Monday, December 31, 2007

The Wee Pedant Has Landed

The wee one herself:

The lovely and (obviously) talented Mrs. Pedant spent about 15 hours in labor, most of it spent NOT swearing like a longshoreman. I leave the balance of the time to your no doubt fertile imaginations.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

So You Say This Is (War On) Christmas...

Let's start with this. As an Ex-military guy, if you say "War On..." I feel that I need to see bodies. If you can't show me the bodies, you can't call it a war. The "War on Drugs" at least qualifies due in no small part to trigger happy cops. The "War On Christmas"...unless there has been a rash of drive-bys on Mall Santas that has gone mysteriously unreported...not so much.

So, as Rogers points on in the excellent post I Saw You Looking At Agnosticism's Ass, Christianity and Christians have been acting awfully needy lately. Co-dependant clingy needy. "Girlfriend you're really starting to think about dumping, if only because of all the neediness," needy.

Now, and work with me here, EVERY major candidate for President and the vast, vast majority of the MINOR ones...the ones who can say whatever the fuck pops into their pointy little heads because it just doesn't matter (I'm looking at you, Ron "Fiat Money" Paul)...spend a considerable amount of time dry humping an altar somewhere hoping that a photographer will come by and take a picture of them fellating the Jesus on a Cross so that they can establish their "Good Christian" bona fides. Somehow, I just don't think your average Atlanta-area Megachurch-goer is in all that much danger of having the place raided by preatorians and getting their asses thrown into the gladiatorial pits.

So why "War On Christmas"? Well, we can start with the rise of Faux News, who needed to fill 24 hours a day with conservative friendly drool. Telling people that they're wonderful because they hate taxes only lasts so long. A producer looking to hand red meat to the right wings can't help but notice that, first, despite the power they wield they LOVE to feel sorry for themselves, and second, a shitload of them self-identify as good Christian Churchgoers.

So once again, I have to sit here and listen to this self-righteous drivel from folks who reply to "Happy Holidays" with a pointed "Merry Christmas". Hey, asshole, if you wanted to SAY "Fuck You" at least have the balls to actually say it. I say Happy Holidays interchangeably with Merry Christmas (more on that later) for one reason ONLY. I am a LAZY asshole. "Happy Holidays" is just easier than "Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy New Year and a very festive crapload of minor holidays centered around the Winter Solstice for some suspicious reason."

Which leads me to why I, a notorious agnostic (what can I say, it's a really cute ass), have no problem with Merry Christmas. You want "war on christmas"? Here it comes. As far as I'm concerned "Christmas" is just the latest name for the Solstice Holiday, and any excuse to get together with family and eat myself round is a Good Thing (cf., Thanksgiving), but the lewt is bonus. Plus it's nice to be reminded that while there is two more months of snow and sleet and all other manner of white shit followed by a month of freaking mud and dirty slush, there will in fact be another summer (which is loaded with mosquitoes and insane humidity...I can be a little discontented...really I like Autumn, give me a good Harvest Festival any day of the week). You've gotten your crappy religion all over my tasty solstice celebration.

Everyone is kinda certain that Christmas is simply the heir of the Saturnalia and various other pagan festivals. Let me suggest something FAR MORE subversive:
Easter and Passover have their roots in pagan rebirth and renewal legends and celebrations. Christ is Dead, Christ Is Risen? The sparing of the Jews from Matt Damon...I mean the Angel of death? Pretty standard really. Judaism isn't even unique in it's insistence that there is only one god.

You want war? The central tenets of your faith are eminently predictable sequalae of preceding cultural beliefs.

Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Huck YOU!

Via Kevin Drum I see that it turns out that the Deciderderator was using the Constitution for toilet paper MUCH earlier than previously thought. 9/11 wasn't the initiator of warrantless wiretapping so much as a wonderful post hoc pretext.

Ya know, I really should feel more betrayed by this this. But the Bush Administration has never failed to live down to my worst expectations and then some. If I didn't know better, I'd think it's all a vast performance art piece entitled, "You get the government your ignorant, logic hating ass deserves."

In fact, in the last few days I've been reading about increasing levels of, chagrin is too mild a word, let us say "pants wetting paroxysms" concerning Mike Huckabee. My personal favorite comes from John Cole's Balloon Juice, a right wing blog that has become a left wing blog because it turns out that a)Mr. Cole has some level of intellectual integrity and b)the Man really is out to fuck you up. He links to Andrew Sullivan, Ace of Spades (!) (the link is to Sullivan's link...I have SOME standards about how I pollute my eyeballs, thank you very much), Dan Riehl, Captain Ed, and of all people Peggy "Extreme Unctuousness" Noonan.

My favorite two bits:

I simply can not tell you how much I am enjoying this. The GOP has been pandering to these stupid bastards for years, and every time I pointed it out I was called “anti-Christian” or something or other. Those of us who saw what the party was becoming were told to shut up, that it was good politics.

Enjoy your new GOP, folks. And here is something else to think about- are the evangelicals going to support Romney or Giuliani if you do manage to trash Huckabee enough to secure the nomination for them? Will the eye for an eye crowd learn to forgive and forget? Have fun!


Can schadenfreude be fatal?

God I hope not. Otherwise, I am SCREWED. Seriously, as others have said before me, THIS is what the Repubs have said they want for 30 fucking years. Whether they REALLY wanted it, or just claimed to want it so that they could continue to loot assets like Eva Peron really doesn't matter. They've made their bed. Their choice is to continue to date the two bag, coyote morning skank they've cultivated or pull their heads out of their asses and vote Dem.

