Monday, March 27, 2006

A Hint for Dog Lovers 

One of the local LA news stations has been flogging a story over the last few months about illegal puppy mills, and people buying supposedly purebred puppies on street corners for a fraction of their pet store cost, only to have the puppies die of congenital or genetic conditions. The bargain shoppers are paying maybe $450 for a dog; others are paying $3,000 or more, depending on breed.

Here's my bit of advice. You can get a dog in LA for $86, which includes spaying or neutering, vaccination, ID chip, first year's license and optional veterinary examination. Chances are, that dog won't have any inbred conditions, because it'll be a mutt made up of various breeds. And before you put down "mutts" and go off on the delusion that dogs are status accessories, let me remind you of this comparison: we have purebred humans. They're called "royalty", and they're generally fucked-up, subject to all kinds of physical maladies, and frequently insane. Probably the only reason that at least one of the heirs to the British throne isn't a total whackjob is that his father married far enough out of the immediate family to pull in some useful genes.

Hint -- these two are cousins...

That's Tsar Nicholas II of Russia on the left and King George V of England on the right. I think they were the inspiration for the Patty Duke show. Also, living proof that the Windsors/Wettins/Saxe-Coburg Gothas didn't swim too far out of the ol' gene pool.

Anyway, all this puppy mill crap could be avoided and lots of wonderful, loving dogs would be rescued and find good homes if people would just go to the city animal shelters instead of trying to impress because they own a purebred, AKC, pedigreed whatever. Dogs are not trophies. They're family.

I've got two of them. Both came from the LA City Shelters. Neither of them could be more wonderful. Both of them are incredibly healthy and happy. And neither of them is some little fluffy, yappy, hyper hamster-dog with OCD and an IQ of 2. Which is what most puppy mill dogs seem to be in the first place.

End public service announcement.

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The current flap over illegal immigration is a big conundrum, with valid arguments on both sides. And it's both encouraging and annoying that there have been such huge demonstrations against the House's proposal to make illegal immigration a felony. Encouraging to see that such numbers of people will turn out to protest; annoying that these same people weren't marching in the streets over the Iraq War, or anything else of greater import.

However, watching the protestors today, I think they're risking losing the sympathy of those of us who think a guest-worker program and/or some sort of amnesty is a good idea. (Hints: stop waving the Mexican flags -- that's sending exactly the wrong message, and stop throwing the rocks and bottles at the cops.) Also, I've heard more than a few protestors say that illegal aliens have done nothing wrong. Begging the question "which part of 'illegal' don't you understand?"

That's kind of the crux of the biscuit here, and why the problem is so divisive. Because, as sympathetic as I am to the cause of illegal aliens or undocumented workers, there's still that "illegal" bit. Yeah, coming into the country without a visa is against the law. Employing someone who doesn't have the legal right to work is against the law. For the sake of business owners, and especially in Southern California, no one much follows the law.

And... there's really a two-tier problem here. When a lot of the anti-illegal people call for border walls and the like, they're not really showing concern about all illegal aliens. They're really speaking in a code, and when they say "immigrants" they mean "Mexicans". And that country probably provides the lion's share of illegals -- but they're not the only ones. New York and Boston for years have had large communities of aliens illegally here from Ireland, for example, and I've met illegals from more than a handful of countries. These groups vanish in the general din over one country. And there is that unavoidable detail that, for about 27 years in the 19th Century, or just over one generation, the southwestern US was part of Mexico -- about 131 years less than it's been a part of the US. Ah, perspective.

America was built on immigration, obviously. My most recent immigrant ancestors came here in the late 19th century. The earliest arrived here in the early 17th. But unless you've got Native American blood, you don't have any ancestors who have been here more than four hundred years. At different times in history, different immigrant groups were the despised invaders -- Germans, Irish, Italian, Chinese. What happened to them? They assimilated and vanished into the American melting pot. This gets back to the argument above that the protestors are doing the wrong thing. Like all the rest of us, if you want to live in America, be American. (Note: I'm not even going to touch the particular Mexican argument that claims Native American status for all Mexicans, mainly because I don't know enough about those claims to argue them either way.)

All that said, I do think that undocumented workers contribute to the economy. There's this myth that they don't pay taxes and suck up public benefits. Wrong. A lot of illegal aliens I've known have paid taxes, because they don't want to get in trouble with the IRS; if they live somewhere, they also pay property taxes, directly or indirectly. Other than putting their kids, if any, in the schools, they're not really getting anything back for that money -- and isn't it better to have their kids getting an education, as long as their here? Or would you prefer that they keep all those children out of the schools and uneducated?

The unanswered question is this: Is it fact or myth that illegals steal jobs from Americans? I've seen studies supporting both sides of that argument, but we haven't had verification. If laws against employers hiring illegals were enforced strictly, would we see wages go up so that Americans would want the grunt jobs? Is the current situation designed to protect employers and exploit illegals, to the detriment of Americans? Or do undocumented workers fill an employment niche that most Americans wouldn't touch at any price? Those are questions that need to be answered.

