Saturday, March 10, 2007
To all my good friends in the right wing: I have a deal to offer you.
First, a bit of background. As you know, recently Vice President Dick Cheney visited Afghanistan to confer with commanders there. While he was there, a suicide car-bomber attacked the base where Cheney was staying. The vice president wasn't hurt; however, a number of others, including American soldiers and Afghan civilians, were killed or wounded.
When the news broke on the liberal blog The Huffington Post, some readers went waaay over the top. Like many online sites, The Huffington Post provides a space after news stories in which readers are invited to comment on the articles.
Some of the comments on the Cheney bombing story were, indeed, disgraceful. "They missed?? Dammit. I hope they try again before he leaves." "Better luck next time!" And so on. Several other commenters were quick to deplore such sentiments: "C'mon, guys, let's have a little bit of honor, no one deserves to die in a bomb blast."
The moderators of the site quickly removed the offensive comments, but not before right-wing pundits and bloggers gleefully dutifully copied them down and spread them farther across the Internet than HuffPo, as it's known, could ever have done. Rather than note the fact that the majority of comments did not wish Cheney dead or the fact that the owners of the site took the offending comments off, wingnut commentator Hugh Hewitt called HuffPo "the one indispensable stop for readers wishing to sample the fury, bile and idiocy of the sub-moronic left."
"Liberals wish assassins had succeeded!" trumpeted Rush Limbaugh. The idea was that a few angry nutballs hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet and posting on someone else's site not only reflected the opinions of the owners of the site, but that they epitomized liberals in general.
A few days later, right-wing harpy Ann Coulter was speaking at the yearly Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. She had some glowing words for Mitt Romney, Massachusetts governor and current presidential candidate. "I think he's probably our best candidate," Coulter said. Romney also spoke highly of Coulter.
When it came to former senator and current presidential candidate John Edwards, however, Coulter was less complimentary: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards." She also said about African-American Republican candidates: "Our blacks are better than their blacks."
Now, if Barbra Streisand or Harry Belafonte or Michael Moore had called George Dubbya Bush that nasty name and made condescending comments about "our blacks," not only would the right-wingers have thrown a hissy fit, but the "journalists" of the so-called liberal media would also have leaped into the fray, brows furrowed with fake concern over the "tone the Democrats were setting" and demanding that, for example, Barack Obama comment on things he didn't say. After all, they've done it many times before.
But it's a bit much to hope for that the mainstream media were going to demand the same level of accountability for "tone" to the Republicans that they demand of the Democrats. It was left up to people like Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy to demand that Republican candidates Romney, McCain and Giuliani, who were all at the meeting, dissociate themselves from Coulter.
Republican supporters scoffed. They denied that there ever was any slur and called the demand for candidates to disown Coulter "disingenuous" and "political grandstanding" -- until their candidates cut the legs out from under them by providing just the declarations their supporters deemed unnecessary.
"The comments were wildly inappropriate," a spokesman for John McCain said. And Romney, so recently a Coulter cheer-leader, released this terse statement: "It was an offensive remark. Gov. Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect." Rudolph Giuliani also called the comments "completely inappropriate" and went on to say that "there should be no place for such name-calling in political debate." Good for them, I say.
But you know what? When you really think about it, maybe it is a little silly to expect the main-stream of either party to apologize or to take the blame for inflammatory remarks of their hotheads or their lunatic fringe.
And so, my modest proposal: Stop hanging Michael Moore or Rosie O'Donnell or David Geffen or Barbra Streisand or Harry Belafonte or even some obscure Muslim cleric around the necks of the Democrats, and I'll stop hanging Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin around the necks of Republicans.
Friday, March 09, 2007
We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.
1) Why were a handful of rebel fighters able to penetrate the defenses of a battle station that had the capability of destroying an entire planet and the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships?
2) Why did Grand Moff Tarkin refuse to deploy the station’s large fleet of TIE Fighters until it was too late? Was he acting on orders from somebody to not shoot down the rebel attack force? If so, who, and why?
3) Why was the rebel pilot who supposedly destroyed the Death Star reported to be on the Death Star days, maybe hours, prior to its destruction? Why was he allowed to escape, and why were several individuals dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms seen helping him?
4) Why has there not been an investigation into allegations that Darth Vader, the second-ranking member of the Imperial Government, is in fact the father of the pilot who allegedly destroyed the Death Star?
5) Why did Lord Vader decide to break all protocols and personally pilot a lightly armored TIE Fighter? Conveniently, this placed Lord Vader outside of the Death Star when it was destroyed, where he was also conveniently able to escape from a large-sized rebel fleet that had just routed the Imperial forces. Why would Lord Vader, one of the highest ranking members of the Imperial Government, suddenly decide to fly away from the Death Star in the middle of a battle? Did he know something that the rest of the Imperial Navy didn’t?
