From the New York Times:
In the same town, a man was caught in a police sting operation while having carnal relations with show hogs. We had never even heard of show hogs, so our friend Martha Foose, a Delta-born cookbook writer, had to explain. “We have beauty pageants for our swine,” she said. “And they get those hogs dolled up. They shave their underparts, curl their eyelashes, buff their little trotters, and I guess it’s more than some guys can stand. I call it ‘dating down the food chain.’”
From the Alternet:
“It brings up a very important issue and that is, do those black lives matter?” Carson told one of Fox News’ indistinguishable stooges. “The number one cause of death for black people is abortion. I wonder if maybe some people might at some point become concerned about that and ask why is that happening and what can be done to alleviate that situation. I think that’s really the important question.”Back when Carson was doing brain surgery, he should have grabbed one for himself.
Kiernan Majerus-Collins is a student at Bates College as well as a Democratic Town Committee member from West Hartford. Plus he went to a Trump rally in New Hampshire so now you don’t have to. Just read his account in CT News Junkie. Excerpt:
After getting past the slew of part-time models Trump had manning the door, we joined the long line of old white people (and College Republicans, who are old white people in the making), and waited for the doors to open. While we stood there, I managed to snag a Trump shirt, which I’m willing to trade for an O’Malley button and a bumper sticker to be named later.
After waiting for about an hour, and talking to a local woman who “really likes” Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, we managed to get into the college gym where Trump would make the magic happen. First, though, we had to hear from a variety of warm-up speakers — a talk-show host, a failed gubernatorial candidate, a state representative, and so on. My favorite was Miss New Hampshire USA, who said being a beauty queen was the greatest achievement a little girl could dream of. Someone should introduce her to Hillary Clinton. (As an aside, I’m betting either Miss New Hampshire or Miss Iowa wins the Trump-sponsored Miss USA contest this year.)
As exciting as it was to hear from various unknown New Hampshire politicos, it was even better to meet some of my fellow rally attendees. Mingling in the crowd was political satirist and perennial presidential candidate Vermin Supreme. I chatted with him about what it’s like to run for president, and he gave me a lollipop and showed me his dental records…
From Agence France Presse:
Eating one’s own placenta after giving birth may be trendy but there is no scientific evidence that women derive any benefits from it, researchers said Thursday. A review of 10 previously published studies showed no “human or animal data to support the common claims that eating the placenta -- either raw, cooked or encapsulated -- offers protection against postpartum depression, reduces post-delivery pain, boosts energy, helps with lactation, promotes skin elasticity, enhances maternal bonding or replenishes iron in the body,” said the study by experts at Northwestern University. “There are a lot of subjective reports from women who perceived benefits, but there hasn’t been any systematic research investigating the benefits or the risk of placenta ingestion,” said co-author Crystal Clark, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
…with Alabama in between. From the New York Times:
Dr. Offit’s home state of Pennsylvania permits a religious exemption to the wearing of bicycle helmets, and is one of a few that permit parents with religious objections to medical care to adopt children. In places where these exemptions do not exist including Canada, Britain and, as of 2011, Oregon, medically avoidable deaths among children ascribed to parent’s religious beliefs have essentially disappeared. In most of the United States, they continue to occur.
Agence France Presse reveals:
Chinese authorities on Thursday bared the details of their latest anti-vice sweep: a campaign to halt the hiring of strippers at funerals.
In a statement posted on its website, China’s Ministry of Culture pledged a “crackdown” on the practice, which it said has become increasingly common in rural areas… China’s official Xinhua news agency said such performances are typically organised in order to draw a larger crowd at last rites. One example cited by the Ministry of Culture was a funeral in north China’s Hebei province.
“Two strippers wearing revealing clothes danced on a stage at a public square in our village at night on February 15,” an eyewitness surnamed Zhang told the state-run Global Times newspaper earlier this month. “They first danced passionately and then took off their clothes piece by piece,” the man said. “Behind them, an electronic screen was displaying a picture of the deceased with elegiac couplets on either side.”
In another case later that month, a troupe in east China’s Jiangsu province was detained for funeral performances that drew crowds of as many as 500 local residents, according to provincial news site xichu.net.
The troupe engaged in “erotic performances on the stage with sexual organs exposed and imitating sexual acts,” police officer Tang Jinyang told the news site. Such shows “disrupt the order of the rural cultural market and corrupt the social atmosphere,” China's Ministry of Culture said.
The Christian family band that brawled with police in an Arizona Walmart parking lot were not slowed down by repeated hits from Tasers, pepper spray and batons, newly released dashcam video shows. The fighting stopped only after a 21-year-old member of the Gaver family was fatally shot, his brother was struck in the stomach and a cop took a bullet to the leg…
The Gavers knew hitting police in the torso would not be effective because of their protective gear, Fanning said. "Their main mode of fight is to grab the officers' faces, eyes, ears and mouth and try and pull as hard as they can," Fanning said, according to AZFamily.
I just came across this specimen of young American manhood in a photo gallery attached to an unrelated story from yesterday’s Orlando Sun Sentinel. Here is the caption on another old photo from the same gallery:
Ku Klux Klan members rally in front of the Eckerd Drug store at Griffin Road and University Drive in Davie on Saturday, September 14, 1991. About a dozen Klansmen stood along the road protesting the refusal by a different Eckerd’s store the previous week to print KKK photographs.Which brings us to an interesting question, in view of the recent troubles in Indiana and Arkansas over efforts to ease the pain of “Christian” bakers forced to violate the deepest tenets of their faith by selling wedding cakes to gays. Should the state have forced Eckerd’s, back in 1991, to print those photos?
(Note: the quotes above reflect my doubts that Christ ever said anything at all about homosexuality, good or bad. For that we have to go to Leviticus, where we are also commanded not to eat or touch the carcass of any seafood without fins or scales.)
“Encourage Critical Thinking in the Classroom” is the title of HB 321. The preamble of this legislation says, “The scientific community has not resolved or answered the questions related to the origins of all life or the origin of our universe.” It would give public school teachers legal immunity if they want to teach “alternative” theories.
From the Facebook of a major political party’s pick to be vice president of the United States:
I have never and will never let the shroud of victimization cover me — God’s given me way too many undeserved blessings to dishonor His goodness by wasting time crying “victim” — but I’m happy to recall the hundreds of Palin-centric false reports if it helps America understand you must never trust JournoList-types. (Well, not exactly “happy” to do it, but willing — all the whilst throwing up a little bit in my mouth, believing the reason the harshness perpetuates may be for others’ edification.)
Foxes in London? Sure, okay. But maggot farms? Who knew? From the New York Times:
He charges 75 pounds, nearly $120, for the first fox and about £50 for every fox after that, disposal included. The cadavers go to a friend’s maggot farm, where they are turned into chicken feed. “Poetic justice,” Phil calls it.
From USA Today:
AUSTIN -- Some 100 jars of brains, possibly including one from infamous UT sniper Charles Whitman, have gone missing from a psychology lab at the University of Texas at Austin…
Here’s one of those things you’re probably just as well off not knowing:
“That was some beautiful playing,” I said afterward, as we were helping break down the canopy over the grave.
“Actually, it was a recording,” the cemetery guy said.
“But he had a bugle.”
“Not a real bugle. It’s just a stereo that looks like one. You push play and hold it up to your lips.” The man shook his head. “I’ve seen the batteries go out sometimes when they’re halfway through. Talk about awkward. One time the damn thing quit and started playing later, from its case, smack dab in the middle of the eulogy.”
…or are you just happy to see me? This from The Associated Press:
DELAND, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida say a Wal-Mart shopper denied slipping $35 worth of beef tongue into his pants, but the telltale tongue told a different story…
Just in case they missed this one, I pass it on as a service to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and the rest of the gang. From the New York Times:
A second misconception is that pedophilia is a choice. Recent research, while often limited to sex offenders — because of the stigma of pedophilia — suggests that the disorder may have neurological origins. Pedophilia could result from a failure in the brain to identify which environmental stimuli should provoke a sexual response. M.R.I.s of sex offenders with pedophilia show fewer of the neural pathways known as white matter in their brains. Men with pedophilia are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous, a finding that strongly suggests a neurological cause. Some findings also suggest that disturbances in neurodevelopment in utero or early childhood increase the risk of pedophilia. Studies have also shown that men with pedophilia have, on average, lower scores on tests of visual-spatial ability and verbal memory.
Each day brings new wonders in my search for the perfect asshole. I had heard neither of canned hunts nor of a specimen named Ted Nugent. Now that I have, my lack of faith in the human race is powerfully reinforced:
In most canned hunts tame or semi-tame game species, reared in captivity, are placed in enclosures of varying sizes, and the gate is opened for the client, who has been issued a guarantee of success. Canned hunts are great for folks on tight schedules or who lack energy or outdoor skills. Microchip transponder implants for game not immediately visible are available for the proprietor whose clients are on really tight schedules. And because trophies are plied with drugs, minerals, vitamins, specially processed feeds, and sometimes growth hormones, they are way bigger than anything available in the wild. Often the animals have names, and you pay in advance for the one you’d like to kill, selecting your trophy from a photo or directly from its cage. For example, Rachel, Bathsheba, Paul, John, and Matthew were pet African lions that would stroll over and lick their keepers’ hands before they were shot in Texas…
“If we don’t protect our image, we may not have a heritage,” says the Colorado Wildlife Federation’s treasurer and board member, Kent Ingram, a leader in the recent well-fought but failed battle to ban canned hunts in the state. He reports that he was informed by a Denver taxidermist that half the elk coming in to be mounted had tattooed lips, which identify captives. Ingram also said he had reliable information that one canned-hunt customer had flown into Colorado and paid $40,000 to kill a Minnesota-raised bull that had been trucked in for the one-day shoot.
Today’s award is shared equally between Judge Thomas Keith in Peoria, Illinois, and that city’s mayor, Jim Ardis. In 140 words:
A Swat team burst into Elliott’s house in Peoria looking for the source of a parody Twitter feed that had upset the town’s mayor by poking fun at him. “My identity as mayor was stolen,” he said after he dispatched the police… A Peoria judge ruled that the police were entitled to raid the house under the town’s “false personation” law which makes it illegal to pass yourself off as a public official. Judge Thomas Keith found that police had probable cause to believe they would find materials relevant to the Twitter feed such as computers or flash drives used to create it. It is not known whether he now regrets his decision to send in the Swat team. One measure of its success is that there is no longer one parody feed ridiculing Ardis on Twitter — there are 15.
Just when you thought you had heard it all, along comes this heart-warming story out of California:
After a few minutes, the girl shouted loudly as she found tapeworms in her fecal waste. Cabral-Osorio said, “It was so gross and she had pooped all these tapeworms. There were a couple that were very long and wiggling around trying to get out of the toilet.”
It was quite shocking to see that the mother was quite calm over the situation. Later, the girl’s mother confessed that she had purchased a tapeworm pill in Mexico and had secretly given to her daughter to lose weight.
The mother apologized and said that she had done it to make her daughter thinner for an upcoming beauty pageant…
Peter sends this further evidence of our civilization’s collapse:
Unlike most other grass paint, we refuse to use inferior man-made and non-earth friendly pigments that result in a transparent blue/green color which makes grass appear un-natural. LawnLift™ uses only “All Natural” true color pigments that have garnered us the best color in the industry! From small pet urine spots to entire dormant or dead lawns LawnLift™ has you covered….
In case you haven’t already figured this out yourself, check out this method of removing the skins from a bag of potatoes in less than a minute, via Ezra Klein.
The recently-deceased historian Gabriel Kolko, writing in Counterpunch:
A Quaker, Hoover was an entirely self-made man, a very successful mining engineer-entrepreneur who made a fortune; he mastered Latin to the point that he made the still-standard translation of Georgius Agricola’s De re metallica and knew Mandarin. Roosevelt was born into privilege, went to Harvard, where he was a “C” student and a cheerleader…
From Courthouse News Service:
HARTFORD (CN) — Three high school Spanish teachers and a guidance counselor indoctrinated three girls into a religious cult “that promotes martyrdom and celebrates death,” the girls’ parents claim in court. The Doe family sued Avon (Conn.) Public Schools, Wellesley College, and the teachers, in Federal Court.
“All three girls experienced sudden and severe personality changes,” the complaint states. “They became flat and distant, reclusive, secretive, and non-communicative. They lost their humor and their empathy. They began speaking in a bizarre new language. They became unable to think critically or independently. They became dependent on the school teachers and guidance counselor who had indoctrinated them, especially defendant Tanya Mastoloni.
The youngest daughter, who is 16, was able to break free, but the 22- and 19-year-old remain under the teachers’ influence and even reported that their parents were abusive in order to get access to housing at Wellesley College over the summer, according to the 64-page lawsuit.
“On information and belief, the two older Doe sisters were indoctrinated into a religious cult that promotes martyrdom, and celebrates death. This has caused the elder Doe sisters to experience fantasies of suicidal ideation and martyrdom,” the complaint states…
At first you were thinking Catholic, right? Or maybe Muslim? Wrong, it’s even weirder than that. I think a closer look at Mommy and Daddy Doe is indicated.
From Al Jazeera we learn that JPMorgan Chase, in commendable pursuit of a porn-free world, has been throwing kinks into the kinksters:
Kayyali said in a blog post on the subject that banks like Chase, which has reportedly closed hundreds of porn professionals’ bank accounts in little over a week, are playing the “morality police.”
“Cyber security is a pretty big term,” she said, as for Chase, “it very much appears as if the company is making moral decisions not necessarily based on security but about what content people should be allowed to use their services to provide.”
Adult entertainment trade group the Free Speech Coalition did not indicate to Al Jazeera that it would seek legal action to protect the industry’s personal and financial interests.
But CEO Diane Duke said that “in this day and age, for any bank to claim the moral high-ground is laughable.”
From the invaluable Catherine Rampell:
Then there are all the other really bizarre, often retrograde requirements that some teams have to regulate not only the cheerleaders’ professional appearances and performances but their private lives as well.
Here’s a selection of rules from the Buffalo Jills’ handbook, as published on Deadspin. It includes an entire section titled “General hygiene and lady body maintenance,” quoted here with typos intact:
“Do not be overly opinionated about anything.”
“When menstruating, use a product that right for your menstrual flow. A tampon too big can irritate and develop fungus. A product left in too long can cause bacteria or fungus build up. Products can be changed at least every 4 hours. Except when sleeping, they can be left in for the night.”
From the Washington Post (via Herlander-Walking) comes final proof that we as a nation are completely, totally, inarguably, definitively, provably, and pathetically nuts. There is not a public (and hardly a private) swimming pool in America that doesn’t have a higher urine content than this:
Though California needs rain, not all of the American West is struggling with drought.
Portland, Ore., will discard 38 million gallons of drinking water after surveillance video showed a 19-year-old man urinating into a reservoir.
Frank Rich’s monthly essay in New York is out, and let’s hope he’s right. Which I think he is. Excerpt:
The received wisdom that sex scandals threaten a Hillary run is preposterous. It’s the reverse that’s true. The right’s inability to stanch its verbal diarrhea on the subject of female sexuality — whether provoked by rape, contraception, abortion, “traditional marriage,” gay marriage, gay parenting, or pop culture — did as much as anything to defeat Mitt Romney, his “binders full of women” notwithstanding, in 2012. (He lost women voters to Obama by 11 percentage points.) And that obsession with sex can defeat the GOP again. Todd Akin, the avatar of “legitimate rape,” may be gone, but many of the same political players will be in place in 2016 as in 2012 — more than a few of them alumni of the Clinton sexcapades of the 1990s.
No matter how much Republican leaders talk of reining in their sexist language (though not their policies) to counter charges that the GOP conducts a war on women, they just can’t help themselves. Whether or not there’s a war on women in 2016, there will be a rancorous and tasteless war on one woman. And it is guaranteed to backfire, drowning out fair G-rated questions about the Clintons’ dealings just as Monica and other “bimbo eruptions” drowned out such now-forgotten Clinton scandals as Filegate and Castle Grande.
…and May, June, July and so on.
Can there anything more pathetic than a grown “man” who would pay thousands of dollars to shoot a tame deer bred to have great, bulging deformed antlers?
(Now that I think of it, maybe there is. Back in the day in Laos, I worked for an American ambassador who would strap on his six-shooter when he went upcountry to our CIA base near the Plain of Jars, safely surrounded by spooks and our Hmong guerrillas. His own generation’s war was World War II, which he had sat out at our embassy in Switzerland.)
From the New York Times:
The story of Toto, a Japanese company that created the Otohime, or “Sound Princess,” illustrates the great divide. Now installed in thousands of restroom stalls across Japan, the device mimics the sound of flushing water. The Sound Princess solved a problem of affluence: women were continuously flushing public toilets to mask the sounds that come with using them. Toto’s innovation saves them the embarrassment. The portable, purse-friendly version is a best-selling consumer product in Japan.
Did you know that Monday is the most popular day worldwide to access internet porn? Or so it appears based on data gathered by Pornhub, a UK site whose statistics were published in the Guardian. Except in Japan, where Saturday is more popular.
The Guardian has a number of interesting details from the statistics, but here’s a good summary: a diagram showing the three most popular search terms at Pornhub for nine countries, a truly fascinating collection. We Americans show far more cosmopolitanism than we’re generally given credit for, being the only country where the most popular term for a search engine that finds nothing but porn is something other than the nationality itself. Apparently everyone else finds themselves indescribably hot, while we’re into teenagers.
And a Happy New Year to bloggers everywhere:
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has put his name on the ballot to run for another term, defying repeated calls for him to step down after admitting he smoked crack “in a drunken stupor…”
“If you want to get personal, that’s fine,” he told reporters, according to the Star. “I’m sticking to my record, and talk is cheap. You’re going to see action like you’ve never seen before.”
Ted Cruz is right up there with Toronto’s Rob Ford when it comes to gifts that keep on giving. The senator has lent his name to a coloring book, the link to which I will not post because it’s time you did a little work for yourselves. Besides, Ted Cruz to the Future — Comic Coloring Activity Book is temporarily out of stock at Amazon anyway. Here’s the top five-star review, though:
Besides, you don’t really need to buy the book at all because Sparkle Pony has already colored it for you. While you’re there, take a look at “Close Encounters with Callista’s Hairdo” and the four-part Condi Rice retrospective, both linked in the right-hand column. If there’s one person you really, really don’t want on your case, that person would be Sparkle Pony.
From the New York Times:
JACKSBORO, Tenn. — In a mix of old-time religion, modern media and Tennessee law, a 22-year-old preacher who has become a reality television star because of his experience in handling poisonous snakes pleaded not guilty on Friday to illegally keeping dozens of them that he and his congregants routinely touch during worship services…
“This ain’t no longer just a fight for snake handling,” Mr. Hamblin, the father of five, told a group of supporters wearing red — to symbolize the blood of Christ — before his arraignment on a misdemeanor wildlife possession charge. “This is a fight for freedom of religion…”
“If they take him to jail, I’ll go to jail with him,” said Bucky Rouse, a former embalmer who is now an interior designer. “This is something we believe in.”
“The Republican Party, I really believe, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from years and years of bullying and taunting. The Republican Party is Jonathan Martin. The Democrat Party and the media are Richie Incognito.”
Well, yeah, maybe. Except for Jonathan Martin being black.
I tried not to post this, God knows I tried. But here it is. O Canada! —
Peter Schjeldahl, in The New Yorker:
Like it or not, Christopher Wool, now fifty-eight, is probably the most important American painter of his generation. You might fondly wish, as I do, for a champion whose art is richer in beauty and in charm: Wool’s work consists primarily of dour, black-and-white pictures of stencilled words, in enamel, usually on aluminum panels; decorative patterns made with incised rollers; and abstract, variously piquant messes, involving spray paint and silk screens. Let’s get over it.
If you are put off by the harshness of Wool’s rigor, as I was, it means that you aren’t ready to confess that our time admits, and merits, nothing cozier in an art besieged by the aesthetic advances, as well as the technical advances, of photographic and digital mediums. Once you stop resisting the gloomy mien of Wool’s work, it feels authentic, bracing, and even, on occasion, blissful…
Lately fetching millions at auction, Wool’s art leaves critics to sift through the hows and the whys of a singular convergence of price and value. Would that the expensive were always so good.
From the Associated Press:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he once feared that terrorists could use the electrical device that had been implanted near his heart to kill him and had his doctor disable its wireless function…
From the New York Times:
As with many aspects of Mr. Read’s life, his own accounts differ on the source of the nickname Chopper. At various times he said that it was the name of a cartoon character he liked, that he had earned it as a gang enforcer, and that he acquired it in prison after having his ears chopped off by a fellow inmate to gain a transfer from maximum security to a hospital ward. Whatever, Mr. Read had no ears…
A believer in God, Mr. Read was asked in an interview what he expected would happen when he finally met his maker. “I think, if anything, I’m owed an apology,” he said. “I don’t think he was very fair with me.”
The headline says it all:
Haven’t you ever seen a calcified flamingo before?
Alice Rivlin ran the Office of Management and Budget in 1995 when the Republicans forced one of their earlier government shutdowns. Here is a memory from that childish GOP tantrum of yesteryear:
AR: The questions you get are “Let me tell you about this activity; is it essential.” So you have to make a call on that.
My two favorite stories of that period are these. One was [the National Institutes of Health]. The clinical facilities where they had patients, that was clearly essential. But most of NIH is research and research management. We decided that was not essential. And so we sent the researchers home. But then you have laboratory animals. You can’t leave the laboratory animals to starve. So the technicians that take care of the laboratory animals are essential and the researchers are not.
In a message to the 26-year-old stripper from Oregon, named Lynsie Lee, Mr. Booker wrote that “the East Coast loves you, and by the East Coast, I mean me.”
Ms. Lee, whose photograph on Twitter features her splayed topless across a yellow couch, replied, “Well, now I’m blushing :)”
…Ms. Lee, who works at Casa Diablo, which bills itself as the world’s first vegan strip club, said she became acquainted with Mr. Booker when both were included in a film about social media. In an interview over Twitter on Wednesday night, Ms. Lee said she developed a “slight crush on the mayor.”
From the New York Times:
But the postponement also allows more time for negotiations between the defense team and military prosecutors, who must convince a jury that General Sinclair bullied and threatened the captain and forced her into oral sex…
From the beginning, the case has been transfixing in its soap-opera details that have been deeply embarrassing for the Army. In texts exchanged by the general and the captain, for instance, he called her “my panda”; she called him “pappa panda sexy pants.”
— Ogden Nash
From Jay Bookman:
“The General Assembly finds and declares that outdoor advertising provides a substantial service and benefit to Georgia and Georgia’s citizens as well as the traveling public. Therefore, the General Assembly declares it to be in the public interest that provisions be made for the visibility of outdoor advertising signs”…
Well, if a publicly owned tree, growing on public property, might possibly interfere with the visibility of a privately owned billboard, state law gives the billboard owner the right to come onto public property and chop that tree down. Previous law exempted hardwoods with a diameter of more than eight inches and pines with a diameter of more than a foot, but under HB 179 those protections, like the trees, are gone.
The Guardian brings us more news from the pews:
Of the 1,001 people surveyed, 35% of Americans said they believe in the statement: “With just Bible study and prayer, ALONE, people with serious mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia could overcome mental illness.”
Of the respondents who self-identified as either born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian — 48% agreed.
From Yahoo News:
The attorney who helped murder defendant George Zimmerman win a controversial acquittal last month was frustrated to learn his client toured a gun factory on Thursday…
“We certainly would not have advised him to go to the factory that made the gun that he used to shoot Trayvon Martin through the heart,” Shawn Vincent, a spokesman for attorney Mark O’Mara, told Yahoo News. “That was not part of our public relations plan.”
Naturally you’ll want to read the rest of this:
Manning’s court martial heard on Tuesday that the soldier’s supervisors failed on numerous occasions to take action that could have prevented him from leaking a huge trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks. Manning was convicted last month and is now at a sentencing hearing.
The email, sent to master sergeant Paul Adkins on April 24 2010, had the subject line ‘My Problem’, and contained a photograph Manning had taken of himself in a wig and lipstick.
Asked on Tuesday by Manning’s defence lawyers why he did not inform a more senior officer upon receipt of the email, Adkins said he was worried that would result in the image being “disseminated among brigade staff”.
“And I really didn’t think at the time that having a picture floating around of one of my soldiers in drag was in the best interests of the intel mission,” he said.
I’m not too clear on who Lady Gaga is to tell the truth but if you want to see her naked, here’s your chance. Spare yourself a long, long vocal tone or one-note chant or whatever you call it and go directly to the 1:20 mark.
…you’ve already come across this tale of life among the British upper classes, but here’s another tasty morsel for you:
LONDON — The photographs of the art dealer Charles Saatchi with his hands around the neck of his wife, the celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, look as startling now as when they were published last month. But what has happened since has been, in its way, equally unsettling…
Mr. Saatchi, 70, has offered various explanations, some of them verging on the unpleasant. Discussing why, in addition to mock-strangling his wife during the incident, he had also shoved her finger up her nose, he said: “Even domestic goddesses sometimes have a bit of snot in their nose. I was trying to fish it out.” (He was alluding to Ms. Lawson’s cookbook “How to be a Domestic Goddess,” a title that has been applied to her ever since the book came out, in 2000.)
