw it

    88. Heavy Metal- "Undead Air Force"never saw it or head of it

    87. The Shining- "All work and no play"scary in a creepy way

    86. Night Of The Hunter- "Shelly Winters takes a bath"never saw it

    85. Altered States- "Special FX spook overload"don’t remember it

    84. Scanners- "Killer migraine"never saw it

    83. The Legend of Boggy Creek- "Not even the toilet is safe"never saw it

    82. The Birds- "The eyes have it"yeah, scary

    81. Tombs of the Blind Dead- "Slow motion horseback riding"never saw it or head of it

    80. Invasion of the Body Snatchers- "That’s one ugly dog"don’t remember it

    79. The Crying Game- "Nice package!" – scary?

    78. The Exorcist III- "Old lady crawls on the ceiling"never saw it

    77. Event Horizon- "OK, retroCRUSH is scared by missing eyes"never saw it

    76. The Shining- "Red Rum"yeah, kinda scary

    75. The House On Haunted Hill- "Ghosts in the viewfinder" – never saw it

    74. Silent Scream- "Through the craw space"never saw it

    73. Gates of Hell- "Puke your guts out"never saw it

    72. Poltergeist II- "Swallow the worm"yeah, pretty scary

    71. Akira- "Teddy bears are supposed to be cute" – never saw it

    70. The Evil Dead- "No means no, even for trees!" – don’t remember it

    69. Zombie- "Surprise, more eye trauma!"never heard of it

    68. Freaks- "One of us!"don’t remember it

    67. Prince of Darkness- "What the HELL is that?"never heard of it

    66. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre- "Do you like head cheese?"never saw it, believe it or not

    65. Marathon Man- "Without novacaine"yup, scary

    64. Poltergeist- "Who moved those chairs?"freaked me out the first time I saw it

    63. The Wizard of Oz- "Flying monkeys!"yeah, I guess

    62. When A Stranger Calls- "The call is coming from your house!"very scary

    61. The Shining- "Furry Freakout!"just plain weird

    60. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure- "Large Marge sent me!"actually, it was kinda scary

    59. Jaws- "We’re gonna need a bigger boat"  one of my favorite movie lines ever

    58. Psycho- "Hi, Mom!"scary

    57. The Exorcist- "Subliminal seduction"scary

    56. Psycho- "Norman’s eyes"scary

    55. The Godfather 2- "Fredo…."never saw it

    54. The Changeling- "Follow the bouncing ball"never saw it

    53. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre- The Bone-Roomnever saw it

    52. The Ring- "Girl in the closet"yup, scary

    51. Jaws- "Shark tug of war"scary

    50. An American Werewolf in London- "A walk in the woods"scary

    49. Trilogy of Terror- "Zuni fetishist"never heard of it

    48. The Exorcist- "Pea soup puke-fest"more gross than scary

    47. Eraserhead- "Cutest baby ever"scary

    46. Salem’s Lot- "Who’s that scratching on my window?"very scary

    45. Poltergeist- "What nice complexion you have!"scary

    44. Repulsion- "Delusions of madness"never saw it

    43. Friday the 13th- "Swimming with Jason"never saw it

    42. Seven- "Sloth"eh

    41. Reservoir Dogs- "Lend me your ear"more gross than scary

    40. King Kong- "Kong shakes his big log"yeah, whatever

    39. The Thing- "Creepy crawler"don’t remember it

    38. 28 Days Later- "Where is everyone?"huh?

    37. The Cell- "A horse is a horse, of course of course"never saw it

    36. Silence of The Lambs- "With a nice chianti!"creeeeeepy

    35. Poltergeist- "Time to clean the pool!"scary

    34. The Ring- "Samara comes out of the well"scary

    33. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom- "I hate bugs!"scary only if you hate bugs

    32. The Evil Dead 2- "Grabbin’ Ash"never saw it

    31. The Exorcist- "Hot crucifix action"scary

    30. Alien- "That egg looks bad"scary

    29. The Phantom of the Opera- "Unmasked!"scary in a classical way

    28. The Shining- "Here’s Johnny!"funny scary

    27. Twilight Zone The Movie- "Wanna see something real scary?"not really

    26. Dracula- "Renfield eats flies"never saw it

    25. Halloween- "Sheet with glasses!"scary

    24. Suspiria- "Eyes without a face"never heard of it

    23. A Nightmare On Elm Street- "What big arms you have"never saw it

    22. Serpent and the Rainbow- "Not the spider!"never saw it

    21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers- "Sutherland screams"don’t remember it

    20. Full Metal Jacket- "Pyle loses it"yeah, that was scary in it’s own way

    19. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory- "Wonka’s boat ride"silly, not scary

    18. Nosferatu- "Shadow terrors"scary

    17. Misery- "Hobbling"scary

    16. The Thing- "Blood Runs Cold"never saw it

    15. Invasion of the Body Snatchers- "You’re NEXT!" don’t remember it

    14. The Blair Witch Project- "If this tent’s a shaking…"very scary

    13. Night of the Living Dead- "They’re coming to get you, Barbara!"never saw it

    12. The Exorcist- "Head spinning"classically scary

    11. Deliverance- "Squeal like pig"not scary, just distrubing

    10. The Shining- "Room 237"oh my god that was really scary

    9. The Exorcist III- "Head scissors"never saw it

    8. Night of the Living Dead- "Look who’s outside"never saw it

    7. Jaws- "Heads will roll"scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it, and it still does

    6. Un Chien Andalou- "Eye slicin’ fun!"never saw it

    5. Poltergeist- "Clown under the bed"no, I thought it was kind of funny

    4. Alien- "Chestburster"verrry scary

    3. The Shining- "Danny takes a trike ride"gave me nightmares

    2. Carrie- "Surprise Arm"jumped a mile out of my seat

    1. Psycho- "Shower scene"well, naturally, very scary

    Fun Facts About DST

    1. It’s called "Daylight Saving Time"; not "Daylight Savings Time".  Yeah, I know, it sounds weird the correct way, right?
    2. This year will be the first time since the early 1970s that the state of Indiana has observed Daylight Saving Time. Some counties observed it in the past but most did not. (By the way, China has only one time zone, which means that 9:00 a.m. could be morning in one part of the country, and the middle of the afternoon in another.  Weird.)
    3. Ben Franklin was one of the first to suggest the idea of DST.  He wrote about it in a toungue-in-cheek letter in 1784, but it wasn’t until WWI that Daylight Saving was actually put in place, to help save energy.
    4. After the 1973 energy crisis, the U.S. went on extended Daylight Saving Time for 1974-75. A Department of Transportation study found that observing DST in March and April saved 10,000 barrels of oil a day, prevented 2,000 traffic injuries and saved $28 million in traffic costs. In 1976, the U.S. returned to the previously observed schedule, after public opposition to late winter sunrises.
    5. But we’re going to do it again.  In 2007, the DST period will start earlier (March 11) and end later (November 4). This is part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and this is only a test. Based on results, Congress can choose to revert to the previous schedule, which was set in 1986.

