Friday, April 20, 2007

Blue Moon of Kentucky, Redux

I'm off to the Southern Kentucky Book fest at Bowling Green, home of Western Kentucky University. Why the Southern Kentucky Book Fest is sponsored by Western Kentucky University is beyond me, but when they're hosting such a great event, who cares about little details? I had a large time last year, and look forward to doing the same this weekend. See you all when I get back. Tasha, Kristy, save me a table near the bar.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Oh, Lord, Here We Go Again

BOULDER, Colo. (April 19) - A University of Colorado student was arrested after making comments that classmates deemed sympathetic toward the gunman blamed for killing 32 students and himself at Virginia Tech , authorities said.

During a class discussion of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech, the student "made comments about understanding how someone could kill 32 people," university police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said.

Several witnesses told investigators the student said he was "angry about all kinds of things from the fluorescent light bulbs to the unpainted walls, and it made him angry enough to kill people," according to a police report. Witnesses "said they were afraid of him and afraid to come to class with him," Wiesley said.

The student, identified by police as Max Karson of Denver, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of interfering with staff, faculty or students of an education institution. He had a court appearance set for Wednesday afternoon.

I was afraid of this. After Columbine, A Texas seventh-grader named Chris Beamon was given an English assignment for Halloween to "write a scary story about being in the dark and hearing noises". His response to the assignment got a grade of 100 from the teacher as well as extra credit when he read it out loud to the class.

It also got him locked up for six days.

The principal called the juvenile authorities because the story contained references to guns and the names of several classmates and the teacher. A judge immediately committed Christopher to juvenile detention. The district attorney tried and tried, but never could find anything to prosecute the kid for, other than the fact that classmates thought that he was " little weird," and the fact that the school had described him as a discipline problem. After six days of media scrutiny and threats from the American Civil Liberties Union, the judge backed down. So, even though he had committed no crime, a thirteen-year old was locked up for six days.

So just remember...if you're young and pissed off, depressed, or stressed, be very, very careful what you say. And be careful what you write.

On a related note, can we PLEASE stop calling the killer's videotaped rant a "manifesto"? Karl Marx wrote a Manifesto. That crazy motherfucker just taped himself going off the deep end.

An Ass Hat (Well, Not a Total One ) Responds

James Winter, over at his blog Northcoast Exile, talks about why he doesn't like blogs that get political. Quote:

I could easily jack this blog's traffic up into the tens of thousands per day if only I would either hold President Bush up to the ridicule he so richly deserves day in and day out or defend him by asking why those who oppose him hate America.

And I'd be a total ass hat for doing it.

Please read his original post before going further.

To be fair, Jim, in the comments, allowed as how I'm not a total ass hat. Good to know.

In response, I offer this post, and my response below, cross posted from the comments section of Jim's blog.

One of the things that's really wrong with this post, Jim, is the assumption that liberals are "cry babies" and are against free speech, because they're afraid of being offended. This assumes that all liberals back so-called "speech codes" (in fact only a few really noisy far-leftists do). Trust me, the vast majority of us are very much pro-free speech, which is why we're so pissed at people like the Bushistas, who are telling us "you need to watch what you say."

Just because liberals slam people who are bigoted, hateful and racist, BTW, does not mean we're "anti-free speech". If I use my free speech right to criticize what someone else says, it's not because I want the government to keep him from speaking. I'm offended by your post, and I'm saying so. This does not mean I'm asking the FBI to shut down your blog.

I'm also mightily pissed off at the assertion that liberals "believe screwing everyone equally is the best way to ensure that everyone is treated equal. And anyone with ten bucks more than them is causing war, disease, starvation, and global warming." This is, pure and simply, bullshit, and I'm really amazed that a thoughtful fellow like you has swallowed this piece of right wing propaganda.

Recognizing that some people in this country are getting screwed and are unequally bearing the consequences of bad policy in a higher percentage than other does not mean we want everyone else to "get screwed equally". And BTW, bearing your share of the responsibilities of citizenship in a free and prosperous society is not "getting screwed." This attitude has the whiny tone of my teenagers acting as if they're being sent to the gulags because they're asked to do the dishes after the wife and I have worked all day.

But what really chaps my ass about this post is this: the assertion that people, both liberal and conservative, can't take positions without "checking to see if its liberal enough or conservative enough to do." This assumes that neither liberals nor conservatives have any other values or deeply held beliefs other thant "being liberal" or "being conservative."

I'll let conservative readers tell you about their feelings on this, but as a liberal, I am sick to goddamn death of smug Republicans telling me, in response to any criticism of this incompetent and criminal Administration, "you just say that because you hate George Bush," as if that's the only value I hold. And that kind of condescension doesn't sit any better coming from a declared independent.

It's easy to believe that "conservatives and liberals and libertarians--they all suck" if you oversimplify what they believe and act like it's all just dogma wrapped in posturing.

And while I'm thinking about it, where the hell are my tens of thousands of hits?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fox News' "Obituary" For Kurt Vonnegut

And by "Obituary", we mean "vicious hatchet job on a dead man."

