Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just boys having some fun

I can think of few things more disgusting than the rape and sexual assault of females. But, as Pinko Feminist Hellcat points out, there really is something more disgusting--the tacit approval of rape and sexual assault, and the blaming of victims. The cases presented here remind me, yet again, how outrageously irresponsible so many parents are, and how scornful our culture is of females.

In my practice, I frequently hear of girls being sexually (and physically) assaulted, and their parents do nothing, sometimes because "she didn't want me to." The schools do nothing, and often, the police do nothing, but many parents do not even bother to go to the police, or--if they do--they do not demand justice.

Old Montreal

We spent the day in Old Montreal today, and I'm not sure I've ever seen a more attractive urban area. There are a few buildings that were strongly reminiscent of Paris, but the overall look and atmosphere still does not make me think of the French city. Rather, Old Montreal has a look and a feel all its own. The weather remains very cold and sometimes windy, and late this afternoon, it began raining again. We visited some churches, hung around the old port, and just enjoyed strolling through the colorful streets.

The street lights have already been decorated for Christmas, which is really jarring, and there are a few Christmas decorations on buildings. We did some Christmas shopping, which is a vacation tradition since we always travel in the fall. It is a bit awkward to be toting hats, gloves, scarves, extra layers, and raincoats, and we have heard more than one Montreal resident complain about the weather. My cold entered phase 2 today, which means that I am no longer totally miserable, but I know that the bitter cold and precipitation here isn't helping.

Monday, October 30, 2006

It's expensive, but the service is bad

That would be an accurate description of the bus service in Montreal. How we came to learn this is unfortunate. We decided to go to the Botanical Gardens, so we strolled to the Metro station, only to discover that the trains were not running, due to "complications." "Take the bus" the woman told us. That sounded sensible until we tried to take the bus. The bus did not come. And did not come. When it finally did come, we had to pay a lot of money. Then we had to transfer to another bus, which never came, so we walked and walked and walked in the freezing weather.

The Botanical Gardens were not in bloom, but there was plenty to see, nonetheless. Both the Japanese Garden and the Chinese Garden are beautiful, especially the Chinese Garden. We didn't make it to any of the greenhouses, to our dismay, but we did see a wonderful First Nations garden, and we visited the insectarium. I could have spent the entire day there, looking at the social insect exhibits and the scarab beetles. This was an amazing museum.

But the best was yet to come. As the sun set, we walked along a lantern-lit path to the annual festival, "The Magic of Lanterns." This year's theme is "Chinese Celebrations." "The Magic of Lanterns" is too stunning to even describe. Hundreds of lanterns, made in Shanghai and shipped by boat to Montreal, represent everything from acrobats to penguins. Most of the lanterns are placed over water, so the view is of both the lanterns and their reflections.

It is hard for me to get a feel for Montreal, and I'm sure that part of the reason is that I have been so ill since I arrived here. It is hard for me to function with this cold, and cold medicine is doing very little for me.

But I think there is more to it than that. All that I have ever heard is that Montreal is "like Paris." Not. Yes, many people speak French here, but that is about the only similarity I have found so far. Montreal is lovely, but not in the way that Paris is. What could be?

We have encountered some odd stairways here; they seem to have been designed for snakes rather than people. There is also a scarcity of trash receptacles (but a minimum of litter), a bigger scarcity of pharmacies, and no right of way for pedestrians. The trees are beautiful, and many of the apartment buildings are very attractive.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Greetings, dear readers, from Montreal

After a very rough day of flying--our plane could not take off because of the weather in our initial destination, Philadelphia; our flight from Philadelphia was delayed an hour (that worked in our favor), our luggage was not put on our flight, and someone at Louis Armstrong International failed to re-lock my luggage--we arrived, much later than anticipated, in Montreal last night.

During the flight, I came down with a cold. Despite bombarding my body with a variety of substances designed to halt the illness in its early stages, the cold just kept escalating. By the time we landed, I had a sore throat and annoying sinuses. This morning, we awoke to low temperatures, harsh wind and rain. The snow flurries came later. I suppose I would have gotten a cold, anyway. I now have some body aches and sneezing, and am taking it easy and ingesting a lot of cold medicine. Getting sick on a vacation is one of my worst fears, and here I am.

We are staying in a lovely little hotel in the Latin Quarter; here is our street. Since the weather was so bad, we thought today would be a good day to visit Montreal's underground city. Here is a tip: If you go to Montreal, skip the underground city. Yes, it is the world's larget underground shopping area, but it is totally boring. The food court is small and undistinguished, almost all of the shops are clothing shops, and they are almost all standard American mall stores. The one bright spot was an upper level restroom, done in a wonderful contemporary design with gleaming stainless steel and beautiful tile designs.

And speaking of restrooms, it had been a long time since I had flown out of Louis Armstrong (we usually fly out of the Biloxi/Gulfport airport), and it was enjoyable to have the Louis Armstrong International Airport restroom experience. The restrooms there are lovely-smelling, shiny clean, and--best of all--have constant New Orleans r&b piped in.

After we emerged from Montreal's experiment in underground tackiness, we visited the lovely Musee des Beaux-Arts, where we saw a lot of Canandian art, including Inuit art, some contemporary art, some French paintings--mostly Impressionist--and a fascinating exhibit of Germaine Krull's photography. Krull, born in Germany, lived in many places, including Thailand and India. The Montreal exhibit showcases several periods of her photograhpy, but most of the silver gelatin prints are of artists, dancers and actors in Monte Carlo, where Krull was the official photojournalist for the casino for several years. Her photographs, many of which are engagingly dreamy in tone, fall into the photojournalism-as-art category.

