Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Suggestion to Reduce our Rights

Another prime example of conservatives' disregard for our rights. Newt Gingrich opens his mouth and freedom of speech is disavowed.

-- Joe Conason

The flimsy philosophizing of Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and aspiring Presidential candidate, isn't designed to bear any great weight. For many years, he has been willing to say anything that would win him the public attention and political power he still craves. Yet in the mainstream media and among Republicans, his intellectual pretensions are often taken seriously -- and when he promotes authoritarian "solutions" to national problems, that must be taken seriously too.

His latest insight is that America can only survive if we impose severe curbs on freedom of speech.

At a recent event in New Hampshire -- where he shows up often these days -- Mr. Gingrich explained why he believes that the First Amendment must be reconsidered in these trying times. He chose to deliver these remarks at an annual dinner held in memory of the late publisher of the Manchester Union-Leader, honoring individuals who stand up for free speech.
He told the stunned audience that we are facing a "long-term war," or what former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called "the Long War," which requires new strategies and tactics to thwart Islamic jihadism. We confront an existential threat "that will inevitably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learn how to close down every Web site that is dangerous, and it will lead us to a very severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans and advocate the use of nuclear or biological weapons."
He went on to advocate measures that "use every technology we can find to break up [the terrorists'] capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us, to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us."

Such vague prescriptions sound sensible enough. Certainly no sane person wants terrorists using the Internet, and nobody wants them recruiting young suicide bombers on the Internet, either.

The problem is in the details. Exactly how the former Speaker would deter the enemies of freedom from using free speech was anything but clear.

About a week after his New Hampshire speech, he expanded on his remarks in an article for the ultraconservative Union-Leader newspaper. "The fact is that not all speech is permitted under the Constitution," he wrote. He noted the ominous remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the outreach by Hezbollah to sympathizers in Latin America, and the stated determination of Islamist militants to "use the Internet for the sake of jihad." He suggested that the government be empowered to shut down Web sites that recruit suicide bombers and urged "an expeditious review of current domestic law to see what changes can be made within the protections of the 1st Amendment to ensure that free speech protection claims are not used to protect the advocacy of terrorism, violent conduct or the killing of innocents."

That's only a sample of the many big mouthfuls of rhetoric emanating from Mr. Gingrich on this topic, but you get the idea.

When he appeared on Meet the Press on Dec. 17, host Tim Russert asked him how his fantasy would work. Who would define such murky offenses as "advocacy of terrorism" or "violent conduct"?

Mr. Gingrich seemed to be annoyed by the question. His answer was not only unimpressive but also unintentionally funny.

"You close down any Web site that is jihadist," he said.

"But who makes that judgment?" insisted Mr. Russert.

"Look, I -- you can appoint three federal judges if you want to and say, 'Review this stuff and tell us which ones to close down.' I would just like to have them be federal judges who've served in combat," replied Mr. Gingrich.

Considering the source, that was a remarkably weird response. A panel of three judges who've served in combat? As a qualification for making crucial decisions about combating terrorists, combat service would surely eliminate Mr. Gingrich -- a certified chicken-hawk who loves war but successfully avoided the Vietnam draft -- from running for President.
Logic aside, he has offered at least one example of how he would apply his new set of speech standards. He believes that the six Muslim scholars who were removed from a plane in Minneapolis last month for such suspicious behavior as praying in the airport "should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists."

That ridiculous assertion could only have thrilled the leadership of Al Qaeda. Nothing they can ever put on a Web site or videotape will be nearly as effective in encouraging young Muslims to hate America and reject freedom as Mr. Gingrich's cloddish demagogy.

Some moron out there will acuse the media of being biased for asking tough querstions of Newty. I'm not feeling nice ... tough shit.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This is Happening

h/t Tom Tomorrow

After reading this, my suspicions of this administration only grow grimmer. Do you really believe they aren’t listening in on the telephone calls of other than suspected terrorists? Has there ever been another President in our nation’s history who cultivated such a disregard for basic human rights?

One night in mid-April, the steel door clanked shut on detainee No. 200343 at Camp Cropper, the United States military’s maximum-security detention site in Baghdad.

American guards arrived at the man’s cell periodically over the next several days, shackled his hands and feet, blindfolded him and took him to a padded room for interrogation, the detainee said. After an hour or two, he was returned to his cell, fatigued but unable to sleep.

The fluorescent lights in his cell were never turned off, he said. At most hours, heavy metal or country music blared in the corridor. He said he was rousted at random times without explanation and made to stand in his cell. Even lying down, he said, he was kept from covering his face to block out the light, noise and cold. And when he was released after 97 days he was exhausted, depressed and scared.

Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon’s detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pony Up to the Bar

A recent shot of conservative bloggers at Drinking Right, their favorite reason for drinking at their favorite watering hole. Note the suspicious attitudes.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Immaculate Conception

More Cheney grandchildren?

CHESTER, England - As Christmas approaches, a virgin mother is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her offspring. She’s Flora, the Komodo dragon.

In an evolutionary twist, Flora has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. It would seem the timing is auspicious: The seven baby Komodo dragons are due this festive season.

“We were blown away when we realized what she’d done,” said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora’s home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. “But we certainly won’t be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus.”

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Paddy Mac Love Affair With Right-Wing Dictators

Patrick McIlheran, known in liberal blogging circles as Paddy Mac, takes the Brew City Brawler to task for the Brawler's evisceration of McIlheran’s post about the death of former right-wing Chilean dictator August Pinochet, and his favoring of Pinochet over Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. McIlheran had this to say:

Pinochet killed a lot of people unjustly, I said, but his reign could not be seen as unrelieved darkness: At least he left peacefully and he did liberalize the economy.

The Brawler retorted in fine fashion and I have nothing to add except this thought: Using McIlheran’s logic I suppose that the relieved darkness of Adolf Hitler was preferable to the Marxist, Josef Stalin. Hitler did cause the Autobahn system to be created and he provided the impetus for the modern use of rocketry for warfare.

What a putz!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cokehead Gets My Vote

Bruce Tinsley, creator of Mallard Fillmore, is a knob. Greg Saunders at The Talent Show repurposes one of Tinley's strips and exposes the knob for what he really is ... a hack cartoonist with tired material.








Bite Size

This is gory.

BOSSIER CITY, La. - A pit bull puppy chewed off four of a baby girl's toes while the child's parents slept, police here said Monday. The parents were booked on charges of child desertion and criminal negligence and were being held in the Bossier Parish Jail pending an initial court appearance.

Police said the parents were sleeping on a mattress in the living room of their residence and the month-old girl was in an infant seat beside them when the puppy began chewing on their baby's toes.

And they didn’t hear the baby cry, or scream? My gosh. I know that in the past when my kiddies were babes, I would not could not sleep because I kept both ears open for ANY noise (or lack of) from my children … and will do so when the baby is born next month. These parents were laying right next to the baby. They should be tossed away and the key lost.

This comment, though, is SO Louisiana …

Teresa Miller, who sold the puppy to the Hansches, was skeptical the dog did it. "He didn't chew on anything while he was with me. Out of all of them (in the litter), he was the least chewy."

The least chewy?

I'm waiting for some clown to say this is a result of liberal policies.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Words of Wisdom

A gem from my six-year old daughter. When I asked whether she was getting her jammies on, she replied, "Sorry Daddy. I accidently forgot."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Diversity is a Good Thing

This is stupid.

SEATAC, Wash. - The official Christmas trees are still down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, but a few little trees have popped up at airline counters.

An employee at Frontier Airlines took up a collection on Monday and bought a few foot-tall trees for the counter.

The initiative followed a decision by airport officials to remove its nine Christmas trees instead of adding a giant Jewish menorah to the holiday display as a rabbi had requested.

Their excuse is other religions and/or groups would have wanted to include symbols. My response is: And what problem would that have been? It would have been a wonderful opportunity to display Americans’ tolerance for all beliefs.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Serious People

For those who like to say that anyone who doesn’t agree with their idiotic spewings is an “appeaser,” this prediction from Jonathan Schwarz (posted at This Modern World):

If the U.S. ever deteriorates to the point where we’re rounding up Muslims in extermination camps, Victor Davis Hanson will criticize Americans who oppose this as “appeasers” who “haven’t learned the lesson of Munich.”

Must be said with a serious look, because Hanson is, you know, a serious person.

