VLADRUSHKA by John Linton Roberson (c) 2022.
I Didn't Write That!
29 April 2005
  Alabama, You Got The Rest of the Union to Help You Along...

...what's going wrong?

Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now Alabama's public and college libraries.

Librarian Donna Schremser fears the "thought police," would be patrolling her shelves.

"And so the idea that we would have a pristine collection that represents one political view, one religioius view, that's not a library,'' says Schremser.

"I think it's an absolutely absurd bill," says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

First Amendment advocates say the ban clearly does amount to censorship.

"It's a Nazi book burning," says Potok. "You know, it's a remarkable piece of work."

But in book after book, Allen reads what he calls the "homosexual agenda,"
and he's alarmed.

"It's not healthy for America, it doesn't fit what we stand for," says Allen. "And they will do whatever it takes to reach their goal."

He says he sees this as a line in the sand.

In Alabama's legislature, the reviews of Allen's bill are still out on whether to lower this curtain for good.

Editor's Note: When the time for the vote in the legislature came there were not enough state legislators present for the vote, so the measure died automatically.


The Death of PBS, and Good Riddance

The enthusiastic but often oversimplistic Ari Berman rails against the conservative takeover at PBS. But is this really a new phenomenon? I've detected this going on for years. Besides the fact that PBS seems to be about 60% infomercials these days for the likes of the scary pod person Suze Orman and ur-Dr. Phil Wayne Dyer, its documentaries since about 1995--mostly the ones produced by David Grubin--such as Commanding Heights or People's Century or the Reagan miniseries, have all been trojan horses for a neocon message, trying to establish the narrative that the 20th century was about nothing but the battle between free-market capitalism and--well, everything else, defined directly or indirectly as socialism. In Commanding Heights, for example, we are treated to the news that Pinochet was a great fighter for free markets and it's only incidental that he murdered most of his own people, and by the way, God bless Milton Friedman, baa baa baa.

PBS lost its soul, unfortunately, years ago. It's just that the sellout to conservatives--and why exactly does anyone think placating that beast ever makes it anything but hungrier?--is now complete. Does this really matter? To me it's one less reason to watch TV and is that ever a bad thing?

Make your kids read for a change. Fuck PBS; it's been a hollow shell for ages. It does no more than train them to watch more television.


  Anything But Dealing With It

New strip from Ted Rall. (click to enlarge)


28 April 2005
  Obsessions With The Devil

…All too many Christians have behaved as though the Devil were a First Principle, on the same footing as God. They have paid more attention to evil and the problem of its eradications than to good and the methods by which individual goodness may be deepened, and the sum of goodness increased. The effects which follow too constant and intense a concentration upon evil are always disastrous. Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the Devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself.

Aldous Huxley,
The Devils of Loudun, p. 175

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  Waco 2?


Only this time, I expect, the federal government would not try to stop them.


White Times

Could the loathsome Washington Times be not only a front paper for the right wing, but even of white supremacists?

Oooh, I'm so shocked.



Looks like all Bush's Social Security campaign accomplished was to make more people realize he's, well, stupid and scary and trying to steal their country away from them.

But how could anyone distrust a face like this?

Must be them damn liberals that took away his mojo.


  The Book of the GOP

Behold the new gospel.


27 April 2005
  Words from the President About the Threat to Our Democracy

The real one, that is.


  Good Line

From Smirking Chimp:

"Republicans love the truth the way Dracula does sunlight."


Pretty Serious...

Wow, I can only imagine what DeLay's in for, judging by the sudden rush by members of the House to make sure their travel & expense records are clean before the House scraps the ethics rules changes that shielded him, which is to say possibly by the end of today. How many others, one wonders, took trips on reptilian lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dime?

Be sure to shield your ears; the kind of fall DeLay has built himself up for may register on the Richter scale.


An Ounce of Prevention?

Nice to know that an unidentified aircraft could get into our airspace with no warning and it could only be noticed after it happened, isn't it?

Has the Bush administration done anything to actually make us safer, or were the people who died on 9/11 merely sacrifices to the agenda he came into office with?

Should I keep asking stupid questions?


  Florida: No, Really, We Need Help

And the right to shoot someone for looking at you funny just got signed into law in Florida, or as I like to call it, Bizarro California.

Maybe now they'll all kill each other like they've always wanted, and leave the rest of the country alone.


  A Gay Voice In The Administration

It's refreshing to find that Bush has had a gay man behind him and his decisions all this time; that must be where all the "compassionatism" comes from.

Sad that he has to pay someone for sex and, worse, has to pretend that his boy's a reporter. Come out, man! It's the 21st century!

"I think you might be a bit of an expert on what a pixie is." --Joseph McCarthy


That Barbecue Smells Delicious

The House ethics rule change that was put through to protect Tom DeLay is now going to be reversed, and an investigation of Tommy boy will follow.
The rules were approved in January by the Republican-led House after Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas was admonished by the ethics panel on three separate matters in 2004.

Republicans on the committee said they would open an investigation of DeLay's handling of overseas trips and gifts as soon as the impasse over the rules is broken, the Post said.

... The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the package was certain to include a reversal of the rule that would automatically dismiss an ethics complaint after 45 days if the committee is deadlocked, according to the report.