    Addicted To The Internets?

    InternetaddictionAccording to a just-completed study from researchers at Stanford’s School of Medicine, one in eight people show signs of “problematic internet use.”

    I read this, and decided to blog about it, which means I’m probably one of the eight.

    Results from the telephone-based survey of more than 2,000 people found that:

    • 13.7 percent found it hard to stay away from the Internet for several days at a time
    • 12.4 percent stayed online longer than intended very often or often
    • 12.3 percent had seen a need to cut back on Internet use at some point
    • 8.7 percent attempted to conceal non-essential Internet use from family, friends and employers
    • 8.2 percent used the Internet as a way to escape problems or relieve negative mood
    • 5.9 percent felt their relationships suffered as a result of excessive Internet use

    Based on the research, the average internet addict was a college-educated white male (yup, that’s me) in his 30s (yeah, I wish) who logged about 30 hours of nonessential internet use per week (define “nonessential”) and visited pornography and gambling sites as well as chat rooms and shopping sites (uh … no comment).

    Here’s an interesting finding: “the research showed similarities between alcoholism and internet addiction in that users often hide their web surfing and use it to self-medicate.”   I don’t know what that means.  Does that mean that internet addiction replaces alcohol addiction?

    Anyawy, if you want to read more about the study, click here.  But I warn you, if you click, that might mean you have the signs of internet addiction.

    The Swiftboating Of Michael J. Fox, Day 3

    GopkeatonWell, it’s still a story, for some reason.

    And the right is still attacking Fox. I think it has something to do with the fact that Alex Keaton isn’t the Alex Keaton of the 1980’s (for a refresher, see photo at right).

    But I wanted to note that some of the media got it wrong yesterday — Rush did not apologize for saying that Fox was "acting" his symptoms.  In fact, he’s unrepentant:

    I stand by what I said. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn’t rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe; it is what I think. It is what I have found to be true.

    What’s worse, Rush was caught on video MOCKING Fox’s handicap, prompting this response from a TPM reader:

    Have you seen the video of Limbaugh talking about Fox on his show? Scarborough played it over and over and over again this evening, and it’s absolutely grotesque because as he’s talking, Limbaugh is jerkily waving his arms and head around and mocking — yes, mocking — Fox’s jerky Parkinson movements for all he’s worth.

    I think it may be the most repellent piece of political video I’ve ever seen. If that gets a little more play, I’d say both Limbaugh and Talent are toast.

    By the way, Rush is faaaaaat again.  Heh.

    It’s interesting that the GOP "response" ad features Jim Caviezel, an actor who Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion Of The Christ.  And (like the Jesus character in the film), he speaks in Aramaic!  So let me get the rightwing playbook straight:

    (1) It’s an outrage when Michael J. Fox, an actual Parkinson’s sufferer, speaks for himself and films a political ad supporting a measure allowing stem cell research, …BUT

    (2) Stem cell research opponents create an ad using a fake Jesus speaking in Jesus’ language, and that’s okay.

    #1 is manipulative; #2 is not — according to the right wingnuts.  Go figure.

    There are other things about the anti-stem cell research rebuttal ad that are — well — bizarre.  Apart from Caviezel, the ad features other big "star power" to counteract that of Michael J. Fox.  They are Jeff Suppan (a baseball pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals), Kurt Warner (a professional quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals), Mike Sweeny (another pitcher, this time from the Kansas City Royals) and Patricia Heaton (from Everybody Loves Raymond).  They all say that the an amendment proposed in Missouri would allow human cloning, although the amendment says "(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being".  [You can read it here — it’s in plain English]. 

    And none of them are even originally from Missouri, or have Parkinson’s or Alzeheimer’s, or are victims of spinal cord injuries.  Why exactly should they be listened to?

    Any port in a storm, I guess.

    THE MICHAEL J. FOX EFFECT:  A national study conducted on the Michael J. Fox ad (wow, that was quick!) revealed the following:

    • Among all respondents, support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.
    • The level of concern regarding a candidate’s view on stem cell research increased among all respondents from 57% prior to viewing the ad to 70% after viewing the ad. Among Democrats, the level of concern increased from 66% to 83% and Republicans’ level of concern increased from 50% to 60%. Independents’ level of concern increased from 58% to 69%.
    • The perception that the November election is relevant to the U.S. policy on stem cell research increased across all voter segments, with an increase of 9% among all respondents pre- and post-viewing from 62% to 71%. The Democrats’ perception increased from 75% to 83%, Republicans’ perception increased from 55% to 62% and Independents’ perception increased from 60% to 68% pre- and post-viewing.
    • The advertisement elicited similar emotional responses from all responders with all voter segments indicating that they were "not bored and attentive" followed by "sorrowful, thankful, afraid and regretful."
    • The vast majority of responders indicated that the advertisement was believable with 76% of all responders reporting that it was "extremely believable" or "believable." Among party affiliation, 93% of Democrats 57% of Republicans and 78% of Independents indicated it "extremely believable" or "believable."
    • Republicans who indicated that they were voting for a Republican candidate decreased by 10% after viewing the ad (77% to 67%). Independents planning to vote for Democrats increased by 10%, from 39% to 49%.

    I guess that accounts for the attacks on Michael Fox’s ad — it works.

    Note To Wisconsin Parents: Watch Your Kids

    Spongetrap_1You know those arcade vending machine things where you put in your money and then manipulate a claw in order to pick up your prize?

    Some kid in Wisconsin found a better way to win: he crawled inside the machine.

    Unfortunately, he got trapped.

    ANTIGO, Wis. (AP) — A toddler who went fishing for a stuffed cartoon character in a vending machine wound up sharing space with the toy inside the game’s plastic cubicle.