Just To Set The Professor Off..

Because it's amusing when it happens. And because I'm an asshole.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh, NO, You Didn't Just SAY That

According to a Mitt Romney (you remember him, the Christian hating fanatical cultist, right?) spokesperson, "[Romney] continues to believe that this campaign should not be about questioning a candidate's faith. While it is fair to criticize an opponent's record or policy positions, it is out of bounds for one candidate to question another's personal faith."

Unless the candidate is a Democrat. In which case, his (or her) atheist, gay marriage, abortion permitting ass is fair game. After all, "Freedom Requires Faith."

And Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

NIE, NIE, NIE, I Can't Heeeaaaarr You!!!

As pointed out by Josh Marshall at TPM, it turns out that if you're a winger who gets his news from Fox, you might be forgiven for not knowing about the National Intelligence Estimate two days later.

As Fox has been doing a bang up job of burying something the Bushies find embarrassing. Since they've been strongly implying that the next thing that Iran would do to us was nuke a city or two, you might think they'd ease off talking about it. You know, I'm not really expecting a "We screwed up," but I didn't expect this.

Shorter Bush: Fuck reality, I'm not changing my mind no matter what.

Seriously. Fox is BURYING a story that directly contradicts what Darth Cheney has been telling us for months. How the hell did they even COVER that travesty of a press conference without promoting that news that the Bushies have been, ya'know, LYING to us, because they want to get their war on?

And now the wingnuttosphere is denying the entire premise of the NIE. Basically, it's all a CIA plot to discredit Bush, because they want Iran to take over America. Why exactly the CIA hates America is not really clear. Maybe because they accept reality. Who the fuck knows?

The reason your co-worker is acting like Iraq has always been going well, that Saddam had WMDs, that the US takes care of the troops and Iran is working on "newk-you-lar" weapons? They watch Fox.

Do you suppose Fox'll be as deferential to the next President?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Is Gallup THAT Unimaginative???

Via TPM I found this.

Repubs of all demographic breakdowns self report higher mental health than independents or democrats and all that Gallup comes up with is, "The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel)."

Allow me to gently suggest that these nimrods have missed an obvious possibility in SELF-REPORTED mental health. Conservatives who deny the validity of mental health problems might JUST be more inclined than others to deny that they have mental health issues.

Just sayin'.

Elijah And The Bear

Your Bible In Action:

All Your Base Are Belong To SATAN!

Via Kevin Drum I find this from Joe Klein at Swampland. Normally I hold Joe in a kind of "dupe of the power structure" regard for his false equivalency columns when comparing Repubs and Democrats. But lately his blog posts show the behind the scenes horror he feels about Bush and the Repubs. May have felt all along but didn't write, don't know. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Presuming you don't click the link, it concerns Klein at an undecideds Repub focus group during the most recent debate, and he highlights two things he called "really distressing". As you read this, I want you to understand that focus groups are carefully selected to be AS REPRESENTATIVE AS POSSIBLE of the population it is selected this case Repubs, likely to vote in primary type, i.e., "the base".

First, when Mike Huckabee said that financial aid should be available to the children of illegal immigrants because we are all Children of God his score went into the 30s. For those of you not in the focus group biz, 1 to 100 dial scoring has a sliding scale of inaccuracy the farther you get from 50 (neutral). Scores in the low twenties are kind of the theoretical minimum, statistically indistinguishable from "1" or Total Universal Disagreement by the group. So all but a few Repubs at large agree that US Citizens should be isolated from even the OPPORTUNITY of college because of what their parents did and fuck this "children of God"/Christianity bullshit...bring on the Old Testament, Sins Of The Father God.

Then John McCain weighed in on Waterboarding As Torture. HIS scores went into the twenties. Yes. Repubs universally approve of torturing prisoners of war. Words fail me. I knew it was bad, but UNIVERSAL DISAPPROVAL of the guy telling you what you want to do with the non-Christian brown people is TORTURE for fuck's sake? What the fuck do these people want to do to ME and my latte sipping ways? Jail? Concentration Camps? A Final Solution?

I really DID waste my time in the Army, didn't I? I should have spent it accumulating assets held in Swiss Banks for the moment I have to pack up and run for the border 'cause the brownshirts are after me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Well, If THIS Isn't Depressing...

Over at Yglesias' site I find this tidbit and link. Basically, it turns out that Gresham's Law applies to political discourse; over time bad discourse will drive out good. As it happens, if someone has a position about a candidate's favorability, and then adverse information, real or made up, becomes known to that person it will negatively impact their favorability. If the information later turns out to be false or incomplete, the favorability improves, but not all the way back to the point it was at before.

Also, how much your opinion moves depends on your position in the partisan spectrum. Informed that Hillary Clinton is a man-hating power hungry dyke moves Repubs much further towards disliking her than it moves Democrats. The converse, being told that Mitt Romney is a goat fucker, moves Dems further away than Repubs (many of whom have probably fucked a goat or two in their time, so who would want to cast the first stone).

So what does that mean? Counter punching in response is, over time, a losing move. Obama's campaign has made much of the fact that they have not initiated any of the Clinton/Obama tiffs, but they have not stood aside when it's happened...that they counter punch. I had thought that that was more than adequate. What this study shows is that I was wrong and that isn't good enough. Over time, your positives inexorably erode relative to your goat fucking opponent, whom you have not been adequately slurring. It's why negative campaigns work.

