Friday, June 08, 2007

"Non-Alcoholic" Beer

So the official White House line is that the beverage of choice was "non-alcoholic" beer.

Yeah, right.

First of all, find an N/A with the legs or "lace," the foam pattern left in the glass, like that. Secondly, he chugs that stuff. try that with an N/A. The stuff is gawdawful, it has the bouquet of old dishcloths boiled in sweat.

And the clincher, of course, is that it is not "non-alcoholic." It is LOW alcohol, but alcohol nonetheless. The only people who should drink non-alcoholic beer are non-alcoholics.

Those crazy kids!

Clearly a member of the "32% Club"

Here in the "Heartland of America (tm)" apparitions are a fairly common occurrence. Normally I pay them no attention at all - as most of them deal with one or the other of a fairly famous mother/son team. However, the latest one caught my eye, as it concerns the recently deceased mayor of the "made" city of Rosemont, IL - Donald E. Stephens. Stephens was the only mayor Rosemont had ever had. Blessed with a great deal of land, relatively few residents and easy access to the world's busiest airport, Stephens turned his little hamlet into a veritable cash cow. His alleged connections to organized crime however, resulted in the loss of the biggest prize of all - a casino within walking distance of lots of people with time on their hands. Anyway... apparently something like his visage is now visible in a tree near the city-owned health club... CNN went out to investigate the story, and in doing so they interviewed one Cathy Sansone, membership director of the aforementioned health club. It is her reaction which summons the title of this blog entry:

"I see Jesus. Any resemblance to the late mayor is (due to) the power of suggestion."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A horror of horrors

First of all, may we offer all our condolences to the family of Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas. By all accounts, he was a good and decent man.

Wyoming has interesting laws on this. In most states, the governor gets to appoint the interim senator. Not in Wyoming--the PARTY picks three and the (now Dem) governor chooses one. The rumor mill has that one of the three is


Oh, the horrors!

If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?

The right-wing base is in a tizzy over some comments made by NASA chief Michael Griffin dealing with climate change. In an interview with NPR, Griffin said:

I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings -- where and when -- are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.

Griffin has come out recently as saying that these are his own beliefs, not the official position of NASA, but his position lends a credibility to his comments that the Luddites are clinging to like a polar bear clings to the last ice floes in the arctic. While it is indeed true that the world has undergone dramatic climate changes in its multi-billion year history, the point of view espoused by Griffin is dangerously short-sighted and ignorant.

There are two primary problems with this idea. First of all, the current climate change is *not* a natural phenomenon. The evidence is overwhelming that it is being caused by human activity. Secondly, regardless of the mechanism of change, we have a moral obligation to respond to it. The last major fluctuations in the Earth's climate occurred when the population was much much smaller than it is now. There are roughly 6.6 billion people living on the planet right now, many of whom live in cities on the water (New York, anyone?). Consider the devastation caused by the tsunami in December 2004, and think about what would happen if every city around the world that was on an ocean was flooded. Indonesia. India. London. New York. How many refugees would there be? How much farmland would be under water? What kind of burden would this place on the economies of the world? Even if this was entirely a natural process, if we didn't respond in some way, we would be witnesses to the greatest disaster humanity has ever faced. Do we ever hear any of these pundits blathering on about how this is natural, etc, discussing the cost of housing a billion refugees? Feeding them? Rebuilding whole segments of societies (think New Orleans on a global scale)? And that's only considering the rising of the oceans - I'm ignoring the other effects of climate change - habitat migration, different seasonal patterns, increases in storm frequency and intensity, etc.

Now, consider that we know that we're causing this. It is most decidedly not arrogant to think that if we're messing with the global ecosystem, it's our job to fix it. Think about Griffin's logic for a minute - if we follow his path, then there is no such thing as responsibility. Who says that you wouldn't be hit by a bus tomorrow, so if I shoot you today, why is that wrong? It's absurd. So, we have a situation where we know that we're changing the earth's climate. The consequences of the change could be devastating on a scale we can't fathom. We can (a) ignore it, and say "well, maybe it will be better that way - who are we to say which way it should be", or (b) try to limit the damage we cause, and hope that within the span of existence of humans on the planet, we find the means to prevent the death and destruction global warming will bring, whether it is caused by us or a natural event.

Doesn't seem like a tough choice to me, nor apparently, to Mr. Voltaire. Michael Griffin, on the other hand, is an idiot.

A "contact your representatives" moment

Just like last year, both the Senate and the House have passed (by sizable margins) bills which would expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Unfortunately, the culture of death that surrounds the Chimp will cause him to veto the bill, since it might save lives and he still kowtows to a rabid and moronic base of troglodytes who hate life and want the apocalypse to come this afternoon. If your representative or senator voted against the bill, please urge them to change their mind and override the upcoming veto. No one knows whether or not embryonic stem cell research will ever lead to any tangible outcomes, but the hope is there. All this bill is saying is that embryos which would otherwise be incinerated be delivered instead to researchers who are trying to find cures for horrific conditions from which millions and millions suffer every day. No fetuses will be aborted, no children will be cloned.

It's staggering that we're still talking about this - Europe and Japan are years ahead of us in research, because they're not being dragged down by drooling fundies who still think the Earth is flat and there are dragons out beyond the horizon. Let's all pretend that this is the 21st century, people, and use our brains to help the world.

Lawrence of Arabia, redux

T.E. Lawrence, 1920
The people...have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.

We have not reached the limit of our military commitments. Four weeks ago the staff in Mesopotamia drew up a memorandum asking for four more divisions. How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil? How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?

Who ARE these people?

WASHINGTON — Public approval of the job President Bush is doing now matches its all-time low, an AP-Ipsos poll says. The survey, released Thursday, reflects widespread discontent over how Bush is handling the war in Iraq, efforts against terrorism and domestic issues. It also underscores challenges Republican presidential and congressional candidates will confront next year when they face voters who seem to be clamoring for change. Only 32 percent said they were satisfied with how Bush is handling his job overall, the same low point AP-Ipsos polling measured last January and a drop of 3 percentage points since May.
I have two questions. Who are those 32-percenters, and how can I get to play poker with them?

Meanwhile, back in Frostbite Falls...

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Hundreds of Turkish soldiers crossed into northern Iraq on Wednesday pursuing Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks on Turkey from hideouts there, Turkish security officials and an Iraqi Kurd official said.
One recalls the words of the prophet Hosea, who said "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

Looks like it's reaping time. Windy today, isn't it?

SHE ran a national campaign? And she is a "law professor?"

Susan Estrich, the "mastermind" of that great Dukakis campaign, and a professor of law, wrote that
The only problem here is that there was no underlying crime.
Susan, pardon me (pun intended), but you are a "professor" of criminal law. This involved testimony to a GRAND JURY. What do GRAND JURIES do? They INVESTIGATE. They decided not to indict a primary violation under a crappy statute, but a large part of the problem in that failure to indict involved the Scooter lies.

So Susan, it is OK to lie to a grand jury as long as the INVESTIGATIVE JURY does not indict???

Fish fish fish!

From The Shawshank Redemption, where Red bets on the first to crack:
That tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass.
So now when you crack--they let you out to MANSION arrest.

That crazy activist judge!

Here's the wacko that sentenced Scooter
Judge Reggie B. Walton assumed his position as a United States District Judge for the District of Columbia on October 29, 2001, after being nominated to the position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. In May 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Walton to serve as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is a 7-year appointment...Former Chief Justice Rehnquist appointed Judge Walton to the federal judiciary's Criminal Law Committee, effective October 1, 2005. Judge Walton previously served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1981 to 1989 and 1991 to 2001, having been appointed to that position by Presidents Ronald Reagan in 1981 and George H. W. Bush in 1991 (link).
Looks like Scooter found a real conservative judge, one who doesn't like people who lie in the process.

Who spends more time in jail?

With today's developments, does Scooter see the inside of a cell for longer than Paris?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If you don't stop building nukes, we'll nuke you!

So, we're watching the GOP debate tonight (the Cubs game hasn't started yet), and Wolf is asking the candidates about whether they would use a tactical nuclear weapon to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon of their own. Their answer, of course, is yes. Yes - we're so opposed to you having the same weapons we have that we will use them on you.


Alex, may I have "Triangulation" for $1000, please?

Dear Senator Clinton:

In response to the question, "do you agree with Senator Edwards that this war on terror is nothing more than a bumper sticker; at least the way it's been described" you responded:
No, I do not. I am a senator from New York. I have lived with the aftermath of 9/11, and I have seen firsthand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists who are intent upon foisting their way of life and using suicide bombers and suicidal people to carry out their agenda. And I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.
You lived with the aftermath of 9/11. So? What connection does that have with your answer? Thank you for parroting a right-wing talking point equating responding to a particular incident to a "war on terror." And in what possible sense are we "safer?" The military has been crippled perhaps for generations, millions across the world hate us with a new-found passion, National Guard equipment has been destroyed, first responders have not yet been provided for, the budget teeters on the precipice of disaster, etc. etc. Please, Sen. Clinton--STOP.

30 months, aaah...

We'll be Scooter-free for 2 1/2 years! Let's just hope the judge has the guts to send him away pending appeal (more).