A House Republican aide told the newspaper the automatic-dismissal rule was "the rule that is most commonly believed to be designed to protect Tom DeLay" and that it was "impossible to win the communications battle" on it.
And just in time, as it was just revealed that
The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.
Charge it? Hell, charge him!


26 April 2005
  Another Nice Boy In Wisconsin

Please, someone explain to me, just what is the deal with guys in Wisconsin?


The What Of The People?

Poll numbers on every front for Bush dropping like hanged men.

Whether that actually makes any difference, of course, is another matter entirely, given that this is a president who's managed to do without the will of the people his entire presidency so far...


22 April 2005
Henry Hyde: Clinton Impeachment Was Payback for Nixon

Before it gets taken down from this site as it was at ABC(because it was "too opinionated"--translated meaning being "too revealing about the Republican Party"), have a look at the real and petty face of the GOP. I quote(from Light Up The Darkness.org):

Hyde Admits Impeachment Payback

Let’s see. It cost $60 million in taxpayer’s money. Tarnished the Democratic Party and Al Gore during the 2000 election, and since. Distracted the country from Al Qaeda leading to the deaths of 3000 people.

For a 20 year old payback. Because they had to stand for something???

Video At Link

"Andy Shaw: Was it payback?

Hyde: "I can't say it wasn't, but I also thought that the Republican party should stand for something, and if we walked away from this, no matter how difficult, we could be accused of shirking our duty, our responsibility.”

What a bunch of fucking assholes. No, seriously.


Theofascists Full Of Beans

Which explains the noxious stench whenever something pops out of them, like this idea of destroying the judiciary entirely.

Please explain to me why these assholes are allowed to go about their merry way suggesting and forming policy rather than left on a streetcorner with tinfoil hats as they should be.


Scream and Scream Again

Have a look at noted rageaholic and US Ambassador to the UN nominee John Bolton blowing his stack at UN officials. Such a diplomatic approach he would bring to the job!

And Colin Powell appears to be trying to reclaim his raped reputation.


21 April 2005
Grover Norquist Wises Up

Because if Norquist wants his government "small enough to drown in the bathtub," this is certainly not the one. So it's fascinating to see the man who did everything he could to support(financially and otherwise) the war on Bill Clinton on stage next to George Soros at an ATR strategy meeting; you might recall Tom DeLay says George Soros is driving the vast left-wing conspiracy against poor, put-upon him.

Mr. Soros was the guest speaker at the regular Wednesday morning strategy meeting led by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, at ATR's offices on L Street.

Mr. Soros' appearance was a surprise. Those in attendance greeted him politely, with some offering to work with him on issues on which they could find common ground -- such as preserving civil and personal liberties.

"He, in turn, praised them for the "tremendous energy and enthusiasm" they showed for their various causes, most of which he had "fundamental disagreements" with, he said."

Dear me. Things are realigning and all it took was for the religious right to show its fangs. Can we hope that Norquist will start a campaign to impeach Bush now? It's not like he is particularly forgiving when he feels betrayed; in 1992 Bush 41 lost partly because of Norquist's highly successful efforts to starve him of campaign funding, because of Bush 41 reneging on his tax pledge. And Bush 43 may have forgotten he made that pledge himself in the last campaign--after being careful to be noncommittal previously. Bush will definitely have to raise taxes soon to pay for the massive deficit. This may be Norquist putting him on notice.

I've said it many, many times: in the end, hubris always, always does Republicans in.


No Santorum, Either?

It appears that Rick Santorum may not be coming back to the Senate next year, if current trends hold...

One can wonder, then, if he's going to change his public opinion of Tom DeLay, because he may need the money DeLay can raise to save his ass so he can continue lecturing us all on the rising dangers of man-on-dog sex and other issues of vital interest to the polity.


20 April 2005
  The Big Important Man

...who can't even go to a concert honestly.

That's quite a shiny trail of slime DeLay's been leaving...


Bride of No DeLay

You've probably heard that Tom DeLay has been whining like the bullying loser he is that it's the Democrats and liberals out to get him, as opposed to his own actions and past, which he refuses to be accountable for(DeLay is only the entire GOP in extremis). One can infer that he thinks that if he makes it look like us vs. them, the GOP will back him no matter what.

But the GOP doesn't take too kindly, I suppose, to presumptuous little tinhorn demagogues who try to force them into a fight they didn't pick. At least unless the name Bush is involved. Because House Republicans have opened an investigation into his ethics abuses, which means we can give DeLay upwards of 6-8 weeks before they force him to step down.

I can't imagine he'd resign--he likes the feeling of being important too much, and one can tell he'd sacrifice everyone around him, including his own party, to maintain power. He's the kind who'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming, possibly even sedated. I imagine, given both what he's said to the religious right and the NRA, that there would be some kind of armed insurrection to save him. Dream on, Tom. If, given your vast fundraising, the GOP still thinks you're not worth saving--well, the fundraising was your only value and it was only to them.

So this will be a slapping down that will make McCarthy look like they gave him the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Filmmakers Have No Rights Of Expression

Or so Congress found yesterday when they voted into law a bill the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which says that those who make and distribute versions of movies sanitized for your protection--who, incidentally, do so not even in the employ of any movie company--are within their rights. The country is becoming Utah.

Firstly, this normalizes censorship and the ripple effects will be enormous. The movie companies will be looking at which makes more money and, if the sanitized version does, which do you think the companies themselves will prefer to make? It's not like they want competition from the sanitizers. No, they'll want to outdo them.

