Thursday, June 29, 2006


Someone Took Their Sane Pills This Morning

Supreme Court smacks down military tribunals 5-3. And how are they smacked down:

Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment.

Which basically says, "No," to almost every technique Bush and company have used on "enemy combatants" since the war began. And speaking of the Bush fiat...

The Bush administration doesn’t argue that warrantless wiretapping was something specifically contemplated in the text or by Congress. Rather, the administration argues that it is implied as part of a broad authorization to “use all necessary and appropriate force.”

The Supreme Court has rejected that expansive interpretation. It’s a huge blow to the administration’s legal rationale for warrantless wiretapping.

This is huge. This is the first time that any one source of government has gathered together and thoroughly rejected every lame motivation-- and lack thereof-- that our current administration has used to claim power over the way our nation works. This could be the change our nation really needs.


It's Part Of My Beliefs To Call You A Limp-Wristed Shirtlifter

So, I've kept a distance from the whole Ozzie Guillen thing. Yes, I was hurt, and yes, Guillen is a massive idiot who doesn't see anything wrong with associating homosexuality with weakness and child molestation, but this is sports. This isn't the most gay-friendly arena in the world, and it's going to take a while until we can get there. So, I just turned away.

Then Peter "Leather Bound" LaBarbera of the Illinois Family Insitute (and Pam's favorite punching bag) had to open his big mouth, and in the process, show just how much he actually cares about us:

The family advocate says the White Sox manager has run into the "liberal thought police."

"I think it's astonishing to see the media in Chicago and maybe across the country bending so easily to this idea of when you say this word, which I don't say -- I don't say the word f-a-g --

Oh, really? Well, I'm glad to hear that, Peter! I'm glad you're just settling for implying that all us gay folk are scat fiends and urophiliacs. I'm okay with those kind of insults.

but the idea that this is a slur analogous to racism is just ridiculous," says LaBarbera. "The fact is that Ozzie Guillen said something he shouldn't have said," he acknowledges, "but should he be going through re-education and having his religious beliefs trampled over in support of the homosexual agenda because he said this remark? No way."

So, this is what LaBarbera thinks: what Guillen said was "something he shouldn't have said", but that efforts to correct this will brainwash him to the side of the rainbow. See, this is how much the religious right cares about us: any attempts to prove that "gay" is not analogous with "child molester" are insults to their very way of life.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Gagged and Bound

The war on dissent begins.

House Republican leaders are expected to introduce a resolution today condemning The New York Times for publishing a story last week that exposed government monitoring of banking records.

The resolution is expected to condemn the leak and publication of classified documents, said one Republican aide with knowledge of the impending legislation.

The resolution comes as Republicans from the president on down condemn media organizations for reporting on the secret government program that tracked financial records overseas through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), an international banking cooperative.

Yes, let's never mind the fact that Bush pretty much admitted that the program existed two years ago:

Before September the 11th, law enforcement could more easily obtain business and financial records of white-collar criminals than of suspected terrorists. See, part of the way to make sure that we catch terrorists is we chase money trails. And yet it was easier to chase a money trail with a white-collar criminal than it was a terrorist. The Patriot Act ended this double standard and it made it easier for investigators to catch suspected terrorists by following paper trails here in America.

Let's get this straight: this is not about condemning those who expose government secrets. First of all, it's not really much of a secret, and second of all, I see absolutely shit being done by the House Republicans about anything tied to the Plame leak cast. Nope, all of this just ties back to the main point: a well-oiled ploy by the Republican noise machine (tm David Brock) to grind down anyone who says anything resembling the faintest idea that our current administration is not doing things the right way. We have politicians, pundits, and people who are allegeldy journalists calling for the prosecution of people who have reported on "government secrets" that were either a) out in public or b) very well illegal. This is not journalistic fairness. This is not the rule of law. This is pure intimidation, plain and simple.

And all I can say is, keep speaking. It's clear that Bush and his cronies are still sore about the wiretap issue. How about giving them something to really choke on?

Monday, June 26, 2006


McCain Still Not A Maverick, Sky Still Blue

For a media-proclaimed "maverick," John McCain sure does go along with a lot of things just because everyone else is.

In a brief interview with EDGE, U.S. Sen. John McCain, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, said he supports the current policy banning gays from serving openly in the military.

"All the senior members of the military say that it's working," McCain told EDGE. "I hold the same position." He replied, "No," when asked if he would vote for Massachusetts Congressman Marty Meehan's bill to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

And before that...