Who knew Putin had a sense of humor? A mean one, but undeniably funny. Especially the no-alcohol touch:
It seemed that a stream of reports from unnamed Russian officials, disseminated over Russian news agencies, had been an exuberant deception, throwing up a cloud of dust while Mr. Snowden quietly evaded the United States government. At nightfall, it was impossible to say with certainty where Mr. Snowden was.
By contrast, everyone knew where half of the Moscow press corps was: halfway to Havana, on one of the few regular Russian flights that does not serve alcohol. It was the kind of plan that the F.S.B., and the K.G.B. before it, would describe as a “special operation.” And somewhere in Moscow, it was clear, someone was laughing.
“When the president is a former spy, from time to time in this country they organize spy games, the Spy Olympic Games, and they have fun,” the novelist Victor Erofeyev said on Monday evening. “We are people from outside, who don’t understand how fun it is to put all the journalists on a plane and send them to Havana. They are having the greatest dinner tonight.”
We seem to be in Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s RV, deep in the heart of Kansas:
Other than being surrounded by more than a mile and a half of 6-foot-high chain-link fence topped with sharp rows of barbed wire, the land above ground isn't distinguishable from expanses of hills and trees that surround it. The proposed shelter's entrances — nondescript concrete loading docks tucked discretely into the wooded hillside — are easily defensible against any potential intruders provided there's not a full-scale military attack, Vicino said…
Before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, though, Vicino says the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn assorted survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe awaits.
Texas (are you surprised?) Republican congressman Michael Burgess stays classy:
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
You didn’t expect me to pass this one up, did you?
Apparently, eyeball licking is considered to be the new “second base” for Japanese kids, The Daily Caller reported. Teachers first started noticing an uptick in students wearing eye patches. They first blamed it on a fashion trend, only to find out it was really a surge in conjunctivitis, or pink eye…
Shoot the shit out of others as you would have them shoot the shit out of you. McClatchy reports:
AUSTIN, Texas — After successfully firing a gun made with a 3-D printer over the weekend, a University of Texas law school student hopes to refine the prototype and ultimately distribute online files so anyone can make one…
Ultimately, Wilson wants to distribute downloadable files that can be plugged in to a 3-D printer. “It’s about empowerment of the individual over political hierarchy,” he said.
…Raise your hands. Don’t be ashamed. Now go here. Read the column that then to your wondering eyes should appear. Finished? Okay, now click on “Generate a New Column” at the bottom of the page. Rinse and repeat.
Had enough? Okay, finish up by going here.
…from hard-bitten political pundit Dana Perino of Fock Snooze:
When I got a call to volunteer on the campaign in early 2000, I had to turn it down due to a new job and a new life we were trying to start in San Diego. When I hung up the phone, I cried, “Now I’ll never get to work for George Bush…
He used to catch my eye during policy meetings and tip me a wink with a little smile as we had noticed when Vice President Cheney had been “resting his eyes.” Then we’d share a laugh realizing once again that it was clear the VP had heard every word.
From the New York Times:
“Having condoms distributed on campus is the university kind of validating hookup culture,” said Katelyn Conroy, a junior who leads the college’s Pro-Life Club. “The argument is that condoms prevent the spread of S.T.D.’s, but, really, if you hand out condoms on campus, it puts an idea in their head.”
An idea such as, “Holy Mackerel, maybe this weird balloon-type thing is one of those things all the other kids are always talking about that you can supposedly use to do that other thing that they’re always talking about. Whatever that thing is. Hey, Katelyn…”
From The Telegraph:
Mr Putin was with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at at a trade fair in Hanover when the woman tried to push her way through to an amused-looking Mr Putin, but was blocked by aides. Her back was painted with an obscene slogan in Cyrillic script directed against the Russian president…Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Mr Putin said: “As for the protest, I liked it.”
Mr Putin appeared to show a flash of his well-known salty humour, adding: “I didn’t make out whether they were blondes, chestnut-haired or brunettes.”
After the Tennessee State Capitol got a $16 million makeover in December, some members of the Congress were curious why a utility sink, formerly mounted on the wall, was moved to the floor. Some wondered, was it a sink for Muslims to wash their feet before praying?
According to the AP, Legislative Administration Director Connie Ridley wrote in an email:I confirmed with the facility administrator for the State Capitol Complex that the floor-level sink installed in the men’s restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use … It is, in layman’s terms, a mop sink.
Although Jesus is certainly welcome to use it (John 13:12) if He decides to land in Tennessee and can find any disciples there. Good luck with that, guys.
…Mother Nature has her little ways of upgrading the gene pool. From Raycom News Network:
“Urologists across the country have noticed a trend in men over the last few years who are getting their vasectomies at the time of March Madness,” Schwartz said. “You have a perfect excuse to watch basketball all weekend.”
Many urology centers report a dramatic increase in the number of vasectomies they perform this time of year, saying business increases by as much as 50 percent.
Jim Hightower writes:
In 2009, an interim Texas school superintendent declared that sex-education classes were unnecessary in his rural district. Most of the area’s school kids live on farms, he explained, therefore: “They get a pretty good sex education from their animals.”
It’s this kind of thinking that makes Texas so special… (To continue with Hightower, go here.)
Maybe you’ve heard the old joke about the farm boy showing a girl around the ranch when they come across a bull mounting a cow and stop to watch.
Boy: I wouldn’t mind doing that, would you?
Girl: Go ahead, she’s your cow.
This one followed the comments on New York magazine’s account of how Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster was cut tragically short by a full bladder.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia Beach pizza shop owner is showing his support for firearm rights by giving gun owners a 15 percent discount. The discount is given to anyone who brings a gun or concealed handgun permit to All Around Pizzas and Deli…
Since the discount began last Friday, Laze says 80 percent of his customers have brought guns into the pizza shop. He says one customer came in with an AK-47.
Another porcelain sculpture from the incomparable Kate MacDowell:
News you can use, brought to you by Mary Roach, in Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.
Stop wearing cologne. Women don’t find it attractive. If you don’t believe me, here is a quote from a press release from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago: “Men’s cologne actually reduced vaginal blood flow.” Foundation director Al Hirsch hooked women up to a vaginal photoplethysmograph and had them wear surgical masks scented with ten different aromas or combinations of aromas. (To be sure the women weren’t just getting aroused by dressing up in surgical masks, Hirsch put unscented masks onto a control group.) In addition to the smell of cologne, the women were turned off by the smell of cherry and of “charcoal barbecue meat.” At the top of the women’s turn-on list was, mysteriously, a mixture of cucumber and Good & Plenty candy. It was said to increase vaginal blood flow by 13 per cent.
…Now You Still Don’t. Is there any possibility at all that Americans will be stupid enough to pay money for this crap? Sure there is. We pay for bottled water, don’t we?
Switching from a sales pitch about eliminating stains to one about unseen soiling may seem to be an about-face, but Cheryl McKenzie, group account director for Union, said that what remained consistent for Wisk was a willingness to address unpleasantness. “…The new taboo that no one is talking about is that while you can’t see the dirt that’s in your clothes, it’s there…”
“When we talked to consumers,” Ms. Van Velsor said, “they said that whether it’s in the kitchen or the bathroom, they’re looking for thorough cleaning. They know that it can’t just look clean — it has to be clean all the way through.”
With laundry detergent formulations having improved enough in recent decades that many consumers trust store brands for stain removal, “there is so little differentiation in the category that you have to step above stains in order to break through,” Ms. Van Velsor said.
From the New York Daily News:
WASHINGTON — While his colleagues got ready to go to the Capitol, Justice Antonin Scalia sat on a stage across town and held forth about why, for the 16th consecutive year, he would not be joining them for the State of the Union.
He doesn’t go when a Democrat is president. He stays away when the president is Republican.
“It has turned into a childish spectacle. I don’t want to be there to lend dignity to it,” Scalia said, with a certain amount of mischief.
…do you really not know that you only lend dignity by your absence?
A group of feminist activists stripped off their shirts and flashed their breasts in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in celebration of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation.
They were members of Femen, a Ukraine-based feminist group that has spread around the world and that frequently organizes topless protests. Femen has protested abortion restrictions in the Ukraine, and has also protested in support of the Russian band Pussy Riot. They have also staged anti-rape demonstrations in France.
Who among us hasn’t wondered at least a teeny tiny bit about the love life of the Mormons? Temple garments, what’s that all about? And the Provo push? Well, ABC News feels your pain. It’s all here and here. Just skip over that boring murder stuff and go straight to the good parts.
How could I not pass this one along?
Randolph Bean tells WOFL FOX 35 that two men attempted to steal his 2002 yellow Corvette at gunpoint outside an Orlando hospital, but ended up running away after they couldn’t figure out how to drive his car.
“They apparently couldn’t start it,” Bean 51, is quoted as saying in a police report. “I had to tell him four different times to push in the clutch, because it’s a standard transmission.”
After several failed attempts, the thieves eventually fled the scene.
Let us now consider Richard Mourdock’s view of God’s role in childbirth. Mourdock (have you forgotten so quickly?) is the Republican who lost his U.S. Senate bid last fall after telling the voters of Indiana that pregnancies caused by rape are all part of God’s plan:
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during Tuesday’s Senate debate, choking up.
On the likely assumption that Mourdock believes God to be both good and omnipotent, the Almighty must therefore have intended for Mrs. Darwin to carry Charles to term. What did God have in mind with that? While we’re at it, why did Mourdock’s God forsake him on election day? And wouldn’t an actually good God have forsaken Obama on election day? Furthermore, why didn’t Barry Bonds make it into the Hall of Fame? God made steroids, didn’t She?
It’s been more than 200 years since King Louis XVI was beheaded by French revolutionaries, but a team of scientists believes a recently discovered gourd contains traces of his blood.
According to the BBC, the scientists say a dried, hollowed-out squash that had been kept by an Italian family as a souvenir contains a handkerchief that was dipped in the king’s blood by a spectator…
According to the findings published in Forensic Science International, analysis of DNA taken from the blood revealed it to be similar to DNA from a mummified head believed to belong to Henri IV, Louis’ 16th-century predecessor.
Results of a 2010 test on the gourd were inconclusive, but the genetic connection to Henri’s remains led the scientists to conclude the blood found inside the gourd is indeed that of the king’s.
From an interview with Gail Collins on her new book, As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.
Martha Rosenberg: You write, “Quite a bit of the information Texas students are getting seems to have arrived from another era. An abstinence-only program used in three districts assures them that if, ‘if a woman is dry, the sperm will die’ — which harks back to colonial-era theories that it was impossible for a woman to get pregnant unless she enjoyed the sex.”
Eric Hartsburg, the 30-year-old Michigan City, Ind., man who had Mitt Romney’s campaign logo tattooed on his face, has had enough.
Even though in the wake of Romney’s defeat, Hartsburg said he planned to keep the 5-by-2-inch image, he told Politico on Wednesday that he’s now preparing to get the image removed by laser after Romney’s postelection comments. Hartsburg pointed to Romney’s claim that President Barack Obama won because he offered gifts to minority voters.
“It stands not only for a losing campaign but for a sore loser,” Hartsburg said of his tattoo and its connection to Romney. “He’s pretty shameful as far as I’m concerned, man. There’s no dignity in blaming somebody else for buying votes and paying off people. I can’t get behind that or stay behind that.”
I tried, God knows I tried, but I just couldn’t let this one slide by without posting it. Those of you with strong stomachs will find the full story here. For the rest of you, a taste:
“If you look at it in a real sense, they’re just invertebrates — no different than shrimp or crabs,” he said, speaking admirably of Archbold’s mental control. “If you caught them in baskets in Maryland, people would put Old Bay on them and gobble them down.”
The incident occurred at 4pm of October 29, on the Long Bien Bridge, the oldest bridge in Hanoi.
According to witnesses, the woman looked smart in a striped skirt. She walked from Tran Nhat Duat Street to the path leading to the ancient Long Bien Bridge. The woman suddenly stopped at the middle of the road, slowly shed her skirt then her underwear and threw them on the ground.
After some minutes, she put her clothes on.
About 20 minutes later, the woman once again undressed and stood naked for hours to see the sunset.
After being informed about the strange woman, some policemen were sent to the site but the woman had left already.
All right, what’s this all about?
The same-sex kisses between the male singer and the monk made the witness be stunned. The pictures “grabbing” the kisses have been quickly spread on the Internet and received harsh comments. Many people said that this image is so offensive, especially in an Asian country as Vietnam. It is harder to accept the same-sex kiss of a monk…
To find out, go here.
A new study (pdf) in the Nov. 14 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience showed that men in relationships that were given the hormone oxytocin were more likely to want to stay farther away from an unknown woman they found attractive, compared to single men given the hormone or men that took a placebo…
“Previous animal research in prairie voles identified oxytocin as major key for monogamous fidelity in animals,” Dr. Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany, said in a press release. “Here, we provide the first evidence that oxytocin may have a similar role for humans.”
It doesn’t seem to work for Rush Limbaugh, though…
…or are you just happy to see me?
From Flagler Live:
After a deputy spoke with the Chevrolet’s occupants, Both Blackwelders and Shope told the deputy that Draper had fired the rifle — a Marlin Firearms Co. .22 — while they were riding around in the park. He did so, according to one of the occupants, as the truck was being driven along the circular dirt road near the restrooms. Deputies found a live round in the chamber and two live rounds in the rifle’s magazine.
“During the investigation,” the deputy reported, “I detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Timothy’s breath. Post Miranda, he advised that he had been consuming beer during the night. Jeremy refused to cooperate during the investigation and continuously advised that a gun was never fired, but could not explain why one was between his legs during the traffic stop.”
From the Kansas City Star:
Republican Todd Akin compared his Democratic opponent in the Senate race, incumbent Claire McCaskill, to a dog at a Springfield fundraiser Saturday.
In audio leaked to PoliticMo, Akin is heard saying, “She goes to Washington, D.C., it’s a little bit like one of those dogs, you know, ‘fetch.’
“She goes to Washington, D.C., and gets all of these taxes and red tape and bureaucracy and executive orders and agencies, and she brings all of this stuff and dumps it on us in Missouri.”
—It’s Raining Violet…
“We both woke up to a very loud bang. I looked around — no breeze, no rain, nothing,” homeowner Lois Farella told CBS Local New York as she pointed to a basketball-sized hole in her roof…
“It’s hard to understand what could have done this. It had to have come from a plane,” roofer Bryan Lanzello told CBS Local New York. “A bird couldn’t have done it.”
So the FAA investigated the incident as possibly involving blue ice. “Blue ice” is a euphemism for the mixture of frozen human waste and industrial-strength chemical that occasionally drops from planes’ waste tanks.
Memories, memories. For two years in the late 1970s I was head of public affairs for the FAA. We knew all about blue ice. It was caused by failure to make sure the valve was closed after the toilet tanks had been drained and refilled.
On the next flight the leakage would freeze in the upper air, forming balls of ice outside the plane. When these got heavy enough they would break loose, typically as the plane descended into lower, warmer air in preparation for landing.
Mostly these missiles landed harmlessly and unseen. Sometimes not. Sometimes my regional public affairs people could claim ignorance or blame the weather. Sometimes not. But if anybody were actually to get hit, it wouldn’t be my regional guys on the hot seat. It would be me. So I went to Bill, the man in charge of flight safety, and said, more or less:
“Sooner or later one of these balls of frozen shit is going to crush the skull of a cute little three-year-old blond girl playing with her dolly in the back yard and I’ll be the guy stuck with explaining to the world press why we can reach the moon but we can’t manage to keep our planes from leaking on innocent children.”
And so he explained patiently that enforcement was difficult because you never knew which plane had dropped which load. But you could at least find out which airline, I said. The toilet water doesn’t have to be blue, does it? Make United dye it read. Pan Am could be green. See where I’m going?
He laughed, thinking I was joking. And that, children, is why the ice that falls from heaven is blue — and will still be blue on the inevitable day when that photogenic little girl is untimely called to meet her Maker.
It’s that time of month again: Frank Rich’s column in New York Magazine.
I had tuned in as part of a thought experiment then entering its final lap: an attempt to put myself in the Republican brain by spending a solid week listening to, watching, reading, surfing, and otherwise gorging on conservative media. As would also be true of an overdose of liberal media, it was lulling me into a stupor, and I was desperate for a jolt. Glenn Beck provided exactly that, in the form of comedy, and to my astonishment, I found myself laughing out loud — with him, not at him…
How can I not pass along the news that Sarah Palin ran a faster marathon than Paul Ryan?
I had not realized that ladies were present when Congressman Kevin Yoder skinny-dipped last summer in the Sea of Galilee. And not just ladies. Think of the trauma suffered by poor little preborn Evie.
Mr. Quayle devoted much of his time last week to explaining what he did and did not do in the Sea of Galilee, an episode first reported by Politico.
“I went in the water. I had shorts on,” he said. His wife, Tiffany, who was eight months pregnant at the time, waited for him on the shore, he said. He also said he was able to take home some of the water in a vial he will use in the baptism of his daughter, Evie, who is now 11 months old.
Peter alerts us to Holy Smoke, whence cometh this:
My friend smiled and said “You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second.”
And while we’re on the subject of animals and the afterlife, take a look at Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA:
…We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you’ve received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus… For $135.00 we will guarantee that should the Rapture occur within ten (10) years of receipt of payment, one pet per residence will be saved…
For years I’ve been meaning to find out if this outfit is for real, and if so how business is doing. I just checked, and still don’t know. The site is still up, but: “This service canceled due to lack of clients. Thanks for all of your interest & excitement over the past three years.”
If you believe in the Rapture, would you feel comfortable entrusting Fluffy to a bunch of hell-bent atheists? But supposing you did, have these godless sinners returned your money? All of it, or adjusted for those years in which no rapture occurred?
As for Holy Smoke’s reloading service, it appears via Google not only to exist but to be offered by several other legitimate-sounding entrepreneurs. Is “legitimate” the right word to use in this particular context? What the hell, why not? This is America.
In 1980, attorney James Leon Holmes wrote, in a letter arguing for a constitutional ban on abortion, “Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami.”
He later apologized for his comment and was successfully nominated to a federal judgeship by George W. Bush in 2004, the inside-Washington controversy over his remarks notwithstanding. Today he serves as the chief judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas.
Besides, what’s the big deal about forcible rape, anyway? For the Ayn Rand crowd, it’s kind of hot. As it used to be back in the 40s and 50s for Smith and Vassar coeds, who lapped up Rand's description of Howard Roark raping the haughty Dominique. What real woman could fail to grow moist over prose like this:
She fought like an animal. But she made no sound. She did not call for help… He did it as an act of scorn. Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her lie still and submit. One gesture of tenderness from him — and she would have remained cold, untouched by the things done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted…
She turned the light on in the bathroom. She saw herself in a tall mirror. She saw the purple bruises left on her body by his mouth. She heard a moan muffled in her throat, not very loud. It was not the sight, but the sudden flash of knowledge. She knew she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body, the traces of his body on hers, knowing also what such a desire implied…
She had found joy in her revulsion, in her terror and in his strength. That was the degradation she had wanted and she hated him for it.
… a conversion narrative brought to you by Business Week:
Before I met Ayn Rand, I was a logical positivist, and accordingly, I didn’t believe in absolutes, moral or otherwise. If I couldn’t prove a proposition with facts and figures, it was without merit. In the midst of a conversation, she said to me, “Do I understand the thrust of your position? You are not certain you exist?” I hesitated a moment, and I said, “I can’t be sure.” And she then said to me, “And who, by chance, is answering that question?” With that little exchange, she undermined the philosophical structure I had built for myself. The contradiction was too glaring and opened me up to listen to the rest of what she had to say. We remained close until she passed away in 1982.
After which Greenspan presumably became certain she did not exist. Or uncertain she did not exist. Or existed only in the sense that a bundle of AAA-rated subprime mortgages may be said to exist. Or something.
Well, what the hell, at least the future Fed chairman wasn’t mindfucked by L. Ron Hubbard. We’d all be hooked up to E-meters and audited by Tom Cruise.
From Raw Story:
Perhaps most surprisingly, HuffPo reports, “The Guinness Book of World Records does not record such feats, but Falcon did show his standout feature to Huffington Post executive editor Buck Wolf.” Wolf’s official title is Executive Crime & Weird News Editor.
Paul Ryan’s intellectual development was tragically halted in his teen years by exposure to a Russian atheist calling herself Ayn Rand. To this day the congressman requires his staff to read her books, which are very long and full of words arranged so as to resemble thought, if you are a semi-bright 19-year-old coming across books for the first time.
Presumably, though, Ryan’s staffers are not required to adopt every single one of Rand’s insights, any more than conservatives are required to believe some of the New Testament’s more preposterous notions, such as the Golden Rule and the Rule Against Eating Eagles [Leviticus 11.13]. They are permitted to pick the cherries and ignore the lemons, or let’s hope so.
Because this is what the childless Philosopher Queen had to say about abortion:
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).That was from Rand’s book, The Voice of Reason, not one that Ryan passes out to Republican staffers on Capitol Hill. And here’s another salient quote Ryan and his cronies ignore, from The Ayn Rand Letter: “Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights — and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable...
Abortion is a moral right — which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?
Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly.
Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”
It is practically never that Thomas L. Friedman commits good sense in good writing, both at the very same time. Let us all rejoice, therefore, in this:
I’ll make this quick. I have one question and one observation about Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. The question is this: Since the whole trip was not about learning anything but about how to satisfy the political whims of the right-wing, super pro-Bibi Netanyahu, American Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, why didn’t they just do the whole thing in Las Vegas? I mean, it was all about money anyway — how much Romney would abase himself by saying whatever the Israeli right wanted to hear and how big a jackpot of donations Adelson would shower on the Romney campaign in return. Really, Vegas would have been so much more appropriate than Jerusalem. They could have constructed a plastic Wailing Wall and saved so much on gas…
From Yahoo News:
CAIRO (Reuters) — An Egyptian court has sentenced an Islamist politician to jail for committing an indecent sexual act in public and assaulting police who arrested him, in a case that could damage the image of his ultra-conservative movement.
Ali Wanees was detained in June on a main road outside Cairo. A young woman wearing a full face veil was sitting on top of him in a parked car, according to police.
Wanees said the woman was a relative and he had been trying to revive her after she suffered from an ailment which he did not explain.
I’m a little shaky on Sharia law, but I don’t see the problem here. It’s not like she was driving without a veil.
…now you too can get yourself killed in stupid, useless wars — just like the gay guys!
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two women in the Army Reserve have sued the Defense Department and the Army in a bid to reverse military policies barring women from combat roles…
Colonel Haring, of Bristow, Va., has been a platoon leader, a commander, an executive officer and a bridge commander over a 28-year Army career. The lawsuit says her options “were limited to support positions with no possibility to compete within the combat arms.”
Missouri legislators have developed a cure for those suffering from an inability to vomit:
Move along. Step lively. This way to the Worst Little Show on Earth! There’s still room for you in our damp and claustrophobic tent. Get ready! Get set! Prepare to be distracted, offended, annoyed, disgusted!
Look! It’s the Amazing Talking Head. No arms, no legs, no body! Just a mouth that never stops. It rants, it raves. It sneers, it smirks. It babbles, it badgers and it never, ever shuts up. Astonishing, daunting, frightening.
Gaze in wonder at the Bulimic Woman. She stuffs herself with food; she throws up; she stuffs herself with more food; she throws up. Gut-wrenching! Surprising! Phenomenal!
Gasp at the decrepitude of the Weak Man! He’s not strong; he’s feeble. Watch him fail to do a single chin-up. He cannot lift a Volkswagen on his back, much less an anvil with his tongue. Until he removes his wristwatch he can barely lift his arm. Incredible! Wondrous!
Here come the House Cats! Better than leaping through rings of fire, they will do… anything they want. They will rip up furniture, cough up hairballs, hide for days in closets, and mark pillows and cushions in a way that will make them forever unusable. Amazing! Astounding!
Meet the Stupefying Business Bores! Watch their paralyzing Power Point presentations about business models, return on investment, market trends, and other excruciating topics. Watch them tap out useless twaddle on laptop computers. What a spectacle! Electrifying!
Believe your eyes! Make way for the Pierced and Tattooed Teenagers! These girls and boys have implanted hardware in noses, navels, eyebrows, ears, tongues, and in every recess and on every protuberance of their stained, revolting bodies. Startling! Horrifying! Nauseating!
Marvel at the Incredible Shrinking Candidates! Watch middle-aged politicians rail at each other and grow smaller with each lie and distortion. Tiny men and women leap about and vie for your attention. Egomaniacs the size of mice! Amazing! Not to be believed!
Listen to the Dauntless Telemarketing Parrots! Exotic tropical birds repeat the same dinnertime sales messages over and over again. Insensible to insult or rudeness, no amount of cursing or threatened violence will discourage them. Disturbing! Mesmerizing!
Thrill to the antics of the Disobedient Dogs! Tell them to fetch, they will roll over. Tell them to stay, they will run away. Tell them to lie down, they will sit. Watch these intractable creatures ignore their master’s every command. Maddening! Frustrating! Extraordinary!
