Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bong hits 4 Jesus

Personally I think the idea that the Bong hits 4 Jesus banner had anything to do with drugs is just absurd.

It had to do with flaunting authority, nothing more, nothing less. It's a satire about the official stance on both drugs and religion, poking fun at school officials.

That, of course, can't be tolerated.

The agitator has some comments about the silliness of anti-drug war advocates taking up the case as a cause.
This case always seemed to me like an odd one for the drug reform movement to rally around. This was not an essay calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. It was a lame stunt to get noticed.

The fear was that the Bong Hits case would give the Supreme Court the opportunity give its okay for public schools to censor student political speech in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs. While I'd have been more comfortable had the ruling come down the other way, it seems to me that there's much to take comfort in, here. Five justices have expressly announced that public school censorship of political speech related to the war on drugs won't stand. And it's likely that a sixth (Breyer) would join them.

I agree with him partly, but only partly. I think the SC has shown that they are perfectly willing the drink the Kool-aid in support of the drug war.

Ann Althouse has a more legal oriented discussion.

The Web of Language weighs in on linguistic interpretation of Bong Hits 4 Jesus with some refreshing insight.
In addition to dismissing the very real presence of Jesus on the banner, Roberts dismisses the very real possibility that the banner's words might be nothing more than a meaningless stunt of the kind that is actively encouraged by television shows where audience members wear ridiculous get-ups and carry outrageous signs while waving frantically in order to catch the camera's eye.

Despite Roberts' noble attempts to read the banner's meaning, what supports the nonsense interpretation is the fact that the banner's words don't seem to have either a literal or a figurative meaning. Any way you slice it, "Bong hits 4 Jesus" is patent nonsense, like linguist Noam Chomsky's classic phrase, "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously," words which look like English but don’t mean like English, words which illustrate that language has other roles besides that of communicating.

That's particularly true when the source of the language is a teenage boy. Teenage boys tend to not really care that much about using language to communicate other then it's use to demonstrate who cool they are. They don't worry about interpretation of the message, they just want to call attention to the messenger. Maybe someday we can get Supreme Court Justices who spent some time in the past as teenage boys.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Family pets

Killing dogs seems to have become standard procedure for many police departments.
However, it also occurs to me that men who think it's funny to watch a puppy burn to death might not be the right candidates for law enforcement work, and I hope that their boss (celebrity sheriff Joe Arpaio) will or has fired them, assuming the allegations turn out to be true. Call me a bleeding heart liberal for saying it, but I would not want to be taken prisoner by people who entertain themselves by burning puppies to death.

I don't know why he thinks that a sheriff who makes himself feel important by making inmates wear pink underwear and feeding them green bologna might actually have a rational human response to anything.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hardball is a joke

Chris Matthews has lost his way. He no longer hosts a political show. He hosts a TV show which is a blend Entertainment Tonight and Reno 911. He's become his own joke.

Ann Coulter and Al Sharpton. Those are the key guests this week. Neither have a single thing to contribute to public discourse in the United States. Not one thing.

They are both experts in spouting off outrageous nonsense. That's all they do. They do it well, but that has nothing to do with politics unless you really think that intentional misdirection serves to advance the level of political discourse.

Chris Matthews talks about Ann Coulter having no shame. Chris Matthews is the one that needs to develop a sense of shame. Even Fox News, as worthless as they are, does a better job of contributing to a public debate about reality than Chris Matthews is doing this week. Just worthless. I'm really disappointed.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Breaking news

It seems that there's a possibility that a professional wrestler has been taking steriods.

Who could have ever suspected that?

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Elizabeth Edwards, just another political weasel

I'm on some email lists for mailings from some of the Presidential candidates. I usually don't even read them, just delete them unread. I signed up for them because I don't really mind getting a bunch of crap email on a regular basis.

Last night I got one from the Edward's campaign with the Subject line
Why I called Ann Coulter

and a From line of
"Elizabeth Edwards"

Right off the bat we have something less than complete candidness with attaching the name Elizabeth Edwards with that generic campaign email address.