In December 199 [sic] McCain told the Boston Herald he supported the policy, saying, "I support the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy because Gen. Colin Powell, Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, all of the military leaders that I respect and admire came up with this policy, They thought it was the best way to address a very difficult problem within our military."

And apparently, the best way to handle a "very difficult problem within our military" is to spend $364 million over ten years in order to kick people out of their jobs because of who they love, especially those who are really, really needed. But hey, McCain's friends really like it, and I'm sure they're all doing the right thing, even if they're jumping off of a bridge.

Saturday, June 24, 2006



So, the FBI arrested seven attempted terrorists who were planning on blowing up the Sears Tower. That's good; everyone we arrest who seeks to attack our nation is a good thing in my book.

But then, they're wasn't exactly but... there there, was there? According to the indictment handed down, the men thought the best way to get started was to touch off a land war against the US. Never mind the fact that a) there are all of seven of them, and b) the real Al Qaeda probably would have slapped them sideways for suggesting such a thing at this point. Oh, and nothing says "secretive terrorist organization" like asking for boots and uniforms. Just because it made COBRA look snazzy on G.I. Joe doesn't mean it'll work in real life.

I'm glad we caught these guys before they did any harm. But seriously, it's somewhat like calling Butters playing as Professor Chaos an evil mastermind.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Dock the Vote

Well, it looks like the lessons of George W. Bush's addendums to the torture bill have spread to the lower ranks of the GOP. They see no reason to discriminate against minority voters or to obstruct the election process, but they'd like to keep the option open. And why would that be?

But many Southerners feel the law has achieved its purpose and become more nuisance than necessity in several respects. They have aired those arguments for years, but yesterday they got a boost from Republicans scattered throughout the nation who are increasingly raising a different concern: They insist that immigrants learn and use English.

So basically, they're willing to dramatically alter one of the key pieces of legislation of the Civil Rights Era just to flogg a dying wedge issue. Yay.

Wait. It gets better.

The Voting Rights Act requires Justice Department preapproval of changes in voting practices in states that used techniques such as poll taxes or literacy tests to discourage blacks from voting in the 1960s. Some Republicans in Georgia, Texas and other states say such efforts to disenfranchise minorities disappeared long ago, and that continued coverage by the act is an unfair stigma.

Yeah, here's a lesson from the history books: When a group of people who have a history of shady practices (that, many would argue, continues to this very day) around a certain issue say, "Yeah, we've moved past that," without offering any distinctive proof... there is a very good chance that they have not.

This is what the corrupt members of the GOP want: to pick and choose who gets the right to vote in this nation. And they don't care what pieces of history they have to shit all over to get their way.


The Internet Is For Free

All right, so according to Christy at Firedoglake, the vote for net neutrality among the Senate Commerce Committee is coming up soon. For those few of you who haven't heard already, net neutrality means that all content on the web is treated equally. There is no real "premium" content in the eyes of telecom companies. However, the COPE Act, currently in the House, would give telecom companies the ability to decide what is premium content and what is not. "Premium" content would get a better connection than "non-premium" content, the divide of which would likely be decided by how much money is given to the telecom or the content of the site.

In case you need any more motivation, I'd like to bring something up: many of these same telecoms who would likely gain control over the Internet if the COPE Act passes-- such as AT&T and Verizon-- turned over info about their subscribers' call logs to the government. When the news broke, several liberal blogs called for investigations into and boycotts against said telecoms. Now, tell me; if this passes, do you really think that said telecoms are going to give said blogs the time of day?

Get out there. Raise a fuss. Keep the best voice we have from being cut off.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Only Whiskey and The Daily Show Can Help Me Now

Last night, watching the news with my parents, I saw three images in rapid succession which spoke deeply to the current state of the media:

1. Dan Rather, the man who stood with CBS for 44 years and who infamously tore into Nixon during his debate, being forced out by the network.

2. Connie Chung, the woman who once sat with Rather at the newsdesk, committing career suicide-- and, if her performance is any indication, choosing to go for the handgun rather than the sleeping pills.

3. A piece from the Internet correspondent of CNN's Situation Room on Gov. Arnold's webcast interview. After Arnold replied-- very clearly-- to a question about what color he'd be with "red", the correspondent repeated (paraphrased), "In case you didn't hear that, he said 'red.'" Because we all desperately needed to know this.

Somehow, once again, the media manages to defy satire.

Monday, June 19, 2006


"Please Pay Attention To Something Else."