Gape at the Anorexic Woman! Watch in horrified fascination as her neurosis consumes her and she withers away before your very eyes. Chilling! Not to be believed!
Behold the astounding I-Heads! Actual human beings who have evolved into telephone/camera/computer thingamabobs! Watch them takes videos of each other as they talk to each other as they download uploads while getting driving directions to hotels and airports. Unbelievable! Mesmerizing!
Feel the wrath of the Road Warriors as overpowering road rage compels them to drive as if possessed. Experience the thrills of an automotive duel of death! Disturbing! Irresistible!
Meet Vitamin Man and the Jogger, the healthiest and least interesting man and woman in the world! Watch them consume countless vitamin tablets as they run in place for hours and hours while debating the relative merits of vitamins C, D, and E. Invigorating! Informative! Stupefying.
Share the pitiable fate of the mail-order dieters! Eat food that tastes like the Wall Street Journal as you grow weaker and sicker with each nutritious delivery. Challenging! Inspiring!
Recoil in horror from the Spoiled Child Mutants! Whining, hopelessly pampered children run roughshod over their feckless, indulgent parents. Watch in amazement as small children turn into monsters of sociopathic selfishness. Thrilling! Incredible! Sickening!
And there is more, much more at the Sideshow for Today and Tomorrow. It’s all awaiting you under the not-so-big tent! Hurry, folks! Hurry! The show’s about to start!
Try not to read the rest of this story. Couldn’t do it, could you?
“I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions,” Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. “But when I saw him lying there I just thought, ‘What a bastard’ and decided to take all his teeth out.”
What would we do without Al Arabiya News, which gives us this:
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper…
The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.
Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.
And elsewhere these further details:
One of the weirdest and most controversial fatwas in 2011 was one issued by an Islamist preacher who lives in Europe. According to this preacher, women are prohibited from eating phallic-shaped fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, bananas, and carrots. Touching or consuming those, he argued, are bound to turn women on and make them engage in sinful fantasies.
In Morocco, the head of the Moroccan Association for Jurisprudence Research stirred both outrage and controversy when he issued a fatwa allowing Muslim men to have sex with their just-deceased wives under the pretext that nothing in Islam prohibits sex with corpses. This fatwa followed a series of sex-related ones issued by the same cleric.
Hold the outrage for a moment, as you remember the multitude of vaginal probe and “personhood” laws being pushed by the mullahs of our own Christian right. All done? Now consider that many of those fatwas have a good chance of being enacted, and others already have been. Unlike those of Zamzami Abdul Bari, who would at least extend to both sexes the joys of necrophilia.
Every time I think wouldn’t it be nice if more young people voted, something like this comes along. (Thanks to young person Jason Shure for the link…)
…you really can’t. From Yahoo News:
Per ABC News’ Emily Friedman, Ann Romney told Baltimore WBAL radio that she’s working to show another side of her husband. Asked about criticism that Romney is “too stiff,” Ann Romney laughed and replied, “I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out because he is not!”
Alex Henderson, on Alternet:
Meanwhile, in Laurens County, South Carolina, the local Republican Party is asking possible candidates to swear off all porn consumption. In late February, the Laurens County GOP unanimously adopted a resolution asking local Republicans who want to get on the primary ballot to sign a 28-point pledge that includes opposition to abortion, gay marriage and same-sex civil unions as well as vows to abstain from premarital sex and not view any porn. The pledge states: “You cannot now, from the moment you sign this pledge, look at pornography.”
It must be very strange to be the man who wrote this. Who can he be? The answer is here.
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
Sure, it’s Alabama. But still…
Alabama legislators were given a 62 percent raise in 2007, and State Senator Shadrack McGill (R-AL) says the raise discourages corruption among lawmakers. The previous low salaries “played into the corruption, guys, big time,” he says. “You had your higher-ranking legislators that were connected with the lobbyists making up in the millions of dollars. They weren’t worried about that $30,000 paid salary they were getting.” By paying lawmakers more up front, he says, they are less susceptible to taking bribes: “He needs to make enough that he can say no, in regards to temptation.”
However, if teachers were given pay raises, then people who are not “called” to teach would begin joining the profession, he says. “Teachers need to make the money that they need to make. There needs to be a balance there. If you double what you’re paying education, you know what’s going to happen? I’ve heard the comment many times, ‘Well, the quality of education’s going to go up.’ That’s never proven to happen, guys. It’s a Biblical principle. If you double a teacher’s pay scale, you’ll attract people who aren’t called to teach. To go in and raise someone’s child for eight hours a day, or many people’s children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn’t want to do it, OK? And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach.
Hey, all you Callista fans, Princess Sparkle Pony is back with another in-depth probe of his Goddess, plus a fascinating bit of speculation: “At breakfast this morning, one of my coworkers couched the idea of the hairdo's majestic side tentacle actually being prehensile. Oh wow, my mind was flooded with such visions!”
Returning to the hard news, though, January’s crise de coiffure seems to have passed: “The formidable hair sculpture has recovered nicely from its recent run-in with a cruel, overzealous dye pot wielder. Phew.”
For the full snark, and a stunning portrait, go here.
Here’s James Howard Kunstler with a close textual analysis of yesterday’s Superbowl half-time weirdness. He segues from the apocalypse into Madonna, but for that you’ll have to go here.
The Superbowl pageant is a window into the condition of American manhood, and the view is pretty pathetic. It’s a picture of men who feel so weak, insecure, and fearful that they have to compensate with fantasies of limitless destructive power. Ads for several new movies and (I think) video games followed the Silverado apocalypse romp. There were unifying themes throughout. All depicted the problems of life as 1) coming from outside our own society (or world); 2) in the form of aliens who wield mystifying technological destructive power; and 3) leaving a few human remnants on a smoldering landscape after a cosmic showdown.
These onslaughts from elsewhere in the universe always end with superior American guile and the latest technology defeating the purblind invaders. The aliens are vanquished by Apple computers, Air Force stunt pilots, and a little extra help from God Almighty, who is surely on our side. From these realms of engineered grandiosity, we slip in and out of the grinding ground game in Lucas Oil stadium in Indianapolis, another pseudo-military operation loaded with acronyms and jargon intended to confer an illusion of control and competence.
The reality out there in “flyover” land is an audience of diabetic fat men in clownish loungewear slouched on sofas in foreclosed houses enjoying stupendous portions of cheesy and lard-laden foodstuffs between cigarettes and beers. They have a lot to worry about and they have no idea how they might overcome their financial, familial, and medical problems. The real onslaughts besetting the nation in realms such as banking fraud, money in politics, peak oil, climate uncertainty, and economic contraction are at once too complex for the diabetic fat men to comprehend, and grossly misreported in the public arena, where Cable TV and newspapers work the levers of propaganda for one client or another…
It’s been far too long since I visited with Princess Sparkle Pony. What would the doyenne of coiffure criticism make of Callista Gingrich? Plenty, as it turns out. A snippet of which is below:
…Instead of just touching up the roots, some slipshod (local?) hairdresser went wayyyy overboard and redyed the Platinum Orb in its entirety, and it is FRIED. Chemical burns are clearly evident. Judging from wire photos, the coiffure vandalism happened either yesterday afternoon/evening or (more likely) this morning…
Here’s a heartwarming tale from Connecticut, formerly known as “The Nutmeg State.” Nowadays we mostly drop the “meg” part. To see why, let’s drop in on Tyree Smith.
“Studies show that vegetarian meals can reduce violence among offenders — and if anyone needs a reduction in violence, it’s someone who (allegedly) killed and ate another human being,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “PETA can help New Haven Correctional Center introduce a menu of bean burritos instead of burgers and so save many lives.”
Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s associate director of campaigns, said in the letter: “If Smith did, in fact, kill Angel Gonzalez and eat parts of his body, that would demonstrate a disturbing taste for flesh.”
“Opting to feed him only vegan foods and denying him meat (flesh) could diminish such a tendency and thus potentially help protect staff and neighboring inmates,” Rajt reasoned.
“In fact, a meat-free meal plan could benefit all your other inmates too,” Rajt added.
The Moderator, a self-important TV news person, a man called Wolf: Gentlemen, let’s begin with a question for Speaker Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, could you tell us…
A Man Called Newt: What I’d like to know is how so many seriously stupid people could get on the same stage with me and challenge my right to be president?
A Man Called Mitt: I’ll answer that one, Fig Newton, but first let me say this. I make no apology for being successful, although I must admit I was a little surprised to find out I made $45 million last year for doing absolutely nothing. Of course, it helps if you don’t pay much tax.
Wolf: Gentlemen, could we get back to the question?
Mitt: I’ll answer Newt’s question. You’re never going to be president, Tons o’ Fun, because you’re simply too weird to be president. The American people don’t want weird; they want boring. They want me.
Rick Somebody or Other: That wasn’t the question. The question was…
Newt: Wait a minute. Isn’t your name Rick Somebody or Other? I thought you dropped out of the race.
Rick: That was the other Rick. Rick Perry, the Texas dude who couldn’t remember the name of one of the federal agencies he was going to shut down. I’m Rick Sanitorium.
A Man Called Ron, Also Paul: I remember you very well; you used to stand next to Michele Bachmann in the early debates. Where is Michele, by the way? Always liked that girl, even if she was an idiot.
Rick: She dropped out, too. But I’m not dropping out. I’m from Pennsylvania and I think contraception is a sin and so is abortion and so is sex, for that matter, although I love my kids.
Ron: Well, I’ll be damned, all this time I thought you were the other Rick. Hey, while I’ve got the floor, let me suggest that a good way to bring down the deficit would be to get rid of the navy, the air force and the Supreme Court.
Newt: Snappy thinking, Ron. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of Congress, too, okay? Ah… Bear, Wolf, Coyote — whatever your name is — might we move things along? Why don’t you ask me a question and thereby raise the level of discourse.
Wolf: I tried to ask you a question, you lard-assed egomaniac, but you interrupted…Oh, for God sakes, will you stop crying.
Mitt: See that! He’s crying again! The American People don’t want a crybaby for president. They want a kindly family-oriented businessman who pulled himself up from nothing, made some important dough, and figured out how to game the tax system.
Wolf: Hold on, I’m getting a call in my earpiece. Did anyone order a pizza?
Ron: Good Lord, it must be that double-talking screwball Cain.
Wolf: Mushrooms, peppers, extra cheese?
Newt: Could be Cain. He makes a good pizza. I ate about twenty-five of them in New Hampshire.
Mitt: I can see that.
Newt: Don’t get smart with me, Mitten. You’re nothing but a vulture capitalist who made his money feasting on corporate carrion. I am a jolly, amazingly intelligent historical advisor to quasi-public real estate lenders. Who happens to be pleasingly plump.
Mitt: Whatever you say, fat boy. Blubber is as blubber does.
Rick: I have a question for you, Newt. What do you and the gang up at Freddy Mac talk about if not how to exert influence on the government?
Newt: Oh, we talk about the Missouri Compromise, Truman’s relationship with the Soviet Union, George Washington’s idea of government — things like that.
Wolf: So Freddy Mac pays you a bundle to get your thoughts on the French and Indian War… is that what you’re saying?
Newt: Oh, are you still here, Coyote? I was hoping you’d shut yourself up in the Situation Room. And it’s none of your business what Freddy Mac and I talk about.
Ron: Well, look who’s here — the pizza king!
Herman Cain: Hi, everybody. Who ordered the pepperoni? Who had the extra cheese?
From Gail Sheehy’s 1995 profile in Vanity Fair comes all you need to know about Newt — semi-smart but with nutty ideas, poor follow-through, and a mess left for somebody else to clean up.
Surprisingly, the boy in the bottle-thick glasses with a plaid shirt and plastic pocket protector was only a runner-up as a National Merit Scholar. He did make the debate team, but, according to his stepfather, Bob Gingrich, “he wasn’t an A student … He wasn’t the class pride.” His mother Kit claims that Newt’s I.Q measured in the 120s…
“He always tried to be one of the boys,” says Kip Carter. “He never quite was.” To illustrate the point, Carter tells a down-home kind of story from the 1970s. Newt and Carter, who was then his campaign treasurer, used to barbecue hogs in the Gingriches’ driveway in Carrollton, Georgia. They would go to a friend’s farm and pick out a hog and shoot it.
“One day, Newt says to me, ‘I need to be the one to kill the hog. It’s only right, just morally.’”
Carter showed Newt how to use a Walther P-38, a W.W. II German pistol. “I said, ‘Put some corn in your left hand. When the pig comes over to get it, put the pistol against his head and shoot him between his eyes.’”
“So the pig comes over and he starts eating,” says Carter. “Newt flinches as the round hits the pig on the side of the head and ricochets down.” But the shot only stunned the hog and sent it fleeing back into the pen. “Newt keeps trying to get this pig to come back to him. Newt’s getting madder and madder. I said to him, ‘You just shot the son of a bitch in the head, Newt, why do you think he’s gonna come to you?’”
Carter recalls urging his comrade-in-arms, “‘You gotta get in there, in the hogpen, and go get him.’ But Newt wouldn’t do it. So I ended up going in the pen and killing the hog.”
Years ago an elderly relative of mine, sick and near death, told me the only thing that kept him going was opening the paper one more morning to see what stupid shit the bastards were up to now.
He’d be alive yet if he had known that Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey would surface one day, introducing a bill to ban the sale of food made from the kidneys of aborted human fetuses.
The senator believes that cells from these innocent pre-born Americans are already being used, or could be used, or might be used, or something, to enhance the flavor of soft drinks and potato chips. Or something. But let Senator Shortey tell you about it himself. Here’s the audio.
In what is surely the longest, most peculiar slog ever toward a GOP nomination for president, nothing has been or will be weirder than this story from Newsweek.
Go take a look. Trust me on this one.
Son Ted boils it down for us: “So coming out of Iowa, the GOP contest is Senator Man-on-Dog vs. Governor Dog-on-Car.”
From the Associated Press:
BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The annual cleaning of one of Christianity's holiest churches deteriorated into a brawl between rival clergy Wednesday, as dozens of monks feuding over sacred space at the Church of the Nativity battled each other with brooms until police intervened…
I think you should all watch this holiday beauty:
God know what he was telling Freddie Mac, but here's a summary of the clueless Newtster’s most recent attempt on history:
Gingrich, who explained that he was outraged by activist liberal elitist judges imposing their secular values on America (and more generally by “lawyers” who have come “to think that they can dictate to the rest of us”), declared that as president he would simply ignore Supreme Court decisions he didn’t like, abolish Federal appeals courts whose “anti-American” judges ruled in ways he didn’t like, and encourage Congress to subpoena judges to explain their decisions.
He claimed that Lincoln had similarly “just ignored” the Dred Scott decision, when he issued his Emancipation Proclamation; he said that Jefferson had similarly abolished Federal circuit courts whose judges he opposed; and he asserted that Jackson and FDR had also taken stances against what he declared to be the spurious doctrine of “judicial supremacy”— that the courts can pass judgment on the constitutionality of presidential actions or acts of Congress.
He insisted that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision on detainees at Guantanamo could be declared “null and void” by the president “because it infringes on my duties as commander in chief to protect the country.”
He wrapped up his case by invoking those infallible and all-seeing guides, the Founding Fathers, who he said “were very distrustful of judges, saw them as an elite instrument of government designed to oppress people. And, as a result, consciously made the judicial branch the third branch and the weakest branch.”
You knew instinctively, of course, that all this was just more waste product from the GOP’s current White Hope (its Black Hope having self-destructed). But you probably didn’t have the time or inclination to do exploratory surgery. However The Liberal Curmudgeon (from which the above excerpt comes) has done a thorough dissection for you; sadly, the patient did not survive.
Maybe this is something Barney Frank should consider as a farewell gesture.
The use of chemicals to control protests has received attention recently, but Tuesday may have been the first time that tear gas was used in a legislative session by a lawmaker.
A South Korean opposition member was trying to prevent a vote on a trade pact with the United States. The bill passed despite the noxious gas that filled the National Assembly chamber and the scuffle that erupted afterward, as my colleague Choe Sang-Hun reports. The Guardian identified the lawmaker as Kim Sun-dong.
Video images from Reuters showed at least one legislator covered in white powder and momentarily blinded as others vigorously waved their hands to dissipate the thick cloud of white smoke. As the session continued in the chamber, many could be seen wearing masks or clutching cloth over their noses and mouths…
Why you never, ever want to get Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on your case:
Perry lumbers onstage looking exceedingly well-groomed, but also ashen and exhausted, like a funeral director with a hangover… Then he waves and walks offstage. The whole thing has taken barely 10 minutes.
I can’t believe it, and neither can the assembled crowd of Georgia conservatives, who hesitate before breaking into polite applause. I feel like a high school cheerleader who just had her leg jizzed on in the back of a convertible. That’s it? It’s over? That was Rick Perry’s stump speech?…
After all, you have to go pretty far to stand out as a whore and a sellout when you come from a state that has produced such luminaries in the history of political corruption as LBJ, Karl Rove and George W. Bush. But Rick Perry has managed to set a scary new low in the annals of opportunism, turning Texas into a swamp of political incest and backroom dealing on a scale not often seen this side of the Congo or Sierra Leone…
Perry is a human price tag – Being There meets Left Behind…
He sweats profusely. He can’t stand still. When he does manage to get off a zinger, he cracks a smug grin, looking like he’s just sewn up the blue ribbon in a frat-house dong-measuring contest.
This doesn’t seem to have made it from the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times into the MSM, so I guess I’ll have to step in. For the latest in libertarian cosmetology, by all means go here. Laugh if you like. Or cry.
Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, filed a bill this week to bring back “dwarf tossing,” the barbaric and dangerous barroom spectacle that was imported from Australia and thrived briefly in Florida before it was outlawed in 1989.
“I’m on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people,” Workman said. “This is an example of Big Brother government.
“All that it does is prevent some dwarfs from getting jobs they would be happy to get,” Workman said. “In this economy, or any economy, why would we want to prevent people from getting gainful employment?”
I suppose there are the obvious observations: In the midst of what is a Depression in all but name, this is what a (nominal) public servant decides to focus on??? Just how many jobs does Workman think this move is going to create? Are there a lot of little people clamoring for this particular remedy? Did it not perhaps occur to Mr. Workman that maybe — just maybe — the “jobs they would be happy to get” are the same jobs the rest of us would be happy to get? Y’know — the ones that pay decently and offer benefits, like our parents’ jobs generally did in a bygone age?
But apart from the WTF quality of this particular proposal, there is something deeper. Namely that Mr. Workman and his fellow Republicans consistently see “freedom” in terms of the crassest exploitation. That Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad government is preventing the free market from exploiting dwarfs! Surely there is no other word for this but Tyranny. And just as surely it must be as beneficial to dwarfs to be exploited as it is for those who would exploit them!
Or children, for that matter — as the various state-level proposals from our Republican friends to do away with child-labor laws demonstrate.
So dwarfs opting to be tossed — that’s Freedom! Of course, if these same individuals were to decide to congregate outside Mr.Workman’s office to demand decent jobs and real economic fairness, I have no doubt that he would waste no time in denouncing them as un-American. Such is the compassion of today’s conservatives.
Number 219 from Chuck Lorre’s Vanity Care Archives.
You will of course have immediately recognized Chuck Lorre as the television producer who fired Charlie Sheen.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas I watched a grim, beer-bellied man row a gondola filled with tourists through the “canals of Venice.” This was his job. At some point he had to have filled out an application and undergone an interview process to determine if he had the necessary skills to be a pretend gondolier eight hours a day, five days a week.
As he glided past me I found myself imagining him walking into his house at the end of a long day, tossing his keys into the cheap ceramic bowl by the front door and sadly calling out to his wife, “I’m home.” To which she would cheerfully respond, “How was work today, sweetie?” But instead of saying “fine,” which was how he answered that question every other day, he paused and considered the days’ events, and all the events that had led him to this point in his life.
Then he crossed to the hall closet, took down a shoe box from the hat shelf, removed a small caliber pistol that he’d bought for home protection, and immediately blew his brains out all over the badly framed photograph of him rowing Barry Manilow. Waking from my brief reverie, I found myself suddenly filled with compassion and respect for this stranger of the inland sea. Compassion for his quiet desperation. And respect that he chose not to take his cheerful wife with him.
I don’t know about you, but Vegas always does this to me.
Further information may be had here. Meanwhile:
…Bettybeauty Inc., which makes pubic hair dye, was started by Nancy Jarecki in 2006 and sells its products at salons and beauty stores. The $14.99 product works like normal hair dye but is formulated to be safe for the pubic area. The colors run from basics like black, brown and blonde to hot pink, turquoise and purple.
Jarecki said sales have tripled since the line was introduced, although she declined to give figures. Some women are looking to cover gray hair, while others just want a fun color, she says. “When I came out with it, there was this kind of burst of ‘Oh my god, you solved our problem. I didn’t realize how much gray hair was down there,’” she said…
Doris Potter pointed me to this, which I pass along as a model for all politicians running for national office. Actually not quite all. McCain and Romney could teach this octopus a thing or two.
How can I not run this? Slate’s David Weigel took it at a Tea Party rally yesterday in New Hampshire. Feel free to interpret.
Speaking of Vogons, here’s more from From Crazy for God, Frank Schaeffer’s memoir of growing up evangelical:
“The other day,” said Pat [Robertson], “I was invited to speak to the Orlando chapter of The Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association. At the end of my talk about how God will bless us if we plant a seed of faith and give richly to His work, by supporting the 700 Club’s special fund, I said, ‘Now bow your heads, open your hearts, and close your eyes so no one but God and me can see you. Now each one of you men’ — they were all successful, married, Christian men in their midforties to fifties — ‘raise your hands if you still masturbate.’ And do you know, over half raised their hands!”
Here’s an excerpt (via Jay Bookman), but watch the video for the full intellectual experience. That Rick Perry will probably be the GOP’s White Hope in 2012 would be hard to believe — if we hadn’t just lived through eight years of George W. Bush.
SMITH: Governor, why does Texas continue with abstinence education programs when they don’t seem to be working? In fact, I think we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.
PERRY: “Abstinence … works.”
SMITH: “But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country. The questioner’s point is, it doesn’t seem to be working — abstinence education.”
PERRY: “It, it, it works. Maybe it’s the way it’s being taught, or the way it’s being applied out there, but the fact of the matter is it is the best form of — uh — to teach our children.”
SMITH: “Can you give a statistic telling me that it works?”
PERRY: “I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life, abstinence works …”
What’s clear from the record is that [Michele] Bachmann brought deeply held religious values and legal training from outside the mainstream to her career, values shaped during her unusual law school experience at Oral Roberts University.
“It was a real shocker for me to show up and hear people speak in tongues in chapel,’’ said Burnetti, Bachmann’s classmate. “It was a very exceptional place to go to school.’’
Culinary notes from Cambodia:
A 25-year-old man who ate his hunting partner’s dog after it was killed in a monkey attack was shot dead by the canine’s owner with a crossbow last Tuesday. Police said the suspect and the victim were friends who were hunting together in Kratie’s Snuol district. It is understood the suspect shot his friend because he would not help save his dog from being killed in a monkey attack. The victim then took the dead dog home to eat. When the suspect saw this, he fired his crossbow at his friend killing him instantly. Police say the suspect confessed to the crime following his arrest.
Quick note on the occasionally entertaining but never enlightening Republican candidates’ debate still going on as I write this:
A few moments ago — I swear I heard it — Rick Santorum dumped all over Iran for its anti-gay policies. Rick Santorum? Man-on-Dog Rick Santorum? Could I have misunderstood somehow? Or was Rick slipping in, through the back door as it were, something he wants us to know about him? If so, what is it? Who is the real Rick Santorum? And who cares?
Addendum on the morning after:
At least one other person noticed Santorum’s newly-found solicitude for gay rights. Here’s Michael Scherer, live-blogging on Time.com:
80 minutes. This is where things start to get weird. Santorum is asked if he really thinks Attorney General Eric Holder is “perhaps smoking mushrooms” for wanting to try terrorists in civilian court. Santorum responds by saying that the Iranian regime “tramples the rights of women, gays and people throughout their society.” This is Santorum, the guy who was saying just a few minutes ago that it would be good to impose morality from the federal government. The non-sequiter is jarring. But perhaps it can only be understood by injecting marijuana or drinking cocaine.
From the New York Times:
Nazi propaganda dwelled on Hitler as a dog lover. He owned two German shepherds named Bella and Blondi. He tested a cyanide capsule on Blondi and killed her just before he committed suicide.
Somehow I missed this beauty when it first came out. In case you did, too, the full story is here. As far as I can tell from Google, the case has not yet been resolved in court.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Bible-waving preacher protesting at a gay pride event was kissed on the cheek by a female gay rights supporter — a 74-year-old woman who was charged with simple assault, with the preacher’s blessing.
Joan Parker admits she kissed a preacher on the cheek at the Saturday event in Salisbury, N.C., proclaimed by the mayor as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day.