But I can't help myself. I read it.

She didn't explain anything, she didn't give a reason for the call, she just related what happened and told us who the good guy is and who the bad buy is. Can you guess which is which?

Here's how the email letter starts
Last night I had an important talk with Ann Coulter and I want to tell you what happened.

I'm not inspired by this start. I watched that part of Hardball last night. I might call it a dramatic exchange, but it was not an important talk. There was nothing important about it and I don't think I'd characterize the exchange as a talk. Both were speaking to the audience, neither was talking to the other. Dramatic confrontation is probably the best label.

I guess the next sentence is supposed to pass an an explanation promised in the subject line. But, it's not an explanation.
Where I am from, when someone does something that displeases you, you politely ask them to stop. So when I heard Ann was going to be on "Hardball" last night, I decided to call in and ask her to engage on the issues and stop the personal attacks. I told her these kinds of personal attacks lower our political dialogue at precisely the time when we need to raise it, and set a bad example for our children.

It's not an explanation because it miss-characterizes both Southern Culture and what actually happened.

Where she comes from the idea of "politely ask them to stop" means do so privately. It really means that, the privacy part is a very important part of the polite idea. No confrontation, no public postering. A simple, private and personal request is what people "where she comes from" do when trying to stop unwanted personal attacks. Allowing the offending party an out that saves face is very important in a culture that gave us personal duels.

In Southern Culture a public confrontation is an invitation to fight, no matter what the words actually spoken are.

Elizabeth Edwards knows that full well and she's bullshitting us to pretend otherwise.

You can really just stop reading right there, she's given you all the information you need to figure out what kind crap is going on here. Besides, the rest of the email is just an appeal for money. Just for completeness, here it is.

How did she respond? Sadly, perhaps predictably, with more personal attacks.

John's campaign is about the issues—but pundits like Ann Coulter are trying to shout him down. If they will not stop, it is up to us cut through the noise. Help us fight back—please give what you can today.

There are just over 3 days left to hit our $9 million goal for the end of the quarter. If we make it, we can directly reach voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and all over the country with our detailed plans on the issues that matter. Please give what you can right now to help raise the dialogue and show that Ann Coulter-style politics will never carry the day.

Why do Ann Coulter and other right-wing pundits keep attacking John? Because John's bold, specific plans hit them where it hurts: solving global warming, ending the war, building a fair economy—John's agenda threatens everything these talking heads and their corporate cronies stand for.

And they know John can win—just last week a new poll showed that John is the only Democratic candidate who beats all the possible Republican challengers—by an average of 13 points. So they are trying to take John down early. Their strategy is to sling mud and manufacture scandals—about houses, haircuts and anything else they can think of—to discredit John and take down our movement for change.

The best way to beat them is also the right way—take our message of substance straight to the voters. And that is exactly what this campaign is all about.

But we need your help to hit our goal. Please give what you can today.

And thank you for all that you do to support this cause.


- Elizabeth Edwards
Wednesday June 27, 2007

There is nothing sincere about her at all if you can use this letter to make a judgment. I have no respect for Ann Coulter but Ann's right about one thing, both sides of the Ann/Elizabeth confrontation are simply creating political theater to entertain the masses for profit.

You can tell that Ann has no class by looking at the way she dresses. She just doesn't have enough sense of style to know what appropriate dress is. She wore on the Today show. Some "little black cocktail dress". Hardball is a political
commentary show -- it's not Entertainment Tonite. Business dress would be appropriate for that show. But to her it's much more important to appear provocative than to be socially appropriate. I just find that classless.

But Elizabeth is just as bad with her pretense of Southern Culture that's nothing of the sort. They deserve each other.

