Monday, October 31, 2005

Rosa Parks Viewed

Mr. Frist and Mr. Alito respectfully view Rosa Parks' casket in the Rotunda. This is probably the one time they will show respect to anyone's civil rights that is excepting their continuing support for wealthy white men like themselves.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Business as Usual

Today on the political shows more than one of the uniformly right leaning commentators wondered aloud why Scooter Libby would do such a stupid thing as perjuring himself over such a small matter like the Niger yellowcake. How these highly paid media characters retain their jobs is beyond my comprehension.After all the lies of the Bush Administration and their typical ad hominem attacks, how can they find Libby's lies surprising ? The Press has let them get away with it so many times before, why would anyone in Cheney's office think this would be any different? This is just business as usual, the signature strategy of Karl Rove, passed down from Lee Atwater.Anna Quindlen describes the situation well:
"The investigation of who leaked what to whom, of what the reporter knew and how she knew it, may be about national security and journalistic ethics, but at its base it is about something more important: the Nixonian lengths to which these people will go to shore up a bankrupt policy and destroy those who cross them on it."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Intelligent Design Revisited

Columbia Journalism Review features a fine study of the way in which the public media handles the notion of Intelligent Design. The authors, Chris Mooney and Matthew C. Nisbet, conclude that the Press and media have elevated the so-called theory of ID to the level of that other theory, Evolution. They point out that although the scientific community rejects ID because it has no sound scientific basis, it is treated by reporters as if it were just an alternate scientific explanation that is part of the consensus.It doesn't help that the President (who some people still respect) states that ID should be taught in Science classes for fairness' sake.

The speculations of Michael Behe in his book, Darwin's Black Box are spread by the major ID agents at The Discovery Institute. Behe claims that a biological observation of the eye shows that there is "irreducible complexity" that would preclude the random development of Evolution. According to him, this level of complexity requires guidance or design. Of course, the mutations of natural selection are not random at all, they are made inevitable by the success of a thriving organism. In any case, Behe's analogy is the mousetrap, which he says will not work at all missing any of its components. Isn't it curious that he uses the mousetrap ? There are many kinds, with different constructions. The ones that don't work so well are extinct - they don't sell.And isn't it obvious that Behe is ignoring more primitive forms of the Eye, like that of a housefly ?

One significant problem with Behe's observation is that he is arguing from ignorance. He uses a post hoc argument to draw a conclusion about the cause of certain complexity in organisms. But he is saying something like this:

"I find it hard to imagine a way in which a thousand-ton piece of metal could fly through the air. Therefore, airplanes will never work."

ID is religious speculation that cannot be proven in a scientific, experimental observable manner. It deals with what Kant (and Schopenhauer)called noumena, whereas Science (like Evolution) deals with phenomena. Please explain, Dr. Behe, how an ID scientist would go about measuring or observing how, where, or when God intervened with Intelligent Design.Don't our children deserve this small measure of rigor in their Science classes ?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Halloween Cheer

Come to think of it, he is kind of spooky, isn't he?

Great Lines, Part 3

One of the great lines in the movies is written rather than spoken.In The Shining, Shelly Duvall comes upon the typewritten work her husband Jack Nicholson has been toiling over. In the typewriter is a paper that repeats ad infinitum, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." She then examines a ream of paper next to it, a stack of paper that repeats the same phrase throughout all pages. This is a shocking moment, for then she knows that her hubby is absolutely bonkers crazy.Redrum.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The President's Fall

Emblematic of the President's recent poll numbers: try going to this link. If you hold the mouse button, you can make him do whatever you want.But please be kind, you wouldn't want to make a victim out of him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Favorite Quote

"The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack." -Napoleon Bonaparte

Digby says this is Karl Rove's motto. Expect an attack.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Flocking Test

This is to test my new Flock post publisher.

Mission Accomplished

The year that the President gave up booze was tough one for him. The price of a barrel went from $37 to $9 when Bush was making a go of the oil business.. Another W disaster. Nowadays Bush's efforts are so much better for his fellow oilmen. The price of a barrel of oil hovers around $60. Mission accomplished !

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho is strong and funny. I love the title of her new book: it says it all.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fear Factor

Plame and Wilson

In all the buildup to the Iraqnam quagmire, I believe that there is a subtext regarding Democrat support of the war that is not spoken of enough.As Fitzgerald winds up the Plame investigation,the Democrat line is this: the case is extremely important because it emphasizes the lies and mistakes of Bush's administration that led us to war. To which Right Wingers reply - what about all the Democrats that supported the war like Clinton and Kerry ?

Most of the Dems who voted to give the President authority to go to war were and are suffering from a kind of Fear Factor, strongly developed since 9-11. Incumbent Democrats fear reprisals in the way of public opinion if they don't seem totally against even the suggestion of terrorism. This is similar to the means used to pass the "Patriot Act". Though most legislators didn't have the chance to read it, they felt because of the public disposition at the time (Fear Terrorists!!) they had little choice but to vote yes.

This is how government works. A congress person will tack on his/her issue to a budget bill that will surely pass.Bush threatened to veto a recent war spending bill because it contained an anti-torture provision. It was an idle threat because Bush didn't dare have the first bill he vetoed be money for our soldiers.

I'm not trying to excuse Democrats that were naive about Bush's motivations. I much prefer an official like Feingold or Kucinich who actually does what he says. I'm just suggesting that we probably should not expect too many "Profiles in Courage" votes where the incumbents buck the climate of public opinion.Poll numbers indicate that the majority of Americans are waking up to the incompetence in managing this worse than useless, counter productive war, so perhaps this situation will be settled in the voting booth in 2006 and 2008.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

More Favorite Lines

Johnny Strabler

In 1953, after his success in the play and film Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando secured his stardom by playing Johnny Strabler, head of a "motorcycle club." At first the producers wanted to call the film Hot Blood, but thought better of it and settled on The Wild One. Tagline: The "Streetcar" man has a new desire ! The film has another of my favorite lines of dialogue. Johnny,a rebel with/without a cause, is asked,"What are you rebelling against ?" He answers with a question, "Whaddya got ?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Some Impartiality

Dick Daley

One of the most obvious reasons to praise Patrick Fitzgerald as an impartial investigator is that he is also looking into the stinky scandal in Democrat Richard Daley's administration in Chicago, not just all those many Republicans in the White House.

Hurry Up and Retire

Enhanced Subway Ad

It can't be soon enough for me.

Two Quotes

"My track record is pretty good on predictions."
-- Ann Coulter, Rivera Live

"I think [Whitewater]'s going to prevent the First Lady [Hillary Clinton] from running for Senate."
-- Ann Coulter, Rivera Live

She's really not worth paying much attention to - it seems like she always has to top herself in outrage in every appearance.

Great Lines from Films We Love

Inigo Montoya

As a new feature on this blog, I've decided to feature great, fun lines from films we all like. First, I've chosen a little something from The Princess Bride. Our thanks go to wonderful screenwriter William Goldman.Throughout this film Inigo Montoya, played by Mandy Patinkin, swears that he will use his hard-earned sword fighting skills to run through the mysterious, cowardly six-fingered man who killed his father. He says "My name is Inigo Montoya.You killed my father. Prepare to die."

When Montoya finally fights the killer, Count Rugen, a slimy villain played by Chris Guest, he repeats these lines again for real. When Montoya holds Rugen up to his sword, the bad guy says he will give him anything. So Montoya says this great line:


Satisfying righteousness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quote of the Day

"The conservative standard is clear - when a Democratic President is the target it is about the "rule of law" and when the "victim" is a Republican it is about the "criminalization of politics." - Bullmoose

Whether it's Fitzgerald and Rove, or Earle and Delay, you can almost taste the hypocrisy.

Fake Religiosity

James Carroll asserts that Man's most profound understanding of God must embrace the idea that we can't possibly be certain of truly understandable motivation in His works.Otherwise, we would be bound to blame Him for tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes.Carroll says that this admission should guarantee a special kind of modesty or humility,that would preclude religious involvement in censorship,government, and the corridors of power. Anything else is "fake religiosity."

The Trivia Hound

I've found a challenging site on Blogger called The Trivia Hound. Go there to try to guess the actor, film, or character depicted in John's photos. He frames these stills as part of a trip through time, so that now he's just covered the Salem Witch Trials and Jamestown. He's taken a side trip for Halloween to guess which witch is which. Sometimes they're pretty easy, but more often fairly obscure.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Focus on the plus while moving your face toward and away from your computer screen. The "tires" are not moving; it's an illusion.

Founding Fathers

Conservatives who are so fond of strict constitutional interpretation in the manner of our Founding Fathers, would do well (when considering judicial nominations) to consider Federalist Paper No. 76, which says in part:

"It will readily be comprehended, that a man who had himself the sole disposition of offices, would be governed much more by his private inclinations and interests, than when he was bound to submit the propriety of his choice to the discussion and determination of a different and independent body, and that body an entire branch of the legislature. The possibility of rejection would be a strong motive to care in proposing. The danger to his own reputation, and, in the case of an elective magistrate, to his political existence, from betraying a spirit of favoritism, or an unbecoming pursuit of popularity, to the observation of a body whose opinion would have great weight in forming that of the public, could not fail to operate as a barrier to the one and to the other. He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure." -Federalist Papers No. 76

There is a great possibility that Harriet Miers will be an obsequious instrument of George Bush's pleasure.

Quote of the Day

"In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us." - Thich Nhat Hanh

This may be why the President attempts to equate the Cold War with the GWOT. He says they're the same because they are both long running struggles. He wants to portray Islamic terrorists as if they ran a huge monolithic country like USSR. I believe that the terrorist leaders have no country except for the caves they're hiding in. They're definitely quite different, and anyway, I believe Bush on this about as much as I believe him on anything. Not at all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Your Three Movies

A great friend of mine, Bob, always insisted that he had three movies that were a major influence on him as a young boy. Now, these were not the greatest award winning movies, but they simply struck a chord in him personally. His films were: Shane, Zulu, and Forbidden Planet. All quality productions for sure, but no Citizen Kane.

This seemed to work for me also. I liked these sort of junky ones : Apache, The Vikings, and King Solomon's Mines. In Apache, I remember the scene where Burt Lancaster is hunted down in the rows of a cornfield, one I re-enacted as a boy in the fields near my home. I was amazingly impressed with Kirk Douglas in The Vikings when he single handedly opens a castle by jumping its moat to the top of the closed drawbridge, thereafter forcing down the heavy door. And I always remembered the Watusi dancers in the Stewart Granger version of King Solomon's Mines.

Do you have films like these in your memory ?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

If Fitzgerald Indicts Rove...

...I'd feel like dancing !

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


When looking around the web, I sometimes read Ankle Biting Pundits. I've always found it amusing that they have an award for the biggest buffoon of the week, called the Elihu Smails Award. Smails is Judge Smails as played by Ted Knight in Caddyshack. It's funny, because these pundits don't seem to realize that they are ridiculing their own base, the fatuous, elite Republican head of the country club.

Elihu Smails

Fun Times

Atrios shows us this child's playtoy from Amazon - the Playmobil Security Checkpoint. For $ 12.99 your child can scan folks walking through the metal detector. For $59.99 he/she can keep little people out of their very own air terminal.Would you please take your shoes off, sir ?

Quote of the Day

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants.He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." -Theodore Roosevelt in 1918

I wouldn't like TR to think me "base and servile."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Help for the Poor Avoided

As we all know, we are all paying record prices at the gas pump while the oil companies are taking record profits (in the 40% range). Many are anticipating record prices for heating oil this winter. John Kerry tried to get an amendment added to any of several bills that would have activated a program (called the Community Services Block Grant Program)to help the poorest among us keep warm this coming winter. Frist and the Republicans blocked this amendment. It appears that they are more interested in continuing their tax cuts for the well off. In a vote of 50-49 Kerry's measure was defeated. Of course, this means that at least a few Republicans don't favor the elite rich and their exorbitantly excessive profits over the lives of the poor. The rest should be ashamed for their lack of compassion. However, Bob Geiger calls this just another cruel vote by the Republicans.

Hey ! Somebody Give Me a Hand !

Friday, October 07, 2005

Vote for Feingold

It certainly would be inspiring to me to see more Democrats like Russ Feingold (D-WI). He is one of the few who hasn't approved the awful Republican agenda we have been given.

He voted against the Iraq War, unlike many who naively believed that Bush told the truth.

He would not approve the so-called "Patriot Act."

He rejected the No Child Left Behind Act which is arbitrarily punitive to schools and students.

He voted against the recent bankruptcy reform bill, which punishes economic victims while it subsidizes the wealthy credit card industry.

And he also rejected the last big energy bill which pays off the oil companies, but does next to nothing to reduce dependency.

He might make a good President, but he would probably create gridlock with all the sellouts we have in Congress.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Orwellian Birth Control

Republican lawmakers in Indiana are attempting to pass a law that will require marriage as a prerequisite to having a child, with accompanying penalties for breaking said law. Other means of reproduction, like in vitro fertilization, will necessitate the state government's permission. Married couples will be expected to acquire "a gestational certificate." Beyond belief.

See the Booman Tribune.