6) How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?
7) Why has their been no investigation into evidence that the droids who provided the rebels with the Death Star plans were once owned by none other than Lord Vader himself, and were found, conveniently, by the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and who is also believed to be Lord Vader’s son? Evidence also shows that the droids were brought to one Ben Kenobi, who, records indicate, was Darth Vader’s teacher many years earlier! Are all these personal connections between the conspirators and a key figure in the Imperial government supposed to be coincidences?
8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?
Thursday, March 08, 2007
The amazing Kristy Kiernan's debut novel, Catching Genius, hits the streets today.
I've been excited about this book ever since I read an excerpt from it after meeting Kristy at last year's Southern Kentucky Book Festival. Now that it's out, I can say it was definitely worth the wait.
Understand, this is not my usual sort of book at all, by which I mean that nothing gets blown up and no one is menaced with a chainsaw. But hey, a good book is a good book, and this story of a pair of once-inseparable sisters who became estranged after one was found to be a math prodigy gently but firmly hooked me and drew me in.
I think the thing that strikes me most about this book is Kiernan's subtly deft use of language. Her writing is very assured, lovely without being self-consciously showy. And the characters are so real, so true to life, you feel like you could take out the phone book at look up their numbers.
Catching Genius is a keeper. Check it out.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
You know, judging from some of the comments I've heard and read about the Administration's Very Bad Week, I think you could probably design a very simple robot that would be impossible to tell from an actual wingnut.
"Well, a high ranking member of the Bush Administration was found guilty of perjury yesterday..."
"And it looks like several U.S. Attorneys were fired for political reasons..."
*blurp*, *whizzzz* *ding*
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
I'd hate to have my life depend on a jury of "my peers".
331 posted on 03/06/2007 9:27:57 AM PST by Sans-Culotte
This jury was very confused and was asking questions that prove they didn't even understand the charges!
364 posted on 03/06/2007 9:30:51 AM PST by PilloryHillary (againsthillary.com)
They should be hung.
417 posted on 03/06/2007 9:36:27 AM PST by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Championship U)
The jury is a gang of obedient little RATs.Mr. President: Grow a set and pardon Libby. And don't wait until the end of your term.
425 posted on 03/06/2007 9:38:03 AM PST by clintonh8r
I also love the way they assume prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is a Democrat (or as they put it, DemonRAT), despite the fact that he was one of the people being considered to run as a Republican for the Illinois Senate seat after the Jack Ryan campaign imploded.
Right wing ignorance: A well with no bottom.
Monday, March 05, 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A helicopter is not necessarily a match for an angry moose.
Instead of slowing down after being shot with a tranquilizer dart, a moose charged a hovering helicopter used by a wildlife biologist, damaging the aircraft's tail rotor and forcing it to the ground.
Neither the pilot nor the biologist was injured, but the moose was maimed by the spinning rotor and had to be euthanized, wildlife officials said.
Once again, Bryon Quertermous and Dave White bring you the Blog Short Story Project. This year the rules were, less than 1000 words and it has to have something in it about blogging. Without further ado, then, here is "Flame War."
IM from: MajorMotoko
LOL, Evan, that last blog post was a real reversal for you. What’s up?
The fat kid pushed himself back from the desk, picking up his cigarettes and lighter as he did. “See, Evan,” he said to the boy tied up on the bed, “that’s your problem. Your downfall, as it were. The secret to being an asshole on the Internet is anonymity.” He put the cigarette between his lips and flicked the lighter. The boy on the bed’s eyes widened, and he began to squeal behind the duct tape that covered his mouth.
“What,” the fat kid said, “this scares you? This little thing?” He took the cigarette out of his mouth and waved it in the direction of the boy on the bed. Evan pushed himself back against the dorm room wall as if he could squirm his way through it, even bound hand and foot as he was. The fat kid laughed. “I guess it does, after what I did with the last one.” He pulled the chair back up to the desk. He started to type.
IM from Nazgul
Well, you know, I did some thinking. And I eventually decided that Greedo was right. He’s actually made some good points.
“See,” the fat kid said around the cigarette stuck in his teeth, “you give away too much in your posts. Your first name. Your college. The fact you’re on the literary magazine. Christ, a child could find you.” He hit the send button and turned back to Evan. “So you probably should have been a little more careful about talking smack.” He took a piece of folded paper out of his back pocket and opened it. “Greedo, you fucking dork,” he read, “do you think anyone gives a runny shit about your fucked up opinions?” He lowered the paper. “You wrote that, right? Right, Evan? You wrote that. To me.”
