Friday, October 20, 2006
The perks of power
According to the AP, John M. Walker, Jr., a federal appeals court judge living in Connecticut, mowed down a 17-year veteran of the New Haven police who was directing traffic. Walker is said to be "distraught" and has stepped down from his post as chief justice of the appellate circuit, assuming instead the position of senior judge.
The incident is under investigation, but only up to a point—
[Chief of Police] Ortiz said a long investigation will be required to determine what happened, but police did not feel it was necessary to test Walker for drugs or alcohol.
It is this kind of exemption from personal invasion that permits legislators and jurists to declare that such actions by the state are not burdensome. For them they truly aren't.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Animal planet: If it feels good, do it
Aside from Reuters the MSM skipped the opening last Thursday of a gay animal exhibit at the zoo in Oslo, Norway. Titled "Against nature?", Scientific American has already issued a correction for omitting the question mark and Britain's Daily Mail continues to report it that way.1
If the MSM has ignored the exhibit, the Christofascists are nonetheless outraged that it was mounted. Yet they seem a bit hard-pressed to say why. Some of them claim it's pornographic, which it probably is when you consider their predilections. Others see it as part of the great homosexual conspiracy. But my favorite is this—
Conservative activist Mike Baker said, "Nevermind Christian condemnation. This exhibit won't endear the museum with many Muslims."
Finding himself without excuse, Baker apparently hopes to pass the torch to the Islamofascists.
The exhibit seems quite tame—
One exhibit shows two stuffed female swans on a nest - birds sometimes raise young in homosexual couples, either after a female has forsaken a male mate or donated an egg to a pair of males.
One photograph shows two giant erect penises flailing above the water as two male right whales rub together. Another shows a male giraffe mounting another for sex, another describes homosexuality among beetles.
I knew about the swans (and geese) and the whales (and porpoises), but giraffes and beetles?
The exhibition, unfortunately, is incomplete. Humans, who are undoubtedly animals, are not represented. And I had so looked forward to a depiction of Adam and Steve—or Madam and Eve.
The story worries—
[I]t is unclear why homosexuality survives since it seems a genetic dead-end.
Yet it gives the answer early on—
The sexual urge is strong in all animals. ... It's a part of life, it's fun to have sex.
Fun and fascism don't mix, unless of course you were thinking of torture.
1It seems to me that giving an exhibit such a title invites controversy where none should be. As the exhibit itself proclaims "We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear -- homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature."
That is correct. There is no question that homosexuality is widely distributed throughout the animal kingdom and there is no question that that distribution is natural. No question mark. Period. [back]
Bill Moyers: "The Net at Risk"
The last program in Bill Moyers' series Moyers on America was shown this week on PBS. It's titled "The Net at Risk." But we're the ones at risk.
The first segment of the program delves into the issues surrounding corporate efforts to revoke the principle of "net neutrality." That sounds like a topic sure to send you off to a video game or other solitary pleasure. But Moyers keeps the program alive, and if you value your easy access to online games or whatever else lights your fire, watch it.
Other portions of the program focus on low-power community FM, efforts to stop it (already partially successful) and the effect of the concentration of the nation's media into a very few hands.
If there is any hope in this country for the emergence of a real democracy, it lies mostly with the internet. Though I'd love to see radio, TV and cable open up to the little people, that's unlikely in the near term, if at all. So it's the internet or the streets, boys and girls. Work to save it.
Watch The Net at Risk.
Then hurry on over to Save the Internet.com
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Epiphany of the Day
[T]he mere fact that an elected official and political candidate has the authority to toss his opponent out of a race is further evidence of a serious flaw in our democracy. —NY Times editorial commenting on the bizarre situation in which Ohio Republican candidate for governor Kenneth Blackwell, currently Ohio's Secretary of State, must rule on the eligibility of his Democratic opponentFurther evidence of a serious flaw in our democracy? I don't usually read the Times editorials so I must have missed Part I.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Lieberman has the law after him
You may not know, since all evidence is to the contrary, that members of the U.S. military are forbidden by law to participate in political campaigns. That doesn't mean they can't vote or express a personal opinion; it just means that the military and its members must not attempt to overthrow the government, even democratically, by showing support for one candidate over another. I can remember a time when these rules were scrupulously observed by soldiers and politicians alike, but that was before the Republican Party set us on the forced march to fascism.
But I just wanted to remind you of those rules as you consider this—
On the campaign trail, Lieberman's message has changed since the primary, when he stressed his party credentials as a vice presidential nominee and presidential candidate who opposed Bush. His target then was Democratic voters antagonistic to the war and disdainful of Bush.
Democrats now are the smallest segment of his support. A recent poll shows his support comes from 67 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of unaffiliated voters and 35 percent of Democrats.
Lieberman relies on talking points more often sounded by the Bush White House than Democratic congressional candidates, invoking patriotism and America's need to be vigilant in a dangerous world.
Last week, Lieberman campaigned in Waterbury, where the mayor, Michael Jarjura, is a rarity: a Democratic officeholder still backing him. About 50 police officers and firefighters, some on duty and in uniform, stood behind him on the steps outside city hall as Lieberman held himself above other politicians.
The city's police chief, Neil O'Leary, stood to Lieberman's left in uniform, gold stars on his shoulders. Three firefighters wore their sooty turnout gear. Others wore yellow T-shirts of the International Association of Firefighters, one of the unions that stuck with Lieberman after the primary.
There oughtta be a law. But who knows? Maybe there is. But who's going to enforce it?
North Korea learns Republican secrets of governance—or vice versa
Last Saturday National Public Radio correspondent Steve Inskeep did an interview with one Guy DeLisle, a French-Canadian who visited North Korea in 2001 to help his employer
exploit take advantage of the cheap labor. DeLisle then drew a "graphic novel" titled Pyongyang, which is "basically a diary of [his] experiences while in North Korea."1
The news segment is titled "Graphic Novel Depicts Surreal North Korea," but don't expect a book review. This was NPR's effort to give us a cartoonist's view of North Vietnamese society.
The literary musings came to this—
INSKEEP: You know, when I imagine North Korea, the thing that I imagine is the color gray—gray clothing, gray buildings, gray landscapes.... But then I open this graphic novel and I realize you've done this entire thing in shades of gray. [a Simply Appalling transcription]
Delisle agrees that it's dreadfully drab there. No billboards or neon, it seems.
But as the interview proceeded, I was struck by the parallels between our great nations.
For instance, when a foreign businessman arrives in North Korea, he's expected to lay a bouquet of flowers at the feet of the giant statue of dead President and Great Leader Kim Il-Sung. The required gift in the U.S. is more expensive, as befits our own Great Leader: A campaign donation to the Republican party or to one or more of its members should be made as quickly as possible (through a middleman, of course, to remove the taint of foreign money).
INSKEEP: .... You write that after experiencing so much of this propaganda you ask the question "Do they really believe the BS that's being forced down their throats?" Do they?
DELISLE: I'm sure that the peasants believe that. And they even believe that outside North Korea things are much worse.
INSKEEP: You're saying the peasants believe that—people in the countryside. Why them?
DELISLE: Yeah. Because they have no source of information. There's only one television—it's North Korean. There's only one radio station—it's North Korean. The newspaper—there's only one. So imagine in any country what would it be. Over there they have no clue what's happening outside....
A permanent state of Orange Alert
But it's the method for maintaining political control that made me feel a real kinship with the North Koreans—
INSKEEP: How much talk was there about war — or imminent war — in North Korea when you were there in 2001?
DELISLE: Ah, it's quite crazy. That's one of the most strange feelings you have when you're there because on the news the news opens with the victims of the Japanese occupation, victims of the American War — how do you call it, the "American War"?
INSKEEP: Oh, that's the "Korean War" as we would know it here in the United States.
DELISLE: You really have the feeling that the war just stopped a few months ago. And you really have the feeling that the war can start again some time next week.
STEVE INSKEEP: Did you think that the government was using the constant threat of war to maintain its power?
GUY DELISLE: Yes. For me it was the only logical answer to all that. They don't want to have trouble with the population so they keep them in a constant state of fright.