If Chris Matthews had any class he wouldn't have either one of them on his show.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Economics blogs

Ranks them by page views.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, June 25, 2007

Those damn criminal immigrants

You can't be to careful with those types.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

FBI dress code

I'm watching MSNBC and they're showing some film clips of a search warrant being executed related to the death of the pregnant girlfriend of the cop in Ohio.

Various FBI agents are shown carrying stuff out of the house.

They're wearing t-shirts. They have little FBI logos on one side of the breast area in front and in the back big letter that say FBI Search Team, or something like that. White t-shirts.

In 1968 I was in a car accident in Uvalde, Texas and didn't come to for about 4 days. Within minutes after I woke up there was a Deputy Sheriff and a Texas Ranger in my room who wanted to talk to me about whether I'd been to Mexico recently (in 1968 this was a country of laws and even Texas sheriff deputy's would not search a wrecked car for drugs without probable cause). The deputy was in uniform. The Ranger was in a western-cut business suit. I knew he was a Ranger just by looking at him, from the way he was dressed and the style of that Stetson hat. (Frankly, the idea that a Texas Ranger wanted to talk to me sacred the shit out of me).

You used to be able to pick out FBI agents from the way they dressed and the way they carried themselves. They weren't wearing a t-shirt with some kind of logo on it.

Of course back then either a degree in accounting or law was a requirement for the job. These days they hire people with criminal justice degrees.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Ira Hayes

I was just listening to a Johnny Cash CD (Johnny Cash 16 Biggest Hits) that has a cut of The Ballad of Ira Hayes(mp3).

I don't think about Ira Hayes very often. I was only 5 when he died, but I remember it. I was an early reader and was a newspaper reader even at 5 (mostly the cartoons, but I could usually parse headlines too). Also, my dad wasn't able to get out of the house unless he took me with him so I spent a lot of time with my dad in various coffee shops and beer joints where his death was a topic of conversation among vets (in 1955 beer joints and coffee shops had a lot of vets sitting around). Mostly they made jokes about it.

My memory of the story is that he fell face down in some shallow water of a street gutter, drunk. But looking it up now it seems it was more like a ditch.
In 1954, Ira Hayes attended the dedication ceremony in Washington, D. C. for the Iwo Jima Memorial. This monument was a bronze cast replica of the now famous photograph of the flag raising, created by Felix DeWeldon. Within 10 weeks of this celebration Ira Hamilton Hayes would be dead at age 33. After another night of drinking and still lamenting over his fallen "buddies", Ira fell drunk in an irrigation ditch and froze to death, alone and forgotten by a country that had called him a hero. The ditch where he died was the single source of water that was provided for his people by the same government he'd proudly served.

Those of you who might not know who Ira Hayes was should be ashamed. He was an American Indian from an Arizona reservation who joined the Marine Corp during WWII and was one of the Marines who raised the flag over Iwo Jima. He was one of 5 survivors of his 45 man platoon on Iwo Jima but he was one of the guys in that photograph.

He was a good Marine but didn't really distinguish himself in battle other than with his ability to keep his head down. He didn't receive any individual medals for heroism. But FDR made him and the other survivors from that photograph into war heroes and used them to do a national tour to sell war bonds.

Probably as much a result of that bond sales tour as from actual combat, Ira Hayes developed a strong case of PSTD. He was an alcoholic by the time the war was over and things just got worse from him in the years after the war.

Back then PTSD was called shell shock and the typical treatment was to tell the guy to snap out of it. That treatment didn't work well with Ira Hayes.

Vets with PTSD are treated better these days than they were back then. But whenever you read about some politician talking about how much he supports the troops you really should remember Ira Hayes.

The Ballad of Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The water grew Ira's peoples' crops
'Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin' water stopped

Now Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

There they battled up Iwo Jima's hill,
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again

And when the fight was over
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Ira returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored; Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Then Ira started drinkin' hard;
Jail was often his home
They'd let him raise the flag and lower it
like you'd throw a dog a bone!

He died drunk one mornin'
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war

Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin' thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Isolated incident

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Felony Redneck

Feeding Gin to a baby is not exactly good parenting, it certianly qualifies as really stupid.

