Monday, February 26, 2007

Conservatives and Rationality

Tom Tomorrow

Sounds About Right

This has probably been winging its way around the world on the Internet for some time now. However, my sister sent it to me and I thought it funny.

A Japanese company (Toyota ) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the "Rowing Team Quality First Program", with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was outsourced to India.

The End.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gun Nuts Are Weird

Gun nuts are … well, nuts. I’ve no problem with 2nd Amendment rights, but have always been against the ownership of assault rifles. I see no reason for them. One of their own criticizes the use of these and he is set upon by the NRA … like a pack of rabid dogs.

SEATTLE - Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Not a Composition

The macabre fixation on the woman who had no talent, Anna Nicole Smith, continues unabated. Now, the wrangling resulting in continued delay of burial is affecting her remains.

Since it is a bit much to want to watch Anna wither away, follow the link below to a site that will provide more information than you care on the process of decomposition.

Decomposition of a corpse is a continual process that can take from weeks to years, depending on the environment. In this website we have divided the process into stages, which are characterised by particular physical conditions of the corpse and the presence of particular animals. To illustrate the process of decomposition, we use the piglet as the model corpse.

Why piglets?

A 40 kg pig resembles a human body in its fat distribution, cover of hair and ability to attract insects. These factors make pigs the next best things to humans when it comes to understanding the process of decay of the human body.

The pigs in this website are newborn piglets (weighing about 1.5 kg) that have been accidentally crushed by their mothers - a key cause of death of piglets. Their bodies have been donated to science.

Call Me in the Morning

I am not sure exactly how it works, but this is amazingly accurate. Read the full description before looking at the picture.

The picture below has two identical dolphins in it. It was used in a case study on stress levels at St. Mary 's Hospital.

Look at both dolphins jumping out of the water. The dolphins are identical. A closely monitored, scientific study revealed that, in spite of the fact that the dolphins are identical, a person under stress would find differences in the two dolphins.

The more differences a person finds between the dolphins, the more stress that person is experiencing. Look at the photograph and if you find more than one or two differences you may want to take a holiday.

I need a vacation.

Hate Is Not a Family Value

I don’t know how dislike or hate are manifested. I don't have a degree in psychology or sociology. I have opinions. However, before delving into those, I think I will spend some time recording some thoughts I have had of late.

My inner thoughts are not pure as the driven snow. I suspect they are not very different from others … I mean, how different are we really in our thoughts? Not like we’ll ever know, it’s really how we act on these thoughts and impulses that delineates us from each other.

I’m going to make some confessions … some public confessions that may expose me to ridicule, to some these confessions will be the height of hypocrisy, perhaps others will see themselves in these confessions. I don’t know. These confessions, these – not epiphanies, more like discordant voices – are my own. They belong to me, no one else. I imply nothing for anyone else.

I don’t understand why or how a person is gay. I find the idea of the homosexual sexual act between males repugnant. I find it less repugnant when females are involved and I find the idea of anal intercourse not repugnant at all when a woman and man are involved. Why is this? It’s not very flattering and I am ashamed that it is true. But it is true.

I have used the word faggot in anger, most recently to my younger brother, who is gay. We had an argument. It got heated and I said it. Calling him a faggot broke the tension and we both started laughing, yet it is a hurtful word. I have thought the word when I have seen a man whose appearance or actions were overly effeminate. I’ve thought other hurtful words regarding woman who looked overly mannish … I’ve likely verbalized them as well, though privately or with associates of mine in a joking manner. Why is this?

I am not proud of this.

I also confess to being less than charitable in my thoughts towards blacks, African-Americans, Afro-Americans, negroes, niggers … there are many other variations and I’ve thought them all (other than some vague regional variations that I may not have come in contact with). Just the fact there are so many variations convinces me that I am not alone with my disturbing thoughts. I have been cut-off by a black person while driving on the highway and have used that really awful phrase … damn nigger. I have assumed that a person driving like an idiot was a nigger, only to find it was not true.

When walking in a mall, and I see a number of young black males walking toward me, I am usually more cautious and more prone to think that they are up to no good, or are lazy, or sell drugs, rape kill steal plunder … etc. Why is this?

I am not proud of this.

I do not find myself thinking thoughts such as these when regarding people of Asian descent nor people of Hispanic descent. I seem to have avoided that. Why is this?