Tony Snow, professional White House frontispiece: "We're paying too much attention to these kidnapped American servicemen and not focusing enough on all the good stuff." Yes, let's ignore the fact that, for only the second time during this war, two highly-trained members of what is considered the finest military in the world have been kidnapped by insurgents who have shown a pension for lopping off the heads of their captives. Let's pay attention to all the good stuff that already should have happened by now!

Jesus Christ. Can't the White House at least devote the attention to horrific fuckups that they deserve?

EDIT: Okay, I was wrong when I initially said this was the first time. I've been distracted lately.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Religious Right: "Burn The Nation If We Can Bash The Queers."

There is absolutely no limit the anti-gay whackjobs in the religious right will go to to make sure that we are treated as second-class citizens by the law.

Let me make this clear: if the Family Research Council and its assorted mooks are successful in their bizarre little ploy to force a constitutional convention, then that means that the entire U.S. Constitution is up for grabs. Freedom of speech, freedom of press, constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights, the ban against "cruel and unusual punishment"... all of it can be taken out by those who feel that it is not "right," and anything else can be put in in its place. America, as seen by the Founding Fathers, may cease to exist. And why risk the core of our very nation?

Simple. To make sure that the faggots stay down.

I will repeat: there are absolutely no limits to what the powerbrokers of the religious right wish to do with America. They will gladly twist every judgment and bend every amendment to make sure that they get their vision of the world. Clearly, it has to stop. Now.


Uh... Support the Troops!

So, let me see if I've got this straight: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is planning on introducing a piece of legislation that should help calm down the insurgency. What does this measure include? Well, for one thing, offering amnesty to insurgents who have attacked and possibly killed only Americans. Which, while possibly good-intentioned, is wholly sick, and completely ignores the sacrifice of American soldiers.

Which makes it all the more of a travesty that, apparently, our senators are all for it.

I am all for peace in Iraq. I am all for a stable Iraq. I just do not want the price of that peace to be the stubborn ignorance of the loss of American life. When anyone who supports the war gets up there and blathers about how setting a timetable for withdrawal shows disrespect for all that we've lost so far, they should think about this first.

Give it a few years, and I'm sure we'll see a First Blood remake arriving in theatres just in time for Christmas. God only knows, we deserve it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Rove Somewhat Less Slimy

Rove won't be charged in the Plame leak case.

Well, that's understandable. Rove may have done some slimy shit, but new evidence does seem to prove that this goes higher than even him. He may be a bastard, but he's not the bastard.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Y'Know, Just Saying...

So, this is how the "ex"-gay movement responds to being taken to the woodshed by Wayne Besen: by raping Godwin's Law.

Oh, did I mention that Wayne Besen is Jewish himself? Because Mr. Foster does himself. Gee, I wonder why...

Nice to see who the real bastards are.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


The Death of Discourse

Mary Matalin defends Ann Coulter's comments about 9/11 widows enjoying their husband's death, calls them "her stock and trade."

There are so many things I want to say about this. I want to handle the fact that Mary apparently thinks that because one side does it means that it's perfectly all right for the other side to abuse it in spades (and once again, it's okay when right wing individuals draw Hitler comparisons, but evil and slanderous when "the lefties" do). I want to handle the fact that a woman who is paid good money by the GOP believes that it is just part of Coulter's "shtick" that she uses ethnic slurs in a non-ironic fashion before mass audiences and insults war heroes and the dead. I want to address the fact that Mary Matalin doesn't care how poisonous, insulting, disgusting and slanderous a point is as long as it makes a point.

But I can't. Because I am just so fucking angry that I feel like if I open my mouth at this point, all will come out is a scream.

This is what has happened to reasonable debate in this country. This is no longer College Republicans backing up Coulter when she gay baits someone who asked her a question. This is a highly respected political commentator defending a woman who has accused women who have lost their husbands of enjoying the death of their loved ones.

This is what political commentary has fallen to: William F. Buckley calling Gore Vidal a queer, 24/7.


Democracy Is Saved!

Y'know, you can only repeat, "If the president does it, then it isn't a crime," so many times and in so many ways until it starts to lose meaning. This is not one of those times:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed legislation that would give President Bush the option of seeking a warrant from a special court for an electronic surveillance program such as the one being conducted by the National Security Agency.

So, instead of actually checking to see whether it violates the Constitution, Arlen Specter's going to put forward a law that lets Bush do it anyway. Yay for disrupting the system of checks and balances!

Wait. It gets better:

Another part of the Specter bill would grant blanket amnesty to anyone who authorized warrantless surveillance under presidential authority, a provision that seems to ensure that no one would be held criminally liable if the current program is found illegal under present law.

So, if one day we were all to realize that this was a massively unconstitutional clusterfuck, no one responsible for it- and that includes Bush- could be held responsible in a court of law. Why don't you shine his shoes with your tongue while you're at it, Arlen?

Some hope for democracy he turned out to be.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


How Dare You!

Orrin Hatch is shocked, shocked that you would think him a bigot:

"The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution," said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2003. "A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."

In response, Hatch fumed: "Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?"

Hmmm, let's see. You just voted approvingly for a measure that would not only declare a certain group of Americans second-class citizens, but approved one that would be permanently entrenched in the US Constitution unless repealed by another later amendment. In the shoe fits...


Ding Dong, Motherfucker

Al-Zarqawi is dead.

Obviously, we have much more to do in Iraq, and this doesn't magically erase our past screw-ups. Still, if you think I'm not happy about this news, then you have something wrong with you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Hot Mannequin-on-Mannequin Action

So, apparently, Macy's put up two gay mannequins as part of a Boston Pride display. And, of course, Brian Camenker lost his shit and got the mannequins pulled.

“They were male mannequins with enlarged breasts, and one was wearing a skirt,” said MassResistance president Brian Camenker, referring to the gay pride flag wrapped around one figure, cinched with a white belt. “It was really disgusting.”

First of all, we call those pectorals, Brian. Gay men seem to be obsessed with them, but not with the point of turning them into mammaries. Second of all... well, the article says what I wanted to about the pride flag.

Camenker is a man who bitches about everything slightly vaguely gay in Massachusetts. Bowing to him, and just him, is like taking the word of a drug-sniffing dog with a cold. And yet, people still do. At least Macy's tried for some degree of balance, unlike our dickless governor.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Ha Ha! Your Wife's Dead!

Over the past few years, we have seen people who have lost someone or something close to them take a stand, turning themselves either into politicians aiming to serve the nation or activists pushing a point of view. And often, people have questioned the aims of these individuals. Now, there are two ways of doing this. One way is the "courteous yet direct" way, which often focuses on the aims of the individual or the individual's associate in a reasonable yet still questioning manner. An example of this might be the way critics wondered about Cindy Sheehan's alliance with prominent left-wing sources like Michael Moore. While ignoring the fact that Sheehan and Moore might have a common interest, it was still rather restrained and somewhat polite.

Then you have the other way, known commonly as the "asshole" way. Here, let's have Ann Coulter demonstrate:

"These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much."

Other examples include: the people at Little Green Footballs making a "humorous" line of CafePress shirts joking about Rachel Corrie's death by errant bulldozer; Rush Limbaugh claiming that the loss Cindy Sheehan experienced was "not real"; pundits in the 2000 election arguing that John McCain might be somewhat mentally imbalanced due to his torture during Vietnam*; Ted Rall calling Pat Tillman an idiot for enlisting; and- oh, hello again!- Ann Coulter claiming that Max Cleland was only elected because he lost most of his limbs in Vietnam.

I don't care who you are, left or right. The minute you mock the loss of any individual is the minute I stop treating you like anything other than a flesh-eating ghoul.

*Oh, and now that McCain has slid to the right and looks like a good prospect for the White House in 2008, should the people who aimed to mock his military service-- come to think of it, should the people who tried to mock Kerry's service, Purple Heart Band-aids and all, try the same-- take their place behind McCain and attempt to deflect any critcism by asking the critics how dare they attack a man who has given so much for his country, he is a war hero--

--then I will have no choice but to release my army of cybernetically-enhanced, neurotoxin-secreting German Shepherds. Yes, I have assembled them for just this purpose. I don't have a lot of hope for politics, people.


Red In Tooth and Maw

Well, it's another extended break from schoolwork, and we all know what that means: another round of surgery.

This time, it was a gum graft. Now, let's be honest: my teeth are not very straight or pearly white. In fact, they look slightly like the simulation from that episode of The Simpsons that ends with Lisa's freakish teeth protruding out of her skull. So, there's been talk about putting in an Invisalign brace for the summer. However, a dental investigation towards the start of the summer have revealed that certain areas of my gums have receded like the Red Sea before Moses. So yesterday, I had a perfectly qualified man lop a bit off of the roof of my mouth and stitch it in front of my bottom teeth. Reasonablle enough.