    Three-year-old Robert Moore tried to scoop out a stuffed replica of SpongeBob SquarePants with the vending machine’s plastic crane on Saturday, but had no luck on his first attempt.

    While his grandmother, Fredricka Bierdemann, turned her back to get another dollar for a second try, Robert took off his coat and squeezed through an opening in the machine. He landed in the stuffed animal cube.

    "I turned around and looked for him, and he said, ‘Oma, I’m in here," Bierdemann said. "I thought I would have a heart attack."

    Store employees couldn’t find a key to the machine, so Robert waited while the Anti-go Fire Department was called.

    "He was having a ball in there, hugging all the stuffed animals," Bierdemann said. "He was so good-natured, but I was shaking like a leaf."

    This isn’t the first time something like this has happened in Wisconsin.

    RELATED:  Speaking of kids and toys….

    So when Morton heard his 6-year-old son, Jonathan, saying a slang and obscene word to friends after his birthday party on Saturday, Morton was more than troubled.

    He was incensed.

    Morton said his son did not learn the word — a term for sexual intercourse — from his older brother or late night TV. He heard it from a toy.

    Morton said he bought his son a police officer set that uttered the obscenity when Jonathan pulled out the nightstick from the utility belt.

    “He asked me if I wanted him to arrest me and I said no, (then) he asked me if I wanted to be cuffed and I said (maybe), and then he said, ‘(expletive) don’t make me use my nightstick,’” Morton said. “Without even thinking I said, ‘What did you say?’ So he said it again. To some people that might have been funny to hear a child say that, but I got very, very mad.”

    Morton said he has since spent the past few days punishing his son and making apologies to the parents of his son’s friends.

    “I’ve had to explain to parents why my son is saying the f-word; it’s horrible,” Morton said. “It’s really a cute little toy; but God forbid, it’s not what I want my kid hearing.”

    Morton bought the toy, which is marked appropriate for ages 3 to 10, from the Geoffrey store off Western Boulevard Extension. After realizing the toy’s glitch he took it back — not for a refund but to make the store aware of the malfunction. When he and store employees opened another such set and checked its nightstick, however, it did not include the offensive word. Morton bought the clean version for his son but kept the delinquent twin as proof.

    You’re Thinking About It Right Now, Right?

    Not so surprising research:

    Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University say most men are always thinking of sex.

    A study released Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists found 54 percent of men and 19 percent of women admit they think about sex every day — or several times a day — in a society where they are bombarded with subconscious erotic images.

    Researchers also found sexual orientation often determines how the brain reacts to erotic images. Heterosexual women, for example, were more tuned in to pictures of naked men, the same reaction exhibited by homosexual men. But homosexual woman were equally attuned to naked images of both sexes, the report said.

    Toadsucking

    Lady_200Anybody else besides me hear the story on All Things Considered (on NPR) about the family dog (named Lady) who was addicted to toad-sucking?

    "Then, late one night after I’d put the dogs out, Lady wouldn’t come in," Laura Mirsch says. "She finally staggered over to me from the cattails. She looked up at me, leaned her head over and opened her mouth like she was going to throw up, and out plopped this disgusting toad."

    It turned out the toads were toxic — and, if licked, the fluids on their skin provided a hallucinogenic effect.

    NPR has the story here about one family’s shame with their junkie-dog.  Listen to the audio — it’s better.

    Dlibert Cartoonist Gets His Voice

    Dilbertlie18 months ago, Scott Adams, the cartoonist who draws "Dilbert", lost his voice due to something called Spasmodic Dysphonia.  That’s when a part of your brain simply shuts down, and you lose the ability to talk.

    There is no cure.  Specialists could not help him.

    A couple of days ago, working on his own pet theory that he could "remap" his brain simply by thinking about talking in a different contest, he discovered he could recite rhymes.

    And one day later, he found he could talk.  He recounts the story on his blog:

    But suddenly, yesterday, I felt the connection again. It wasn’t just being able to speak, it was KNOWING how. The knowing returned.

    I still don’t know if this is permanent. But I do know that for one day I got to speak normally. And this is one of the happiest days of my life.

    Don’t Know Lewis v. Harris?

    Well, you’re about to.

    The New Jersey Supreme Court is announcing its decision on Lewis v. Harris today at 3 pm.

    It’s a same-sex marriage case, and conventional wisdom suggests that the NJSC will come out in favor of gay marriages (New Jersey, unlike most states, has no law or state constitution provision which defines marriages as strictly between a man and woman).

    This could be the "October Surprise" that Rove is hoping for — causing everyone to turn away from issues like Iraq or health care or the economy, and rallying the GOP base just in time for the upcoming elections.  Hey — fanning the flames of the gay marriage issue worked in 2004, right?

    But hopefully, America has woken up and learned how to prioritize issues that are life-and-death over those that just irritate them personally.

    [3:00 p.m. UPDATE:  The decision was basically this:

    Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution….

    To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision….

    We will not presume that a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.

    Ruling is here (PDF format).  Essentially, it means that gays are entitled to all the benefits of marriage, but New Jersey has to decide if it wants to call it "marriage" or "civil unions" or whatever.  Certainly a victory for progress, and I’m sure the religious right (what remains of it) will.]

    Everybody Picks Up Limbaugh/Michael J. Fox Story

    UPDATE:  For those late to the game, The Carpetbagger Report will catch you up.

    USA Today:

    WASHINGTON — Rush Limbaugh has accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating the physical effects of his Parkinson’s disease in political ads urging viewers to vote for Democrats in next month’s election.

    The conservative radio host told listeners Monday that Fox’s lurching, palsied movements in a TV ad for Missouri Senate challenger Claire McCaskill were "an act." Limbaugh noted that Fox, a longtime advocate for research on embryonic stem cells, has said he sometimes does not take his medication in order to illustrate Parkinson’s severe physical effects. Uncontrolled shaking and stiffness are among the symptoms of the nerve disease.

    "If this was not an act," Limbaugh said later on the show, "then I apologize."

    Of course, since nobody can prove (to Rush’s satisfaction) that Fox wasn’t acting, Rush is never going to have to apologize.

    Still, one wonders from what center of depravity Mr. Rush "I Can’t Get An Erection" Limbaugh summons the gall to comment on how people self-medicate.

    UPDATE:  WaPo covers it, too.  Apparently, Rush did apologize sort of, but that didn’t stop his attacks:

    Later Monday, still on the air, Limbaugh would apologize, but reaction to his statements from Parkinson’s experts and Fox’s supporters was swift and angry.

    After his apology, Limbaugh shifted his ground and renewed his attack on Fox.

    "Now people are telling me they have seen Michael J. Fox in interviews and he does appear the same way in the interviews as he does in this commercial," Limbaugh said, according to a transcript on his Web site. "All right then, I stand corrected. . . . So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act."

    ***

    Fox has appeared in ABC’s "Boston Legal" this season. In his scenes, taped over the summer, Fox does not shake or loll his head as he does in the Cardin commercial, but does appear to be restraining himself, appearing almost rigid at times.

    A source with direct knowledge of Fox’s illness who viewed the Cardin ad said Fox is not acting to exaggerate the effects of the disease. The source said Fox’s scenes in "Boston Legal" had to be taped around his illness, as he worked to control the tremors associated with Parkinson’s for limited periods of time.

    Then Limbaugh pivoted to a different critique: "Michael J. Fox is allowing his illness to be exploited and in the process is shilling for a Democratic politician."

    Rush is a wanker.  There’s nothing more to say about that.

    RELATED LINKS:  The Michael J Fox Foundation

    MORE:  World O’Crap does some fine skewering

    UPDATE:  Fox responds.  Think Progress has the video.

    And Tbogg provides the Shorter Dean Barnett:

    When Michael J. Fox uses his Parkinson’s Disease to address an issue, he’s being manipulative. When I use my lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis to address Michael J. Fox, I’m just being honest.

    And The Rude Pundit responds, well, rudely:

    Why Rush Limbaugh Ought to Be Force-Fed His Own Liposuctioned Fat, Part 979:
    Alas for Alex Keaton. Sigh for Marty McFly. Cry for whatever his Spin City character was named. Anyone with a heart, and a memory that goes back more than a couple of years, who watches the Michael J. Fox ad that supports Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill for Senate will have that heart broken by the end. Through his rocking and shaking, Fox makes a simple plea to support McCaskill against Jim Talent, a proud member of Bush’s ass harem, so that stem cell research might progress. Yeah, for the vast majority of of us, by dint of our humanity, no matter what our political stripes, no matter how we agree or disagree with the message, probably can’t help but be moved by the ad.

    Which, of course, leaves out Rush Limbaugh, whose only purpose on earth seems to be keeping big pharma in business, providing three hours of masturbation material for shut-in nutzoid conservatives – the kind who yank their scabby peckers and yowl in pain and glee whenever Rush farts his disgust at those who would stop the killing in Iraq, and making sure that Dominican child prostitutes get slapped in the thighs for a couple of seconds by his demi-erect Viagra-ed cock before he dribbles out a bit of spooge and screeches for drug mules to bring him more hillbilly heroin for his "back pain." And, of course, to eat heapin’ bowls of ‘nana pudding while sucking his cigar like it’s Dick Cheney’s, well, shit, dick.

    Limbaugh said this about Fox: "[H]e was either off the medication or he was acting. He is an actor, after all." Strangely, Limbaugh didn’t address the fact that whether Fox was on his meds or not, the actor still has Parkinson’s, the disease that forced him to retire from being in front of the camera. But then again, if you down enough oxycontin, you generally are numb to everyone’s pain, yours, Michael J. Fox’s, or the pre-pubescent slave whores’ of Santo Domingo.

    And, oh, yeah, here’s another political ad which is sure to send Rush into a tizzy:

    Who Supports The Troops? Republicans Or Democrats?

    The answer is Democrats.

    The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — a non-partisan veterans’ group — took a look at 324 legislative votes in the last five years which affected American troops and veterans. Legislative proposals included veterans’ benefits, healthcare, and medical research dedicated towards injured soldiers. Based on these votes, IAVA calculated which senators and congressmen had a history of supporting the troops, and which didn’t, and graded them on a curve.

    Here are the results:

    Iava_senate_ratings_1

    Yup, you’re reading that right.  All Senate Democrats ranked higher than every Senate Republican.  Via Bob Geiger.

    “Hurry Up, He’s Dead”

    That’s the title of the funniest TV show on Iraq television, says the NY Times.  And it’s quite popular.

    24show1xlarge1What’s it about?  Well, it’s kind of like The Daily Show, I guess.

    The newscast opens with an explanation of the show’s underlying premise: it is the year 2017 and the main character, Saaed, is the last Iraqi alive. He is lying face down on a beach with a red suitcase next to him. When he comes to, he is quickly encircled by beautiful women.

    Cut to a scene of Saaed clad in a black T-shirt imprinted with “2PAC,” showboating in front of a white stretch Humvee limousine with dancers cavorting all around.

    The show’s raucous theme song, which has become a popular cellphone ring tone here and is sung by children in schoolyards, laments that it would be better to be a lowly cat on the street than an Iraqi: “No one asks the cat where you are from, which party you’re from, whether you are an Arab, a Kurd, a Sunni or a Shiite.”

    He sings on, “I am the last Iraqi alive, but I still do not own a house,” a reference to the country’s acute housing shortage.

    The show’s title appears initially as “The Government,” but the Arabic words split in half to reveal the actual name, another crack at the country’s plight.

    When the broadcast begins, it takes place in the present. The show is meant to be a narration of how Saaed’s country fell apart and he ended up as the last survivor.

    Apparently, Iraqi and U.S. authorities are not amused.

