SAN DIEGO (AP) The White House says President Bush is cutting short his vacation to return to Washington to ...
Wait for it. Steady. Wait. Waaaaaiiiiit.
monitor the hurricane recovery efforts.
Ahhhh, there you go.
SAN DIEGO (AP) The White House says President Bush is cutting short his vacation to return to Washington to ...
Wait for it. Steady. Wait. Waaaaaiiiiit.
monitor the hurricane recovery efforts.
Ahhhh, there you go.
Everything that needs to be said, has been said, about this crap published in yesterday's Washington Post:.
Athletes do things that seem transcendental.... [T]hey possess a deep physical knowledge the rest of us can learn from.... Ever get the feeling that they are in touch with something that we aren't? What is that thing? Could it be their random, mutant talent, or could it be evidence of, gulp, intelligent design?
I think Jenkins was writing for professional athletes, not for the general public. Professional athletes are, as a group, a bunch of meatheads. They grew up in a system in which their needs are completely cared for, in which physical skill is rewarded and thinking is a liability, in which competition is everything, and in which a hierarchy of authorities determine one's worth, literally. So, not surprisingly, professional athletes tend to vote Republican, like the Iraq war, and think creationism makes sense, so Intelligent Design must be up there with the theory of relativity. In that kind of crowd, a sportswriter makes her way using shibboleths. Talking about athletes' "deep physical knowledge" that, gulp, comes from God is a good one. Jenkins was maintaining her insider status with that column, not to say that she didn't believe every word she wrote.
Then, coincidentally, there is this in today's Washington Post:
The Rev. MeLinda S. Morton, a Lutheran minister who resigned in June as an Air Force chaplain after criticizing the religious atmosphere at the Air Force Academy, said there has been a palpable rise in evangelical fervor not just among chaplains but also among the officer corps in general since she joined the military in 1982, originally as a launch officer in a nuclear missile silo.
"When we were coneheads -- missile officers -- I would never, ever have engaged in conversations with subordinates aligning my power and position as an officer with my views on faith matters," she said. Today, "I've heard of people being made incredibly uncomfortable by certain wing commanders who engage in sectarian devotions at staff meetings." ...
A team of observers from Yale Divinity School criticized one of the academy's ministers for urging Protestant cadets to tell their classmates that anyone who is "not born-again will burn in the fires of hell." ...
Among other incidents, the academy commandant had urged cadets to use the "J for Jesus" hand signal with the thumb and index finger, the head football coach had told players that he expected to see them in church, and Jewish cadets had experienced anti-Semitic slurs after students were urged to see the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ."
The parallel is obvious. The officer corps is stocked with the same kind of mentalities that you find in, say, the National Football League: reverence for authority and competition, a belief in the power of one's own abilities (and as a corollary, a belief that anyone without power lacks ability), and - to a lesser extent - anti-intellectualism. So of course the officer corps is becoming dominated by Southern evangelical conservative Republicans - it's practically an identity of characteristics.
Does any of this matter for the country? In the case of sports, no; it's just entertainment. In the case of the military, potentially. So long as the Southern evangelical conservative Republican officers will continue to obey orders even if issued by a duly elected, liberal Democratic President, then I suppose it's not a crisis. It sort of sucks to have your military hijacked by know-nothings who seem more like the Taliban than professional American warriors. But I think even the most diehard right-wingers in uniform realize that letting the military get too involved in politics is the surest route to Americans firing on Americans, and the surest route to destroying the institution they belong to. At least, they had better realize that.
But there are two general points I want to make about Republican politics. First, the right-wing noise machine's purpose is to reinforce the existing beliefs of the followers. There is a piece of advice they teach you in sales: if the customer is wavering, use more words. It really doesn't matter what the strength of your argument is, but the more words you use, the more likely the customer will sign. Something similar happens with the know-nothing Republicans - they have these beliefs and prejudices that they've absorbed from their environment, but they crave constant reinforcement and the knowledge that others share those beliefs and prejudices. So, like Sally Jenkins showing her ID to get admitted to the locker room, the noise machine just keeps repeating the same feedback loop: "You are right. Other people believe what you believe. You are right. Other people believe what you believe."
Of course, reason and science, and empathy and wisdom, are the enemies of the received idea. Which is why science must be at least neutralized, and empathy and wisdom blocked by the anesthetic effects of mass entertainment and rhetoric about good and evil. Sports, television, movies, interspersed with the occasional two-minute hate - that's how the Republicans keep their sheep in line. But note that trying to break into the feedback loop with a logical argument produces a violent, angry response.
The second point is that know-nothings believe utterly in authority imposing its beliefs on those below. The example of the article on the officer corps is instructive. Once the know-nothings achieve a critical mass, they turn and start pressuring others to convert or be punished. This is what makes them truly anti-American. When they get power they immediately use it to propagate their ideas, by force if necessary. I don't think liberals - who instinctively embrace and support diversity and difference - can viscerally grasp how determined these know-nothings are to reshape the country. They believe there is a right way, and a wrong way, and that imposing the right way as they see it on everyone else is not only permissible, but required by God.
They have to be stopped.
[Larry] Peterson's conviction for a 1987 rape and murder was overturned last month after DNA tests failed to link him to the crime. Prosecutors have decided to retry him on the same charges.
Peterson became the first state inmate in New Jersey to win postconviction DNA testing when an appeals court ruled in his favor in 2003.
None of the skin, hair, blood or semen samples gathered after the crime matched his genetic profile. Hairs that were said at trial to be Peterson's were proven to belong to the victim, Jacqueline Harrison, 25.
(Emphasis supplied.) Perhaps the prosecution has a story to tell about why the victim had semen on her that wasn't Peterson's. Maybe she had sex with someone else before the crime. As far as one can tell from the story, all they have are four witnesses - one of which is currently in jail for drug charges - that say Peterson confessed to them. Unless they have something more, bringing this guy up on charges again seems like a waste of resources. Not to mention unjust.
This is funny:
Habbas opened the letter, and the salutation read, "Dear Palestinian Bomber."
When he called the company, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and provided his ZIP code and invitation number, two operators said to him, "Yes, Mr. Bomber, what can we do for you?"