What we don't need are emotional arguments from either side. Spare me Lou Dobbs and his ilk, who seem to think that the biggest danger facing this country is illegal immigration. Relax, Lou. It's not. There are far worse problems, which have been created strictly by domestic forces. But we also don't need the screaming mobs in the street who don't quite grasp the concept that "illegal" means, well, "illegal." It's kind of like claiming that you have a right to help yourself to all the cash in that bank vault because you made it into the vault -- while ignoring the several doors and walls you blasted your way through to get there.

Both extremes need to chill out and we have to find a common-ground in the middle; something that doesn't fling open the borders to all-comers but which helps to assimilate those who are here and have been working. Yes, speaking English should be a requirement for citizenship; knowing the history of this country and the meaning of our founding documents should be a requirement for all citizens, native or naturalized.

In an ideal universe, all immigrants would come here legally -- but to get to that ideal universe, we have to deal with the causes, not the symptoms. Border walls and armed patrols will do nothing. Neither will granting carte blanche to every undocumented worker. Helping the countries that are the source of those workers while creating incentives for American companies to hire legal workers is a start.

But it's the same battle that's been going on since the Pilgrims got here. The dominant group at the time scapegoats whichever bunch of people is fresh off the boat. Eventually, that group assimilates and dominates, and the process repeats with the latest newbies as the targets. We may or may not be having this same argument thirty years from now -- but chances are good that mainstreamed Mexican Americans will be on the side protesting all the illegal immigrants coming from Country X. And so it continues.

Somos todos inmigrantes.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Little Purple Pills 

When I was in high school, I wanted to go to Med School and be a doctor. I even qualified for admission to several pre-med programs. Had I followed that career track, I'm sure that I would have been a successful neurosurgeon by 30, have worked for a few years while stashing cash through my dad's investment advisors, and would have retired to a kick-ass villa before 40 without having to win the lottery (which I still have three years to do to make that bit of life come true.)

Except that... in high school, I volunteered in several hospitals and learned one thing: Doctors Are Arrogant Assholes. And then watched my mother die before I was 25 of a disease I can only call, "Arrogant Doctors Had No Clue, So Blamed the Patient for Their Faults..."

Which is why I think, to this day, that Doctors and Pharmaceuticul Companies are more full of shit than an impacted bowel. I watched for years as (male) doctors sniffed and huffed and discounted my mother's claims that her symptoms got worse whenever she had her period. And told her it was all in her head, even as I wanted to grab the latest issue of the PDR and beat these cocksuckers to death with it while screaming, "Pediod, hormones, body goes nuts, dickwits!"

'Cause even though I never took their blessed classes, by the time I graduated high school, I was very very steeped in the high (low) cult of medicine that our society over-reveres.

And I asked myself this, "Okay. I'm not an asshole. None of my friends who want to do pre-med are assholes. All the doctors and interns we know are assholes. Let's do the math..." Something must go wrong as they train them. But what?

Flashback to when I was 18, taking a physical in order to work at a summer camp. Doc drops my shorts, grabs my nuts, tells me to cough. I say, "Hey, doc, if I did have a hernia, what would happen?"

Captian Alienated doesn't answer my question. Instead, he goes into fear mode, only hears me saying, "Hey, dude, why you grabbing my nuts?" He mutters something like, "Hernia test," to which I say, "Duh," but he misses the point -- and it isn't until nearly a decade later that someone with an MD degree tells me, "Oh. If you had a hernia and followed the instructions while I lifted your nuts, you'd feel excruciating pain..."

Gee, thanks for that, fuckwit pediatrician. Thanks for listening...

And neither doctors nor Big Pharma does that. The former is in thrall to the latter, while the latter is making up illnesses for us to experience.

Latest case in point? Some super laxative -- the symptoms of which I read onscreen and think, "Um, I dunno, maybe... eat some whole bran?"

Wonder how soon the Docs and PhaarmaNazis outlaw that?

But -- doctors and pill pushers, along with Rob Reiner, can just eat my ass.


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Friday, March 24, 2006

This Might Not Be a Bad Thing 

I think the left has been a little knee-jerk on this story, characterizing it as "Georgia House Okays Bible Study in Schools". I think "Bible Study" is a bit of a loaded phrase, as it does bring up images of earnest young born-agains sitting around praying in a classroom and planning how to disrupt the Sex Ed classes.

But the law really seems to be aiming at something else, despite it being proposed in a somewhat red state. It's not "Bible Study" in the Jack Chick sense. It's "Study of the Bible" thusly:
The legislation, which passed 151-7, would allow high schools to form elective courses on the history and literature of the Old Testament and New Testament eras. The classes would focus on the law, morals, values and culture of the eras.
Now, studying the Bible as literature, studying the history of how it was written and edited and eventually passed down to us, can only be a good thing, because it helps take the mumbo-jumbo bullshit out of that book and show people what it really is: the cultural and historical record of one small tribe of people, with the would-be messianic adventures of a breakaway cult being tacked on after the fact.

I went to a (very liberal) Catholic University (they had one of the best schools in my major in the area), and the one thing that worried me the most going in was that every student was required to take two Theology courses, one upper division and one lower division. I had images of nuns trying to convert me.

