Friday, March 18, 2005

This One’s For the Ladies…and the Men…who Love Brawny

The Brawny Man, I mean.

Call it sick, call it twisted, call it gosh-darn funny, just don’t call it my fantasy, ok?

Work-safe, but view at your own peril.

Click here for some sweet Brawny action.

M-m-meme Time

Not too long ago, Jo tagged us with a meme, so I thought I'd better take her up on it.

You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
I guess I would have to be either The Big Sky or perhaps Making Certain it Goes On.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
If it were anyone, it would be Fran Goldsmith from The Stand.

The last book you bought is:
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide

The last book you read:

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide

What are you currently reading?
Atlas Shrugged

Five books you would take to a deserted island.
(This one was tougher than I thought it would be.)

  1. The Bible

  2. War and Peace (Probably the only way I'll ever get it read)

  3. The Lord of The Rings (It was supposed to be one book to begin with.)

  4. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  5. Desert Survival Skills. Oh, you said deserted island.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

History Lesson…

...Or just punishement?

You be the judge.

Unfortunate Website Name


How the Radical Left Infantilizes Itself

The activist left has an infant’s-eye view of the world. They have needs and it’s the obligation of the government to provide for those needs; it is also the obligation of other, wealthier private citizens to step aside and provide for their needs as well. These “basic human needs” and “basic human rights” encompass everything from a living wage and food to shelter and health care. Regardless of the cost to others, the activists believe that everyone has an absolute right to these things and that they should be provided by someone else.

An infant believes the same thing and responds in nearly the same fashion when those needs aren’t met: crying and flopping around until someone pays attention. The infant is sure that they are owed a meal, shelter, warmth, health care, and frequent diaper changes. We accept that from infants because they don’t have the power to provide for themselves; we take on the responsibility of caregiver from the moment that they are born. Adult activists, as much as they might like to throw tantrums and need a bath, aren’t infants. Their capacity to provide for themselves is, perhaps, untested but existent. Not that capacity for self-care is any kind of a litmus test for needing help.

Read the Rest...

More Bumpersticker Fun

"Protect America! Defeat Bush!”

It’s one of those bumper stickers that occasionally makes me cranky or, more regularly since the re-election of Bush, makes me grin and say things like, “That worked out pretty well for you, didn’t it?” And while I was driving past the driver of the little silver VW, I found myself desperately wishing I had an ink-stained thumb to flash at the driver (and the gigantic grin that would accompany the gesture, of course).

So, all of my normal politeness aside, have I told you lately how much I like winning?

A bumper sticker that brought out a more visceral reaction was the “Support Our Troops--Bring Them Home Now! sticker that I saw on a dirt-colored Saab over the weekend. The drivers, a pair of aging hippies who probably never seen military service and didn’t care about the kind of support the majority of our troops would actually appreciate. Impolite? Perhaps, but this kind of “support” is self-defeating; but that defeat is probably the point.

The worst thing that could happen in the Middle East--for a certain sub-set of both the anti-war and anti-American left and the fringe, isolationist right--would be victory. Not just a political victory, mind, but a political and diplomatic victory that saw the stirrings of democracy grow into stable, constitutional governments that existed peacefully with the West, respected citizens rights, and undercut support for terrorists and militant Islamists. I wouldn’t be so base as to suggest that these fringe figures want the worst for the people in the Middle East, but that they don’t want an America comfortable with its potential to project power or with the economic changes that generally accompany the liberalization of governments.

These people who would rather see an American failure can only imagine a future where Republican Presidents throw American forces at every diplomatic problem in hopes of influencing events the way we have over the last few years in the Middle East. They see a future of Starbucks and Wal Marts popping up all around the world, an American cultural invasion that provided cheap goods to the previously pristine peasants of the world--consumerism is a one way ticket to hell in the religion of the far left, and introducing a Wal Mart is probably comparable to introducing original sin to an entire culture.

An American failure would make military adventures less likely, in their world, and would be a triumph for Western European diplomatic talk-fests wherein the powers wring hands, shake fists, promise swift reprisals, decry past genocide, and then get on with their glorious, and comfortable, inaction.

What they haven’t realized is that even to a heartless, oil-obsessed Republican, the military response is hardly the first or only response. The fact that we haven’t started bombing campaigns against Syria and Iran, that we haven’t buttressed our presence near Korea in preparation for a swift and violent incursion, and never got around to annexing Canada should go to prove my point. While the invasion of Iraq was an important step, so was the long-term commitment to a presence to stabilize the country, the support for elections, and the words of Bush verifying America’s desire to support freedom movements around the world. The military response was just one aspect of an administration devoted to changing the Middle East--and America has a level of influence that doesn’t guaranty outcomes but certainly guarantees effect.

Here’s to the spread of Wal Mart (where I’m too snobbish to shop), the spread of democracy (which is like an aphrodisiac to me), and the realization that a lot of these changes are coming in a comparatively peaceful manner (which is preferable to the violent alternative (except when it isn’t)). The arsenal that we use to protect ourselves from external threats should never be exclusively military in nature, but blindly ignoring the very real and powerful effect of a martial response is foolish.

A Sad St. Patrick’s Day

It’s a sad St. Pat’s Day for the significant other and I, as tonight marks the last show for our favourite local band.

So, “hand me down the bottle, rest it in my arms” and take a listen here to one of my favorites. We will miss them so! Many a pint will be swilled in their honour tonight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I Love Google, redux

This is too good to hide in the comments. I found a working link for zombyboys’ Google post below. Google love.

Update: More here, and here.

Firefox Ate This Post

Which is too bad, because it was a good one.

I Love Google

Google pays homage to OS X. I giggle with happiness.

Oh Why, Oh Why?

Why couldn’t this have been the fate of Dodgy Lesbian Girl?

Democracy Makes Me All Giddy

I’m not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but it’s hard to restrain a smile when you realize that even the Boss digs the stirrings of democracy in the Middle East. At U2’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Springsteen introduced the band, notoriously democratic in their inner workings, with this quip:

They’re both a step forward and direct descendants of bands who thought they could shake up the world. This was a band that wanted to lay claim not only to this world, but the next one, too,” he said. “They’re a real band. I believe they actually practice some form of democracy. (That’s) toxic poison in a band setting! In Iraq, yes; in rock, no.”

Cute, no?

The changes in the Middle East, changes that are coming at an almost frightening pace, have a power not only for the participants, but for the observers. This joy and courage on display is intoxicating. Putting all of the credit on President Bush and his Happy Neo-Con Horde would be a bit much, even most of his critics realize that these changes wouldn’t be happening without the President’s foreign policy moves--most especially the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

At work yesterday one of my left-leaning coworkers simply said, “Things are going pretty well right now for [President Bush] right now, aren’t they?”

I took the high road and said that, yes, things were going well, but seeing Bush get credit wasn’t the most important thing. No, it was the changes themselves that were most important. That’s true as far as it went, but it would be just as true that I think it’s important to realize why these readjustments were taking place.

My coworker beat me to that thought, though. “You know what really makes me mad? All those people that have criticized the President and now won’t even admit that he might have been right.” This came from someone who was nearly in tears (and, no, not tears of joy) when President Bush won his second term.

Apparently, seeing an entire region of people reaching for something better than theocracy can have a profound impact. To know that we are continuing to play a part in this awakening and may even live to see an unprecedented peace in the Middle East is heady stuff. History will judge us for our intentions, our resolve, and our results. I think we’ll come out just fine.

Read the story.

Update: A related story.

Is it time to end judicial review?

Ben Shapiro says yes. I can’t excerpt and do it justice, without just reproducing the whole thing here, so I’ll just make some random comments.

Shapiro points out that judicial review has been around since the days of Marshall and notes that the Court has become increasingly politicized. I agree with his concept, but disagree with his solution:

Indeed, we have. The time has come to do away with judicial review as a whole. The judicial branch has been politicized to such an extent that judges who fulfill Hamilton’s qualifications—judges who compare legislation to the actual Constitution—are dubbed conservative extremists, while judges who legislate from the bench are termed moderates. The system has become so thoroughly corrupt that the only choice left to us is a Constitutional amendment ending judicial review of legislative acts.

Somewhere along the line we have forsaken the Founding Fathers’ ideal that we are a nation of laws, not judges—That judges are to ensure the laws are applied justly, not undoing the laws they don’t like. The argument against judicial review is that judges are not answerable to the people, whereas the lawmakers are.

But, the answer is not another Constitutional ammendment. Congress already has the Constitutional authority to define the scope of the Federal Judiciary. It’s time they got off their lazy a***s, grow a pair, and do their job, rather than hide behind the ammendment process.

Well, that’s just my opinion. I’m going to slink back now to a darkened room and scratch myself in inappropriate places. But, first I want to make a comment about Thomas Jefferson and blogs. I can’t help but to think that Jefferson would love this blogging revolution and revel in the political discourse, unfettered by the media mavens and political machines that have controlled the political discourse for well over 200 years. I know he had his faults, and was quick to use the media to trash even George Washington, but I think he would see blogging as the realization of the democratic process. Now, even those of us in the hinterland can weigh in on the important topics of the day, rather than just screaming at the TV. I doubt Trent Lott or Dan Rather would say as such, which is proof enough to me that blogs are changing political discourse and the direction our republic is heading. I think the Federal Judiciary is on the short list of who will next get a lesson on blogging and democracy. I think TJ would like that.

Now, I’ve really got to go and scratch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

American Idol: Continuing The Embarassment

Let it begin. I’m hiding the body of the text for those who prefer to be sheltered from American Idol news.

Read the Rest...

Have You Ever Wondered…

...what an evil, borderline commie writes about when he isn’t writing about specifically evil, borderline commie things?

William Hung, folk art, and some other non-evil, borderline commie things.

My Secret Shame (Updated)

I’m listening to “Don’t Go” by KC and the Sunshine Band.

And I’m enjoying it.

God, please forgive me my musical transgressions.

Update: I’m redeeming myself (without the help of Steve Perry, as Nathan suggested). I’m listening to Chris Cornell’s incredible song, “Seasons,” from the Singles soundtrack.

He should do a lo-fi album of music of this type. “Sleepin’ with a full moon blanket/ sand and feathers for my head/ and dreams have never been the answer/ no, dreams have never made my bed...”

Brilliant stuff.

Updated Again: And now we’re onto Joe Henry’s sad “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.” “I look at you as the thing I wanted most/ You look at me and it’s like you’ve seen a ghost.” A slow, jazzy sway best suited to long drives on dark, cold nights. And after that it’s Ben and Jason’s comparitively upbeat “Let’s Murder Vivaldi.”

I feel better…

Expression Engine: Initial Impressions

Having had Expression Engine in place for all of a handful of days, here are some thoughts about the product for anyone considering making a similar move.

Read the Rest...

The IRA, McCartney, and Kerry

While I am a bit reticent to post on controversial matters, sometimes the hand (and heart) feels compelled. It's a difficult thing, when an issue strikes close to home. Harder yet when you know you'll be lambasted for your words in many places. And this will come across a little fractured, but I wanter to cover a couple things and still be brief.

Today, it isn't the controversial issue of abortion or gay rights I want to touch on...it's the matter of the IRA.

Speaking about this matter isn't easy for me. By blood and faith, it won't be. Yet I am progressive and believe peace is what all should strive for, regardless of past transgressions.