"It's very upsetting," Habbas said. "I'm not what they are saying, a Palestinian bomber. That's uncalled for. I have a name. My name is Sami Habbas."
The information came from a list Chase purchased from a vendor, said Kelly Presta, Chase Card Services executive vice president. Chase Card Services, the Delaware-based credit card line of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it doesn't know how that name was attached to Habbas' address, but it is investigating.
But this is dumb:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington has asked Chase for a formal apology.
"The most important thing is to make sure this doesn't happen again, to any American, regardless of their race or religion," said Sabiha Khan, spokeswoman for the Muslim civil liberties group in Southern California.
Look, I like CAIR. But Chase just got pranked; they have nothing to apologize for. I assume someone at the vendor who sold them the list doesn't like Palestinians much and changed the name. I also assume shit like that happens all the time and the system is set up to catch it. But Chase's system didn't catch this. I assume they will add "Palestinian" and "Bomber" to the database of words that get flagged; problem solved. If they were letting a lot of hatemail go through I would change my mind on this, but absent that, let it go.
At U.S. Headquarters:
General #1: Next, the idiot tells me she ain't livin' there so it don't matter if I do the job the right way or the wrong way. She just wants it done fast and cheap.
General #2: So then what'd ya say?
General #1: I told her, "Lady, I ain't got time to do things wrong. Enough things go wrong just trying to do things right!"
That's "Madam Secretary", not "Lady."
(Via Senor Black.)
Update: But he likes lesbians. (Because you know, a straight guy can jerk off to that.)
And his "I am just engaging controversial ideas in a serious way" thing is like a parody of academic rigor. Citing statistics doesn't mean you're not a bigot; using polite langauge does not keep you from being an extremist.
I'm out of here starting now for most of this week. When I return, I expect to find trackback spam, comment spam, email spam, and spam, spam, eggs and spam. Some of which, of course, may be more entertaining than what you usually find here.
Unfortunately, none of them appear to be named "Joe" or "Adolph".
Yes, this is a completely random topic. Thanks for pointing that out.
The other day on NPR they did a brief piece on how the Brits are implementing a system which will require all cars to have active RFID tags. It's the same kind of technology as is in Easypass systems in the States - it transmits a unique identifier for your car which can be picked up by a roadside receiver.
What the Brits want to do ostensibly is charge tolls automatically, but the program gave the real reason as preventing the use of false license plates, which is apparently a big problem in Britain. See, the Brits have these speed cameras that take a picture of your plate and they mail you the ticket. So, people make fake plates to avoid getting tickets.
Enter the RFID solution. All auto tags must have a chip in it. The chip, we are assured, cannot be fiddled, finagled or fudged - it is foolproof. Okay, that's the first red flag. I can just imagine some 14 year old computer genius sitting in her bedroom, listening to this broadcast about the foolproof RFID chip, and giggling as she posts instructions to the web on how to dupe, spoof and alter the RFID transmitters.
That's how it works - you invent a technological solution (speed cameras) to a problem involving people (speeders), people invent a low-cost work-around (duped plates), you invent a new technology to block the work-around (RFID), and people then invent a low-cost work-around for that. Any technology designed to constrain the general public from doing something they commonly want to do never survives long in contact with the public.
But the gotcha at the end of the NPR piece was when the host of the show raised the privacy issue with the guest, who I think is an editor with the Economist. And the editor, in his rich, plummy English voice, chuckled and said something like, "Well, Britain has the largest number of closed-circuit cameras per capita in the world. They can't rightly claim their privacy is being invaded when they don't have any privacy left to give up."
Exactly. Freedom - use it or lose it.
Update: Iocaste clearly explains the point that I was trying to make:
It's important to understand that this is exactly how the Fourth Amendment works in this country. The Fourth Amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures -- that means that courts examine whether a search was "unreasonable." This inquiry is typically based on prevailing expectations of privacy.
The problem, however, is that the more routine a search practice becomes, the more our expectations of privacy are deemed to change. Once upon a time, for instance, you could make a serious argument that you have an expectation of privacy even when boarding an airplane. [She then rehearses the history of how crude magnetometers led to today's strip-searches.] ...
These types of decisions have eroded Fourth Amendment protections to the point that you are deemed to have virtually no expectation of privacy when you travel at all -- be it by airplane, car, bus, boat, or train. In each of these contexts, a series of court decisions that build upon each other have held that because people have lessened expectations of privacy when they travel, various types of searches are deemed to be "reasonable."
This is why, for example, it is so important to challenge New York's new policy of randomly searching subway passengers. ... Once we have diminished expectations of privacy on the subway, we will soon have diminished expectations of privacy outside the subway -- starting with subway entrances, then moving on to the sidewalks, etc.
She's exactly right, and I wish I had unpacked all that and raised the random subway bag search issue. In my view, though, it's the technological surveillance that poses the biggest risk. As a culture, we think technology is almost always a positive thing, and we value openness, so a camera system or electronic tags doesn't trigger a visceral negative reaction. Also, technology of this kind is virtually invisible, unlike a cop rifling through your bag or following you down the street. And it almost is self-evident that Americans since 9/11 are willing to do almost anything the government says is necessary to keep them safe. At the same time, law enforcement and other government agencies see technological solutions as a very efficient and cost-effective tool to do their jobs. (The ability to let technology purchasing contracts doesn't hurt, either.) The net result is that there is a high demand for more and more sophisticated technological surveillance, and resistance is low.
Because technological surveillance grows so quickly, we have to challenge its use whenever a new practice of it is begun, and challenge the ongoing use of old techniques. By challenge, I do not mean unalterably oppose. I mean that we must interrogate our law enforcement officials about the efficacy and necessity of their practices. General electronic surveillance, from a cop's point of view, is desirable because it might lead to one additional arrest. It is natural that the police officer or other official does not put the priorities of citizen's civil rights first. It's not a matter of them being evil, although evil government officials do happen, it's a matter of priorities and motivations of someone who has a certain job to do. I am not arguing for vigilance because I have a deep-seated hostility to the police. It's just that we can't rely on the government to police itself. It's our job as citizens to demand there be a very good reason why surveillance is necessary, given the intrusion into all of our lives.