It might even be criminal. But does everything stupid have to be a felony? Is there some kind of limit on how many people we want to put in prison for stupid behavior?

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, June 23, 2007


The American Film Institute produced it's annual list of top movies, the AFI 100.

Actually, it's not really an annual list of top movies, it's actually an annual television show. This is the lede to their website introduction to the list.

They don't pick the movies because of some kind of metric of greatness, they don't even pretend to. They pick the movies that fit within the theme they've picked for this years TV show. That explains why Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing somehow got better in the last 8 years. It was not one of the top 100 in 1998, but became one of the top 100 this year.

Not only that, they make it a real pain in the ass to actually get the list. You have to give them an email address, which they send a verification email to, then you can logon to their download page and get a pdf file listing the movies. What jerks. These people are really trying to milk this crap for every penny of value they can get. I'm almost ashamed of myself for giving jerks like this any attention at all.

But their kind of empty hype works in todays America and this post will get me some hits and every hit helps with the Google ads. I'm as much a penny grubbing slimeball as they are, I guess.

Although they made the politically correct inclusion of one Spike Lee movie and one Woodie Allen movie, in today's political landscape they are able to leave off Cheech and Chong with impunity. The anti-immigration politics of today demands that the artistic vision of movies that glorify pot smoking Mexicans be ignored.

Ann Althouse gives us a list
of the 10 movies on the list that she's never seen. What I find interesting about that list is that one of the movies, Shane, is the first movie I remember ever seeing. It was at a drive in, with my parents in the front seat and myself and my infant sister in the back seat. I was about 4. I don't remember much about the movie, but I know I saw the whole thing because what I do remember of it is the final scene with the little boy (who I identified with) yelling out to Shane to come back as Shane rode off into the sunset. Or maybe I just think I remember it because that scene has been replayed so often on TV in the 55 years since I saw the movie.

I'll have to make a list of the ones I haven't seen and add them to my NetFlix queue. I'll do that later.

Update: My thoughts on leaving Cool Hand Luke out of the top 100.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cops have to practice someplace

Man calls for EMS, gets police Tasers
Waxahachie resident Allen Nelms says a call to 911 to get medical attention for his diabetic seizure got him Tasered by police instead.

He said he still has no answer as to why police broke down his door with their guns drawn before shooting him multiple times with a Taser as he lay in bed.

This is bizarre enough so that you almost have to think the newspaper left out some important information. Almost.

Here's something the newspaper report above left out.
The officer in charge of the scene that night, Sgt. Ricky Wilson, was also the subject of another recent internal investigation in which Wilson was accused of violating department policies and lying to cover it up. It was the major first blemish in Wilson's 14 years as a cop.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Brittney Spears and Clear Channel

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feminism and irrational thought

It just amazes me how much irrational thought passes for mainstream feminism these days.

There was a time (long ago) when feminism seemed to based on ideas of fundemental fairness and rationality. I'm not sure when the concept of rational thought left the fold, maybe it has something to do with the growth of Gender Studies programs in universities.

Anyway, this post at feministing is an example of the lack of ability to form rational thought in what passes for feminism today. It's a sarcastic post about Brownback's idea that there should not be a rape exception for rape.

The problem that feministing appears to have with his thought is that it's just not politically acceptable to them. The irrational part is the failure to understand that rape exceptions are actually very irrational, and that Brownbacks position on them might isn't the problem. Restrictions on abortions is the problem, the problem is not a failure to have a long list of exceptions to the restrictions.

At least one of the commenters gets it. There's hope for rational thought in feminism.
I think Brownback is wrong, period, in his stand that abortion should be illegal. But I'm not sure that I think his stand is made more (or less) reprehensible because he thinks that a fetus resulting from rape is of equal value to a fetus resulting from consensual sexual activity.