“He was just waving his arms and has a Bible in one hand, up and down, and screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘sodomites’ and ‘you’re going to hell,’” Parker said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I thought he needed a hug. So I gave him a hug…”
Rory Collins, police chief in the town located about 45 miles northeast of Charlotte, said Belcher wanted to press charges, which he hadn’t expected. Belcher contends police would have charged him if he had touched a 74-year-old woman and that he didn’t personally pursue charges…
Belcher contends the kiss “was just one of many attempts to silence the preaching to those in need of salvation who practice a death style that they call a lifestyle.”
From Anthony Summers’ biography of J. Edgar Hoover, Official and Confidential:
In September 1964, when King was due to visit the Vatican, Edgar’s friend Cardinal Spellman was asked by FBI not to grant King an audience. To Edgar’s astonishment, the Pope ignored the advice. Then came news that the civil rights leader was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. King, in the hospital suffering from exhaustion, thought it “the foremost of earthly honors, not for himself but for the movement.” Edgar was beside himself with rage.
“The mores of this country has [sic] sunken to a new low,” he scribbled, overlooking the fact that the Nobel was awarded by foreigners. “He was the last one in the world who should ever have received it,” he said. “I held him in utter contempt…” King, Edgar thought, deserved only the “top alley cat” prize.
Bitterness was compounded by jealousy, for Edgar had long hankered after a Nobel himself. Herbert Jenkins, the longtime police chief of Atlanta, talked with him at this time. “For years and years,” Jenkins later revealed, “Hoover had tried unsuccessfully to win the prize. Many prominent Americans had been asked by Hoover to write the Nobel Committee … but every year Hoover was passed over … Then along comes a Negro southerner who is awarded the prize. It was more than Hoover could stand. It just ate away at him.”
…and that nice Bachmann couple have made it:
Along with offering faith-based counseling at his clinic, Bachmann also gives presentations at various conferences. In November 2005, he and Rep. Bachmann both ran sessions at a “Minnesota Pastors’ Summit” in Eden Prairie, Minnesota: hers focused on the gay marriage amendment she was trying to push through the state legislature, and his was titled “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda…”
The climax of the presentation was when, according to Prins, Bachmann brought up “three ex-gays, like part of a PowerPoint presentation.” The trio, two white men and a black woman, all testified that they had renounced their homosexuality. “One of them said, ‘If I was born gay, then I’ll have to be born again,’” Prins recalls. “The crowd went crazy.”
Is there any way you’re not going to click on this?
From the New York Times:
Mr. Cox, now 32, is the only child of Tricia Nixon Cox and Edward F. Cox. His father, a member of an old New York family, is a lawyer and the chairman of the New York Republican State Committee. His aunt, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, is married to David D. Eisenhower II, a grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
As a child, Christopher Cox would go to sleep listening to tapes of President Nixon reading books.
From CNN we learn that Portland has a zero tolerance policy on urine. Its water bureau subscribes to the Dick Cheney theory of risk management, which on the national scale brought us the Department of Homeland Security (Heimat Sicherheit in the original German), endless war in the Middle East, and a citizenry of cringing cowards. Search a baby’s diaper for explosives at the airport, and a clear majority of Americans will call it regrettable, but a necessary price to pay for our freedoms.
Is it possible that nobody at the Portland Water Bureau has ever visited a public pool full of pissing, splashing and swallowing kids who nonetheless manage to survive? Are the Water Bureau’s managers incapable of calculating the number of ounces in a gallon, multiplying by 8,000,000, dividing by 16, and then having a good laugh over the immeasurable trace of piss remaining in a glass of city water? Of course they’re not, but the poor bastards answer to a public long since reduced to a permanent state of fear. Good Americans snivel their way through life's darkness, cowering at every small sound and literally worried sick.
Oregon’s Portland Water Bureau is draining an 8 million-gallon reservoir after surveillance cameras caught a man urinating into it this week.
The move will cost the water bureau $35,000 – $28,000 in lost revenue and $7,500 in disposal costs, CNN affiliate KATU-TV reports…
A healthy bladder holds up to 16 ounces of urine, according to the National Institutes of Health.
At Connecting.the.Dots Robert Stein does a contrast and compare on Henry Kissinger and Anthony Weiner. (For one thing, the Mass Murderer got laid in real rather than cyberspace.) Here’s a sample:
“Bound hand and foot by complexes, fraught with persecution mania ... His contradictions make him a species of monster ... From that moment ... I began to love him ... For the few seconds in which I held his hand in mine, the fatness of his sausage-like fingers, as the deformation of his face just a little earlier had surprised me.”
A San Francisco-based advocacy group known as Male Genital Mutilation Bill has collected enough signatures on its petition to ban circumcision that the proposal will appear on the city's November electoral ballot…
The rate of complications resulting from circumcision is lower than ear piercing, between 0.2% and 0.6%, with some bleeding as the most frequent complication…
Claims about psychological harm caused by neonatal circumcision are based mainly on anecdotes and Freudian psychoanalysis. If circumcision had the traumatic effects some opponents maintain it has, roughly two out of every three American males would be in trouble.
That last sentence settles it for me. Two out of three American males in fact are in psychological trouble, and possibly a good many more. Concern for the general welfare argues that we should leave future foreskins alone.
God’s recent procrastination in this whole Rapture business is further evidence, like I needed any, of Biblical inerrancy. (Constitutional inerrancy will be addressed by Professor Scalia next semester.) In Genesis 1:27 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” which explains why both of us not only keep putting things off but actually should. Who am i to argue with Him?”
For further information, please apply here.
Ain’t the web wonderful? From Popsci.com:
There’s also evidence, evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup, Jr., says, that women may actually go through semen withdrawal. In an unpublished study he conducted a few years ago, women in committed relationships who were having unprotected sex and were exposed to semen were “far more devastated and adversely affected [after a breakup] than those that were using condoms.”
He also found a risk of a rebound effect, where women who were not using condoms had sex with a new partner after a breakup within a couple of weeks versus several months for those who had used condoms. “I don’t think the evidence is conclusive, but it’s certainly very suggestive that it’s a response, in effect, to semen withdrawal,” Gallup says.
… the mystery of what ails Limbaugh’s dittoheads and the Tea Party and Fox News listeners and Glenn Beck fans and birthers and the entire alumni body of Liberty University as well as the electorates of Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina. It turns out that these unfortunates may suffer from frontotemporal dementia, rendering them unable to recognize lies and sarcasm. No cure is in sight, but at least their malady now has a name.
While millions of dollars are being spent on scientific research to find an early detection system for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco think they have found a simple method. They say senior citizens unable to detect sarcasm and lies are likely victims of dementia.
By asking a group of older adults to analyze videos of other people conversing — some talking truthfully, some insincerely — a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco has determined which areas of the brain govern a person’s ability to detect sarcasm and lies.
Some of the adults in the group were healthy, but many of the test subjects had neurodegenerative diseases that cause certain parts of the brain to deteriorate. The UCSF team mapped their brains using magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, which showed associations between the deteriorations of particular parts of the brain and the inability to detect insincere speech…
The ability to detect lies resides in the brain’s frontal lobe. In diseases like frontotemporal dementia, this is one of the areas that progressively degenerates because of the accumulation of damaged proteins known as tau and the death of neurons in those areas.
Because the frontal lobes play a significant role in complex, higher-order human behaviors, losing the ability to detect lies is only one of several ways the disease may manifest. The first signs of the disease may be any number of severe behavioral changes. People sometimes behave in socially inappropriate ways or undergoing fundamental shifts in outlook — switching political affiliations or changing religions, for instance.
From CNN Health:
…There have been several anecdotal reports of leprosy in humans who have handled, killed or eaten armadillos, or who may have been indirectly exposed by gardening in soil where the animals burrow, as was the case for Abide's patient.
But until now, experts haven't been able to confirm that armadillos could pass the disease to humans. The study provides the strongest evidence to date. Researchers analyzed the genomes of leprosy-causing bacteria collected from seven patients and one armadillo…
From CNN News:
Morgan asked Flynt what his preferred news headline would be following his death, “Larry Flynt, pornographer,” “Larry Flynt, free speech campaigner,” or “Larry Speech, lifelong controversialist.”
Flynt told Morgan he wanted something “much bigger than that. I always felt Moses freed the Jews, Lincoln freed the slaves, and I wanted to free all the neurotics. And I realized in the process that I’ve helped millions of people get through puberty. I think that’s a great accomplishment.”
An occasionally reliable source in Stockholm tells me he called Ikea the other day to complain about a sofa that was insufficiently bland. The woman who answered spoke excellent Swedish with just a hint of an Appalachian accent. “My name is Moonbeam McSwine,” she said. “How may I help you?”
David Sirota reports on Alternet:
Buried in the Times report is the troubling story of why Ikea opened a plant in the United States in the first place. No, the decision wasn’t made to take advantage of superior workforce skills or productivity — positive attributes that once drove our manufacturing sector and built our middle class. Instead, it was made to exploit our decreasing wage levels and weak worker protections.
Though company factories in Sweden produce the same bookcases as the plant in Virginia, the Times notes that “the big difference is that the Europeans enjoy a minimum wage of about $19 an hour and a government-mandated five weeks of paid vacation (while) full-time employees in Danville start at $8 an hour with 12 vacation days” — and that doesn’t count the one-third of Danville workers who are paid even less because they are subcontracted through temp agencies.
Ikea’s exploitation motive evokes memories of General Electric’s Jack Welch. He famously said that in an era without strong international unions and with standards-free trade pacts, profit-maximizing companies would end up putting “every plant you own on a barge” and trolling the world for the lowest wages and workplace conditions, knowing they would no longer face tariff costs.
“Burying the lede” is what reporters call the rookie mistake of hiding the most interesting element of a story way down where nobody can see it. It’s also possible to do this with a headline so transcendentally dull that the reader skips the story entirely. A headline such as:
Which buries the following gem:
MOSCOW — The radical art collective Voina has won a contemporary art award sponsored by Russia’s Ministry of Culture and the National Center for Contemporary Art for a project that consisted of a 210-foot penis painted on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg…
This just in from Arabnews.com. Looking on the bright side, though, at least our favorite oil patch allies aren’t burning Bibles. They’re only seeing to it that faith healing remains in local hands.
JEDDAH: A total of 30 officials of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) have been trained on how to deal with cases of black magic…
The commission has achieved remarkable successes in combating black magic in various parts of the country. It has set up nine specialized centers in the main cities to deal with black magicians. The majority of people arrested for practicing black magic in the Kingdom are Africans and Indonesians.
According to a report received by Arab News, a single specialized center had dealt with 586 cases involving black magic, showing the enormity of the problem…
The Riyadh governorate last year launched a campaign against black magicians and those who illegally treat people by reading from the Qur’an. Only qualified Saudis are allowed to practice Qur’anic treatment methods. Expatriates practicing such treatments would be caught and deported.
The Miami New Times brings us up to date on Miss Exxxotica’s spiritual awakening:
After her parents divorced in 2003, modeling became an obsession for Schwitzky, who attended Hialeah-Miami Lakes High but was never very interested in studies. At age 16, she began donning bikinis for department store ads without her mother’s permission.
Such a path can lead to only one place: a porn convention. At age 18, Schwitzky made a pilgrimage to New York City and entered the 2008 Exxxotica Expo’s pageant. The contest is relatively staid considering the setting: The girls wear G-strings and tiny bikini tops. Though slowly bending over with one’s rump to the audience is encouraged, there is no nudity.
Schwitzky vanquished her opponents and took home the $2,000 prize before returning home to gingerly explain the victory to her mother. The next year, Schwitzky won another sash: that of Miss March Hardbody, bequeathed by 305HipHop.com, an honor for which her bare chest was painted with the website’s logo.
Schwitzky regrets the dubious pageantry — sort of. “I made mistakes when I was young. So what? We’re in Miami, for God’s sake.”
Worried about her daughter’s future, Elizabeth Schwitzky began dragging Caroline to the Baptist Potential Church in Fort Lauderdale, where Pastor Troy Gramling wears jeans, sermonizes with an accompanying rock band, and sends out holy tweets.
Every Sunday, Mom says, Caroline was so moved that she would sob and run from the church. In July 2010, Pastor Gramling baptized Caroline in a hot tub. “[The Lord] wiped me clean as snow,” Schwitzky explains, “and told me that all your sins and all your mistakes are done…”
Remember, you read it here first. Unless you read Naked Politics:
During last week’s discussion about a bill that would prohibit governments from deducting union dues from a worker’s paycheck, state Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, used his time during floor debate to argue that Republicans are against regulations — except when it comes to the little guys, or serves their specific interests.
At one point Randolph suggested that his wife “incorporate her uterus” to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.
Apparently the GOP leadership of the House didn’t like the one-liner.
They told Democrats that Randolph is not to discuss body parts on the House floor.
“The point was that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government,” Randolph said Thursday. “And I always say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife’s uterus was incorporated or my friend’s bedroom was incorporated, maybe they (Republicans) would be talking about deregulating.
“It’s not like I used slang,” said Randolph, who actually got the line from his wife. He said Republicans voiced concern about young pages hearing the word uterus.
The flyer below dates back to 1955, more than a decade before Glenn Beck was born. But there was already plenty of stupid around and much of it survives today, barely changed. Fear of fluoride, for instance, will be familiar to any student of the paranoid right. And “communistic” has been replaced by fascistic and socialistic.
But the main reason I’m resurrecting this “Unholy Three” flyer is that in 1958 I covered a political meeting in Arlington, Virginia. One of the candidates for county office was from the tinfoil end of the political spectrum (for which see numbers 1, 2, and especially 3, below.) He had already spoken when Sam Eastman of the Washington Evening Star arrived, and so Sam passed him a note, hand to hand down the line of candidates, asking him to summarize his remarks.
The candidate did so, and passed his answer back. It read, in full, “I spoke in opposition to mental health.”
I’ve been reading David Halberstam’s The Fifties to see what I missed during the decade. One thing I didn’t was Mickey Spillane, the mega-best-selling author whose alter ego in a series of blood-and-guts books was a psychopath called Mike Hammer.
In the first, I, the Jury, the killer turns out to be Hammer’s own squeeze, Charlotte. As the book ends, the one-man jury sentences her to death by .45-caliber automatic. Hoping to change his mind, she strips naked and leans forward to kiss him. Good luck with that, Charlotte:
“Her eyes were a symphony of incredulity, an unbelieving witness to truth. Slowly she looked down at the ugly swelling in her naked belly where the bullet went in. A thin trickle of blood welled out.”
Some years ago I listened to Spillane give a speech at the annual awards banquet of the Mystery Writers of America. I don’t remember the speech, but I remember his answer during the Q&A to a lady author who wanted to know why Mike Hammer had shot Charlotte in the belly.
Said Spillane, “He missed.”
Another item for your cognitive dissonance file:
(CNN) — Amid a number of bills filed in Texas that address the issue of illegal immigration, one, proposed by Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle, stands out.
As proposed, House Bill 2012 would create tough state punishments for those who “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” hire an unauthorized immigrant. Violators could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
But it is an exception included in the bill that is drawing attention. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law — unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker.
This tale of young love reminds me of a huge, bulbous, slovenly kid I saw in a fast food joint in Folkston, Georgia, a few years back, his torso barely contained by an XXL tee shirt that said, “True Love Waits.” When the kid’s huge, bulbous, slovenly girl friend came out of the ladies room I could see his point.
True Love Waits is a contract that you have with, like, “God” and the community or something. It is a vow that you will not have sex until you’re married. The church-going kids would bring the contracts to school and teachers would pass them out during class, encouraging us to sign. Afterward, the names of kids who signed would run in the town’s newspaper. Which also printed the names of everyone who’d been arrested that day and for what…
You’ll want to read this whole story. Of course you already knew that insider trading is the whole point of the stock market, its basis for being. If both parties to a trade had equal access to information, all the fun and most of the money would drain out of the game. You might actually, God help you, have to work for a living. (Work being here defined as something productive and useful, perhaps even involving pliers.)
“You take two pairs of pliers, and then you rip it open,” Mr. Longueuil, said, according to the complaint. “Pulled the external drives apart. … Put ’em into four separate little baggies, and then at 2 a.m. … 2 a.m. on a Friday night, I put this stuff inside my black North Face … jacket, … and leave the apartment and I go on like a 20 block walk around the city … and try to find a, a garbage truck … and threw the [expletive] in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks … four different garbage trucks.”
At the news conference Tuesday, Mr. Bharara called the cover-up effort described in the complaint “something out of a bad movie” and joked that this probably was the first time that a Wall Street portfolio manager used pliers as “a tool of the trade.”
What public figure does this most remind you of? I am not talking facial similarities here. Focus instead on the soul if you are religious, on the inner man or woman if not. Do not limit yourself to politicians or heads of state. A prize for the best answer will not be offered; due to a recent Christmas in the family, things are a little tight at Bad Attitudes right now.
…but Gail Collins did:
The Senate sponsor is James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who recently claimed that the supercold winter proves that theories about global warming are “an intellectual fraud.” We could blame Senator Inhofe, but he really isn’t all that satisfactory a villain. It’d sort of be like blaming nuclear proliferation on gophers.
Brother Bill forwards this CNN story. It would be beneath my dignity to pass it on to you, if I had any dignity. Neither does Anderson Cooper, as you will see by following the link and watching his in-depth investigation.
Police said they will search Thursday for what is left of the cremated remains of a man and two dogs that robbers stole from a Florida house and then snorted after mistakenly thinking it was cocaine…
…have a better eye for the ladies than ours do? I mean, come on. Monica Lewinsky? Maybe around the mouth a little, but still.
From, of course, the Daily Mail:
The damaging allegations emerged in court documents which are part of a probe into Berlusconi, 74, looking at charges of extortion and using underaged prostitutes.
Some women even put on a ‘lesbian’ show for him and his cronies. Former dental hygienist Nicole Minetti, now a local politician representing his party, is named as a recruiter of the girls…
For a certain type of story, the place you want to go is the Daily Mail. The legal troubles in Sweden of Julian Assange are that type of story. Sure enough, the Mail serves up the most complete version I’ve seen anywhere. Read it. You know you want to.
I invite — beg for, actually — comment on this story from the Miami Herald. Speculation on the author’s use of the word “fruitless” is appropriate, although obvious.
A new study of white ibises by University of Florida researchers suggests the pollutant could have a far more profound impact than imagined: It turned a good chunk of a captive flock gay.
The study, published online Wednesday in a biological journal, documented a number of changes in the mating behaviors and reproductive success of four groups of ibises fed varying levels of mercury over a three-year period.
By far the most surprising effect was on the courtship inclinations of male ibises. In the first year, 55 percent of the males given the highest doses of mercury in their feed hooked up with other males during breeding season.
“They pretty much did everything except lay eggs,’’ said Peter Frederick, a UF wildlife ecologist who led the study. “They built nests, they copulated, they sat in the nests together…’’
Some males exhibited bi-sexual interests, changing partners when male-on-male efforts proved fruitless. That’s a common response in the wild after failed efforts, Frederick said.
This is the kind of high art you could produce too, if you had a pretty granddaughter, a four-year-old grandson with floppy bangs and a cool new iMac:
After all these years you’d think I couldn’t be amazed anymore by the most grotesque antics of our peculiar species. And then what to my wondering eyes should appear (H/T to Jonathan Chait) but this out of darkest Ohio:
My God, what have they turned me into? Just now, watching the news from Alaska, I discovered myself rooting for Lisa Murkowski:
Lauren treaded right on my foot with her mean old head, mommy. Really, really hard, too. It really, really hurt. Really, I’m not kidding.
When she was on the ground, [Timothy] Profitt put his foot on her. “I said, ‘Now you stay down,’” he said.
Profitt said he and others were only trying to subdue Valle because of the potential threat to Paul. Profitt apologized, but also blamed MoveOn for forcing the incident.
“It was actually like a self-defense thing, the way I see it,” said Profitt, who is retired.
Who can blame the poor little frightened fellow (shown below with a friend)? Not the even more little friend, who bravely manned up as follows:
“It really was something where you walk into a daze of lights flashing, people yelling and screaming, bumping up. There was a bit of a crowd control problem,” Paul said. “I don’t want anybody, though, to be involved in things that aren’t civil. I think this should always be about the issues. It is an unusual situation to have so many people, so passionate on both sides, jockeying back and forth, and it wasn’t something that I liked or anybody liked about that situation.”
Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his fractious Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it remains unclear who was lying…
Really? Consider this, then:
Lillian McEwen, a retired administrative law judge who said she dated Clarence Thomas from 1979 through the mid-1980s, told The Washington Post: “The Clarence I know was certainly capable of not only doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then…”
And most of all, consider that at the time of his confirmation hearing in 1991 nobody but those with a political reason to do so believed Clarence Thomas for a New York minute. This is because his denials so obviously flunked the Pubic Hair Test, first described in the literature by me in January of 2001, which I now repost as a public service:
Fans of political theater will recall that Professor Anita Hill had charged her former boss with a pattern of sexual harassment which included showing her a Coke can with a pubic hair sticking to it. Judge Thomas swore, no doubt truthfully as the truth is vouchsafed unto him, that he had never in his life done such an ungentlemanly thing.
How could we, the millions of spectators at this morality play, know what to think? Was it the stern federal judge who was telling the truth, or was it the demure law professor? Along with thousands of others, no doubt, I applied the principles that comprise the Pubic Hair Test:
Could Professor Hill could have made up a story so peculiar? In other words, was there anything in the accuser’s much-investigated background to suggest that she was a pathological liar? Did she suffer from hallucinations? Was she “creative?” Perhaps even an aspiring novelist?
And if she were such a pathetic fantast, as the Republicans pretended to think, would the Coke can invention be more destructive to her presumed enemy than any other lie she could just as easily have dreamed up?
No to the first question. Professor Hill seemed depressingly literal and humorless. It was impossible to imagine her engaged in a flight of fancy. The only suggestion to the contrary came from a young black man who seemed principally interested in reciting his resume on national TV. He thought Professor Hill had imagined that he was attracted to her, whereas she was really attracted to him, poor thing. This textbook case of projection could hardly have seemed plausible even to Orrin Hatch.
And no to the second. The tale of the pubic hair and the Coke can was so meaningless and bizarre that the most simple-minded listeners (and there were several among the senators) would have rejected it as a lie casting doubt on the rest of her story. To do maximum damage, any competent slanderer would have stuck to such old standbys as indecent exposure, groping, and dirty pictures.
The Pubic Hair Test therefore indicated with zero probability of error that this particular woman could not and would not have invented this particular senseless and incomprehensible story.
God knows whose pubic hair that was, or what the future Supreme Court justice thought its presence on a Coke can signified, or what made him imagine that his weird performance might be seductive, but the incident plainly happened pretty much the way Professor Hill said it did.
Both the Rude Pundit and I watched last night’s debate between Sharron Angle and Harry Reid, but only he had the wit to call it an inarticulate tortoise fight, and to caption the picture below
“Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Wonder if Parents Can Be Aborted.”
So I’ll spare you my reactions and refer you instead to his obscene, pornographic, scatalogical, thoroughly tasteless and absolutely dead-on coverage here.
The Vatican just can’t seem to help being silly:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) — The Vatican kept up its attack on the Nobel committee on Tuesday for giving the medicine prize to in-vitro fertilization pioneer Robert Edwards, saying he had led to a culture where embryos are seen as commodities.
For the second straight day, it gave the thumbs down to the choice of Edwards, whose success in fertilizing a human egg outside of the womb led to “test tube babies” and innovations such as embryonic stem cell research and surrogate motherhood…
Turns out the Greeks had a word for what ails the Republican Party — Anosognosia. To explore this disorder on its home turf, go to a Tea Party rally armed with official budget figures, agreed upon by economists of both the Keynesian and the Friedman schools, which prove beyond the shadow of a mathematical doubt that the Republicans are, historically, the party of high deficits. Now try to convince any random demonstrator of this simple historical fact.
The thing can’t be done, because the poor devil suffers from anosognosia. It is what allows him to cry out “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” without his head exploding.
Here’s a dictionary definition of what keeps his head together:
Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers from a disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability.
For more, go here.
The question raised but not answered in this don’t-miss story from Discover Magazine is whether these overendowed squirrels experience lust while masturbating.
If so, Christine O’Donnell wants you to know that when that last nut is harvested you’ll go straight to squirrel hell.
If you have no lust in your heart, however, prospects brighten. Christine will be totally okay with your little auto-fellatio games, and you will ascend post-death to squirrel heaven.
These mighty genitals suggest that sex, and sperm in particular, is a serious business for Cape ground squirrels. To get the best odds of fathering the next generation, they need to ensure that it’s their sperm that fertilises the female’s eggs and not those of rivals. So they make a lot of it; hence, the oversized testicles.
With sperm being so important, it’s odd that some Cape ground squirrels regularly waste theirs. Yet that’s exactly what Jane Waterman saw while studying wild squirrels in Namibia. Some of them would masturbate, apparently squandering their precious sperm. What does squirrel masturbation look like? Apparently, it’s rather acrobatic…
The final explanation is that masturbation is actually a form of self-medication. By cleaning their genitals, males reduce their odds of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. It’s a new hypothesis that Waterman herself put forward, but it’s the only one that actually fits with all of her data…
David Weigel pointed me to this clip, for which I am eternally grateful and you will be too. It shows Al Franken and Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s answer to Alexander Portnoy, debating sex ed.