But then I got to school and looked at the catalog. Their definition of Theology was broad; they really could have called it "comparative religion." There were classes covering every major religion, general courses on spirituality and, of course, the more hardcore, pre-seminary courses in hardcore Catholic hoo-hah.

I wound up taking a "History of the Old Testament" class lower divsion, which was taught by a nun. The class was about 50/50 split between public school kids and Catholic school kids. But she walked in on the first day in civilian clothes (she was a MILF) and the first thing she said was, "Some people think that the Bible is the word of god, actually written down by him and passed on intact through the years. Well, that's just ridiculous..."

When she said that, you could tell which kids came from which schools. The public school kids just grinned like idiots, while the Catholc school kids waited for the ground to split open. But she proceeded to teach just how secular the sources were, how a lot of the religious laws of the OT came about as common sense measures for wandering nomads without refrigeration to keep from poisoning themselves, and how the stories did and did not match up with known history. She taught the Bible as just a book, with no mystical powers, nothing more than one people's version of their own story, told from their own point of view.

If that's how they teach the Bible in Georgia high schools, then maybe it's a good thing. And whether the motive force behind the law comes from Fundie-Nuts or not, it's definitely a chance for the secular wing of humanity to step up to the plate, teach the Bible as just another book, and short-circuit the brainwashing of another generation.

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Because Hollywood Is So Out of Touch... 

Apparently, the wingnuts are up-in-arms over the above poll results. Heh heh. Must hurt when they're confronted with the possibility that some Hollywood "out of touch" actor-type expresses an opinion more in line with what the majority of Americans really think.

Remember: the wingnuts are notorious for "freeping" online polls, named for the practice of Free Republic sending their users to the things to stack the votes. (Check out vote.com, to which I will not link, for an example of a site populated almost entirely by freepies -- and with loaded questions as well.) The left has been less successful at doing the same thing, but you'd think with the stink over these results in wingnuttia, they would have done their best to freep away, making these results even more interesting and encouraging.

There's more on Sheen's comments at the New York Post, although notice how they start off with the ad hominem attack, rather than just reporting the story:
CHARLIE Sheen has joined the 9/11 gone-bonkers brigade. The 'Two and a Half Men' star gave a bizarre interview on GGN Radio Network's conspiracy-minded 'The Alex Jones Show,' in which he suggested that the federal government was covering up what really' happened.
Yeah, that there libuhral media sure is showing its bias with that lead, isn't it?

Incidentally, the above CNN poll was buried on their entertainment page, and not featured on their main page. Yesterday's main page poll was some Natalie Holloway question (which failed to feature the "Who Cares?" option) Today's is whether you support or oppose a law to make illegal immigrants felons -- perhaps a more pertinent question, but one that sounds more like it belongs on Lou Dobbs's Big Ol' Page of Xenophobia. That poll is currently at 57%-43% in favor of such a law, again making the Sheen poll results that much more intriguing.

Or at least something with which to annoy your conservative friends...

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Arrogant Chimp 

If this doesn't disturb you, you're not paying attention:
When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers. [emhpasis added]
Oh, sweet FSM, impeach this arrogant motherfucker now.

No president is above the law, period. And for a would-be dictator to declare so now is an assault on the Constitution and the People of the United States. It is as unpatriotic an act as any physical assault by outside parties on this nation. And, to any conservative who would claim that Bush is right, please go back and eat it in regard that whole Clinton thing, because, by the Bush Doctrine, it was impossible for him to break any laws as president.

It works like this, kids. Congress writes and passes the law. The Supreme Court interprets it in light of the Constitution. The Executive Branch enacts and enforces the law. In simpler language, Congress makes the laws, the SCOTUS decides whether they're constitutional, and the President and Cabinet figure out how to implement the laws. Not "how to avoid the laws". Not "how to interpret the laws". Just put them in action. As written by Congress or interpreted by the Court.

Instead of a President who knows his place, we have a whiny little baby who'll sign laws but then issue proclamations saying, "I don't have to follow this law."

Wrong. Wrong in every possible way, and just one more reason that we need to remove these bozos from power via impeachment, indictment or conviction, then make sure that their faction of the Republican party never has a voice in politics again.

And if you don't think W is trying to become an American Dictator, ask yourself why he went about things in this manner:
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it "a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law. [emphasis added]
If he wasn't doing anything wrong, why do it in secret? Because it was wrong, and this overly-secretive, autocratic bunch won't do anything in the light of day.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

They Never Listen 

Show me a government commissioned panel that doesn't adhere to the government's wisdom, and I'll show you a panel that is ignored.

Case in point, today* is the 34th Anniversay of the finding by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse that there should be no legal penalties for possession of Marijuana. Society shouldn't condone its use, but the government shouldn't be punishing people for doing it.
Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.... This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable.