In a sense, I actually agree with him (horrors!). I think women who have been raped, and women who become pregnant from consensual sexual activity, should have equal access to abortion and all other aspects of reproductive health. Abortion policy should be about what we believe about the nature of pregnancy, not what we believe about the nature or morality of a woman's sexuality and sexual history.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Branding and cross-selling

American Express used to be a brand that had a classy reputation. For years they survived attacks on their business by Visa and MasterCard by maintaiing a status as a class act.

I got some kind of ad in the mail from American Express Publishing today.

I'm not even sure what they're trying to sell. It appears they're trying to be Publisher's Clearing House. Two pages of hype and color. I don't even want to read it.

Are they just determined to kill any possible value the brand might have?

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Peggy Hill's Frito Pie

"It's a traditional Texas recipie that I found on the back of a bag of Fritos",
Peggy Hill

I don't know why. I just think that's a really, really funny line.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs


I had to make a trip to the Post Office to get my mail delivery restored after being out of town a couple of weeks. A woman behind me in line had a very yuppie type of look, running shorts, ponytail, etc. She had a tattoo on each hand. Very un-yuppie-like.

When I was in Las Vegas this last couple of weeks I found a Coffee Bean across the street from the UNLV campus with free wi/fi and spent some time there. I noticed a lot of young college students covered with tattoos. I knew a lot of hippie types in college who didn't shave their legs, but can't recall any with tattoos.

I don't have a tattoo. I was in the Navy, a deck ape in the Navy, and didn't get a tattoo. My daddy had a tattoo -- a small bird on his chest. He was so ashamed of it that he wouldn't cut the grass or go to the beach or go out on the lake without wearing a t-shirt to cover it from public view.

Things sure change.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Watch those pants

This kind of thing just makes being an American embarrassing
Mayor Carol Broussard said he would sign an ordinance the town council approved this week setting penalties of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for being caught in pants that show undergarments or certain parts of the body.

Broussard said he has nothing against saggy pants but thinks people who wear them should use discretion. "It's gotten way out of hand out here," he said.

Albert Roy, the councilman who introduced the ordinance, said he thought the fine was a little steep and should be more in the $25 range, but he still favored the measure.

"I don't know if it will do any good, but it won't hurt," Roy said. "It's obvious, and anybody with common sense can see your parts when you wear sagging pants."


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Scratching while driving

I'm watching some idiot segment on MSNBC about some woman in Utah who was kille in a car accident caused by a driver who was sending a text message while driving.

Her momma wants a law outlawing texting while driving.

Maybe we should pass a law against scratching your ass while driving.



Lifestyle and Political Blogs

More perversion

The Agitator has a link to a film clip on a TV news show making some not-so-nice comments on NBC News Dateline, Perverted Justice, and cops who like being on TV.

When journalists get in bed with cops the cops become TV stars and the journalists become perverted.

There's a reason you never see a film clip on COPS that shows a raid on the wrong house -- and the reason is not that they've never gotten film of cops raiding the wrong house.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, June 08, 2007

Those homeland security experts

To the extent that we can get input from local officials …and incorporate that input into our planning process, we’re willing to do that,” said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. “However, input from local officials cannot usurp the expertise and the experience of our Border Patrol.”

They want to build a wall
that puts US soil containing a university in Brownsville, TX on the Mexican side of the wall.

A university in a metro area, separated from Mexico by a river and sitting between two bridges already loaded with US border and immigration police.

Defer to the experts. Idiots.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A retired light colonel

During the first Gulf War I was teaching in the business school at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. We had a couple of retired military who taught supply channel type courses in the management department. When the war started they began sitting around the faculty lounge pontificating on military logistics. I couldn't take it and started walking across the quad to buy coffee at the student union rather than go into the faculty lounge to get a free cup of coffee.

My military experience was that of a Navy deck force ape, my politics and life experiences was so far removed from those guys that I didn't even want to be in the same room with them when they were talking up how easy it is to win a war.