New Left Media, may Allah smile on all its works, went to the Glenn Beck pray-in so you wouldn’t have to. Take a look at the result, in case you suffer from American exceptionalism. Something is certainly exceptional about us, and certainly Jesus hasn’t been able to cure it. Maybe we need more mosques. More libraries. Less TV. Who knows? Just help us for God’s sake, any God at all, because we’re on the point of drowning here. Already we’re up to the lower lip in stupidity.
Except for the pecs and the lats and the delts and the abs, this could be John A. Boehner getting made up for a Fox News love-in with Chris Wallace. But actually, Reuters says, it’s just some guy with a severe case of melanin envy getting all pretty for a bodybuilding contest in Tehran.
From the New York Times:
According to data released last year by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of Americans now believe in reincarnation. (Women are more likely to believe than men; Democrats more likely than Republicans.) Julia Roberts recently told Elle magazine that though she was raised Christian, she had become “very Hindu.” Ms. Roberts believes that in her past life she was a “peasant revolutionary,” and said that when her daughter sits in a certain way she knows “there’s someone there I didn’t get the benefit of knowing ... It’s an honor for me to continue to shepherd that.”
Things seem to be spinning out of control on the Olympic Peninsula. Martha sends this story from Washington State:
Carlton Jeffery Kohnert, 21, who is apparently in the Marine Reserve, was arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment, aiming or discharging a weapon and indecent exposure, said Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Pieper.
Police believe Kohnert — fully costumed in the yellow banana costume — exposed himself to a woman at the Port Angeles Wendy’s restaurant and drove through Four Seasons Ranch brandishing a shotgun…
After leaving Port Angeles, the group made a stop at Four Seasons Ranch, where Kohnert — still dressed in the banana costume — brandished a shotgun and began yelling, Pieper said.
“We believe he was yelling something or other about white supremacy,” Pieper said.
Okay, so now you know. And while you’re at the Peninsula Daily News, might as well read yourself in on this. too:
“They all got together and said they really wanted to see me kiss a pig, so it was really their efforts that got me here,” Gordon said.
Don’t know why, but I find this article to be not only not uplifting, but deeply disturbing. Full story and video here.
A two-legged dog who has learned to walk upright has been made an honorary sergeant in the U.S. army for inspiring disabled war veterans.
Faith, an eight-year old labrador-chow cross is a favourite at army bases and hospitals, where she 'marches' around on her hind legs, dressed in a military jacket…
Frankly I don’t see the problem here. It’s not like he blew his nose in the clam chowder.
DAVENPORT, Iowa – An Iowa restaurant owner said he'll pay a fine after his head chef was videotaped kissing and licking toads in the kitchen … On the tape, chef Christopher Turla is seen with two small toads on the prep table. He kisses the toads a few times, licks them, then stuffs them in his mouth.
From the Colorado Independent:
The program in question? Denver’s bike-sharing program, B-Cycle. [Republican candidate for governor] Maes later told the Denver Post, “At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.”
A must read from the New York Times:
A specialist at one of Britain’s leading medical museums called them “the teeth that saved the world,” and a private British investor who bought a set of Winston Churchill’s wartime dentures at auction on Thursday appeared to agree. The anonymous buyer paid the equivalent of $23,750, more than three times the pre-sale estimate, after bidding at an auction house in Aylsham that recently sold one of Churchill’s half-smoked cigars for the equivalent of $6,130.
The dentures were sold by the family of Derek Cudlipp, the dental technician commissioned by Churchill to make them, and had been kept for years in a drawer in the Cudlipp family home. Mr. Cudlipp’s son Nigel told the BBC that his father had told him that Churchill would flick the dentures out and “throw them across the room” when he was angered by setbacks to the Allied cause, and that the prime minister tore up Mr. Cudlipp’s enlistment papers at Downing Street, telling him “he would be more important to the war effort if he stayed in London to repair his dentures.”
(I looked through hundreds of photos but couldn’t find one of him smiling with his mouth open. Probably George Washington never did either.)
The Associated Press reports:
Alvin Greene action figures are here. The Charleston RiverDogs, a minor-league affiliate of the New York Yankees, will give out statues of the Democratic candidate for United States Senate at Saturday’s game. Mr. Greene, who won the primary without campaigning, has suggested that manufacturing action figures of himself could spur economic growth. The statues are actually Statue of Liberty figures that the team planned to give away as part of a different promotion, but the RiverDogs decided to put a picture of his face on them. The team once tried to have Vasectomy Night on Father’s Day, but canceled it when fans complained that it was crass.
…and not all of them are on octopuses (see previous post). Or on octopoi. Or octopi (see comments on previous post). The excerpt below, from Yahoo! News, suggests that the Madrid Zoo is run by suckers. Or, more probably, by showmen who figure Madrileños for suckers.
MADRID — The Madrid Zoo said Thursday that it has made an offer to buy Paul, the octopus who became a pop culture sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of as many World Cup matches as he has legs — all seven of Germany's games plus the Spain-Netherlands final.
Unlike you I know an octopus keeper, and he blogs as Mark H and he runs the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and, working slowly toward my point, he says Paul the World Cup Soccer Winner Picker is as big a fraud as Zoltan Karpathy, that hairy hound from Budapest. (Look Zoltan up for yourself. I can’t do everything for you.)
Below is part of Mark’s argument. All of it is here. Writhe on over.
It should also be noted that the common octopus (Paul is the same species as all of mine were) has a life span of only one year. The German sea-life aquarium claims he is a two-year-old octopus, hatched in Britain in 2008. All octopuses are born in the spring, so this makes Paul well over two years old. This isn’t possible, so this is the second, or even third, “Paul.” Most commercial aquariums keep multiple octopuses in reserve and switch them out when the exhibit animal dies, keeping the name for continuity or innocent deception. Paul’s not only a fraud, he’s surely not even the original “Paul.”
Steve Benen picked up this seriously weird column by some seriously weird columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Excerpt below, but you can read the whole pathetic thing here, and the best part is — “It’s free!”
His fiancée smiled and commented, “Isn’t that cute. They have the spirit of giving…”
“No!” I exclaimed from the back seat. “That’s not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They’re giving away their parents’ things — the lemonade, cups, candy. It’s not theirs to give.”
I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight.
“You must charge something for the lemonade,” I explained. “That’s the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs — how much the lemonade costs, and the cups — and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money…”
If that’s what America’s children think — that there’s a free lunch waiting — then our country has larger problems ahead. The Declaration of Independence promised “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It didn’t promise anything free. Something to think about this July 4th holiday weekend.
…but none, I think, do there embrace,” as Andrew Marvell once wrote. The Associated Press, on the other hand, today wrote:
REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Authorities in Iceland have exhumed the body of American chess champion Bobby Fischer to determine whether he is the father of a 9-year-old girl from the Philippines.
Police district commissioner Olafur Helgi Kjartansson said Fischer’s corpse was dug up from a cemetery near Selfoss in southern Iceland early Monday in the presence of a doctor, a priest and other officials.
Kjartansson said the exhumation “was done in a professional and dignified way and according to law. The privacy of the deceased was protected at all times.”
From the Daily Mail, specialists in News You Can Use:
Jacqueline Baudry, the victim’s tearful mother, had earlier in the trial said: “I want Cocaign to look me in face and tell me why he killed my son, and to explain to me why he eat his lung.”
From the New York Times:
But for the most part the works downstairs attest to a willingness to depart from established comfort zones. Warhol abandons the signature one-two technique in place since the early 1960s — fields of brushy color silk-screened with large, grainy photographic images — for more hands-on approaches. And he tackles abstraction, the language of his first artistic heroes, the Abstract Expressionists.
These spaces contain two small examples of Warhol’s ravishing Oxidation Paintings, from 1977, in which the brush-free method consisted of men and (it turns out) women urinating on canvas treated with metallic copper paint, to create an amazing fluorescences of golds, greens and blacks in a range of splatters and puddles that evoke Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.
This is abstraction but reality based…
…from the New York Times:
…As hairless torsos have become the norm for male models and actors, below-the-neck hair removal has gone mainstream. The nascent category of body shavers has surpassed $10 million in annual sales, according to Nielsen data cited by Remington. But many men who aspire to the polished trunks of the “Jersey Shore” men face a dilemma when it comes to their backs: they don’t want to undergo the expense of waxing or laser hair removal, but are embarrassed to ask others for assistance.
Enter the extendable Remington Body and Back Groomer, which came out last year and costs $39.99. It’s an update of shorter Remington Body Groomers, which have sold briskly since being introduced in 2005.
To make the next-generation model, Remington conducted studies of men as they wielded various products to trim body hair. “You haven’t lived until you’ve been in a bathroom with a man watching him shave all his body parts,” said Carl Kammer, director of new product development at Remington…
To illustrate the article excerpted above, the Times chose a truly revolting photo. Not only is it not suited for workplace viewing, it is not suited for viewing at all. I strongly advise you not to click on the words “Read on,” below. If you do, you are proceeding at your own risk. And remember — I told you so.
From Findlay, Ohio, comes news that:
(CNN) — The state board that licenses funeral homes in Ohio has opened an investigation into a funeral director in Findlay, Ohio, who is accused of mishandling a corpse, being naked in public and wearing the jacket of a deceased man in front of his family…
Other allegations against Routson include being intoxicated or addicted to illegal drugs, not properly disposing of waste materials and failing to properly sterilize instruments used in embalming. He’s also accused of being naked in public during business hours, threatening and/or harassing employees and partially embalming a corpse and then leaving it unrefrigerated for 13 days.
Which leaves hanging the main question: Why should a guy have to sterilize his embalming instruments anyway?
…from the Bellingham Herald, and don’t miss the comment from the British Columbia citizen either. Unfortunately it remains unclear even from the Herald man’s complete account why it was necessary to euthanize the mice, but let your imagination run wild.
A man accused of operating a crude compound near Sumas where people engaged in sexual acts with animals is tied to cases in four court systems in two countries.
Federal agents arrested Douglas Spink at a Whatcom County compound on Reese Hill Road on April 14. They also seized videotapes of a British man, Stephen Clarke, engaged in sexual acts with dogs Spink owned.
The Whatcom Humane Society seized seven dogs, four horses and several mice. The dogs and horses are the subject of a custody dispute currently proceeding in Whatcom County Superior and District courts; the mice had to be euthanized…
Who could have guessed, only a short year ago, that mid-term elections would be so darn much fun? Yet here we are, five months away from elections that are usually a major snooze, enjoying all the political melodrama of a high school election for Prom King and Queen — and we’re only at the Primaries.
Some credit is due, of course, to the Tea Party’s transformative pseudo-populism that has turned garden variety conservatives into political contortionists trying to fit themselves into the Tea Party’s anti-establishment agenda — at least long enough to bag some of their votes. The Tea Party’s major contribution to electoral politicking, however, has been to legitimize the prospects of some seriously inexperienced, quasi-anarchic radical demagogues that couldn’t have won the proverbial office of dog-catcher in more rational times. But “the times, they are a-changin’…”
Just as we don’t have a clue how to fix the man-made disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, neither do we have any idea how to right our seriously listing “Ship of State,” in which our fearless leaders have decided to fire the cannons continuously over the bow, instead of bailing and plugging the leaks, to keep the ship from going down.
If one listens carefully to the campaigning of mid-term candidates (I know, I know, it can be quite disturbing) it becomes very clear that we no longer care very much what our political candidates think (or don’t think) about issues that theoretically impact life in America because, clearly, they don’t live in the same America that we do. Neither do candidates care very much about the general electorate’s thoughts on the issues because the general electorate doesn’t contribute enough to finance 21st century political campaigns — corporations and PACs do that.
The conundrum, for politicians, is that ordinary voters still provide the grease (tax dollars) they need to quiet the “squeaky wheels” that finance their political careers; so ordinary voters must still be courted. And it takes large amounts of money, and political capital, to persuade blocs of taxpayers/voters that the interests of corporate donors coincide with their own public interest.
Voting in America has become very much like playing the lottery — if you are extraordinarily lucky and beat all of the odds, it might pay off in a material way — but no one really expects to win. Meanwhile, for the losers, life goes on very much as usual, without any fortuitous assistance from the gods. Win or lose, millions of people will pony up for lottery tickets, week after week (whether they can afford it or not), because “you have to play to win.”
Politics, like lotteries, depend on a certain predictable level of participation and a great deal of hope and trust. Lotteries take your small contributions, which add up to huge amounts of money, and guarantee that someone will win big; all of those contributors who don’t “win big” can be comforted by the fact that their money has provided some amount of feel-good commonwealth, like better schools or assistance for the elderly.
Those are, I believe, some contributing factors to some of the more sophomoric campaign performances we are currently being treated to and, ultimately, the deadly voter apathy that can only make a bad situation worse; but then who cares to carve out a portion of their Tuesdays to go to the polls and choose between Dumb and Dumber?
Whether you choose to vote with a ballot or vote with your feet, it’s quite educational to take a look at the candidates and their efforts to win the “hearts and minds” of American voters…
Rand Paul, who recently won the Kentucky Republican primary for a Senate seat, gave us our first taste of a true Tea Party candidate floundering for a solid platform as spectacularly as the party that he aligns with. Paul came out of the gate, politicking like a pro running for President, à la Scott Brown; national media were only too happy to provide ample high-profile opportunities for Paul to trot out his half-baked ideological ramblings, committing political hari-kari in the process.
If the Tea Party, whose passion is for installing “newbies” in public office, had any misgivings about Rand Paul being the offspring of Congressman, ex-presidential candidate and Libertarian standard-bearer Ron Paul, Rand’s post-Primary victory-lap performance should dispel any notion that he knows what he’s doing in the political arena.
In the span of a few short days of peddling his “ideology” on national television Rand Paul has managed to be: unceremoniously excommunicated by orthodox Libertarians; publicly eviscerated by a reluctant Rachel Maddow for his stated support of business owners who have been stripped of their “right to discriminate,” by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, against clientele that they deem “undesirable”; mercilessly lampooned for his “accidents do happen” position on the Deepwater Horizon disaster along with his judgment that President Obama was treating BP in an “un-American” way by holding them accountable; excoriated for his view that the Americans with Disabilities Act is unfair to small business owners; and, last but not least, sued by the Canadian rock band Rush for copyright infringement for misappropriating one of their tunes as his during his campaign.
Someone with a little more political savvy than “The Candidate” finally pulled the plug on the Rand Paul Gaffe Machine and there was a brief quiet spell during which it is easy to imagine Paul being trained, by political handlers, to think before he speaks, because the American public is not as forgiving as loving parents or fraternity brothers who are inclined to indulge and, indeed, provide standing ovations for every pearl of pastoral wisdom that drips from the favored son’s honeyed lips.
Paul’s most recent tentative step back into the limelight is a little Op-Ed apologia that he penned for the Bowling Green Daily News that basically begs the public’s pardon for his excess of wonderfulness and pronouncing himself on an equal footing with Martin Luther King, Jr. That should dispel any rumors that Rand might be racist as well as casting himself in the role of the terribly misunderstood, but no less monumental, idealistic intellectual. Which, according to Rand Paul, is exactly what we’re lacking in American government today.
Paul’s “Ode to Himself” Op-Ed starts out like this:
“Kundera writes of a balcony scene in the winter snow of 1948 Prague. Clementis offers his fur cap to the new leader Gottwald. Later Clementis is purged by the Communists and airbrushed from all the photos. All that remains of Clementis is the fur cap on Gottwald’s head.”
Anyone who’s ever attended a pretentious, country club cocktail party knows this guy and also knows how his story ends whether he wins or loses elections. He’s right when he says that he’s not a pragmatist, but wrong when he defines himself as an idealist. He’s a narcissist — pure and simple, and professional politicians are poised to eat his lunch — if he gets a foot in the door.
A recurrent theme that is emerging out of Team Paul is that no matter what cockamamie thing comes out of the candidate’s mouth it’s tangential to the real issues which, I have to assume, he’s keeping “closer to the vest.” Jesse Benton who holds the unenviable position of serving as Paul’s campaign manager made this statement to USA Today regarding the Rush lawsuit:
“The background music Dr. Paul has played at events is a non-issue. The issues that matter in this campaign are cutting out-of-control deficits, repealing Obama Care and opposing cap and trade.”
But, wait a minute Jesse, aren’t Libertarians supposed to be all about respecting others’ property rights?
Then again, at the head of Paul’s Op-Ed piece he reminded readers that:
“I support the Civil Rights Act, but 2010 battles are about government overreach in lives.”
I vaguely remember hearing similar rhetoric, back in the day, from members of my generation who joined the SDS and who subsequently learned (the hard way) that the real world chews up and spits out ideologues for kicks.
Rachel Maddow just did a pretty comprehensive (and entertaining) rundown of those areas in which Kirk has taken some “political license” that is well worth watching.
In the meantime, here’s a summary:
Kirk is now famous for “misremembering” the fact that he did not win the U.S. Navy’s Intelligence Officer of the Year award (Instead, Kirk’s entire unit won a privately sponsored, not a Navy, merit award). Undaunted by the need to publicly retract that “mis-rembrance,” Kirk went on to “mis-remember” that it was his staff that caught the error in his official bio, when, actually it was the Department of the Navy that demanded that he correct his record.
Other notable Kirk “mis-remembrances” include having served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as Operation Desert Storm. And then there was the time that Kirk came under fire while flying a plane over Iraq not to mention his stint at “commanding the war room” at the Pentagon. All Flights of Fancy…
Clearly, Kirk believes that one’s military service is an important distinction when running for office so he has spared no embellishment in distinguishing his own military record. But Kirk’s “gift of gab” doesn’t stop there. As Maddow says: “He also makes stuff up about the world at large…”
Like Kirk’s rationalization that, of course the US should be drilling off its shores for oil, because, after all, the Chinese are drilling off the coast of Cuba and sucking up all the oil that could be ours (which assertion, of course, has no basis in actual fact). And while we’re on the topic of oil, Kirk promises to do his best to persuade the US government to stop getting oil from Iran — he even gives figures of 80 million barrels a day — which should be an easy sell, since the U.S. doesn’t get oil from Iran. Finally there’s the entirely fabricated story regarding the relationship between Somali pirates and France that is so convoluted that it makes me weary to think about it, so you’ll just have to watch the Rachel Maddow clip to hear it in all of its “fabulous” detail.
So. If Rand Paul is “simply a narcissist,” Mark Kirk is simply a liar.
Of the three Republicans, no one has been behaving particularly like an establishment politician, but then again we have to keep in mind that this is Nevada. The primary campaign has essentially broken down into a catfight with a detached bystander.
According to Brian Seitchik, Danny Tarkanian’s campaign manager, “Danny’s the only one who’s talking about issues, while Sharron and Sue club each other.”
I guess that’s why Danny was not doing as well in the polls.
Sue Lowden has snagged national attention for comments at a recent town hall meeting in Nevada in which she said that patients could barter with their doctors for health care — she suggested chickens as a once acceptable remittance for medical services. Easy for Sue Lowden to say since I’m sure that health care coverage is not an issue for her now and certainly wouldn’t be if she wins the November election and lands in the US Senate.
Sharron Angle, on the other hand, is of a more generous spirit, as Sue Lowden pointed out in her now-viral ad claiming that Angle had supported a program designed to use taxpayer dollars to provide prisoners with massages and spa treatments — a program of “detoxification protocols” attributed to the founder of the Church of Scientology.
Angle, who campaigned as a morally driven Christian crusader all about cracking down on government spending (and thereby securing the blessing of outfits like Tea Party Express and the Government is not God PAC), decided it might be best to purge her website of any whiffs of Scientology, like her fundraising work with celebrity Scientologist Jenna Elfman.
Elsewhere we have similar shenanigans in what has become known as the Polygraph Primary in South Carolina where Republican Nikki Haley is seeking to replace sex-scandalized Mark Sanford as candidate for Governor. As soon as Haley appeared to “show some legs” in the contest, rumors started to swirl about Haley’s own sex life. Not one, but two, men came forward to allege that they had known the otherwise married Haley “in the biblical sense.”
Both civic-minded champions came forward armed with evidence of the veracity of their claims: one provided text messages and phone logs to make his case; the other brought along polygraph results. Not to be outdone, another of Haley’s Republican opponents, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer jumped on the polygraph bandwagon to prove he had nothing to do with any of it.
According to Alex Pereene, covering the story for Salon, one of the purported lovers is, “Larry Marchant, a local lobbyist and former strategist for Haley opponent (and dimbulb bigot) Andre Bauer, says he had a one-night stand with Haley at a ‘school choice convention’ in 2008.”
The local Fox affiliate was happy to administer a polygraph test to confirm Marchant’s story; the results — inconclusive.
Pereene goes on to note that, “Marchant, suspiciously, ‘admitted’ to the indiscretion the day he was fired from the Bauer campaign, less than a week before today’s election.”
“Haley told the local media that all these allegations happened as soon as polls showed her with a lead over her rivals.”
I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in seeing any of these Yahoos in high office. As parents, most of us wouldn’t want them teaching in our schools so why, in God’s name, would we let them run the country? Maybe it’s a lack of viable alternatives…?
For the discriminating palate, this from the New York Times:
The power that salt holds over processed foods can be seen in an American snack icon, the Cheez-It.
At the company’s laboratories in Battle Creek, Mich., a Kellogg vice president and food scientist, John Kepplinger, ticked off the ways salt makes its little square cracker work.
Salt sprinkled on top gives the tongue a quick buzz. More salt in the cheese adds crunch. Still more in the dough blocks the tang that develops during fermentation. In all, a generous cup of Cheez-Its delivers one-third of the daily amount of sodium recommended for most Americans.
As a demonstration, Kellogg prepared some of its biggest sellers with most of the salt removed. The Cheez-It fell apart in surprising ways. The golden yellow hue faded. The crackers became sticky when chewed, and the mash packed onto the teeth. The taste was not merely bland but medicinal.
“I really get the bitter on that,” the company’s spokeswoman, J. Adaire Putnam, said with a wince as she watched Mr. Kepplinger struggle to swallow.
They moved on to Corn Flakes. Without salt the cereal tasted metallic. The Eggo waffles evoked stale straw. The butter flavor in the Keebler Light Buttery Crackers, which have no actual butter, simply disappeared.
…which one would you say is the self-hating Jew?
Here’s Michael Savage (top photo, below) pondering in his gentlemanly fashion the question of whether Elena Kagan is goyische enough to serve on the Supreme Court: “Personally grotesque,” he said, and “Looks like she belongs in a kosher deli.”
I figured this for just another mummified baby story till I got to the part about the dried fish:
CONCORD, N.H. – The mummified body of a baby, kept by a family for nearly a century before a judge ordered the remains to be buried, has been removed from a cemetery, police said Tuesday…
The mummified body had been kept for years by Charles Peavey. He had said the family had the mummy, possibly the stillborn son of a great-great-uncle, for 80 to 90 years and considered it a family heirloom … Relatives had treated the mummified infant as a family member, giving it cards during holidays and a dried fish as a pet.
The times they are a-changing, so sooner or later it was bound to happen. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Veteran Rep. Babette Josephs (D., Phila.) last Thursday accused her primary opponent, Gregg Kravitz [pictured below], of pretending to be bisexual in order to pander to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters, a powerful bloc in the district.
“I outed him as a straight person,” Josephs said during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, “and now he goes around telling people, quote, ‘I swing both ways.’ That’s quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy’s a gem.”
Kravitz, 29, said that he is sexually attracted to both men and women and called Josephs’ comments offensive.
Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi on CNN:
— Women who dress provocatively and tempt people into promiscuity are to blame for earthquakes, a leading Iranian hard-line cleric has apparently said.
The prayer leader, Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi, says women and girls who “don’t dress appropriately” spread “promiscuity in society.”
“When promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase,” he says in a video posted Monday on YouTube, apparently of him leading Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, last week.
— The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades.
So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the Day of Judgment, and I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.
…where it is no longer legal to hold you down and insert a microchip in your head:
In Gov. Roy Barnes’ stump speech, the bill has become a routine example of the Republican tendency to attack problems that don’t exist, and ignore the ones that do. Besides, Barnes argues, if someone holds him down to insert a microchip in his head, “it should be more than a damned misdemeanor.”
Three states have instituted bans, and others have considered the legislation. In Virginia, a bill supporter declared microchips to be the “666” mark of the beast referred to in the Book of Revelation…
At the House hearing, state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Kennesaw), who is shouldering the legislation in the House, spoke earnestly for better than a half hour on microchips as a literal invasion of privacy.
He was followed by a hefty woman who described herself as a resident of DeKalb County. “I’m also one of the people in Georgia who has a microchip,” the woman said. Slowly, she began to lead the assembled lawmakers down a path they didn’t want to take.
Microchips, the woman began, “infringe on issues that are fundamental to our very existence. Our rights to privacy, our rights to bodily integrity, the right to say no to foreign objects being put in our body.”
She spoke of the “right to work without being tortured by co-workers who are activating these microchips by using their cell phones and other electronic devices.”