Secondly, doesn't this mean anyone, potentially, can re-edit and distribute any movie any way they wish?

Thirdly, how will this affect other art & entertainment industries?

This is really bizarre, particularly since the movie industry--the business side, not the Director's Guild whose lawsuit started this controversy--went along with it. But they were given a gimme, a provision that allows for ten years in prison, ironically, for distributing a movie or song prior to its commercial release.

Unless you cut out all the dirty parts. Then it's okay.

"She felt much better after she cut out all the parts she didn't like."--David Mazzuchelli
19 April 2005
King With The Pointy Hat What Sits on His Throne In Rome

The new one is, apparently, Joseph Ratzinger, former Hitler Youth and noted papal fundamentalist. And the world continues the Grand Regression. Hoo-hah.


At Least There's Some Places Your Vote Counts...

Like American Idol, say, or this site which wants you to help vote for the best anti-DeLay slogan. (I notice "no DeLay" isn't there. I'm crestfallen) Help pick a billboard for these folks!


18 April 2005
  Oldie But Goodie

A classic from Ed Bluestone & Sharry Flenniken.


17 April 2005
  Feeding Frenzy

The momentum is building and building for Tom DeLay to soon be gone. Including from his own constituents.


15 April 2005
  Jesus Wept

That's all I have to say about my glance at the hideousness that is Revelations. The vertical scheduling between NBC and USA is rather efficient.

I have a theory, have had for a long time, based partly on my own experience in the South in the 70s and on some things mentioned by Stephen King in his underrated Danse Macabre. I believe that much of the strength of the apocalyptic pop fundamentalism we know in this country--which used to be mostly confined to the South and some lunatics of the Jack T. Chick variety in southern California(in City of Quartz they're called--some of them--"the Sorcerers")--is less attributable to any sort of rebirth of morality than pop culture. I mean in the person of such things as The Omen and the Exorcist. I think stuff like that is what created the present version of apocalypse culture.

It's just as much a cult as Rocky Horror. The big difference is that when you bring religion in, we're reminded what "cult" actually means.


Love the tagline for the upcoming FDR "documentary" on the History Channel. They'd been so fixated on Jesus the past five months, I was wondering when they'd get back to World War Two. You'd think they'd forgotten Hitler after all he did for them.

Anyway, tagline is "
He became America’s shining light by keeping us in the dark." The ad features annoying and grotesque reporters, including a really ugly woman with too much lipstick, gracelessly asking questions about FDR's secret plans to take us to war and about his polio. Not in the manner, even, that reporters might have, if they had asked questions like that in those days, but the yelling, instrusive way reporters do now--at celebrity trials and such, anyway. They don't ask the President so much. But the hint is gotten. If the reporters had their way, somehow Hitler would have won or something.

Oh my. I detect indirect Bush-Iraq apologia coming on.

The ground has already been prepared for that, of course, what with Brit Hume's recent attempt to paint FDR as being for the destruction of Social Security, or the numerous times it has been said by the Republican Noise Brigades that Bush is somehow akin to Roosevelt or, on days when they may have been hitting their coke a bit harder, even Churchill. And then there's Bush's upcoming drive to pack the courts, because I guess he just doesn't think our government is ideologically narrow enough yet. Roosevelt too attempted--and failed, devastatingly--to pack the courts, specifically the Supreme Court. FDR's action will be used as a justification of Bush's own. Indeed, Republicans, when they can, are surprisingly ready to justify their actions based on what Democrats have done.

Or at least what they perceive that Democrats have done. The more I hear mant Republican attack dogs talking, the more I believe they are basing their actions now in some Bizarro vision of what they think liberals have done to them--but didn't--in the past. This is why the past four years have felt like punishment. I don't think they ever got over 1992, or worse having that confirmed in 1996. I think the Republican party really hate the American people. They can't understand us and don't really want to. There are too many different types of us. It scares them, and big words bother them, as you know.

I really do hope the moderates take back that party from this rising tide of theofascists. It would be nice to just once have something nice to say about the GOP(particularly because it seems the Democrats have ceased to exist). I truly believe we are ruled by evil people who are assisted by stupid people. And I'd really rather not live in a country where I can so easily believe such a thing.


  Bride of No DeLay

See Tom. See Tom bluster.

See Tom threaten judges and the Constitution. Again.

See Tom give a weasely apology before that for the first remarks on that matter.

See Tom on his way out the door in a way that causes the least political damage to the GOP.

The thousandth cut draws nearer and nearer...

Bush also stood up for DeLay today. As he did for Trent Lott right before Lott's fall. Bush, as you may recall has this habit of standing next to and extolling one day what he's about to totally screw the next, like all those little black students he has photo-ops with before cutting education and other such funds. But of course he has to demonstrate support for DeLay. That way the amorphous Congress and media--which in this case is increasingly meaning DeLay's fellow Republicans--can absorb the blame when DeLay is destroyed, and Bush can retain the loyalty of DeLay's hard-right supporters.

I mean, they went to a lot of trouble to suck off the theofascists. Do you think they'll spit now of all times? Ha!


  Arnold To Be Terminated?

Hopefully it'll soon be much easier to return to California...


14 April 2005
Schiavo Redux

An excellent postmortem--you should excuse the expression--on the Schiavo case by one of the few sane Republicans alive, Andrew Sullivan.

