Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Tied to Beloved Actor?

The Boston Globe has pretty reasonable swine flu coverage. It's mostly sane stuff that promotes caution, while avoiding things that just serve to freak people out. For instance, they avoided irresponsibly sticking a giant "OUTBREAK" headline on the front page of the paper like our local idiots did today.

Anyway, as part of their coverage they have this neat "flu spreads" graphic.

The graphic consists of six slides, but it's slide number four that really caught my eye.

That is clearly Wilford Brimley in an Army helmet. Thanks for the pandemic, Wilford!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All you need to know about this idiotic pro-torture editorial

Unsurprisingly, another pro-torture editorial appears in the S&E. It's by syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock this time, and it's somehow even worse than McMenemy's evil nonsense from a few days ago.

It's not even worth reading, to be honest. So let's just gut it right at the outset, which is easy because the entire thing is premised on a total lie.

Here's how it starts. (All emphases mine.)
Library Tower looms 73 stories above Los Angeles. But the Pacific Coast's highest skyscraper could have become a smoldering pile of steel beams had CIA interrogators not waterboarded Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times in March 2003, as declassified memoranda reveal. Americans should be proud that our public servants had the patience and persistence to pressure al-Qaida's self-described military chief until he cracked, ratted out his homicidal conspirators, and prevented a bloody attack that could have murdered thousands of innocents and transformed much of downtown L.A. into Ground Zero West.
Simple enough. The claim is that the torture of Mohammed, who was arrested in March of 2003, prevented the Library Tower from being attacked. The entire editorial rests upon this premise.

Which means the entire editorial is based on an outright lie, since the plot was foiled in February of 2002.

From a White House Press briefing:
Q: Fran, just one other follow up. What we don't know is the time. Can you give us some more details on the timeline on this -- meaning, you know, when, exactly, was this plot scheduled for? Do we know that?

MS. TOWNSEND: We don't know exactly when the plot was scheduled for. The intelligence tells us that Khalid Shaykh Muhammad began to initiate it in October of 2001. We know that between then and when the lead operative was arrested in February of '02, between those two periods of time, they traveled through Afghanistan, they met with bin Laden, they swore biat, they came back, and the lead guy is arrested, which disrupts it in February of '02. So you see what I'm saying? It's during that short window of time, between October of 2001 and February of 2002, but we don't know when they planned -- we don't know when it was planned to actually be executed.
Want confirmation? Ok, how about this Fact Sheet put out in 2007 by the Bush administration?
In 2002, we broke up a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast. During a hearing at Guantanamo Bay two months ago, KSM stated that the intended target was the Library Tower in Los Angeles.
So the torture of KSM in March of 2003 retroactively led to the foiling of the Library Tower plot in February of 2002? That's quite a feat.

Is there any lie these monsters won't tell to justify their beloved torture?

Swine Flu: From space?

The "authorities" think the current Swine Flu outbreak started with a small Mexican child, but we know better!

Everyone knows that airplanes are giant disease-mobiles. Obviously, a space vessel could only make matters worse. George Lucas has screwed us yet again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Torture's dumbest apologist

Yesterday's Sentinel contained a particularly repugnant editorial (un-bylined, but presumably by editor Jeff McMenemy) about torture. It requires evisceration.

The editorial has the remarkably self-unaware title of Don't 'torture' us with half-truths.

Yes, there's a pun about torture in the headline, which shows you just how casually our shitsack editor views torture. As for the "half-truths"? Well, McMenemy mostly just lies, but maybe we can pick up on some of those too.

Sigh. Here we go.
Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is right: If President Barack Obama wants transparency regarding the CIA's alleged harsh interrogation methods, he should release all the top-secret memos, including those detailing information learned that led to successful anti-terrorism efforts.
This first paragraph contains the one thing I can agree with Cheney and McMenemy about.* I want to see all the memos released too. Let's see just how much useful information really is contained within. I suspect it's a lot less than McMenemy believes, but would like to see for myself.

Now we go our separate ways.
Obama's release of the memos -- some leaked selectively to the media to embarrass the Bush administration -- has stirred considerable debate among former CIA directors and national security experts. Most believe the interests of the United States have been weakened by the disclosure. Even Leon Panetta, Obama's CIA director, questioned the motives behind the disclosures.
Shit, this is going to take awhile.

What was "leaked selectively to the media"? Not the torture memos, which are readily available to anyone who wants to look at them. So it's not selective, and since they're declassified and are available to anyone who wants them, they're not "leaked" either. **

And if these non-leaked, non-selective memos embarrass the Bush administration, who's to blame for that? They're Bush administration memos about Bush administration policies. If the Bush administration is truly embarrassed about them, then maybe they shouldn't have fucking used them in the first place.

As for "most" security experts thinking the US is "weakened" by the release of these memos about torture methods we don't even fucking use anymore, that's totally made up. I doubt there are good statistics on this, but I've certainly heard a lot more "experts" saying that this information was pretty much known anyway than pretending it will actually have an effect on the country's safety. But I don't exclusively consume right-wing news.

Concerning Panetta, who really gives a shit? Of course there were people who wanted to cover this up, and Panetta's one of them.

More lies...
At first, Obama said he would not prosecute any officials but now he is flip-flopping as Democrats seek revenge. But revenge from what? The country's safety?
First of all, you flaming asshole, it's not revenge, it's accountability. If you commit war crimes, you should fucking be held accountable. That's what it's about.

Also, Obama has been consistent in saying that the people who were "just following orders" should not be prosecuted. The people who gave those orders get no such leeway, and anyway the decision is not Obama's to make. He's not the one prosecuting anybody, it's up to the Justice Department.
The Obama administration is rapidly changing the rules on CIA procedures. Techniques that were legal just months ago are being ruled off limits while Holder develops new guidelines. But the call to prosecute CIA interrogators who were doing their jobs, legally, is absurd.
Who's calling for the prosecution of interrogators? Not Obama. There's not a lot of political support at all for prosecuting the people at the bottom of the chain. So way to argue against something that very few people are arguing for, dumbass.
The bigger question is how will the U.S. fare going forward when it comes to obtaining valuable intelligence from captured terrorists?

While we know very little about the intelligence gleaned from the CIA's efforts, one thing is perfectly clear: The Bush administration, after 9/11, kept America safe from foreign attack for seven years. Our allies also benefited from an exchange of information.
Anyone who believes that is pretty much an irredeemable idiot. So it's a standard right-wing talking point, natch.

Obviously, the fact that the US wasn't attacked on its own soil since 9/11 in no way means the Bush administration "kept America safe." It just means we weren't attacked.

You can see that as being because of the Bush administration if you're so inclined, and rather stupid. I see it as being despite the Bush administration, who in reality made America far less safe than we would have otherwise been.

To then make the jump from "we weren't attacked" to "torture is good!" requires a special kind of malicious stupidity. It's highly prevalent in this editorial.
What we find unsettling is that the administration seems bent on "correcting" America's values and character on the world stage, as if the global perception of what America did and didn't do is worth more than its national security.

