Friday, June 30, 2006
Having said that, conspiracy theories have been around since the beginning of time ... Check out the number of books and essays surrounding the mystery of the Kennedy assassination and you get a good idea that crackpots are everywhere (though even I admit there are unanswered questions).
The University of Wisconsin system is doing the right thing to investigate Kevin Barrett’s class syllabus and materials and “ensure that his course content is academically appropriate.” [From a written statement by Provost Patrick Farrell]
However, we must also ensure that the right to speak one’s mind is not infringed, no matter how reprehensible the views.
Testimony has ended in the trial of Donald Thompson, the former judge accused of using a penis pump while presiding over an Oklahoma courtroom. According to the AP, jurors giggled at an exchange that began when a defense attorney referred to the penis pump as an out-of-date treatment for erectile dysfunction. “I still use those,” said an expert witness. "Not you, personally?" asked the lawyer. "No," replied the witness. "I recommend those as a urologist." Wait, do penis pumps really work?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Got to love the antics of conservative blowhards. They talk big about war, guns and the right for a man to determine whether a woman will carry to term, but when it comes right down to it, they’re mostly all fakes. They promise you nothing and they deliver. Read this most excellent article by Dennis Jensen about Teddy Nugent, top five lame ass conservative chickenhawk …
Don't you just love the Nuge?
Here's a true-blue, red-blooded guy that any patriotic American could really get behind.Ted Nugent is an avid hunter, a member of the National Rifle Association and hosts two outdoor shows. Every time he takes the stage, Nugent can be seen waving the American flag at his rock concerts. And he's not afraid to say what he thinks.
The Nuge is also a big fan of the current war in Iraq.
In fact, the 57-year-old rocker also "told it like it is" during the Vietnam War. Here's Ted on what he would have done if he went to Vietnam:"… if I would have gone over there, I'd have been killed, or I'd have killed, or I'd kill all the hippies in the foxholes … I would have killed everybody," he told the Detroit Free Press in an interview published July 15, 1990.
Fortunately, for our hero, Ted didn't go to Vietnam. And how Ted managed to avoid the draft makes President Bush look like a war hero. In that 1990 interview with the Free Press and from information collected from the Chickenhawk Web site, Nugent told about how he avoided the draft: "He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment."
Read more here.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
You see, my wife is 12 weeks pregnant and we saw the ultrasound pictures of our baby a week ago. The baby is just 2.5 centimeters long. The baby was quiet at first, but then s/he began kicking and moving about. I was transfixed by the show. Life is so incredible.
On the way home, those pictures evoked a discussion with my wife (who is rather conservative by the way) about abortion. We are both pro-choice, but we could not help but question some of the tenets of what we believe after seeing our baby.
Robinson nicely lined up all the points of our discussion in his, but most importantly he asked as did we: when does life begin? He decided that that life begins at conception. I tend to agree with him, but that still does not change the fact for me that it should only be the woman’s choice to continue or end a pregnancy.
I would prefer to see abortions so few that the only times they are performed are in cases of harm to the woman or rape (more on this). However, I cannot go so far to make it illegal. I am not a woman and cannot ever know how gut wrenching it must be to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.
I do feel disgust, though, with Robinson’s decision that women who have been raped have no recourse. He’s right; he will never have to face that decision. He’s not a woman. Here’s hoping one of his daughters or his wife never has to face that decision either. Or will they be good little troopers like Robinson?
Here’s hoping that Robinson never has to experience watching his daughters or wife go through the psychological and physical agony of carrying to term the reminder of the day hell descended on them.
I’ll bet he couldn’t do it. He’s lying if he says he could!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Same parents or same tailor? A case could be made for the latter. And, both are kind of conservative and live in lands that don't like foreigners (people who don't look like them). Serious hair issues, though. I think James has the wit advantage. However, Kim has a bigger army.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Baby Rock had his/her first ultrasound this afternoon (June 19, 2006). Measuring in at a whopping 5cm (2 inches) from head to butt. The heart could be seen beating strongly at a normal fetal rate of 162 beats per minute. We won't be able to hear the heartbeat until next month. The male/female question will not be answered until August or September. S/he was motionless at first but then did jump up and down several times while the technician was trying to get pictures (typical of a kid, right?).
The due date from our first appointment was estimated at 1/9/07. Based on the ultrasound, I might be slightly ahead of that, maybe 1/3/07. Since it isn't an accurate science (Baby Rock will make his/her appearance whenever s/he darn well feels like it), the official date still stands at 1/9.
I think it's a boy. Tim thinks it's a girl. 2 weeks ago we each thought the opposite. I've consulted 3 chinese birth charts. One says it is a boy. Two say it is a girl. Since Tim is "older" as fathers go, there is a slightly higher chance (53% or 58% - can't remember now) that it will be a boy. The girl name stands at Sophie right now. The boy name is Kellen. Lots of time left to get your vote in.
I am doing very well. I need to start eating better (read that as "MORE VEGETABLES!"). The nausea lessens every day. I still am tired a lot but I do have moments during the day where I feel energetic. Maternity clothes don't fit yet. But Tim's shirt and a pair of sweat pants are more comfortable than any other clothes of mine at this point.
Tim is doing well. I think he would say there are only moments of hormonal instability during the course of a day. Abby says my belly is only a little bit bigger. And Ian is still hoping for a boy. Max and Molly have no idea what's coming.
We spent Tuesday and most of Wednesday cutting grass, cutting branches, spreading mulch, cleaning the garage and the house (all of Tim’s summer chores are now done). On Wednesday night, Craig Freeman, Russ Rich, his wife Cindy and their daughter Jackie arrived and we drank beer and played cards until the wee hours.
After a misadventure by Craig and I (we tried to find the local KFC, wound up heading toward Wisconsin Dells and finally settled on take out at a local bar … after a couple of drinks), we tried playing some Texas Hold’em (Tim and I held our own playing this game Tuesday night at a local bar, the same one Craig and I visited).
Since we were not playing for money, betting was a bit irregular. We tried adding “stigma” to betting out of hand by awarding black chips to those who had to “buy” more. All of us having had a few to drink, “stigma” instead became the unofficial “word” of LarchFest 2006, along with “Stella” and “hot beef.” We laughed until tears flowed from our eyes.
I guess you had to be there.
More larchers arrived on Thursday, including my wife, Kelly and the two kiddies, Ian and Abby. But it wasn’t until Friday that LarchFest begin in earnest, when the bulk of the regular larchers arrived -- about 30 in total. The backgammon tournament was begun and a trip to Devils Lake was made so the kiddies could get some swimming and beach time. The rest of the evening was spent drinking, eating, reminiscing and joking around. But really, on everyone’s minds was the big event the next day.
Saturday was planned as the big Birthday party for the five guys who graduated in 1974 from high school in West Bend: Dave Shallow (a real “rocket scientist” who could not make it because of a launch scheduled in the Pacific), Craig Freeman, Tim Rock, Tim Heilman and Russ Rich.
This was the reason LarchFest was held at Tim Heilman’s home instead of our usual camp place. Many more family members and friends had been invited and it was thought Tim’s place was better because of its relative central location in Wisconsin and because it still provided plenty of room for campers.
We anticipated anywhere from 80 to 100 people showing up for the birthday celebration, so Heilman and Rock rose abnormally early on Saturday (just a little hung over) and began the final preparations for the big shindig.
Craig was there by noon. Lillian Rich, Kelly Rock and others provided additional assistance.
The tents were risen, the grill, tables and chairs were set up, food, utensils, condiments, beer were purchased … more beer was drunk.
The highlight Saturday was the band “Tracks Outta Town.” The guys were incredible. They even let my daughter, Abby, join in on tambourines ... and later, John, son of Gary and Sarah Heilman joined them and did a terrific job on drums, finishing with a fast riff that drew a round of applause.
During the day, the backgammon tournament continued and the kids played volleyball in the background. At night, with alcohol finally seeping into their brains, revelers got out onto the grassy area in front of the band and began to dance.
Finally, the four "old guys" were saluted with cheers, jeers and some fun gifts.
Afterward, Russ defeated his sister Sarah for the backgammon title and became Larch Master for 2007. Next year, up north!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
by Christopher Brennan (1870-1932)
If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.
Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.
For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?
Then seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.
Happy first anniversary my love, Tim
Friday, June 16, 2006
There will likely be conservatives and liberals in attendance. We didn't have to pretend to be nice, or act like lap dogs, to invite the conservatives, they were already our friends (heck, my wife numbers herself among conservatives ... but she's much smarter than most of them, she married me).
Anyway, scanned through a number of blogs and while there is plenty to blog about, don't feel like it. Enjoy the weekend.
Oh, I've thought of doing this for a while. Below is a list of my favorite blogs (in no particular order). These bloggers write with style.
The Xoff Files
Liberal voice with an attitude. Doesn't back down from the hacks and has skin the thickness of a rhinocerous (his words).
folkbum's rambles and rants
A more gentle liberal voice from the viewpoint of an educator (I'd want him as my kids' teacher). Not afraid to take on the forces of evil (McIlheran). And, his Friday Random Ten introduces me to music I've likely not heard.
A newer entry and old college buddy, Mike Mathias. We actually both ran for editorship of the UWM Post many years ago. Mike was victorious, but not by that much. Excellent writer and by all accounts, great husband and father. Good to be in contact with again.
Above the Borderline
These guys are crazy. Jim Nelson leads this pack of western Wisconsin bloggers who are not afraid to duke it out with the forces of evil, and with humor.
Wigderson's Library & Pub
James Wigderson. Shameless promoter (I mean that well) and active conservative and conservative writer. He has a Thursday column in the Waukesha Freeman that is a must read, even if you disagree. His humor is edgy ... and my mom likes him.
Shark and Shepherd
I don't agree often with Rick Esenberg, lawyer and teacher at Marquette. But he brings a decisiveness to his writing that, regardless of what side you're on, is refreshing. I simply like to read his posts, though I often gnash my teeth at the end of them. Nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.
The Happy Circumstance
Grumps. The name he uses for his posts suggests someone elderly. His writing suggests something else ... vibrant and standing up for what's right (yuck, I didn't really use Syke's line). But grumps is always fun to read and gives good comment.
Max and Molly's Mom
What can I say, my wife is beautiful in every way and I am truly blessed.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Jay Bullock, author of folkbum's rambles and rants, took McIlheran to task with a piece titled "Hey Gays, Go Back in the Closet and Let me Insult You." I thought it was funny ... and to the point.
Back came McIlheran and this time he backed up his play with a quote from a post by Rick Esenberg, Catholic lawyer ubiquitous. Below is the quote with an intro from McIlheran (which is pertinent to my response ... gee, this is fun):
Esenberg is responding to a response, that of blogger Jay Bullock, who didn’t
like my comments, saying it’s because I must not like gay people. Actually,
Jay, it depends on the gay person. Some are nice, some aren’t, and their gaiety
doesn’t seem to have much to do with it.
Esenberg points out — and I’m going to quote him at length, because he says it so well — that there are people who “may have gay friends and may accept gays and lesbians in all walks of life. They may support civil unions, or at least are willing to
honor and respect gay and lesbian relationships. ...”
“But somewhere, in ways that they may not be able to articulate, they do
not believe that homosexuality is ‘just as good as’ or ‘essentially the same as’
heterosexuality. Maybe its a deeply embedded preference for relationships that
continue the species (wouldn’t evolutionary biologists expect this?) or maybe
it’s an innate belief that heterosexual relationships are complementary; uniting
the two parts of the human family (the Roman Catholic view). In that sense,
homosexuality is to be accepted, but heterosexuality is the norm and, perhaps,
something to be hoped for.
“So many people I know would fully accept their children as gays or
lesbians, but are glad that they are not.“Are such people bigots? Are they in
need of reeducation?”
Apart from the flippant use of the word “gaiety” which nails Patrick McIlheran’s bigotry to the wall, Rick Esenberg’s comment is interesting. I suspect Esenberg is speaking more for his group of friends than the general populace. I can believe that his group of friends would have an innate belief that homosexuals are not as good as heterosexuals and that they are essentially not the same as heterosexuals. It’s pretty obvious from his previous writings and from the position of the Roman Catholic church of which he is a member.
Does it mean that he and his friends are bigots? No, I don’t think so. I have a younger brother who is gay and I do not claim to understand the why either. But, there is the difference. My group of friends and family don’t even bother with the questions that Esenberg posts. We don’t have the answers … it’s a biological, perhaps cosmic thing and we are not meant to understand.
And, I’m sure Esenberg is right about some parents being relieved their children are not homosexual? They’re probably relieved though, not because of any shame, but probably because they don’t have to worry about bigots like McIlheran diminishing their children and relegating them to being objects for flippant comments and to second-class citizenship.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Good evening ladies and gentlemen [Zarqawi].
Tonight I want to [Zarqawi] speak to you about the recent gains [Zarqawi] we have made in[Zarqawi] Iraq. Our troops have a done a [Zarqawi] magnificent job putting down the [Zarqawi] insurgency, helping Iraqi citizens [Zarqawi] move towards a normal and safe [Zarqawi] understanding of how to live in a [Zarqawi] democracy.
That’s all and thank you [Zarqawi] for listening. Remember 9-11.
Friday, June 9, 2006
Thursday, June 8, 2006
If this can happen with dead chihuahuas, imagine what a gun would do.
"... went to the breeder’s home, pushed her way inside and began fighting with the breeder as she tried to make her way to the basement to get another puppy, police said.
The breeder wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing police.
As the woman drove away, she waved the dead puppy out of the car’s sunroof and
yelled threats at the breeder, police said. She later called the breeder and threatened her and her family, according to court records."
For the entire story, click here.
Below is an example of the new semi-automatic chihuahua that is a favorite of neocons in SE Wisconsin.
And one oblivious blogger named Chris even suggested that because he could not find any references to the passing of the anniversary of D-Day on any liberal blogs that we don't care about the sacrifice.
What a pathetic attempt. Let alone the fact that his site was the only one to carry any pictures or commentary that I could find, I guess the bulk of the neocon bloggers are lame asses too.
I would like to suggest to wingnuts who tried to revise history, and to Chris, you are all wet. If I recall from my history, the Dems were in power, which would have made the conservatives the opposition party. Thus, the conservatives would have been in the position of whiner.
Having got that off my chest, the fact is the country was united in its goal to defeat the curses named Hitler and Hirohito. To compare the fiasco in Iraq, as some have, with that noble event is absurd and dishonest.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Thomas H. Huxley:
Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.
Saint Francis de Sales:
You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.
A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Lou Ann Walker:
Theories and goals of education don't matter a whit if you don't consider your students to be human beings.
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.
Finley Peter Dunne:
Ye can lead a man up to the university, but you can't make him think.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Men weren't really the enemy -- they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.
In the faces of men and women I see God.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Out in the cheddarsphere, I imagined I heard all the little neocon bloggers braying in unison, "Uh huh, Uh huh. Uh, huh."
News flash to Charlie and his Wingnuts, the reason the allleged murders of Iraqis by Marines receives more attention is because ... duh, the deaths are alleged to have been caused by US! You and me. The Marines represent us. They're Americans.
The deaths of the other nine are not diminished by the fact their passing receives less coverage. But, we are, in the words of Ronald Reagan, that "shining city on a hill." We should be above this kind of behavior.
Just more stupid commentary by Charlie intended to incite his herd.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Jerry. Larry is survived by his cousins, Harry, Gary and Sompe (my daughter's gerbil).
Rest in peace, Larry.
Monday, June 5, 2006
I just feel used by him. Just a gut feeling that maybe, just maybe, I’ve not been told everything. Often, it’s because of the sources he uses to lend authenticity to his arguments, like WorldNetDaily, and the Heritage Foundation. Nothing unbiased from those two.
The same occurred today while reading his blog piece about civil liberties. Somehow, anything the Bush Administration has done or is alleged to have done regarding the total disdain for our liberties, he claims, is wiped away by the weird case of a former nuclear weapons scientist accused of spying. The government is paying him a truckload of cash because it has been determined that his civil liberties were violated.
The key here that makes all the Bush no-nos go away is this nuclear scientist was accused during the Clinton years (at the tail end of his term).
Those naughty Clintons.
Anyway, Jay Bullock puts McIlheran in his place, once again, and reveals that Paddy-Mac is bending the truth ever so slightly. Did I say bending? I meant dodging.
I’m betting that Limbaugh had this entire thing set up and had to backtrack only when the unexpected happened … the Pentagon and the Air Force said the caller never existed.
Read the account from Media Matters by clicking here.
But JSOnline Daywatch is now reporting that "Octaviano Juarez-Corro is a "legal permanent resident of the United States with a green card," according to Gail Montenegro, spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Chicago. I wonder if we will hear any apologies from the righties who indicted an entire group of people because of the alleged actions of this slug.
Probably not, the chance at a cheap shot was too good to pass up. Point in fact, if the shooting had been done by anyone other than a Mexican, the response from the right side of the chedaarsphere would have been relatively muted.
Sunday, June 4, 2006
Common conservative blogger: “Good golly, gee whiz, Shoeshine boy. If only Underdog were here. We sure need him to rid our public facilities of video cameras and unwanted citizens of the district. And why, oh why, didn't any liberal bloggers come to my party? I promised to only wound them."
Shoeshine boy: "You're right common conservative blogger. Oh no, by golly, those kinds of people aren’t welcome and, maybe, it was your deodorant.”
Sweet Polly Purebred struts to the side of Shoeshine boy.
Sweet Polly Purebred: “I know, Shoeshine boy and common conservative blogger, we sorely need him. It’s frustrating and, apparently, he’s nowhere to be found. We so desperately need new Autobahns, illegal questioning of applicants for jobs, and I need a high profile job to help my husband, Simon Barsinister, get elected big bad dog on the block.
A car careens and swerves in front of Sweet Polly Purebred and Shoeshine boy, and stops on top of common conservative blogger. Inside is Simon Barsinister, mad scientist, quirky parliamentarian and husband to Sweet Polly Purebred.
Simon Barsinister: “I know what to do, release the hounds, and look to the sky.”
Heroic music and then …
Underdog: “There’s no need to fear! Underdog is here!”
Underdog: State Sen. Tom Reynolds
Shoeshine boy: Peter DiGaudio
Common Conservative Blogger: Chris
Ace reporter Sweet Polly Purebred: Jessica McBride
Mad scientist Simon Barsinister: Paul Bucher
I cannot place his voice. It’s from a movie. I cannot think of the actor’s name or the name of the movie. Anyone out there who can figure it out let me know (actually might be a cartoon character, which would be fitting).
In the meanwhile, I will be at Tom Terrific’s next town hall meeting armed … with my video camera.
Thursday, June 1, 2006
The number of illegals in our county jails and state and federal prisons isWhat does the number of thugs in prison have to even remotely do with the vast majority who truly came here to start a new life? The answer is … Nothing.
astounding. When the majority of the outstanding murder warrants in Milwaukee
are for illegal aliens who have fled the country and gone back to Mexico, the
false, misleading picture of the "hard-working immigrant who fled here for a
chance at a better life" disappears.
Unfortunately, their efforts for a new life are obscured by the prison minority DiGaudio refers to and by DiGaudio and the racists in our midst.
Is DiGaudio saying that the number of African-Americans in prison causes the picture of hard-working African-American citizens to disappear?
Is he saying that the picture of the hard-working Asian is a myth because some have committed crimes?
How about the hard-working Caucasian? Well, that’s just silly, right, Peter?
This from conservative commentator John Gibson during his “My Word” segment of the May 30 edition of Fox News' The Big Story:
"I'm against massacres of civilians. I think we all are."
How noble of you, John.