Here's a description he includes, from the Miami Herald, of the wonderful life the Republicans wanted to bind Ms. Schiavo to forever:

According to the Miami Herald, which has covered the case more thoroughly than any other outlet, "each rehabilitation facility treated her with aggressive physical, recreational, speech and language therapy, moving her arms and legs, trying to rouse her with scents. But according to court filings, Terri was not responsive to neurological or swallowing tests."...

..."She suffered from bile stones and kidney stones, according to court papers, and had to have her gallbladder removed. She has 'drop foot,' where her foot twists downward, and the ensuing pressure resulted in the amputation of her left little toe. She frequently developed urinary tract infections, diarrhea and vaginitis. Several cysts were removed from her neck. Several times, her feeding tube got infected.

Jesus, what sadistic, unfeeling ghouls. More concerned with quantity of life than quality.

Well, unless it was their own family.


  Pope's Opinion of Bush

Apparently John Paul II thought Bush might be the Antichrist.



13 April 2005
Son of No DeLay

The Tom DeLay career deathwatch continues with this site that is attempting to encourage divestment of DeLay by corporate donors. Fat chance, of course--he's the best tool they have apart from the president himself. Still, they've stirred up enough to get hate mail from a Baptist deacon--who is also a Texas councilman. Behold the beauty and eloquence of DeLay's district(thanks to Thinkprogress.org):

Hey ass hole [sic]. Tom Delay happens to be my congresman [sic] and I am happy with the job he does for me and my district. Why don’t you get the F@&* out of our district and leave us alone. Better yet, come speak to me personally and I will show you what I think of you.

Kevin Cole
Pealrand [sic], TX

You'd think that a councilman could spell the name of his own town, but I guess Jesus exciused him from edumacation.

At least they're irritating the right people...


Feds Become Art Critics

Another Salon link, but mainly because the Sun-Times story they link to is mysteriously missing(so I fixed it below). A wee incident in my city, actually just down the street from where I sit right now, over at Columbia College. It appears that Chicago has once again been a site for government officials to take, well, extreme umbrage at that most terrifying of all terrorist acts, student art:

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, just prior to the public opening of "Axis of Evil, the Secret History of Sin" at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery, the agents arrived and took pictures of some of the art pieces -- including "Patriot Act," showing President Bush on a mock 37-cent stamp with a revolver pointed at his head. (See the Sun-Times link for the visual.)

The agents reportedly inquired as to what the artists "meant by their work" -- perhaps taking care of due diligence while also dispensing with the cost of the audio tour. But what came next starts to look more reflective of the aforementioned work's title, and how expression of dissent is treated in America under the Bush administration. According to the Sun-Times, the agents also wanted museum director CarolAnn Brown to turn over the names and phone numbers of all the artists. And, she said, they wanted to hear from the exhibit's curator, Michael Hernandez deLuna, within 24 hours.

Just another fine day in the United States of Republika. But it did cause the number of people going to said exhibit to spike.


Got Milk?

Well, if you bought it from Horizon thinking it was organic, healthy milk from cows treated better than at a factory farm...you got suckered.

Perched amid a stark landscape of sagebrush and expansive brown fields, long silver barns that hold 4,000 cows are linked like barracks in some covert operation. I drive down a narrow, cracked road toward the dairy's main office and pass open-air sheds about 20 feet away, where cows laze in crowded pens atop the brown hardpan of the Idaho desert. Just outside the milking barn, more cows are jammed into an outdoor corral. Amid clumps of dirt and snow, they are lined up, their bodies touching.

In recent weeks, as revelations of Horizon's farming practices have come to light, a collection of consumer groups and organic dairy farmers have erupted in protest. Horizon and similar dairies are capitalizing on the boom in organic foods, they say, but diluting the true meaning of the term. Contrary to genuine organic practices, which entail raising cows on open pastures, where the animals feed on grass, experts say that a substantial percentage of cows at farms like Horizon's are confined to pens, fed a diet of proteins and grains, and produce milk that, while free of hormones, is not as healthy as it could be.


  Our Taliban

A rather spooky article on a recent conference of our own religious totalitarians, the Christian Reconstructionists, that "calls for the death penalty for homosexuals, abortion doctors and women guilty of 'unchastity before marriage,' among other moral crimes." Tom DeLay--who was present--is one of their best friends in Congress. At the moment, among many more things, they're praying for God to kill and send to hell judges they don't like:

...Scarborough invited the audience to get on their knees. All over the room, people dropped to the floor, heads bowed. From somewhere in the audience, a preacher started up:

"Father, we echo the words of the apostle Paul, because we know Judge Greer claims to be a Christian. So as the Apostle Paul said in First Corinthians 5, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus."...
...Michael Schwartz, the longtime right-wing operative who now serves as Sen. Coburn's chief of staff, made The Hammer sound soft. "This problem that we're dealing with fundamentally is a question of sovereignty," he said. He went on to argue that, "when the Supreme Court says that there is a right to kill babies in the Constitution and therefore we can't have laws against that, or there is a right to commit buggery in the Constitution and we can't have laws against that," it implicitly asserts that "the people have no right to make laws."

As long as the Supreme Court purports to "grade the papers of Congress" -- in other words, to evaluate its laws -- "it is counter to the very basis of this republic." Thus, until America throws out the principle of judicial review, "it is a sick and sad joke to claim we have a Constitution."...