    Bush Administration Has Had 9 Plans For Iraq

    Chuck Schumer put this together:

    WHITE HOUSE HAS UNVEILED NEW “NEW IRAQ” PLANS AT LEAST NINE TIMES ALREADY

    10/22/06: “The Bush administration is drafting a timetable for the Iraqi government to address sectarian divisions and assume a larger role in securing the country, senior American officials said.” [New York Times, 10/22/06]

    7/25/06: “President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced plans to enhance security forces in Baghdad in an effort to stem the growing violence in the Iraqi capital…The new security plan also calls for coalition forces to provide greater firepower and protection equipment to the Iraqi forces.” [U.S. Department of State, 7/25/06]

    6/25/06: “There was also word from the Pentagon on a new plan to cut the number of U.S. troops in Iraq…U.S. military officials confirm that the plan could cut the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq by more than half, perhaps as low as 50,000 troops by the end of next year.” [“NBC Nightly News,” 6/25/06]

    6/13/06: Bush and his Cabinet met about the new Iraq Unity government’s plan and “assessed ongoing U.S. efforts in each area of the Iraqi plan and directed adjustments to U.S. plans as necessary to fully align with the plans of the new government.” [White House Fact Sheet, 6/13/06]

    11/30/05: Under a “Plan for Victory” banner, Bush “spelled out what he called his strategy for victory in Iraq.” [AP, 11/30/05]

    5/24/04: In a speech in Pennsylvania, Bush “laid out a five-point plan to ‘achieve freedom and peace in Iraq.’” [AP, 5/25/04]

    11/17/03: Bush said, “In November of 2003, we negotiated a new plan with the Governing Council, with steps for an accelerated transition to Iraqi self-government.” [AP, 11/17/03; White House Remarks, 12/12/05]

    9/9/03: “Bush began a delicate drive today to build national and global support for his expensive new plan for controlling Iraq…A day after using a prime-time television address to reveal his $ 87 billion budget for the war on terrorism next year, Bush and his aides said the stakes in Iraq are so grave that they should dwarf any diplomatic disagreements or skepticism about the costs.” [Washington Post, 9/9/03]

    7/23/03: Bush “said that his chief administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has a new plan to accelerate the progress of Iraqi reconstruction.’ The plan sets out ambitious timetables and clear benchmarks to measure progress and practical methods for achieving results,’ said Bush.” [White House Remarks, 7/23/03; Christian Science Monitor, 7/24/03]

    Rollercoaster Tycoon Tragedies

    A lot of people are familiar with the Rollercoaster Tycoon games, where you can design rollercoasters and theme parks, and watch little tiny "peeps" go around the park. The nice thing about Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 — the thrid version of the game — is that you can actually ride the roller coasters, and place your "camera" at any place in the park, and record videos. This, of course, has led to the creations of some funny/distrubing (depending on your point of view) YouTube videos of poorly designed RCT3 rollercoasters. Here’s one:

    And how it is done:

    The Political Right Is Mad That They Can’t Attack Handicapped People

    Exhibit A.

    After a televised political debate in Wyoming, Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo) said the following to one of her opponents, Thomas Rankin (Libertarian candidate), who has has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric wheelchair:

    "If you weren’t sitting in that chair, I’d slap you across the face."

    Exhibit B

    Columnist Dean Barnett on Michael J. Fox, who appears in an ad endorsing a candidate Claire McCaskill [UPDATE: He’s doing ads for many candidates who support stem cell research]:

    The most distasteful aspect of the ad is the way it exploits Michael J. Fox’s physical difficulties. Fox is an actor, and clearly knew what he was doing when he signed up for the spot – no victim points for him for having been manipulated by the McCaskill campaign. The ad’s aim is to make us feel so bad about Fox’s condition that logical debate is therefore precluded. You either agree with Fox, or you sadistically endorse his further suffering as Fox accuses Jim Talent of doing.

    World O’Crap gives the shorter Hugh Hewitt:

    How dare Michael J. Fox have Parkinson’s in public?  How dare he support politicians who believe in funding research that may one day relieve his symptons.  How are you supposed to argue with that?

    UPDATE:  Guess I spoke to soon.  Rush Limbaugh isn’t above going after Michael J. Fox’s handicap. You can hear Limbaugh’s commentary here.  And here’s the Fox ad itself:

    Notably, Rush said of Fox:

    "…he was either off the medication or he was acting.  He is an actor, after all."

    The folks at The Plank spoke to William J. Weiner M.D., professor and chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He’s also director of the Parkinson’s clinic there, who affirmed what everybody (except Rush) probably expected:

    "What you are seeing on the video is side effects of the medication. He has to take that medication to sit there and talk to you like that. … He’s not over-dramatizing. … [Limbaugh] is revealing his ignorance of Parkinson’s disease, because people with Parkinson’s don’t look like that at all when they’re not taking their medication. They look stiff, and frozen, and don’t move at all. … People with Parkinson’s, when they’ve had the disease for awhile, are in this bind, where if they don’t take any medication, they can be stiff and hardly able to talk. And if they do take their medication, so they can talk, they get all of this movement, like what you see in the ad."

    Active U.S. Soldiers Seek End To Iraqi Occupation

    It may take 24-48 hours, but I think people will start talking about this soon:

    Sixty five active duty service members are officially asking Congress to end the war in Iraq — the first time active troops have done so since U.S. invasion began in 2003.

    Three of the service members will hold a press conference Wednesday explaining their decision to send "Appeals for Redress" under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act to their members of Congress. Under the act, National Guard and Reservists can send communications about any subject to their member of Congress without punishment.

    Short Bites

    Barring some miracle, blogging will be light to non-existent for the next few days.

    But that won’t stop be from pointing to things I find amusing, like

    (1)  the fact that robots think humans taste like bacon

    (2)  What hath John Hodgman wrought?  He wrote a book in which he listed 700 hobo names.  Now, illustrators are providing drawings for each hobo.

    (3)  Obama finally admits he is thinking about an ’08 prez bid.  Time magazine has his face on the cover, saying "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President."  Yeah.  I was saying that as far back as July 2004.

    UPDATE:  Even neo-con Jonah Goldberg at the Corner admits to feeling a little love for Obama:

    Well, since now is the time to divulge our feelings about the man, I’ll join the fray. I think Obama is a  compelling and attractive political figure. He’s got charisma. He’s legitimately bright. I thought his 2004 Convention speech was outstanding.

    Still …there are some out there who think that Obama is — and they mean this literally — the Antichrist.  Meanwhile, "Obama" is the word of the day, and The American Street has a wrap-up of various thoughts from around the punditry, but Matt Stoller writes (in my view) the best piece: "Why Barack Obama Should Run For President"

    (4)  The Dr. Laura Action figure doll.  Seriously.  I’ll bet if you pull the string, she’ll say something like "Matthew Shepard had it coming".

    (5)  Death toll of U.S. soldiers in Iraq this month now at 89.  This makes it the bloodiest in 2006 (with a week still to go).  At the current rate of  3.87 soliders per day, it will be the worst month since 2/2005.