She continued. “Microchips are like little beepers. Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission,” she said.
It was not funny, and no one laughed.
“Ma’am, did you say you have a microchip?” asked state Rep. Tom Weldon (R-Ringgold).
“Yes, I do. This microchip was put in my vaginal-rectum area,” she replied. Setzler, the sponsoring lawmaker, sat next to the witness — his head bowed.
“You’re saying this was involuntary?” Weldon continued. The woman said she had been pushing a court case through the system for the last eight years to have the device removed.
Wendell Willard (R-Atlanta), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, picked up the questioning. “Who implanted this in you?” he asked.
“Researchers with the federal government,” she said.
“And who in the federal government implanted it?” Willard asked.
“The Department of Defense.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
The woman was allowed to go about her business, and the House Judiciary Committee approved passage of SB 235.
Who says the Tea Party is racist? As long as you’re clueless, folks, step right on in. We’re like Stephen Colbert that way. We don’t see color.
The photo is from Generik, who took his camera to a Tea Party rally Thursday in San Francisco. Follow the link to the best collection of Tea Party art I’ve ever come across.
In an attempt at redemption among our Pogo fans, I offer up the following story of a Good Samaritan Pennsylvanian who mistook a dead opossum for either Phil or Pogo. Unfortunately the dead animal could not be revived but we’ve received positive confirmation that the animal was not Pogo nor one of his groundhog buddies, the groundhog having appeared in the Pogo series since at least 1963.
We will give the good soul in Pennsylvania who tried to save the creature an A Plus for effort; after all, when you’re quite intoxicated, a creature laying in the road having been smashed up by a vehicle might look just look like Pogo or even his buddy, the real Phil, and if that scenario had actually happened, Punxutawney would never be the same again.
State police Trooper Jamie Levier says several witnesses saw a 55-year-old man, of Brookville, near the animal Thursday along Route 36 in Oliver Township, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The trooper says one person saw Wolfe kneeling before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance. He says another saw Wolfe attempting to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Levier says the animal already had been dead a while.
…to give up on the whole human race, damned if some guy down in Peru doesn’t go and teach an alpaca to surfboard:
Go figure. When you’ve given up, One Fly has the answer, or at least an answer. I’m not totally convinced, but any explanation at all is more than I have.
From the McClatchy chain newspaper in South Carolina, The State, there appears at the beginning of a story in the paper the description of what is often a rather normal set of circumstances in that state in the quoted section below.
With politicians like Mark Sanford leading the state there, one just has to wonder about the question posed in the headline above. Fortunately Columbia SC, the state capital has a Democratic Mayor, but with all the Republican possums ambling about, one does have to wonder how the residents manage to avoid the nasty creatures:
Robbie Robertson had a good meal, steak and wine, at a downtown restaurant not long ago. As he walked outside, he was struck by a proud feeling that Columbia has become a good city, active and social and beautiful. Then a possum ambled across the parking lot.
Hear this, from the American Family Association:
Chalk another death up to animal rights insanity and to the ongoing failure of the West to take counsel on practical matters from the Scripture…
What about the term “killer whale” do SeaWorld officials not understand?
If the counsel of the Judeo-Christian tradition had been followed, Tillikum would have been put out of everyone’s misery back in 1991 and would not have had the opportunity to claim two more human lives.
Says the ancient civil code of Israel, “When an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner shall not be liable.” (Exodus 21:28)
So, your animal kills somebody, your moral responsibility is to put that animal to death. You have no moral culpability in the death, because you didn’t know the animal was going to go postal on somebody.
But, the Scripture soberly warns, if one of your animals kills a second time because you didn’t kill it after it claimed its first human victim, this time you die right along with your animal. To use the example from Exodus, if your ox kills a second time, “the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.” (Exodus 21:29)
We learn from the Miami Herald that:
Brian Wood, operator of All American Gators in Hallandale Beach — a reptile processor — said he would pay $5 per foot for a whole snake. He showed off a pair of jumbo snakeskin trousers valued at $900 and touted the flavor of snake meat, although tests on samples from the Everglades show it’s high in mercury.
“The meat is very excellent,’’ Wood said. “It’s like chicken, but it does taste like snake.’’
…is Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is “about to become News Corp’s fourth largest shareholder” according to DC Bureau. (h/t to Reconstitution 2.0). With the addition of a Wahhabi point of view, Fox News becomes at last truly fair and balanced. Don’t touch that dial.
From the Huffington Post:
Closer inspection of a photo of Sarah Palin, during a speech in which she mocked President Obama for his use of a teleprompter, reveals several notes written on her left hand. The words “Energy,” “Tax” and “Lift American Spirits” are clearly visible. There’s also what appears to read as “Budget cuts” with the word Budget crossed out.
To see Ms. Palin sneaking an actual peek, start paying attention about 45 seconds into the clip:
Emanuel Rahm’s “retard” has become an increasingly complicated political bankshot: from the White House to Sarah Palin to Rush Limbaugh, back to Palin and now to Connecticut’s Senate race:
One of the two candidates, Linda McMahon, was the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment — and it turns out that there was a mentally handicapped WWE wrestling character who was savagely beaten in a steel cage and worse. And in light of the flap over Rahm, I’m told that McMahon’s opponent, Rob Simmons, is going to demand that she account for it…For your viewing pleasure (h/t Greenwich Time), here’s Eugene:
“Eugene” is the stage name of a mentally handicapped wrestling character who performed on WWE’s “Raw” brand. When he was introduced in 2004, according to press reports at the time, viewers complained to WWE, forcing them to issue a statement saying they intended him to be portrayed as a “hero” who would inspire “other people with disabilities to strive to achieve their dreams.”
But there’s footage all over the internet of Eugene getting savagely stomped and beaten, and even demeaned, and one storyline even ended up with him getting savaged in a steel cage. And the Simmons campaign is going to demand that McMahon account for this.
Markos Moulitsas, as you probably know, has commissioned a poll of the views held by self-identified Republicans on a number of issues. The results are here. In a way they are unsurprising — 60% think Obama is a socialist, 21% think ACORN stole the election, while 55% aren’t quite sure. These things can be put down to a stew of misinformation, ignorance and racism.
But what can explain the 31% who believe contraceptives should be outlawed? They may not know what ACORN does or what socialism is, but they’re pretty clear about condoms and the pill. Is this a partisan or a religious issue that I’m unaware of? Are they afraid that dusky immigrants are going to outbreed them? What?
You want weird, I’ll show you weird. I had the same feeling on reading this that I did on reading that first inconspicuous story about a burglary in the Watergate apartment complex.
Not that this leads to the White House, but that all sorts of unwholesome things are moving unseen beneath the surface. For instance, who is this “acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan?” As opposed to U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan. And what the hell was this clown O’Keefe expecting to film? And why? Stay tuned.
This just in:
O’Keefe had become a conservative media star since the ACORN sting. I just talked to Lisa De Pasquale, director of CPAC, who said that O’Keefe, along with co-stinger Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart, is (or was) under consideration for the annual conservative conference’s coveted Reagan Award.
We have a new entry in the highly competitive race for the most grudging non-apology of 2010. Shown below is Rudolph Andreas “André” Bauer with an adorable Scientologist friend.
[South Carolina’s] Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer said Monday he regretted comments comparing people who take public assistance to stray animals, but the incident continued to draw fire.
In a phone interview, Bauer said he regretted the remarks “because now it’s being used as an analogy, not a metaphor.
“Do I regret it? Sure I do. I wouldn’t have to be taking this heat otherwise.”
Teresa at Making Light says:
I think about this every time I see a news story about the DHS/NTSA developing elaborate systems that test travelers for trace amounts of chemicals used in explosives.
How do you beat that? By seeding the travel environment with the target chemicals. For instance, you could sprinkle them into the upholstery and/or carpeting of buses, trains, and airport taxis. Travelers who came into contact with them would pick up trace amounts, which would set off the airport chemical detectors. A system that’s swamped with false positives is as blind as one that can’t detect what it’s looking for, and it’s a hell of a lot more nervous.
The beauty part about doing this is that it’s so easy. You don’t have to build a working bomb, learn to fly a plane, target a specific flight, buy a plane ticket, or pass through airport security. All you have to do is sit back and keep pressing the DHS/NTSA’s panic buttons.
Chemicals aren’t terrorism. Terrorism isn’t air travel. Terror is an effect. I don’t know anyone who was made more fearful by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab setting fire to his crotch. I know a lot of people who are afraid to travel because they’ve heard reports of abusive behavior by security personnel at borders and airports.
Next: figuring out how to put miniature cap pistols into coin-operated toy vending machines at highway rest areas near border checkpoints.
This is from a speech by another of South Carolina’s many statesmen, Republican Lieutenant Governor Rudolph Andreas “André” Bauer. For the full flavor, listen to it all. Bauer is shown below with another college varsity cheerleader, George W. Bush:
“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals,” Bauer told a Greenville-area crowd. “You know why? Because they breed.
“You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”
From Alaska we hear that:
Two Anchorage men who told investigators they were horsing around with a “redneck flamethrower” set a 5-year-old boy’s head on fire and have been charged with felony assault and reckless endangerment…
“It was described to the troopers as an accident,” troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. “I mean a child, two guys, can of Quick Start, Bic lighter: How could this not go wrong?”
According to a troopers’ affidavit filed in court, Miller told investigators he’s been trying to toughen the boy up and the best way to do it is to “scare the s--t out of them when they don’t see it coming.”
Breaking news from the party of family values:
Blake Hall, a leading figure in Idaho and national politics for 25 years, was fired Monday as a deputy prosecuting attorney in eastern Idaho and has resigned from the Republican National Committee…
Idaho Falls police reported that witnesses said Hall disposed of used condoms on the lawn of the woman’s house. Nineteen condoms were turned over to police, collected on 10 different dates, according to a police report. Both Hall and his lawyer acknowledged the condoms belonged to him, according to a police report.
Seems odd that they would “acknowledge” whose condoms those were. Gosh, anybody could have thrown those condoms onto the lawn, couldn’t they? Or at least before DNA testing they could have.
After hitting the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, this old rooster became so confused he wound up at a demonstration in support of Colonel Sanders:
All right, watch this. Even if you’ve never exposed yourself to Glenn Beck’s show, it’s funny. If you have, you’ll recognize Jon Stewart’s performance as a masterpiece:
The picture below does not show an undertaker or a plastic surgeon or a cosmetician at work. It shows a Thai baker at work. For more pictures, click “Read on,” below. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. The full video experience is here. For these gifts we are indebted to my diseased nephew from Brooklyn. Thanks, Jason, and a very merry All Hallows Day to you and yours.
From the Associated Press:
BRUSSELS — Police said a one-legged suspect was caught after only one shoe went missing in a store in Belgium. An amputee was an immediate suspect when a store attendant found one shoe missing from a shop in the western Belgian town of Maldegem. Police spokesman Rik Decraemer said Monday authorities were alerted and quickly found the man who fit the description by shopkeepers. The shoe was also recovered…
If nothing had been missing, would they have looked for a double amputee?
Assuming you need a scapegoat to make you feel better, the Republican Party has a rep for you. Eric Hoffer is rolling over in his grave I’m sure. Since we don’t watch television anymore, I wasn’t aware that this parody is based on an Apple app commercial until I read about it, but all you television watchers already know that I suppose. Thanks to the author of this video who has a great new blog, Waking Up Now that will undoubtedly be worth keeping an eye on and also has a detailed explanation of how and why he created the video with intricate explanations for each rep. Watch the video first, then read the explanations. That’s the creator of the video’s advice.
This is the greatest political TV ad ever made (h/t Jay Bookman), and I’m pretty confident we shall not see its like again. John Oxendine is the Georgia insurance commissioner, hoping to be the next governor. The rat is onetime governor Roy Barnes, for whom see this.
From the Kansas City Star:
Jayme Wear married a charming man last year and they lived a good life at their Overland Park apartment. Until she discovered him with another woman — in another apartment at the same complex. The two women discovered they were both married to him…
Wear said of the other wife , “she wasn’t as upset as I would have been if I’d have been her.”
The other wife [of 20 years] said something like, “It’s always something with him,” Wear said.
I don’t want to take all the credit — his reaching Social Security age this year may have had something to do with it — but my previous posting on the Loofah King couldn’t have hurt.
In any event, the old horndog has seen the light and is shocked, shocked at what strikes him as lewdness these days:
Rio Americano High School is receiving national attention — but not the kind schools brag about.
Fox News television host Bill O'Reilly's show recently blasted Rio’s song team for provocative dance moves during a performance at a back-to-school rally…
Here’s a happy ending for you:
Don’t remember Andrea Mackris? That means you haven’t clicked recently on our blogroll link to “Bill O’Reilly’s Pathetic Sex Life.” For a Cliff Notes version, here’s an excerpt from The Smoking Gun’s anniversary hommage to the popular perv.
But we’d wager that the volcanic O’Reilly, 60, is still incensed about writing that hefty check. For her part, Mackris, 38, has stayed mum, presumably pursuant to some kind of confidentiality agreement. She has relocated from Manhattan to Missouri, where she was recently named to St. Louis Magazine’s best dressed list.
Below we see the famed Republican moralist, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, as he explores the subtleties of President Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. A written excerpt, followed by the Full Monty on tape:
If you’re oriented toward animals, bestiality, then, you know, that’s not something that can be used, held against you or any bias be held against you for that. Which means you’d have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions…
Next thing you know, it’ll be perfectly legal to mate with anything at all, even Republican Congressmen from Texas.
Things are getting too weird, even for me. From the Associated Press:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Levi Johnston is going for the ultimate exposure — his bare body.
Posing nude for Playgirl is next for the 19-year-old father of Sarah Palin’s grandchild. Johnston’s attorney, Rex Butler, said Wednesday that a formal agreement has not been reached with the online magazine but adds it’s a “foregone conclusion” it will happen.
We live in world full of wonders:
A month ago in Saudi Arabia, a terrorist named Abdullah Hassan Tali' al-Asiri reportedly walked past palace checkpoints with a small bomb inserted in a body cavity. Judging by the al-Qaida video featuring him proudly holding a device before committing the deed, it was about 3 inches long.
He wanted to blow up a Saudi prince but succeeded only in blowing off his own bottom half and destroying the floor, killing himself in the process.
A friend of mine was in Kampala, Uganda last month and I asked him to bring me back a week’s worth of Red Pepper, my favorite newspaper in the world.
The paper is not to be confused with the U.K.’s Red Pepper, a self-described “magazine of political rebellion and dissent” influenced by “socialism, feminism and environmental politics.” While that Red Pepper boasts this week an interview with Pauline Kimani, “one of Kenya’s few openly lesbian women,” the Kampala one in 2006 announced a campaign in its pages “to rid our motherland of the deadly vice (lesbianism),” with pictures of hot chicks making out. This earned Red Pepper the consternation of Human Rights Watch, among others.
Three years ago I visited Kampala but spent the whole time sick with malaria, lying on my big fluffy bed in a Lake Victoria resort convalescing with Red Pepper, which started as a weekly but then, due to high demand, became a daily.
Everywhere you go in the city, people are reading it. A quarter to a third of the rag is basically porn, with advice columns on how to have sex with a fat woman, or to lengthen the “twin towers” (ubiquitous Uganda slang for vaginal lips, and apparently longer is better) and the most offensively sexualized descriptions of women — even teenage girls, who, featured in the paper for being part of a school musical group or some other chaste accomplishment, are described as “waterlogged” or “causing boxers to bulge.”
The rest comprises stories on car theft rings, lynchings of goat thieves, and what I imagine to be quite credible reports of graft, political corruption, shifting military alliances. Red Pepper does the best investigative journalism in Uganda, while the regular Kampala paper publishes feel-good pap about potholes getting filled. Pepper takes none of its news, save for foreign sports, from wire services, probably because reporters come cheap in Kampala, and you could hire about 30 for the price of a Reuters account.
This paper, unlike its first-world counterparts, seems to grow every year — the copies I just received were a good bit thicker than before. Pepper has added two special sections, including, “Virgins,” a weekly survey of hot chicks, and tons more sports.
It has outlived a number of its competitors, such as Black Mamba, an almost-identical tabloid. Pepper’s newest competitor, The Onion, steals its name and even its masthead design from the American humor magazine. It spares the easily bored all the political intrigue and focuses exclusively on twin towers, corpses, and the like. Pepper will outlive it, because The Onion is too coarse and tacky even for Kampala.
It used to be that alerts flashed when you visited the Red Pepper website, warning of all kinds of potential disasters to your computer, but this is no longer the case. If you do go, a brief glossary:
There are no good roads and power is only on half the time, but that’s freedom. The teabaggers fear the re-emergence of the Soviet Union, or so they say, while failing to realize that the logical extension of their demands is, in fact, Uganda.
At least this scenario produces cheap health care. My entire course of malaria treatment in Kampala — testing, doctor consultation, medicine, follow-up, more medicine — cost me $15, without insurance. I just walked in off the trash-strewn, pothole filled, burning street.
(Ed. note: Below the fold, unsuitable for office viewing, is a sample from The Onion. I know you won’t want to see it.)
Surely you didn’t expect me to keep this one all to myself:
…Greene, who lives outside Shelton, suffers from epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by unprovoked and reoccurring seizures. He said the snake, its reddish-brown body draped around him like a necktie when he’s out in public, senses when a seizure is imminent and gives him a light squeeze. The warning gives him enough time to take medication to head off the attack, alert someone it’s coming or move to an area where the thrashing is not disruptive.
Greene blacks out during these episodes, but his wife, Karen, said the snake’s warning has headed off about a half-dozen seizures in Redrock’s five months with Greene. This month, Greene has had four seizures at night – she refuses to let the boa constrictor share their bed – but none during the day…
Greene said he removes the snake when given a warning and hands him to his wife or another companion. Redrock has never exhibited aggressive behavior toward him or other residents, he said.
“It takes a special kind of snake to be a service animal,” he said.
From the Kansas City Star:
How many times a day does an inmate flush?
According to industry experts, as many as 30. Far more often than typical people, but the average person probably doesn’t use his or her toilet for an ashtray, to dispose of contraband or to cool drinks…
Industry experts and prison officials say retrofitting prisons with Murphy’s new high-efficiency toilet could mean huge savings in monthly water bills — bills generally paid by taxpayers. Beyond that, the invention could play a key role in the push for American prisons to go green.
And at a time when it’s said that America doesn’t manufacture anything anymore, here’s a small firm in a tough economy that seemingly has made a better mousetrap and is getting ready to expand and hire more workers…
Murphy then put on a demonstration. “You’re going to see something you’ve never seen before,” he said. He put 35 golf balls into the bowl and pushed the flush button. The balls danced about before shooting down the drain.
HONG KONG, China (CNN) — Former U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will be in Hong Kong this week to address about 1,000 investors from around the globe in what is billed as her first speech outside North America…
“What we look to do is invite our keynote speakers who we feel are opinion makers, who are newsworthy and who we feel our clients — a very broad international client base — would be interested in hearing from,” Wheeler said Monday, noting that CLSA is a politically neutral, independent brokerage…
Past keynote speakers include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, rocker and activist Bob Geldof, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, Wheeler added.
I run the following first as an admirable piece of snark, but also read Colin McEnroe’s whole posting here, for news on why Japan is buying up American political blogs — and for more on the wonderful candidacy of wrestling queen Linda McMahon for Chris Dodd’s senate seat.
While were on the subject of Chris Dodd, I wholeheartedly support his reelection, not in spite of the fact that he accepted a handcrafted mortage on his home from subprime grifter Anthony Mozilo but because he did.
Dodd’s indiscreet mortgage was pretty tame stuff as Congressional behavior goes, but nevertheless he is now obliged to be a bulldog on reform of the financial sector. And that particular strain of bulldog is pretty scarce on Capitol Hill.
Okay, back to the snark:
Alan Schlesinger was the Republican nominee for Senate in Connecticut, and it’s generally accepted that he would have found that experience a lot more enjoyable if the Republican Party had actually decided to support him. Instead, Joe Lieberman ran on the slogan, “There is no principle of the Democratic Party that I am not prepared to swap for a reasonably good chocolate chip cookie,” and Republicans took that as a sign they should probably vote for him.
Yes, for $40 the llamas at Sherwood Forest Country Club will carry your bags, accompany you on a nine-hole run, and maybe even channel their peaceful temperament into quiet but unwavering moral support…
For the past few months, he and English have trained the llamas to become caddy extraordinaires through a series of acclimation exercises, first allowing them to get used to golf swings, and then to become harnessed with saddles that carry two clubs. “They go at the speed of a golf cart,” says Lautenschlager, a professional golfer, who feels no hindrance from having a llama caddy vs. a human one. Even better, llamas are what he calls natural “communal pottyers,” meaning they don’t go to the bathroom on the green anytime they feel like it but will rather line up rear to rear and go together in one spot. “It’s the funniest thing,” Lautenschlager says.
We here in Connecticut are sick and tired of all the attention South Carolina has been getting for being ridiculous. So here’s what we’re doing about it:
WASHINGTON – Pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon has never been shy about wading into the ring — and now she’s plotting a smackdown of Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd.
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. said Wednesday McMahon has resigned as the company's chief executive to seek the Republican nomination for Dodd's Connecticut seat, providing a show-business twist to one of the nation's marquee Senate races…
McMahon, who typically worked behind the scenes at World Wrestling Entertainment, has said she’s appeared in portions of the shows at least several dozen times during her more than 25-year-career. One video on the Internet shows her in the ring, appearing to kick a man in the groin.
From the Washington Post’s account of the warm homecoming extended by Youngstown, Ohio, to its former congressman and convict, James Traficant:
At Sunday’s party his fans said he remembered their names, returned their calls and was far from “elite.” Several recounted how he talked about his “gastric emissions” on the House floor.
In a memorable Capitol Hill moment, he called a friend, Sandra Ferrante, as a witness during a committee hearing on Standards and Official Conduct. At the time Congress was considering expelling him. The conversation went like this:
Traficant: Were you and I sex partners?
Traficant: Why not?
…but he got over it. From a New York Times piece on the man who wants to bring President Obama to his Waterloo by denying health care to uninsured Americans:
Rather, South Carolina voters seem more interested in whether [Senator Jim] DeMint might run for president.
“I wouldn’t get out of my driveway without my wife shooting me in the back,” he said in Greenville. “You’ve got to find somebody who’s smart enough to be a great president but dumb enough to want to be president. Right now, I think I’m still too smart to be president.”
I say it without the slightest shame: I can’t get enough of the Jaycee Lee Dugard kidnapping story. As usual in these sorts of things, the Daily Mail of London has the best coverage: aerial photographs, police reconstructions of how the 11-year-old victim would look like in her twenties, interviews with the kidnapper’s father and brother. Go here and read every word. You know you want to.
The jailhouse interview with Phillip Garrido struck me as particularly bizarre. I kept flashing on George W. Bush, not over the sex stuff (Bush gives no impression at all of sexuality), but because of the use both men make of religion as an enabling tool that allows them to go ahead and do absolutely any sick thing they damn well feel like. And history will show the world that they and God were right all along.
You’ve been listening to the Good Lord channeling Bush for eight years. Here’s Garrido for a change. A distinction, as the lawyers say, without a difference:
“Wait until you hear the story of what took place at this house … You're going to be completely impressed.”
“In the end, this is going to be a powerful, heartwarming story. My life has been straightened out.”
“The Creator has given me the ability to speak in the tongue of angels in order to provide a wake up call that will in time include the salvation of the entire world.”
From BBC News:
Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor has denied eating human flesh or ordering militias to eat their enemies.
Speaking at his war crimes trial in The Hague, Mr Taylor was quoted as saying accusations of cannibalism levelled against him were “total nonsense.”
Some of Mr Taylor’s former fighters have previously told the court that he had ordered them to eat their enemies…
Speaking as one who was paying taxes back then, I would gladly have kicked in to give Todd Tiahrt’s mom the chance to deny us his great mind:
From McClatchy Newspapers:
…Speaking on the House floor, Representative Todd Tiahrt wondered: What if President Obama’s mom had had the chance for a taxpayer-funded abortion?
“If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?” he asked.
Tiahrt reasoned, “If you think of it in human terms, there is a financial incentive that will be put in place, paid for by tax dollars, that will encourage women who are single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion. If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in a similar circumstance.”
Tiahrt, who is running in the Republican Senate primary in Kansas next year, mentioned Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, too, asking “is it possible that we would be denied his great mind?”
Sure, okay, the gorillas had hair on their chests and Tarzan didn’t. And Batman was apparently as hairless as Robin. And Superman looked body-waxed.
But seriously, men, if I may call you that, how pathetic is this?
Little research has been done on male body depilation. But a 2005 study published in the journal Sex Roles found that 63.6 percent of 118 men at the University of South Florida said they trimmed or removed body hair below the neck to be hygienic and attractive. And in a yet-to-be-published survey of 364 male students at the same university, more than 80 percent said they engaged in body depilation, said Michael Boroughs, the lead author of both studies and a graduate student in psychology>…
In May, Gillette started a series of how-to and why-do-it videos online suggesting that men go further with body shaving. The rationale varied by part. Chest? “A sweater should be bought not grown.” Armpits? “An empty stable smells better than a full one.” And their coup de grâce is the groin: “Trees look taller when there’s no underbrush.”