...On a Friday panel titled "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny," a constitutional lawyer named Edwin Vieira discussed Kennedy's majority opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas, which struck down that state's anti-sodomy law. Vieira accused Kennedy of relying on "Marxist, Leninist, Satanic principals drawn from foreign law" in his jurisprudence.

What to do about communist judges in thrall to Beelzebub? Vieira said, "Here again I draw on the wisdom of Stalin. We're talking about the greatest political figure of the 20th century … He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty. 'No man, no problem.'"

The audience laughed, and Vieira repeated it. "'No man, no problem.' This is not a structural problem we have. This is a problem of personnel."

As Dana Milbank pointed out Saturday in the Washington Post, the full Stalin quote is this: "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Milbank suggested that Kennedy would be wise to hire more bodyguards.

Was Vieira calling for assassination? I'm not sure. The conference's rhetoric, though, certainly suggested that judges deserve to reap the horrors they have ostensibly sown. The affair finished with a rousing speech by recent Republican senatorial candidate Alan Keyes, who drew enthusiastic applause when he said, "I believe that in our country today the judiciary is the focus of evil."

Gosh, no wonder they embrace the color red. And notice: They're quoting Stalin at a Christian event. These are very much people ready to embrace any means necessary and they've lost their minds. This does not make them laughable and dismissible, folks. The word "fascist" is too soft to describe these people.

You think these people are fringe crazies whom nobody will listen to. The first part of that is correct. The latter part--well, the best way to assure these lunatics get what they want is to keep telling yourself they'll just go away.

"They can never win," you say. Yeah, and you and i and everyone thought Kerry would. The country could never be that dumb, you and I said to any possibility Bush could be re-elected, just as we've said to the possibility of his getting his way on any of the insane things he's gotten his way on.

If it sounds ridiculous now in the Bizarro Age, it will probably happen. Keep that in mind before you go back to sleep, my fellow Americans.

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12 April 2005
Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead

Which old witch?

The wicked witch.

Excuse me while I do a brief two-step on her grave. And spit.

That may seem bitter. I'm not at all anti-feminist--this is personal and specific toward Dworkin and, for that matter, Catherine McKinnon. But one absexual at a time.

But what Dworkin did bears as much relation to feminism as Jack Chick bears to the average Episcopalian pastor. I could rant about Dworkin for days but I have no wish to have any more of my life wasted by her than already was. An example from the article above of Dworkin's typical civil and reasonable attempts to create equality and justice for women:

Here's a classic example: During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Dworkin quarreled with feminists who did not consider Bill Clinton's sexual encounters with the White House intern to be sufficiently exploitative to merit impeachment. A principled, reasonable argument could be made that Clinton's behavior was unethical, but Dworkin was never about reason. "What needs to be asked," she told a British journalist, "is, was the cigar lit?"

The statement (it seems too sensationalistic to be called a quip) is pure Dworkin: a ghoulishly creative melodramatic flourish that has little bearing on the matter at hand. Clinton may have acted sleazily, with a callous disregard for the emotional consequences of his actions on a young woman who was too naive and eager-to-please to grasp them herself, but no one suspects or has accused him of sadistically torturing her. Yet Dworkin was never able to enter into a conversation about morality unless the stakes were escalated to the stratosphere. The everyday realm where most of us commit our minor sins against, and injuries to, each other didn't really interest her. She only cared for the Grand Guignol.

Dworkin came out of and contributed to a subculture of feminism that specialized in this kind of irresponsible overstatement. A certain style developed: Throw out a handful of lurid, grisly anecdotes as if they amounted to an indictment of an entire class of people (usually men), who, if the worst of them can be shown to be guilty of such outrages, must all be equally responsible for them. The shock will soften your audience up enough to keep them from asking just how typical such atrocities really are and how widely condoned. Yes, they do happen, but like the handful of kidnapped little girls during the summer of 2002, such horrors can be made to seem epidemic when they're actually a rarity. Meanwhile, the much less exciting, if far more common, troubles of women who are simply trying to feed their children on inadequate wages, or get a decent job, fall by the wayside.

I would suggest that Dworkin was not at all interested in the freedom of women; she was one of those who wanted to create a new set of limitations on women's choices, illustrated well by her collusion with the religious right and her giving them such a great weapon against freedom of speech by defining what she considered "obscenity" as "sex discrimination." She seemed to believe that no woman could have sex with a man without being deluded, what I call the "poor little dears" theory of feminism. But in my view, I really don't care whether a Puritan prig is left or right--they're all tiresome, destructive morons out to limit thoughts to what they themselves can stand. Jesus, I can only imagine what she thought of the post-feminists.

May she rest in peace; the last thing I want is her coming back. Good riddance.


The Terror Orgy Resumes

The Patriot Act is up for renewal and John Bolton is having a terrible(which is to say entirely appropriate, given what an asshole he reportedly is) time getting confirmed in the Senate as our new UN ambassador. Bush's approval ratings still hang in the low 40s and the drumbeat for Tom DeLay to step down gets louder and louder.

So of course you knew they were going to try to scare the bejesus out of you all over again, right?

Look, after the last five years, I think you can go the rest of your life without looking shocked.


11 April 2005
  DeLay Must Go--Shays

Rep. Christopher Shays (R, Conn.) began yesterday what hopefully other sensible Republicans will run with: a call for the resignation of Tom DeLay.