So, it's not enough to simply stand up and fight back (and it's DISASTROUS to "not stoop to their level" as the Kerry campaign incompetently did in 2004). Your ass has to be down in the mud, slinging fast and furious, frequently and with vicious glee. You already see the narrative that the Rovian Repubs are getting ready to trot out; "Hillary is a man-hating, ultra-liberal, vagina dentata destroyer of American Virtue (who had Vince Foster killed)", "Barack Obama is a closet Muslim, trained in radical Madrassahs who will willingly invite jihadis to rape good Christian women", and "John Edwards is a closet fag".

It's going to happen. It is happening, it has happened, it will continue to happen. If we love our country (and with all the torture and human rights violations the Repub Party is "OK" with, I'm beginning to think my four years in the Army were an UTTER waste of my time) we can't just fight back, we have to get down and dirty. We have to say things about our goat fucking opponents FIRST, with two goals; first, to raise their negatives so swayable undecideds go for our guys (or gal), second, (and more importantly) so tar the Repub candidate with nastiness that many Repub voters simply stay home.

That second point provides some degree of Schadenfreude, at least in the anticipation. Because to get Repub voters to sit down, we have to sling slurs at them such as "Rudy is a closet fag." In other words, kill the candidates with the prejudices they've spent 30 years perfecting. Say, "Mitt Romney is a Christian hating cultist," or "Fred Thompson is a Hollywood slut who hops beds with the frequency of a cheap ham radio."

Mike Huckabee is the hardest to get in this way, so I propose that in the (unlikely but possible) event that he receives the nomination, we go the other way. He's a Christo-fanatic who wants to take away birth control, let alone abortion, and who believes the world is 6000 years old. For the Repub base, these are ADVANTAGES. But he's a damn likable guy, so lets just strip off every independent or moderate Repub (presuming there IS such a creature) even marginally concerned about their kids growing up in the Republic of Gilead.

All we have to do is record him speaking, pull out some Young Earth Creationist zaniness, and imply strongly that maybe falling waaaaayyyy behind in technology, science and knowledge isn't exactly the way to go about global competition. We could probably pull every state in the Intermountain West, other than Montana (State Motto: "At least our cows aren't gun toting loons!") and maybe Wyoming.

But...make NO MISTAKE...we have to actually DO it. You might not like "stooping to their level." Tough. I'd rather respect my country than respect myself in the morning. After eight years of Bush, we can't AFFORD ethics. It is indeed time to get nasty.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Racism in America (or) Posting Again

Sorry for the long delay. Been spending waaay too much time in Warcraft. My main made 70, got a flying mount and has been socking away money at a high rate of speed. In fact one of my friends has been 70 almost as long and has about 50G...I have 950G...and the guy in question is into me for 50 large. Big L wants his money, AND the vig. I'm turning into the Shylock of Azeroth.

Which, bwah-ha-ha, leads me into the topic I need to write about...racism. Yes. The favorite topic of many a blogger (not). That minefield and morass into which many soul has wandered, never to be seen again.

The Lovely and Talented Mrs. Pedant teaches at inner city schools, so the issue of racism is one that we don't really have the luxury of sticking in the back of an unused kitchen drawer and thinking about only when we see a news report on the Jena 6 or something. It seems to me that one of the reasons this subject is so fraught is that people, or at least the people who speak about racism, fall into one of the two categories...the "Reverse Discrimination" crowd or the "Everything bad comes from the White Man" crowd.

Mrs. Pedant has a saying after 5 years of inner-city teaching: "We load the gun, and then they shoot themselves in the foot with it."

Which is to say, both sides of the racial divide have some work to do. So let's take a look, shall we?

On the "Whitey is the root of all evil," front, there's lots of posts refuting it. Whitey is, like everyone else chained to the great wheel, both good and bad, perpetrator and healer. Blaming Whitey for every inner-city problem ignores that fact that black on black violence is on the rise. Gangs exist not because "The Man" is deliberately keeping inner city kids from having a viable social net of family and community, but because in the absence of viable families and communities, for whatever reason, the kids in the inner city will make those social groups for themselves.

And because they're conceived by and run by children the social groups will rapidly descend, Lord Of the Flies-like, into tribalism with all the attendant paranoia regarding anyone in the "out group". They shoot each other not because "Whitey makes them," but because the only family they really know expects it. Because the people at the other end are from another tribe, because in some way they aren't really human.

This isn't happening because some white dude in a corporate board room wants it. But, and here is where the power structure ISN'T off the hook, it IS happening because the white dude in the corporate board room doesn't CARE enough to be active in STOPPING it. Why? Because in many cases, he thinks discrimination is sooooo last century. He listened to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. He reads the words and somehow he convinces himself that we're already there.

Yes. Really. That's what anyone who talks about "Reverse Discrimination" about affirmative action is saying. They may ADMIT to YOU that there's still discrimination but, in the immortal words of John Roberts, "The way to end discrimination is to end discrimination." But you know what campers? If right after you say that you make it harder to PROVE discrimination, if your only contact with affirmative action seems to looking for ways to tear it down, and other than that you spend NO TIME dealing with the problems of discrimination, then you aren't saying "The only way to end discrimination," (against blacks and Latinos and native Americans), "is to end," (all forms of), "discrimination," you are ACTUALLY saying, "The only way to end discrimination," (once and for all), "is to end discrimination," (against whites, which the only remaining form of discrimination).

Look, if to disadvantage whites in the hiring process or the admissions process is "discrimination," the clear corollary is that non-whites are not suffering discrimination. Because if non-whites ARE suffering discrimination then affirmative action is STILL fulfilling it's original function: to level the playing field between whites and others with regard to schools attended or jobs filled.

So, if as everyone knows and has proved with scientific studies, hiring and admissions bias DOES still exist how could one POSSIBLY believe that affirmative action is discrimination? The only method I can see is defining discrimination down. What can we point to as an absolute 100% success in the last 50 years against discrimination?

Strange Fruit.

It's been a long time since a black community woke up to find one of their own hung from a tree for the crime of: looking at a white woman funny, sassing a white man, drinking from the wrong fountain, etc. What an accomplishment! We should give ourselves a round of applause that white men can no longer kill black men with impunity, certain that a jury of THEIR peers would never convict.

This is where the fainting violets amongst you might want to avert your eyes.

What a fucking GREAT accomplishment; "We don't do the shooting ourselves." Give yourself a pat on the back!

So, apropos of my comparison that in the conservative mind "Being made to look at a Democrat's placard equals Rosa Park's being told to go to the back of the bus," we can NOW add, "My kid not getting into law school because that slot went to a black kid equals that same black kid getting strung up in a tree and fucking LYNCHED."

Jesus Christ On A Crutch, what the FUCK is wrong with these people? How unbelievably self-centered do you have to be to not notice how unequal that equation is??

If you think affirmative action should be ended, I had better see some MAJOR equality work, Mother Teresa level work, or you're just a goddamn bigot.

OK, all safe for your tender virgin eyes again.

All told, racism in this country is alive and well and arguments to the contrary are woefully misled at best and deliberately disingenuous at worst. Affirmative action is necessary because Mrs. Pedant's students are far less likely to get into a good school or get a good job than the Wee Pedant (To Be Named Later), and she's not even born yet. If you're white, you are still enjoying the fruits of the racism of your forebears. You ain't off the hook yet, Skippy.

Bad grammar and gratuitous commas removed. I need an editor.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did You HONESTLY Think There Wouldn't Be a Red Sox Post???

OK, of COURSE I have to write about the Sox in the series. Now this doesn't mean you have to join me (although those of you in Colorado can just keep comments to yourself). But if you do, there's a how to manual on line now.

My favorite bit?

17. Finally, bitch about everything: critics, certain players who personally disappoint you, etc. They call it New England for a reason. People in England love to fucking complain. You are the newer, even more annoying model.
More instructions on the site. I love the Sox. I love the fact that with Jonathon Papelbon, Nuke LaLoosh lives for real. The guy is flakier than a pie baking contest.

But that doesn't change one little fact, that will get waaaaaaaay under any Red Sox Nation citizen's skin:

They're not the fucking underdogs anymore, idiot.

Seriously. My fellow fans have a lot invested in the David and Goliath story. And maybe a long time ago it was true. But it has been a long time since Boston was David and the New York (May They Rot In Hell) Yankees were Goliath.
No. These days the more apt description is King Kong versus Godzilla. Sure, we may not have the Steinbrenner radioactive breath, but the Sox are one big, mean, biplane swatting ape. So my money is on the Sox. Because, love them or not, they're the second most expensive team in baseball (how many teams down from number three could you pay for out of Boston and New York's combined salaries anyway).

And I'll root for them. But I'm not going to sit around talking about how hard it is for the boys to win this one. Having made it through the ALCS, they're already well ahead of the Rockies, who are also in one of those baseball paradoxes, in trouble BECAUSE of all the time off they've had (think pitchers, arms stiffening during a long at bat, actually getting TOO rested in the's like that).

So in the end, I and the little Red Sox fan to be born later (daughter or no, it's even odds her first words will be "Yankees Suck") want to say this to the world:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm A COMPLETE Econ Geek

In case you were wondering.

Over at the American Prospect I find this article about what the Nobel Prize winners for Economics have to say to people thinking about dealing with global warming. The quote that caused this post:

A key insight of mechanism design theory is that real-world economic transactions differ from an abstract "market" where a price falls from heaven and trade happens. When engaging in trade in the real world, economic actors (buyers and sellers), must abide by certain rules and/or norms (e.g. Is it ok to negotiate? Can you make more than one counter offer?). Mechanism design shows that the economic outcomes, including market efficiency, can be dependent upon those rules.
Thus all "free-markets" are not equal. In fact a marketplace does not exist independently from its rules and norms -- they one and the same. Saying that "the market works" to allocate resources depends on the specific market design and conditions. Thus (and contrary to much conservative rhetoric) economic theory -- of which mechanism design is a part -- does not say that markets always achieve an efficient outcome. Mechanism design can help us better understand when markets do perform well. And when markets no not reach an efficient outcome, mechanism design theory can suggest mechanisms that might work better.

So basically, the Nobel for Economics went to a bunch of guys who actually admit that markets don't always come up with the best possible answer and then explain WHY.

One of their key public policy insights:

The fact that people have an incentive to not reveal their true preferences has obvious important consequences for public policy. If people are asked if they want a new highway built, they might rightly worry that they will be asked to pick up some of the expense, and so might not fully reveal their true preference, opting instead to try to game the system as a free-rider. Economic research building from the Nobel winners’ work analyzed ways to get around this -- to provide a mechanism by which people would volunteer their true valuation of the highway, and thus better evaluate the merits of a project that would benefit an entire community. (The key of this particular mechanism is to link an individual’s valuation response to the decision to build or not, but to de-link the exact mount they would pay).