    (6)  No, not "Snakes On A Plane".  It’s shrimps on a treadmill.

    Meet The New Christian Coalition

    Yup.  The group founded by Pat Robertson has a new man-in-charge, and guess what?  He actually seems like a pretty reasonable guy.

    The Carpetbagger gives the scoop:

    His name is Dr. Joel C. Hunter. He pastors an interdenominational church in Orlando, Fla., and he sounds like a — moderate.

    Well, at least on some issues. Associated Baptist Press, a news service run by moderate Baptists, noted that Hunter has taken the lead on urging conservative Christians to take global warming more seriously. Notes ABP:

    Hunter is familiar to many evangelicals and others as the face of a campaign by several evangelical groups to combat global warming. Earlier this year, Hunter appeared in commercials for the campaign, in which he appealed to fellow evangelicals to combat climate change as part of the scriptural command to care for creation.

    Furthermore, Hunter has self-published a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why the Tactics of the Religious Right Won’t Fly With Most Conservative Christians.

    ABP describes the book like this:

    In it, he laments conservative Christianity’s overt identification with the Republican Party in recent years, and says, among other things, "There ought to be more than just gay marriage and pro-life issues because the Bible is concerned with all of life…. We need to do everything we can to relieve poverty, to heal the sick, and to protect the earth."

    A podcast on the church site contains 40 questions about religion and politics. One of them is, "Is it possible to be a believing evangelical and vote Democratic?" Hunter replies in part, "It’s not only possible, at times it’s advisable on many issues."

    Nice.

    Bush: “We’ve Never Said ‘Stay The Course'”

    In his interview with George Stephanopolouskowaskiwitz, the President said — and I quote — ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’.

    Man, that’s an easily debunked lie:

    BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]

    BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]

    BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]

    BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]

    BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]

    BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]

    UPDATE:  WH Counselor Dan Bartlett is repeating the same lie.

    The FBI Tries The Funny

    The headlines are talking about this Wisconsin grocery clerk named Jake Brahm, who created the Internet hoax about terrorist attacks on NFL football stadiums this weekend.  It was a stupid thing for this kid to do, but it was definitely not funny.

    Still, the FBI spokesman thought he’d try his hand at doing some comedy schtick:

    "Jake Brahm’s unsportsmanlike conduct caused the United States to divert valuable resources from the real battle," Leslie Wiser, FBI special agent in charge Newark division, told a news conference. "This coming Sunday the NFL referees won’t be the only ones wearing stripes."

    *rim shot*

    Nice to know that the FBI is viewing terrorist threats as "unsportsmanlike conduct".  No wonder people don’t have a lot of faith in government.

    Friday iPod Random Ten

    1. Telephone_hour"Smile A Little For Me" – The Flying Machine
    2. "The Telephone Hour" – Bye Bye Birdie Original Broadway Cast
    3. "The West Wind Circus" – Helen Reddy
    4. "Walk On The Wild Side" – Lou Reed
    5. "What A Piece Of Work Is Man" – Hair (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    6. "Paperback Writer" – The Beatles
    7. "You Belong To Me" – Carly Simon
    8. "Leave Me Alone" – The Coors
    9. "Four Jews In A Room" – March Of The Falsettos Original Broadway Cast
    10. "Then Came You" – Dionne Warwick

    Pat Tillman’s Bro Speaks Up

    Pat Tillman was a linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals.  Moved by 9/11, he volunteered for military duty and was deployed to Iraq.

    He was a darling of the right wing, who reported his death in Iraq with much sadness.  Here’s Hindrocket at Powerline, April 23, 2004:

    The news brought tears to my eyes, as to many others. Already, some are asking why Tillman is so special, and why there is so much grief over his death when hundreds of other, less well known soldiers have also perished.

    Stalin, who was neither stupid nor crazy, said that a single death is a tragedy, whereas a million deaths are but a statistic. It is true that the human imagination fastens on to single personalities, not casualty statistics. There is no reason to apologize for the fact that Tillman, a professional athlete who turned away from millions of dollars in salary to serve his country as an Army Ranger, is better known to the public than other Americans who have sacrificed equally. He is as good a symbol as any to stand for them all.

    Sadly, the right-wing lovefest for Pat Tillman lost its sheen when it was learned that (a) Tillman died as a result of friendly fire; (b) the friendly fire incident was covered up by the military; and (c) Tillman was not as gung-ho about the Iraq War as many ojn the right believed.

    Kevin_pat_350When Pat joined the U.S. forces, he was joined by his brother Kevin.  Here they are in Iraq — Pat on the left, Kvein on the right.

    Now honorably discharged, Kevin has something to say:

    Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is.  Something like that.

    Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them.  Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

    Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet.  It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

    Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes. 

    Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground. 

    Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

    Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

    Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

    Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

    Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

    Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

    Somehow torture is tolerated.

    Somehow lying is tolerated. 

    Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. 

    Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

    Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

    Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

    Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

    Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

    Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

    Somehow this is tolerated.

    Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

    Studio 60: Not Doing Well, May Be Mercifully Cancelled

    L.A. Times:

    One month later, it appears "Studio 60" will be lucky to last the season. Since its premiere on Sept. 19, the pricey series has been shedding viewers weekly, and those who once saw Aaron Sorkin as the Arthur Miller of network drama grumble about the poor quality of the show’s comedy and the characters’ endless back-patting claims that said tepid comedy is in fact boundary-pushing, hilarious, edgy fare.

    Oh, Aaron.  How the mighty have fallen.

    O’Reilly: Irony-Impaired

    Bill O’Reilly lauched a tirade against the "off-the-charts vitriol" on blogs.  In the course of his complaint, O’Reilly said this of free speech on the Internet:

    "Because if I can get away with it, boy, I’d go in with a hand grenade."

    Not that’s vitriol!

    “Sorry I Haven’t Posted In A While…”

    This is unique.

    A blogger went out and collected a bunch of apologies written by other bloggers explaining reasons why they have been lax in their blogging.  Some examples:

    "I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been so busy, but hopefully we’ll catch up on things. Anyway, my great-grandmother died today." [LINK]

    "I forgot my password…" [LINK]

    "bc I knew my next post would address the current war in Lebanon" [LINK]

    "I’ve been busy shooting soccer teams." [LINK]

    "Sometimes it can be exhaustingly overwhelming to say what you think, which is why I haven’t posted in awhile." [LINK]

    "I haven’t had the internet and I have been drunk or busy alot. I kind of did a minor (for me) crash and burn when I found out Selissa was fucking one of my friends (after we broke up). The night I walked in on them I had just spent about 200 dollars on boxing gear for this guy, because he wanted me to teach him how to fight. Anyway, everyone has something to mope about. Truth is, there really can be no rules for this sort of thing." [LINK]

    "I’ve been really bummed. I went shopping" [LINK]

    "Both lazy & busy or just busy being lazy. " [LINK]

    "more than the usual laziness was involved" [LINK]

    "I would like to blame it on the excess of greasy iftaar goodies that reek havoc on any sane person’s digestive system, but alas, it is my own laziness" [LINK]

    "I was hoping to make a celebratory declaration about the new oven’s arrival. The good news is, it did finally arrive on Wednesday afternoon. The bad news is, it’s been a nightmare ever since it got here!" [LINK]

    "I had a really bad end to my summer" LINK]

    "I’ve been very depressed since Ginger died." [LINK]

    "We are on ‘vacation.’" [LINK]

    I confess that I don’t really get this.  Why does one feel the need to "apologize" for not blogging?  Is blogging a mandatory thing we do (for those of us who do it, that is)?   Is it required?

    And who exactly are we apologizing to?  Do we assume that we have a loyal fanbase of several thousand?  Strikes me as a little vain.

    Look, even I don’t know why I blog.  I just do it.  Maybe it’s to vent.  Maybe it’s because — after doing this for a couple of years — it’s fun to look back (and it will be funner ten years from now, assuming I keep it up).  My stat counter says I get 70-100 visits per day, and that’s nice.  But I’m not egotistical enough to think that I’m letting anyone down by NOT blogging for a few days.

    Cloaking Device (Like, The Thing They Have In Star Trek) Invented

    Good.  Because now we can sneak up on those pesky Romulans:

    Scientists create cloak of invisibility

    WASHINGTON — Scientists are boldly going where only fiction has gone before – to develop a Cloak of Invisibility. It isn’t quite ready to hide a Romulan space ship from Capt. Kirk or to disguise Harry Potter, but it is a significant start and could show the way to more sophisticated designs.

    In this first successful experiment, researchers from the United States and England were able to cloak a copper cylinder.

    It’s like a mirage, where heat causes the bending of light rays and cloaks the road ahead behind an image of the sky.

    "We have built an artificial mirage that can hide something from would-be observers in any direction," said cloak designer David Schurig, a research associate in Duke University’s electrical and computer engineering department.

    In this case, researchers used microwaves to try to detect the cylinder. Like light and radar waves, microwaves bounce off objects, making them visible to instruments and creating a shadow that can be detected.

    Dirty Tricks

    Approximately 14,000 Hispanic Democratic voters in Orange County, CA recently received a Spanish-language letter warning them to stay away from the polls:

    Be advised that if your residence in the United States is illegal or if you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that can result in incarceration, and possible deportation for voting without the right to do so. …

    Not like in Mexico, here there is no benefit to voting. In the United States there is no registration card to vote. Therefore, it is useless and dangerous to vote in any election if you are not a citizen of the United States.

    Do not pay attention to a politician who may try to tell you otherwise. They only care about their own interests.

    This letter is a deceptive ploy to suppress Hispanic voter turn-out. Immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens can legally vote. The letter has now been traced back to the campaign of Tan D. Nguyen, a Republican challenger to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

    Bad Days To Be A GOP

    This is how bad things are for the lower-than-whale-dung GOP.

    The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll spells bad news for the GOP next month — public approval of the Republican Party is at an alltime low.

    Charlie Cook now says that 50 GOP seats are in jeopardy.

    Dick Morris says the GOP base is heading out the door and the result will be a two-house pickup for the Democrats.

    Chris Shays continues to campaign for a straightjacket and a padded room.

    Bush celebrated “National Character Counts Week” with a GOP representative who strangled his mistress.

    The DCCC will borrow money to finish off 30 GOP incumbents, all in districts where the Democrat already leads, and the NRCC is pulling out of races in Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, and West Virginia. And the Dems are on the verge of winning a key seat in Pennsylvania as well.

    Democrats are going to spend $20 million on GOTV and voter targeting efforts in key Senate races.

    The Post endorses Jim Webb over George “N-Word” Allen.

    A record 22 Democratic challengers have raised at least $1 million each to defeat GOP incumbents.

    The Post today mentions the words “lame duck” and “Bush” in the same sentence.

    The American Taliban base of the GOP wants to target gay Republicans on the Hill for a “pink purge” after the election in what would be the opening salvo in the unraveling of the modern GOP.

    The New York Times says the GOP is facing alarm bells in Ohio.

    Democrats are effectively using the minimum wage issue against the GOP.

    Duke Cunningham used the Intelligence Committee and its staff to enrich himself. Curt Weldon dealt with some very unsavory characters to enrich himself.

    Three Years Late To The Party

    Finally finally finally, even Jonah Goldberg stops drinking the Kool-Aid.  He admits that the Iraq War was a mistake.  But his cognitive dissonance is such that he still can’t admit that people who opposed war all along were rightWatch this worm squirm:

    The Iraq war was a mistake.

    I know, I know. But I’ve never said it before. And I don’t enjoy saying it now. I’m sure that to the antiwar crowd this is too little, too late, and that’s fine because I’m not joining their ranks anyway.

    …I must confess that one of the things that made me reluctant to conclude that the Iraq war was a mistake was my general distaste for the shabbiness of the arguments on the antiwar side.

    Jonah didn’t support the war because of logic or facts.  He supported it because its his knee-jerk reaction to oppose whatever them libruls say.

    Wanker.

    Susie’s take:

    Shorter Jonah Goldberg: If I admit we were wrong about the war, that makes me right about everything else.

    Drum also takes Goldberg to task:

    But Jonah says that even though it was mistake to go in, we still need to see it through. And then there’s this:

    According to the conventional script, if I’m not saying "bug out" of Iraq, I’m supposed to….

    To my surprise, the rest of the paragraph is a suggestion that we should hold a plebiscite asking Iraqis if they want us to stay. But that’s not at all what the conventional script requires. The conventional script requires that those who think we should stay need to suggest a way in which we can win. Otherwise Jonah will be writing this same column in 2009, except this time it will be, "If we had known then what we know now, we would have been better off pulling out when we could."