So, there, I have said it. Now, the fact is I have many friends who are black. I enjoy their company and feel completely at ease with them. I don’t think of them as black. Ever. Just as friends. I have had black people over for supper, as guests, and have gone on outings with them. I dated a few beautiful black women … years ago. So why these thoughts?

As I mentioned earlier, I have a younger brother who is gay. I love him dearly. He’s a goofball and he would be the picture in a dictionary for the entry (if there were one) of a liberal looking at the world through rose-colored glasses. He does not read or listen to the news because of all the hateful things that are reported. He is always there to help, often when it has not been asked for … which can sometimes be very annoying. He’s a very loving and good person.

I have met numerous friends of his. One friend is somewhat confused about his-her-his sexuality … yes, I have seen this individual as a male and in the process of becoming a female. And then back again. It’s odd to me why. I don’t understand it and likely never will.

I have met homosexuals who are flamers, limp-wrested and who shake hands like Greta Garbo, you know, palm down with fingertips extended and quickly withdrawn. I’ve met others whom I would not want to meet on a football field for fear of being run over.

Where do these “uglinesses” come from. Certainly one is not born with these pre-determined within us. My seven-week old daughter harbors no prejudices towards gays or blacks. She cares only to be held, fed, changed, and nurtured in a loving way. My two other children, 11 and 6 years old are the same way. They have been brought up in a household that is accepting of others. They love my younger brother and they have black “uncles” who are very special to them.

I grew up in a time and geographical place which was more suspicious of blacks and dismissive of gays. There were none that lived near us. My father was very conservative (not a slap at conservatives, just a fact). His parents were the same. My grandmother could be very gracious if she met a black woman (very rare in the Fox Valley back then), but in the next breath would tell my little sister, upon hearing she was dating a person who was American Indian, that she did not want any black babies.

I remember Dad making derogatory comments about men who appeared a bit too “swishy,” and yet upon hearing one of his sons was gay, admitted that while he did not understand it, he still loved him. I’ve also heard him say similar vulgarities about blacks, usually when watching news on the television, and then be generous and gracious when meeting a black executive, even inviting him to our home.

It’s a weird world we live in.

It’s been a long journey from growing up in a place that only knew blacks existed on television, and gays did not exist, except in their closets. Change is always hard. I feel strongly that blacks still need assistance in gaining equality in our society. I am equally saddened and appalled by the strife in our inner city. It’s easy to say that “they” need to take responsibility and pull themselves up by their bootstraps, without standing in those boots. For the vast majority of whites, the life of an inner city black kid is as foreign as the culture of a foreign land. Quite simply, blacks in our inner cities do not have the same opportunities as we have had. I cannot say with any kind of certainty what the answer is to the death and poverty in our inner city, yet so many think they can and do … but they say these things from a point of view that has no relation to the one they are commenting about. The same goes for homosexuals and the irrational assault on the wishes of many of them to enjoy the same rights as their countrymen, and marry the person they have fallen in love with.

It really comes down to fear. I was taught that somehow blacks and homosexuals were different. Their difference was what was feared. Only by teaching and raising our children in an atmosphere of love and respect will these fears be put to rest. Only then will my children … our children … not have to face the task of introspection and try to come to terms with the ugliness and anger that reside within.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. – Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Love Has No Boundaries

A virile, middle-aged Italian gentleman named Guido was relaxing at his favorite bistro in Rome when he managed to entice a spectacular young blonde woman to his table. Things progressed to the point where he invited her back to his apartment and, after some small talk, they retired to his bedroom where he "rattled her" senseless.

After a most pleasant interlude he asked with a smile, "So, you finish?" She paused for a second, frowned, and replied, "No." Surprised, Guido reached for her and the rattling resumed. This time she thrashed about wildly and there were screams of passion.

The performance finally ended and, again, Guido smiled and asked, "You finish?"Again, after a short pause, she returned his smile, cuddled closer to him and softly said, "No." Stunned, but damned if he was going to leave this woman dissatisfied, Guido reached for her yet again.

Using the last of his strength, he barely managed it, but they ended together screaming, bucking, clawing and ripping the bed sheets. Exhausted, Guido fell onto his back, gasping. Hardly able to turn his head, he looked into her eyes, smiled proudly and asked again, "You finish?"

Barely able to speak, the beautiful blond whispered in his ear, "No, I Norvegian".

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This Had to be Painful

I don't know if anyone else saw this, but I was flipping through stations and came upon the final part of Wayne Newton's act just before the beginning of the NBA all-star game. Who thought having Wayne Newton perform was a good idea, other than blue-haired grandmas, Fred Dooley or maybe dad29? You know, natural NBA fans.

At the conclusion of his act there were, maybe, one or two isolated claps from the audience. Newton didn't know what to do. He finally turned and walked off, still waiting for a couple more huzzahs to the end. None came.

I almost felt bad.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How Can Anyone Be Okay With This?

In the words of a local conservative blogger (I'll keep his name out of this, no reason to pile on) who supports Bush policies every chance he gets ... "I'm okay with this." I wonder if he is really okay with THIS.

h/t This Modern World

At the Morgue.

We were asked to send the next of kin to whom the remains of my nephew, killed on Monday in a horrific explosion downtown, can be handed over. The young men of the family, as was customary, rose to go.

“NO!” cried his mother. “Isn’t my son enough?? Must we lose more of our youth?? You know there are unknowns who wait at the Morgue to either kill or kidnap the men who dare reach its doors. I will go.”

So we went, his mum, his other aunt and I.

I was praying all the way there.

I never thought a day would come when it was the women of the family, who would be safer on the roads. All the men are potential terrorists it seems, and are therefore to be cut down on sight. This is the logic of today, is it not? To kill evil before it even has a chance to take root.

When we got there, we were given his remains. And remains they were. From the waist down was all they could give us. “We identified him by the cell phone in his pants’ pocket. If you want the rest, you will just have to look for yourselves. We don’t know what he looks like.”

Now begins a horror that surpasses anything I could have possibly envisioned .We were led away, and before long a foul stench clogged my nose and I retched. With no more warning we came to a clearing that was probably an inside garden at one time; all round it were patios and rooms with large-pane windows to catch the evening breeze Baghdad is renowned for. But now it had become a slaughterhouse, only instead of cattle, all around were human bodies. On this side; complete bodies; on that side halves; and EVERYWHERE body parts.

We were asked what we were looking for, “ upper half” replied my companion, for I was rendered speechless. “Over there”. We looked for our boy’s broken body between tens of other boys’ remains’; with our bare hands sifting them and turning them.

We found him millennia later, took both parts home, and began the mourning ceremony.

Can Hollywood match our reality?? I doubt it.

"Inside Iraq" chronicles daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Important information from my mother ... never fart in a wet suit.

They're Just Not Funny

A new show on Fox News ... the 1/2 Hour News Hour. Apparently it's Fox News' version of the Daily Show, determined to provide the conservative side of comendy. Pans of the show are already coming in ... that the laughter is canned and doesn't make any sense with what is occurring on screen, and gay penguins are funny? Tom Tomorrow had this to say:

A preview of Fox’s other foray into “comedy” (adding: don’t miss the link to a second clip at the bottom of the post). The thing that really strikes me, apart from the utter lack of anything remotely resembling humor, is that the notion of a news channel producing a fake news show seemed like a good idea to anyone — especially a news channel which is already widely criticized for producing fake news. I mean, Comedy Central can do this because it is a comedy network. Fox is ostensibly a news network (albeit one which features “news” anchor John Gibson, who also hosts a partisan radio talk show, and a former “reporter” like Tony Snow, who was able to seamlessly segue into his role as White House press secretary). Point is, it makes sense for a comedy network to produce a fake news show. For Fox to do so serves only to underscore what a joke the rest of their supposed “news” operation is.

Apart from that, the flaw in the entire premise is the idea that the liberal bias of the Daily Show must be countered. I mean, I have no doubt that Jon Stewart is a liberal, in a pleasant, middle of the road, sensible kind of way, but a hardcore partisan he is not. If and when we ever see a Democratic administration again, the Daily Show will skewer them just as relentlessly as they do the Bushies. And I’m going to go way out on a limb here and predict that it’ll be much funnier than anything the Fox Fake News and Pretend Comedy Channel can come up with.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm Sorry, I Didn't Know

Working for Change

I'm Not to Blame

h/t Jonathon Schwarz

Because I am so pissed off because of the stupid Amanda Marcotte brouhaha and because I’m sooooo concerned that some conservative bloggers will read something I write and scream “hate speech,” I have decided to consider hiring Dennis Perrin. He says:

For an affordable, privately-negotiated fee, I’ll allow you to insert my name in your blog archives, making me the source of any or all hostile opinions you may have typed in the heat of the moment. When your political enemies are searching for something that can embarrass your candidate, instead of finding this:

The crypto-fascist Christers are trying to shove their blood-stained crucifix up our collective ass.

They’ll see this:

The crypto-fascist Christers are trying to shove their blood-stained crucifix up our collective ass,’ said Dennis Perrin, discussing the GOP’s 2008 campaign strategy.

Isn't capitalism wonderful?

Too Bad

Considering Catholic opposition to gay marriage, choice and the often negative role it has played in the lives of millions for centuries (all in the name of politics and power), I have this to say to those Catholics offended by Amanda Marcotte's exercise in free speech:

Boo hoo.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The End of the Dark Ages

TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas state Board of Education on Tuesday repealed science guidelines questioning evolution that had made the state an object of ridicule.

The new guidelines reflect mainstream scientific views of evolution and represent a political defeat for advocates of “intelligent design,” who had helped write the standards that are being jettisoned.

At least until the next election.

Odd Like Daddy

Our baby girl is soothed by the running of my wife's hair dryer. So we have made a tape recording of it.

Friday, February 9, 2007

A Putz Again

Paddy Mac doesn’t like Jay Bullock. The Macmeister’s blog post titled: So, Folkbum, is 'mother...' how you want your religion referred to?, is so waggish and drips of so much pathos that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Basically, Mac-the-dull-knife attempts to take folkbum to task for supporting John Edward’s blogger, Amanda Marcotte. He says this about her: “She is not about being colorful and outspoken in support of some view. She is about insulting Catholicism in gutter terms.” Fine. Edward's choice (sorry, not a very bright choice, though). But, this from the same guy who said Ann Coulter could be “mean.” MEAN.

A little perspective, please.

Of course, the Macman, who is a quiver short of being a full arrow, leaves himself open to this thought … what about the pious Muslims in the world who might not like having their faith dragged through the gutter, or does pathos only work one way?

Piss off, Putzmeister. And, your prose is still too gooey.

Mea Culpa

Yes, I admit it. I go over the top sometimes. I am truly trying to be better and so, with much humility, I must say that the last line in the post "Limbaugh Again" was really uncalled for. I have no proof whatsoever that conservatives drool, or nod their heads in unison and mutter "Uh huh" whenever the voice of Limbaugh comes within hearing range.

So absent any proof, I apologize to all conservatives who do not drool. To those who do, get a mop.

But it was fun imagery while it lasted.

FYI: I'm reading a book written by John Brunner and titled "The Sheep Look Up." It's the story of the future, a future in which breathing the air at lower altitudes is painful, and only the poor drink tap water.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Limbaugh Again

From the February 5 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: And before we go to the break here, folks, I've got to get something off my chest. You know, the game was the game. And the game was what it was. But I - I can't handle anymore press criticism of Rex Grossman. They're writing his name W-R-E-C-K-S. They're just -- worst quarterback ever to play in the Super Bowl. And it's been like this since the Green Bay game -- actually since the Arizona game, a little crescendo of it in the Green Bay game, the last game of the season for the Bears. And it's just unrelenting! It's just -- they're focusing on this guy like they don't focus on anybody! And I tell you, I know what it is. The media, the sports media, has got social concerns that they are first and foremost interested in, and they're dumping on this guy -- Rex Grossman -- for one reason, folks, and that's because he is a white quarterback.

Limbaugh knows he is being viewed and probably recorded, and yet he continues to spew this racist nonsense. The sad thing is that wing-nuts everywhere are nodding their heads in unison, drool oozing from the corners of their mouths and muttering “Uh huh.”

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Can You Say Bigot

Patrick McIlheran and Thomas Sowell once again show their true colors in the “marriage” debate. I don’t have a problem their nitpicking about the stats used in a story that claimed that only 51% of women were married, the story, I guess, insinuating that marriage as an institution is fading away. I do have a problem with this sentence:

“In one way or another, however, the left has for more than two centuries tried to undermine families -- including today redefining the words ‘marriage’ and ‘family’ to include whatever kind of people want to live together in whatever way for whatever reason.

Whatever kind of people? The sentence would have worked perfectly well if the word “whomever” had been used instead. No, the use of this phrase enunciates quite clearly what Sowell and McIlheran think of gays … somehow they are a different kind of people.

Both should be ashamed, but you know that won’t happen. Both obsfuscate. Because, it’s not liberals who are tearing down the institution of marriage. It’s multiple divorce people like Newt Gingrich, Charlie Sykes, etc. who are doing it fine all by themselves.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Changed My Mind

Nah, decided not to make a post regarding Rush Limbaugh's blatant racism. I'll let Media Matters do it.

From the February 1 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

"U.S. blacks -- young U.S. blacks believe in politics, according to a new study. "Many U.S. blacks are as confident" -- and we're talking about the clean ones here, folks, I must stipulate this -- young, clean U.S. blacks -- "believe in politics. Many young U.S. blacks are as confident as their white and Hispanic peers that they can use politics to make things better, but a majority of young blacks feel alienated from today's government." Why would that be? The government's been taking care of them their whole lives. Why would they feel alienated from -- maybe "today's government" means the Bush administration.

Hey, I Went to J-School

This is for my wing-nut friends who truly believe they are doing the job the MSM used to do (so they say). So, I thought I would do some investigative reporting on my own. Here's my scoop for Monday, February 5, 2007.

It's really, really cold outside.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Rejoice in the Winds of Prayer

Follow the farting preacher.

Cats Are Smarter

If only our dogs could be trained. Max used the carpet the other day, the little bastard.

Old Crabby

That ideologically moribund old crustacean, Cal Thomas, has pissed me off again. His latest diatribe is against those who protested against Vietnam, and now exercise their right to protest the excesses of the Bush administration in Iraq. His target? It’s an old and useful one for soulless crabs like Cal … the elite(?).

He addresses the protestors, who recently showed up in Washington to express their anger. He calls them “aging hippies” and says that they are responsible for hundreds of thousands, nay, possibly millions of deaths after the end of Vietnam, and now are encouraging the enemy in the same way in Iraq.

He calls them the “pampered generation that eschewed self control for self indulgence (not to be confused with Dick “I had other priorities” Cheney, who could not be bothered).” Cal calls them vain for idealistically wanting to end war, racism, hunger, etc. Cal proclaims that it was all about them.


Cal is the crab that wouldn’t, couldn’t shut up. If Cal had the wherewithal, Vietnam would still be fought. Never mind the hundreds of thousands, nay, possibly millions of deaths that would have occurred in Vietnam had the war continued in the manner that Cal and his minions wanted. Never mind a land maimed beyond repair, it's rivers polluted with death-inducing chemicals, it's plant life crushed, flattened. Nope, the deaths caused because of the bombs dropped, bullets shot and the multitude of other death-causing devices in the glorious arsenal that man built would not have been Cal’s fault. He would have found a way to blame that on the left, too.

A Cal column would not be complete without a stab at Hollywood. These lines from the book of Cal are especially odious:

Hollywood is the land of make-believe where love means never having to say you're sorry and acting means never having to take responsibility for your words and behavior, which are written and directed by others. These stars live behind gates with security alarms and guards to protect their privileged lives.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the double entendre Cal obliviously makes. I mean, the entire run of conservative governance from Reagan forward to Shrub has been one of not taking responsibility for words and behavior. Conservatism means never having to say you’re sorry for obfuscation of the truth. Heck, if you’re the Shrub, nothing you say is original anyway, ask Rove. Oh, and next time down the road, ask Ollie North how is personal home security system built with taxpayer dollars is functioning.


Cal rebukes the Hollywood types, but when convenient uses them to try and make a point. Proving that fantasy is not just for perverts, Cal uses the "vision" of the hit television show, 24, to make his point that they’re out to get us. Earth to Cal. No one has ever said differently. We know that terrorism is a threat to the world. It’s just that we, most of us, believe in taking a legal approach to tackling this issue, not lying, listening in on communications secretly, denying habeus corpus … yeah, poor Cal and his buds … it’s little things like the Constitution that get in the way of total power.

Wasn’t it our fearless Shrub who said: Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

This is what Cal and the others can't stand, that so few stand with them.