This is a foolhardy agenda that can only lead to soft spots in our diplomacy and defenses.
Once again, stupid binary thinking rears its head. The worldwide perception of "America's values and character" has a significant effect on America's security. Alienating the rest of the world isn't exactly a great way to increase security, but it's a fantastic way to ensure everybody is out to get us. Artificially separating the two makes no sense.

And what's this "soft spots in our diplomacy and defenses" nonsense? Does that even mean anything? Other than that the editor wants us to torture even more brown people?
America is not a monster, and it bows to no one. While we have made mistakes -- and acknowledged them in public -- we have set a standard for human rights, charitable aid and the cause for freedom. There is little to be ashamed of in the course of our accomplished history.
Jingoistic rubbish.

Genocide of the Native Americans, slavery, internment camps, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the My Lai massacre, the continuing shitty way anyone who's not a straight white Protestant male is treated, and the fact that we fucking torture people are just a few of the many shameful things in the course of American history.

America has much to be proud of too, of course. But ignoring the bad things benefits nobody.
The world is a dangerous place. Threats exist against America, and there is no justification for letting down our guard or coddling terrorists.
Apparently in McMenemy's mind, "not torturing" equals "coddling." Be glad you're not his kid.
If President Obama wanted to prove something to the world in disclosing the CIA's top-secret memos he has failed, largely because his selectivity has tarnished the work of dedicated agents following orders to protect America against its worst enemies.
What? How the fuck can you "tarnish" torturing people? It's pretty much as tarnished as anything can possibly get.

That's all I'm going to bother with. McMenemy is a ghoul. His "defense" of torture doesn't even attempt to offer a moral or practical justification for using it. His concern isn't whether torture is right or wrong (NB: it's wrong), this editorial is all about public relations damage control for the Bush administration. It's a bitch-fest that the truth has finally been told.

But yeah, let's release everything we can. Let's get the whole truth out there. Not that people like McMenemy will ever pay attention to it, but let's get it out for the rest of us.

Then let's hold the monsters who were in charge of it accountable for their actions. And let's let apologists for torture (like McMenemy) know that they don't speak for us.

Ghouls like these called the shots for eight years. Their time is over, and we need to make sure they never have the opportunity to practice their twisted brand of ethically-insupportable "justice" ever again.

* I don't for a second believe that Cheney really wants all the memos released. It's political wrangling, because he knows full well that most of them won't be released and as long as something remains classified he can claim that the Obama administration is just not releasing the stuff that justifies the Bush administration's actions.

** I recognize that McMenemy was likely trying to claim that the memos were selected to embarrass the Bush administration and that claiming they were "leaked selectively" was just his usual incompetent writing. It doesn't matter. Of course they were selective on what memos were declassified. They couldn't possibly release them all at once, for reasons that are obvious to everyone but McMenemy.

Swine Flu: What to do, and not do

There's a lot of news about swine flu right now, and for good reason. While it's impossible to know at this point whether this will lead to a flu pandemic, the potential does exist.

There's a lot that's still unknown about this flu strain, but there are some basic things that people can do--and other things people should avoid--at this point. I'm not going to offer medical advice, since I'm not qualified to do so, but most of this stuff is pretty simple.

Let's start with what you can do to protect both yourself and others. Most of these should be obvious, but they're worth repeating anyway.

1) Wash your hands. Use hot water and soap. A quick splash is not enough, you need to spend a bit of time. Recite the alphabet to yourself while doing it, and by the time you're done that should be about enough time. If you're unable to get to a sink for whatever reason, you could carry around some Purell or a similar product to sanitize your hands.

2) Cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze. But don't sneeze into your hand! If you have a tissue, use that and then throw it away immediately. Don't keep a used-up disease rag in your pocket. If you don't have a tissue, then cough or sneeze into your elbow, like this:

Yeah, you might gross up your inner elbow, but it's better than getting gunk on your hands and then spreading it to others, or sneezing unimpeded and spewing germs all over the room.

3) Learn about the flu. As with any fast-moving and poorly-understood disease, there's going to be a ton of bad information out there. Inoculate yourself against it with good information.

Here are some good resources:Most of these sites also provide a lot of links if you want even more information.

4) Don't kiss any pigs. This is just a good rule in general.

So, those are a few simple things that you can do to cut your own risk and the risk you might pose to others if you happen to get infected. Now on to things you really should not do.

1) Don't go to work/school/public events if you're sick. Going out in public while sick doesn't mean you're tougher than the disease, it means you're a jerk who doesn't care about making everyone else sick. Unless you really want to be known as the guy/girl who spread disease to all your friends, just stay home.

2) Don't stick your hands in your mouth, eyes, or nose. Again, obvious. Even if you think your hands are clean, the mouth, eyes, and nose provide an easy way for diseases to get into the body. Best just to avoid them.

3) Don't listen to quacks. You're going to see a lot of scammers offering totally ineffectual "cures" over the next few weeks. There will be spam emails trying to sell you imaginary medicines, there will be people offering the insanely diluted liver of a diseased duck as a medicine, there will be holistic "healers" and homeopaths aplenty offering you products that are nothing more than a placebo. Don't waste your money.

4) Don't blame Mexico. I include this only because I've already seen people trying to use this outbreak to grandstand about illegal immigration (Google "swine flu" + immigration and you'll find lots of examples). That's utterly absurd. This outbreak could have started anywhere, and viruses don't care one bit about political borders. People who try to tie this to immigration are playing politics in the stupidest possible way.

5) Don't panic. Panic never helps, and there's no reason for it anyway. While H1N1 has the potential to become a pandemic, it's impossible to know how it will turn out at this early stage. There's a lot more we don't know about this flu strain than there is stuff we do know, so don't freak yourself out by jumping to conclusions that aren't based on fact.

As always, these lists are incomplete. But these are easy things to do, and they're good ideas even when there isn't a potential pandemic looming on the horizon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Angry Video

I had started to write about the torture memos that were recently made public, but had to stop due to severe rage.

Instead, here's a live Big Black video.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Local AIDS denialism!

If you don't pay a lot of attention to the lunatic fringes, you may not be aware that there are a fair number of people out there who deny the well-established link between HIV and AIDS.

Sure, there are the crackpots like Jeremiah Wright who think that the government invented HIV, but they're not the ones I'm talking about. Rather, I'm talking about people like Peter Tocci of Leominster, who in addition to being a local "holistic healer," just wrote a horribly misinformed letter to the editor that appears in the S&E today.

Fisking time!

Tocci starts off in the realm of reality. Don't worry, it won't last long.
On Jan. 30, the Sentinel & Enterprise ran a story about AIDS activist John Chittick's return from his awareness campaign in Africa.

On March 11, a Fitchburg march for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was reported.

Dedicated people like Mr Chittick, as well as Dorine Russo, who courageously told her story at the march, convey official AIDS information in good faith.
Well, that's pretty factual. See here for Chittick's website if you like. He's a good guy, doing good work, and is from Fitchburg.

Sadly, Tocci's use of the phrase "official AIDS information" suggests what's to come. So let's get on with it.
However, many qualified, even distinguished, scientists such as Nobel laureates Walter Gilbert and Kary Mullis, question HIV/AIDS. HIV was never isolated, and no study proves it causes AIDS.
There we go!