I can't do anything more than soft foods for the next few days (which, like with the wisdom tooth extraction, gives me a blatant excuse to eat lots and lots of ice cream), if not for the next week or so, but otherwise, everything's okay. I rarely need to pop any Advil, and the Percocet goes unattended. I should be up and active again by Thursday at least.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Forgetting the Little Things

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

They really don't care. They honestly don't care at all. We get talk about how the army is investigating Haditha, and how Abu Ghraib was the work of "a few bad apples"... and here the Pentagon is, trying to sweep the real cause of all its problems under the rug.

What happened to justice?

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The Media's Gone to Sleep... For a Very, Very Long Time

That does it. Take journalism out back and just shoot it. It's obviously sick and dying.

Look at this shit. Three years. No WMDs. Trumped-up evidence. And a reporter at CNN- not Fox News, but fucking CNN- is still leveling the talking point that Iraq was armed to the teeth with various ways to kill American civilians.

And what does Wolf Blizter do? Does he pimpslap John Roberts for the blatant abuse of the truth he has just made? No, he says, "Good point," then wraps up the fucking report.

"Good point." Jesus fuck.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Out of Sight...

I knew this was going to happen. I knew that when Haditha made the news again, there would be wave upon wave of bloviation from people who cannot accept that the mission in Iraq is failing fast. Bill O'Reilly tried to go the route of, "Oh, we've always done this," by reversing the facts of the Malmedy massacre and dishonoring dead soldiers. Michelle Malkin claimed that Hamas is training children to handle weapons, which apparently exonerates US troops from killing an entire family execution style.

But the worst of them, the print description of, "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEEEARRR YOU!", comes from Glenn Reynolds. Here's what he has to say about this coverage:

Peter Ingemi writes that the antiwar left has made Haditha morally irrelevant:

["]There is one aspect about Haditha that seems to be ignored by everybody.

Our press and the anti-American left both in this country and outside of it has been reporting “Hadithas” over and over again over the last three years.

Time and time again our friends have accused us of every possible atrocity that there is to the point that internationally people are already able to believe this or the 9/11 stuff or all the rest.

Because of this, internationally it is totally irrelevant if the Marines actually violated the rules of war. Our foes are going to say that we’ve done things if we do them or not, so the only people that it really matters to will be the people killed (and family) and the people in our own country who support the military.

The real danger is that we who support the war will reach the point that we say “we might as well be taken as wolves then as sheep”. At that point the left can celebrate that they have made our military and those who support it the people they claim we are. Once that happens however any compunction about respecting them will be gone, and remember one side is armed and one is not.

That is a fate that I don’t wish on any of us.["]

Neither do I.

Just in case that wasn't clear...

Some people, judging from my email, are misjudging — or deliberately misconstruing — Ingemi’s point. Ingemi’s point, as I took it, is that crying wolf leads in the end to moral callousness, as people assume that there’s no point in behaving morally when they’re going to be called monsters anyway. This seems rather uncontroversially obvious to me.

So, basically, what Reynolds is saying is that, if we draw attention to people behaving in an atrocious and uncivilized manner, and excoriate them for such through the media to the extent of our abilities, then we will reinforce the message that, apparently, it's an okay thing to do because nobody cares. Yeah, I'm kinda confused, too.

This is all simple, really. Throw away all the historical errors and half-assed justification and psuedosociological claptrap. What happened here is simple: people like Glenn Reynolds did not want Haditha to happen, because it makes what they stand for look bad. And they can't have that, so they try to get rid of it.

And they have the fucking gall to say that we're weak-willed enough to be adversely influenced by this shit?

Friday, June 02, 2006


Okay, You're Safe Now, Good Luck

It's official: Bush, despite all his talk about remembering 9/11, has taken a massive steaming shit on the survivors of that day. DC and New York City are having their anti-terrorism budgets cut by 40%. And according to the DHS, NYC has no icons or monuments (well, except for that big green statue, but hey, she's French).

I can't believe it's come to the point where I have to lecture the government about how terrorists operate, but here goes. We are not dealing with Hollywood action movie terrorists. We are not dealing with the kind of clever, scheming, usually British-accented bastards who decide to attack a small town in America because that's what no one expects. We're dealing with Al Qaeda. They like to attack the big, shiny targets: the skyscrapers, the big cities, the embassies, the cruisers.

I suggest that you not help draw the bullseye for them.

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