From the Sarasota Herald Tribune:
If you’re looking for a silver lining to the home-foreclosure story — and who isn’t? — the good news is that 8-foot-long Nile monitor lizards are taking over our abandoned properties. What, if anything, real estate agents will be able to make of this news is another matter…
Religious notes from the New York Times:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Some of those seated in the pews of New Bethel Church here Saturday night, their firearms tucked to their sides, saw themselves as modern-day pioneers…
Likewise, Tommy Hillerich, 68, a retired truck driver, and Maya, 58, his wife, a former auto upholstery worker, did not bring their firearms inside but firmly believe in their right to do so.
“I don’t see a thing wrong with having a loaded gun in there,” Mr. Hillerich said. “If the pastor’s in there and he’s got a concealed weapon and somebody comes in and starts shooting people, he can take him out. That’s his right.”
It has recently come to my attention that the entire population of the world except for China is being poisoned by chemtrails. These are the apparently innocent contrails from commercial and military jets — secretly modified by the Power Structure to suppress evolution so that the New World Order (NWO) can be imposed on mankind.
Why and how? This is complicated stuff, so pay attention:
The NWO will fail if citizens become genetically empowered to wake up and fight with superhuman powers against tyranny. This is already occurring, and chemtrails are ultimately ineffectual at preventing the inevitable.
Few know the chemtrail program’s true purpose, and most of those implementing it have been told lies. They believe the “mass vaccination” scenario, that what they are doing is beneficial to citizens. Unfortunately this illusion, like all others created by the power structure, shall fall away in due time.
The point (more fully explained here) is that we are evolving into organisms with 12 helixes in our DNA rather than the standard two. Dr. Berrenda Fox is currently working with children who only have three helixes, but are already telepathic and can fill glasses of water just by looking at them. Plainly if this kind of thing continues, mankind will become too intelligent to fall for the Power Structure’s tricks.
But it will not continue, because many ordinary people such as yourself have already armed themselves with orgone generators capable of neutralizing the evolution-halting power of those chemtrails that fill our skies.
These generators may be had at the website linked above for $95 plus shipping and handling for the natural finish model and only fifteen dollars more for a copper patina finish.
If I were you I’d go for the copper patina option despite its higher price. Why? Here’s why:
While many people are fascinated by the natural look of orgone generators, other people might prefer a more finished, art-like appearance with less need to answers questions like: “What’s it’s for?”
The Weathered Copper Patina finish gives these orgone generators the look of an esoteric art object either dug up from a ancient Minoan archeological site or something Mr. Spock brought aboard The Enterprise. Either way, it looks nice sitting on a shelf, on top of the TV, or on a desk — without raising suspicions about its true function.
Here is Princess Sparkle Pony, trying and failing to give money to two giant American corporations:
First I went to ATT’s web site to order the service. Now, here’s another bit of PSP trivia: I don’t have a credit card; haven’t since college! I do have a debit card, of course, but I simply don’t use credit. So at the ATT site, they did a “credit check” and found me wanting, and decided that the iPhone wasn’t for me. So I “spoke” to an online rep, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi, I want to get an iPhone, but failed your credit check.
Rep: Sorry, then you are ineligible for the service.
Me: Really? Just like that? But I was going to pay with a debit card.
Rep: Sorry, if you fail the credit check, you’re ineligible.
Me: Seriously? What if I pre-pay for the whole two-year plan?
Rep: We don’t offer that.
Basically: no iPhone for me!
This morning, I decided to actually call ATT on the phone and find out if this was really true. And, of course, it isn’t. The person on the phone said I could, indeed, get iPhone service, but I’d have to go to an ATT store and would probably have to tender a $750 deposit (!!) as a punishment for being sensible with my money and not buying things I can’t afford.
Go on, read the rest of the story. You know you want to.
A man walks into a bar. He’s carrying a carpet under his arm. He wraps himself in the carpet, lies on the floor, covers his face and waits for people to step on him. A sign taped to the bar reads: “Step on carpet.”
People step on the carpet — dozens, in fact. The more people who step on the carpet, particularly if they are women in heels, the happier the man is. Some are timid, others are audacious. Some dance on the man. Some step on him while ordering their drinks, completely unaware that a live body is underfoot…
The circumstances of David Carradine’s death in a Bangkok hotel closet seemed more unusual than they were. I learned about the prevalence of autoerotic asphyxia while doing research for my second Tom Bethany mystery, Strangle Hold.
Steve Russell, a judge and a professor of criminal justice, tells you all you probably need to know about the phenomenon at The Rag Blog. Or you could do what I did, and dig up a copy of Autoerotic Fatalities, by Hazelwood, Dietz and Burgess.
Or, best of all, buy a copy of Strangle Hold and educate yourself the painless way. From the reviews:
Through his Tom Bethany character, a private investigator with no clear clientele, but an intense focus on righting wrongs, Doolittle lets readers know immediately — NO, NOW! — what’s wrong with bureaucrats, lots of businessmen, some cops, lawyers and many others whose very existence makes others suffer. And, oh, yeah. Lots of Republicans.
Great Characters, I laughed out loud at “The Hocker.” One of the best. Do read as soon as possible. Like all his books catches you on page one, and then the squeeze is on. Thankfully back in print.
Talk about your great bumper stickers, huh? Here’s one Pennsylvania Democrat’s welcome to her party’s newest senator:
Pam Janvey, a Democratic committeewoman from Bucks County, found Specter’s presence at the gathering more than a little odd. “Am I in a dream?” she asked.
Janvey said that Specter hit all the right notes in his speech on Saturday and that although she had worked to defeat Specter in the past and never voted for him, she would back him this time around.
“Even when I have worked against Arlen over the years,” Janvey said, “I never felt the kind of fear that I did when I worked against Santorum…”
Here’s Rush Limbaugh again, still scribbling away on the walls of America’s toilets:
They don’t like Gitmo, we have to shut it down. They don’t like what we’ve done, fine, Obama will run around and apologize. I’m telling you, folks, it is not the United States of America that serves as Barack Obama’s role model. It’s other socialist nations that have failed and the concept of socialism that is his role model. I’ll tell you what, stupid little community organizer, organize this.
From today’s New York Times. Below is Noemi Letizia, recently 18, with a portrait of her great and good friend, Silvio.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of girls younger than 18 who were allegedly invited to a villa by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. Mr. Berlusconi is alleged to have invited about 40 women to the villa, but only some of them were allegedly younger than 18 at the time, not all of them.
Here and there small groups of misinformed and manipulated citizens are gathering today throughout this great land for the purpose of dropping tea bags into liquids. They have been told by Fox News and a billionaires’ lobbyist named Dick Armey that this orgy of tea bagging will put an end to taxation with representation. Or something.
Most of the foot soldiers in this army of Dick’s seem not to know that tea bagging has a very specific meaning in the adult entertainment world, a meaning which has nothing to do with relieving the anguish of the very richest Americans at the prospect of being taxed once more at the same rate that existed the last time the nation’s budget was balanced.
Nor are most of these poor saps likely to be aware that their movement has its very own song, like The Internationale, or Boola Boola. The tea baggers’ fight song is called “I Love It When They Bounce,” and Karen Marie has been kind enough to call it to our attention. Here it is, performed by Supafloss:
In case you’ve always wanted a look inside Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s head, and who hasn’t, take a look at this. Truly scary stuff. Brief sample:
“I’m sure there are other things that have happened,” he said, wrapping up his answer. “So I would have to say just off the top of my head the Fourteenth Amendment. And I bet you someone’s going to hear that and say, well, no, it’s the dormant commerce clause or something.”
As to Thomas’s strange obsession with dishwashers, I won’t have anything useful to say until I have a chance to consult with my son Matt. He is a psychiatrist.
Meanwhile, for more on the man George Herbert Walker Bush considered to be the best-qualified candidate for the Supreme Court in America, see The Pubic Hair Test.
Not enough attention has been paid to Sarah Palin’s choice for attorney general of Alaska, a lacuna which I intend forthwith to fill. First of all his name is Wayne Anthony Ross, giving him the initials W.A.R. It is not clear whether his father, a Milwaukee insurance man, saw the significance of this. But the day must have come when the boy realized that his initials spelled “War.” The epiphany changed him forever, sort of.
Not enough to actually make him want to go to “War” himself, although one was handy when he graduated from Marquette University in 1965, and remained within easy reach when he graduated from its law school in 1968.
Instead he moved to Alaska, where he adopted bolo ties, high-heeled boots and a cowboy hat and became a civilian trial lawyer. But the dream never died. He went to gun shows. He shot animals, no doubt wishing they could shoot back. He became a director of the National Rifle Association.
And he pulled an 11-and-a-half year hitch in the Alaska State Defense Force (a 240-man “government-approved state militia”), rising to become its inspector general with the rank of colonel. He also became vice president of the 49th Territorial Guards Regiment, Inc., which guards territory.
Twice knighted (by Poland and the Vatican), Sir Wayne holds the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.
As if that weren’t enough the colonel has also received awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Daughters of the American Revolution (for patriotism), as well as being a recipient of the NRA’s Award of Merit for the Promotion of Gun Collecting.
But want to know the best thing of all? Another dreamer of martial dreams was appointed president in 2000, and Colonel Ross finally got his chance to go to war.
He scored this really keen red Hummer to tool around Anchorage in, with these totally awesome license plates that say “WAR.” Eat your heart out, kids.
Oh, yeah. He stands right with God, too:
‘‘I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord but if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket.”
From the Associated Press:
According to the police report, 52-year-old Patricia Perea of Canyon Gate, Texas, told police she was sitting next to the singer of the hit song “Suavemente.” She said that about 15 minutes after the plane left Houston, Crespo covered himself with a blanket and began to masturbate, then exposed himself.
Suavemente, I was pleased to discover from my Spanish dictionary, means exactly what you’d think.
This video clip dates from the early dawn of human history, even before General Electric forced its new spokesman, Ronald Reagan, to submit to a brain transplant. (h/t to Ketchup is a Vegetable.)
My old paper the Washington Post, since fully evolved into Fox lite, today ran this wonderfully wacky paragraph about the election of leftist populist Mauricio Funes as President of El Salvador:
If Mr. Funes as well as the election’s losers now respect the rule of law, the result could be the consolidation of the political system the United States was aiming for when it intervened in El Salvador’s civil war during the 1980s. At the time, the goal of a successful Salvadoran democracy was dismissed as a mission impossible, just as some now say democracy is unattainable in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the right-wing ARENA party, whose leaders were linked to death squads in the 1980s, proved during the last few years that it could embrace democratic practices. Its presidential candidate, Rodrigo Ávila, acknowledged his defeat on election night.
For those very few of you who don’t follow the news from Central America that closely, I provide this link to BoRev, who does. His Onion-worthy headline: Reagan's Dream of A Leftist El Salvador Finally Realized. The post also has great art work, which I would steal if I knew how to do it.
Peggy Noonan totally nails it:
The sale of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs is widespread. In New York their use became common after 9/11. It continued through and, I hypothesize, may have contributed to, the high-flying, wildly imprudent Wall Street of the ’00s. We look for reasons for the crash and there are many, but I wonder if Xanax, Zoloft and Klonopin, when taken by investment bankers, lessened what might have been normal, prudent anxiety, or helped confuse prudent anxiety with baseless, free-floating fear. Maybe Wall Street was high as a kite and didn’t notice. Maybe that would explain Bear Stearns, and Merrill, and Citi.
Don da Man thought we should all know about this. His question, and it is a good one: Where did the $4,300 wind up?
A Russian man died after guzzling a bottle of Viagra to keep him going for a 12-hour orgy with two female pals.
The women had bet mechanic Sergey Tuganov $4,300 that he wouldn’t be able to follow through with the half-day sex marathon.
But minutes after winning the bet, the 28-year-old died of a heart attack, Moscow police said.
“We called emergency services but it was too late, there was nothing they could do,” said one of the female participants who identified herself only as Alina.
You didn’t expect me to keep this one all to myself, did you?
SYDNEY – An Australian traveler was caught with two live pigeons stuffed in his pants following a trip to the Middle East, customs officials said Tuesday. The 23-year-old man was searched after authorities discovered two eggs in a vitamin container in his luggage, said Richard Janeczko, national investigations manager for the Customs Service
They found the pigeons wrapped in padded envelopes and held to each of the man's legs with a pair of tights, according to a statement released by the agency. Officials also seized seeds in his money belt and an undeclared eggplant…
Steve Benen says:
Once in a while, a politician drops the pretense and lets his true colors come through. In this brief interview, Dick Armey, perhaps best known for calling his then-colleague Barney Frank "Barney Fag," showed just what he's made of, before a national television audience.
Here’s the silver-tongued former House Majority Leader on Hardball, debating Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com:
Enough already with the Obama stuff . Mike thinks it’s time we paid a little attention to Chirac’s poodle:
This is by Ross Mackenzie, retired editor of the editorial page at the Richmond Times Dispatch. I know you will feel, as I did after reading it through, deeply ashamed:
The left and the media and the ever-expanding blogosphere, and of course the Democrats, never permitted George Bush to recover from the circumstances of his 2000 election.
They deemed him unacceptable, accidental, illegitimate, likely a conniver in the national outcome — and so took to lobbing their hateful commentaries one after another without end.
On issue after issue they rejected his appeals for bipartisanship, especially in his second term. In his 2004 victory speech, Bush said: “Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. ... We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”
Yet from Social Security and judges to the surge and terror and continuation of the tax cuts, malign leftists dug in and sought to foil him on every front — to deny him any victory, any success, anywhere.
“Malign” is too harsh? Consider: Television, blogospheric, and newspaper commentaries slammed President Bush 24/7. Nicholson Baker wrote Checkpoint, whose protagonists weigh whether to assassinate him. Twelve thousand San Franciscans signed a petition to rename an Oceanside sewage plant for him—
Hollywood went apoplectic, with Oliver Stone — director of the detestable October-released flick “W” — declaring: “We are a poorer and less secure nation for having elected (Bush) as our president. ... America finds itself fighting unnecessary and costly wars and engaging in dangerous and counterproductive efforts to fight extremism. Even more significant and troubling, I believe, is his legacy of immorality.”
Despite this vicious stream, George Bush persevered and prevailed. The events of 9/11 changed him. Mistakes abounded, but no subsequent domestic jihadist strike ensued. As he noted at the Army War College last month, this staggering security success was “not a matter of luck.” Against islamo-fascism pre-emption (described by the all-knowing as naive, idealistic and wrong) was — as it remains — the right policy for spreading liberty and democracy, particularly in a Middle East that boasts so little of either.
The enterprise in Iraq, following the surge, now approaches victory — the great Osama bin Laden himself having declared Iraq “the central front” in his war against the United States.
Barack Obama repeatedly pronounced Iraq a distraction and - from beginning to end — a mistake. Yet a resolute Bush was true to his values, to his nation, and to mankind’s ultimate cause. Last month he told The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel that liberty can be extended beyond Iraq as long as America continues to believe “in the universality of freedom.”
His early tax cuts helped the country out of the recession Bill Clinton left him. The budget exploded, as did deficits — largely a result of expanded defense spending for the war on terror. (Said Bush in the Strassel interview: “I refused to compromise on the military” — for which thank heaven, given that the first obligation of every administration is the people’s protection.)
Bush was correct about Social Security, despite a spineless, risk-averse Congress unwilling to get its game together. While vastly more nominations would have been better, he managed against obstructionist Senate Democrats to gain approval of 61 federal appellate judges (compare Clinton’s 65), now constituting majorities on 10 of the 13 appellate courts. And he gave us the estimable Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Yes, spending blew out of control — albeit with congressional concurrence.
Problems plagued the war’s conduct in Iraq. Post-Katrina New Orleans was mishandled. Still, Bush can boast hefty tax cuts, major assistance for HIV-infected areas of Africa, significant gains in health care and in education accountability, a multi-ethnic Cabinet (including the first two black secretaries of state), and massive improvements from surveillance to strategic policy.
We invest our presidents with greatly too many expectations. It happened with George Bush and his predecessors, as it is happening with Barack Obama — the latest secular savior. Few mortals can deliver on more than a small percentage of their promises and hopes.
Yet Bush carried two added burdens: (1) difficulty in articulating his goals and (2) relentless hammering by leftists hostile to his values and his success. Then, perceiving him harmful to the Republican brand, many conservatives abandoned him as well. Still and all, his favorable ratings never descended to the ratings for Congress — particularly the Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
George Bush a perfect president? Hardly. The worst president of the past half-century, as too many with ideological axes to grind would have us believe? Compare, oh, Carter and Clinton. A more prudent categorization: The most consequential president since Reagan.
To those cognoscenti who argue such an appraisal is preposterous, remind them of this: The most recent conventional wisdom — the consensus of the best minds and analysts — was (remember?) that because the fundamentals were so sound the stock market could not crash, the economy could not possibly collapse.
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson — a man of laconic, perceptive humor — noted that “those who travel the high road of humility in Washington are not bothered by heavy traffic.”
George Bush concludes his presidency with abundant accomplishments, not least a safer nation — and still, despite a tsunami of hateful coverage, commendably humble. When the tumult and the shouting die, an appreciative people would escort him down to robust and lingering applause.
From Al Kamen’s column in the Washington Post:
Former FEMA administrator Michael D. Brown was among 11,000 Boulder, Colo., folks evacuated yesterday amid raging wildfires that have scorched at least 1,000 acres. Brown, dubbed “Brownie” by President Bush during the Katrina Hurricane fiasco, moved back to the Boulder area, where he runs a disaster consulting business.
From a Washington Post interview with White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten:
Bolten said another of his goals when he took over was to try to get the country to see the likable boss he and other aides saw in private, convinced that would boost Bush’s popularity. “I failed miserably,” he conceded. “Maybe in the beginning of the sixth year of a presidency, that’s a quixotic task… But everybody who has actual personal exposure to the president, almost everybody, appreciates what a good leader he is, how smart he is and, especially, how humane he is.”
There’s no fuel like a lipofuel…
“…The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel – and I have more fat than I can use,” he says. “Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth…”
My psychiatrist son, Matt, emails this:
I have been dealing with the fallout from the election nearly every day as my more vulnerable and psychotic patients were genuinely frightened by the advertising portraying Obama as a dangerous man, and they have trouble understanding the difference between “Obama” and “Osama,” and now they are fearful and even more frightened that the world does not see the threat that so obviously looms.
This last fear is unwarranted, however. Much of the unmedicated world is also quivering before the peril that looms:
From North Carolina:
“People are very, very worried,” said Dean White, general manager of the firearms academy, gun shop and indoor shooting range. “We’re seeing a lot of people who have never even considered purchasing a handgun before coming in and saying that they want to buy one just because they think something’s going to happen and they may not be able to get it in the future.”
But Barack Obama is good for business. Last Wednesday, the day after Mr. Obama beat Arizona’s own Mr. McCain to become the president-elect, Mr. Chee sold $30,000 worth of guns — mostly the semi-automatics the National Rifle Association claims Mr. Obama’s administration will restrict.
“The election came, and now it’s just a madhouse in here,” said Mr. Chee, 31.
Soon after Barack Obama won the presidential election, Dennis Dupler bought an assault rifle that he had wanted to protect his home, fearful that a Democratic White House and Congress will impose gun-control laws or taxes on firearms…
“I have a feeling there’s some bad stuff down the road,” said Dupler, of Elizabethtown, holding his rifle purchase Thursday at a gun shop near his home.
During the week of the election, Flying Cloud sold over 20 AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. It typically sells four or five in a given month’s time … In the past couple of weeks, Smith said the low-end price for a AR-15 at his store has jumped from $900 to $1,050.
“The best defense against the Obama Gun Grabbing Machine is a solid show of force by law-abiding gun owners,” said Pearson. “The most forceful display of support for gun rights is for citizens to enthusiastically exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. By keeping the gun shop cash registers ringing and the FBI background check computers humming, citizens will send a very clear message that they do not take challenges to their rights lightly.”
And more from Pennsylvania:
Same thing in Brodheadsville, where American Sport Shooting owner Richard Flynn has seen an 80 percent increase of gun sales starting a week before the election. “People are stockpiling ammunition too,” Flynn said…
“The other thing that has people concerned is talk of a civilian security force equally funded as the military. Run by [Obama], I guess. We see that as the Gestapo,” Flynn said.
“The Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It is about being able to protect ourselves against a government gone bad, which is what we have now,” Flynn said. “When a president wants to set up his own national army, that alarms people…”
“Let’s look to Hurricane Katrina. Government agents were going door to door, beating on doors, asking if they had guns, and taking them away,” said National Rifle Association spokesperson Ashley Varner. “It has happened in recent history. Let’s not say it could never happen.”
From Doonesbury’s daily feature, “Say What?” —
“For eight U.S. presidential elections during the period 1960-2004, the rapid blinker during debates received fewer overall votes than his opponent. In seven of these eight elections, the rapid blinker also lost the electoral vote and was defeated at the polls.”
— Journal of Psychology observation, cited on net in reference to McCain blinking 3,000 times during the third debate
From the Caucus blog at the New York Times:
Some of the fashion experts consulted Wednesday, for instance, about the $150,000 in purchases that appeared on Federal Election Commission records were puzzled by where all of that money had gone, given what they had seen of Ms. Palin’s wardrobe.
Consider also the $4,902.45 charge at Atelier New York, a high-end men’s store, presumably for Ms. Palin’s husband, Todd, the famous First Dude.
Karlo Steel, an owner there, said he had gone through the store’s receipts for September, twice, and found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to the total.…
The store carries expensive cut-up T-shirts and tricky suits from avant-garde designers, like Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester, none of whom typically create beltway-appropriate attire…
Self-loathing and hypocrisy transcend national borders. Larry Craig has nothing on Austrian “rightwing populist” Jörg Haider:
Petzner said: “We had a relationship that went far beyond friendship. Jörg and I were connected by something really special. He was the man of my life.”
The news stunned Austria, which has been coming to terms with the death of the anti-immigrant politician. Haider, who voted against a parliamentary motion to lower the age of consent for homosexuals, had presented himself as a family man who drank sparingly. But after the car crash it was revealed that he had been driving at twice the speed limit, his blood alcohol level had been four times the legal limit, and he had spent his final hours in a gay bar in Klagenfurt, the capital of the southern state where he was governor.
Ever feel like bending over and clearing out the system with a good, old-fashioned puke? Rich Lowry at the National Review has got just the thing for you. And while you’re blowing chunks, consider this: Have the words “very wise” and “TV executive” ever appeared in sequence before?
A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It’s one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O’Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.
I challenge our readers to chew their cuds on this bit of chicken feed :
An Ohio farmer would like to invite you to get lost inside the head of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
A 16-acre corn maze near the town of Whitehouse has been carved in Palin's likeness, complete with her familiar updo hairstyle and eyeglasses.
Farmer Duke Wheeler says that Palin created a lot of excitement in the campaign and that he was hoping to generate some for this year’s maze.
Wheeler says it took an artist from Idaho at least eight hours to mow down stalks for the maze.
Here, in all its magnificent entirety, is a late-breaking story out of Florida, from the Associated Press:
Police in Port St. Lucie are on the lookout for a cross-dressing man who snatched a 74-year-old woman’s purse. As if that weren’t odd enough, they’re depending on a strange clue. The suspect left behind a condom filled with water he had been using as a fake breast.
The woman said she believed the thief followed her while shopping. A witness told investigators he was wearing a short denim skirt and black tube top, and fled in a silver car with two other male crossdressers.
Police are processing the condom for fingerprint and DNA evidence.
Joyce Bernann McKinney was charged in Carter County with criminal conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failure to appear in court, said attorney David Crockett, who represented her in the Tennessee case. Authorities there said she instructed a 15-year-old boy to break into a house, and Crockett said she needed the money to buy a false leg for a beloved horse.
Close readers of this text will recall last week’s posting on Bernann McKinney, the “sex crazed loon and former beauty queen who’s been on the lam for the 30 years since she was accused of kidnapping Mormon missionary, tying him up with fur-lined handcuffs and repeatedly ‘raping’ him until he agreed to marry her.
According to the New York Post, she later explained that “the sex part was consensual and the bondage necessary for him to overcome his Mormon guilt. ‘Kirk had to be tied up to have an orgasm,’ she testified.”
These further details reach us from my twisted nephew Jason, to whom, as always, I extend my deepest gratitude.
In my rugby days, I played second row. This meant that in the scrums my ears were ground from both sides by the hips of teammates wearing canvas shorts. To avoid cauliflower ears, most of us wore protective gear that looked something like ear muffs.
Which is to say that we were marginally more intelligent than these total morons:
Unfazed by the prospect of living life as a walking what’s-grosser-than-gross joke, a nationwide corps of professional fighters, amateur enthusiasts and teenagers have taken to leaving their ears untreated or self-treated, wearing their shriveled, hardened waxen auricles as badges of honor.
“It’s definitely part of the culture,” said Dr. John H. Park, a physical therapist in Rockville, Md., who specializes in treating M.M.A. participants. “They say, ‘Chicks dig that stuff because they know you’re a fighter.’”