So how does this impact a global warming discussion? Again from the article:

This brings us to global warming and cap-and-trade policy. If we -- and by "we" I mean the entire planet -- ever take global warming seriously, we will have to adopt some mechanism for reducing carbon emissions. A real program will require nations to implement some form of regulation and/or market mechanism to reduce carbon. But what kind of mechanism? How do we design a program that reduces carbon across nations? Some nations will be harmed significantly by global warming, while others will be better able to adapt, but in a negotiation, countries will have incentives to hide their true valuations, just like in the used car example above. Can we design a mechanism that is more likely to get nations to commit to reducing global greenhouse gases?

This fits in with my own experience. When I lived in famously libertarian New Hampshire (Official Motto: Live Free Or Die; Unofficial Motto: Fuck Off And Leave Me Alone) everyone religiously recycled everything recyclable. Why? Had they taken leave of their (conservative) senses and embraced nanny state regulation??

Of course not. You paid $1 per 35 pounds of trash that went into the landfill. And for stuff you recycled? Nothing. Even that nominal fee, a buck, probably nowhere near the true societal "cost" of 35 pounds of banana peel laying around rotting, was enough to very powerfully motivate independent Granite Staters to recycle like a Berkeley liberal.

In Case Of Emergency...

For those of you wondering what might happen if the Deciderator decides to attack Iran, here's an insight into the military many of you might not have.

I want to emphasize that this is from a MILITARY journal, by two guys from the ARMY WAR COLLEGE, outlining reasons why senior officers acquiesce to bad though not unlawful orders and covering some options that these senior officers may not have thought of to short circuit yet another "strategeric" bungle by a guy who, experience shows, has no end of.

Since Skippy McDumbass is showing every sign, over and over, of having already decided to attack Iran and he's just trying (unsuccesfully) to pull the same snow job he did about Iraq, this little article is FAR from moot.

At Long Last, Have You No Decency?

As I was wandering afield I ran across this:

The Bush administration again has appointed a chief of family
planning programs at the
Department of Health and Human
who has been critical of contraception.

Words fail me. Utterly. I had had a low opinion of the Deciderator before, but I figured outside of ordering an airstrike on Iran, the amount of additional damage he could do to the executive branch's various departments was kinda limited (mainly owing to having done all the damage possible already).

And then I run across that crap. Seriously. Our theocratic incompetent Preznit has decided to put someone opposed to CONTRACEPTION in charge of HHS's Family Planning programs. Not someone critical of free contraceptive handouts. Not someone critical of providing minors with contraceptives without parental consent. No. Someone who:

In a 2001 article in The Washington Post, [appointee] Orr applauded a Bush proposal to stop requiring all health insurance plans for federal employees to cover a broad
range of birth control. "We're quite pleased, because fertility is not a disease," said Orr, then an official with the Family Research Council.
So what, exactly, is the Office of Family Planning going to do under this winger? Recommend paint colors to expectant parents? Offer advice on how to work that eighth baby into a busy work schedule?

There is no limit to the damage these guys can's going to take the next (Democratic) president 4 to 8 years just to UNDO these guys Bad Decision Making Theater, let alone do anything meaningful. Why ANY of them want the job at this point is BEYOND me.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Courage of Their Convictions

As I was watching the latest atrocity from the Deciderator, it occurred to me that there was SOMEthing larger going on. Something that I can write about without constantly lapsing into profanity. I might also note, as an aside, that watching that most recent press gaggle where Dana Perino was all but told no one in the room believed a word she was saying reminded me what a real press corps looks like. We'll probably get a robust, inquisitive, aggressive press on January 21, 2009, but not earlier.

Part of that could be because the Bush administration's blatant attempts to keep all the reins of power in this country begin more and more to look like the ruling military government in Myanmar's attempt to suppress dissent. Hell, the man even has his own private group of brownshirts ready to go in the wings. So I can certainly see why the press might feel they have to keep their pieholes shut until the Democrats are in the White House. Still, somewhat encouraging to see they are slowly regaining the courage of their convictions.

Which leads me to today's topic: why is it that so many of us lack the courage of our convictions? Bush says that Democracy is "terror's antidote" at least as long as we don't, you know, practice it here. Democracy is this terribly wonderful form of government that everyone aspires to and whose advance is mandated by the Almighty. And how do we HAVE to protect this vast, unstoppable JUGGERNAUT of a movement? Why, by abandoning all its precepts simply because a few people with a serious weed up their ass about us are hiding out in the Pakistani hinterlands.

Yes, Democracy is so precious that we have no choice but to abandon it faster than a porn starlet getting out of her clothes in order to protect it. Jesus H Christ. Do people even LISTEN to themselves? I mean, how can you get from here to there, conceptually, without your head actually bulging from the cognitive dissonance? Republicans have always sorta had a majority share in this idiocy, possibly one of the reasons I never really respected self-identified Republicans that much.

Don't get me wrong, liberals and progressives have their convictionless moments as well, and I sure you can think of a few, but you know what? I'm not gonna list them here and create some sort of "pox on both their houses" false equivalency when Republicans in general, and conservatives in particular, clearly display the lion's share of this behavior, and certainly the two most important and significant examples of it.

Tossing out everything but the "pretty packaging" of Democracy because they're all scared is the first. Damn near bankrupting the country in the name of security from Communism is the other.

Let's get down to brass tacks. Either capitalism is the best way of maximizing growth and opportunity and thus will outpace any competing economic systems, OR communism was so powerful that we needed HUGE arsenals of very expensive nuclear weapons delivery and defense systems because they were going to bury us. You can NOT have it both ways.

The same folks talking up capitalism's advantages seemed AWFULLY concerned about communism. Could it be that deep down, they knew they were screwing over the proletariat and if the rubes ever figured out their place in the system (the marks) there'd be hell to pay? I know there are some of you out there nodding. I would gently suggest not.

What they were, and are, is frightened. Pitifully, pants-wettingly, paralytically FRIGHTENED. It's not that they don't have these convictions, it's that they don't have courage. They are fundamentally convinced that some daddy-figure must bail them out. It's why conservatives are fanatically convinced Reagan won the Cold War. To believe otherwise, to believe that Reagan simply had the great good fortune to be President at about the time Levi's Blue Jeans were mopping up the last dregs of communism would have meant that NO ONE WAS PROTECTING THEM. Oh, the horror.

They even elect cowards, and call them resolute. Here's a little hint guys...Bush is a coward. His behavior on 9/11 should have shown you that. Or maybe you should have noticed that he has all the hallmarks of the bully/coward: obsessed with loyalty, peeved when questioned, punitive when crossed, derisive of subordinates, and unwilling to admit mistakes (because to admit them would break the ENTIRE facade of power). No matter how you slice it, we will stay in Iraq until he's gone for one simple reason: he's scared of being seen as a loser. For pities sake, how many president's have never spoken to a SINGLE hostile audience? He's a coward, and we're all stuck in his pathology, a pathology he shares with most Conservatives.

I guess in the end, they think, "Better to give freedom up than admit that I was ALWAYS in danger."

They next time you hear someone say, "I don't have anything to hide so why should I worry," just substitute, "I'm a small minded, petty coward," in your head. The key is not to let them have power. The only bumper sticker I've been tempted to put on a car read, "Frightened People Do Stupid Things."


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Something Stephen Fry and I Have in Common

We started blogging in September 2007. Really.

At some point in the near future I will comment on the Deciderator's decision that we don't torture. We torture, but if we do it by definition it's not torture.

An aborted post or two has convinced me that I'm not ready to write coherently about it. Look over all the previous posts. Eliminate all the words that aren't "fuck". String the remaining words together. That's what a post on this would look like at the moment. Even I have an anger circuit breaker and it's tripped.

So go looking where I looked.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Rush Limbaugh, Hypocrisy and...Oh, who the fuck cares? The man's a MORON.

So, if you were exceptionally careful the last few days you might have noticed Rush Limbaugh calling any soldier who disagrees with the Deciderator a "phony soldier". Transcript, unedited, unredacted and unaltered of the pertinent section:
RUSH: It's not possible intellectually to follow these people.
CALLER: No, it's not. And what's really funny is they never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.
RUSH: The phony soldiers.
CALLER: Phony soldiers. If you talk to any real soldier and they're proud to serve, they want to be over in Iraq, they understand their sacrifice and they're willing to sacrifice for the country.

And I thought about blogging about it. About how pointing out this fat fuck and his polynoidal cyst have, oh, I dunno, FOUR FUCKING YEARS less service on active duty than I do. About how every time one of these right wing blowhards gets up and claims that all "real Americans" stand with them, and then try to claim that they aren't saying someone like me, who clearly DOESN'T stand with them, isn't a real American they advance the date I will even CONSIDER voting for a Repub off another damn decade. About the rank hypocrisy of the right's politicians calling's ad "disgusting" and the chorus of cricket chirps about this one.

And I though to myself, Fuck It. I just do not have the time, the mental energy, or the patience to blog coherently about this particular case. The speed with which a post would devolve into nonsense as I banged my head on the keyboard repeatedly would be remarkable.

This incident simply reinforces my thinking that compromise is impossible. I seriously can claim that if Rush Limbaugh were bleeding to death by the side of the one to call 911 but me, no one to see what happened...I would SIT AND WATCH HIM BLEED TO DEATH. I'd tell him exactly why his life was pumping away while I watched. If he begged, I'd laugh.

But then, I'm bloodier minded than most of you. As the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Pedant has said on a number of occasions, the creepiest thing she knows about me is this: I spent my time on active duty in a line artillery battery with nuclear capability and made a conscious decision that I could start a nuclear war if in circumstances where the order was lawful and appropriate*. The fact that I decided, cold-bloodedly, that I could destroy the world under the proper conditions bothers her. I can't understand why.

What it means, along with my tendency to hold grudges slightly less long than the half life of lead, is that I really could just watch Rush die, and never think of more of it than if I were cutting my fingernails. Something about that man, and Ann Coulter, simply rubs me so much the wrong way that I would gladly sell tickets and eat popcorn at a gladiatorial match between them (my money's on the fat fuck over the stick figure whore by the way). In fact, much like a Yankees/Mets World Series, I'd be rooting for injuries, preferably fatal ones.

I'm not looking for praise or horror. I simply say this to illustrate how gobsmackingly TIRED I am of the constant verbal and written diarrhea promulgated by this guy. At some points words simply fail me, I realize how unutterably different a world view I have from right-wing true believers and I simply cannot tolerate an open-minded attitude to my fellow Americans on the right. I'm tired of even trying to understand them and I wish they would all just GO AWAY. I'm done with them.

*For strategic, foreign policy and military theory reasons too numerous to go into, by FAR the likeliest route to Nuclear Holocaust during the Cold War was the deployment of tactical nuclear warheads, by some unit just like the one I was assigned to. My wartime position in the Fulda Gap just about ENSURED that, had a nuclear war broken out in the years 1989 to 1991, I had a, say, 1 in 50 chance of being the "guy who started it."

Bipartisanship Explained

By Tom Tomorrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

S-CHIP Follies, or, Mommy Is A Democrat Because Republicans Hate Children

Heard something today that truly brought to mind the term schadenfruede. Mitch McConnell (R-Lackey), confronted with a bill that would radically choose to fully fund the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP), was quoted today on NPR: "Democrats are counting down the hours, so they can tee up the election ads, saying Republicans don't like kids."

To which I reply:

You are 100% Fucking-A right, Skippy. Even if you concede that Republicans opposed to S-CHIP are opposed for some deep philosophical reason, such as chronic diseases will toughen up the coming generations, it's still the case that you're getting it shoved back down your throat. Why? Oh, let me it for Willie Horton? Maybe it's "Al Gore claims he invented the Internet," or maybe it's turning triple-amputee Max Cleland into some kind of wimp because he didn't support the Deciderator in Iraq.

If you're getting shoved down your fucking throat that you hate kids, it's only sweet sweet karmic payback for the decades of sludge, muck, fecal matter and slime tossed by Repub after Repub. He who lives by the false innuendo, dies by the false innuendo, motherfucker.

There seems to be some kind of trope running through the Republican party, that despite running the country into the ground while enjoying total control of the Legislative, Judicial and of course the Dictatorial...I mean, Executive...branches, somehow they're PUT UPON. I was once told by someone (a Bush Supporter) that she felt hostility directed towards her for her sign supporting Bush in her lawn. A lawn in Mequon, WI.* For a moment, I simply couldn't understand what the FUCK she was talking about.

Slowly, it dawned on me. Other encounters with known Republicans (don't worry I have a list...when the Revolution comes Guantanamo will be FULL, baby) suddenly made sense. Republicans think they're being unacceptably put upon when even ONE person around them disagrees, no matter how politely.

Seriously. Somewhere in the conservative mindset lies the equation "Having to look at a Democratic candidate's placard"="Rosa Parks being told to go to the back of the bus."

It's why, despite controlling EVERY aspect of business, and government most of the time, and the military all of the time, they find it INTOLERABLE that large universities are havens of liberal control. They don't even NOTICE that they control all the other levers of society. The fact that there is even the SLIGHTEST dissent drives them bugnuts.

So, I say to Mitch: Cry me a fucking river, asshole. I hope the Democrats run an ad every week in every district that has a congresscritter that voted against S-CHIP, and every state with a Senator that voted against it (actually a short list, since the Senate, unlike the House, actually has the votes to override Bushie's veto) from now until election day. Just so I NEVER have to hear, "Children are so precious to us that we must insert your favorite totalitarian impulse here," out of one of their PIEHOLES ever again.

*For those of you who've never lived in Milwaukee, Mequon is an affluent suburb, north of Milwaukee. There are few places more Republican than Mequon. Affirmative action consists of busing in kids who don't have their own trust funds, so their betters can see them occasionally. The only place more Republican in Milwaukee than Mequon, is Waukesha. And that's only because Waukesha adds the religiously fanatic to the overwhelmingly self-absorbed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3 NOT taking up all of my time. Unfortunately.

The Lovely And Talented Mrs. Pedant is planning on getting it for me for an anniversary present, which goes to show that I married well. As a result, I am afraid I would seem a insist on getting it right now. RIGHT NOW!!! OMFG I waaannntt!!!!

I mean, look, the LATMP (Lovely And Talented Mrs. Pedant) accepts my video game thing. She's helping me by planning on getting the BIGGEST crack rock available for an addict this year. And yet...

I do not...YET...have a copy of Bioshock. Why? Because I figure one insane obsession at a time. Except I ALSO don't have a copy of Halo 3. Which fundamentally means that my insane obsession is a free floating vaporous apparition, coked to the gills and cruising for hookers in Vegas. World Of Warcraft should fill the void, but First Person Shooter-y goodness awaits.

Just running around farming adamantite seems...tame...compared to a no holds barred grudge match between Master Chief (me) and the Covenant's insane triumvirate. I long to debate the finer points of politics with them, primarily with an assault rifle and plasma grenades, but occasionally with dual SMGs. Even my coming apotheosis as a Level 70 Hunter can not POSSIBLY compare with mowing down thousands of gibbering panicky Covenant Grunts.

So I am at loose ends at the moment. Those of you who have Halo 3 (you know who you are, assholes!) can just keep it to yourself. And the first person to blow the story line for me gets a frag shoved where the sun don't shine. At least for a short time...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Email That Started It All

Below is the email that led to "Blog, blog, BLOG" requests...

"Why Is Compromise Impossible?"

Because of batshit arrogant crap like this I find in Talking Points Memo: "Schlozman [a former US Attorney and head of several departments within Justice at various times] has further been accused of politicizing the hiring at the Civil Rights Division, famously commenting that he was replacing Democratic hires with "good Americans." It's this activity which the Department's joint internal investigation, led by the inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility, is probing."