In the case of experimental or intermittent use of marihuana, there is room for individual judgment. Some members of our society believe the decision to use marihuana is an immoral decision. However, even during Prohibition, when many people were concerned about the evils associated with excessive use of alcohol, possession for personal use was never outlawed federally and was made illegal in only five States. [emphasis added]

Indeed, we suspect that the moral contempt in which some of our citizens hold the marihuana user is related to other behavior or other attitudes assumed to be associated with use of the drug. All of our data suggest that the moral views of the overwhelming majority of marihuana users are in general accord with those of the larger society.
Or, in other words, government get out of our personal lives and deal with real problems, like crime and poverty. The government of the time -- Richard Nixon's Administartion and the current Congress -- and every government since, has decided to ignore the recommendations and, nearly two generations later, we still have the useless, resource-wasting War on (Some) Drugs, even as the big Pharmaceutical companies do their best to turn children and adults into (legally) drugged-out zombies, addicted to expensive medications designed to treat possible specious conditions.

All the while as marijuana seems to work just as well for many of those conditions, with fewer side effects and much lower production cost. But that's probably the key to it, isn't it? I mean, if pot were legal, anybody could grow it in their closet, and so some big companies lose out on a lot of money...

Which is really a straw man agrument, since it would be quite easy to legalize use and possession, but not manufacture -- exactly how alcohol is regulated nowadays. (I have no idea whether anybody who wants to can grow tobacco and make cigarettes, although I have a feeling, because of the history of government subsidies to tobacco farmers, that it is also prohibited to the individual.)

Anyway, when it comes to marijuana in this country, the hypocrisy is deafening. Safer than tobocco or alcohol, the kind of high that leads to warm fuzzies instead of fist-fights, a boon to cancer and AIDS patients... nah. Couldn't be anything worthwhile to it, could there?
* I'm actually posting this on March 22nd. I don't know why the post date is showing up as the 23rd. But the anniversay date is today; the report came out on March 22, 1972.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Elect This Man Now 

So far, Russ Feingold is the only Democrat with balls. He's filed a motion to censure George Bush. And what have the other Democrats done?

Cowered like the whining pussies they are. "Oh no. Despite the 34% approval rating and an unpopular war, we can't say anything against Dear Leader."

Assholes. Russ Feingold has his finger firmly on the pulse of America. The rest of those useless Democrats? Not so much.

Time to dump all the D and R bastards in November. Time to vote third party.

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Rob Reiner Can Eat My Ass 

Could the Democratic Party please disavow this fat fuck now? I mean, I'm a liberal, but every time Rob Reiner opens his fat yap about politics in this state, I want to puke. His sole modus operandi seems to be as the Conservative Shibboleth of the Tax and Spend Democrat. And, as noted in the article link, he's proven himself to be as nearly corrupt as Tom DeLay.

Hey, Rob -- wake up and smell the coffee. You're nothing but a failed actor/director who lucked out one time with a ballot initiative, and you're irrelevant. Of course, since you're probably living off of All in the Family residuals, seeing as you've done nothing of artistic merit since, um, you directed A Few Good Men (and that's arguable), it's easy for you to sit on your fat ass and figure out whom you can stick with taxes, just for shits 'n giggles and, you know, for kids...

Ah yes. For kids. That's the thing that got you in trouble in the first place, isn't it? Sucking cash out of the Californians via a ballot initiative, then mis-spending the hell out of that money.

Rob Reiner, y'know what? Go away. Fuck off. Go fuck yourself. Stop pretending that you're some sort of Meathead Justified. You're not. What you are is this: a bloated, no-talent asshole who should be on the receiving end of as many subpoenas and investigations as Tom DeLay. You became a footnote to history on the day that All in the Family was cancelled. Stop being the bit of shit on the shoe of history. Go away now. Go. Away. Now. Because no one cares what you think.

You fat fuck.

And if you continue to meddle in state politics, I swear I'm going to circulate a petition for this ballot initiative: "Fat Fucks shall pay taxes at 350% of the current rate."

Yeah. That'll show you. You fat fuck. You fat fucking asshat.

Or course, if you're not a hypocrite, you'd bend over backwards to pay that much to the state for, you know, "the children." But you can't bend that far, because you are nothing but a hypocrite.

A big fat, no-talent, corrupt, idiotic hypocrite.

And so, I reiterate -- Rob Reiner, you can eat my ass.


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Monday, March 13, 2006

Oops, They Did It Again... 

One favorite conservative shibboleth is the myth that any sort of enforcement of Constitutional Rights just frees criminals. You'll hear them bitch and whine constantly about someone who got off on a technicality.

And they'd be the first ones screaming to high heaven if they got pulled over for speeding and a cop decided to look in their trunk without a warrant and found the illegal (fill in the blank) here.

Which brings me to the grim but amusing boo-boo committed by the US Government today in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th highjacker. The short version is that, in preparing witnesses for trial, the US broke the rules. They coached prospective witnesses with transcripts of prior witnesses' testimony. Consequently, the whole thing might be declared a mistrial, or the death penalty may be removed as a sentencing option.

This is where the conservatives start screaming about constitutional rights for terrorists and how the ACLU is the spawn of Satan, blah blah blah, quite missing the point of the whole thing.

First off, if the person on trial is a criminal and the prosecution has evidence, they'll usually get a conviction -- if they do things properly on the way to that conviction. All those requirements and procedures and so forth aren't designed to give clever defense attornies a way out for their clients. They're designed to protect the innocent citizen from abuse by the system.

If you don't think that happens... well, no, wait, that's right. Conservatives don't get pulled over for "Driving while Black". Okay, maybe a very few rich, conservative African Americans have gotten that treatment -- although, since they're rich, they have easy access to the lawyers and contacts who will get them off, and/or the lawyers and contacts who will get them a buttload of money should they have been on the receiving end of a nightstick. (I have a friend who's an African American doctor. He's been subject to the getting pulled over part more than twice -- although the cop's attitude usually changes the second he identifies himself as a doctor, and he gets some bullshit excuse about "stolen car with similar description, move along, nothing to see here.")

As for the poor folk in the same situation? They'd better be lucky enough to have some citizen armed with a video camera nearby. (This is actually a great argument in favor of public surveillance cameras -- they can help protect people from the authorities.)

Secondly, when the government cheats, not only does it not protect the innocent, it flings the door wide open for the guilty to go free. If the case is strong enough, there's no reason to cheat -- and didn't Moussaoui confess, anyway? There was absolutely no reason at all for the government to taint their witnesses. In so doing, they've invalidated that testimony, period.

Why? The reasons should be obvious. One witness should never know what another has said, because the witness is supposed to give their own, honest testimony on the stand, free of influence. That way, if one witness says it was Tuesday and another says it was Wednesday, there's an avenue for the defense to explore or the prosecution to explain. But if witness B reads a transcript in which witness A says "Tuesday", witness B's recollection is instantly compromised; perhaps they'll suddenly remember that it was Tuesday, when they'd been absolutely sure previously that it was Wednesday.

And, once again, if the case is strong enough, there's no reason for these shenanigans to be going on.

Also note: four of the witnesses in question were defense witnesses -- "'It's half our case,' a member of the defense team said."

So, class, that's why Constitutional protections and legal procedures are very important, and must be followed for everyone, from the great-grandma accused of littering right on up to Charles Manson, or Zacarias Moussaoui or George Bush.

Do I think Moussaoui is guilty of something? Hell yeah. Do I think the government totally fucked this one up? Hell yeah. Could they have avoided it? Yes -- but they won't avoid this kind of screw up as long as they're playing the "Protecting Us from Terrorists" card. When it gets to the trial point, it's "Trying to convict a criminal". That's where the focus should be, and that's why the procedures should be followed to the letter. That is the real way to protect the Homeland.

But don't worry. If Moussaoui walks or isn't sentenced to death, I'm sure he'll get a little Milosevic medicine in his coffee one day.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Shooting Themselves in the Ass? 

You know, the more I think about an impending Supreme Court challenge to South Dakota's no abortion law, the more I think that Conservatives are actually going to suffer a phyrric victory on the issue. Assuming that Bushie Boy's hand-picked incompetents on the court were put there for two reasons -- a) ban abortion, b) don't Impeach me -- then the legal precedent that may be set when the case comes to trial might be one that Conservatives neither want nor expect.

It works like this. SD's anti-abortion law goes to the SCOTUS. Thanks to Roberts and Alito, the decision comes down that states, not the federal government, have the right to regulate such things. Consequence? Raving red states ban abortion; residents thereof go to the nearest blue state to abort. (Q.V. the current situation involving Ireland and England. Abortion is illegal in Ireland. Knocked-up Irish girls go to England to get aborted. Net result -- stimulated English economy at Ireland's expense.)

And... with states being given the power to decide what happens to wombs, there will be no argument against something like gay marriage. To not be totally hypocritical asshats, the SCOTUS would then have to say, "Well, okay -- if Massachusetts or California want to legalize gay marriage (or medical marijuna or euthanasia or whatever), then they can."

The best part being this: if the SCOTUS sets a precedent in the SDak abortion law, cases won't even have to go that far. All it'll take is a good attorney in a Federal Court to cite the decision, making one of the circuit court judges say, "You know what? You're right. The SCOTUS declared this kind of thing a state's right, so you win."

And that is how the wingnut faction of the Conservative wing of the Republican Party is setting themselves up to shoot themselves in the ass. Sure, they might win by weakening Roe v. Wade -- but they have no idea what world of hurt they're in for when all the Blue states take advantage of the opinion for which Bush and the FundieNazis are creaming in their pants.

If the SCOTUS eventually judges this law the way BushCo wants/packs them to, then the end result is this: States' Rights trump all when it comes to social issues. In the very long run, this could be a good thing -- because the blue states are going to loosen up on the social issues while the red states don't, and the eventual population swap is going to cut the red state support off at the knees.

In a very good and real way, the WingNuts are beginning the process of marginalizing themselves, and they don't even realize it. In focusing on one issue -- "we control your cunts" -- they're losing sight of the greater battle. They may win some fetuses, but they're going to lose the war.

BTW, if I were writing abortion law, it'd be this... and remember, I'm a man, so I'll never get to enjoy the... um... thrill of childbirth (aka -- passing a bowling ball out your urethra). Anyway, the law is this: "By virtue of the unavoidable fact that women alone can give birth, laws regarding abortion, reproductive rights and child support can only be decided by women. Such issues in state houses or ballots can only be voted on by people with uteruses. A husband may bar his wife from having an abortion on one condition: while his wife is in labor, and for that entire time, the husband must agree to be fisted by a linebacker from his state's football team. Whoever gives up and screams for anesthesia first wins. If said childbirth results in the wife's death, then the husband will take as many fists up the ass as it takes to kill him.

And... on the day that a man becomes pregnant, then a man can say something about abortion law. Until then -- keep your damn paws off those vulvas, you filthy apes.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just Say, "Oooh, Yeah -- Who's Your Daddy? 

I've been watching the ongoing media debate over sex education, the whole "abstinence only" movement and the shrill paranoia over MySpace, and I've come to a conclusion about the whole shebang. I flash back to when I was thirteen years old and the boy next door was twelve. He was still in sixth grade but I was in seventh -- so I was in Sex Ed and he wasn't. And he asked me, one day, if it was true that a woman could only get pregnant when a guy stuck his thing in her. Now -- the neighbor kid's older sister had gotten married about a year before, and she was very knocked up when he asked. And I'd been through about half a semester of classes, so I knew that, yes -- pregnancy only happened when the pee-pee went into the hoo-hah. So, I answered his question honestly and said, "Yep. Your sister is pregnant because her husband stuck his thing in her."

His response? "No way. Eeeeew. My sister would never do that!"

And it gave me the perfect idea for the solution to the whole "teen sex" problem. Look, if we tell a bunch of twelve year olds that they should not have sex, ever, until they're married, they're only going to do one thing: try to have as much sex as possible, as soon as possible. And if we withhold information from them, they'll have that sex with all kinds of misconceptions in their little heads -- like, "You can't get pregnant if it's your first time," or "If I pull out before I shoot, I won't knock you up" or "Oral sex won't spread STDs" or "If you love me, you'll prove it." And so teen pregnancy and newborns dumped in Prom toilets and furtive, non-parentally approved abortions will continue to happen.

Unless... here's my modest proposal. Want to keep the kids abstinent while educating them about sex? Okay. Starting with sixth grade, when they're about twelve years old and most of them are just on the verge of pubing out, here's what you do. Sex Ed class consists of nothing but showing them the most hard-core of porn. And I'm serious about this. Gather the girls together and show them one Bukkake Film after another. They'll be so scared of penises that they won't even consider giving it up until they've graduated from college. Show the boys she-male porn and fisting flicks and girl-on-girl action; it'll make them both insecure about their own sexuality and lusty about something they won't get until college, and so they'll resort to celibate masturbation.

Honestly? While a lot of twelve year-olds may think they know everything about sex and want to do it, shove the cold, hard (or warm, hard) reality in their faces, and they'll freak out and fear it. And isn't that what the Fundie-Nuts really want? Kids too afraid of sex to accept it as a normal part of life? Okay -- put your money shot where your mouth is. You want to, um, scare the kids straight, you aren't going to do it with pious lectures about how "special" sex is between a married man and a woman.

Nah. Tell kids that something is "special" and "for grown-ups only", you'll make them want to do it faster than they could get their hands on the latest incarnation of the X-Box. But show them the messy, sticky, icky reality -- they'll look at their own genitalia and think, "Yuck. I don't want to do that with this. It's just so... gross..."

And, another reminder to the fundies -- in all of the animal kingdom, except (for strange social reasons) the human one, the little animals start doing it as soon as they can. Puberty hits, it's fucking season. If you've ever been around an unfixed male puppy, you know this is true. As soon as those hormones hit the brain -- good luck keeping your pants leg or your sofa or, well, anything, free of puppy spoo. And dog forbid that an unfixed female in heat is anywhere within a seventeen block radius. Same thing with cats, and squirrels and bunnies (especially bunnies) and any other mammal on the planet.

So, in a lot of ways, humans are entirely unnatural in insisting that their offspring remain sex free until some artificial ceremony occurs well after the calendar calls them adults, even though biology deems most of them the same a good five to eight years before that.

The difference, of course, is that humans happen to mature intellectually much more slowly than their mammalian counterparts. Or, rather, a puppy at a year and a half is about as evolved as its ever going to get, whereas a human at twelve has still got a good decade more to go before the brain hits semi-full maturity. And, in that regard, maybe there is something to the whole "proper age for sex" thing. But let's not pretend two things here: a) that the "proper age for sex" isn't a social construct, and b) we can do anything to keep the kids from banging each other as soon as they can.

Well, in regards b), we can do something about it -- but it involves being honest with our kids. We have to give them full disclosure and full information. As early as possible, we have to explain the "facts of life" to them, in all their gory detail. We have to explain what sex is, how the genitalia work, the consequences of pregnancy and, yes, the utility of self-pleasure. Along with birth control, the possibility of abstinence, the option of abortion, and so on.

See, there's a great irony going on in society, and the fundies don't get it. While they claim that our society has become too sexually permissive, they're wrong. Because they've done their best to try to drive real information underground. I mean, my god, in a society where a six year-old boy can almost be deemed a registered sex offender for life for sticking his fingers down a girl's underwear (despite both of them being way below the so-called age of consent), that same child cannot be given information on birth control -- what gives?

So, again -- the "abstinence only" people are living in a dream world. You want to keep the kidlets from trying to do it as soon as possible, show them what it's like to do it; show them what can happen; show them alternatives -- and "not doing it, even not with yourself" is not an alternative.

Hell -- you want to keep all the teenage girls safe from sex for a decade? Give all the teenage boys lube and free porn. Like the aforementioned puppies, they'll be too busy spending their time elsewhere and, with the proper information, too afraid to try it anywhere else.

Jocelyn Elders, after all, was 100% right. And look what the fundies did to her.

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Good Idea... 

Burlington, Vermont, is trying a unique idea with their current mayoral election, and it's one that makes a lot of sense. Dubbed the "instant runoff", it's a concept that I've seen endorsed by science wonks. (Note: I love science wonks). The short version: instead of just voting for one candidate, each voter picks the candidates in order of preference.

For example, say there are five candidates on the ballot. Instead of voting for one, you rank them in order, from one to five. The ballots are counted and, if someone has more than 50% of the vote, they win. If not, then the last-place candidate is dumped, and then the top four votes are counted to see if any of them has fifty percent, and so on, until a winner is declared. (I'm assuming that you don't have to cast any votes for candidates you absolutely don't want to win.)

As the article explains, this kind of thing could be a boon to third parties for a simple reason: voters wouldn't fear that they're throwing away their vote by picking a candidate who isn't a D or an R. Those Nader supporters in Florida could have voted Nader 1, Gore 2 so that, when Nader was eliminated from the running, the votes would have gone to Gore. Or, conversely, in a Red State full of people not happy with their current Republican but not wanting a Democrat, they could vote Joe Blow (Constitution Party) 1, John Doe (Republican Party ) 2, with the same outcome.

We need to get rid of the binary, either/or function of elections, because it shouldn't be a popularity contest. Using the "instant runoff" method could ensure that the most popular candidate among all voters is flushed out in the final tally. It would certainly make politics much more representative, empower third parties, and give the people more of a voice in making decisions.

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Everything I Need to Know About Politcs, I Learned from My Dogs 

I have two dogs, and watching them has been a great lesson in politics. To protect their identities, I'll give them fake names here -- Rex and Ralph. Rex is the equivalent of 43 in Dog Years; Ralph is about 22. And, while I treat Rex as the boss in every possible way, he acts like a total Democrat -- meaning that, he shares everything, isn't possessive, and lets Ralph be in charge, well, just because. Which is kind of odd, since Rex is much bigger than Ralph, and could take his head off in a second if he wanted.

And... Rex knows "the rules" and obeys them, while Ralph has no concept. Rex is most interested in making me happy. Ralph is only concerned with figuring out what he can eat, whether it's "approved" food or not. And, funny thing is, no matter how many times I spank Ralph for being bad, he doesn't learn; whereas Rex needs nothing more than a tone of voice and a look to be chastised. Hell, Rex even acts like a whipped puppy when Ralph is the one getting in trouble.

And this sort of demonstrates the problem we have with politics in America. The Republicans are the ones who should be constantly whipped in public, but the Democrats are the ones who react to the whipping. And the Republicans never learn, while the Democrats act like they're the bad ones, and cringe and whimper in the corner.

And that's just a load of horseshit. When will the Democrats figure out that the majority of Americans aren't spanking them? When will they figure out that this Administration has made the phrase "lame duck" a permanent fixture of the party?

When, oh when, will the Democrats take what should be theirs, and stop acting like pussywhipped whelps?

I have two dogs, Rex and Ralph. One of them cheats whenever possible. The other obeys the rules. I love the rule-follower more than anything, and tolerate the rule-breaker in hopes that I'll teach him otherwise. And I wait for the day that they both figure out which is whom.

Just like I wait -- fruitlessly -- for the day that the Democrats figure out that they could be, should be, will be, the ones in charge -- if only they grow the balls to take power. The balls to vote against things like the Patriot Act. The balls to be like Russ Feingold.

Because, honestly, no one but him deserves to wear the label of "Democrat" anymore. The rest of them -- useless asshats. And I'm talking to you, Hillary, John, Barack, Ted, Diane and Barbara. Obviously, you don't understand the meaning of being spanked. And spanked you will be.

Feingold '08. Feingold/Kucinich. That is the only ticket the Democrats should run, the only ticket that can win. Or, rather, deserves to win.

One with brains and balls. The other with unique ideas. If we can't elect a third party candidate, at least we can elect the only Democrats who have ideals. And, as of now, those two guys are the only ones I can think of who aren't total sell-outs.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Only Ten Are Worthy 

Remember these ten names: Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), James Jeffords (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Robert Byrd (D-WV). Then there's Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who may or may not go on the heroes list, since he "voted" by not voting.

What did these ten senators do? They voted "NO" on renewing the Patriot Act. They are the only ones worthy of staying in office.