I don't want to live in a country with a creeping vine of further and further intrusion by the government into my life, or your life, or anyone's. I don't believe it's necessary or warranted by the threats we face today, and that includes bombings and terrorism. I don't want a camera on every lightpost, recording our every move. I don't want chips or transmitters that can be read from a distance on my person or in my car. I don't want these things even if in some rare cases they would lead to an arrest that wouldn't otherwise happen. That's what being for liberty means, that some people are able to get away with bad things sometimes so that the rest of us don't have to live in fear of our government. (Anyway, I think just as that teen computer whiz can defeat RFID, a determined criminal or terrorist can defeat high-tech defenses, so I have serious doubts about the efficacy of such measures.) A terrorist can only kill me, but my government can do far worse - it can take away my freedom unjustly, and unthinkingly, and the freedom of everyone I know. I live in a major city with quite a few tempting terror targets, so if there is any place in which the argument for cameras on every block is strongest, it's here. I would be safer if we had them, in the short run, but I would not be freer, and in the long run, not safer, either.
It's freedom which, paradoxically, keeps us safe. It's not the cop or the camera or the RFID chip or the database in the back of your neck. Those are all just tools. What keeps us all safest is a vibrant culture in which we all value our lives and our property, and the lives and property of our neighbors. Giving in to demands that we surrender our privacy voluntarily is a sign of the degradation of those values in a freedom-loving culture. The basis for such a culture is the absence of government control over what we do on a day to day basis. And no matter what you are told, surveillance is control. As Franklin wrote, "He who can surrender essential freedom for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety." I think Franklin means, such a person deserves neither, and so he will get neither. He's right.
I was in the favor of the Iraq war. I like it when some murdering thug ends up hiding in a rathole. ... But sweet lord, could the Bushmen have screwed this up any more spectacularly than they have? This is what you get when ignorance, arrogance and ideology get together for drinks. Donald Rumsfeld's the kind of military genius Stalin would have shot for treason. Now we seem to be in the process of turning Iraq into Iran, what a swell idea. ...
I'm skeptical of government, all government, not just "big" government. To hell with little government and medium-sized government, too. I'm not too sure I like my homeowner's association. But you know what? If you want to stop someone building a hog lagoon next door, or you'd like someone to decide when your plane can safely take off and land, or you want to put a bullet in Osama's fevered brain, you're going to need government. Government is a necessary evil. Emphasis on "necessary." Unless they start outlawing cigars, then it'll be emphasis on "evil."
I like money. I like it a lot. I enjoy consuming American-sized quantities of useless crap. But I think people who are doing well have to pay more taxes than people who aren't. We have a fundamental moral obligation to people who, through no fault of their own, are unable to care for themselves. If you don't get that you're not a "libertarian," you're an asshole. Besides, if I'm going to spend five hundred bucks on dinner at Charlie Trotter's I don't want to have to step over beggars on my way in. ...
I'm not terribly upset by drilling in Alaska. Have you seen Alaska? It's really kind of large. And I don't bust out crying every time someone cuts down a tree to build a Wendy's. ... That having been said, h. sapiens is in charge of the planet, we own it, it's a major part of our financial portfolio, so to speak, so we might want to put some thought into managing it. ...
I don't believe in God. But I don't fall over in a faint if my heathen children hear Silent Night. ... By the same token, given that Christians are about 80% of the population I think their cries of "victim!" are absurd and offensive. When you're an overwhelming majority you really don't need to use government to ram your beliefs down the throats of the remaining 20%. Dear Southern Baptists: you're not the Jews, you're not the Kurds, you're not African-Americans, you're no one's victims. Historically the people who victimize Christians are other Christians, so cut the martyr act. ...
I like X-rated Eminem and G-rated Spongebob. There's room for both. Boys and girls, we share this planet with death-cult jihadis, North Korean nukes and the ebola virus, and you're scared of a tit?
"Closed-minded gravitists cannot find a way to make Einstein's general relativity match up with the subatomic quantum world," said Dr. Ellen Carson, a leading Intelligent Falling expert known for her work with the Kansan Youth Ministry. "They've been trying to do it for the better part of a century now, and despite all their empirical observation and carefully compiled data, they still don't know how."
"Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work," Carson said. "What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that 'gravity waves' and 'gravitons' are just secular words for 'God can do whatever He wants.'"
Some evangelical physicists propose that Intelligent Falling provides an elegant solution to the central problem of modern physics.
"Anti-falling physicists have been theorizing for decades about the 'electromagnetic force,' the 'weak nuclear force,' the 'strong nuclear force,' and so-called 'force of gravity,'" Burdett said. "And they tilt their findings toward trying to unite them into one force. But readers of the Bible have already known for millennia what this one, unified force is: His name is Jesus."
I love The Onion. But this theory has even more possibilities. We can start the Intelligent Falling movement, hook up with the Flying Spaghetti Monster people and lobby legislatures to change the school curriculum. If we succeed, we can further dumb down the populations of Red America. If we don't, we can at least make them look ridiculous.
(Via David Pescovitz at BoingBoing.)
In my ongoing effort to lower the tone around here, here's more porn. No real sex, but very sexy. I like the way the submissive is holding herself in anticipation and the look on the domme's face.
My fortune tonight:
My dinner companion's said something like "You are kind, generous-hearted, pleasant, and everyone likes you." I said, "Obviously, you got my fortune cookie."
I guess I better play the numbers on the back tomorrow.
Is this tasteful and appropriate? It doesn't reference any body parts, but I am not such a good judge of these things. Someone ask Jeralyn Merritt.
Yep, that's Ann Althouse.
She's a creation of Instapundit, and they do share quite a few characteristics: smug, complacent, self-absorbed, materialistic, and a law professor. But the disturbing thing about Althouse is that she seems to have chosen to become the loathsome person she is today. Reynolds has likely been as dumb as a bag of hammers his whole life; he probably read Atlas Shrugged in high school and never got over it, thus his views have remained consistent.