You know why it's war to the knife, Repubs? YOU made it that way. Because of your "I don't wanna pay taxes, I don't wanna pay taxes, wah, wah, WAH!" temper tantrum, there are near 4000 dead US Soldiers in Iraq, tens of thousands maimed, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted (including
several billion with a B in CASH simply LOST...these huge pallets of currency seemed to just "grow legs"), Iran turned into THE major regional power and now the Justice Department may require an actual PURGE...the kind with firing squads and last get rid of the Young Republican Frat Boy Apparatchiks YOU'VE put there.

You'll be lucky if we don't just
saw off the theocrat South and let it slowly devolve into a third world nation with crappy sanitation and babies running around naked with swollen stomachs based on its stated hostility to the scientific method as their engineers and doctors begin to think natural laws are open to church input.

If you don't understand the difference between George W Bush's corrupt, mendacious, TOXIC administration and mere doofery (a la
Jimmy Carter) in a government, if you GENUINELY don't GET that this is one of the two worst adminstrations in history* (that's a FOOTNOTE guys, how many rants are annotated?) and you still believe "They're all the same, government is just like this, both parties do it" then sit down and STOP VOTING. The adults have to clean up the mess from your tantrum and they'd appreciate you NOT BOTHERING THEM WITH YOUR INANE WHINING while they work.

Until the last presidential election I still harbored hope that there were some
ADULT Republicans we could work with, but apparently they've either left the country, became Democrats or Democratic Leaning Independants or just had a total ball-ectomy and have given in to the Bushies special brand of religion and hatred for the Constitution's civil rights provisions. No matter why, there IS no Republican, currently carrying water of ANY sort politically, that doesn't richly deserve contempt at this point, and who shouldn't be run out of office with extreme prejudice (I'm talking to YOU, Snowe, Smith and Sununu). Why is there no compromise? Because you people killed any possibility. Negotiating with you just gets us Lieberman. Time to get nasty.

*Depending on whether you think the Civil War was worse for the country than a total loss of geopolitical authority and
"destruction by neglect" of the all volunteer military and hence our strategic position in the world...James Buchanan is neck and neck with Dub. Buchanan was worse for the country inside the country, Bush was worse for the country in the WORLD. You pays your money and you makes your pick. Given that the Civil War at least produced ONE worthy outcome, emancipation, I've gonna pin the medal on our current Idiot Manchild President. But if you think it's Buchanan, well, I won't derogate the choice.

Congressional Oversight Kills

Apparently, according to our inestimable Intelligence "Czar" Mike McConnell during testimony in hearings regarding FISA, a law so stringent and unreasonable that the number of times the authorities have been denied a warrant during the entire post-Watergate period can be counted on ONE HAND, has informed congress that holding hearings regarding the law (which has been on public record, since, oh...WATERGATE) would ensure that "some Americans are going to die".

Whoa. And here I thought the Congress was PART of government, and proper oversight was, ya know, part of the JOB. Silly me. In the era of the Deciderator, you shut up and hope the Republican Apparatchiks never notice you.

I mean the only place McConnell has EVER discussed FISA is the sacrosanct, highly classified, Top Secret (Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence) forums of....the El Paso TIMES?!?!?

Oh my stars and garters! I can't BELIEVE we're risking the public by discussing FISA in CONGRESS rather than the El FUCKING Paso Times, where these things belong.

This goddamn administration makes my teeth itch.

So...since Mikey-baby will no doubt get want he wants, what SHOULD we change the national anthem to, now that "Land of the free, and the home of the brave" is self-evidently inaccurate? Comments welcome.

Monday, September 17, 2007

So You All Talked Me Into It

All right, all right. Friends, and not a few victims of my righteous rants, have talked me into this. From time to time I have been known to send out emails, usually after I've seen something online that makes me crazy. Some of them have verged on the poetic, if I do say so myself, as long as your definition of "poetic" includes "obscenity laced with a lot of caps".

Assuming that for some reason, far be it from me to fathom, you don't already know me, let me tell you a bit about myself. I have a Bachelor's in Anthropology and a Master's in Business Administration. Try and wrap your brain around THAT one. I'm a former combat arms officer in the United States Army, which means that my left of center politics are somewhat unusual and my penchant for potty language is endemic. So, if scatology and blasphemic utterances bother you: Stop fucking reading this goddamn post, fact clear the fuck out right now and never return. Nothing makes me crazier than someone who thinks torture is just fine but gets the vapors when confronted with four letter words.

Other than that, I'm a Red Sox fan. I like baseball and could care less about football. An obsession with football and George W Bush are two of the many things Texas owes the rest of us for. I read, mostly geeky SF, so that may pop up from time to time, not to mention a fairly toxic videogame obsession. And as a card carrying member of Gen X, I'm not above the occasional pop culture reference.

So there you have a few things you might see descending order of frequency: Posts on politics from a left of center perspective, a fair amount of "So and so is an overrated hack of an author" or "Let me tell you about why Halo 3 is teh timesuck," and appreciation of bad 80s movies.

Oh, and if you want to comment, feel free. I'll feel free to call you a fucktard if you approve of anything Bush has done, up to and including his latest bowel movement, but have at it. I've always wanted to find a Repub who's willing to stand up in some forum other than Dittoheadland. Surprise me.