Thursday, June 29, 2006
In that regard, I believe these signing statements actually perform a critically important service. They bring out into the open the theories of monarchical power which this administration has adopted. By expressly stating in the signing statements that he has the right to violate these law, the President is explicitly acknowledging that he has seized these powers. The signing statement itself is not the instrument by which he has seized those powers, but is merely a reflection -- an overt acknowledgment -- of the fact that the President has, in fact, seized those powers. It is the powers themselves, and not the statements in which they are asserted, that are so significant.Of course, we must then consider what response will be made to the inevitable Winger retort: "So? Whatcha think ya can do about it, Pussy?" I'm certain that, give or take a "fucktard" or two, that's a pretty exact transcript of what's being said in freepland right now, and in less colorful language, will be repeated in the talking points delivered to those who whack the sides of the Echo Chamber.
But there is no doubt that public debate over the President's extremist theories is, finally, intensifying, and that is a development that should be celebrated by anyone who believes that we ought to adhere to our constitutional traditions. The President has been able to claim unlimited powers only because most Americans have been unaware that he has done so. Defending these theories out in the open is not something this administration wants to do -- why would it? -- and now that the press is beginning to understand what is truly at stake, the opportunity exists to force them to do so.
But I'm sure an answer will come to mind.
tag: Supreme Court, dangerous president, politics, vote, voting, vote for president, constitution, constitutional, unitary executive, commander in chief
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Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
A Message For The "Religious" Right -- rant:
I was not going to be doing any more blogging today, but I got an email from my friend(s) Astraea(s) who follow this particular issue closer than I, having had the fortune of falling in love with a corporate person that shares a body of the same apparent gender.
Silly me, I don't even think of this as being "gay." I mean, not in my gut. Not that it's not true, kinda sorta, it's just that it is such a superficial description of hot multiple on multiple love.
Anyhoo, it's bizarre to me that I can (and did) get a civil marriage licence and she cannot, even though The Real Situation is identical.
Oh, and here's a little something else, something I want to mention before I go on, one quote from the beginning of this marvelous rant which will explain my personal passion about this.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take a lot to bring me back to a time when I remember the sting of the taunts and namecalling that comes from being singled out from the rest of the community. As a teenager and young adult, I saw that most often happening to others, although I know the times I was the brunt of such bullying in the halls of a high school. Of course, back in the early 1970's, it was a common occurence. . .I can remember walking home in the evenings from the library, doing work on a paper or just trying to get out of the house, and every now and then a car would go by with other high schoolers screaming that "faggot" slur out of their mouths. I would always feel the hairs rising up on the back of my neck and the fear almost choking off my breathing, and yet I would walk just a little faster and tell myself that I knew the neighborhood and how to find places to hide.Same here, give or take five years. Perceptions trumped reality, or perhaps I was chosen to be gay by people who thoght that made them straighter. But for whatever reason, I was assumed to be gay, as well as a speed freak and a "stoner" - all because I was a weedy, ectomorphic asperger's kid in a persistant dissociative state.
But so many people were utterly sincere in their convictions that I actually gave the gay thing a shot. That's a very aspie course of action, by the by. No regrets, exactly. But no "postcard memories," either. Gay sex, aside from the icky bits which are avoidable with a polite "no thanks, not into that," is unavoiably an act committed with a person of the same physical gender - and at that age, that generally meant hairy, stubbly and testosterone poisoned.
I agree with a few cynical drinking buddies of mine from Amarillo; the only thing you really need to become a Lesbian is to have sex with a man. My wife agrees, by the way - and then adds, in a deliberate reference to that story of mine, in which I was ultimately declared an "honerary lesbian," that she doesn't really think of me as a man, either.
And that doesn't much bother me, because I know of what they speak, and I surely ain't that. I'm not much into Manly Things, like sports, male bonding, fast cars and loose women. I want to bed neither Anne Coulter nor Condaleeza Rice; unlike a truly astonishing part of the male population, I know a preying mantis when I see one.
If that makes me a "fag," so be it. I've long since grown indifferent to the good opinion of people to stupid to deserve one.
But that indifference stops when the stupid, thoughtless and intolerant start taking over tasks more important than the bank-tellers and fast-food salespersons.
The issue here is not the preservation of marriage, nor is it even really about a true, bible supported belief. This is about maintaining a right to persecute other people. Considering how swiftly such folks can turn and savage one of their own, you would think.... but, they are really very stupid, and willfully so.
"For decades, it seems to me that these 'religious' fanatics were the only citizens allowed to get away with torturing, abusing and attacking others, especially those in the very families they claim to 'protect.' They have no shame about thier behavior - but I am far and away long past giving them a break for claiming 'deeply-held beliefs' about others. Freedom of religion may mean they have the right to choose, in the name of God, the right to persecute others - but those they seek to persecute have the right to fight back, and to do it decisively. I do not have to respect their right to persecute me - it is THEIR belief, and it only applies to THEIR lives - NOT mine. And if we are going to stand up to this constant onslaught of brutality and abuse in the name of God, then we need to do it with more than just confusion. The only thing they understand is when someone goes for their throat.
These people do not wish to protect anyone's family. They seek to control families. And I don't give a damn how many times they whine about being persecuted because we refuse to let them persecute US - they should have known the score about constitutional rights when they made their choice to follow a totalitarian religious belief. Instead, they want that constitution re-interpreted and re-written"
This amendment, if it passes, will achieve absolutely nothing positive, not even in the devious and twisted ways the leaders of the American Taliban think. What it will do is cause thinking people to distain marriage altogether, and it will enrich a bunch of Philidelphia lawyers to come up with alternates that WILL be recognised under the "full faith and credit clause." These "work arounds" will derive from corporation law, and therefore be ultimately unassailable. If there is ONE thing American law is deadly serious about, it's Contract Law.
These new piles of paper - and they will be literal piles of paper - much like a mortgage contract - will have the advantage of making a good deal of sense and anticipating and accounting for things current marriage law does not. They will have specific prenuputal agreements, will allocate the division of assets and benifits and detail many things and assign many rights. They will contain mutual powers of attourney, and wills, they will define venues for the resolution of disputes and many other bits and pieces you may well recognise. And if parties to such agreements they are not elegable for marital tax benefits, they will be elegable for corporate tax breaks, because that's what it will be. A legally recognized corporation.
Indead, I'm using hindsight in my predictions; there are such lawyers and such "corporate families" now, to the best of my understanding.
These individual agreements between persons will make the issue of gender and indeed, the number of parties completely up to the signitories, as will be issues of marital and sports fidelity.
Not only will these evolutions be an acceptable alternative, they will be seen as morally and legally superior instruments. There will be those, those, gay and straight, who see the Marriage Amendment for what it is - a deliberate assault upon an entire sector of the population that does not agree with the "moral majority." And there will be others who will quietly take the advice of their accountant and choose the alternative that allows for better protections of personal wealth.
A life together that is blessed by law and "without benifit of clergy" will quietly become the norm, as it is in many civilized nations. And did you know that in many such nations, it's because the Churches were foresquare against behaving like civilized people. When it comes down to it, when the choice is to not be a total dick, or not belong to a church, most people will choose to not be a dick.
I do try to remember that there's a difference between "cultural Christians" and actual christians. Indeed, the only "cultural christians" we ever notice are the ones that embarrass their families and neighbors as much as they insult us and our values. I've met some genuine, honest, God Fearing Christians, some of them so personally conservative that they were to the right of Pat Buchannon. (Actually, it somewhat discomforts me that I occasionally AGREE with Pat.... ) But they did not impose their values on others, they upheld them in their own lives.
And if a flaming queer went into the terminal stages of Aids, they would install them in their spare bedroom and take care of them until the end, then cry like babies. Real Christians never let their morals get in the way of doing the right thing.
People like that taught me that a Christian should be too busy doing the right thing to have much time to spare thinking about what they think wrong about the actions of others.
Now, to you actual homophobes who might stumble across this, I want you to understand something. When I speak of homophobia, I'm not using the term as an insult. I suffer from a few phobias myself; for instance, I'm probably a mild androphobe - I have an irrational fear of men, which is a learned phobia. I'm also, technically a social phobic - that comes from the aspergers.
While it is possible for me to overcome those fears for a time and a space, it not easy, and may require drink or drugs to prolong for more than fifteen minutes. I would not like to have someone taunt me for my fears, or provoke me with the very things that make me gibber. So I truly get it that gays make your skin crawl and your mind spin into irrational gibberings. Fending it off and being a human being against the tide is hard freaking work.
But I do know the one thing that will make any phobia far worse, to the point where it will really, totally take over your life and turn you into a gibbering mental case - and that is trying to make a phobia make sense.
Next thing you know, you 'll find yourself marching with Fred Phelps and picketing soldier's funerals becacause the Pentagon "tolerates" gays in the military, and therefore all solders ... I forget. Go read, if you care. And take his lunacy as a caution to yourself as to what confusing a phobia with a calling can do to you.
True homophobia is an irrational fear. It doesn't have to make sense. You don't need to make excuses for having "a condition." And you do not have to let your fears make you do horrid things to other people or allow it to overly influence your life. Nobody - not some Pride Queen, and not the 700 Club - has the right to use your fears to manipulate, humiliate or extort you. Period.
if you find being around gay people, especially people who are being, ya know, kinda conspicious, like Carson Daily on "Queer Eye," I can understand. There' s no part of tolerance that requres that you put up with sweaty man-hugs. Aside from everything else about evangelicals that bothers my rational mind, the possiblity of being grabbed and squeezed and "slain in the spirit" by large sweaty guys fills me with a reflexive, visceral horror I'm sure you would find quite familiar.
You just don't get to hit Carson with a tire iron until he's dead to make that feeling go away. Any more than I get to do it to Benny Hinn.
tag: marriage amendment, homophobia, carson daily, gay, gay pride, tolerance, non-pc,
"Which leads to my confounding ambivalence on the subject of patriotism. I do “love my country” and feel an appropriate level of “loyalty” (more on this later), which is all the dictionary definition of “patriotism” requires. In that manner patriotism feels to me relatively innocuous (much like feminism is defined as the [currently culturally innocuous] belief in equality of the sexes).
But still, I am not comfortable with the connotations I attach to the word patriotism: nationalism, jigoism, racism, elitism, bellicism. I feel uncomfortable identifing myself as patriotic because in my mind it feels like I’m skirting the dirty edge of self-righteousness and violence. Am I wrong? I very well could be. Truthfully, I’m not at all sure.
I’ve even considered taking down the (old and huge and beautiful) US flag that hangs on the wall in my garage (despite the fact that patriotism is all the rage in the intermountain west) because I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about my beliefs . Just last week a neighbor complimented me on it and I had to suppress the urge to clarify that I was certainly not making any kinda pro-war pro-Bush conservative (shiver) kinda statement. That isn’t what the flag is suppose to say, is it?
When I look at that flag, I worry that I am."
The post is an essential read - and so are the comments. Read them all; this is a uniquely relevent and thought-provoking thread - a thread that leads me to the whole "flag burning amendment" nonsense.
This amendment makes sense only if you venerate the flag itself, in place of the things it stands for. In MY sense of the place of things, if there is any question that the things it represents cease to be, it is time to reverently burn the flag, in protest and as a statement that something beautiful has passed away, unnoted.
And I think, really, that is what those who wish to make "desecrating" the flag illegal are those who, at root, wish to have it as false packaging for a vision of this nation that has nothing to do with the ideals it is supposed to represent.
Oh, and just incidentally, the Flag Code states that burning is in fact the only proper way to dispose of a flag. I learned that as a Cub Scout.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Ok, JUST THIS ONCE! TRACK BACK IF YOU DARE!
I applied to get onto Samantha Burns's Open Trackback Alliance list - without careful due dilligence. And then, as I was preparing to send my very best, something went click...
I was participating in a circle jerk.
Yes, a term from my bad old days as an internet pornographer, but even then I had more class than to manipulate search engines with spammish linkage.
No, no, I take that part back - partially. Not spam - but definitely an echo chamber. You see, as I looked at the list of folks I would trackback to that day - I didn't see anyone that even approached the right side of center.
Instead, I would have to have accepted trackbacks such as this from "THM's Bacon Bits." No truths to be found in "more inconvenient truths about the religion of global warming," just uninformed mockery and willful disbelief.
Oh, and four hundred years ago, fella me lad, we burned wood and coal. Lots and lots and lots of it, while the plains were black with bison. But yes, the evidence is not absolutely conclusive that man is causing global warming, all by his lone self. We do know, however, that greenhouse gasses contribute, so clearcutting rain forests and driving 12mpg monstrosities fueled with petrodiesel is just plain dumb. And meanwhile, whatever or Whoever is causing it - it might be an idea to Have A Plan.
Ah, but I rant. Such twaddle annoys me. It goes beyond wingnuttery and way off into the twilight zone of truly irrelevant opinion. And that is what this echo chamber is all about. Facts are so inconvenient when maintaining a poise of total self-rightious complacency.
I pulled the graphic and link from my template while at the same time wiping off dittohead cooties. I swear to goddess, there is not an original thought expressed in any site there. Even the vicarious wishes for the mutilations and death of inconveniently persuasive Liberals and members of the Reality Based Community. Smile when you call me a liberal, sonny boy!
So, since I cannot find Samantha Burns's email for to save my very life, will someone PLEASE tell her to take me off her circle jerk - I mean, self promotion strategy?
It may not really be a "circle jerk" but I sure as hell know crap traffic when I see it.
I mean, I just consider the sources.
"Investigation: NEOCONS WHO ARE POISONING US CITIZENS. Donald Rumsfeld was the CEO at Searle when aspartame was created. Rumsfeld spent 17 yrs trying to get aspartame approved by the FDA but failed, due to its toxic compounds. The day after Reagan was sworn in, the FDA was forced to retract its findings from govt studies on asparatame and the drug was rename, "Nutrasweet".
Disposition: Lawsuits against Monsanto for ASPARTAME, a neurotoxin and carcinogenic. Used in 5000 food products.
Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas and John Ashcroft were Monsantos attorneys who strong armed the FDA into silence.
Source Links: LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK LINK
And let's not forget that in the REGULAR cola you have your High Fructose Corn Syrup, which has somewhat disturbing properties.
Oh, and your corporate giants? Here they are...
But there's another reason to avoid HFCS. Consumers may think that because it contains fructose—which they associate with fruit, which is a natural food—that it is healthier than sugar. A team of investigators at the USDA, led by Dr. Meira Field, has discovered that this just ain't so.
Sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems, especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as copper. The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose. The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy—that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development. Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen production. (Copper deficiency, by the way, is widespread in America.) In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young.
"The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar," says Dr. Field, "but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic."
Four companies control 85 percent of the $2.6 billion business—Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Staley Manufacturing Co. and CPC International. In the mid-1990s, ADM was the object of an FBI probe into price fixing of three products—HFCS, citric acid and lysine—and consumers got a glimpse of the murky world of corporate manipulation.Time to make a nice pot of ice tea. With cane sugar.
tag: aspertame, nutrasweet, high fructose corn syrup, Donald Rumsfied, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Stanly Manufacturing Co, CPC International, Monsanto, Clarence Thoma, John Ashcroft, FDA, Food Safety,
Sunday, June 25, 2006
By Quin Hillyer
On blogs, anything and everything goes, including on the blog names themselves: What the heck, for instance, is "Echidne of the Snakes" or "Nyarlathotep's Miscellany"? Then there is Fafblog, which quotes an apparent admirer to this effect: "This is a good blog. This is the best blog. It is about god and the universe and those horrible screaming monkeys and that time I made a pizza out of an old tire and a can of whip cream. It is the Fafblog."Ah, what ARE they teaching Young Republicans these days? If they'd just had a good, Old-fashioned LIBERAL education, they'd know that Echidne of the Snakes is a Minor Greek Goddess and that Nyarlathotep refers to a story by HP Lovecraft. A "miscellany," of course, is a collection of Odds and Ends, like disconnected thought particles, or my Blogroll.
YOU SEE THE PROBLEM, don't you? Blogs can be fun, entertaining, and informative, but they don't lend themselves to disciplined thought, much less disciplined writing. There's nothing wrong with the blogs in and of themselves, but when they are a young person's only or next-to-only exposure to the written word, they certainly don't boost reasoning or writing skills.
Well, I suppose Free Republic, or Little Green Footballs might lead you to that conclusion. You might wish to visit a wider variety of blogs, and read past the masthead. Echidene of the Snakes, for instance, has been known to make some very cogent arguments... feminist ones, of course, but quite accurately reasoned and supported by actual evidence.
AGAIN, THERE IS A LOT TO LIKE about the blog world. It can ennoble and inform and provide great tools for discourse and for meeting like-minded people. But what it doesn't encourage is reflection, patience or, to stress again, discipline. And its wild informality, including the use and misuse of the written world, does not lend itself to careful persuasiveness.Discipline. Ah yes, we in the blogosphere suffer from a lack of disciplined and formal argument, buttressed by observable fact.
Dare I compare myself to Established Broadcaster Rush Limbaugh and noted syndicated columnist Ann Coulter?
I dare. Moreover, I dare compare either to Wonkette or The Rude Pundit. Unfavorably. But in selecting such obvious and farcical targets, I am essentially knocking over straw whores.
But the still somewhat legitimate Mainstream Media has not done such a stellar job of persuasion themselves. Rather, they have simply ignored or suppressed competing voices, while mindlessly droning the talking points issued from the White House.
Menwhile, real journalists blog. And they are as loud, argumentative and contrary as any blogger - or journalists were before conservative media moguls required them to be neutered as a condition of continued employment.
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