Althouse, on the other hand, from what she seems in her posts about her past, was a bright woman who came into academia and just grew jaded with the whole business of being a good person. Liberal politics was just too much earnestness, too much protest, too much rhetoric, too much bad clothes and unflattering hairstyles, too much rejection of money. She became bored. Conservatism, on the other hand, offered her a sort of fun - shock the colleagues and the earnest hippie students, get to drive fun cars, drink good wine, take fun trips, and get recognition from serious, successful people who have nice things, too.
So Althouse favors anything that supports the version of authority which she has turned to. If the police shoot an innocent man in the head multiple times, then she will look on the bright side that it will discourage people - people with dark skin, she doesn't say - from doing suspicious things like running for trains. And anyone who thinks that's reprehensible are overly emotional and exhibiting "a sad lack of rationality." Such people are probably motivated by "a deep-seated hostility to the police" and should be spoken to as teacher to student, as parent to child, again reinforcing her self-image of authority.
In that way, Althouse is no different from any of the other warlovers out there who decided that being grown up means never questioning the status quo, or the intentions and methods of the powerful. In Althouse's case, she has the mind and heart that it doesn't have to be. But she's taken the path of least resistance. It's so sad.
Tom at corrente:
What a fucking disaster. But we'll be out soon -- and Iraq will collapse into civil war behind us.
And after our skedaddle from Iraq you can bet that W, Dick, Ann Coulter, and the Republican noise machine chorus will tell America that it's the Democrats' fault or the soldiers' fault or the fault of the career military people at the Pentagon or of the anti-war protesters or of Cindy Sheehan or Dan Rather or Peter Jennings or some such outrageous claptrap because it would never, ever, ever, ever be the fault of Dear Leader, would it? Well, of course not. It just couldn't be W's fault, right? He's perfect.
And you know what the most outrageous part will be? There will be a huge number of Americans (not just Glenn Reynolds) who will actually buy it.
As of this moment, Iraq Body Count says that between 23,589 and 26,705 Iraqi civilians have died since the United States invaded Iraq. Let's average that out, even though their method for counting deaths is extremely conservative and there is, I think, good reason to believe that the actual number of dead is higher than their high estimate. The average is 25,147.
So, if someone invaded the United States and the same proportion of the civilian population had died as a result, the number of people killed would be 285,210.
Or think of it this way: on September 11, 2,986 people died. The equivalent of what has happened in Iraq is the equivalent of September 11th repeated 95 times.
I have recently seen a number of hawks, both liberal and otherwise, talk about the ever-shifting reasons for the invasion of Iraq with the following kind of statement:
We were wrong about the WMDs. And to be honest, the evidence for the WMDs was not all that strong, and not all of us actually believed that the weapons issue was sufficiently proved. But there were a lot of other reasons to topple Saddam. It's just that the WMD thing was the easiest for people to understand, so we went with that one.
I understand the point of this argument: they are saying that even though the WMD rationale has proved to be bogus (and may even have been arguably bogus beforehand), that the other reasons for the war themselves constitute sufficient grounds to avoid labeling the whole enterprise a mistake. To accept this, of course, one has to ignore the fact that these other reasons - say, just to pluck one out of the air, the establishment of a democracy that will act as a beacon of freedom in the region - are not exactly working out in practice. Or, as someone else has written, the war in Iraq is over, and Iran won.
But put all that to one side for a second. Here's the question that I want to ask: what theory of representative government could you possibly have in mind if you can argue with a straight face that the justification that the public and its elected officials accepted as the main rationale for war is just a marketing strategy, and that the real reasons are those that the people never accepted? It seems to me that you have to have some serious contempt for the whole idea of democracy if you believe that gulling the public into supporting a war with a simplistic morality tale that turns out to be false is okay so long as you can think of two or three other reasons that you personally accept as enough.
As far as I am concerned, if we let New York have Old City and Northern Liberties, we could raise the average IQ in both cities simultaneously.
On a recent Friday night Mr. Schmersal and his girlfriend, Toko Yasuda, were huddled at the bar at the Khyber, a smoky rock institution in the nightclub-heavy Old City neighborhood, a Colonial area of narrow streets bordering the Delaware River east of City Hall, to see Love as Laughter, a New York City band. "We like going to shows here," Mr. Schmersal said. "In New York there are so many people, it's impossible to even get in to see hot bands."
Much less be in a band. "For years I was willing to sacrifice quality of life for artistic fulfillment - you know, you find a circle of artists and you scrape by," said Anna Neighbor, a 27-year-old bass player and Williamsburg exile, between sips of Yuengling lager at a bar in the Northern Liberties neighborhood, an artists' enclave north of City Hall. In January Ms. Neighbor and her husband, Daniel Matz, and Jason McNeely, all members of the indie rock band Windsor for the Derby, decided to leave Brooklyn.
Remember when that National Guard F-16 accidentally bombed a school in New Jersey? Why can't that stuff happen here ever?
(Via that pink girl who knits.)
Reprinted without permission:
After purchasing a Terrell Owens # 81 Eagles Jersey last year for $49.99, it has decided that it was way undervalued last year and if I want to wear it this year, I need to fork over another $150. To some this might seem like a reasonable request considering that I wore it all season and watched my beloved Eagles go to the Super Bowl for the first time in 20 years. However, I also have a McNabb jersey, a Dawkins jersey and my eight month old son has a McNabb jersey as well. So you can see my predicament. If I give into the TO jersey and pay the extra $150, then the McNabb jersey will tell me that he has been to 5 straight pro bowls and has led the team to four straight NFC Title games and the Super Bowl and that he is arguably the best QB ever to dawn the midnight green. Additionally, the Dawkins jersey will tell me that he has a 10 year career with the Eagles and has anchored one of the top defenses in the league for a decade and that the reason the secondary always been so successful(see B. Taylor, T. Vincent, L. Sheppard, S. Brown, and M. Lewis) has been because of him. If that happens, I am not out the extra $150 for TO, $300 for mine and my son's McNabb jersey, and $150 for my Dawkins jersey. That is a total of $600 and that completely blows my jersey cap money and will not allow me to get a Kearse or Westbrook jersey. Therefore, I am willing to trade/ sell the T.O. jersey.