The boy on the bed shook his head frantically. “No?” Greedo said. “What about this one?” He read again from the paper, which was creased and lined as if it had been folded and refolded many times. “Greedo,” he quoted, “’why don’t you just admit I’ve made you my bitch in this thread and leave it at that?’ That true, Evan? Or do you prefer I call you Nazgul? You think I’m your bitch?” Evan shook his head again, tears streaming down his face.
“What,” the fat kid said. “Somebody sneaked in and posted as you? In your blog comments? Using your screen name? What’d you do, give them your password? I don’t fucking think so, not after I had to break two of your fingers to get you to tell it to me.” He stalked over to the boy on the bed and yanked him to the center of the spread. He knelt on Evan’s legs to hold him in place and yanked his T-shirt up. His skin was pale, like a worm’s. Greedo smiled. That was ironic; “worm” was one of Nazgul’s favorite epithets. Then he scowled again. Condescending lectures about alleged use of the word “ironic” were another of Nazgul’s trademarks. Evan’s stomach was dotted with ugly round cigarette burns; it was getting hard to find an unmarked spot. Greedo took a puff on the cigarette until it glowed a bright red, then he found one. Evan’s scream was muffled by the duct tape, his frantic writhing restrained by the rope on his wrists and ankles and Greedo’s weight on his legs. “That’s for ‘fucking dork’,” the fat kid grunted. “And this one’s for ‘bitch’, and this one’s for ‘runny shit’ and this one’s for being a fucking liar.” He applied the cigarette again and again, pausing only to raise it to his lips and heat it up. Evan screamed and sobbed, and, the fat kid supposed, begged for mercy. The chime of the computer interrupted him. He got up and strode back to the keyboard.
IM from MajorMotoko
Greedo? That dick-lick? LOL! Hes such a POS…
Greedo scowled. “Careful, there, bitch…” Actually, he had no idea if MajorMotoko was male or female. The screen name came from a female anime character, but that didn’t mean anything. He typed again.
IM from Nazgul
No, Rly. He’s pretty smart
The reply came back immediately.
IM from MajorMotoko:
WTF? R U his BF now? He sucking U off?
“God damn it,” Greedo muttered.
IM from Nazgul
IM from MajorMotoko
I never knew u turned homo LOL
Greedo sat there for a moment, his teeth clenched in rage, flexing and unflexing his fingers slowly like the claws of a predator. He looked back at Evan sobbing on the bed. “Don’t worry, Nazgul,” he said softly. It’ll all be over soon. Now that you’ve admitted that I’m right.” He turned back to the keyboard.
IM from Nazgul
FU :-). U going 2 the con ths wknd?
IM from MajorMotoko
U know it.
IM from MajorMotoko
C U there? I’d like 2 meet u
IM from Nazgul
2:00. Dark Horse Comics booth. Han Solo T- shirt. Raiders cap.
IM from MajorMotoko
OK. CU L8TR
“Count on it, fucker,” Greedo said.
IM from Nazgul
Greedo stood up. “Bye for now,” he repeated. He picked up an Oakland Raiders cap off the desk and pulled it onto his head. Then he picked up a stubby pistol from the desk. A 2 liter Coke bottle came next, and he fitted it over the barrel to make an improvised silencer. Evan was semiconscious and whimpering on the bed.
“Later, gator,” Greedo said softly, “I’ve got to go. Someone else needs to learn some fucking netiquette.” He shook his head. “It’s a good blog, Nazgul,” he said regretfully. “You get some tasty inside stuff. And you’re a pretty good writer. But you’re such a dick to people.” He raised the gun and fired two shots into Nazgul’s head.
“Greedo shoots first,” he whispered, and let himself out.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
"The man who brought you 'Titanic' is back with another blockbuster," a recent article on the Time.com Web site trumpeted. "This time, the ship he's sinking is Christianity."
What all the fuss is about is "The Lost Tomb of Jesus," a documentary airing this week on the Discovery Channel. The film was produced by James Cameron, best known for the movie "Titanic" and the science fiction epics "The Terminator" and "Aliens."
According to the documentary, directed by "investigative journalist" Simcha Jacobovici, construction workers in Jerusalem back in 1980 were excavating a foundation when lo! The hillside they were digging in collapsed, revealing a cave. In that cave were 10 small coffins, or ossuaries, containing human bones.