Several blogs have been aflitter over a miserable, awful tragedy that occured recently. Including this one, which links to a couple things. First, it must be said that it is fair to be angry, and that those responsible should be held accountable. They should be imprisoned for life, shunned by their community and reprimanded by all Catholics and Sinn Fein. McCartney's murder was nothing short of a horror.

But in the recent bout of IRA/Sinn Fein hate, I feel like history is being whitewashed.

Irish Republicans, those citizens who want a Ireland free of British rule, have existed for many a day. Their will to fight was inspired by their oppression: Irish Catholics were at one time not allowed to own property, to vote, to have any representation in government whatsoever. They were the victims of human rights abuses and repeated false imprisonments, and treated no better than the dirt they stood on. There was a time when Sinn Fein and the IRA were, in my mind, absolutely necessary.

For those who have such strong (negative) opinions about Sinn Fein, I find myself wondering if they know what the "Orange Order" is. This is a paramilitary organization in Northern Ireland known for instigating violent riots against Catholics and for burning Catholics out of their homes. As recently as the 1980s, children died as these extremist British loyalists marched through Catholic neighborhoods, and would occasionally torch a cottage in the process. Imagine an early 1960's KKK effort, and you get an idea of what the Orange Order and their secular marches are like.

And surely, we all know history well enough to recall Bloody Sunday...or perhaps at the very least, listened to some U2 in our time.

So you see, "The Troubles" aren't all about the IRA...it's about an explosive mix of people and religion, and of nationalism of two different stripes.

But in the end, I was troubled today by this statement in the aforementioned blog:

If John Kerry, faux Irishman, had won the last election, is there any doubt he'd be feting Gerry Adams and any of the other Irish murderers he'd care to include in his bloody-fisted entourage?

This is juvenile and rediculous on so many levels.

Sinn Fein's leadership has come to visit the White House, while being inhabited by both Republicans and Democrats. Senator Kennedy has always welcomed folks like Gerry Adams...until today. I am certain Kerry would be no different. But my point: a stab at Kerry over this (and I would love to know what faux-Irish means to the author) is silly. I don't know if Kerry had family on Northern Ireland, or does still today. Certainly, having a family connection does effect one's heart. But I think all of us, Irish Catholic, British Protestant, or American Agnostic all feel deep sorrow and great anger for what happened to Robert McCartney.

How shameful. No wonder the author writes under a nom de plume.

However, I do wonder for all the discussion on this issue, who even knows how to pronounce Sinn Fein or who knows what it's like to be denied the right to vote. What it's like to be considered inferior for being Catholic, or referred to as "papist scum". What it's like for those people to come marching by your door in what they refer to as a "parade", but may very well end in your home being vandalized. (And that's a huge step up from twenty years ago, where you may have simply been murdered).

I don't agree with the IRA's tactics over the last two decades. I believe that in this time, the IRA is not needed.

More than anything, I pray for peace. It has been long in coming, and should have happened years ago. But forgetting British and loyalist transgressions in these discussions is disingenuous.

And making the sorrow of many a soul in Northern Ireland a political joke to take a swipe at Kerry is nothing short of reprehensible.

And We’re Busy Not Freeing Tibet…

Let’s remember the victims of axe violence.

It’s clear to me that no matter what the constitution says on the subject, and no matter the utility of axes in many people’s daily lives, it would be healthier and safer for all of us to admit that axes are dangerous. Axes kill.

It’s true that at one time most households had at least one axe, but that was a different era. That was an era where people needed to chop their own wood. Only people devoted to a strange, archaic sport--lumber fetishists--feel that we need to chop our own wood now. There might be some people in rural areas that can rightly claim a need to an axe, but for people in urban and suburban settings, where chopping the trees would actually be illegal, there is no rational need for axe ownership.

Ban axes now. It’s for the children.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hey, Pal, A Bit of Advice

Don’t pay the ferryman, dude. Don’t even fix a price.

Seriously, at least not until he gets you to the other side.



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