The asking price for the Terrell Owens jersey to sell is $100. I know that it is not what it is looking for, however it is well worth it for you. Just think about the excitement you will have wearing the jersey while you rout for or against the Birds this year. If it has similiar numbers to last year, that is less than $10 a TD or 100 yards receiving, well worth the money. You could probably renegotiate a new long term deal with the jersey that will allow you to enjoy it for years to come.
The asking price in order to trade for the jersey is 5 bottles of Advil since I am sick and tired of hearing all of the complaining and whining. I would honestly prefer to trade the jersey than sell it as my head still hurts from hearing what happened yesterday.
(Via Michele Grant.)
Infants have been stopped from boarding planes at airports throughout the U.S. because their names are the same as or similar to those of possible terrorists on the government's "no-fly list."
Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience last month while departing from Dulles International Airport outside Washington. An airline ticket agent told them their 11-month-old son was on the government list.
They were able to board their flight after ticket agents took a half-hour to fax her son's passport and fill out paperwork.
"I understand that security is important," Zapolsky said. "But if they're just guessing, and we have to give up our passport to prove that our 11-month-old is not a terrorist, it's a waste of their time."
Can anyone point me to an instance of the no-fly list actually catching, you know, a terrorist?
(Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing.)
Jeff Jarvis finally cranked up the outrage machine enough to get back at me for the conservative blog taxonomy thing:
A certain blogger and comment troll I won’t name or link to - nya, nya — has been getting lots of links in the last two weeks with his list of ham-handed, sophomoric insults, some sexual, aimed at those he thinks are right-wing bloggers.
He then selectively quotes one part of one exchange I had in his comments to justify the troll remark, while not linking or including any other of my many comments on his site.
Another example of my "trollish" comments that he missed:
We won, destroyed the Viet Cong as a fighting force. The media called it a loss.
I think most people agree Tet was a military disaster for the VC. They expected the people of the RVN to rise up and - guess what - they didn't. The US won many set-piece engagements. There just weren't enough of them to make a difference. They preferred to fight as guerillas, which we never countered. They did develop counters to our tactics, though, like "hugging the belt". And all the competence in the world couldn't change the fact that our ally was the corrupt, inept army of a corrupt, inept government. The NVA/VC didn't beat us, and neither did the media. ARVN did.
And this, on the Rather mess:
The reaction to this admission seems disproportionate, Hubris. CBS screwed up in a major way, the screw-up was revealed, Rather has apologized (and I assume will again on-air) and the president of CBS news has apologized. Despite bald assertions by people like Misanthropyst, there is no evidence that CBS intentionally promoted bogus goods. When I mentioned other journalists who have been used to transmit lies above, rather than making a tu quoque argument, I was pointing out that stuff like this happens sometimes.
My basic problem with the Blogs Triumphant thing is that I don't understand how it is we're supposed to be taking over reporting. Jarvis waves his hands around and says, "Open sesame", but it's not clear what that means. Disclose interview notes? Disclose draft stories that got spiked? All this stuff that was not verified or discovered to be actually false, given permanent life on the web? Two words: legal liability. Also, what's the relevance? Jarvis also goes on and on about "the news is a conversation", but you can only have so many conversations and actually understand anything, much less have time to do your job. When it comes down to it, you have to separate out the noise and decide for yourself if a fact is true. What's the alternative? Take a poll of commenters at Little Green Footballs?
Right now there's already a pretty good relationship between bloggers and journalists. They read us, we read them. Some of them are us. Maybe this publicity will get a few more to read us. But that's basically it. There is going to be no magical process where we all collect and report the news and it's a much better product. That's just a libertarian fantasy.
On media coverage of the political conventions:
We're talking about convention coverage. Jarvis blasts journalists for going to the Dem convention, because there is no news there, but praises bloggers who go. Why? Because Jarvis has it in for journalists. Well and good, but let's please make it consistent. If he thinks the conventions are unimportant, why should bloggers go? I say conventions are pure entertainment and theater, but let's not pretend that entertainment and theater are politically unimportant in the US. And it's strange to have Jarvis criticizing something for being about entertainment; after all, Jarvis' claim to fame is editing an entertainment, not news, publication.
On John le Carre:
He clearly believed in the moral equivalence of the west and the soviet union. He believed the soviet union had the economy they claimed and would eventually out produce the west.
On what do you base this? He certainly seemed to consider the officers of western and Soviet intelligence services to be morally equivalent. As for the rest, he was clearly disappointed that the Soviets were thugs and tyrants, when the Russians had tried so hard to pull their society out of the Csarist muck. All along though, he was clear that they were thugs and tyrants, as a group. Of course, he could treat individual Russians as people, not as stereotypes.
Jarvis - I read those books. In all of them, everybody was vaguely venal. Nothing was ever stated as baldly as in that one quoted paragraph.
The entire plot of Honourable Schoolboy (1977) turns on a CIA betrayal of the Brits, in which they conspire with drug dealers and precipitate the murder of a heroic British agent. True, there isn't a single paragraph of such force as the one you quote in his work pre-Russia House. But if he is being strident, it might be because he's unusually provoked.
Clearly, I have nothing of substance to say.
Not that I am above a little invective:
Mithras believes that Spain deserves this because Aznar supported the US in Iraq
Christ on a broken crutch, can no one here follow a logical thread?
Here we go. Everyone ready?
1. Jarvis avers the Spanish people are angry about the bombings. Grrrr. See how angry they are.
2. Jarvis implies that the Spanish people will now unite with, um, people like you in wanting to go invade whichever country Bush points to.
3. I point out that the Spanish people opposed the invasion of Iraq and, if the bombings are actually by al Qaeda, they will vote the government that brought them into that invasion out.
Follow so far?
Now, nothing I have said - and nothing the Spanish people have said - implies that Spain deserved to be bombed. So just slap that thought out of your tiny minds. Because there are just too many of you all for me to do it.
And how did the Spanish people end up voting? Remind me.