…As a signature injury, cauliflower ear stands alone in one illuminating respect. Although most athletes tend to err on the side of overtreatment, or at least treatment, fighters develop cauliflower ear by avoiding medical care.
…but Morris supposes erroneously. This is from an ad in the Human Events newsletter (subscribers only) for a new book called Fleeced:
Americans feel fleeced at every turn, and it’s no wonder. As more and more critical problems develop that need national attention, the White House and Congress are effectively AWOL. And who’s calling the shots instead? Big government, big business, big labor, and big lobbyists — all with self-serving agendas that do nothing to help the ever-increasing number of American people who are losing their homes, paying exorbitant credit card interest rates, and finding their jobs increasingly outsourced to foreign countries.
Make your blood boil? Make you want to toss out the greedy bloodsucking neocon DLC warmongers who have spent the last eight years flushing our economy, our constitution and our nation’s most sacred values right down the toilet?
Wait a minute, though. Here’s the full title of this outraged screed:
Fleeced: How Barack Obama, Media Mockery of Terrorist Threats, Liberals Who Want to Kill Talk Radio, the New Do-Nothing Congress, Companies That Help Iran, and Washington Lobbyists for Foreign Governments Are Fleecing Us…and What to Do About It
And here are the authors: Eileen McGann and her husband, Dick Morris. Yes, that Dick Morris. (The picture below shows two entirely different people. I include it only as an example of very poor taste.)
From The News & Observer:
DURHAM — Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, has sued Duke University, saying the school breached a $200,000 contract with him by kicking him off the golf team…
As an aspiring pro golfer in high school, Giuliani was promised life-time access to Duke’s state-of-the-art training facilities if he came to Duke and paid $200,000 in tuition and fees, the suit claims…
On Feb. 4, during a golf-team football game, “Andrew played harder than some of the other boys wanted to play.”
On Feb. 10, while Giuliani was eating an apple, a teammate twice hit the golfer’s hand and knocked the fruit to the ground. After that same teammate “slammed a door hitting Andrew’s face,” Giuliani “tossed the apple at a teammate, glancing off the side of his face.”
…who knew the wingnuts had their own ball club? Well, they do. It’s called the Wichita Wingnuts and below the manager shows why. If he loses his job over this, they can always use a good man at Fox News or the Vice President’s office.
(Editor’s note: Peter Cook is the former Mr. Christie Brinkley)
ASSOCIATED PRESS: …Cook also admitted spending thousands of dollars a month on interactive Internet pornography, but insisted that he stopped the habit after his breakup with Brinkley…
(Editor’s query: Where does the poor guy go for kicks now? Animal Planet?)
On those rare occasions when Bush is moved to do the right thing, he gets knee-capped by his best friends. If it weren’t so horrible it would be amusing. Consider this unusually ripe specimen:
WASHINGTON — President Bush’s efforts to broaden a widely respected, bipartisan program to fight the spread of AIDS in Africa have faced roadblocks by seven Republican senators.
Bush had hoped that Congress would pass legislation to spend $50 billion to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis primarily in Africa in time for the Group of Eight summit in Japan next month. However, the seven socially conservative senators, led by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., refuse to support the legislation unless spending focuses more heavily on treatment than on prevention.
In a letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the seven senators — Coburn, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and David Vitter of Louisiana — criticized the bills’ increased spending over the next five years from $15 billion to $50 billion, the expansion of AIDS funding to countries such as China and India and the inclusion of funding for agricultural-assistance and poverty-alleviation programs.
“The bills’ support would allow morally questionable activities, including advocating with host governments to change gender norms and policies and promoting activities that could include needle distribution to drug users,” the senators wrote.
Vitter, Vitter. Haven’t I heard that name somewhere? Isn’t he some kind of an expert on morally questionable activities? Oh, yes, now it all comes back:
After Vitter’s telephone number was discovered this summer among the records of the so-called “D.C. Madam,” the rumors about his sexual proclivities really started flying. Wonkette and a variety of liberal blogs ran with rumors that he had a diaper fetish and liked to make in his nappy during sexual acts. No one seems to be sure where that rumor originated, so we did our best to get to the bottom of it.
Wendy Cortez (Ellis), a New Orleans-based reformed hooker, said during a press conference yesterday that Vitter stopped seeing her after he learned her real first name was the same as his wife’s. Cortez tells Radar that Vitter never wore any diapers during their sexual transgressions, which she says occurred two to three times a week over a four-month period in 1999.
“That story referred to another client of [mine] and was later misconstrued by reporters and bloggers,” Cortez explained. She also added that Vitter was always “very clean” during intercourse.
A statue of John Wayne? C’mon, you’ve gotta like the guy at least a little:
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — A convicted felon who became a motivational speaker — and used his life experiences to warn teens about the dangers of drugs and crime — is accused of going on a bender, threatening to kill his girlfriend and her son, and smashing a former prison buddy in the face with a statue of John Wayne.
Another masterful performance by the Little Prince from an interview with Politico.com. For one thing, he looks forward to the day when he can sent emails again. The way things are now everything has to be deleted each time Congress sends over another subpoena.
And for another thing, you will be touched in the appropriate place to learn that Bush gave up golf as an expression of solidarity with the Gold Star mothers whose sons he has killed. Sorry the following post is so long, but there are lots of presidential shallows to be plumbed here.
Q: Mr. President, thank you very much for having us into the Roosevelt Room for the first online interview. In the spirit of the Internet, I wonder if we could ask a question from one of our users, Steve Bailey, of New York, who says: With oil at $126 a barrel, pushing up the price of everything — even food — what can your administration do to help people right now?
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate Steven’s concerns. With the price of gasoline going up, it’s like a tax. I wish I could give Steven a quick answer. In other words, it took us a while to get to where we are — very dependent on oil, and in a world in which demand is greater than oil. So my answer to Steven is that the best thing we can do is to increase supply, and to drill for oil and gas in environmentally friendly ways at home, and build more refineries. Steven probably doesn’t know this, but we haven’t built a new refinery since 1976, and if we’re truly interested in relieving the pressure on our consumers, then we ought to have a very active domestic policy now…
Q: Mr. President, the one thing we don’t see in here is a computer, and we know that you went cold turkey off email for security reasons. What are you looking forward to when you finally get your computer back?
THE PRESIDENT: Emailing to my buddies. I can remember as governor I stayed in touch with all kinds of people around the country, firing off emails at all times of the day to stay in touch with my pals. One of the things that I will have ended my public service time with is a group of friends, a lot of friends. And I want to stay in touch with them and there’s no better way to communicate with them than through email…
Q: Mr. President, acknowledging those constraints, you’re an oil man — some people say that climate change, global warming could have been your Nixon-to-China. Do you wish you’d done more?
THE PRESIDENT: I did what I think is necessary to actually work, Michael. I mean, I could have signed a — I could have supported a lousy treaty and everybody would have went, “Oh, man, what a wonderful sounding fellow he is.” But it just wouldn’t have worked. I don’t think you want your President trying to be the cool guy and not end up with policies that actually make a difference…
The biggest issue we face is — it’s bigger than Iraq — it’s this ideological struggle against cold-blooded killers who will kill people to achieve their political objectives. Iraq just happens to be a part of this global war. Iraq is the place where al Qaeda and other extremists have made their stand — and they will be defeated. They’ll be defeated through military action, but they’ll also be defeated as this young democracy takes hold. They can’t stand to live in a free society, that’s why they try to fight free societies…
I feel like — I felt like there were weapons of mass destruction. You know, “mislead” is a strong word, it almost connotes some kind of intentional — I don’t think so, I think there was a — not only our intelligence community, but intelligence communities all across the world shared the same assessment. And so I was disappointed to see how flawed our intelligence was.
Q: And so you feel that you didn’t have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, I was told by people that they had weapons of mass destruction — as were members of Congress, who voted for the resolution to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And of course, the political heat gets on and they start to run and try to hide from their votes. But intelligence communities all across the world felt the same thing. This was kind of a common assessment.
So “mislead” means, do I think somebody lied to me? No, I don’t. I think it was just, you know, they analyzed the situation and came up with the wrong conclusion.
Q: Mr. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal…
Q: Now, Mr. President, President Carter recently told Charlie Rose the next President could change America’s image in 10 minutes. Here’s what he said: “I think the next President could change the image of this country around the world in 10 minutes by making an inaugural speech that would start off and say, ‘As long as I’m President we will never torture another prisoner, as long as I’m President we will never attack or invade another country unless our own security is directly threatened.’”
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, what he ought to be saying is, is that America doesn’t torture. If the implication there is that we do now, then he’s wrong. And you bet we’re going to protect ourselves by the use of military force. What he really is implying is — or some imply — you can be popular; if you want to be popular in the Middle East just go blame Israel for every problem. That will make you popular. Or if you want to be popular in Europe, say you’re going to join the International Criminal Court.
Popularity is fleeting, Michael. Principles are forever.
Let’s say you’re in favor of letting the states legalize abortion and and drugs and same sex marriage if they want to. And you favor an immediate start to our withdrawal from Iraq. And you think the telecom companies should be punished for warrantless wiretapping. And you hate the Patriot Act for its gutting of civil rights. And no matter what the Creep from Crawford thinks, you think habeas corpus belongs in the Constitution after all.
Folks, have I got a candidate for you! He’s an Iowan born and bred. He went to high school in Iran. He’s a former CIA spook and federal prosecutor. Plus he’s a proud member of both the NRA and the ACLU.
Ladies and Germs, let’s hear it for the only candidate who’s really got your back — Big. Bob. BARR!
This from the BBC:
Out of 33 keyboards swabbed, four were regarded as a potential health hazard and one harboured five times more germs than one of the office’s toilet seats.
Microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson said a keyboard was often “a reflection of what is in your nose and in your gut”.
During tests in January this year, a microbiologist deemed one of the office’s keyboards to be so dirty he ordered it to be removed, quarantined and cleaned.
It had 150 times the recommended limit for bacteria — five times as filthy as a lavatory seat tested at the same time, the research found.
All right, let’s see you resist clicking on these two links, both of which are perfectly legitimate:
Number one: Thirty-five-year-old man holds breath underwater for 17 minutes, four seconds.
Number two: Sixty-nine-year-old man grows new finger, as shown on video.
Too bad for the wingnut bloggers who jumped on the story like a chicken on a Junebug, but it was a hoax. Yale student Aliza Shvarts has not in fact “repeatedly impregnated herself and induced abortions that she videotaped for use in a senior art project.”
Still you’ve got to give Ms. Shvarts major weirdness points, even if she’s a Goody Two-Shoes compared to this Princeton scholar:
A science student of Mr. Silver’s once proposed impregnating herself with chimpanzee sperm. Mr. Silver convinced her it was a “horrible thing for her to do,” but his fictionalized account of the event became a book and a play.
…BADATTITUDES.COM, barely used but beautifully maintained by previous owner, a little old blogger from Connecticut. This just in:
A US man has sold the domain name pizza.com for $2.6 million after maintaining the site for just $20 a year since 1994.
Chris Clark, 43, accepted the offer from an anonymous bidder after a week-long online auction…"It will make a significant difference in my life, for sure," he said.
Melvin "Man-o-war" Costa has a classic Nazi eagle and swastika insignia tattooed across his chest and a prison gang spider web inked on his right elbow.Melvin sounds like an okay guy, actually. You know, for a Nazi.
Costa, 26, also is a convicted felon, self-avowed white nationalist and currently the 10th-ranked light heavyweight fighter in King of the Cage, one of the most popular semi-professional "mixed martial arts" (MMA) combat leagues in America.
Judging by online forum discussions, Costa's growing legions of white supremacist fans seemed far less concerned with his swastika or spider web tattoos than a third tattoo, circling his navel, that boasts, "I have a small penis." The common theory is that, as one fan said, "He might be going for a bit of sarcasm, depending on the actual size of his penis, given the false stereotype about us."
I knew you’d want to know. Full details.
MUNICH, Germany — A woman was stopped at Munich airport after baggage control handlers found the skeleton of her brother sealed in a plastic bag in her luggage, police said Wednesday.
President Bush at a press appearance in Crawford with Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark:
Q: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for bringing us to the great weather.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, back to Texas, man. I cut his teeth in Texas. (Uneasy Laughter.)
(Actually the transcript doesn’t say “uneasy.” I just figured the laughter had to be uneasy, because otherwise it would have to be servile, and these guys and gals of the press are watchdogs, not cringing curs.)
Come on, people. How am I not going to post this?
Gangs are said to sneak the dwarves into the luggage hold, hidden inside baggage.
Then, once the journey has begun, the stowaways are free to rifle through the bags of other passengers without fear of being apprehended.
Before the coach arrives at its destination the dwarves take their loot back into their suitcase, zip themselves inside and wait to be collected by their partners in crime.
As of this writing, the video below had been viewed 593,359 times on YouTube. Of these viewers 3,939 were moved to leave comments. Here is one of them. I hope it clears everything up for you:
bist du auf drogen??XD..lol...das video hat keinen sinn-.-..die guckt doch nur in die cam....is das bescheuert X))
If even one of you out there missed the absolute greatest newspaper story in years, I’d feel terrible if I didn’t put it up for you. The excerpt below is from the second-day story in today’s New York Times. But start with the first-day story.
Detective Rapp looked out the window and saw the unwieldy trio. Something about the way they struggled to balance the man in the chair caught his eye.
“At this point, when they approached closer, I saw the body and I said, ‘Well, this is a dead guy,’ ” Detective Rapp said on Wednesday in a phone briefing…
…and to all a good night!
Here we learn that crickets in Utah are already living the Republican dream:
But in the deserts of Utah, Dr. Couzin and his colleagues discovered that giant swarms may actually be made up of a lot of selfish individuals.
Mormon crickets will sometimes gather by the millions and crawl in bands stretching more than five miles long. Dr. Couzin and his colleagues ran experiments to find out what caused them to form bands. They found that the forces behind cricket swarms are very different from the ones that bring locusts together. When Mormon crickets cannot find enough salt and protein, they become cannibals.
“Each cricket itself is a perfectly balanced source of nutrition,” Dr. Couzin said. “So the crickets, every 17 seconds or so, try to attack other individuals. If you don’t move, you’re likely to be eaten.”
Send this article to all your mush-brained friends who believe that crafty Arabs were able to pre-install explosives in a building that had already been bombed once by terrorists, and then detonate the charges right after a bunch of other crafty Arabs flew planes into the World Trade Center.
Then ask your mush-brained friends what the planes were for.
Well, maybe just a little, considering that the Loizeaux clan still had to finish threading several hundred eight-inch sticks of dynamite with yellow ignition rope and race through the stripped-down carcass of the New Frontier Hotel-Casino stuffing the explosives into the correct pillars …
You will be interested to know that a Texas man named Wes Pemberton has a five-inch hair growing from his leg. It is believed to be the world’s longest leg hair, the previous record holder being only 4.88 inches. Want the full details? Knock yourself out, dude.
You probably thought things couldn’t get any weirder. Well, you were wrong.
A U.S. man who stored his amputated leg in a barbecue smoker that was later auctioned off is locked in a custody dispute with the man who bought it …
This might sound weird, but suppose your current state of mind condensed, à la Iain Banks’s Culture, to a desktop manager like Windows (gag), or MacIntosh, or KDE (the only one I could comfortably fit into).
New situation? Encapsulate the existing one, push it onto a stack, deal with the new one, pop the previous one off the stack, go back to dealing with that.
What's left? Who is it that pops?
If only the poor guys just took their time, read more, looked at the world a little more closely. Then they might… Well, no actually. It turns out that’s not the problem. The base is hardcore because it’s hardwired:
In a simple experiment reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.
Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.
The results show “there are two cognitive styles — a liberal style and a conservative style,” said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected to the latest research…
Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said.
If you’ve got college age kids, you need to warn them about something. Just watch the video below and you’ll know what I’m talking about. And don't forget the words of Kurt Vonnegut, who famously said, “True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.” I won’t spread terror any further by reminding you who’s still running the country right now. Thanks to Max for making this video possible.
I have seen many weird things in my day. I watched Richard Nixon give his Checkers speech live and then again, 40 years later, in the Nixon Library. I have stood in the Reverend Bob Schuller’s magnificent Crystal Cathedral, in silent awe at the stupidity of my species. I have watched Jimmy Carter and Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia pretending nonchalance on the speaker’s platform while the rest of us gagged on tear gas from an anti-Shah demonstration on the Ellipse. I covered American Nazi Party protesters at Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I even watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre at a drive-in theater.
And now, courtesy of Waiting for Dorothy, I have watched the video below and you can, too. Hang in there till the very end.
What did we learn from Newsweek this week, gang? We learned that those lovable cut-ups, Condi and Dickie, just have a high old time whenever they can manage to get together for a good banter.
Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on that wall! Unfortunately, though, considerations of national security and executive privilege make it necessary for us to deny your request. Try renting an old Tracy and Hepburn flick instead.
RICE: But I want to say something about the vice president. You know, if he doesn’t agree, the vice president talks about it, just as if [Defense Secretary] Bob Gates doesn’t agree, or I don’t agree, we sit down and talk about it. And then if necessary we talk about it with the president and he decides … The vice president has never been somebody who tries to do that on the sidelines, behind the scenes. He really doesn’t.
Q: Not even when Don Rumsfeld was around?
RICE: [Laughs] You asked about when I have been secretary of State. As secretary of State I can tell you we have the most open relationship. In fact we have a kind of friendly banter about it, in which I’ll tease him [Cheney] about the image that he doesn’t like diplomacy.
Just in case you missed this:
“I was so upset,” said Zahi Hawass, the chief of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. “How the hair of the mummy — of the greatest king of Egypt — can be sold on the Internet!”
Just wanted to share this with you:
In comments published yesterday in the British music magazine NME, Mr. Richards, 63, said: “The strangest thing I’ve tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn’t resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow…”
I know this stuff is getting beyond cliché and into the realm of statistically significant psychosociological data, but still… Who can resist just one more helping of hot, throbbing hypocrisy? Not me, certainly.
So here’s a link to a gay website named TowleRoad, where the curious will find a photograph of Ann Coulter posing cheerfully at the recent CPAC conference during which she gave everyone a good giggle by gay-bashing the amazingly straight John Edwards.
Her far-from-straight companion in the picture is gay ex-hooker and porn star and Marine corporal Matt Sanchez, now a student at Columbia (below) who has been making the rounds of wingnut pundit shows with complaints that antiwar students are picking on him.
But read all about it at TowleRoad, where the even more curious will find links to many other photographs and film clips as well. These range from the former marine’s recent appearance on The O’Reilly Show to appearances on many other earlier shows of equivalent intellectual depth.
Back in the fifties the fathers of today’s tinfoil hat brigade were convinced that fluoridated water was a commie plot aimed at driving good Americans like themselves insane so that they could be locked up forever by commie shrinks, the whole Freud thing being a commie plot which you could tell it was by the way all the commies in Russia locked up dissidents in their commie nuthouses.
One evening back then a reporter colleague, Sam Eastman of the old Washington Evening Star, arrived late to cover a political rally in the Virginia suburbs. Since the most nutzoid of the candidates had finished speaking, Sam passed a note up to to the platform asking for the gist of his remarks.
The candidate passed back this answer: “I spoke in opposition to mental health.”
I was reminded of this by the obituary in today’s New York Times of Dr. David B. Ast, who died earlier this month at the age of 104. He was a leader in the fight to fluoridate America’s water, which did in fact wind up driving millions of Americans insane. What else could account for Bush’s reelection?
I think we’d all like to know a little more about Prince Frederic von Anhalt, wouldn’t we, fellows? So here goes, from the New York Times and the Times website. The first picture below is of an earlier Prince Frederic von Anhalt. I include it to show the remarkable extent to which selective breeding has improved the royal lineage. The second shows the present prince, receiving Botox injections. (My translation; the original is “…lässt sich die Falten unterspritzen.”)
Prince Frederick von Anhalt, 59, who is married to the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, 90, told The Associated Press that he and Ms. [Anna Nicole] Smith had had an affair since the mid-1990s …
He told The A.P. that he met Ms. Smith when she approached him and Ms. Gabor at the Plaza Hotel in New York. He said this was during Ms. Smith’s 14-month marriage to the Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II, who died in 1995 at 90
Gabor, a onetime sex symbol and star of such 1950s films as ‘‘Moulin Rouge’’ and ‘‘Queen of Outer Space,’’ has been in declining health in recent years and suffered a stroke in 2005. She was partially paralyzed in a car crash in 2002.
Von Anhalt, who is Gabor’s eighth husband, said he and Smith met in the 1990s when Smith was still married to elderly oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II. He said Smith approached him and Gabor at the Plaza Hotel in New York …
He said the two started an affair soon after, meeting over the years in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. For much of that time, he said, Smith urged him to make her a princess like his wife.
But short of divorcing the actress, he said the only solution would have been adopting Smith. Von Anhalt said he did consider that and even filled out adoption papers, but Gabor refused to sign them.
Failure to communicate can be an art. Examples cast a tiny light on our countrymen, and their refusal to think. This one I found top notch:
“BMW — Where no ideas are harmed in the making of our cars.”
Imagine, if you will, an ad writer laboring to come up with a slogan and then, in a burst of understanding, writing the above. Think about the grown ups sitting around an oval table taking it all Oh so seriously.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that with better intelligence the South would have won the Civil War, today’s Roll Call is reporting.
Conflicting reports have emerged about what was said, one from a source to Roll Call’s “Heard on the Hill” column, the other from a spokesperson for Chambliss.
According to Roll Call’s source, Chambliss said, “We need better intelligence. If we had better intelligence in the Civil War we’d be quoting Jefferson Davis, not Lincoln.”
Some people can post whatever they want, whenever they want:
“My wife is 6-foot-3 and weighs 300 pounds,” said Ozmun, who became chief [of police] in January 2005. “If there is somebody that thinks they can control her, have at it. I have tried for 11 years and haven’t been able to.”
Is this not the stuff of which great comedy is made? Ya, I think so.
Three police officers were accidentally shot Sunday as one or more officers took aim at a pit bull attacking a member of their crew, police said. All were in stable condition.
The three officers suffered minor graze wounds and a fourth was bitten, said police Officer Doris Garcia.
The men had been responding to a dispute between a landlord and tenant in a Bronx building when the animal ran from another floor and attacked one of the officers, police said. The dog was killed by the gunfire.
Update: When originally posted there was a bad link to the story and now I can't find it. So sorry. That is the whole report anyway.
Update: It seems when you're guest blogging you tend to make all the stupid little mistakes you normally do on your own site, but you don't catch them. Argh!
Hey, cut me some slack. I'm new at Movable type.
Well, I can report on at least two advantages to being in a small town in Appalachia.
In San Francisco, it took me four months to get a copy of Kevin Phillips’s American Theocracy from the library. They had nine copies, and when my name finally bubbled to the top, there were 150 holds behind me. Here, I went to the library yesterday. They had one copy, and it was on the shelf.
The local newspaper, which recently ran with the death of a local dog as the front-page story, has above the fold today two pictures and a story about a 96-year-old man who “modestly admits, he only bowls for the fun.” I’m not sure what the alternative was. Below the fold is a report on a stolen video camera, which contained a tape of a wedding. The couple, still on a cruise in the Bahamas, are as yet unaware of the disaster. The report presents the hope that a reader might happen across some information that would lead law enforcement to the evil-doer, or if all else fails, perhaps “the power of conscience might prompt the return of the tape.”
Just for context, the Washington Post today is spending time on the war in the Middle East, Bush’s speech to the NAACP, and his veto of the stem-cell bill.
The lead editorial in the local paper concerns the disaster in Lebanon and Gaza. It makes at least three claims of fact that appear to me to be incorrect, so I wrote a letter to the editor and emailed it around noon. By 2PM the paper had called me to verify that I was the author, said the letter was a bit too long, and suggested a cut to bring it down to size, to which I agreed. I expect they’ll publish it tomorrow or the next day.
From the Senate Majority Project:
During today’s same-sex marriage amendment debate, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) used a prop of a blown-up photo of his family (some 20 people or so). Gesturing towards the photo, he said:
(MR. INHOFE) As you see here, and I think this is maybe the most important prop we’ll have during the entire debate, my wife and I have been married 47 years. We have 20 kids and grandkids. I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve never had a divorce or any kind of a homosexual relationship.
From (Jerry Doolittle):
My wife and I have been married 50 years. We have 15 kids and grandkids. I’m really proud to say that in the recorded history of our family, we’ve had quite a few partial assholes, but never a complete one like Imhofe.
Oh, and another thing. Inhofe’s official homepage, as of this morning, reports that “Inhofe has been married to his wife, Kay, for 46 years and has four grown children and twelve grandchildren.” Apparently the senator didn’t bother to take his shoes off before doing the addition.
Italian movie star Alida Valli died Saturday at the age of 84, occasioning one of those sentences that should have been at least a chapter:
Rather than comply with the dictates of the fascist government, Ms. Valli retreated into hiding and in 1944 married Oscar de Mejo, a Surrealist painter and composer, whose most successful song was "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth."