30 July 2006

What takes precedence over blogging?

How about this:

Your Token Reader has been indisposed for the past few weeks, busy depriving himself of sleep observing RS Ophiuchi. Admittedly, it's nothing special to look at, but in my defense I think I have good reasons to obsess over it instead of blogging, eating, or sleeping. Specifically: There, now doesn't that sound more appealing than reading about Hezbollah doing the same old shit, Israel going on a glennocidal 'roid rage, and Congress ganging up on young girls in abusive families?

05 July 2006

Why I Love The Bay Area

Because you can get microbrews at the 7-11.

That is all.

04 July 2006

Independence Day Patriotic 10

Wingnuts might disagree with my characterization, but real patriotism isn't blind nationalism, it's working to better the country, uphold its (theoretical) ideals, and fight against the people fucking it up. Admittedly, the list is somewhat limited in variety, since I'm only including music on my iPod:
  1. Dead Kennedys - "Stars and Stripes of Corruption"
  2. A Perfect Circle - "Freedom of Choice"
  3. Anti-Flag - "911 for Peace"
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Fortunate Son"
  5. Pennywise - "Land of the Free?"
  6. Radiohead - "2 + 2 = 5"
  7. Bad Religion - "You Are (The Government)"
  8. System of a Down - "Boom!"
  9. Pink Floyd - "The Fletcher Memorial Home"
  10. Nine Inch Nails - "The Hand That Feeds"
Bonus spoken word -- "Die for Oil, Sucker":

And an updated version (sadly cut off at the beginning):

Posting for Peace

Too often, I believe, peace is defined in terms of the absence of something. The absence of war, the absence of violence, the absence of hostility. But this is deeply unsatisfying. War and violence are obviously things to avoid, but why is peace something worth working toward? Just what does peace mean?

Peace means the freedom to live your life.

Peace means harmony with your fellow human beings.

Peace means young men and women learning or building families instead of fighting and dying.

Peace means understanding each other's differences.

Peace means more resources to solve the world's problems.

Peace means empathy, compassion, and humanity.

And above all, peace means hope for the future.

Fireworks!

Screw the fireworks shows tonight, this is some real Fourth of July pyromania:

03 July 2006

Case In Point On Official Prayer

As though right on cue, here's a concrete example of exactly what is so harmful about official prayer (h/t Pharyngula and Seeing The Forest):
A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."

The behavior of the Indian River School District board suggests the families' fears are hardly groundless.

The district spreads over a considerable portion of southern Delaware. The families' complaint, filed in federal court in February 2005, alleges that the district had created an "environment of religious exclusion" and unconstitutional state-sponsored religion.
I'm sure Matt will tell us that this is harmless and anyone who fights against it is (or at least looks like) some kind of extremist, since, after all, if you can get so riled up about something so minor, you must be on the fringe. Of course, it should be obvious what an outrage this actually is. And if that didn't get your attention, maybe the death threats and eliminationist rhetoric will:
On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meetng. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts that the raucous crowd applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him: "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."

A state representative spoke in support of prayer and warned board members that "the people" would replace them if they faltered on the issue. Other representatives spoke against separating "god and state."

A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. O'Hair disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby. [emphasis added]
As Ed Brayton observes, "If even 10% of the allegations in this case are correct, it's one of the most outrageous cases I've ever seen." This is exactly why religion needs to be kept entirely out of government; not only is it oppressive in its own right, but it approves - even encourages - lynch-mob intimidation in the wider community.

See also Bartholomew's Notes On Religion for some background.

This is a Christian blog now?

Well, no, not really, but I was very amused by this Technorati trackback:

A pity it looks like they've since removed the link. I guess they figured the dick joke was a little un-Christian. (True fact: I found the location of that passage by thumbing through my dog-eared and underlined paper Bible. Some heathen I am.)

02 July 2006

I don't know weather to laugh or cry

Actually, I'm pretty sure "curl up in a corner and bang my head against the wall while drinking heavily" is the most appropriate response to this (h/t Sadly, No!):
So, to recap - America is currently at war and its enemies are domestic liberals and The New York Times. This war was started by Al Gore and Jimmy Carter when they opposed the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times is allied with Al Qaeda and their latest plot against America is to provide their terrorist friends with a roadmap to the vacation homes of Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld so that they can be assassinated. That is what is being reported today by three of the largest "conservative" blogs on the Internet, along with Horowitz, the leader of the conservative effort to wipe out anti-conservative bias on college campuses.
Teh funny, no? More like teh scary:
Another upstanding, patriotic blogger -- after linking to the blog which posted the address of the Times photographer -- has now posted this:
So, in the school of what's good for the goose is good for the gander, we are providing this link so YOU may help the blogosphere in locating the homes (perhaps with photos?) of the editors and reporters of the New York Times.

Let's start with the following New York Times reporters and editors: Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr. , Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, and James Risen. Do you have an idea where they live?

Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous - grab for the golden ring.
He's urging people to find the names and addresses of New York Times editors and reporters in order to "hunt them down and do America a favor." And he said that right after he posted the link to the address of the Times photographer. And this is just the beginning of this syndrome, not the end.
Open incitement to terrorism like this scares the bejesus out of me, because as history has shown, they will act on it. And make no mistake, Malkin, Assrocket, and Horowitz know exactly what they're doing (Horowitz in particular -- he's always been a pro-terrorist authoritarian, with political affiliations depending on who is most friendly to this) in agitating the less weasly fascists (if the jackboot fits...) toward open instigation of violence. True, I can't help but be amused at how the trolls in Greenwald's comments (especially the aptly-named "dipshit") go far beyond his jokes and show that they are truly beyond satire (good for a few hearty laughs is dipshit's 'observation' that "With all Clinton's blabbering about how bad the USA is anytime he goes overseas, do you think Al-Qaeda has him in their sights? [links obviously added]"). But that does nothing to make this any less frightening.

UPDATE (23:11): Okay, one more thing. I really can't let this bullshit from Clay-Eating White Trash (credit to Retardeau Montablan for the moniker) go unremarked:
Disclosing national secrets is a criminal offense. The AG and the US Attorneys should not only consider charges, but file charges against the individuals who participated in the publication of stories - the government employees that told the reporters, the reporters, the editors, and even Pinch himself. [emphasis added]
Like hell it is. The US, thank "Bob", doesn't have an Official Secrets Act (yet):
There is no such law called the Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act.

And it's a good thing, too. The NBC story "made it sound as if we already had an Official Secrets Act in this country," leaker par excellence Daniel Ellsberg told Secrecy News.

A congressional measure to legislate a generalized statutory prohibition against unauthorized disclosures of any classified information was vetoed by President Clinton on November 4, 2000 in response to widespread opposition from media outlets, civil liberties organizations and others.

But the misapprehension persists.
I wonder why that might be. Dana Priest gets it, and it's glorious watching her verbally bitch-slap Bill Bennet over this on Press The Meat. William Safire (!) comparing the Bush Administration and their allies like Bennet (especially Peter King) to King George II is just the icing on the cake.