Morons, all.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Conservative Values

You just got to love Christian conservatives.

KATY, Texas - A plan to build a mosque in this Houston suburb has triggered a neighborhood dispute, with community members warning the place will become a terrorist hotbed and one man threatening to hold pig races on Fridays just to offend the Muslims.

Many neighborhood residents claim they have nothing against Muslims and are more concerned about property values, drainage and traffic.

But one resident has set up an anti-Islamic Web site with an odometer-like counter that keeps track of terrorist attacks since Sept. 11. A committee has formed to buy another property and offer to trade it for the Muslims’ land. And next-door neighbor Craig Baker has threatened to race pigs on the edge of the property on the Muslim holy day. Muslims consider pigs unclean and do not eat pork.

All right, I don't know if they're Christian conservatives, but it is a good bet that most are. Craig Baker says later in the article that he has to go ahead with the pig races or he'll look like an idiot.

Sorry ... you already did that.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

More Frank Zappa

More Frank Zappa. A little Cosmic Debris and a kick butt solo by Frank.

Immaculate Conception?

Dick Cheney to be a grandpa again. Mary Cheney, his 37-year old daughter is expecting according to a source.

WASHINGTON - Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne, is pregnant, according to a published report. Mary Cheney, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are "ecstatic" about the baby, due in late spring, The Washington Post reported in Wednesday's editions, quoting an unnamed source close to the couple.

Some of the more weird elements of the Christian Right will see this as either the advent of the apocalypse, or the answer to their prayers.

Just having some fun, so keep the comments cool. Other Side wishes the best to Mary Cheney and Heather Poe. Mary Cheney especially has maintained herself with dignity and I must say this about Dick "The Mouth" Cheney ... in this regard his behavior has been beyond reproach.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Duped and Used

Saw the article first in the JS Online, then went to the humble folkbum to see if he had latched onto it. I then let it sink in a bit ... in the end, I decided (as others have also) two words apply to Owen at Boots and Sabers and Peter at Texas Hold'em Blogger, two of the loudest conservative bloggers.

Duped!

Used!

This is what happens when someone untrained in journalism attempts to be a journalist. Guys, you are bloggers, not reporters. You don't need to apologize to anyone. I would offer, however, the proverbial towel to wipe the egg off your face.

Monday, December 4, 2006

First Contact

Made unexpected contact today with the local Klingon blogger, Chris at spotted horse 2. That encounter caused me to pop in Star Trek: First Contact. I am such a Star Trek geek. I always get choked up when the Vulcan ship lands and James Cromwell (Zephran Cochran)makes first contact in the form of a handshake.

Will we ever meet another spacefaring race? The odds are not good, considering the distances to be covered. But you never know. There is already alien life in southeastern Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

This is for my 11-year old son, Ian. He took the doggies out during the first snowfall of the year and marveled at the yellow snow ... in a way only an 11-year old can. A little Frank Zappa ....

Saturday, December 2, 2006

So Much for Meaningless Studies

Having read another meaningless piece about who gives more, conservatives or liberals (this one by Thomas Sowell ... sorry, no link), I decided that I would produce my own scientific work.

Considering this is the last weekend of work at my part-time job, I decided to determine who was less rude, conservatives or liberal. There were exactly twenty-seven people whom I extended my hand to, to receive either cash or credit card to pay for gas or other consumables. In each case in which my hand was ignored and the aforementioned cash or credit card was ignorantly tossed onto the counter, I asked afterward whether the person considered themself conservative or liberal. Twenty-six replied they were conservative.

Accordingly, I have come to the conclusion that conservatives are mostly arrogant pricks.

Do I truly believe this? No. No more than I believe that more conservatives give blood than liberals, as the study Sowell relies on states (or the reverse for that matter). How in the hell does one quantify that anyway?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Where You Live That Matters

There seems to be some confusion yet regarding the racist encounter last year in the Town of Merton, home to defeated attorney general candidate Paul Bucher, and his wife, talk show pundit, newspaper columnist and erstwhile lecturer at UWM, Jessica McBride.

Town of Merton - Next week, the public will know what criminal penalty two former North Lake firefighters will serve over their racist encounter with a Milwaukee fisherman and his family.

But the public remains in the dark about what kind of money was paid to Mark Bratton and his relatives to settle a federal lawsuit filed against the North Lake Fire Department; the two firefighters, then-Fire Chief Terrence J. Stapleton and Mark J. Weber; and the Town of Merton.

Fire Department and town officials contend that they don't know the settlement figure. They and their attorneys insist that no paper record exists of the settlement.

Hmmm … racist firefighters from the Town of Merton. Bucher and McBride live in the Town of Merton. According to the rules of association played so often by McBride and other conservative lackeys, doesn’t this mean that Bucher and McBride are … firefighters too? Maybe not.

Only in Wisconsin

Only in Wisconsin can it be 55 degrees and raining cats and dogs November 29th, and the next day I can't get my car doors open because they are frozen shut.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Remarkable World of McBride

The Brew City Brawler usually does a bang up job exposing Jessica McBride’s mockery of professional journalism. But after reading the entire McBride piece, I can understand why the Brawler doesn’t take the time to launder the entire mess, rather resorting to steam cleaning. His frustration oozes from the printed word as he responds to McBride’s lengthy attempt to cover up for a corrupt administration. I imagine the Brawler as he types the following paragraph, each subsequent keystroke heavier and with more emphasis, the last so forceful that the keyboard considers ending its life and jumping off the edge of the desk:

Umm, yellow cake? Aluminum tubes? Relying on sources who we had reason to believe were full of shit? These are just off the top of my head. Has she read a book about Iraq? Watched a newscast?

I can forgive the Brawler this brief foray. McBride is perplexing. How she can take the talking points provided to her and still prove unable to piece together a cogent argument is mind-boggling (Perhaps not, it would explain much about the current administration). And it’s mind-boggling that a major university continues to pay her to instruct students.

Nonetheless, as I was rested, I decided to continue for the obviously exhausted Brawler.

Her first few paragraphs are meaningless drivel regarding the innocence of the Bush administration's motives. As the Brawler correctly noted above, where has McBride been all this time? How can she say with a straight face the Bush administration has not dishonestly manipulated information? They’ve been doing it for four years.

She examines the process of hallucination when she writes that the reason we went to war in Iraq was because “… we’d decided that our national security mandated that we preempt threats before they are directly upon us.” How in the world was Iraq a threat? There were no WMDs. There was no army. It had been devastated in the previous war. It is true that Saddam was a tyrant. But if being a tyrant is enough reason to garner a response from our military, then why aren’t we writing up plans to invade one third of the nations on this planet?

A McBride piece would not be complete without a mention of 9/11. This time she out does herself. She was there she says … the day after. What was she doing there, one must ask? I'm sure she bandaged and comforted the wounded, gave blood twice that awful day after, advised the President and helped develop the administration’s subsequent course of action. And, she had tea with Condi.

Actually, we don’t know why she was there. She doesn’t say. There’s no reason to. Isn’t it enough for us to know she was?

Just asking, but was she in New Orleans the day after Katrina?

Anyway, she then places this amazing piece of nonsense for us to digest. Saddam was bluffing the world about his WMDs.

Huh? There might have been a time before Desert Storm that this was true, but since then he had been stating loudly for all to hear that he had no interest in WMDs. It was a rare moment in his life to be telling the truth. To be sure, Saddam put up roadblocks to U.N. inspectors, but doing so was certainly not enough reason to invade.

And when it was discovered that the rationale for our assault was so much hocus pocus, a new rationale was slipped in before our distracted eyes and "whallah," (inside joke for those who do not know McBride ... her spelling of the French word voila) planting democracy is the reason for being there. For McBride, this sleight of hand brings no confusion … nor is it a problem. Hmmm, the real reason we went to war never really existed so now this is the real reason for going to war.

Actually, in the words of McBride, the reason we went to war was to foment revolution. And she’s right (this happens occasionally) revolution is not easy ... to sell. I’m sure the parents and siblings of the 3,000 American servicemen and women who have given their lives for the Iraqi revolution will be relieved to know this is the REAL reason their loved ones were sent overseas.

I’m beginning to understand the Brawler’s reasoning. The more I type, the angrier I get. Conservatives like McBride are quick to trot out the “angry left” mantra as a means to color their views objective and reasoned. Sadly, it’s just another sorry attempt at deception and distraction. One wishes conservatives were more thoughtful.

So, I think that I too, have reached my fill of McBride. However, not before dissecting this silly statement:

I also believe that Iraq has made monumental progress in a few short years. I don’t believe those stories are emphasized enough by the media.

Monumental progress?

Monumental progress towards what … civil war? More innocent Iraqis have been killed in the past four years than in all of the time that Saddam was in power. The country is split along religious fault lines more than ever before. The insurgency is everywhere and getting stronger and Iraq has become the focus of terrorist groups around the globe. Additionally, we have alienated the people of more than half the world with our arrogance.

There was a time that America was looked upon as that shining beacon of hope. In six short years, conservative policy makers (serious people, you know) have taken any good will people might have had for us and thrown it away in useless partisanship and disregard.

McBride wants the Democrats and media to reframe the debate toward one of victory, not failure. Is McBride saying that what has been wrought through Republican intransigence must be solved with more of the same?

UPDATE: The Brawler recharges.

UPDATE: The humble folkbum lets us in on what McBride really missed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You've Got to be Crazy to Vote for Bush

h/t Tom Tomorrow

If Pat McIlheran can write a piece (with a straight face) claiming evidence that conservatives give more to charities than liberals, then I think it only fair to provide proof (after all these years) that psychotics vote for Bush.

A collective “I told you so” will ripple through the world of Bush-bashers once news of Christopher Lohse’s study gets out.

Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.

Hey, please note I didn't say conservatives were psychotic. Though, there are a few that should be on medication. Chris, are you still hallucinating (wait for it ...)?

Hello Dolly

When at a loss for words, as I have been of late ... there's always Satchmo!

More Tom Tomorrow

Paddy Mac IS Generic Conservative Guy.

















-- Working for Change

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Need a Vacation

Just when I thought I might be able to breeze into the Thanksgiving holiday without anyone getting my dander up and simply enjoy the season, two items cross my path and remind me why conservatism is such a bankrupt philosophy.

The first is a blog post by, none other than Patrick McIlheran. No surprise there, the man is a weiner. In this post, entitled: “Who cares? Quantitatively, that is: Who cares?", McIlheran drones on about a piece of fieldwork done by Syracuse Professor Arthur C. Brooks. Brooks apparently proves that (in McIlheran’s words) “…it’s religious conservatives who give more to compassionate causes than secular liberals.”

Four things came to mind while reading the post. One: Beliefnet, which is where McIlheran grabbed this piece of flotsam, is hardly unbiased. Disregard.

Two: The sentence written above in point one by McIlheran was obviously done without the aid of any serious thought (uh, since over 90 percent of the population has some sort of a belief in God, it’s unlikely that secularism rules the liberal side). Disregard.

Three: Brooks was a Democrat, then a Republican and now is independent … oh, okay … I believe him now. This apparently qualifies him as unbiased. More likely it qualifies him as confused, or paid. Disregard.

And lastly: Did it ever occur to Paddy Mac that liberals don’t advertise their charitable works because, well, they don’t need the “pat” (bad pun) on the back. It’s conservatives and mostly conservative Christians who whine most about being picked on (except for dad29, his thoughts are straight forward, without any whining, I can forgive him his hallucinations). Disregard.

The other thing was directed to my attention by Charlie Sykes (hey, I was listening to the game the previous day). Anyway, this from Owen Robinson at the popular SM site, Boots and Slippers.

The MJS Editorial Board really is infuriating sometimes… okay, most of the time. For a prime example, let’s look at a few moist morsels of their latest shit burger that they expected us all to swallow this morning. At issue is the DOT’s proposed 46% hike in the registration fee that they requested two months after it was due and conveniently after the election.
First, the MJS completely blows off the issue of the timing.


The timing of the recommendations was suspect because the recommendations, due two months ago, came after the Nov. 7 election. DOT officials say the timing was not political. Maybe, but it looks funny. And inconsequential. Does anyone seriously think that the announcement would have turned the election against Gov. Jim Doyle?

The thought that crossed my mind was this: If Green had been governor and this had occurred, do you think Owen would be complaining? Nah! Owen would probably be explaining that Green was above the fray and had in fact not wanted to introduce something like this so close to the election. Kind of like Bush and Rummy. Hmm, using Paddy Mac’s logic above, does this mean all conservatives are liars?

Well, happy Thanksgiving all. Enjoy the time with family.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Dearly Beloved

I hate to admit it, but hat tip to Charlie Sykes for this story.

Prosecution of a Douglas County case involving alleged sexual contact with a dead deer may hinge on the legal definition of the word “animal.”

Bryan James Hathaway, 20, of Superior faces a misdemeanor charge of sexual gratification with an animal. He is accused of having sex with a dead deer he saw beside Stinson Avenue on Oct. 11.

A motion filed last week by his attorney, Public Defender Fredric Anderson, argued that since the deer was dead, it was not considered an animal and the charge should be dismissed.

“The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass,” Anderson wrote.

Add this to the litany of slippery slope issues surrounding gay marriage. I’m sure James Dobson, his carnival sidekick, Pat Robertson and the mutant woman, Ann Coulter, would agree it’s a natural progression.

My favorite part was this comment from the judge, Michael Lucci: “I’m a little surprised this issue hasn’t been tackled before in another case.”

Uh, you know something we don’t judge?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mindless Automaton and Friends Return

Local pundits share their views on Tom Tomorrow.



















-- Working for Change

Get Off Your Phone

Having dodged two people today who were chatting on their cell phones when they decided to make lane switches without using signal lights, I’m all in favor of this.

Glendale - This city has passed an ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind in the metro area, that will allow police to ticket people who are yakking on their cell phones if they are involved in an accident or stopped for another violation.

It all resulted from a drive to work along Good Hope Road about three weeks ago by Frederick "Rip" McManus, whose wife, Cindy, is a member of the Glendale Common Council.

Within the space of just a couple of blocks, he saw an accident and a near accident involving drivers talking on cell phones.

Joke for the Day

50th Wedding Anniversary

A couple was celebrating their 50th anniversary at their local church's marriage marathon. The minister knew this and asked Brother Ralph to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he managed to live with the same woman all these years.

Brother Ralph replied to the audience:

"Well, I treated her with respect, spent money on her, but mostly I took her traveling on special occasions."

The minister asked where they took trips.

"For our 25th anniversary, I took her to Beijing, China.

"The minister said, "What a terrific example you are to all husbands. Ralph, please tell the audience what you're going to do for your wife on your 50th anniversary?"

Brother Ralph said, "I'm going to go get her."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Aren't You a Little Old to be Playing With Dolls

This is funny … I’m waiting for Jessica McBride: “I don’t care if Muslim kids receive one of these dolls, when was the last time they ever attended church?” Anyway, from Los Angeles:

A company that sells Bible-quoting Jesus dolls said it was surprised and disappointed that the Marine Reserves’ Toys for Tots program turned down its offer to donate 4,000 of the talking dolls.

“I believe as a churchgoing person, anyone can benefit from hearing the words of the Bible,” said Michael La Roe, director of business development for Valencia-based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. and its one2believe division, which makes the line of Bible
character dolls.

Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said the offer was turned down because Toys for Tots doesn’t know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.

Anne Quimby Mathias was quick to jump into the fray. She says she is not really offended by the donation, but offers this Christmas morning scene:

… some poor little poor kid, excited to open what is likely one of a very few presents. He’s hoping for a Tonka truck, football, maybe a GI Joe or Spiderman action figure…and he gets the One Foot Talking Jesus Doll.

The horror.

Meanwhile, this post title at Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy caught my attention: “Why Do Our Troops Hate Christmas.” Bill O’Reilly was too slow.

I for one have no problem with the doll as long as equal representation is ensured. I have a view gift ideas for the holiday season. For instance, we should not forget those touched by his noodly appendage, the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. His dolly could spout the abridged version of the FSM’s Eight “I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts.”

  1. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Act Like a Sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou Ass When Describing My Noodly Goodness.
  2. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjugate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others.
  3. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Judge People For The Way They Look, Or How They Dress, Or The Way They Talk, Or, Well, Just Play Nice, Okay?
  4. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Indulge In Conduct That Offends Yourself, Or Your Willing, Consenting Partner Of Legal Age AND Mental Maturity.
  5. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Challenge The Bigoted, Misogynist, Hateful Ideas Of Others On An Empty Stomach. Eat, Then Go After The B*******.
  6. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Build Multimillion-Dollar Churches/Temples/Mosques/Shrines To My Noodly Goodness When The Money Could Be Better Spent (Take Your Pick): Ending Poverty, Curing Diseases, Living In Peace, Loving With Passion, And Lowering The Cost Of Cable.
  7. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Go Around Telling People I Talk To You. You're Not That Interesting. Get Over Yourself. And I Told You To Love Your Fellow Man, Can't You Take A Hint?
  8. I'd Really Rather You Didn't Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You If You Are Into, Um, Stuff That Uses A Lot of Leather/Lubricant/Las Vegas.

The beloved Buddy Christ could be distributed by Marines to not only tots, but to Iraqis suspected of pissing the Marines off.

Lastly, to celebrate the inevitable third coming of Tom Reynolds into Wisconsin politics, there is the cute “Tom as Jesus” doll. All you have to do to get the doll talk is push a button on the dolls butt. A lawyer pops out and says one of these three timely phrases:

  1. Thou shalt not make fun of me.
  2. Thou shalt not spake the address of my print shop in vain.
  3. Hav you herd the wurd of my campaign manerger, Boob?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Janis Joplin

Some classic Janis. A celebration of what made the difference in the elections, Tuesday. We tried just a little bit harder.

Reliving the Exorcism of November 7th

Exorcism complete. Democrats control Congress (unlike Republicans who tried to own it).

















-- Working for Change

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

More Sour Grapes

More from Owen Robinson.
I confess that this one makes me the most pessimistic about Wisconsin. When it comes right down to it, I believe that Jim Doyle is fundamentally dishonest. I believe that he is corrupt. And I believe that the evidence of his faulty character is overwhelming. I truly believed that when people were in the ballot box, that they would choose to cleanse their government. Again, I was wrong. I think that the fact that a majority of Wisconsinites were willing to ignore Doyle’s ethical issues speaks poorly about the character of too many Wisconsinites.
This comment seems fairly endemic of conservatives everywhere from what I've read and illustrates what is truly going on here: Conservatives are the ones lacking character. Heck, Tom Reynolds (the most principled guy in the Senate according to Jessica McBride) can't even bring himself to make that concession phone call like well-mannered and gracious opponents do when defeated.

Sour Grapes

From viewing the comments sopping with tears and sour grapes over at conservative websites, I have come away with the belief the defeat of the Republicans had nothing to do with the Democrats being any better (though I hope we have learned our lessons well), but with the ethical lapses and boorish behavior of many conservatives. Oh, did I forget arrogance. Check this comment out from Owen at Boots and Sabers.
Looks like it is over as far as governor goes. I admit, I’m surprised and I’m very disappointed. We get the government that we deserve and Wisconsinites have chosen another four years of corruption, expanded Tribal gambling, higher taxes, selling of state contracts, and an out of control regulatory and litigation climate. I’m pretty ashamed to be a Wisconsinite tonight. I thought that Wisconsinites were sincere about clean government and ethics. I was wrong.
That seems to be a common thread … that the voters are somehow to blame. It apparently doesn’t concern Owen that perhaps he and his own are the ones to blame.

One person couldn’t understand how the “Ban Gay Marriage” amendment could pass (their base?), but conservatives could not get elected. The answer is fear. Opponents of gay marriage used fear and other sanctimonious imagery to get this amendment passed. They succeeded in convincing a substantial number of normally undecided people to vote for the ban. It’s sad, though it does lay bare the Republican agenda which hoped that a vote for the ban would also carry water in the election.

And now, of course, unable to accept defeat, others are turning to the fraud gambit. The Game is saying that Democrat’s victories were all garnered because of voter fraud. They must have won that way he says, because the races were all within two to three percent, which is the amount, of course, of voter fraud that occurs whenever Democrats are involved in lections (I’m paraphrasing).

And finally, my nemesis, Chris, at spotted horse 2 had this to say in a responding comment (to mine) at Boots and Sabers:

I am really torn right now wondering if Wisconsin is worth fighting for anymore its not sour grapes Tim now that the crook has won reelection be honest would you tell you children to use Governor Doyle as a role model?

Between Doyle and Falk how many businesses will be driven out of Wisconsin?

Hey the people of Wisconsin have spoken and unlike our Rat enemies have done since 1994 I will
not say they were dumb or stupid Tim is right the people have spoken if they want Jim Doyle's style of leadership they are welcome to it.

What a night I imagine this was what it felt like in 94 if you were a Rat.

Time to rethink some things and some long term plans

Let the looting begin.

For Chris this is relatively tame. However, it is indicative of conservatives in general. It was never that their candidates may have been flawed, and it was never about the blind eye they turned to the obvious ethical and moral problems of their candidates … nope, the campaign was always about the evils of liberalism. If they had taken more time to right their own ship instead of being power-hungry, boorish and arrogant, the Republicans might still be in power.

Face it guys … You blew it. You had your opportunity. I hope this is the beginning of another 40 years of Democratic rule, because the 12 years the Republicans held power nearly tore this country apart.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

God Will Be Angry

Psst. Don’t tell Jessica McBride.
MINNEAPOLIS - Voters elected a black Democrat as the first Muslim in Congress on Tuesday after a race in which he advocated quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and made little mention of his faith.

Keith Ellison, a 43-year-old defense attorney and state representative, was projected to defeat two rivals to succeed retiring Democrat Martin Sabo in a seat that has been held by Democrats since 1963.

Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student in his native Detroit, won with the help of Muslims among a coalition of liberal, anti-war voters. "We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. "We brought in everybody."

Goes to show that there aren’t so many bigots like McBride. Thankfully!

Voter Intimidation by Right-Wingers?

It figures.
RICHMOND, Va. - The FBI is investigating complaints that phony callers tried to intimidate Virginia voters amid the hard-fought race between GOP Sen. George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb, officials said Tuesday. State Board of Elections Secretary Jean Jensen said her office had forwarded several reports to the FBI of phone calls to voters apparently aimed at misleading them into not voting or directing them to the wrong polling place. “If something is going on that worries and alarms voters enough that I’m contacted to look into it, I have a responsibility to do that,” Jensen said.

The reason Republicans rant and rave about voter fraud is because they want to deflect attention from what is really going on: Republican voter intimidation. How much you want to bet that bomb threat prank in Madison was sent by some hillbilly conservative hoping to derail liberals in Madison from voting?

More Republican Malfeasance?

This is too good.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has refused to cooperate in an investigation into whether she voted in the wrong precinct, so the case will probably be turned over to prosecutors, Palm Beach County’s elections chief said Wednesday.
One can only hope this goes badly for her.

Wigderson Predictions

The hardly feckless writer James Wigderson, the patron saint of right-wing humor and proud owner of Wigderson Library & Pub (but does he do his chores?), has come out with his fearless election predictions (was he on medication when he made them). We at the Other Side will compare his with the final results and have a good laugh, or in the unlikely event his are fairly accurate, we will provide congratulations. Here are a few of his predictions.

Mark Green 51% Jim Doyle 48%
John Gard wins handily
F. James Sensenbrenner wins big
Dave Magnum does better than expected but still loses to Tammy Baldwin
Republicans lose control by 2-5 seats

And more …

We'll see!

UPDATE!
It's the next day and it's time to compare. How did James do with his fearless predictions.

Mark Green over Jim Doyle of 51% to 48%.
Reality sucks. Doyle clobbers Green 52.7% to 45.4%.

Steve Kagen’s self destruction will be complete.
Hmmm. Kagen defeats John Gard 51.2% to 48.8%.

Bryan Kennedy loses big.
He did. Fat Slob Sensenbrenner 61.8% to 35.7%.

Van Hollen will defeat Falk.
He did, but it was close. Van Hollen 50.2% to 49.8%.

On the national level, Republicans lose control [of the House] by just 2-5 seats.
Whoa. Just a little off. Latest projections now have Democrats leading in House 234-201.

Burns in Montana, Allen in Virginia and Corker in Tennessee all win.
One out of three ain’t bad (though to be fair, the Montana and Virginia races are not yet done, but Dems lead).

Talent loses in Missouri …
Right on. McCaskill wins 49.45% to Talent 47.43%.

Republicans will lose one Senate seat, State Senator Tom Reynolds.
Just a little off. Sullivan wins and the Senate could switch to 18-15 Democratic. Who would have thought.

Republican McReynolds in Racine County will win handily.
Oops. John Lehman 53.1% to McReynolds 46.9%.

Correct on the Waukesha County races.


This was all done in fun and to be fair, James is not the only one missing big on this election. Some serious prognosticators did not see this wave happening. I certainly didn’t. But … Woo Hoo!

Monday, November 6, 2006

The Day Before

It was a rainy grey day, followed by a cold, wet night. I was not very inspired today ... I think it's called election burnout. Tomorrow is the day ... I will get up nice and early and vote ... prbably sometime around 10:30 or so.

I had a dream that Tom Reynolds supporters accosted me outside the polling place and asked for whom I would be voting. They were all women. They wore dresses that completely covered their legs, and they all wore those Amish-type bonnets. When I answered that I could not vote for their candidate, they chased me into the building and waited for me after I was done voting. I swear J.J. Blonien and Bob Dohnal were hiding amongst the gaggle of god-fearing womenfolk.

It was a weird dream.

I spent the day learning how to do a little plumbing. The drain lever broke off and I had to remove the offending part underneath the vanity top and replace it with a brand new healthy piece. I managed to complete the task in four hours ... hey, I never did this before and the first visit to Home Depot for repair parts was a waste as I was directed to purchase the wrong part.

But the new stopper is now in place and working better than the old, corroded one ... and it doesn't leak. Woo hoo!

Friday, November 3, 2006

He's So Christian

Hypocrites! This guy has been one of the leaders of the marriage amendment (read: anti-gay) push across the nation.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Rev. Ted Haggard, who stepped down as head of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals on Thursday after allegations that include having gay sex, has confessed to some of the allegations, a fellow pastor said in an e-mail to church members.

"It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true,” Ross Parsley, the acting senior pastor at New Life Church stated. Haggard on Thursday also stepped aside as leader of the 14,000-member New Life Church, based in Colorado Springs.

Gee, I wonder what other skeletons might be found in the closets of the most hard-line of the right-wingers pushing for passage of this abomination. Ever wonder why the tenets of the Bible these people hold so dear to their hearts never apply to themselves?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Guns People Play IV

Another fine reason for conceal and carry.

TEMPE - Police have arrested a man who fired a gun while running after a group of people he mistakenly thought were trying to steal his car. Police arrested Daniel Serrato, 22, Tuesday in the 1800 block of East Broadway Road after he reportedly thought he saw four people trying to break into his car, parked in his apartment complex, police said. Serrato chased the four on foot and when he got about 80 yards of them, fired a .40-caliber pistol in the air while he was running, police said.

No one was reported injured and nothing was damaged, police said. Serrato was arrested on suspicion of unlawful discharge of a weapon, police said.
How could she not know she was pregnant? My wife knew almost within 3 weeks. And, she's very obviously pregnant after seven months. In any case, it's a weird tale ...

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Amanda Brisendine attributed the 30 pounds she gained in the past year to an abandoned smoking habit and rich food. So when she went to the hospital with sharp stomach pain, she wasn’t expecting to leave with a newborn son. “I don’t know how I didn’t know. I just didn’t know,” Brisendine said Tuesday from her bed at Overlake Medical Center’s Birthing Center, where she delivered Alexander Joseph Britt by Caesarean section.

Well, Hello!

How could she not know she was pregnant? My wife knew almost within 3 weeks. And, she's very obviously pregnant after seven months. In any case, it's a weird tale ...

BELLEVUE, Wash. - Amanda Brisendine attributed the 30 pounds she gained in the past year to an abandoned smoking habit and rich food. So when she went to the hospital with sharp stomach pain, she wasn’t expecting to leave with a newborn son. “I don’t know how I didn’t know. I just didn’t know,” Brisendine said Tuesday from her bed at Overlake Medical Center’s Birthing Center, where she delivered Alexander Joseph Britt by Caesarean section.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Computer Did It

Going to bed in a moment, but thought I would pass along this bit from my mom. Yes, my mom again!

Actually, though most of the pieces I am sent have probably been cruising the Internet for years, it's still fun to receive them and especially gratifying when one of them makes me laugh ... like this one.

So without further adieu ... from my recently turned 70-year young mother ...

The Computer Swallowed Grandma

The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true.
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.
I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'
So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy,''Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me!


This is a tribute to all the Grandmas who have been fearless andlearned to use the computer!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

They Certainly Are Characters

I have to leave in a few minutes to go and help chaperone my daughter's kindergarten class. They are having a Halloween party. I hope I did not need to dress for the occasion.

Anyway, I'm surfing a little and find this tidbit by Molly Ivins. The last paragraph is especially telling. Read it ... here's a link to the entire article.
I realize it is difficult to keep up with the degree of Republican sleaze around these days, but I did like President Bush's celebration of National Character Counts Week. He went to Pennsylvania to support Rep. Don Sherwood, who was sued by his mistress last year for repeatedly beating her. He settled the case out of court for $5.5 million.

Oh, before I go, I wanted to comment on a favorite tactic of late by conservative bloggers, especially in regards to the marriage amendment. Paraphrasing: "I was going to vote for this, but because you nasty liberals were so mean to me, I'm not going to now."

Why does this not strike me as odd behavior for these adults? Perhaps the reason is because the conservative bloggers using this tactic were probably the same ones who took their football home because they didn't get their way on the playground. I remember these kids. They were also the ones who enjoyed bullying those smaller than themselves. It's playground logic.

Time to grow up and make decisions on your own, kiddies.

The Dynamic Duo

















-- Working for Change

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

My mom is soooo naughty.

Click on the link and then click on STOMP when ready.

Guns People Play III

It's my parking spot, and I'll defend my right to park there.
An argument over a handicapped parking space at the Little River Casino Resort resulted in one man going to jail Saturday, according to a report from the Manistee Sheriff’s Department. Deputies said one subject pulled a semiautomatic handgun after another individual tried to park in the same handicapped parking space in the casino parking lot and the two got into an argument.

The suspect is charged with felonious assault and was lodged in Manistee County Jail on a bond of $50,000, 10 percent.

Glenn Zaring, public information director for the LRBOI, said his officers were part of an ongoing investigation of the incident. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Police turned the case over to the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office, “We are pleased to be able to work with local law enforcement to keep patrons of the casino safe,” Zaring said.

You know, I've yet to see a story where having a gun resulted in successful self-defense. Oh yeah, it's the MAD principle of individual safety. Mutaul Assured Destruction is supposed to stop those bad guys right in there tracks. How come it doesn't work?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Suspect Timing by Reynolds Staffer

Jessica McBride asks, rhetorically, if Tom Reynolds is too extreme. The reason she asks this is because of a letter she just became aware of written by Deborah Bowers, a legislative aide on Reynolds’ staff.

According to Ms. Bowers, she was never asked any of the personal questions by Reynolds that Spivak and Bice wrote of back in September 2005, nor did she ever feel questions were inappropriate. Plus, she is a woman, she says, and that fact refutes the idea Reynolds is extreme, because he would not have hired her otherwise.

Ms. Bowers' hire date, according to her letter, was January 31, 2005, approximately one month or so after Reynolds fired his entire staff because they were allegedly insufficiently loyal.

It was already known that Reynolds’ workers spoke with John Murray, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, to let him know of some of what was going on. According to Spivak and Bice, Murray says he fell short of criticizing Reynolds, saying only that it would be a good idea to get legal guidance before delving into highly personal issues.

Is it possible he did so after the Christmas Massacre? Is it possible that Reynolds was advised about the legalities of hiring staff, of what could be asked and of what could not and that women could not be excluded. No one has ever claimed Reynolds is stupid … misguided, wacky, other-worldly, weird … yes, but not stupid.

That first Spivak and Bice column on Reynolds’ alleged wackiness was run September 17, 2005. Ms. Bowers had 13 months to write her letter of refutation and attempt to have it printed by the JournalSentinal. Instead, she wrote it in October of 2006 and now she is upset because the paper will not print her letter. She says she was told it was received too close to the election.

She also claims she was prompted to write the letter because of a radio ad that says Reynolds won’t hire women. And yet, the question remains. She had 13 months to write a letter of refutation about the Spivak and Bice column. I’m assuming she can read. Instead she just now decides to do so.

Whose timing is suspect?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Raging Vortex of Weirdness

The raging vortex of weirdness descended today upon the place I work part-time for a little extra cash. First, a truck went through our carwash. Apparently the goof driving didn't expect the storm windows lying in the bed to fall out onto the carwash tracks and cause it to be out-of-order for two hours.

Then, the ATM went off-line.

Then, three gas pumps rejected credit cards simultaneously ... and refused to take them even though later inside they were found to be good.

Later, after the car wash had been fixed, a bolt snapped on a counter-weight bar and 400 pounds of weights landed on the car wash floor, leaving an indentation that my co-worker described thusly, "Like the depression in the ground where Superman lands after being pummeled by some huge space creature."

Then I actually won $15 in scratch-offs.

I'm home now. Fortunately for me and my wife, she's already seven months pregnant ... no longer any chance for twins.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It is Bullshit!

Tom Tomorrow is spot on.

The depravity of conservatives, and the willingness of the media to indulge it, never ceases to amaze me. In a rational society, when a drug-addled gasbag radio host mocks an actor with a debilitating disease, the ensuing discussion would revolve around said drug-addled gasbag’s many, many faults as a human being, not least of which being his ready willingness to mock the handicapped. Rather than treating his uninformed speculation as beneath contempt, however, people are actually discussing whether Michael J. Fox’s symptoms are as bad as they look in these campaign commercials. I know that the media are amoral predators, constantly alert for any hint of blood in the water, but I guess I’m still naive enough to wish that occasionally Keith Olbermann wouldn’t be the only person in the entire industry willing to call bullshit when the odor is rank enough to make you gag.

But I’m also naive enough to imagine that this will backfire as spectacularly as the Terry Schiavo circus did. Seriously, Republicans — you want to rally around the drug-addled gasbag hatemonger in his war against the beloved actor with the debilitating disease — please, by all means, go for it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dueling Sad Songs

Having just finished listening to The Dears at Pundit Nation, I offer this sad song for my listener. This YouTube effort includes some sappy pictures, but the music is pure Prine.

Conservatism: A Definition

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Al-Republican

This is powerful ... by Keith Olberman. Any Republican or conservative who still supports this administration is just as culpable in the Bush administration's continuing effort to frighten and terrorize its fellow citizens.

It's Our Home

Listen to the wombat.

h/t Bob Harris

The Other Shoe

The Republican National Committee today announced a new series of ads with Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece. The ads will feature Limbaugh speaking about the need to increase funding for rehab centers for wealthy Republican donors and politicians.

A pre-screening of one of the ads was shown to media representatives on the east and west coasts. Most shocking about the ads was the vision of Limbaugh drooling puddles on his lap. He also fell off his chair twice. The second time he fell while apparently trying to push away from, what was later determined to be, killer butterflys wearing Cubs hats. He also mumbled something about the where-a-bouts of his personal physician or physicians. It was hard to discern.

There was also a question whether the audio was a voice over, and not truly Limbaugh’s voice … considering his mouth was full of saliva and tiny round and white objects, there is some credence to that.

Republicans immediately attacked the media for distorting the ad and ignoring the important message that Limbaugh had to convey. When confronted with the fact the only possible message that could be garnered from the ad was “Don’t take drugs,” and “Rush Limbaugh is a drug-addled sot,” Republican objections soon faded away. However, Democratic candidates across the nation asked for permission to air the ads. As one high-profile candidate said, "We're all for exposing the need for rehab centers."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

With Friends Like These ....

Want to know who Big Oil likes the most. Ask Jim Jubak.
Think it's a matter of chance that we don't have a meaningful national energy policy? Wondering why oil and gas companies don't pay higher royalties to the Treasury now that oil is over $55 a barrel? Amazed that Washington loves to talk about energy research with promise 15 years down the road, but won't put significant money into alternative technologies that could reduce energy consumption now?

For answers to all those questions and more, just follow the money. Nothing about U.S. energy policy should be a surprise if you know where the money's been going and which legislators have taken the biggest payouts from the energy industry. So don't miss your only chance in the next two years -- the Nov. 7 election -- to tell Congress what you think of its sellout to the energy companies.
And here's the list of Big Oil's 10 favorite Congress members:

1 - Hutchison, Kay Bailey, R-Texas - Senate - $258,361
2 - Burns, Conrad, R-Mont. - Senate - $188,775
3 - Santorum, Rick, R-Pa. - Senate - $188,120
4 - Bode, Denise, R-Okla. - House $153,650
5 - Allen, George, R-Va. - Senate - $148,600
6 - Talent, James M., R-Mo. - Senate - $147,470
7 - Cornyn, John, R-Texas - Senate - $142,750
8 - Barton, Joe, R-Texas - House - $138,450
9 - Hastert, Dennis, R-Ill. - House - $122,200
10 - Pombo, Richard, R-Calif. - House - $121,340

Data from the FEC as of Sept. 11, 2006. Compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

As Gomer Pyle was often heard to say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

***

This about Jim Jubak:

Jim Jubak is senior markets editor for MSN Money. Previously, he served as senior financial editor at Worth magazine and as editor of Venture magazine. Jubak was a Bagehot Business Journalism Fellow at Columbia University and has written two books: "The Worth Guide to Electronic Investing" and "In the Image of the Brain: Breaking the Barrier Between the Human Mind and Intelligent Machines." As an investor, he says he believes the conventional wisdom is always wrong -- but that he will nonetheless go with the herd if he believes there's a profit to be made. His column Jubak's Journal appears on MSN Money every Tuesday and Friday. He lives in New York.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gomer Pyle Does the White Album

A friend e-mailed this to me. I managed to make it half way through before the urge to chew off my arms began to overwhelm me. I offer this Jim Nabors and Leslie Uggams duet from her early 1970s replacement show, for those who are stronger.

No Friend of the Death Penalty

I have been contemplating a post regarding the referendum vote this Novemeber 7 on the death penalty and whether it should be reinstated in Wisconsin. My argument has always been twofold: We should not place ourselves in the role of god (or God, for those annoyed by the small "g") and what if an innocent is executed? There is no going back.

I asked a person I know (staunchly conservative) the question about innocence some time ago and his response was a cold-hearted, "So What. Accidents happen." The answer and its callousness astounded me. I guess I should not have been surprised. Like chickenhawk conservatives who support the fiasco in Iraq from afar, though they could serve, too many conservatives are ready to throw the switch ... damn the consequences.

James Wigderson, author of Wigderson Library & Pub, is different. He has written an excellent piece in the Waukesha Freeman on the demerits of reinstating the death penalty. I initially thought it odd that James would be on the con side of this debate, considering he is a staunch conservative. But thinking it over, his being against the death penalty is consistent with his views, and if there is one thing I know about James it's he is consistent.

How is James consistent? James is consistent in his views on abortion and the death penalty ... in both cases, his belief is to stand with life. Without getting into an abortion debate (we disagree about abortion, though I suspect we have more in common that we think) his consistency is admirable ... an area, in my opinion, in which far too many conservative fall short.

And, to be fair, some liberals.

Who Does He Think He Is? Gandalf?

This is weird. From Jonathan Schwarz at This Modern World.

A short letter to Pennsylvania

Dear Pennsylvania,

Please do not reelect this man to the Senate:

Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been drawn to Iraq instead.


Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1950s fantasy classic “Lord of the Rings,” to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

“It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Thank you.

your friend,Jon

Friday, October 20, 2006

Twenty-five Years of Weird Al

Weird Al Yankovic is a god. I have been in awe of him since I was a kid. There is a great article over at Slate by Sam Johnson, celebrating 25 years of Weird Al-ness. Here is one of my favorites: Amish Paradise. Have a great weekend everyone and try not to shoot anyone.

In Support of Freedom of Speech

If State Sen. Tom Reynolds and the doufus twins, J.J. Blonien and Bob Dohnal think they can win by intimidation, they really don’t have a clue. Gretchen Schuldt, who is the author of the blog Milwaukee Rising, is being threatened with a lawsuit by the above-named trio. Her crime: Asking legitimate questions regarding Mr. Reynolds spending of campaign funds.

Since Reynolds has already shown that he shrinks from the glare of public scrutiny, threatening to sue a former journalist who knows the rules of slander and libel seems a funny thing to do.

Consequently, like Xoff has already done, lets add to the fun and support Gretchen, who seems unfazed by their Gestapo-like tactics . Below are the postings in question regarding Reynolds. He may have started something he did not intend.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Questions about Tom Reynolds' utility bills

It's one thing to have your campaign headquarters in your house, as State Sen. Tom Reynolds (R- Loony Land) does.

It's another thing when you charge utility costs for your "campaign headquarters" to your campaign fund, as Tom Reynolds does. Even when there's not an election looming.

Let's go back to February, 2004, when Reynolds was very comfortably in the middle of his first term. Some people recognized him for the half-baked clown he is, but there was certainly no election threat on the immediate horizon. No reason to be burning the midnight light bulbs cooking up campaign strategies.

Yet Reynolds charged $57.79 for "gas and electric" for his "campaign headquarters" (his house) to his campaign fund. Hope none of that went to keep his kiddies warm at night. That would be a lot like converting campaign funds to personal use, which would be a distinct no-no.

State statute makes that clear:

No person, committee or group may make or authorize a disbursement or the incurrence of an obligation from moneys solicited for political purposes for a purpose which is other thanpolitical, except as specifically authorized by law.

Maybe Reynolds was in campaign mode in those election off years. In March, 2004, his campaign picked up two payments -- $58.43 on the 13th and $45.20 on the 29th; in May of that year, it was another two payments -- one for $29.44 and one for $35.81, both paid on May 28.

(In June he spent $197.28 at Half Nuts, which seems so appropriate, if somewhat understated.)

Reynolds, in fact, has been charging utility costs to his campaign fund since before he was elected in 2002. That year, a $40.17 electric bill was picked up by the campaign fund on Sept. 16, a week later, on Sept. 24, another $239.85 electric bill was paid by the same source, according to Reynolds' campaign finance report.

Reynolds' house /campaign headquarters isn't all that big -- 1,408 square feet, according to the West Allis city assessor's office. Utility costs should be relatively modest.

On and on it went, with utility costs sloughed off to the campaing fund more frequently:

November 2002, $140.98
November 2002, $76.18
March 2003, $79.91
Sept. 2003, $68.33
November 2003, $32.94
December 2003, $61.06
February 2004, $57.79
March 2004, $58.43
March , 2004, $45.20
May, 2004, $29.44
May, 2004, $35.81
July 2004, $25.94
July 2004, $23.42
September, 2004 $35.52
September, 2004 $26.32
November, 2004 $32.99
December, 2004 $33.83
December, 2004 $58.12
Feb. 2005, $103.98
March 2005, $64.12
April 2005, $75.63
April 2005, $28.55
June 2005, $29.14
July 2005, $28.59
July 2005, $27.95
September 2005, $30.26
October 2005, $26.42
November 2005, $29.47
December 2005, $28.78
December 2005, $101.26
February 2006, $95.02
March 2006, $85.95
April 2006, $97.30
May 2006, $74.77
June 2006, $50.94
June 2006, $69.84
August 2006, $200.30
August 2006, $113.83

It could very well be that Reynolds is not charging the full cost of his utilities to his campaign, but he needs to explain how he separates his family's utility bills from his campaign headquarters' utility bills. A guy who literally poses for holy pictures can't be keeping his family warm with campaign funds.

Oh, yeah. Not a dime from Reynolds' campaign fund went to JJ Blonien, Reynolds' campaign "consultant" who also is on Reynolds' senate payroll as a staffer. Wonder how they keep those two roles nicely separate.

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Reynolds camp can't get its story straight on utility charges

Tom Reynolds used his campaign funds to pay utility bills for the "campaign headquarters" in his home, according to Reynolds' own campaign finance filings.

Bob Dohnal, Reynolds disciple and publisher of The Conservative Digest, said the bills were for Reynolds' print shop, not for his home, despite what Reynolds said in his campaign filing (and I don't think you are supposed to fib on those).

The State Democratic Campaign Committee sent out letters to Reynolds' supporters telling them of Reynolds' creative use of their money to heat his home. Reynolds then issued a statement suggesting that the utility payments were for his home, but just for the campaign headquarters part of it:

The State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee comprised of: Chairperson, Judy Robson, Treasurer, Mark Miller and Executive Director, Matt Swentkowfske published the attached letter. The letter, with actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement, by the authors accuse me of violating state statute by using campaign funds for paying my private utility bills. The letter acknowledges that the authors know of my use of my residential property for my campaign headquarters. However, the authors go on to say that I pay my home utility bill from my campaign account which is a violation of State law. The letter also informs the Reynolds supporters that I am using the hard earned money of supporters and contributors to my campaign illegally to pad Tom Reynolds own pocket.

Reynolds demanded an immediate retraction and apology. You're going to be waiting a while for that one, Tom.

***

All bloggers should be dismayed and outraged by this attack upon their rights to free speech ... regardless of your side of the political spectrum.

Guns People Play II

It's really all about intimidation. At least he didn't pull the trigger. Those eight-year olds can be dangerous in their feral state.
The former Williamson County Commissioner accused of pointing a gun at a trick-or-treater won't spend any time in jail.

On Monday, 77-year-old Charles Eades pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.

Eades pointed a rifle at an eight-year-old trick-or-treater last Halloween.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

We Must Stop Those Aliens

I was visiting the Brawler’s site early this morning, just before driving off at light speed to take my kiddies to school, and I saw his finely scripted piece on Jessica McBride’s latest screed about illegal aliens, Republican bashing, pages every conservative likes to turn, etc. So, I bopped over to her place, courtesy of the link the Brawler provided. I began to read, though it was hard to keep from chuckling. I had to leave and was about to get out of the chair and dash off when I saw this:

Why not? Because it doesn't seem odd to them. See, the point is, THEY don't emphasize illegal immigration, unless it's to bash Republicans for their stand on it or humanize illegal aliens. Their editorial pages bash Republicans for supposedly magnifying the issue and being racists. In other words, they want the issue to go away. I am referring to the media in general here. (emphasis mine)

Those darn general media types. How dare they humanize illegal aliens!

You know, I wonder if Jessica has ever seen an alien. They’re everywhere according to her and we have a serious problem containing them, she muses (musing is what conservatives do, you know).

Or, maybe she is on to something. My gosh, the Bush administration might have been right all along. The aliens are communicating with each other and to terrorist cells across the ocean. Maybe even into outer space. They're after our satellites, you know.

Wait, reality check. Jessica wouldn't know an illegal alien if it stepped right in front of her (don't you just love the sub-conscious, though).

This might explain Jessica's issues with humanizing them ... even though they probably clean her house twice a week, do her landscaping, collect the garbage, and will put up the sheetrock when the Bucher’s decide to add that sunroom in the back. Why humanize that which cannot be seen .. which is not real?

Like Muslims and black people, illegal aliens don’t exist as people to Jessica except as reasons to slur liberals, or as excuses for Jessica to provide us with more examples of bad writing (the copy editors must have been very busy during her tenure as fearless crime reporter).

Well, I'm off now to go see some illegal alien dancing, because you know, aliens like to dance ... and they like watermelon and tacos. Right, Jessica?

Oh ... Pat Nixon was a very good person. What's your excuse?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday Thoughts

The second floor addition to the house is nearly completed (approx. two months ahead of time). The mother and baby saga continues ... now into week 30 with a due date of January 9, 2007. Doctor visit today revealed that baby Quin is active and growing just fine. Mom is feeling a little burdened.

No opinions on anything else. I can hear two distinct responses to that:

Thank god ... and, well ... finally, some peace and quiet.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Guns People Play I

Bad judgment indeed!
INDUS, Minn. - A school principal has resigned and could face felony firearm charges after he shot and killed two orphaned kittens on school property last month.

Wade Pilloud, who resigned as principal of the K-12 Indus school, 40 miles west of International Falls, said he shot the kittens to spare them from starving to death after their mother was killed in an animal trap.


Guns on school property is such a great idea ... not! And who's to say that someone else won't use bad judgment in another, more close to home way, such as in the heat of an argument. The Other Side of my Mouth will document these incidents as they occur, because there are certain people, like those who drink beer while wielding firearms (you know who you are), who should just not be allowed to carry.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gerry Studds Dies

This is sad.
BOSTON - Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, died early Saturday at Boston Medical Center, several days after he collapsed while walking his dog, his husband said.

Studds fell unconscious Oct. 3 because of what doctors later determined was a blood clot in his lung, Dean Hara said.

Studds regained consciousness, remained in the hospital, and seemed to be improving. He was scheduled to be transferred to a rehabilitation center, but his condition deteriorated Friday and he died at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Hara said.

Studds was censured for sexual misconduct in 1983. Republicans have attempted to paint Democrat response to the Studds affair as hypocrisy, because of their efforts in the Mark Foley scandal. The difference in his case is the 17-year old page Studds was involved with agreed their relationship was consensual … quite a big difference from Foley, of whom pages have stated their being made uncomfortable by his communications.

It's just another Republican attempt to deflect criticism of their hypocrisy and failed initiatives.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Job Description: U.S. President

John Stewart helps the White House Human Resources Department, and George Bush, describe the job description for President of the United States.

Jesus Would be Proud

The Real Meaning of Being Christian.

The Amish have said they’d like some of the money to go to the family of the killer. There was one bank account set up specifically for his family. In addition to that, the accountability committee, on behalf of the church leadership, has said that if there are needs beyond that fund, they want to make sure that some of the money that comes in designated for Nickel Mines victims [goes to the killer's family]. Nickel Mines victims include [that] family, in their definition. There are conversations about what the family's needs are, such as scholarship funds for the children. The committee will contribute as it becomes clear what the needs are.

Not being a believer, this is how I have always imagined what being a Christian was all about ... not those who use the word "christian" as a conspicuous modifier meant to improve their standing (such as: Christian Taxpayer), or those who wear it on their lapel, saying “See, I’m a Christian.” More often than not, their actions prove them liars.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Beaning Leads to Jailtime

This is pathetic.
UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A youth baseball coach accused of offering an 8-year-old money to bean an autistic teammate so he couldn't play was sentenced Thursday to one to six years in prison.

Fayette County Judge Ralph Warman sentenced 29-year-old Mark R. Downs Jr. of Dunbar, Pa. to consecutive six-to-36-month sentences for corruption of minors and criminal solicitation to commit simple assault. A jury convicted Downs in September.

Warman revoked Downs' bond and sent him to prison.

Downs didn't speak at the sentencing but told reporters "I didn't do nothing" as he was led out of the courtroom.

The win-at-all-costs mentality of the Bushies is no different than what this butthead did. In fact, the behavior exhibited by this clown is a direct result of the conservative culture war, in my opinion.

More Post-Plane Crash Thoughts

This is eerie.
You read about these things, you watch some hair-netted nitwit peer into Geraldo's camera and declare, "By golly, I was gonna go in that car with him" ... and you roll your eyes, numb to the tale's banality. Someone was always gonna go in that car with him. Or eat that burger. Or take that plane flight.

Been there ... late one night at a bar I was asked if I wanted to go on a run, middle 1970s parlance meaning "Do you want to get high?" Since I had to work early the next morning I declined.

The next day I heard that car had been driven off the road. The driver and a passenger were killed, former girlfriend and another passenger were in intensive care (both survived).

Those little decisions can make all the difference.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Being a Politician is Good for the Pocketbook

I wish I could do this.

Baghdad is Just Thrilling in the Summer

Wouldn't it be fun to visit Baghdad ... it must be nice, right? The conservative press says so. Or, just ask Bob. Maybe not.

Another Building Hit by Plane

Apparently, New York Yankees pitcher, Cory Lidle, flew his plane into a Manhattan high rise today. I did not know Lidle, except that he was a pitcher and that I had acquired him last year in my fantasy league, then traded him to another team before the beginning of this winter season.

From all accounts he was a well-liked guy who had relatively recently gotten hooked on flying. Tragically, that new-found hobby was the cause of his demise.

I can't help but think of John Kennedy, Jr. and his unhappy flight to oblivion. And I have to wonder if there is something lacking in the training of these part-time pilots ... should standards be a little tougher to acquire a pilots license?

Nevertheless, it is sad news.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

They're So Naughty

Been too busy painting the new addition to the home to blog much. However found this oldie. For my gay friends and for daddio29 and godlike Rick Esenberg (stolen from whomever referred to him as "coming down from his Olympian heights ...), presenting more of the Daily Show and the "Homometer."

Friday, October 6, 2006

Good Night

For blue collar conservative, those voting for the marriage amendment and my friend James, just to annoy him a little because I know this is his favorite song.

Parents, We're in this Together

Parenthood has a way of uniting us. This from E.J. Dionne, Jr. at Working for Change:
And, by the way, isn't it strange that politicians who expressed moral objections to the desire of adult gays and lesbians to marry seemed to take the Foley matter so lightly when it first came to their attention? Where is the morality here?

I would ask my friends who are Christian conservatives to think about this. But I'd also ask my liberal friends to be more willing to come out as family-oriented people. Gay marriage is not the greatest threat to the heterosexual family. Misbehavior and irresponsibility by married heterosexuals do far more damage to families and children. Liberals should be unafraid to embrace the language of personal responsibility. In my experience, there's not a dime's worth of difference between my morally conservative friends and neighbors and me in our attitudes toward the obligations of parenthood.






Thursday, October 5, 2006

This is Madness

h/t Jay Bullock at folkbum rambles and rants

We have a few tragic, but isolated, incidents of crazies entering and shooting up schools and suddenly the United States has become Thailand and Israel … the answer … let’s arm the teachers, Representative Frank Lasee (R-Bellevue), says. Heck, why not the National Guard. It's not like they're being overused.

The clown prince of darkness, Chris, of spottedhorse 2 fame, says: “Hell I am not saying you have to meet them in a hall way like Gary Cooper in High Noon it isn’t that hard to shoot someone in that back or even force the gunman to flee.” Me thinks Chris needs to grow out of the Cowboys and Indians phase of his adolescence, and stop watching so much TV (which accounts for his lack of social skills).

That Owen Robinson would call this a “good idea” doesn’t surprise Jay Bullock (who probably has had more experience with Owen) but it does surprise me. I thought him saner than that. Maybe his recent trip to see the Aggies play with Jed was still heavy on his mind … or his stomach, that burrito was huge.

And I read the piece that Jay alluded to at dad29’s site. I don’t agree that daddio was befouling Principal Klang’s memory, but come on, you gotta know that daddio is going to agree with Lasee. Hell, he’s probably in favor of providing guns to babies at birth. Now, thanks to daddio, I’ve got this weird image of diaper-wearing toddlers packing heat … that bulge in the diapee ain’t what it used to mean.

All fun aside for something that really isn’t that funny … introducing weaponry into schools is not the answer, nor is it a reason for conceal and carry. One wonders whether these incidents haven’t been staged just to promote that crazy idea?

No, I don’t believe that so don’t go nuts! Listen, I like Clint Eastwood as much as the next guy, but Republicans have got to get this romantic view of the American West out of their collective minds. Packing heat is not the way to go. I know how to handle a weapon and I still wouldn’t feel right holding one in public.

The amount of times a person will be required to protect oneself or family from harm is so miniscule as to be inconsequential. I’m more fearful of unbalanced people, such as a couple of bloggers who masquerade as being sane adults, being allowed to carry. Considering their responses to posts and/or comments in the blogosphere, if conceal and carry were to become law … Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It's a Brave New World

So much for our freedoms.

h/t This Modern World

Republican Ancestor Found

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Researchers on Thursday announced the discovery of the remains of a short-necked repuglosaur, a prehistoric marine reptile the size of a bus, that they believe is the first complete skeleton of a Republican ever found.

The 150 million year old remains of the 33-foot ocean going predator were found in August on the remote Svalbard Islands of the Arctic, the University of Oslo announced.

Fragments of repuglosaur have been found elsewhere, including in England, Russia, and the House of Representatives, but researchers say the partially fossilized find appears to be the first whole example, though other researchers say that Bob Dohnal may be a true descendant.

The voracious repuglosaur was like the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the oceans, except its head was much bigger. Big head reptiles, curiously, had smaller cranial capacity, hence smaller brains.

The University's Natural History Museum said the reptile was as long as a bus, with teeth larger than cucumbers ... in a head that could swallow an adult human whole, separate the minorities from the northern European humans, and send them to the back for quicker digestion.