Our letter-writer gets his facts wrong right from the start. While Walter Gilbert did win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1980, and was indeed an AIDS denialist, it appears that he changed his mind no later than 2006, due to the efficacy of antivirals in dealing with HIV/AIDS.

Kary Mullis, on the other hand, is not only the winner of the Chemistry Nobel in 1993, but remains an AIDS denialist. That's far from his only batshit-crazy belief, though.
In the lab, Mullis kept his beer in the radiation refrigerator, scoffing at safety regulations. He disputes that humankind can do anything to harm the environment. He believes in alien abductions; that he was visited by a radiant raccoon ET; in astrology; in telepathy; in “astral planes.” He happily recalls synthesizing experimental psychedelic drugs—and trying them out on himself. “It takes all kinds,” they say, and Mullis is in his own category. Colorful, creative, no doubt quite intelligent, he is many things…but not exactly a reliable guide to scientific facts and clear thinking, as the above examples show.
So our letter-writer has cited a guy who doesn't agree with him and a total nutcase as evidence for his claim. He pretty much had to go with these guys, though. After all, Mullis is the only Nobel winner to deny that HIV causes AIDS, and Gilbert at least used to agree.

How about "HIV was never isolated"? That's not true either, though it indeed hasn't been isolated to the very restrictive and largely arbitrary specifications that AIDS denialists demand. Go figure.

"[N]o study proves it causes AIDS"? Almost too absurd to even respond to. If you want to see some such studies, you could start with this and then dig into the references it cites. That's a tiny fraction of the studies out there, of course.

Phew! That was a lot of crap in one little paragraph. Let's move on.
No one denies people are sick. Cause(s), definitions, and approaches are what's being challenged.

Ralph Moss, Ph.D., author of The Cancer Industry, said, "The paradigm that was laid down for how to milk the cancer problem is basically the same paradigm which is being followed in milking the AIDS problem."
Hey, we're back to quoting crazy people! First, let me note that Moss's Ph.D. is in classics, nothing even remotely science related. He's a quack, who wants you to have coffee enemas and eat shark cartilage to prevent cancer (because sharks supposedly don't get cancer, even though they do).

So I'm pretty comfortable just dismissing him out of hand. I'll make sure to look him up if I ever have any questions about Jane Eyre or something, though.

More from our letter-writer:
Many people are taking highly toxic "anti-retroviral" (ARV) drugs. The DNA-chain terminator AZT was originally a cancer drug so toxic it was shelved. But the deadlier the disease definition, the deadlier the drug allowed, so AZT was revived.
The lies and misinformation just keep coming!

First, AZT is a reverse transcriptase inhibitor. It's not primarily a DNA chain terminator, for reasons too esoteric to get into here (see here if you're curious).

Second, it wasn't shelved because it was too toxic. Here's what its inventor had to say about it:
"It proved to be completely inactive in all of the test systems [Dr Sartorelli] employed. In my laboratory I found AZT incapable of inhibiting the growth of Jensen sarcoma cells in vitro at very high concentrations. Thus, AZT showed no activity as a potential anticancer drug at that time."
In other words, it was shelved as an anticancer drug because it was pretty crummy as an anticancer drug. Go figure.

Back to Tocci:
The lone AZT study used to manufacture FDA approval was a shambles. But treatment cost $18,000 a year at the time.
Those two statements don't go together, and have absolutely no relevance to the issue. Moving on.
Certain ARVs, such as Nevirapine/Lamivudine/Zidovudine, also contain the politically approved neurotoxin-carcinogen aspartame.
I have no idea if those drugs "contain" aspartame, but I can say that aspartame is neither a neurotoxin nor a carcinogen, so who cares?

Also, this isn't relevant to the topic either. At this point, Tocci is just running through a series of his misconceptions about health. I know who I won't be visiting next time I need a "holistic healer" (which is never, because they're quacks).
Officially, HIV antibodies (revealed by unreliable tests) are a death sentence. But you can "live with HIV" if you take toxic drugs whose effects, if they kill you, will be blamed on the virus.
Seriously? I have trouble believing even Tocci believes that nonsense. If you die from drug toxicity, it will be blamed on drug toxicity. That's why they do studies like this one that examine AZT and liver function. Because they recognize the dangers.
Authority recommends mandatory HIV testing and flu vaccinations (mercury-laced) for pregnant women: Pregnancy, flu vaccines and flu itself (among numerous other things) give false-positive HIV tests.
Oh boy, he's an antivaccination loon too! Jackpot!

Yes, some of the flu vaccines available contain thimerasol. Not that this matters either, since thimerasol isn't dangerous in these doses. Of course, that link comes from "Authority" (AKA people who know what they're talking about), so I'm sure Tocci would reject it.

As for false positives, a lot of things can conceivably cause them. Which is why any positive HIV test is followed by a confirmatory test. When using the Western Blot confirmation, the false-positive rate in a low prevalence area is about one in 250,000.

Once again, though, this isn't relevant to the topic. Tocci just likes to vomit his ignorance everywhere.

Wait, there's more!
My contact in South Africa doggedly researches HIV/AIDS. She says the millions of HIV-positives there may be false. This, and widespread depletion of CD4 cells, she says, are likely attributable to genetically modified (GM) corn.

GM organisms were introduced to Africa in 1985 as "food aid," coinciding with the onset of AIDS. There was also epidemiological correlation early on with the World Health Organization Smallpox Eradication Program.
Oh boy, he has a "contact" in South Africa (where they shower to avoid HIV) who has an utterly insane idea about corn!

That idea isn't backed up by any research I could find, though I did find this Onion piece about how "Generic Candy Corn Will Give you AIDS." Maybe that's where Tocci is getting his information!

I couldn't find any information about the supposed correlation between corn and AIDS. Probably because there isn't one, but even if there is it hardly matters. Correlation is a far cry from causation.

Getting tired, let's wrap this nonsense up.
Society must thoroughly rethink the HIV/AIDS hypothesis. Please look carefully into this before acting on official pronouncements.
Mr. Tocci clearly doesn't follow his own advice. If he did, then he wouldn't be promoting so many utter falsehoods.

Of course, actually following the science and the massive body of evidence tying HIV to AIDS would be detrimental to Mr. Tocci's quack healing business. And we wouldn't want that, would we?

That's it. Hopefully nobody was too tempted to take medical advice from some "holistic healer" who wrote a letter to the editor of a crummy paper in a small community. But just in case, now you know better.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pointless Anti-Marijuana Laws

As one of the many people who support drug legalization--particularly of marijuana--I was of course pleased last November when the voters in Massachusetts decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Sure, I would have rather seen pot legalized (and taxed), but it was a good first step.

Of course, not everyone agrees. As this AP article from 4/20 (coincidence?) points out, there are a number of local cities and towns that have passed anti-marijuana laws since that time.
Voters in November decriminalized possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, and replaced the maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine with a $100 civil fine and forfeiture of the drug. The new law does not require a suspected offender to provide identification.

Since then, seven communities — Duxbury, Lynn, Medway, Methuen, Milford, Salem and Springfield — have passed bylaws regulating or prohibiting marijuana use in public. Others are considering similar measures.
This is just baffling to me.

Question 2 didn't legalize marijuana, it decriminalized possession of an ounce or less. That's a pretty major difference. Marijuana possession is still illegal, you just face a fine and confiscation of the drug instead of potentially going to jail.

It's a bit baffling that law enforcement officials don't seem to understand this fact. Of course, it's probable that they do understand it, and are simply using it as a red herring for their power-grab.
“If I’m driving down Main Street in Springfield, and I see a guy drinking a can of Budweiser and a guy smoking a joint, the only guy I can lock up is the beer drinker,” Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney said. “It seemed only natural to pass a law to keep people from smoking marijuana in public.”
Perhaps that's all technically true. You can't "lock up" a guy for smoking a joint on the street. You can fine them $100 and seize their pot, which seems like a pretty effective way to get them to stop smoking it, in public and elsewhere.

I also question the wisdom of locking up somebody for drinking a beer in public. Make them stop, sure, but why the hell would you even want to put them in jail for it? If they're drunk and being a public nuisance, that's one thing, but just drinking a beer in public seems like a pretty stupid reason to lock someone up.

Unless you're locking them up for drinking Budweiser specifically. I can almost endorse that.

Here are some of the details about what these cities are doing:
In Springfield, first-time offenders face a $100 fine; second-time offenders, $200; third-time and subsequent offenders, $300. In Salem, police reserve the right to subpoena into court people smoking marijuana in public. Offenders are required to identify themselves and face a fine of up to $300. The city also can fine an offender up to $300. In Lynn, offenders who smoke in public also face a $300 fine. In each community, the local penalties are in addition to the state fine.
What's with everyone wanting $300?

It's already illegal to smoke pot, not just in public, but anywhere. These local laws are--at best--attempts to solve a problem that already has a solution. More realistically, they're attempts to subvert the decriminalization of marijuana by adding more hassles and fines to something that's already illegal.

Surely they have a good reason for doing this, right?
For Police Chief Robert M. St. Pierre, Halloween in Salem — when thousands visit the city because of its spooky history — is enough reason to pass bylaws for possession of marijuana in public.

“When you have 60,000 people crowded in a small downtown, you can’t allow public drinking or public marijuana use. You have to have some laws with teeth to protect Salem, especially at that time of year.”
That makes perfect sense! People come to town for Halloween, therefore unnecessary marijuana laws must be put into place year-round!

Come to think of it, I've noticed that there's an awful lot of jaywalking that takes place on Halloween too. Jaywalking is already illegal, but I think we need stronger laws to make it even more illegal. Somebody needs to get on that right away!

Can this whole thing become stupider? Easily.
State Sen. James Timilty, a Walpole Democrat, has introduced a bill that he says clarifies some confusion. Timilty’s bill would allow police to arrest anyone who fails to produce identification. Police Chief St. Pierre said that amendment would help him deal with thousands of Halloween revelers in full costume.

“It’s very hard if someone is bent on trying to commit a criminal act and they have masks or face paint or a costume,” he said.
This man is allowed to enforce laws?

First, we're not dealing with "a criminal act." Remember that fancy "decriminalization" word? It means that marijuana possession is now a civil offense, not a criminal one. This seriously shouldn't be that hard to understand.

Second, do the Salem police somehow have pictures of everyone who goes there for Halloween? Is the one thing stopping them from identifying these foreign ne'er-do-wells on sight the fact that they're wearing costumes? Seriously, what the hell?

Also, are police really so easily foiled by people wearing costumes and/or masks?

If so, I'm going to head over to that costume shop by the strip club, buy a naughty nurse outfit or something (since 90% of their stock is "slutty something-or-other" costumes and I'm in a rush), don it, and rob all the banks in town. The police will be helpless to stop me as long as I don't carelessly remove my mask. It's a perfect crime!

The amendment in question appears to be this one, by the way (thanks for not citing anything yet again, "journalism"). It appears to do what they say, amending the current law to add the ability to arrest people who don't give correct identification when suspected of a marijuana offense.

It also does some other things that look worrisome, but that I don't have the time to cross-reference right now to find out for sure. If you want to check how the amendment changes the current law in other ways, feel free. The current law is here.

There is a fatal flaw in Timilty's amendment, though. Nowhere does it say that people have to take off their ridiculous costumes. Salem's dumbest will never manage to get around the masks and face-paintings without a law explicitly stating they have to be removed!

The reality behind all these utterly insane rationalizations should be easy enough to see. City governments want to appear "tough on drugs," so they make up pointless laws to solve non-problems.

Never mind that there's little indication that public pot smoking is any sort of significant problem. Politicians want to be seen as doing something, even if they're not actually accomplishing a damn thing.

That's why you get so many pointless (and sometimes counterproductive) laws about sex offenders, and it's why you get pointless laws about smoking pot. The people being targeted probably aren't going to put up much of a fight, so they're easy pickings for unimaginative city councilors.

It's totally legal for them to do so, since the state law allows for it. It's straight from the ballot question itself, which allowed for it for reasons I can't fathom. They're no doubt political in nature.

But just because they can make these silly laws doesn't mean they should make them. They're unnecessary, redundant, and even if they fit the letter of the ballot question, they certainly don't fit the spirit of it.

Friday, April 17, 2009


There is BREAKING NEWS in the Sentinel!

Yes, Britney Spears' house has been... trespassed... against(?). We must follow this story, as it is perhaps the most important news item of our lifetimes!

Here's the news, which I reiterate is very important.
Miranda Tozier-Robbins, 26, a longtime former Fitchburg resident, said she knew going onto pop star Britney Spears' Los Angeles County property was illegal, but she did it anyway.

"I went in through the back yard, to the gate, it was unlocked and open already," said Tozier-Robbins. "I was just sort of like on cloud nine being in Britney Spears' backyard."

Security personnel on Spears' property quickly found Tozier-Robbins and LA Sheriff's deputies arrested her and charged her with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

[blah blah blah pointless nonsense]

*See Saturday's edition of the Sentinel & Enterprise for complete coverage.*
That's not enough information! I must know more about the home of this talentless crime against music! Is it ok? Were flowers trampled? Was the grass stayed-off-of?

Luckily, they'll fill us in on all the details tomorrow.

But... hold on... oh my god!



Obama is Brainwashing us with the Tee-Vee!

This starts off slow and boring, so just skip to about 2 minutes in. That's when the crazy kicks into high gear. It gets even better around 4:50.

And people wonder why I say that conservatives have lost touch with reality.*

* That's a lie. Nobody wonders.

[UPDATE!] You're probably wondering how Joe the Plumber Phone Sex Operator fits into Obama's mind-control-via-digital-tv-converter-box machinations.

As it turns out, he's part of the conspiracy!

We're through the looking glass, people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hooray for Teabagging!

It's hard to know where to begin with this whole teabagging thing.

Once upon a time, it took effort to make fun of Republicans and Libertarians. Not a whole lot of effort, admittedly, but the jokes at least didn't write themselves.

Over the last few years, however, the right wing in this country has done its best to become not only completely insane, but also totally clueless about how others perceive them. That's comedy gold, but sort of too easy. Let's try to resist making the easy jokes as best we can. Leave that to the newscasters.

If you're not familiar with the whole "Tea Party" thing yesterday, let me sum it up for you. See, these brave patriots are mostly angry about taxes, but they also hate the deficit, as well as other things (like black people). The majority of them have had their taxes lowered by their elected representatives, which is obviously upsetting.

As you'll recall from grade-school history classes, early American gangsters once railed against "Taxation Without Representation" and dressed up as American Indians in order to dump tea in Boston Harbor, to protest Britain's Tea Act. Also, they were probably drunk.

The commonality between the colonists and modern tax-evaders is really striking, isn't it? Except for the "Without Representation" part. Or most of the other parts, actually. But maybe some of them were drunk?

Anyway, let's take a look at this Telegram article, cleverly entitled "Taxes not their cup of tea." (Oh, Telegram headline-writer, you are a stitch!)

It's about a "Tea Party" in Worcester yesterday, which supposedly attracted 1,500 people (though you wouldn't know it from the photos, which you really must see).

Quoting time!
“I heard about this watching Glenn Beck on TV,” said Ms. Stearns, a Worcester mother of three who stood next to her son, Elijah, 10, who held his own placard exclaiming, “Obama Spends, Jesus Saves.”
Actually, Jesus advocated giving away all your stuff. No going to heaven for you, Elijah!

Here's an interesting quote:
“Think of what our founders did,” [event organizer Kevin] Mandile said to a cheering crowd, speaking over the cacophony of automobile horns blown in solidarity. “They took on the most powerful country in the world, and won.”

“… I’ve even heard that the Department of Homeland Security considers the Tea Party an extremist organization and a threat. We are a threat, to the crowd in Washington.”
Is that thing about the DHS true? I could only find it being promoted by right-wing blogs, who aren't exactly known for their fact-checking skills.

Whether or not it's true, is it really smart to go threatening the government? I appreciate a good revolution as much as anybody, but generally revolutionaries try to actually do something, and not just dress up in silly costumes and whine about taxes.

Also, remember a few years ago when anybody who dared criticize Bush in any way was called a "traitor" and had their patriotism questioned? That was for criticism, not calls for armed insurrection (which you don't find in this article, but are certainly happening). The people who called folks like me a traitor back then are the ones calling for a revolution now. Would it be too much to ask for a little logical consistency?

Yes, it would.
Jodie Chapin of Northboro, who carried a framed photograph of former President Ronald Reagan, stood at the base of the granite stairs to Worcester Memorial Auditorium with her daughter, Juliet, 11.

“Ronald Reagan would not have allowed things to get to the point where we would have to do this,” she said. “He epitomized the Free World. He is the hero to all the people here. He was a proud conservative who believed America was a shining city on a hill.”
Oh what the fuck, people? Why don't you just form a new religion, call it "Reaganism," get the religious tax exemption, and shut the fuck up?

While you're at it, maybe you shouldn't whine about the deficit while lionizing Reagan, who took the deficit from 2.3% of GNP to 5.6% of GNP, adding more than a trillion 1988-era dollars to it. Hell, even with his disease-ravaged brain, Reagan himself recognized that he screwed up.

Look, conservatives, we need to have a talk.

I know you guys are new to this whole "revolution" thing, because "conservative" and "subversive" are basically antonyms. So let me offer you some advice for your next horribly misguided public spectacle. If you just follow these simple guidelines, you should be fine.
  1. First and foremost, don't name your protest after a slang term for a sex act. If you're considering Dirty Sanchez immigration protests or Angry Pirate anti-piracy rallies, you might want to reconsider.
  2. Making protest signs is an art. You want to be brief, but clever. It also helps if they make sense. Additionally, you should probably not endorse slavery on your sign.
  3. Costumes are always a nice touch, but giant furries with huge penises are probably not going to draw a lot of people to your cause.
There are obviously more than just these three guidelines that should be followed, but they would at least be a good start.

Once you get the blatantly ridiculous bullshit out of the way, we can get into more esoteric stuff like "actually understand the historical events you refer to," "don't contradict yourself mid-sentence," and "for God's sake, just shut the fuck up already." But we have to start somewhere!

In conclusion, teabagging rocks!

PS. Note that this post contained almost no jokes about scrota. Yay, self-control!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Does DiNatale value streetlights over firefighters?

Roughly a month ago I wrote this post, about a couple of city councilors making fun of Marcus DiNatale for being an annoying, hypocritical buffoon.

If you recall, the issue at question was the whole streetlight idiocy, and DiNatale wanting to raid the city's free cash in order to keep more streetlights on. Stephan Hay and Jody Joseph then made fun of him for being a self-ordained "fiscal conservative" while being so eager to spend the city's free cash, and also for being an oppositional dummy.

Good times...

Now it's a month later, and we have this story about the city council transferring $91,000 from free cash to pay the city's firefighters. You just know that DiNatale will have something stupid to say about it, and he delivers right off the bat!
"I'm not crazy about taking money out of free cash," said Councilor at-large Marcus DiNatale.
Huh? Where did the freewheeling, free cash-spending Marcus of late March go? That guy would have been totally on board with this plan!

Maybe he just doesn't think firefighters are as important as having some extra streetlights on? Or maybe he's hoping that the light produced by burning homes will eliminate the need for more streetlights? Who knows?

He can believe whatever he likes, but I have to disagree on this issue.

See, if my home is on fire, then I really don't care if the sidewalk near it is well-lit. My bigger concern would be getting rid of the fire, which is where the firefighters come in. It's considerably more important to me to have a home that isn't just a smoking pile of rubble than it is to not stub my toe on a dark sidewalk.

DiNatale's stated reasoning isn't along those lines, of course. Rather, it's a fine example of a dumb idea couched in reasonable-sounding language (like most politics, really).
DiNatale said three budget line items have had money left over in them at the end of the year for each of the last three years.

Those include accounts in the building, health and employee benefits categories.

"Those three accounts, I believe, can cover this overage without using free cash," DiNatale said.
Golly, that almost sounds reasonable on the surface. Well, if you ignore the fact that he's relying on a speculation that maybe there will be money left over at the end of the year.

This argument was pretty-well eviscerated by Mayor Wong.
But Mayor Lisa Wong urged councilors not to support DiNatale's plan.

Wong said the fiscal year is not over, so it is not definitive those accounts will remain where they are. Furthermore, Wong said if those accounts do under run, any money left over would go back into the free cash account.

"At this point it doesn't make sense to transfer money out of those departments," Wong said after the meeting.
Ouch. That's eminently sensible.

If they use free cash and DiNatale's three cited accounts end up with extra money, it'll go back into free cash anyway. Which means what DiNatale is suggesting is basically a stupider and more limiting way of doing the same thing Wong is proposing.

Hmm, if that's the case then why would he be opposed to it? Oh, maybe late-March Marcus is back!

Let's not forget about what Jody Joseph said back then:
Ward 6 Councilor Jody Joseph said he was "tired" of hearing DiNatale criticize Wong.

"I'm constantly hearing the same thing, 'My way is right, her way is wrong,'" Joseph said.
This leaves us with three potential explanations for DiNatale's inconsistency.
  1. He could legitimately believe that raiding free cash to turn on a few streetlights is more worthwhile than using it to pay firefighters.
  2. He could reflexively disagree with everything the mayor supports, just to be a dick.
  3. He could actually not believe anything at all, and just grandstands about any issue he thinks might appeal to local dimwits, in order to get his name in the paper and further his political career.
Whichever of those is correct (I vote for all three), I sure hope he keeps it up.

Not for the good of the city, mind you. Being obstinate doesn't really help the city, as far as I can see. No, he should keep it up because after the disappearance of Rachel, Fitchburg is in desperate need of more insanity in its politics. Because it's funny.

Alternately, he could adopt sensible positions and actually study issues instead of just being a reflexively oppositional nuisance about everything. Then he might actually be well-respected and get something worthwhile accomplished. But where's the fun in that?

Stay the course, Marcus. For the comedy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday videos, because why not?

One of my absolute favorite albums of all time is The Rezillos' Can't Stand The Rezillos, which sadly was also their only studio album. Anyway, here's a good old (1978-ish) video of them.

A good chunk of that band later reformed as The Revillos, who were still pretty enjoyable, but a bit too new-wavey for me. Still, crazy video!

Man, the 80's were nuts from the very start.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Locals officials scared of transgendered people

Sometimes you see a headline and just know that the story that it goes with is going to be chock-full of stupid. Today we have a fine instance of that in Bill to protect transgendered people draws mixed response.

The story itself centers around a bill (I assume it's HB1722, though the story neglects to identify it) that would have two parts, as explained quite succinctly by the Human Rights Campaign.
This bill would (a) expand existing hate crimes laws to cover crimes based on gender identity or expression and (b) expand existing anti-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination in employment, places of public accommodation, real estate, and education based on gender identity or expression.
I'm not a fan of hate crimes legislation, but this doesn't seem too crazy. The hate crimes laws exist whether or not I like them, and as long as they exist they might as well cover all applicable groups.

But even if I were opposed to it due to the hate crimes stuff, it's easy to get behind the anti-discrimination stuff.

Well, easy for me anyway.

It's not so easy for Groton state representative Robert Hargraves:
Opponents point specifically to one aspect of the bill that would allow men who self-identify as women to use women's bathrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa.

"It gives license to perverts to go into ladies' rooms," state Rep. Robert Hargraves, R-Groton, said. "I have a problem with that. I have two daughters and six granddaughters, and this is bull-[shit]."
Do you use that potty-mouth around your granddaughters, Robert? For shame!

But let's assume he's right, and that transgendered people (or "perverts," if you're as dumb as Hargraves) could use the bathrooms of whatever sex they identify as. I suspect--and hope--that this is in fact the case. But so what?

I've used a lot of co-ed bathrooms in my short life. Yet, despite being in a bathroom with members of the opposite sex, I somehow refrained from showing them my junk. Remarkably, the women in these bathrooms also managed to avoid flashing their vaginas at me. I guess maybe I could have stuck my head under a stall door or something, but bathroom floors are yucky.

Does Hargraves think that women's restrooms are full of naked women lounging about? Probably. He seems to get most of his ideas about transgendered people from old Bugs Bunny cartoons, after all:
"What this does is, it gives men the chance to put a couple grapefruits in their chest, shave their legs, put on a little lipstick and a skirt, and go into the ladies' room," he said. "To me, any man that wants to do that is a pervert."
I suspect Hargraves has never seen a human breast. They only resemble grapefruit in poorly-written internet erotica, Robert. Additionally, they do not feel like bags of sand.

Look, this is pretty simple. If someone self-identifies as a woman and therefore wants to use the womens' restroom, there's no reason they can't. Womens' restrooms are fully capable of handling even the most manly man's leavings.

But what if the person self-identifying as a woman is just doing so in order to get into the womens' room to molest women, like Hargraves imagines happens all the time? Well, then they're molesting people and should be arrested and prosecuted. Of course, if they're going into the womens' restroom in order to molest women, then they're probably not going to bother with the comically inept crossdressing.

And, as Jen Benson (the only local politician in this article with any brains) points out, there is nothing keeping people from going into whatever restroom they want as it is. So prohibiting discrimination against transgendered people really won't have much effect on bathrooms. The bathroom stuff is even debunked elsewhere in the S&E article, where it mentions that 13 other states already do this and haven't had problems.

It's notable that while Hargraves seems to be very concerned about women being harassed by "perverts," he doesn't seem at all concerned about the harassment a transgendered person may experience for using their chromosomally-dictated bathroom. I wonder how he'd respond if a man dressed as a woman pulled up at the stall next to him.

Ah, I'm sure it wouldn't bother him. He's clearly an enlightened guy.

But not everyone is so enlightened, and finding a safe bathroom to use is a big enough issue for transgendered people that the Transgender Law Center even publishes the wonderfully-named Peeing in Peace Resource Guide, which is partly devoted to giving advice on how to deal with harassment and assault.

It doesn't take all that much imagination to recognize that a man dressed as a woman takes a not-insignificant risk any time they step into a mens' room. Especially if they can convincingly pass as a woman. It works the same in the other direction, except women are probably less likely to fly into a homophobic rage and physically assault a woman dressed as a man.

Hargraves isn't the only local dumbass, of course. Dennis Rosa wants to get in on the act, too.
But state Rep. Dennis Rosa, D-Leominster, said Friday he opposes the bill.

It may not openly promote criminal activity, Rosa said, but it encourages it.

"If someone is close to the edge, by encouraging it, you're adding to the problem and pushing them over," Rosa said. "That could be a real concern, because you're talking about people who are possibly having psychological problems because they're struggling with who they are."
I've read this a few times now, and for the life of me I can't figure out what Rosa is talking about. Is he freaked out about bathroom stuff for no reason too? Does he think being transgendered itself is criminal? Or does he think that transgendered people are somehow on the "edge" of becoming serial killers?

And how does he think their possible "psychological problems" will be helped by denying transgendered people equal rights? Perhaps if we learned a bit more about his feelings towards transgendered people we might gain some insight...
Rosa said the bill would "legitimize incorrect behavior."

"I'm for equal rights, but this is taking it way too far," he said.
Yep, that cleared it up.

Rosa is most assuredly not for equal rights. At least not for those damn transgendered people and their "incorrect behavior." I guess being a bigoted sack of shit is "correct behavior."

Clearly, his opposition doesn't really have anything to do with the fear of bathroom shenanigans. No, that's not really what worries Rosa (or Hargraves, I'd argue). They just think transgendered people are icky. I'd wager they don't want them in either bathroom.

Unfortunately for non-existent transgendered bathroom goblins (and also for perfectly nice transgendered people who just don't want to be discriminated against), Rosa and Hargraves will fight this bill:
Hargraves said he will vocalize his opposition to the bill.

"I may not use the word pervert on the house floor, but I'll let people know how I feel," he said.

But Hargraves may be one of the few willing to state his opinion openly, according to Rosa.

"If you didn't ask me the question, I probably wouldn't talk about this bill until it was time to vote on it, and then I'd just vote against it," the first-term representative said. "I think most legislators are hush-hush about it."

Rosa said at least one colleague told him in private he opposed the bill, but would not state his opposition publicly.

"My gut feeling is that there's a silent majority against it, but no one seems to really want to talk about it," he said.
Gee, why could it be that people don't want to talk about it?

Maybe it's because even assholes like Hargraves and Rosa realize on some level that being a bigot isn't really considered all that cool these days. Best to keep that stuff to yourselves, guys!

See, if you're willing to endorse discrimination against a whole group of people just because you're scared of having to pee next to a "pervert," that's actually really terrible. If I were that stupid, I'd try to keep it a secret too.

So, I actually have to applaud the Sentinel for running this story and letting the world know just what kind of morons Hargraves and Rosa are.

Also, this will be fun to refer back to when Hargraves shows up in a ladies' room with pomegranates under his shirt in a few months.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hey, she stole my shtick!

As you're no doubt aware, I've had a lot of fairly negative things to say about Sentinel & Enterprise editor Jeff McMenemy. His mind-numbingly stupid editorials are always a nice easy target for a post, and I've drunk at that well many times.

Of course, I only know McMenemy through his editorials and the "news" stories that are editorials in disguise. Either way, I come at this as a mere consumer of the news. I don't think I've ever met the man, and I certainly haven't worked for him. Surely someone who knows him better would be able to add a lot that just isn't available to me.

Well, there's a new blog out there that focuses just on McMenemy, and it's written by someone who actually did work for him (my condolences!).

Please direct your browsers to My Own Worst Menemy, subtitled "Jeff McMenemy is the worst editor-in-chief ever." Awesome.

There are only a few posts at this point, but they're quite entertaining, and definitely worth a read. So go show Samm (the blogger) some love.

There's more than enough shtick to go around!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rasmussen: Capitalism more popular than capitalism.

According to a recent Rasmussen report, Americans prefer capitalism over capitalism by a 33 point margin.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans weren't sure whether they preferred capitalism or capitalism, proving once again that our educational system is woefully inadequate.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gay marriages for everyone!

It's a gay marriage frenzy!

Just a few days ago the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in Iowa. Which was nice and all, but results in the same old boring complaints about "activist judges."

The term "activist judges," of course, means any judge who overturns a ruling that conservatives like. Judges who overturn laws that conservatives don't like (like medical marijuana or euthanasia laws) aren't activists, they're just judges. Don't get confused!

So good for Iowa! Still, while adding to the very short list of states that don't treat gays like shit is great, the arguments arising from it are very predictable. It's the same old bullshit we got with Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California.


But Vermont has upped the ante! Not only did they legalize gay marriage, but they did it through the legislature. Hell, they even overturned a veto by the douchey governor to do it!

That's just awesome.

Now there can't be any talk about "activist" anythings. The legislature did it. They were elected by the people, ostensibly to represent those people. Ergo, the people of Vermont have legalized gay marriage.

Which is great, especially since it means that now we'll get new insane arguments from conservatives about how gays are destroying America. The local crazies aren't up in arms yet (they won't be aware of how Vermont is destroying the sanctity of marriage until McMenemy's whiny editorial appears), but there are free-range idiots to make fun of.

Let's see what the new conservative bitching-point is! Here are some comments from the AOL reprint of the AP story.
God will have the final word on this. Vermont might seem like a quaint inland area, but beware, they are not immune to an act of God!
Hmm. That's pretty poor, as far as crazy freakouts go. Saying God will punish them is good, but the "inland area" part is weak. Is God going to somehow turn Vermont into a non-quaint coastal area?

Because that seems like it would mostly punish New Hampshire. And New Hampshire is already feeling pretty uncomfortable, what with Vermont and Massachusetts rubbing up against it all sexy-like.
Here we go again the government overriding the rule of the people. I thought we lived in a democracy, where people vote and the majority rules.
Disqualified for poor reading comprehension, and still using the old arguments! Time to formulate new stupid arguments, dammit!
The only solution to the ECONOMY is to DEPORT all ILLEGALS and bring home the troops from Iraq and put them on the MEXICAN BORDER!!!
Umm... huh.
ill never go to vermont, sick sick sick, and no im not a bible thumping dude, but im not taking it in the back door !!!!!!sick sick
This fellow thinks that legalizing gay marriage means he has to be on the receiving end of anal sex if he sets foot in Vermont.

He will absolutely not masturbate tonight to the thought of visiting Vermont. Seriously. He just won't. Probably.
We are headed downhill as a country. Next we will have polygamy and then people marrying animals. It's just gross thinking about 2 men getting married. So sad what our children of tommorow are facing!
Rick Santorum is now commenting on AOL?
First it was overwhelming support for Barack Obama now it is legalization of gay marriage. My home state of Vermont has become a cess pool of failed liberal ideals.
Failed? Obama won, and gay marriage is legal.

I'm starting to think that commenters on AOL are actually sort of dumb. Won't anyone update their crazy stupid arguments? Must we stick with all the old, boring ones?
How do these "Gays" explain the birds and the bees to there adopted children? What kind of message does this send? Those kids will get so much harassment in school, those are the kids that blow schools up!
Now, that may not be a new crazy argument, but it's a pretty good one!

Gay marriage should be outlawed because adopted children of gay parents (who don't exist unless they can be legally married) will get confused about procreation, which will lead to them getting harassed, which will lead to them BLOWING UP SCHOOLS!

How do you like that, Vermont? Let's see how "gay" you are when all your schools are blown up!
Another loss for the moral beliefs of most Americans every time a gay marriage ban is lifted. It shows how far we have came from our roots of one nation under God. Now it is quickly becoming one nation under Satan.
This counts as crazy, because of Satan. But I don't think it's a new argument, really. Just a really dumb old one. And yeah, the "one nation, under God" part of the pledge of allegiance dates from 1954.

Okay, this isn't working out how I expected. There's a whole lot of crazy, but it's mostly just Christians freaking out about Jesus and equating homosexuality with bestiality, as is their habit. I could only find one clearly new argument in all my looking, and here it is:
That's right, married gays are coming for your human babies. Quick, stuff as many in your mouth as you can!

Hurry, the gays may already be here!

Monday, April 06, 2009

About Open-mindedness

If you frequent the same nerdy scientist blogs that I do, you've probably seen this already. It's a nice animated thing about the concept of open-mindedness.

Seeing as I've been accused of being close-minded on this blog before (by our illustrious ex-mayoral candidate, if I remember correctly), I figured I might as well throw it up here so I can refer back to it later.

If you don't want to watch a nearly 10-minute-long, somewhat self-congratulatory cartoon about how skepticism is cool and gullibility is for losers, feel free to skip this one.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Technical Difficulties

It looks like my commenting system has gone nuts.

Where we once had lovely comments from people who think Obama is a space alien, there's now a strange discussion about the British National Party or something.

I'm going to try to get this sorted out, but in the meantime you might want to refrain from commenting. Or go for it, but be warned that there's a possibility your comments will end up on a xenophobic British blog somewhere.

Okay, looks like that's over for the moment at least. It was fun while it lasted!

UPDATE 2: Never mind, it's broken again!

UPDATE 3: Fixed again. Maybe for good this time?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Redneck Grand Jury Indicts Obama!

Wow, it's hard to even know where to start with this.

It's a WorldNetDaily (known to some as WorldNutDaily, WingNutDaily, etc.) article about various people who are trying to use legal challenges to get rid of B. Hussein Obama (known to some as "The Usurper").

It's a boring article that's not worth reading, except for the awesome part about these wacky rednecks who created their own grand jury in order to... ummm... subvert the government?
Georgia resident Carl Swensson, whose work is detailed on his Rise up for America website[*], told WND he got tired of the issues over Obama's eligibility, as well as his performance in office.

"I took it upon myself to find as many patriots as I could across the state, for the purpose of seating 25 for a grand jury," he said.
What is it with crazy conservatives wanting so desperately to be a part of the legal system while at the same time not understanding a damn thing about it?

It's bad enough having to deal with all these dipshits who think that taxation is unconstitutional, now we actually have to deal with people trying to use the fucking Magna Carta to depose the president. Seriously.
Swensson cites on his website as authority for the grand jury the Magna Carta, the bill of rights that formed the foundation of British common law on which U.S. law is based.
See, the Magna Carta gave barons the right to depose the king if they could get 25 of them to agree to do so.

Obviously there's no difference at all between 13th century British nobility and a bunch of pigfuckers in 21st century Georgia, or between an elected president and a hereditary monarch, so the legal argument is totally sound!
He said the members were chosen, sworn in and observed all of the rules of procedure. Swensson declined to elaborate on the specific allegations about Obama, telling WND that remains confidential at this point because of the possibility of a prosecution.
Well, that's disappointing. But the mention of "eligibility" makes it pretty obvious that this is at least in part about Obama's birth certificate.

Apparently the same detachment from reality that makes people think that Obama is a space alien also makes them believe that there's an actual possibility of this wingnut masturbation fantasy resulting in a prosecution. I wish there were, because it would be incredibly funny to watch.

Be careful, though! These "patriots" mean business!
However, the website explanation of the procedure includes some intimidating language.

"If the government does not amend the error within 40 days after being shown the error, then the four members shall refer the matter to the remainder of the grand jury," it says. "The grand jury may distrain and oppress the government in every way in their power, namely, by taking the homes, lands, possessions, and any way else they can until amends shall have been made according to the sole judgment of the grand jury."
Let me translate that from the legalese for you. Here's what they're actually saying:
"If the government doesn't kick B. Hussein Obama (A.K.A. Barry Soetoro) out of the presidency and back to Islamistan in 40 days, then we're going to take over. When we take over we will throw a giant fit, and seize your trailers, trailer parks, NASCAR collectible mugs, and anything we can fit in the back of our pickups."
Them's fightin' words!

I really, really hope they follow through with their threats. The government must see the light, or these brave patriots will be forced to overthrow it!

All 25 of them.

* You absolutely must go to that website. They start by spelling the president's name wrong in the page title, and it just gets funnier from there on out!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Yet Another Abstinence Clown!

Oh my. This is just remarkable.

It's an article from the Catholic News Service. In it, leaders in the Catholic Church whine about people making fun of the pope. Apparently, mocking decrepit old virgins in fancy dresses and funny hats is a sin or something.
Mockery is not acceptable in public discussions, especially when the subject is the pope, said the president of the Italian Catholic bishops' conference.
Oh, this is going to be fun...
"We will not accept that the pope, in the media or anywhere else, is mocked or offended," said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, opening the spring meeting of the permanent council of the Italian bishops' conference.
Bad news, Angelo! See, you really don't have a choice.

While it's pretty unlikely that I'll ever have the opportunity to directly offend the pope, I can (and do) mock him pretty much whenever I feel like it. In fact, anyone can go right ahead and mock the pope, at least in countries where freedom of speech is respected.

What's even better than the ridiculous "you must not mock this old fart" complaint is that they're complaining about people criticizing the pope for things he absolutely should be criticized for!
He said the public criticism began in January when the pope lifted the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops belonging to the Society of St. Pius X, including a bishop who denied the extent of the Holocaust, and continued into March when Pope Benedict said the distribution of condoms was not the key to stopping the spread of AIDS.
Ethics quiz! Which of these is the most evil?
  1. Making fun of some guy.
  2. Giving support to a bunch of blatant anti-Semites.
  3. Lying to millions of people who believe you to be infallible, and in so doing discouraging them from doing something that could save their life, thereby condemning at least some of them to disease and eventual death.
Now, I'd personally rank #3 as the most evil, with #2 being pretty evil, but not deadly, and #1 not even really qualifying as "evil" at all. But I don't get my morals from an ancient PR pamphlet for a nonexistent deity, so I could be wrong.

What does the cardinal have to say?
The cardinal said the Italian bishops would continue asking people "to never abandon the language of respect, which is an indication of civility" even when they disagree with him.
How handy, I just had a quick post about civility. Thanks for proving my point!
The pope represents "a moral authority" in the world, which his March trip to Africa highlighted once again, he said.
That would be the trip on which he claimed that condoms "can even increase the problem" of AIDS.

I guess I'll need someone more deeply schooled in the Catholic faith to explain to me how that statement isn't a lie. Because I'm pretty sure lying is considered immoral even within the Catholic church. I'd have to check my Bible to be sure, but I think there may even be a commandment or something about it!
The bishops defended Pope Benedict as "the most loved and respected spiritual leader of Catholics all over the world." They argued that the world had received with respect his views on the recession, terrorism and moral issues such as AIDS and abortion.

The pope has often urged the world to become "more God-fearing while building a society based on humanitarian values and moral principles of life," they said.
Apparently "principles of life" is some sort of secret code for "dying from a horrible and totally preventable disease, just because this old Nazi is scared of vaginas."

But enough of this silly press release. Let's get down to business: how does the pope compare to Derek the Abstinence Clown?

Well, they both dress ridiculously! If anything, the pope dresses even more ridiculously than Derek.

Benny the Abstinence Clown

How about skills? Derek can juggle pretty decently. I'm still trying to figure out what skills the pope might have. If he can juggle, he keeps it to himself. Is being really fucking scary looking considered a skill?

I'll call it a draw. The pope must have some skill to get elected pope, right? He probably throws great parties in his rectory or something. Oh, I know, he gives a hell of a salute!

How about sexiness? Well, obviously the pope was a total hottie back when he was a young man. Derek the Abstinence Clown is still relatively young, and is not a hottie at all.


Derek the Abstinence Clown preaches about abstinence, but it's possible that at some point he actually found someone stupid/desperate enough to fuck him.

Not the pope, though! Benny the Abstinence Clown would lose his job if anyone were stupid enough to fuck him. Luckily, he looks like a moldy piece of beef jerky these days, so he's probably safe.

Looks to me like Derek is winning... wait... HOLY CRAP WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS???

I take it all back. Making fun of the pope is dangerous!

Derek the Abstinence Clown*

I hereby present to you the best thing ever. It's even funded with your tax dollars!

I think I'm going to start using the phrase "practice juggling machetes" as a synonym for "masturbate."

I'd also like to point you to this article by a nice reporter lady who also became an abstinence "educator." If it didn't cost $50, I'd be inclined to do so myself.

Reverend Unicow, Licensed Abstinence Educator would be great on a business card.

* [Honestly, I don't think he's a clown. He's actually a pretty decent juggler who just dresses like an idiot. But "Derek The Abstinence Juggler Who Dresses Poorly" doesn't have the same ring to it.]