I'm in Las Vegas this week, sitting in Coffee Bean across the street from UNLV, doing some Excel work for a small consulting gig I'm working on in between trips to the Rio for the World Series of poker.

There's a large table next to me with 5 business school students, members of some student group, and their faculty adviser. He has the look and talk of some retired Air Force Lt. Colonel supply officer. Listening to him spout off with various nonsense is making me want to through a chair at him.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I've spent a good chunk of my life in southern states, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. I've lived some other places, but most of my time has been spent in those three states.

One thing that's common in those areas, particularly among older buildings, is high ceilings. A high ceiling traps that hot air away from the people down in the bottom part of the room, it's just really common in older southern architecture.

Last night a walked through a residential area in Las Vegas for a couple of blocks and was struck by the low profile all the houses had. Flat or low pitched roofs and low ceilings.

I guess there's just not much pre-air-conditioning architecture here, nobody lived here before air conditioning.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Art in America


I’m in Las Vegas for the World Series of poker for a couple of weeks. I was paging through one of those throw away magazines on “what to do in Las Vegas” while waiting for the shuttle between my off-strip motel and the Tropicana and I ran across this big ad for an Art Show.

LeRoy Neiman 50 year Retrospective Exhibition

I’m sure LeRoy Neiman is a fine artist, but what he is mostly is very commercial. His stuff sells.

The last paragraph of the text in the ad tells that story.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to view and to purchase from an outstanding collection of dramatic art by LeRoy Neiman.

View and purchase.

The mustache on him looks like something out of an old cartoon.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Nutcase on Hannity and Colmes

Some nutcase named Cunningham is on Hannity and Colmes trying to justify that old invasion of Iraq by saying, "We weren't attacked by Nazis but we declared war on them".

Of course nobody corrected him, they just let him rant nonsense.

It was the Nazi's who declared war against us, not us against them. They did so because they had a treaty obligation with the Japanese.

So, they didn't attack us, they just promised to the world that they would. A little different from Saddam, who only claimed he'd defend himself if we invaded, not that he'd attack us.

But, hey, this is Fox News. Truth doesn't matter.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Ownership of your body

In response to a news report about use of exercise equipment at work, Maia of Alas, A Blog said
It’s none of our employer’s business whether or not we lose 20 to 30 kg, or gain 20 or 30 kg. Our bodies and our lives should belong to us, that’s the basic meaning of freedom.

She's right except that when we want to claim ownership we need to also accept responsibility for upkeep and maintanence. When we expect our employers to cover that responsibility for us by providing health insurance and sick leave then we give up some of those ownership rights.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Is America safer?

Live Blogging a Bush press conference

In a press conference Bush is saying
I think America is safer without Saddam Hussein in power
He's insane.

The problem isn't whether Saddam is in power or not, the problem is that without Saddam there is no one running the show in Iraq and it leaves open opportunties for Al Quada and other nutcases to recruit. Opportunities they did not have with Saddam in power. That does not make us safer. Nothing that has replaced Saddam has made us safer.

Now Bush says
We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government, a sovereign nation.

Snicker, snicker. Yep, we were invited. Yep, they're sovereign.

It's better to fight them there than here

If we weren't there they wouldn't have as many people for us to fight. There would be fewer of them. If we weren't there then there would be nobody to fight.

He keeps quoting Gen David Petraeus as if he's actually a meaningful, independent voice. He's not. He's just a voice box for Bush, he's going to say whatever Bush wants him to say because like most Generals his career comes first. Bush picks the General that runs things in Iraq, and like the criteria he uses to pick an Attorney General, he picks the General he can depend on to be loyal and to give the advice that supports the path Bush wants to take.

Now he's saying Al Queda doesn't have a base of operations in Iraq, they are attempting to establish one in Iraq.

??? Which is it? We are fighting them in Iraq? Or they want to move into Iraq so they can fight us there? If they don't have a base of operations in Iraq then who is it that's blowing stuff up? Why aren't we fighting the ones who are blowing stuff up?