09 April 2005
  From the Onion...

Terri Schiavo Dies Of Embarrassment

PINELLAS PARK, FL—Terri Schiavo, the shy woman whose self-image issues put her in a 15-year coma, died of embarrassment Thursday, the eyes of the entire world fixed upon her. "Terri, who had been extremely reserved before her debilitation, found herself trapped at the center of an epic legal battle that became the focus of the nation," said Dr. Kyle Williamson, who treated Schiavo several years ago. "The involvement of President Bush, Congress, and numerous church officials further complicated what might have been a simple right-to-die case, and made Terri's weight issues and family difficulties public knowledge. She finally succumbed to the embarrassment last week, at age 41." Specifics of Schiavo's dying breath and photos of the woman in her self-conscious 20s have been appearing in newspapers worldwide since her death.
© Copyright 2005, Onion, Inc


08 April 2005
  Max Ernst

An article on a new exhibition of my favorite surrealist. Check it out.


  Religious Left

A possible antidote to the psychotic forms of religion we're seeing take over this nation.


How Do You Define Perverse?

Here's how I define it. Say you're a cardinal, right? And a bunch of priests are raping little boys within your jurisdiction. What do you do? Well, common sense would tell you that the priests should be removed and probably turned over to the cops.

But you don't do that. Instead you shuffle them around from one area to another, where they continue. When it gets too hot for them in each area, you move them to another where they're not known, and you continue this spreading of the child rape for, oh, decades.

And it gets found out, and priests are arrested and there's a huge scandal and it's your fault. Do you quit? No, you stonewall and, as punishment, you get sent to the Vatican, which priests work their entire lives to achieve. But never mind, at least you're out of the public eye, right?

Well, not if you get to conduct one of the funeral masses for the Pope on worldwide TV.

...the Vatican's decision to let Cardinal Bernard Law lead a funeral Mass for Pope John Paul in Rome has prompted outrage back home, where the ousted Boston archbishop is seen as a symbol of a pedophile priest scandal.

Victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergymen were particularly harsh in their reaction, saying the decision to give Law a prominent role in the pomp and circumstance surrounding the pope's death came as a slap in the face.

"I find it personally very insulting and one more instance of how the Roman Catholic hierarchy protects and promotes even the most egregious among them," said Ann Hagan Webb, a regional coordinator of the group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

"He (Law) protected priests at the expense of children over and over and over again, and this symbolically says: 'We don't care about these children; we'd rather honor him,"' Hagan Webb, a clergy abuse victim herself, told Reuters.

Law resurfaced in American media this week following the pope's death, granting a lengthy interview to ABC News and being photographed at numerous public events.

"From the moment Law appeared on ABC, we have received an overwhelming number of e-mails and phone calls, for the most part from people very much upset by Law's visibility," said Suzanne Morse of the Catholic laity group Voice of the Faithful, which grew out of the scandal.
Huh! And, let's not forget, you also get to be in the conclave that picks the next pope. You naughty, naughty cardinal, I hope you've learned your lesson!

So, our president promotes all those who fucked up the Iraq War, and appoints a hater of the UN as the ambassador to it. Meanwhile, an unapologetic enabler of pedophile priests (one of which was a founder of NAMBLA) gets about the most tasty job you can get in the Church.

Is it just me that finds satire beside the point in this hopelessly off-the-rails world? This is like something written by Terry Southern.

But I suppose that, given the death of the pope is taken as a demarcation point from one era to the next, having Cardinal Law conduct the ceremonies marking this new Bizarro Age is entirely appropriate.

I would scream but my throat has become way too hoarse since 2000.


  Culture of Life: Dust and Ashes in their Mouths

Ted Rall on the blatant hypocrisy of the "Culture of Life" lie.


Grover Norquist: Shame Is For Higher Organisms

I was astounded to read this in David Paul Kuhn's article on Count Dra--sorry, I mean Tom DeLay, of course.

"When you look at the attacks on [DeLay], there is no there there," says Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, comparing DeLay's ethics controversy with the House impeachment trial of Bill Clinton -- of which then-Republican whip DeLay was the prime instigator. "This is exactly what the Republicans did in 1998. You don't have an issue, you don't have a policy, and go out and play sack the quarterback. For taking on Clinton, it turned out to be a pretty stupid policy. It's attacking a person for extraneous things."


Indeed it was a pretty stupid policy. One, however, that Norquist himself, along with Richard Mellon Scaife and others, dedicated a great deal of time, energy and capital towards.

I find the hypocrisy of the Republicans amazing. They slam and slam Clinton like a nervous tic but the instant they might come close to legitimately meeting the fate they tried to inflict on Clinton illegitimately, they suddenly say what a horrible thing that was to do to our president and no one should ever do it again(not unlike the recent rules change). How long before they start trying to claim Clinton as part of THEIR legacy?

I wonder if they're merely evil or just insane. But of course, with the Democrats withdrawn into silence, I suppose the Republicans have to now sing both parts. It's too bad there's no one important to call them on their BS.


No Spin Zone: For Once It Was True

Bill O'Reilly--unlike Fox's other braying heads--is not blaming a "liberal media" for Tom DeLay's troubles. Bizarrely enough, even he is laying the blame at Count Cletus' own feet:

...on the April 6 edition of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly accused DeLay of "exploit[ing] the system":

O'REILLY: All right, how about this Tom DeLay? Paying his wife and daughter $500,000? Wow! What a guy! Congressman from Texas. Very powerful in the House of Representatives, obviously. Got some 'splainin' to do, Tom. ... you Republicans out there, you guys gotta obey the rules. And dancing around the rules, just because you didn't break 'em -- still, a half-million dollars to your wife and daughter -- since 2001 is it? Whoa! So anyway, not a good day for Tom DeLay -- that rhymes. Now, I can't understand guys like DeLay who want to exploit the system.

I hate having to do this, but I must give O'Reilly credit for at least having the sense not to remain aboard a sinking ship.


It's Hammer Time

Some interesting articles at Salon today on Count Dra--I mean, Tom DeLay. And one detailing both the sins and stench of DeLay at Slate. Enjoy!

And completely unrelated--this is the coolest damn thing.


07 April 2005
Reminder: The Memo Was Real

What memo? This one, that was circulated during the Schiavo fiasco. The one that explained how Schiavo was, as Tom DeLay said around the same time so very tastefully, a gift that "God has brought to us...to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," and how the issue would be very useful for mobilizing the religious right. You know, this one.

But the GOP would never put out anything so cynical that so blatantly shows how they're using the religious right, you say. In fact, the GOP has been claiming that was all made up by liberals.

No, it wasn't. It was quite real. And written by a staff member under Senator Mel Martinez.



06 April 2005
  Against All Sense, Reason and Conscience...

..the House is still backing Tom DeLay. I assume the Kool-Aid is red.


  More Dissent Within the GOP

In this case over Sensenbrenner's insane proposal to make broadcast indecency a criminal matter rather than a regulatory one.

Return with us to those days of yore when saying things landed you in jail! Ah, the nostalgia. Women with cast-iron bras, Hoover in a frock....you know, the good old days...


They Call It Wildfire

Spreading like, that is. The New York Times on what I remark on below. Also Kos with a fair summary(from a month ago) that will save me the trouble of going through my archives and linking. At this rate Fox News will be saying that "people say" he's a child molester by day's end.

The more the merrier. Looks like the White House has decided to let him dangle a la Trent Lott, now that he's become a major liability regardless of his fundraising abilities. I told you they weren't stupid. Evil, yes, not stupid.

Repeat after me: No DeLay, no DeLay, no DeLay...

"If death comes from a thousand cuts, Tom DeLay is into a couple hundred, and it's getting up there," said a Republican political consultant close to key lawmakers. "The situation is negatively fluid right now for the guy. You start hitting arteries, it only takes a couple."
quoted by Mike Allen, Washington Post


No DeLay?

It looks like Tom DeLay has finally pushed his already-unfathomable luck too far, though one wonders how "too far" can be defined with this congressman, who normally exudes the kind of arrogant confidence of a man who perhaps has compromising pictures of his president and an underage goat.

But the papers whupped him this morning on his already-legendary ethical hideousnesses: (courtesy Eric Boehlert)

First, the Post: "A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements." It is against the law for member of Congress to accept travel reimbursements from registered lobbyists and foreign agents.

At the time, DeLay reported that the $57,000 Moscow trip was paid for by a Beltway non-profit outfit. "But interviews with those involved in planning DeLay's trip say the expenses were covered by a mysterious company registered in the Bahamas that also paid for an intensive $440,000 lobbying campaign," the Post reports.

This is now the third overseas trip taken by DeLay that appears to have been paid for by foreign agents. Making matters worse, the lobbyist at the center of DeLay's Moscow trip was the notorious Jack Abramoff, who is now at the center of a federal influence-peddling and corruption probe investigation.

Then there's the Times: "The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees." The paper notes the women's duties, "were described in the disclosure forms as 'fund-raising fees,' 'campaign management' or 'payroll,' with no additional details about how they earned the money."

Over the last three years DeLay's wife and daughter have received, on average, monthly paychecks worth $4,000.

DeLay's political action and campaign committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, is already the target of a criminal investigation, with its executive director "indicted in Texas last year on charges of illegal fund-raising, and prosecutors there have refused to rule out the possibility of charges against Mr. DeLay in the continuing inquiry," notes the Times.

Now, I'm not crowing at all. Well, maybe just a little. Okay, okay, I admit it--it's difficult to type when you're dancing about singing "I Love Life" from Scrooge. Look, if you've been reading this blog for even a month or two, you already know I've been conducting a death watch for DeLay's career ever since he used DHS to facilitate his gerrymandering of Texas. (And DHS, as we all know, has nothing better to do than to assure the political future of corrupt Republicans--hell, that's its whole purpose)

One can hope the GOP is dumb and stubborn enough to keep this embarrassment. But maybe they should be reminded that stubbornness is a quality people associate with donkeys and other asses.

As a sign that the GOP is withdrawing from DeLay, consider that Senate majority leader Bill frist, said by many to have presidential ambitions and having bigger things to worry about, such as Bush's judicial nominations which the Democrats could--and possibly will--hold up forever if they liked, said Tuesday that the courts in the Schiavo case acted fairly.
"I believe we have a fair and independent judiciary today. I respect that."
This is to be contrasted with DeLay's vows of retribution.

DeLay, a Texas Republican, said afterward: "We will look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at the Congress and president when given jurisdiction to hear this case anew." In a written statement, DeLay said: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior."