    Well, we do know now what we know now. The civil war in Iraq is getting worse, our current strategy plainly isn’t working, there are no more troops to send over, the political situation in Baghdad is untenable, and the U.S. Army is still culturally allergic to counterinsurgency and security training ("Everyone in the U.S. armed forces knows that the way to the top is to command American units, not to advise foreign units," says Max Boot, and he’s right).

    Basically, that’s what Goldberg is saying: "All right, all RIGHT!  I was WRONG about Iraq!  I ADMIT it!  So that means I must be right about STAYING in Iraq to clean up the mess we made."

    Kaye, We Missed You!

    Kgrogan1016 She hasn’t written in a while.  But sheee’s baaaack.

    Eschewing capital letters and grammar, Kaye Grogan writes an almost indecipherable piece called "Window of opportunity? . . .quick close it!".  Let’s check it out and see what Kaye is blustering about today:

    Are you getting mired down from the annoying propaganda of the political analysts who think they have a cutting edge on reading the minds of the voters as they project who is going to win the House and Senate in November?

    A cutting edge on the minds of voters?  I don’t know what that means.  I think we need to start a Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count.  So we’re at one.

    Well, don’t be fooled by their crystal balls — they don’t know diddly-squat!

    Yes.  They don’t use polls, they use crystal balls.

    Now all it takes is a little common sense to figure out that neither party should have the cutting edge — much less the Democrats, when it comes to reelection.

    Again, I don’t know what Kaye means here by "cutting edge".  Apparently, she’s not using it in the normal way — i.e., the "cutting edge" of technology.  Apparently, it means "lead".  Although I don’t know why common sense should tell us that neither party has the lead — obviously, ONE party probably does.  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 2.

    If you have followed the trail of the special interest groups who control the Democrats, you should know by now the country would be in a nationwide "state of emergency" dilemma if the Dems are returned to power.

    "Followed the trail".  Hmmmm.  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 3.

    When a potential voter observes the vulturous attitude of Nancy Pelosi waiting in the wings to be "Speaker of the House" this should be more than enough of an incentive to register your pets, pay a special visit to the dearly departed encouraging them to rise up and go to the polls long enough to vote — to defeat Pelosi’s chances of cracking her whip in the house.

    Kaye is advocating commiting voter fraud in order to keep the Democrats from taking over the House.  And Kaye, it’s House with a capital H.  And WHIP doesn’t mean, you know, whip.

    Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton have more than one thing in common, but their main objective is securing a place in the history books as the first woman president and Speaker of the House.

    Step One: They have to go into that machine that Jeff Goldblum used in "The Fly", and become a singular being (like Jeff Goldblulm and the fly).   You know — combine their DNA.

    And with either one holding one of these positions would be catastrophic for the country.

    Worse than Katrina or 9/11.

    After observing the voting records of the "extremist" leftist Democrats — they could never be defined as the lesser of two evils — considering they are the total package when it comes to the axis of evil.

    Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 4,5 and 6.  What is she talking about?  The leftist Democrats are the lesser of two evils (what are the "two"?) and are the total package when it comes to N. Korea, Iran, and Iraq?

    This is one area the Dems have bragging rights to and they don’t have to worry that anybody else is going to steal their thunder.

    What is one area? And "steal their thunder" brings us  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 7.

    If the Democrats had been in power since 2001 after the 9/11 attack — the United States would probably have been wiped off of the map by now.

    Probably.  Because al Qaeda is that powerful.

    I would feel about as secure as a mountain climber one strand away from my rope breaking peering down about 4,000 feet to the bottom — if they were in control. I can’t think of one single Democrat I would trust to oversee the safety of this country against our enemies.

    Does the rope peer down 4,000 feet to the bottom?  Or does the climber break?  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 8.

    Waving the white flag in Iraq and raising taxes is the only wobbly platform the Democrats are running on.

    Actually that sounds like TWO platforms.   Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 9.

    And oh yes!. . .they are wearing those old tinseled halos as if their party is completely void of misconduct of any kind.

    Which is why voting Republican is better.  Because they DON’T wear halos.  Or something.

    And although the Republicans seem to be sitting around biting their fingernails not knowing how to use their power — expecting the American people to forget about how they have taken on the role of scarecrows, the alternative of returning Democrats back to power should be enough to scare the pants off of a bronze statue!

    Scarecrows?  Pants on statutes?  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 10, 11.  Kaye, are you feeling alright?

    With both parties in the "dog house" over the ever growing illegal immigration problem — not even holding one’s nose while voting is going to suffice for the mess our leaders have gotten us into after taking an oath to defend our country against the invasion of our enemies.

    I guess the dog pooped in the "dog house" which is why we have to hold our nose.  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 12, 13.

    Surely out of 300 million people there are better candidates to run for congressional seats. Choosing between the devil and the devil’s right-hand man leaves the voters wishing for other alternatives that just don’t seem to exist.

    Hey! We almost understood that part.

    There are other alternatives for voters, but it takes adventurous people who are not afraid to demand a change and then follow through to perpetuate the change.

    It takes courage to write-in a candidate’s name.

    The voters need to realize that even if the window of opportunity appears to be closed — there are other windows in the next room.

    Sigh.  Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 14.

    If the window of opportunity keeps opening for the Democrats to regain power — for gosh sakes — slam it shut!

    Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 15.

    We need Democrats in power about as much as we need a 4-6 year migraine.

    Kaye Grogan bizarre metaphor count: 16.  And we think we know why Kaye is so ornery lately.  Try some Tylenol, dear.

    Baghdad Power

    Bush in July:

    "[I]ncreasing electricity in Baghdad is not the kind of thing that tends to get on the news."

    And Denny Hastert returned from a trip to iraq in June, gushing over "so many lights shining brightly".

    That’s right.  When faced with bad news constantly coming out of Iraq, all Bush &Co could come with in terms of good news was how electricity is coming back in Baghdad.

    Guess what?  Turns out that that success story isn’t succesful.  The Brookings Institute says so.

    Electricitychart2

    Electricity levels in Baghdad are at an all-time low. Residents of Baghdad are receiving just 2.4 hours of electricity this month, compared to an average of 16-24 hours of electricity before the U.S. invasion. The lowest level prior to this month was 3.9 hours/day.