Malkin: VT Students Were Wimps and It's the Liberals' Fault

More of that Conservative Compassion--Michelle Malkin on the Virginia Tech Massacre:

There’s no polite way or time to say it: American colleges and universities have become coddle industries. Big Nanny administrators oversee speech codes, segregated dorms, politically correct academic departments, and designated “safe spaces” to protect students selectively from hurtful (conservative) opinions—while allowing mob rule for approved leftist positions (textbook case: Columbia University’s anti-Minuteman Project protesters).

Instead of teaching students to defend their beliefs, American educators shield them from vigorous intellectual debate. Instead of encouraging autonomy, our higher institutions of learning stoke passivity and conflict-avoidance.

And as the erosion of intellectual self-defense goes, so goes the erosion of physical self-defense.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Right Wing National Review: Dead VT Students Were Pussies

The Corner on National Review Online: As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake—one of them reportedly a .22.

Yes, folks, you heard right. According to this leading online light of modern "conservatism," If Virginia Tech students, some not even out of their teens, died, well, it was partially their fault for not rushing a maniac with a gun who was going all John Woo on everyone.

Painful as it may be, you really have to check out the whole thing to grasp the breathtaking callousness of this right wing lunatic.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's the Outrage

Latest Newspaper Column:

Q: Good evening, and welcome to this special "Eye on America" report from CBS News. I'm Katie Couric. Tonight I'm interviewing Martin Freem, chairman and CEO of the Washington consulting firm Indignicorp. Mr. Freem, good evening.

A: Good evening, Michelle.

Q: Umm it's Katie. Mr. Freem, can you give us an example of what your company does?

A: Certainly, Michelle. We manufacture outrage.

Q: Manufacture what?

A: Outrage. Indignation. That's where the name comes from.

Q: I'm not sure I understand.

A: Say, for example, you're a president. You're hip-deep in a war that you totally mismanaged, your attorney general's been lying to Congress, your approval ratings are in the dumpster. What you need is something to really fire up the base, some kind of red meat to throw to the monkeys to get them screaming and hollering. Something to take their minds off your dismal failures as a leader.

Q: So where does Indignicorp come in?

A: We take something your political opponents are doing at the moment, even something perfectly normal, and we spin it, twist it, and distort it so that it looks like high treason.

Q: Can you give us an example of your work?

A: Well, you know the recent "scandal" over Speaker Pelosi's trip to Syria?

Q: That was you?

A: You betcha, Michelle. We're really proud of that one.

Q: I'll bet. And my name is Katie.

A: I mean, you have to admit, it takes real cojones to act all outraged at a Democrat for going to Syria when there were Republican congressmen already visiting there at the time.

Q: How do you deal with that?

A: Deal with what?

Q: The Republicans who were visiting Syria. How do you avoid sounding hypocritical?

A: That's not the point, Michelle. The point is that the speaker of the House is undercutting the president. The president, Michelle! In time of WAR! War with people WHO WANT TO KILL US! KILL US, MICHELLE! AND OUR PUPPIES! DO YOU WANT THEM TO KILL PUPPIES? DO YOU!?

Q: What? No! Of course not! I love dogs Oh. I get it. And my name is --

A: See, that's how it works. The same way we deal with all inconvenient facts. We just ignore them and yell louder.

Q: Wait. What was my original point?

A: Exactly.

Q: Umm Anyway, moving on. Walk us through the process. How exactly does it work? How do you manufacture outrage?

A: Well, there are certain things I can't talk about. Trade secrets, you know. But it usually starts with planting stories with a select group we call the UIs.

Q: UIs?

A: Useful Idiots. People like Matt Drudge, Bill O'Reilly We have a sort of symbiotic relationship with these people. They need something to be mad about

Q: Wait a minute. Won't they be upset at being called "Idiots"?

A: Michelle, please. I've seen your ratings. Nobody will see it. Anyway, once the seed is planted, you clowns in the mainstream media fall right into line. And if there's one thing that motivates you people, it's the fear of being left out of a story.

Q: Well, I'm not sure I agree, and my name is --

A: I heard Barack Obama has a bunch of unpaid parking tickets.

Q: Really? What have you heard? Tell me! You have to tell me! PLEASE!

A: Gotcha!

Q: OK, that was just mean.

A: What'd I tell you? Rage and fear, fear and rage. They're the pistons that drive American media.

Q: So what's next for Indignicorp?

A: Well, we're working up a dandy package of outrage to use against John Edwards. For example, did you know that Edwards is rich?

Q: Well, yes. I mean, isn't President Bush?

A: That's not the point. The point is, that EDWARDS pretends to CARE ABOUT POOR PEOPLE, so HOW CAN HE LIVE IN A GREAT BIG HOUSE! He should be living in a CARDBOARD BOX if he really cares about the poor! Democrats HATE THE POOR! Do you HATE THE POOR, MICHELLE!? DO YOU?!

Q: I'm sorry. What was my question again?

A: Damn, I'm good.

Q: So is there anything so small or so ordinary that you can't turn it into an outrage?

A: Nothing I can think of. We have a saying around the office: "We don't even need a molehill. All we need to make a mountain is a big pile of bull...."

Q: Well, that's all the time we have today. This has been a special interview with CBS News.

A: Thank you. Katie.

Q: It's Michelle.