Apparently the GOP is very done with this issue and is signalling that this is just DeLay's hobbyhorse. And perhaps that they resent having been taken along for his wild hijacking, which cost them a great deal of conservative support:
Frist, asked about the furor over the case, told reporters, "I will let members (of Congress) ... speak for themselves."
My, that's cold.

But Frist isn't the only one showing a glimpse of the fracture lines in the once-monolithic party. One other would be Lindsey Graham from my home state of South Carolina, whom I recall as a reasonable moderate:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) says Democrats suffered major setbacks in the 1990s when an ethics-challenged leader -- House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.), who resigned in 1989 -- became a larger symbol of his party than its platform issues. "That's a cocktail for disaster," Graham said. If a political leader's personal problems are coupled with "some policy decisions that are disconnected to the public, then you've got an opening" for trouble, he said. "If we don't watch it, it could happen to us."

Graham is wary of some Republicans' calls for further Schiavo-inspired legislation, such as a federal definition of "persistent vegetative state." The states, he said, "are capable of defining end-of-life terms."

And then some words from a Republican pollster, in a position to know reality better than most in the party:

Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio said several national surveys found that 60 to 80 percent of Americans opposed Congress's March 20 intervention in the Schiavo case. Federal courts promptly rejected the lawmakers' directive to review a series of Florida court decisions allowing Schiavo's feeding tube to be removed. One appellate judge chastised Congress and Bush for their actions.

Fabrizio said voters "are probably wondering why we can't get deficit reduction or tax reform or Social Security reform as quickly as we got the Schiavo bill" from the Republican-controlled Congress. Because conservative Christian activists were seen as pushing the legislation, he said, "that's a symbol of what your [party's] priorities are, and you'd better show them another symbol."

...former GOP senator John C. Danforth of Missouri, an ordained Episcopal minister, wrote a New York Times op-ed article criticizing his party's emphasis on opposing stem cell research, same-sex marriage and Schiavo's husband. "Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians," he wrote.
It appears God's veil of protection is about to be removed from DeLay.

Naked before his final judgement. Pride goeth before a fall. Fill in your own pithy quote below.

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05 April 2005
  Florida: Because We're Really That Crazy

No, seriously, what is the deal with Florida? I mean, I lived not too far north of the place for about eighteen years of my life and still they continually surprise me. And never, ever pleasantly.

Now Jeb Bush is about to sign into law a rather worrisome expansion upon an existing Florida law. See, a person can shoot a criminal in self-defense down there if said criminal attacks them in their car or home--their domain, as it were. Which most people probably wouldn't see too much wrong with, at least in a country where home invasions, and guns, are a fact of life. One could call that self-defense.

But the new law says that the rules of the wild west are good enough: you can shoot someone if you "feel threatened" anywhere. You don't have to try to escape first if escape is possible, as you do now. Shooting them becomes a choice, and these days I imagine it'll end up the choice of many. What is Jeb Bush thinking?

How do you ascertain whether it was really self-defense if the threshold of killing is so low? It actually encourages murder. Less paperwork--with the new law--for one thing. And it's he said, he's dead. Because I suppose if you killed them, your side of the story would probably be the one most paid attention to.

So how exactly do you define "threatened?" I mean, if we went by, say,
my definition, just about everyone in Florida would soon be dead. "Hey, asshole, you're in my personal space!" Or perhaps "You spilled that on me on purpose, motherfucker!" Or even the ever-popular "You looked at me funny and I don't like that."

Grannies can be very cranky, so there'll be plenty of blood soon after. "That cocoa was too hot!" Or "you only visit me when you need something!"

Sheesh. Remind me not to ever even think of moving to that filthy swamp.


A Modest Compromise

Reading a letter by one Carmen Devine in Salon today, I was struck by an inspiration. A lightning bolt, if you will. A compromise on the subject of school prayer and those Ten Commandments idols.

Here it is: As religious symbols, as she points out, are already all over our money and various other stuff, the fundamentalists can have their Ten Commandments. Any number of these graven images they can create and put wherever they see fit so that they can bow down to them or sacrifice lambs before them or whatever it is they want to do that's so very important. They can even have their "silent meditation/prayer" in the schools. (when I was in school I just would've dozed off during that anyway--that much less school is not onerous to any kid)

On condition that they shut up, forever, about evolution, abortion, and "faith-based" anything federal or municipal.

Why do I doubt that they'd not take us secular types up on that? Surprise me, fundies: comment below and let me know what you think of my calling your bluff. Or my solution. Whichever way you'd rather look at it.


  "The Constitutional Restoration Act"

Not what you think it is.

[T]he Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government....


To the extent that a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States or any judge of any Federal court engages in any activity that exceeds the jurisdiction of the court of that justice or judge, as the case may be, by reason of section 1260 or 1370 of title 28, United States Code, as added by this Act, engaging in that activity shall be deemed to constitute the commission of--

(1) an offense for which the judge may be removed upon impeachment and conviction; and

(2) a breach of the standard of good behavior required by article III, section 1 of the Constitution...

In other words, the judiciary is to be castrated and the kind of thing Tom DeLay did a few weeks ago will become the way the government normally works. This was, not suprisingly, introduced by Samuel Brownback from the hideous pit mortals call Kansas.

Be afraid. They're not messing around.


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