Today Jarvis also says I am "the guy who tries to decree who’s liberal." He's referring to this:
Jarvis's approach - you could call it his "marketing strategy" - to blogging is to take the position that he is "the liberal Democrat who criticizes other liberals and Democrats." That way, it shows his dedication to principle, his knowledgability of the subject, and purity of his motive. It's instant credibility. It also makes people madder quicker and obviously appeals to the enemies of liberalism as much as its friends, both of which are good for the hit count. It's like a family member tossing out verbal hand grenades at Christmas dinner, which I think someone else said in describing this whole discussion.
It might be this is all a cynical ploy on Jarvis's part. He might be a conservative Republican who calls himself a liberal Democrat (and adopts some "safe" critical opinions of some things conservatives and Republicans do) just to gain that "instant credibility." That has the elements of a joke: "See how stupid those liberals are? I can completely snow them!" I would just like to find out if he's laughing with us or at us.
You want to come sit at our Christmas dinner table? Prove you're cousin Jeff, not just some random guy off the street who is posing as him. You're a liberal? Show us your bona fides. That's all.
I still think the criticism obtains. He never really had a reply to it.
Jarvis' problem, I think, is that he wants to define himself the way he wants, to maximize his popularity, and what I have written about him shows what a tap-dancer he is:
I'm a corporate lawyer. I know law pretty well. When I am responding to the comments of someone who is an actual expert in some other field, I try to be appropriately modest in my criticism. Unlike Jarvis, who feels free to call a middle east expert "pond scum" and someone who has long studied the CIA as engaging in "blood libel."
See, Jarvis's hysteria springs from the fact that he doesn't actually know anything about these topics, so he has to gin up an outrage angle and then work it, work it, work it. And when the people he is attacking respond to his rabid-squirrel act by patiently explaining what they said, he accuses them of being the hysterical ones (e.g., "sputtering, spitting, spewing, and spinning" - Jarvis also has this unfortunate love of alliteration, like an low-rent Bill Safire, but that's the subject of another post.)
I love this criticism, coming from the creator of Entertainment Weekly and the TV critic for TV Guide:
It is as if we have turned over the body politic to a People magazine mindset -- the dark side of People magazine: It's all about personality. It's predicated on the belief that a single famous person actually matters. We might as well pick our winner on American Idol, the way this is going.
So comical that a TV critic thinks politics is shallow. It's like hearing from Courtney Love on the dangers of drug abuse.
Yes, let's consider the source.
WHERE/WHEN: Fort Washington State Park in Flourtown, PA on August 14, rain or shine.
WHAT: A whole lot of fun, music, food, games and good conversation. Details here.
(Via Riggsveda at corrente.)
If you're looking for work, let me suggest using indeed.com. I get no kickback from them; I just think they're a great service. It's the best job-search tool I have found, because it pulls listings from hundred of job sites and corporate employment pages, it's simple to use and because you can create an RSS feed for any search you perform. Also, they have a blog.
From Rollertrain, a series of customer service stories from a sex video and toy store. This one is an amalgam of numerous phone calls all inquiring about how the customer might buy or rent Jenna Jameson:
Customer: Is she available this week/end? I'd like her here on a week/end night, because my wife/husband will be out of town/ready to have that threesome we've been negotiating.
Hez [customer service rep]: Sir/Ma'am, I want to make sure you understand that you'll be ordering an ultra-realistic toy.
Customer: I don't want a toy! I have toys.
Hez: Sir/Ma'am, you will not be receiving an actual person with this order. The item number you're ordering is for an ultra-realistic toy.
Customer: It says on the picture that I can get her for a hundred and seventy-nine dollars.
Hez: I understand, sir/ma'am. But if you could take a moment and look at the ad, you will understand that the ad is for an ultra-realistic TOY.
Customer: I'm not talking about a toy, son.
Hez: I understand that, sir/ma'am. What I'm saying to you is that, regardless of the photograph you're referring to, this is for a TOY. This is not an advertisement for the actual Jenna Jameson.
Customer: THIS SAYS I CAN GET A RATE OF A HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE DOLLARS FOR HER. I'M TALKING ABOUT JENNA JAMESON.
Hez: I'm talking about a slab of rubber about the size of a Thanksgiving ham.
I also like the one where he asks, "Sir, are you calling me a fag and ordering a tranny video at the same time?"
In related news, we went out to the Khyber on Wednesday night for $2 Sparks at the upstairs bar, and there was a woman there whose job it is to give away cigarettes to hipsters. I begged her to tell me how I could get this job, but she said you had to know someone. I would love to encourage snotty kids with bad tattoos to smoke more. Lung cancer is the new black.
In the course of a sickening newsletter blaming the Catholic pedophile clergy scandal on gays, sexual liberation, and the media, there is this little pearl:
Monsignor [Eugene] Clark's [of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral] final point was that we need to understand the influence of our pagan culture. Popular culture, he said, has created a sex-saturated society. "Not even the Weimar culture of Germany of the 1920s and 1930s, thoroughly degenerate, touched the whole of society and its children as does our electronic media -- it keeps liberated sex before all young people -- all of us -- all their waking hours. Every vice is a popular option, every day. It is a culture created by the media that now strongly attacks the failed 3% among Catholic clergy".
Hmmm, yes, I see. Weimar Germany was degenerate and sexually licentious - until a stern, moralizing, masculinist movement came along, condemned the prevailing culture and then swept it aside.
I love the fact that this nitwit is essentially agreeing with the Nazis.
(Via SpinDentist at All Spin Zone.)
Anti-immigration activists in California show their true colors - the American, California, Nazi and Confederate flags together:
More pictures at guerillanews. An eyewitness reports:
In spite of repeated denials of collaboration with neo-Nazis, the Ventura and Orange County Minutemen/Save Our State group has received support from several hate groups including the National Vanguard, VDARE, and Stormfront members.
Lou Dobbs, call your office.
MORE: Notice his skinhead boots and Confederate forage cap - as he waves the American flag - and the symbol she's wearing down near her right hand:
I know for damn sure if I were at a rally and a bunch of Nazis showed up to "support" my side, I'd shut them down or go home--not hang out with them and then offer half-assed statements after the fact about how they made us look bad.
Clearly, America-loving has turned into racist hate. Why doesn't the Right denounce these people? Why do they let them attend their rallies? I don't see anything about this on any of the conservatarian blogs that are usually loudest about arresting the "illegals".
The silence is eerie - and disturbing.
None of this should be terribly surprising. I've long held that immigration reform is an important issue that requires serious discussion, but I don't believe for a moment that scapegoating and harassing border crossers is going to provide any solutions. My experience has been that if you scratch beneath the surface of those who do, you quickly find that they are more likely to be concerned with Latino (or any nonwhite) immigration, not illegal immigration per se, though of course they pay lip service to the latter.
Exactly. Remember, the right isn't for protecting our borders, they're actually for genocide.
The first post to this blog was on August 7, 2003. I waited for the flood of presents from you, my minions, but none arrived. In fact, I got no cash gratuities, offers of oral sex, or new stylish-but-compact-for-urban-parking cars with a big bow waiting for me on the street outside my house when I awoke on Sunday. I am more disappointed than angry.
Perhaps if I had not forgotten about it myself. Nah, I blame you.
I am not usually a funny writer. Bitter and cranky, yes; funny, sometimes. But I do like to read funny, smart bloggers, if for no other reason than it relieves the feelings of depression one experiences being a passenger on the USS America with a crew of drunks and fools steering us at the rocks, at full speed. But during my recent researches into the squalid waterfront bars and seaman's whorehouses known as the right side of the blog world, the question hit me: Why is it there are so few funny conservative bloggers?
On the left side, there are probably a half-dozen top bloggers who are consistently funny and provide excellent commentary and criticism. In no particular order, and just off the top of my head, we have Fafblog!, The Rude Pundit, World O' Crap, Alicublog, Fanatical Apathy, Sadly, No!, Tbogg, The Poor Man, and James Wolcott. All consistently funny - often brilliantly so - without devolving completely into the silly. (Occasional diversions into the silly are fine.)
In addition, many top bloggers who don't write humorously all the time often display brilliant flashes of it - just for example, the farmer at Corrente with The Devil is Dead. Me and Pete Killed the Devil, Belle Waring's If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride ... A Pony!, and Michael Berube starring in Blogging From The Republican National Convention.
I am sure there are others that I am missing, but that's the point. It's a pretty substantial bunch.
On the right, though, there is a noticeable absence. There are IMAO, Scrappleface and, I suppose, Lileks. Outside of them, it's all self-righteousness and persecution complex, all the time. And outside of the three listed above, when a conservative blogger does employ humor, I find that usually it's in retelling a joke they read somewhere else.
Is there a genetic link between humor and political outlook? Is there just some birth defect that prevents right-wingers from being funny? In my apology yesterday, I sarcastically asserted there was such a connection, but now I think I may have been right at that. Perhaps people who are born with a natural disposition to see the humor in life, and to be able to laugh at themselves, may develop a sense of empathy and compassion that leads them to liberalism. The key to successful humor, after all, is to be able to see things from other people's perspectives - a liberal trait that conservatives deride variously as "relativism" or "objectively pro-terrorist". So conservatives may have a genetic makeup that makes them less able to appreciate what's funny, and consequently take themselves very seriously and see the world as a dour, threatening place, with all these other people having a good time and laughing - sometimes at them. This explains a lot, I think, and deserves further research.
I want to extend my heartfelt apologies to my conservative readers for this post. There truly is no excuse for it. I can only say, by way of explanation and not exculpation, that I did not truly understand the extent to which conservatives lack a sense of humor. Being a liberal, I assume the best about people, and while writing the offending post I thought that most of you would find it somewhat funny, or at least would shrug it off and move on. I was sadly wrong. For that, and for hurting what passes for your feelings, I am deeply sorry.
If I could have it all to do over again, I would want to graft a sense of humor onto all of you before you were subjected to my insensitive, caustic, mildly amusing wit. Unfortunately, medical science has not yet progressed to the point that liberals can donate a sense of humor to you directly. For you to develop a sense of humor organically, you would first have to have a certain amount of intelligence, ability to keep things in perspective and emotional health - but then, you wouldn't be conservatives anymore, would you?
In future, I will label humor posts with a prominent warning so that buffoons and sensitive conservative readers may steer away in time. But I repeat myself.
My deepest, sincerest apologies.
The individual pictured to the left is Luis Diaz. Eight women identified him as the man who raped them.
At his trial, his lawyers put on a weak defense. First, his co-workers testified that he was at work as a cook when the rapes occurred. Obviously, they are all lying, because people who work with rapists lie like that. And they said that if the rapist had left work and committed the rapes like the prosecution contended, he would smell strongly of the grease and onions of the kitchen, and none of the victims had noticed such a smell. Obviously, Mr. Diaz, who is believed to be not white, had learned in non-white rapist school how to remove the smell from himself while on the way home from his job. Finally, the lying liar defense lawyers pointed out that Mr. Diaz was shorter and weighed less than the person in the descriptions of the rapist provided by all of the victims. Obviously, Diaz could also control his height and weight with his mind. Diabolical.
Fortunately, the court did not believe the rapist Diaz and his lying lawyers and witnesses and evidence. The judge said, "I've never seen a case where I was more convinced of a man's guilt." Heh. Indeed.
Instead of being put to death, like sex offenders should, he was put in prison for the last 25 years, until today, when liberals have now succeeded in getting him released using a bogus, "scientific" "DNA test." Using physical evidence from one of the rapes that was tragically preserved from the time of his crimes, the "test" "proves" that Diaz "could not possibly be" the person who committed the rapes.
This is the same kind of science that says humans "evolved" from monkeys. I've never even seen "DNA" - have you? It probably doesn't even exist. And even if it does exist, they can't prove that it does what they say it does. It's just a theory. But no one can watch this DNA do this stuff they say it does, or at least, I don't know if anyone can, and that's the same thing.
The lying liberal New York Times then prints this:
One victim, whose identification of Mr. Diaz led to his arrest, said she had originally thought none of the men in the nine photographs she was shown resembled her attacker. She had asked to see more pictures, she said, but settled on Mr. Diaz after the police twice told her to keep looking at the first batch. He was the only one who remotely looked like the attacker, she said.