Notice any names missing? Other than every "R"? All of the big-name liberals. I don't see Hilary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or Diane Feinstein or Barbara Boxer on the "No" list. I also don't see Barack Obama or John Kerry. I don't see anyone but those people mentioned above.

And I don't see anyone but Russ Feingold as worthy of being our next president. Not Hilary, not Barack, certainly not John Kerry. Today, our senators showed their true colors, and only ten of them passed the test. Only ten of them care about our freedom. Only ten of them.

To the other eighty-nine of you who voted yes: Fuck You. May you be voted out of office at the next opportunity, and I don't care how fucking liberal you claim to be. You could finance universal health care by shutting down the military, and using the extra to give full four-year Ivy League scholarships to every eighteen year-old in the country (all while cutting taxes), and if you're on that "Yes" list, it wouldn't matter any more.

If you voted "Yes" to renew the "Patriot" Act today, you are a traitor to the Constitution. Diane and Barbara and Hilary and John and Ted and Barack -- and all the others -- I'm done with you. You do not represent me anymore. None of you bastards. You are sellouts. You are cowards. You are less than useless.

Good-bye, you are the weakest links, you're fired. Don't let the doorknobs hit you in the ass. Punk-ass cunts.

Feingold '08.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Flush It Down the Toilet... 

Once upon a time, someone (I think it was Robert Anton Wilson) said that the best way to simulate a coke habit was to a) rub Epsom Salts up your nose, b) go out in the backyard and burn everything you own.

I have no idea how to best simulate waging a stupid war at great cost, but I can tell you how much it's costing: $ 159,514,238,258 as of a few minutes ago... remember that figure, because I'll revisit it when I finish typing this post.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- that amount of waste, that amount of money flushed down a sandhole in Iraq, is a travesty. What could we have bought for that amount? Let's round it to $ 160,000,000,000. That's one hundred and sixty billion dollars...

That 625 times the recent MegaMillions prize won in Ohio.

That's a year's tuition to the tune of $40K for 4,000,000 college students -- or a four-year ride for a million of them.

That's what 11,834,319 people who work for $6.50 an hour make in a year without overtime.

That's free laptop computers for 200,000,000 people -- two thirds the population of this country.

That's $ 533.00 per person for every citizen of the US.

That's 1,066 movies at a $ 150 million budget each.

That's admission for 17,777,777,777 people to see those movies -- or for everyone in the US to see 59 movies, at LA prices.

That's the full production budget for 4,000,000 plays in small theatres.

That's 64,000,000,000 school lunches at $2.50 a pop -- feeding all the students of this country for a year.

And so forth. In short, it's a heinous waste of money, going down a rat hole. And, in the time it took me to type this piece, the figure has now grown to $ 159,515,740,407. That's an increase of $ 1,502,149. One and a half million dollars in about six minutes.

Yeah. If I could earn that kind of money, I'd work the job for about a week, then quit -- with $ 372,532,952.00 in my pocket after taxes.

Better payoff than a MegaMillions or PowerBall winner.

And, for flushing it down the toilet, George Bush should be impeached and run out of the country on a rail. After being tarred and feathered.

Can't wait for the day, about twenty years down the line, when he's listed in the history books as Worst... President... Ever. Hands down, no question.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Remind the Assholes Who They Work for, Again... 

This alarming news, re: renewing the so-called Patriot Act:
The Senate voted 69-30 Tuesday — 60 votes were needed — to limit debate and bring the bill to a final vote that could occur as early as Wednesday. The House then would vote and send the legislation to the White House. Sixteen major provisions would expire March 10 if President Bush doesn't sign the bill by then.
All we need are ten Senators to grow some balls before tomorrow. Ten Senators to remember who their bosses are. We The Fucking People. Ten Senators to put this country and history above some bullshit "booga-booga oooh terrorists" propaganda that hasn't played with real Americans since September 12th, 2001.

Reminder, Senate Wonks: George W's approval ratings are in the toilet, and even the rightwing is starting to abandon him. Voting against what King Georgie wants is hardly a vote-losing proposition right now. Lame Duck? Hell, a Lame Duck would win a footrace with this Administration if you gave the Administration a three hundred yard headstart and used Dick Cheney to provide cover fire.

Let's look at it this way. Our Federal Government excells at doing one thing -- delaying and foot-dragging. Ten days, kids. All you've got to do is stall this fucking crap legislation until March 11th, and then all those annoying provisions that you were too lazy to read in the first place go away.

Or -- grow a set, do your goddamn jobs and ask yourself, "How far do I want the government snooping into my shit when I become a private citizen again?" (Which will be a lot faster than you want if you vote for this crap.) Hell, how far do you want them snooping now, when you're living in pork barrel heaven and fellating PACs for a living?

Nine senators. That's all we need. That means we only need 15 percent of the prior enablers to change their minds. I'm not counting Joe "I'm a Republican" Lieberman as one of the switchers, and I don't even need to look at the roll call to know how that flaming asshole Quisling voted.

Nine senators. Either that, or to hell with the government entirely. Time to drag Russ Feingold into DC, declare him the real Emperor, and declare it Party Time, French Style.

"Tonight I'm gonna partay like it's 1789..."

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