Now he's talking about the immigration stuff. It bores me. I think I'll take a nap.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

They hate us for our freedoms

From Balkinization
Last fall, Majid Khan was at the center of an amazing piece of litigation: his lawyers filed a motion demanding that they be allowed to see him, and the government opposed it, claiming that the meeting might lead to the disclosure of classified methods of acquiring information. In other words, Majid Khan might tell his lawyers what his captors did to him.

Read the post.

In another post he points out that torture doesn't become something else just because we call it "red turtle" or whatever phrase the Republican candidates for President prefer.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

College women’s softball

I was watching a women’s softball game between Tennessee and Arizona last night out of the corner of my eye. I was playing poker in the poker room at the MGM in Las Vegas and the TV that was up on the wall in front of me was on the ESPN channel that was broadcasting it.

I don’t follow softball so I don’t really know what’s normal and what’s not normal within that sport but two things caught my eye during that broadcast.

One was the text line describing the stats of a designated hitter. A batting average of .207. Somehow that just doesn’t seem like much of a number. Maybe she’s a huge homerun hitter, I don’t know. They did show the current season homeruns and RBI’s but they didn’t seem meaningful. I don’t even remember the number of homeruns, the number of RBI’s was 19, which depending on how young the season is right now might be a big number.

All in all it just seemed like pretty weak stats for a designated hitter.

It was the second thing I noticed that made me think maybe the reason for the low stats of the designated hitter is that they just want to share, not to win.

Instead of performance stats, another hitter had a text line announcing her favorite band is the Beatles.

Favorite band? What the hell kind of sport is College Women’s Softball?

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, June 01, 2007

Armed, dangerous, and the use of throw down guns

In the early 90's I was a graduate student in criminal justice at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, TX, just North of Houston. One of my classmates was a Houston cop who had gone through the Houston PD Police Academy in the 1970's. They had an afternoon segment, actually in the syllabus, where they were given a formal lecture on the use of a throw down gun. It was treated as a natural normal thing to do -- plant a gun if you've accidently killed someone who was not armed.

To some of y'all the 70's was a long time ago. But many of us can still remember that long ago time. And you can be sure that the Houston PD has senior police officers who took that class on how to use a throw down gun.

History and culture have a lot to do with the way police departments work. Citizens need to remember that -- they need to not forget.

A Houston cop recently killed a suspect who may or may not have been armed. The cop says he was. There's video that shows an unclear picture, he might have been armed. A gun was recovered at the scene. But the history of the Houston Police Department is very real and it's such that you really to think about it when a cop tells you a story.

You especially need to think about it when the story he tells initially turns out to be a little mistaken in some important facts -- things like he initially said he shot the guy while the guy was facing him and pointing a gun at him. Then it turns out that both the autopsy and the video contradict that. He shot the guy in the back while the guy was running away.

But the Mayor of Houston stands by his cop. Strong police unioins deliver a lot of votes. It's pathetic.

But don't forget. This is America. They hate us for our freedom.


They're going to take it to a grand jury. It's not clear they'll tell the grand jury they just made shit up at the beginning, before they knew the apartment complex had a video camera on.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Bush and credibility

“I’m credible because I read the intelligence, David, and make it abundantly clear in plain terms that if we let up, we’ll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.”

That was the Bush response to a question about credibility in the press conference this morning.

Read that closely. He's not talking about actually being credible, he's talking about maintaining an appearance of credibility. He makes it "clear in plain terms". That's not a prescription for honesty that's a rule-of-thumb for writing an effective speech. That's not credibility, that's effective manipulation of an audience.

In his world those are the same thing.

I hate politicians.

The blog, Whatever it is, I'm against it, has good coverage of the press conference, complete with Itube links.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Winning by Leaving

The Iraqis want us to leave. Bush wants to stay. Stay until the world is safe from terrorism.

How we're going to do that when we're running out of soldiers is an unanswered question.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs