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.



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?