After 20-odd years of examination, archaeologists claim, they were able to decipher the names on the coffins: Yeshua, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Matthew, Jofa and Judah, son of Yeshua. Yeshua, as we know, is the first-century spelling of the name "Jesus."
Son of Joseph? Check. Closely associated with two Marys? Check. Starting to feel a little Da Vinci Code-ish, isn't it? This, Cameron claims, is the actual burial place of Jesus, complete with things that, according to Christian belief, aren't supposed to be there. Things like Jesus' decidedly non-resurrected bones, not to mention a wife and son.
So does this mean that archaeology has conclusively refuted the Resurrection, the central doctrine of Christianity? Has science finally done for religion, once and for all?
Well, no. When you take a look at the theory, it has holes in it you could drive an ox cart through. Even Amos Kloner, the Israeli archaeologist who first examined the site, describes the theory as "nonsense."
Now, I'm no archaeologist, nor am I particularly religious. But if there's one thing I'm an expert in, it's nonsense, and the Cameron/ Jacobovici theory is to nonsense what Mount Rushmore is to statuary.
For one thing, the biblical Jesus' family was from Nazareth in Galilee. Why the heck would they be buried in Jerusalem? I'm thinking the last place anyone close to Jesus would want to stay in after the Crucifixion would be Jerusalem. Bad memories aside, the town was run by the people responsible for his death.
For another thing, there are some siblings missing. The book of Matthew mentions brothers named "James, and Joses, and Simon and Judas." The book of Mark also makes reference to some unnamed sisters, none of whose names appear in the tomb in Jerusalem. But the Bible mentions no Matthews and no Jofas. Now, only six of the coffins had names that could be deciphered, but you're still a sibling or two off here. Sorry, but if your main evidence to tie the tomb to Jesus is via the biblical names involved, you've got to account for those.
Add to this the fact that Jesus (or Yeshua), Mary and Joseph were extremely common names in first century Israel. One archaeologist notes that 21 percent of names of women at the time were some variant of Maryam, Miriam or Mary; Joseph and Jesus are among the top four male names.
The above-mentioned Amos Kloner notes that there have been 900 first-century burial caves found in the same area, and over 71 of them contain the name Yeshua. The filmmakers claim that "statistical analysis" shows that it's unlikely that those biblical names would occur together if they weren't the people mentioned in the Bible. But that analysis requires you to throw out the names, like Matthew, that don't fit.
In fact, if you go to the Discovery Channel Web site on the documentary, you'll find that the mysterious "Matthew," never mentioned as a sibling of Jesus, is shoehorned into the theory as an alleged relative of Mary's family. When you have to explain away anomalies in your data this cavalierly, it's time you re-examined your theory.
The main thing wrong with using the names on the boxes as your main justification for claiming that this is the tomb of Jesus is this: To connect those names to Jesus, you have to assume the Bible is correct. But for this to be the tomb of a non-risen Jesus, his wife Mary Magdalene, and their son Judah, you have to assume the biblical accounts are wrong. You can't have it both ways.
Actually, though, you know what? It's true that Cameron's is a theory that doesn't fit the available evidence. But, when you think about it, so is creationism and its pseudo-intellectual sibling, intelligent design. And, I think we'll all agree, it's important that our children know all the available explanations so that they can make up their own minds.
We should, intelligent design advocates assert, always "teach the controversy." Therefore, I support a state law requiring that "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" be required viewing in Sunday schools. After all, fair's fair.
Knee-jerk Bill Clinton references: your party leader is famous for saying, "it depends on what is, is"
Hair splitting denials: She didn't call Edwards anything.. ("I'm sorry, but "I'd like to talk about John Edwards, but if I use the word 'faggot' I have to go into rehab" is nothing but a coy and cutesy way of calling someone a "faggot.")
Everyone else is just as bad, so why are you picking on Mitt: So everyone who spoke at CPAC is responsible for Coulter's words, eh? Rudy, Newt, Huckabee, Brownback, Hannity, etc . . . have all gone on the record on this Coulter affair, right?
Finally, however, there was this from a Romney spokesman:
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mr. Romney, said: “It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”To which I say:
Good for Governor Romney. We seem to all be on the same page here as to the folly of trying to hang the remarks of a speaker at a meeting around the neck of a candidate who happened to be at said meeting.
Now perhaps we can stop hearing about something said by Michael Moore or Rosie O'Donnell or David Geffen or Barbra Streisand or Harry Belafonte or even some obscure Muslim cleric leading an innocuous prayer that some people found threatening. I hope Governor Romney (and, just as importantly, his supporters) will take the high road and abide by this.
So maybe if we can get the press on board, a new day might be dawning in political discourse. Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?