"They told me to look closer at the ones I had," she told a state prosecutor in 1993, adding that the police were watching her study the photos "almost like people holding their breath."
So, the police were just being helpful. The police are always helpful in identifying the guilty, and witnesses should listen to them. If a police officer says he thinks someone did it, then they probably did it. The fact that Diaz got convicted after the police did this proves they were right.
This victim said she grew more convinced that Mr. Diaz was her attacker when she "shook like a leaf" upon seeing him in a live lineup.
"All these girls couldn't be wrong, the detectives couldn't be wrong, it couldn't go this far," she recalled thinking.
See??? Once the police had corrected the victim's faulty memory, she became more and more sure Diaz was the one. They cleared up her doubts for her. They smiled and patted her on the back when she picked the right guy. They're the good guys.
Individual prosecutors want to keep the rapist Diaz in jail:
Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the Miami-Dade state attorney, said the fact that DNA absolved Mr. Diaz of one crime did not necessarily absolve him of the rest. The state could attempt to retry him on the other cases, Ms. Rundle said, but some victims do not want to testify again, some cannot be found, and the evidence absolving him of one rape could be introduced by the defense.
So, overwhelmed by the decadent energy of the rapist-lovers, the state has given up on keeping a dangerous man like the erstwhile cook in jail until he dies.
Who is responsible for this travesty?
Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit group that fights for DNA exonerations, said most - about 120 of 160 exonerations since the advent of forensic DNA testing in 1989 - hinged on mistaken witness identification. But none involved as many mistaken witnesses as the Diaz case, he said.
"It's a landmark case for that reason," Mr. Scheck said. "These were crimes that upset people in the community, there was pressure to solve them, and there were, I think, unfortunate eyewitness techniques used that, in light of what we know now, were the kind that lead to error."
The only error is that the community's peace of mind and sense of safety will be shattered by the re-emergence of the raper who had been tagged and bagged years ago. This will undermine the public's faith in the power of the police to guess at who the guilty are. It will even allow liberal liars to raise doubts in cases of strong eyewitness identification with some police guidance when there is no "physical evidence" that can be subjected to "DNA testing." It is believed that Mr. Scheck is a non-Christian.
Someone mentioned to me the other day that I don't post about sex and porn anymore. And it's true; I had originally intended Fables to be mainly about politics and sex, but I found talking about sex kind of boring. Although I am all for thinking about the motivations for and meanings of whatever kind of sex you're into, the process of writing about it for a public audience felt exhibitionistic and false. Porn, however, is still fun, so here's a nice shot to start your day.
Drinking Liberally last night was a great time - finally met Cyn, Matt, Chris and Albert - hi guys! Great free wings and discount draft beers, too. Maybe two or three too many, in fact. Okay, to be honest, I got trashed and am paying for it today, but it was worth it.
However, I have to babysit a two year old now. I may have regrets later.
Update: Fortunately, he's the best-behaved two year old in the world. No regrets.
1. Instapundit - Calling Glenn Reynolds intellectually lazy would be to praise him. He doesn't write, he grunts. Has gained prominence by posting a lot and never making his audience think; has done those things by never thinking too much himself. Never met a Democrat he couldn't casually accuse of treason.
2. Michelle Malkin - Far-right affirmative action hire who is so bigoted she'd arrest herself for trying to cross a border. Famously published a book praising internment of Japanese-Americans that was (a) incoherent and (b) probably not written by her. If she didn't have tits, she'd be stuck writing at Townhall.com.
3. Powerline - Bilious Minnesotans led by someone who nicknamed himself "Hindrocket." Talk about being manly in that protests-too-much way.
4. Little Green Footballs - If LGF didn't exist, Dave Neiwert would have to invent it. Heady stuff for young rightwingers, like the Völkischer Beobachter was in the good old days. Site gives off a strong scent of roast pork.
5. Captain's Quarters - Every so often on the subway, I find these screeds written in colored marker, in which the printing goes from edge to edge on the paper, often with words cut off in random spots at the end of the line and continued on the next. I am told that this style of writing is common among very delusional people. Ed Morrissey has the benefit of blogging software that paginates the words for him. He will deliver pages on any subject at all, always proving in his mind the perfidy of liberals and always making absolutely no sense. I bet Ed makes even other far-righters nervous.
6. Volokh Conspiracy - Doctrinaire right-wing lawyers who intellectualize and ward off reality, interspersed with flashes of viciousness. Fortunately, Volokh is so tone-deaf he has already excluded himself from the judgeship he obviously desires - he's described himself as a "law and order conservative" (code for putting blacks in jail) and praised torturing prisoners before executing them.
7. Hugh Hewitt - Death to Muslims! Death to Muslims! Death to Muslims! It goes on like that.
8. Dean's World - Dean Esmay is popular among right-wingers as one of those centrists who just happen to hate liberals and Democrats. A proud dry drunk, he works out his unresolved childhood issues of being raised in a union household by writing about his crackpot theories on HIV/AIDS, feminism, and capitalism.
9. Buzzmachine - A man with a face for radio, Jeff Jarvis has used his "credentials" as a television critic for TV Guide to get himself tapped by cable news as the "blog guy." Like TV news, Buzzmachine lurches from outrage to self-righteousness to the furious riding of several creaky hobbyhorses. Like TV pundits, Jarvis comes up with meaningless catchphrases that he repeats endlessly ("News is a conversation" being the most vapid) and poses as another neutral observer who just happens to hate liberals and Democrats. And like TV generally, Jarvis' presentation of any given issue is shallow and knee-jerk, and only really exists to promote the product, in this case, Jarvis. Caution: name-dropping zone.
10. RedState - Formerly known pseudonymously as Tacitus, formerly considered by some liberals as a reasonable conservative, Josh Trevino found that neither was conducive to promotion in Republican circles, so he dumped the name and his former site and founded RedState. Democrats or liberals are both banned and regularly accused of treason; Muslims are presumed dangerous. Darfur is an especially favorite topic, because it both shows Islam in a bad light and has the advantage of not having to actually do anything.