There is a museum of contemporary art in Montreal, and--here is a strange fact--it is the only major contemporary art museum in all of Canada.

Friday, October 27, 2006

NBC changes "Shut Up & Sing" to "Shut Up"

According to distributor Harvey Weinstein, NBC is refusing to air a promotional spot for the Dixie Chicks' new documentary, "Shut Up & Sing," because it is "disparaging of President Bush." The ad, which can be seen here, contains clips from the documentary that are familiar to many people. Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines tells a London audience that she is ashamed that Bush is from Texas, and Maines also pronounces Bush as dumb.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday cat blogging--demonic edition

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Once again, I need to know what century we are in

Nancy Rapoport, posting at Feminist Law Professors (a blog you need to read), writes about comments that were made on Dallas Blog, as part of a discussion of a debate between Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and her opponent, Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Check this out:

Radnofsky has always seemed to be very full of herself; maybe that's why, though she is married [to someone, who is nameless and basically invisible in this campaign.....], she still appears to use her maiden name.

Where to start? How can someone "appear" to use her maiden name? And then there is the fact that the phrase "maiden name" is about as offensively sexist a term you could utter. But beyond these matters, it is stunning that the reasons this commenter comes up with for Radnofsky's use of her family name are that her husband's name is useless to her, and she is "full of herself." It couldn't possibly be that she uses her family name because it is her name, no? And using the commenter's own "reasoning," it follows that men, the vast majority of whom use their family names, are all "full of themselves."

I will never forget the time that a friend and I were discussing a colleague's marriage. I'm going to make these names up so as not to identify the actual people, but the conversation went something like this:

"Her name is Mary Ford Benson now."

"So is he now Richard Ford Benson?"

"Well, no. She just added his name to hers."

"Then why didn't he add her name to his?"

"But Diane, he has had that name his entire life!"

"And she hasn't had 'Ford' her entire life?!"

"Well, I just like tradition..."

This woman, by the way, was an identified "liberal" and "feminist." But she was absolutely clueless that the woman in question had just as much right to her name as the man had to his.

Hutchison, by the way, identifies with feminism, so it just goes to show you how that word gets bandied around. It is evil one moment, and the next moment, it is something that even a Texas Republican can claim.

A nasty by-product of the Bush administration

Because Cheney, his puppet Bush, and their minions are so dishonest, so blind, so greedy, and so totally lacking in character, it has become easy for liberals of all stripes to want to do anything to get rid of them or to compensate for them. I am all for that, but I know a price will be paid. A big part of that price will be women's rights and gay rights, which I expect to be shoved aside to some extent in order to tend to "important things." And of course, the suffering of non-humans will remain something only "those animal rights people" are interested in (even Al Gore somehow mangaged to forget about factory farming when he stepped forward with his latest book and film on the environmental crisis).

I could possibly be tempted to vote for a Democratic ticket, but it would have to be some ticket. Two white males would be the kiss of death for me. Now Obama is being pranced around as a likely candidate, but he is unacceptable to me because he does not support all civil rights for gay citizens.

So-called liberals have shown us what cowards (and often, what racist and sexist people) they are in the past six years. I think we can expect more of the same.

Blogging to slow down

I am taking a vacation, so blogging--at least about political issues--will be sporadic for a while.

Governor Blanco stands up to Feds--Round 1 goes to Louisiana

In July, Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco filed a lawsuit against the federal government, in an attempt to stop a scheduled offshore lease sale. The suit alleged that the federal government's environmental assessment of the sale failed to include damage done by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Blanco had already threatened to stop any lease sales until the federal government began paying royalties to Louisiana, something it has never done.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

U.S. seeks to restrict attorney-client communication at Guantanamo Bay

Inmates at Guantanamo Bay will have significantly less communication with their attorneys if the U.S. government has its way. Government officials claim that attorneys are providing prisoners with "inflammatory information," e.a., reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

I have Moved On

I have always been uncomfortable with the philosophy behind MoveOn.org's existence. I didn't think we should "move on" after the 2000 election was stolen. I have received emails from the organization for a long time, and am usually too busy to read them. Today, however, I was able to take my name off MoveOn mailing list and take a stand at the same time. I received two MoveOn emails in a row from Sen. Obama, and when I removed my name, the reason I gave was that I support only candidates who work for the civil rights of all people.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Civic organization hacks into Chicago voter database

The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project has successfully hacked into the 1.35 million-Chicago voter database, it was announced last week. Social security numbers, birthdates, and other information was revealed, and the hackers say they could easily change voters' addresses or change someone's voting status from active to inactive. Hackers could also change the location of voters' polling places.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Some thoughts on--and questions about--"Carnivale"

When "Carnivale" appeared on HBO in 2004, I thought it was the most interesting show I had ever seen on television. But it confused me, and I had trouble taking in all the plot details and the barrage of symbols. Though the show mesmerized me, it also frustrated me and made me feel a bit stupid.

I waited and waited for the second season, then forgot about it. Then, later, I tuned in and discovered I'd missed the first two episodes. I decided to watch them via On Demand, but managed to miss it again. Missing five minutes of "Carnivale" sets you back hopelessly, so I had nothing to do but wait until the second season was available, in toto, via On Demand. When it became available, I watched the first four episodes, but waited too long to watch the next four (our On Demand system has since changed, giving us warnings about how long a show will be available). So I rented the last eight episodes.

"Carnivale" was so hard to follow (for me, anyway), and to watch it with such lengthy delays between seasons and episodes, as I did, made matters much worse. Last night, I watched the unintentional last episode (the show was abruptly cancelled after two seasons), and came away more confused than I was before.

If any of you is a "Carnivale" fan (and I am very much a fan--I love this show), perhaps you can help me out. Why did Sofie kill Jonesy? (Was it because she knew she had a mission and could not return to the Carnivale?) Why did the corn die when Sofie touched Brother Justin in the corn field? Was Sofie's being named the Omega a feminist statement?

"Carnivale" was originally conceived as three "books," each lasting two seasons. So we were treated to Book I, but we will never see Books II and III. War and nuclear testing were on the horizon, but all that is never to be.

If you have never seen "Carnivale," I highly recommend you rent both seasons (twelve episodes each). It is one of the best shows I have ever seen. Though discussions of the show always tend to center around the Knights Templar (something else I know little about), I think Gnosticism is the major framework for the story, which takes place in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. The characters in the Carnivale are unforgettable, as are Brother Justin and his sister Iris (played by Amy Madigan). Some of the episodes are visually stunning, the soundtrack is very effective, and the writing is first-rate.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some officials may not be that upset over a North Korean nuclear test

What doesn't make the news (for example, that Senate investigators recently accused Grover Norquist of major fraud) is more significant than what does, these days. Think Progress points out today that a little bombshell buried in a Washington Post story has gone unnoticed: "Some senior officials even said they were quietly rooting for a [North Korean nuclear] test, believing that would finally clarify the debate within the administration."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

How much email is "a lot"?

That's a question for Chris Wallace.

Bush administration takes extraordinary measure to keep us safe

By protecting us from Vitamin B.

The U.S. government has banned Vegemite. No kidding.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What a relief

To learn it is okay, in the 21st Century, to call women men because Webster's says it is okay. Or so I was told by Radar.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Instead of condoning the horrible lives of factory farm turkeys, you can adopt one

Farm Sanctuary is conducting its annual Adopt-A-Turkey campaign, and I urge everyone to adopt one. Last year, I adopted Pumpkin, and this year, I have adopted Sunflower. You can read about the project here, and you can adopt a turkey here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Maybe if someone had blown up the hotel...

Today on NPR's "All Things Considered," while E.J. Dionne was suggesting that Democrats vote more than once, Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, decided to use the film, Lost In Translation to make an analogy. An important aspect of this construction was Lowry's declaration that "nothing happened" in the film, and therefore he dislikes it.

I am not asking anyone to like Lost In Translation (though I did); there are reasons to not like it. But to say that nothing happened in it just goes to show you how far you can get in journalism and still be a clueless yahoo.

Let's see...two marriages disintegrate, a long-running film storyline barrier is broken when a middle-aged man develops a close friendship with a young babe but decides that sex is forbidden, the funniest prostitution scene in film history takes place, an actor whose role is an important symbol in the film turns in a memorable comic performance. Nothing much happens, I guess, if you are the car crash type.

Quote of the week

"Democrats will want to vote as many times as possible, legally and otherwise."
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist, today on NPR's "All Things Considered"

In fairness, I should put this quotation into context. Dionne did not mean that Democrats will actually desire to vote more than once. He said it with a somewhat different meaning, as in "You'll want to turn left when you get to the light." But putting the remark in its rightful context makes it only slightly less distasteful.

Friday cat blogging--sister tete-a-tete

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This, horrific as it is, speaks for itself

In the current issue of Harper's, Ken Silverstein has a feature called "The Kids Are Far Right," about the American conservative student movement. Silverstein attended the banquet of the National Conservative Student Conference, and across the table from him, a young man from Alabama described an alleged late-term abortion procedure in which the doctor delivers the fetus intact, then drives a knitting needle-like object into its skull. The young man then talked about how he wished he could rescue these fetuses.

Seated next to the author was another young man, this one from Oregon, who described how he and his friends like to have fun--bunny bashing. The kids borrow someone's pickup truck and take along some cudgels. When a jackrabbit freezes in the truck's high beams, someone hops out of the truck and bludgeons it to death. They then take the rabbit's head off and impale it onto the truck's antenna, leaving it for the truck's owner to find in the morning.

Why is Congress even bothering to pass laws?

George W. Bush has already made it clear that he may ignore parts of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act. To be exact, he has listed two dozens provisions in the act which he may trash, including the budget requirements for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

New wrinkles in the Foley case

Suddenly Congresswoman Heather Wilson of New Mexico, who sits on the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's caucus (Mark Foley's former project), is facing charges that her husband inappropriately touched an adolescent boy and that she hid the evidence. According to The Raw Story, three days after Wilson became New Mexico's Secretary of the Department of Children, Youth and Families, she removed a working file containing the allegation against her husband. She denied moving the file, then apparently reversed herself.

Also, in 2001, Wilson began a three-year term on the U.S. House of Represenatives Page Board, but says she never heard anything about Foley's behavior until recently, when an ABC News story prompted Foley to resign from Congress. Bear in mind that practically everyone else within lunch delivery distance of the Page Board knew about Foley.

Then there is the matter of the priest. After Foley said he had been sexually abused by a priest, there was a loud demand for him to reveal the priest's name. That man is the Rev. Anthony Mercieca, who denies that his relationship with Foley was in any way sexual, but who just happend to be sitting naked in a sauna with him. Now, I realize that men sit naked in saunas, but priests sitting naked in saunas with 13-year-old boys is quite another thing.

Foley claims that Mercieca massed his nude body. Mercieca, though he denies that anything sexual occurred (and he may be using definitions from the Bill Clinton dictionary of sexual terminology), also maintains that he was in a drug-induced stupor during one night when there was an "incident that might have gone too far." In other words, Foley's accusations are credible.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Minnesota taxi drivers seek religious exemptions

It's hard enough to get a taxi in some places if you are not Caucasion, but it's becoming even harder, in some cities, to get one if you do not fit the driver's religious ideal of a passenger. For example, in London, two Muslim taxi drivers were fined for refusing to pick up a blind customer. The same thing has happened repeatedly in Melbouren. The reason? The customer's seeing-eye dog was "unclean." In Minneapolis, Muslim taxi drivers have refused to pick up a transgendered customer. And throughout Minnesota, taxi drivers are seeking a two-tiered system that would permit them to refuse to pick up certain fares because of their own religious beliefs.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Moving toward "niggardly" territory...

Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer has apologized for saying that his Republican opponent, Michael Steele, has "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party."

Steele took offense, saying that "It goes to just the sheer craziness of some in the Democratic Party who think they can use racist terms and infer things about me just because I'm an African American Republican."

No, Michael--it goes to show the sheer madness of deciding Hoyer cannot use a perfectly appropriate word in the context in which he used it. Hoyer, in my opininon, is a wimp for apologizing.

A sex shop near a boat shop in Tangipahoa Parish?

How dare they...

"We want to send a message to those people that Tangipahoa is a safe place to bring your family, build your home, set your children in school because we're not going to tolerate this type of business," said Pastor Lewis Husser with the Christian Community Network.

Right...I forgot about that. Won't tolerate it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

California Hispanics told it is a crime to vote

A letter, written in Spanish, has gone out to some Hispanic citizens of California, telling them that it is a crime for immigrants to vote, and that voting could cause them to be jailed or deported. The letter also warns that the state has a computer system that can track down the names of all Hispanic voters.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Finally, the WTA addresses a major problem

When top players constantly withdraw from almost every tournament, there is a serious problem. Finally, it is being addressed.

Your fall-down laugh of the day

George W. Bush has declared this week "National Character Counts Week."

It is always a good idea to demonstrate to the children what character is. However, that would probably preclude blowing frogs up with firecrackers, driving drunkenly through your closed garage door, not showing up for military duty, committing insider trading, lying compulsively, executing record numbers of people, appointing liars and rapists to high government offices, poisoning the air and water, manipulating funds so that thousands of African women and babies die, systematically removing the civil rights of citizens, and blowing up a country that poses no threat to our own.

Just a thought.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dueling infidelities--the latest Republican plan

According to a short piece in The Raw Story, those in Washington who think Newt Gingrich would make a good presidential candidate believe that his marital infidelity is a "nothing burger," especially in light of a possible opposition from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who "whose hubby had her own problems she'd rather forget."

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Every aspect of life has been affected by Katrina

Some of you may recall that we took in some foster kittens that were rescued from a feral colony and turned out to be tame. Under normal conditions, someone else would have fostered the rescued kittens, but because of the massive post-hurricane rescue mission, kitten foster families were already very busy. And under normal conditions, the kittens would have probably remained in their foster home for a few weeks. But these kittens have been here for three and a half months because there have been no adoption cages available. This, too, is because of Katrina.

Finally, we understand, some cages will be available at two retail outlets within the next few days. Of course, in the meantime, we have become very attached to the kittens, and it will be very sad when they go. As much trouble as they are--and they are a lot of trouble--I hate to see them go because now I know them so well and am so fond of them. We are the only humans they have ever known and they are attached to us, too. They are wonderful kittens and will make great pets, but I will miss them a lot.

Then there is the matter of some other, less attractive, creatures--the pine bark beetles. After Katrina, thousands of dead, dying and weak trees were left on the ground, and they attracted large colonies of every type of pine bark beetle known to Louisiana. They ate their way through the wooded area in our front yard, and totally consumed the pines in our back yard, and in our neighbors' yards. The good news is that we now have sun in our back yard (we have very little in the front, which makes gardening difficult), and we can also clearly see the specimen trees back there, which include a wild magnolia and a very attractive palm tree. It is also easier to see the camellias and azaleas. Two poorly performing hydrangeas have also been transplanted back there

We have also created a bed where we will grow daylilies, a large ginger, and some other perennials, yet to be determined. Soon we will edge it and add some stepping stones leading from our deck. Eventually, the bed should look very nice, but who knew we were going to suddenly have this bare space in the back? Alongside the deck, we plan to put some Louisiana irises where there used to be a stand of bamboo. If the bamboo comes back, that's okay, too.

We had no way of knowing how many activities would be affected by Katrina, or that there would be this many changes occurring in our environment.

Almost 14 months after Katrina, people live in trailers--if they are lucky

Those empty trailers everyone used to talk about that are parked in Mississippi are still parked there. Some say there are more now. And there are a lot of homeless people who have never gotten FEMA trailers and are living at relatives' houses or wherever they can in other states. The Louisiana Recovery Authority's "The Road Home" program is just that. People who were forced to gut their houses or sell their houses (because they insisted on doing things like eating) and who have moved to other states will not get a dime. And while it makes sense that a program called "The Road Home" would provide money to people who are willing to return to Louisiana, it also makes sense that people who were forced out of state by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should get some type of compensation, even if they have no plans to come back or cannot come back. But those people are out of luck.

New Orleanians say their neighborhoods are full of trash and more unsafe than ever. The school system is once again in trouble. Congress couldn't be bothered to deal with the revenue sharing issue. The Saints are winning, and that's about it.

Talk about dumb

Though I do not agree with all of Radar's choices for its "10 Dumbest Congressmen" list, I am more upset that of the ten, four of them are not Congressmen. Feel free to drop them a line.

Quotes of the day

The New Orleans Times-Picayune generally has a few very intelligent letters to the editor in it, and one or two that are ridiculous. Today, there are a couple of doozies with passages that just have to be shared.

First quote of the day:

"Why would you put teenagers in the realm of congressmen anyhow? We all know what elected officials are capable of."

And then there was this:

"Christians must do whatever it takes to defeat our enemies."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Senate accuses Norquist of fraud, no one says a word

Notice how silent the news media is about this?

RNC recognizes the "Muslim race"

Stone Court has an interesting tidbit from the New York Sun concerning a Republican National Committee slip-up. The RNC accidentally emailed a list of names of top party donors, complete with their social security numbers and identification of their race. A stupid mistake, yes, but here's the horrible part: The donors' races were identified as Caucasian, Asian and...Muslim.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

So the Secret Service is an idiot, but hey what else is new?

Julia Wilson, a typical 14-year-old who didn't realize it was against the law to threaten the president of the United States (and apparently, the ersatz president, too) used to have a MySpace page dedicated to a group called "People who want to stab Bush" or something like that. The page included a collage graphic of Bush being stabbled in the hand. When Julia learned in her civics class that threatening a president is illegal, she changed the title to "So Bush is an idiot, but hey what else is new?"

Too late. The Secret Service already had her in their system, and she received a visit from them on Wednesday. They pulled her out of her biology class at McClatchy High School to question her about her MySpace participation. First, the agents went to Julia's house, and was told by her mother that she didn't want to pull her daughter out of class. Julia's mother asked the agents to return in an hour, then sent a message to Julia to come home right after school. But by that time, the agents had yanked Julia from her class.

Ann Brick, an ACLU attorney, said "The courts have to distinguish between political rhetoric and hyperbole and a real threat. A reasonable person would have to interpret what was said as indication of a serious intent to commit harm." If Brick is poking around Homeland Security for a reasonable person, she is out of luck. Assuming that those of us who are reasonable see the statement for what it is, Julia Wilson's words are protected by the First Amendment.

As for Julia, she had already taken the page down because she decided that her MySpace participation was "juvenile."

How about "farmerette"?

Did anyone notice how difficult it was on last night's Real Time for Bill Maher to come up with a "name" for a female person who tills the land and grows crops for a living? He showed a photograph of a farmer whose crops went unharvested because there were no Mexican workers to pick them. "Here's a farmerwoman," he said, somewhat hesitantly, then stumbled over a few more attempts to identify her.

Finally, Ben Affleck--bless him--leaned over and told Maher that the word he was looking for was "farmer." "Yes, but--she's a woman," Maher replied, still totally clueless. In the next segment, he went on to talk about how much we value gender equality in the U.S.

Maher's sexism leaks all over the place, but you can't confront him about it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

"Guys Gone Wild"--further complicating the discussion

I've been watching the Logo network lately (because you cannot see Queer As Folk too many times), and one of the recurring commercials is for "Guys Gone Wild," a knock-off of the infamous "Girls Gone Wild" videos. Like "Girls Gone Wild," "Guys Gone Wild" promises a series of peeks at actual college boys who are just hanging out, doing very sexual things. The videos and DVDs include such titles as Heat Stroke, Frat Boys and my favorite, Dude, Where's My Pants?.

Does objectifying young men in any way make it less horrid to objectify young women? Before we can attempt to answer that question, it is important to realize that by far, the overwhelming purchasers of all of these videos and DVDs are men. I cannot imagine any self-respecting lesbian or bisexual woman being turned on by the women in "Girls Gone Wild," and I doubt if many straight or bisexual women are going to buy DVDs showing young men in obviously gay situations (which is not to say that women cannot find gay male encounters erotic, e.a. Queer As Folk).

From what I can tell, the DVDs do not fall into the Gloria Steinem-defined category of pornography, so they are, shall we say, uninspired erotica. Tasteless erotica, to me, is in its own category, and more related to pornography than to real erotica since it relies on stimulation via exploitation. On the other hand, I do not know of any suggestions of submission or humiliation in these DVDs, so the exploitation is perhaps more of the yuk-yuk variety than anything else.

America is a very prudish society, and I, for one, do not want to encourage prudery. On the other hand, America is also a very sexist society, and I do not wish to encourage the exploitation of women and girls, either. Discussions of pornography invariably get tangled up in discussions of prudery, which is why I like to make a distinction between pornography and erotica, as Steinem did.

"Girls Gone Wild" and "Guys Gone Wild," however, present us with further complications in this never-ending discussion. One of the aspects of the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal is that some homophobic people have suggested that "gay men like boys." I can assure these people that, in the privacy of their homes, heterosexual Congressmen are not downloading pictures of Helen Mirren and Susan Sarandon. Rather, they are downloading pictures of Britney Spears and Fergie. Both the gay and the straight worship youth, and that is unlikely to change.

Police in Virginia threaten to arrest anti-marriage amendment canvassers

Pam Spaulding notes that people canvassing houses in Warrenton, Virginia in an attempt to educate citizens about the dangers of passing the proposed marriage amendment are being threatened by police. Members of local law enforcement are dragging out an ordinance meant to control door-to-door sales. There is no evidence that the ordinance is being used to threaten candidates going door-to-door--only opponents of the marriage amendment.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday cat blogging--lazy day edition

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Senate investigators accuse Norquist of fraud

In a report issued today, Senate investigators say that five conservative non-profit groups, including one headed by Grover Norquist, sold their clout to Jack Abromoff and thereby perpetrated a fraud on taxpayers.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Positively K Street--only when Rove says so

According to The New Republic, a friend of former Congressman Mark Foley's reports that by early 2006, Foley had planned to retire from Congress and set himself up as a lobbyist. The problem, according to this source, was that Karl Rove wanted otherwise. Rove allegedly made it clear to Foley that if he did not run for re-election, his future as a lobbyist was uncertain.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who decides what a dual-use item is?

Robert M. Thorson, a Connecticut geologist, has traveled throughout his career to conferences and conventions, and for the last three years, he has taken with him one of his favorite rocks, a banded piece of the Hebron Gneiss, which he describes as resembling "a broken slice of layer cake composed of licorice and cream cheese." This is one of Thorson's favorite rocks, and, he says, a touchstone for those who have attended his lectures.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dogs used to both intimidate and bite prisoners

This sounds like another Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib story, but the practice of using dogs to both terrify and bite uncooperative prisoners is one that takes place in Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, South Dakota, and Utah. According to Human Rights Watch, in these five states, dogs are used on prisoners who refuse to leave their cells. First, the dogs are used to intimidate the oppositional prisoners. If the intimidation does not work, the dogs are instructed to bite.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

If they're so liberal, where are the women?

Harper's and The Nation are considered two of the most liberal publications in the U.S., if not the world. But look at the male to female writer ratio. Don't even suggest the women writers are not available.

Monday, October 09, 2006

With $90,000 in his freezer, what's not to love?

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has endorsed the candidacy of Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson, the man who gave a new meaning to the term, "cold hard cash." Jefferson is the target of a federal bribery investigation. Those he has not been charged, one of his aides and a Kentucky businessman have already pleaded guilty. During the course of the investigation, agents found $90,000 in cash hidden in Jefferson's freezer.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

We've come a long way, baby?

If you believe that, take a look at this.

Today is a government holiday

To celebrate a man whose methods of mass slaughter and torture were so terrible, Saddam's rape rooms seem like small-time evil in comparison.

A man who, of course, did not discover America.

And who thought he was somewhere else when he got here.

What a country...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bartoli and Nakamura to make WTA history on Sunday

Marion Bartoli will play in the final of the AIG Japan Open tomorrow

Many years ago, the great Chris Evert changed tennis for both men and women forever by gripping her racquet with both hands when she made a backhand shot. Now it is unusual to find someone on the women's tour with a one-handed backhand (though two of the best backhands in tennis belong to Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo, both of whom hit one-handed).

In the late 80s, along came Monica Seles, who used both hands on both sides. This unusual shot-making technique did not catch on the way Evert's two-handed backhand did, and only a few women use it. The Chinese player Peng Shuai hits double-handed on both sides, as did the just-retired Maria Sanchez Lorenzo of Spain.

However, tennis history will be made tomorrow at the AIG Japan Open, when two women who hit double-handed on both sides will meet for the first time in a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final. Top seed Marion Bartoli of France will play Japan's Aiko Nakamura, a tournament wild card who fought her way to the finals.

Bush objects to new FEMA director qualifications

Velma, a Katrina evacuee, shown here at the Bailey Hotel in Bunkie, Louisiana, says she believes that the absolute minimum qualification for FEMA director should be someone familiar with cat shows. "Horse shows, " she says "do not require much complex thinking, fast decision-making, skillful negotiating, and crisis management. A cat show is something else again."

George W. Bush, having taken a look (or at least having been told about) Congress's proposed overhaul of FEMA, is objecting to--wait for it--the list of qualifications for FEMA's director. The standards set by Congress include five years of management experience, demonstration of emergency management skills, and the authority to make recommendations directly to Congress, a measure also rejected by Bush.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Boo. Hoo.

Colin Powell's wife wants us to feel all sorry for her duplicitous, bigoted husband because the Bush administration "used" him.

Sorry, Alma. Tell it to someone stupid enough to give a damn.

Independent panel says yes--Santa Susana site caused cancer

A report released yesterday indicates that a nuclear reactor meltdown at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in 1959 may indeed have caused hundreds of cancers to appear in the surrounding community. Santa Susana is located in eastern Ventura County, California.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Working definition of "wimp"

Louisiana legislators. Throw in "crybaby," too.

In Foley news...

Ellen Goodman has a great take on the Foley scandal.

Between rice and sweet potatoes

That would be marijuana, Louisiana's fifth largest cash crop. But if you add the street value, it becomes the state's largest cash crop. Explains a lot.

Friday cat blogging--my coat of many colors, part 2

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Distinguishing private behavior from dangerous behavior

President Kennedy has a sexual compulsion disorder and was a drug addict, and probably spent more time taking drugs and having sex with women (sometimes three and four of them a day, not counting whoever his girlfriend was at the time) than he did tending to affairs of state. Consider the Bay of Pigs incident for a hint about how tenative Kennedy's grip was. Back then, the press was part of the old boys' network that protected officials from the possibility that the public would find out what they were up to. It seems quite clear now, at least to me, that Kennedy was unfit for duty and should have been removed from office, yet he is revered by liberals and even many conservatives.

It is known that Nixon was alcoholic and physically assaulted his wife on several occasions. That was kept quiet, too. And Nixon is revered by many, in spite of Watergate, the only thing that did finally get him into trouble. Clinton, of course, was notorious, but--as far as we know--the only person he exploited (in terms of a staff member) was Lewinsky.

Americans do not appear to know the difference between private behavior and wrong behavior. If the president has a girlfriend on the side, we may not like it, but it probably is not harming his ability to be president. But if he has four and five women a day and is addicted to speed, that is a national problem. If the president is alcoholic, that is likely a national problem. If he beats his wife, that is a crime, which makes him a criminal, and a criminal should not be president of the United States.

There is one group of Americans who considers all of the above to be "private" behavior and therefore not subject to public scrutiny. And there is another group that considers having a woman on the side as bad as beating one's wife or being paralyzed by multiple addictions. Then there are Republicans who think certain behavior is bad only if Democrats engage in it, and vice versa.

Much of this ambiguity could be resolved if we only stopped to ask two questions: 1. Is it a crime? 2. Is it making the person unfit to perform his or her duties? A "yes" to either question means that there is a problem. A "no" means that we may not like someone's private behavior, but it really isn't any of our business.

52-year-olds having sex with 16-year-olds

Bill Maher said yesterday on CNN that he does not consider former Congressman Mark Foley a pedophile because none of the minors involved was a child. He is correct about that. The kids had "all the power," according to Maher. In the sense of sexual politics, yes, they did. But in the broader sense--the one that matters--they were vulnerable to an authority figure. On three counts, in fact: Foley was an adult, a Congressman, and their their employer (in the sense that Congress was their employer).

Other have suggested that the boys were not victims because they enjoyed the exchanges with Foley (not all of them did, by the way, and--for the record--many children who are sexually abused also enjoy some of the activity, even while they are repulsed by it), and that having tempting young flesh around is the real problem.

It is true that, as far as we know, Foley is certainly not a pedophile because he is not sexually attracted to children. But to imply that he has done nothing wrong other than behave carelessly indicates that Maher's libertarian beliefs may have run amock.

The brain of a 16-year-old has not finished growing. Anyone who has ever been around a 16-year-old for more than five minutes knows that the average one lacks good judgment. 16-year-olds drive too fast, drink while intoxicated, get in fights, have unprotected sex, display rampant narcissism, and do not have a clear sense of identity. They are also extremely vulnerable to the opinions and urgings of others; that is why they are so easy to induct into cults. For an adult person to carry out a sexual relationship of any kind with a 16-year-old is therefore abusive.

There is also the matter of taking advantage of one's authority. Though Monica Lewinsky was not an adolescent, Bill Clinton abused his authority by engaging in sexual activities with her. He exploited their relationship, which is both inappropriate behavior and sexual harrassment.

And then there is a matter of which no one has spoken: The homophobic culture in this country is so great that gay and bisexual adolescents, afraid or unable to seek relationships with peers, will accept relationships with grown men. Unless they live in very large cities or in very liberal communities, they have no role models. They are told by their parents, their schools, their churches, and their government that there is something wrong with them and that they are a danger to society. When someone comes along who is gay and is nice to them, they are often relieved. So, to a large extent, we have created this problem.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

NLRB sets new standards for who can join unions

In a 3-2 vote (Bush appointees comprising the 3), the National Labor Relations Board has re-defined the meaning of the term "supervisor," with the result that millions of American workers may be barred from joining labor unions. The ruling defined as supervisors any nurses who direct and oversee other nursing staff. These definitions can be--and it is expected that they will be--applied to workers in a variety of industries.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Sanchez Lorenzo retires from professional tennis

Players who are not household names like Conchita Martinez and Maria Navratilova retire from pro tennis with hardly anyone noticing except for the people in their home countries. Every year we lose one or two respected players. Shinobu Asagoe retired at the U.S. Open, and today, Maria Sanchez Lorenzo of Spain announced her retirement. Sanchez Lorenzo's back problems are such that she feels it is better for her to just stop playing tennis.

Sanchez Lorenzo had a decent U.S. Open showing, taking a set off of China's star, Li Na, in the first round. She has one WTA Tour singles title, and has been in several finals in both singles and doubles. She also played on the Spanish Fed Cup team, and she was once ranked as high as number 33 in the world. Sanchez Lorenzo is one of the very few players who plays "Monica Seles style" tennis--two-handed on both sides. She retires at the age of 29.

Bill in Congress would protect corporate animal abusers and punish those who seek to stop them

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (yes, it contains the "t" word), H.R. 4239, could make it a crime punishable by prison term to cause any "animal enterprise" to suffer a loss of profit. That would include a loss of profit because of legal activities such as peaceful protests, media campaigns boycotts. That means that I and thousands of others who protest factory farming practices, puppy mills and lab cruelty could be prosecuted.

According to the ASPCA, the term "animal enterprise" refers to "manufacturers, distributors and sellers of animals or animal products, research facilities, pet stores, breeders, zoos, rodeos, circuses, and animal shelters and the like." There is nothing in the bill that exempts activists who expose cruelty (often illegal) in their campaigns.

Please go here to contact your Representative and ask her or him to vote against this latest piece of animal-abusing corporate fascism.

Those pesky kids

In Blame the Victim, part 2, Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois, says it isn't Dennis Hastert who should go, but the "antiquated" page system that brings 15- and 16-year-olds to the Capitol and which results in scandals.

Why didn't I think of that? The people in Congress can't help themselves. They are going to abuse minors. So please....just keep the bait away, and the problem is solved.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Foley can probably find a support group

Someone on a major message board compiled this list of Republican activists and office-holders who have had sex with minors:

  • Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after “sexually explicit” e-mails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year-old boy.
  • Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper was arrested for soliciting sex from a 13-year-old girl on the Internet.
  • Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year-old girl
  • Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd was arrested on suspicion of soliciting sex with an 8-year-old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.
  • Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year-old girl and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation.
  • Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year-old boy.
  • Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.
  • Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano was arrested for sexually molesting a 14-year-old girl.
  • Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13- and 14-year-old girls.
  • Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.
  • Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year-old girls.
  • Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the Internet.
  • Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year-old girls.
  • Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.
  • Republican Committeeman John R. Curtain was charged with molesting a teenage boy and unlawful sexual contact with a minor.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.
  • Republican zoning supervisor, Boy Scout leader and Lutheran church president Dennis L. Rader pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on an 11-year-old girl he murdered.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.
  • Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years’ probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year-old girl.
  • Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond "had sex" (quotation marks mine--he obviously raped her) with a 15-year-old black girl, who bore his child.
  • Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.
  • Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
  • Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year-old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.
  • Republican activist Lawrence E. King Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican Congressman Donald “Buz” Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.
  • Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.
  • Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.
  • Republican activist Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child.
  • Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a Congressional page.
  • Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his stepdaughter.
  • Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline was placed under house arrest for child molestation and possession of child pornography.
  • Republican Congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.
  • Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.
  • Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. “Republican Marty”), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.
  • Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year-old boy and possession of child pornography.
  • Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year-old babysitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.
  • Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced to jail after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.
  • Republican talk-show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11-year-old girl.
  • Republican anti-gay activist Earl “Butch” Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year-old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.
  • Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.
  • Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the Internet from a 14-year-old girl.
  • Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first-degree sodomy with a 13-year-old boy.
  • Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e., exposing himself to children).
  • Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old girl.
  • Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a boy.
  • Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.
  • Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.
  • Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year-old girl.
  • Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.
  • Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6 months in prison.
  • Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.
  • Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.
  • Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the Internet.
  • Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a “good military man” and “church-goer,” was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.
  • Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.
  • Republican director of the “Young Republican Federation” Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year-old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp. Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.
  • Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.
  • Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.

CBS has a very peculiar idea of what "free speech" is

Shakespeare's Sister explains.

When all else fails, blame the victim

Women and girls have known for eons what it is like when a community blames the victim. She was raped because she "was out alone at night," "drinking alcohol," "wearing seductive clothing," "sexually attracted to the man." We have heard it all and then some. A few years ago, I became enraged when the local newspaper's headline read "Girl admits she was having sex with man." I have since seen many similar headlines.

Now at least one of the Congressional pages is learning what it's like to be blamed, even though he is the victim. Here is what Matt Drudge had to say on his radio program:

I'm just saying from reading these instant messages, this wasn't coerced. I mean, this wasn't somebody -- the kid was having fun with this. These LOLs throughout the entire conversation, these "laugh out louds."

We have laws that protect minors because minors are often not mature enough to make big decisions for themselves, and because they are vulnerable to authority figures. A 16-year-old girl who enjoys the attention of a 30-year-old man is no less a victim than an 8-year-old girl (or boy) who is told to engage in a sexual activity or something bad will happen. To suggest otherwise is to condone the activities of sexual predators.

Congressional pages are now receiving threats

Rep. Rodney Alexander is feeling regretful. Too late.

Some thoughts on the threats.

Conservatives use Foley scandal to condemn gays

Think Progress has a sickening collection of remarks made by conservative columnists and journalists.

So much for AOL's protection of minors

Displaying an amazing amount of nerve, former Congressman Mark Foley, as recently as 10:50 a.m. today, was still using his now famous Maf54 instant message account. blogActive has a screen shot here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

U.S. opposes plan to protect arctic wildlife from bone damage and immune destruction

Researchers have discovered that flame retardants, pesticides and flourinated chemicals are causing weak bones in polar bears, and disrupting the immune systems of other arctic wildlife. The European Union has formulated legislation that that requires companies producing ten tons or more of these chemicals to investigate any possible hazards that could result from shipping, using or disposing of them. This plan is expected to pass by the end of this year.

The only criticism of the EU plan, by the way, comes from the United States of America. Officials in the U.S. are afraid the new legislation may hurt trade.

Another major designer gets rid of fur

Polo Ralph Lauren is the latest to pull fur from its collection. Good news.

Perhaps the "h" word just has too many syllables

Because the average conservative--the average voter, for that matter--isn't uttering it. Let's review the Carnival of Hyprocrisy from the right wing:

  • A man who appoints himself the nation's "morality czar" turns out to be a compulsive gambler.

  • A man who rants against drug addicts turns out to be so addicted he gets his housekeeper to make drug deals for him.

  • A Congressman who weeps over America's lack of moral fiber commits mail fraud, illegally manipulates his state's voting districts, and consorts regularly with a major criminal.

  • A woman who declares she has to bring Christ back into American life plays a major role in handling highly questionable election results and then tells multiple lies in her own political campaign.

  • A Senator whose mission, he says, is to return morality to the United States votes for a bill that permits rape and torture.

  • A Congressman who plays the biggest role in bringing sexual predators of minors to justice turns out to be a sexual predator of minors.

  • A man with alcohol problems who committed insider trading declares himself to be the Christian candidate for president of the United States and a man of compassion. That same man is the subject of two highly questionable elections, and turns out to be a compulsive liar, poisoner of children, destroyer of the Constitution, the mastermind behind a guaranteed continuation of death by AIDS and suicide of thousands of African women and children, and a supporter of torture and rape.

I could go on and on, but the point is--there is a huge gap here between what these people say they are and what they are. A gap so shocking it is hard to get your mind around. Hasn't anyone noticed?

Foley in deeper trouble

Congressman Mark Foley, already in enough trouble for sending sexually explicit and other inappropriate messages to adolescent Congressional pages, is now looking at a more serious charge. It turns out that Foley made repeated attempt to get a page to rendevous with him at night.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)

Sorting out the Foley mess

media girl has a good breakdown of who knew what and who didn't say what with regard to the Foley scandal. If we assume that Rodney Alexander is telling the truth--and, given Alexander's track record for deception of his own party, he may not be--then the parents are guilty, too. I am constantly exposed to parents who do not turn crimes against their children over to the authorities because their children "tell them not to," or because the parents themselves don't take the crimes seriously. Of course, the authorities often do not take them seriously, either, but that is another matter.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nominee for quote of the year

"I believe that our communities and our values are in danger from ultra-liberals Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid and the rest who value rights over national security."
Katherine Harris

Update--PERA has passed in the House of Representatives

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)