Thursday, June 30, 2005

Bloggers in Iraq -- Developing

In the July 4, 2005 issue of the Army Times, on page 25, we find an article by Joseph Chenelly, “Bloggers in Iraq Must Register Sites.”

(Article is available to subscribers only – I’ve got a hardcopy. The link will take you to the cover and the headline.)

My student who is an Iraqi veteran brought it to my attention. He’s as uneasy about the new rule the article is reporting as I am.

Here’s the nut grafs:

A policy for all service members under command of Multi-National Corps Iraq states that anyone who owns, maintains, or posts to a Web site or Web log must formally notify his chain of command.

“All service members who fall under MNC-1 must register their sites or blogs or risk facing punitive action, under the policy signed in April by Lt. Gen. John Vines, MNC-1 commanders.”


Although policy states that soldiers don’t have to submit each post for review before it goes online, the rules require commanders to regularly review each site maintained by a soldier under their charge.


[T]he policy calls for MSC commanders to review blogs every quarter for appropriate (or nonappropriate) content.

Some bloggers, such as Red2Alpha, at, have already decided to quit rather than keep blogging under such circumstances. Others plan to continue to blog – anonymously – and risk the consequences. (Six at is one of these.)

Some will likely keep blogging and register their blogs, as they are required to do.

"The final point on the policy states that this is a punitive policy. Service members in violation to [sic] this policy may be subject to adverse action or punishment under the UCMJ."

What effect will this policy have on those blogs?

My student and I discussed the policy at length. Yes, there are some good reasons to want to police blogs – that names of casualties have been getting out before family members have been notified, for instance, is one outstanding reason, one no one could argue with. There are also security issues, obviously.

But, as one blogger quoted in the article notes, bloggers serve a purpose that cannot be met by embedded reporters – or, at least, that is not being met by embedded reporters. And trying to put a leash on military bloggers, which it looks to me and to the vet is what is up here, is a bad idea.

A blog is, in fact, as I read back there long ago on blogspots, a little First Amendment Machine.

And yes, when a citizen joins the military, that citizen does give up some of his or her rights.

But he or she does it in order to defend our rights. (Some folks seem to be forgetting that bit.)

We are not better protected by being kept ignorant of what is happening in Iraq.

The Free Press, such as it is, is not doing its job. The bloggers, military and otherwise, have stepped in. This move by the military to abrogate free speech on the part of military bloggers, may be put forth simply a way to shut a leak in security -- but, as the vet points out, if the military command were actually worried about that, they would be checking these blogs more often than once every three months. Checking blogs every quarter isn't going to stop many security leaks, and it's not like the military (the CIA, the NSA) doesn't have the resources to check them more often -- or, you know, in fact, to find out who is running these blogs WITHOUT having the bloggers self-disclose.

What this strikes me and my student/vet as, in fact and in effect, is simply another attempt, by Bushco, to quell free speech: to stifle dissent: to hide what can’t be hidden.

Frankly, they should give it up.

MORE Persecution of Christians!

From Jeffrey Feldman, over at the Frameshop:

Last night on national TV, while most Americans were getting ready to listen to the President talk about Iraq, Chris Matthews filled a room with about 1,500 Evangelical Christians, two Jews and a Muslim. Next, he asked them questions about the separation of church and state, abortion, and morality. He called the whole thing a healthy discussion about religion.

What did America learn?

Well, we learned that America has very serious problem. We learned that Christians in this country are the victims of widespread discrimination so extreme that the moral foundation of our nation is at risk. We learned that the plight of Christians in this country, today is the same as the plight of segregated blacks was in the 1950s. We learned that our country is facing a battle like the civil rights battle to stop Christians from being excluded from American society. We learned that the repression of Christianity in this country is systematic, and has been going on for years. We learned that this country has become so committed to the rights of minorities that it has forsaken the rights of the majority.
Yes indeed.

There's more.


Here's proof that denial makes folks look witless:

From over on Drum; he's looking at a brain-dead column by Christopher Hitchens:

"...Where the hell did this aside ooze up from?"

Come to think of it, what happened to the loud and widespread demand that gays be allowed to serve in uniform? Surely that was not just a Clinton-era campaign to be dropped in favor of gay marriage at just the time when the country needed troops in Afghanistan (generally agreed) and in Iraq (much disputed)?
I don't intend a taunt in the above sentence (it's more of a tease, really, as well as a serious question to which I have heard no answer)....

"That's a serious question? It's true that the president of the United States and his extremist Christian pals have lately given us other things to worry about on the gay rights front, but I'm pretty sure that allowing gays to serve openly in the military is still part of the liberal agenda. My last post on the subject was only two months ago, and I'm sure a quick Google search would turn up plenty of other references — especially if you make "linguist" one of your search terms."

(As Tom Tomorrow points out

Kevin Drum is nicer to Hitchens than he needs to be, about the column in general; but in any case, this bit indicates a severe disconnect from reality. It's akin to the severe disconnect I've been seeing in the Conservative world in general lately, though. If I had to guess, I'd reckon it has something to do with that war they mired their wheels in, that really stupid president they hitched themselves to, not to mention the fundavangelical movement they sold their souls to.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Toxic America

From Anne Lamott's blog:

There are cracks in America now that have actually split us into two. It's the most toxic environment of my lifetime. Yet I would say that things were less much hopeful a month after the election. My friends and I were like caribou contaminated with swerving sickness, when the level of infection gets so high that the caribou start walking around in circles until they drop. But in the last two weeks, things have started to turn to shit much more quickly for the Bush administration.

And as a devout follower of Jesus, here are my thoughts on that: HAH HAH HAH.

God, I love this woman.

Last Night

That Bush guy was on TV.

I couldn't take it either. Lies and fucking lies. Who needed it?

But Gavin over at Sadly, No took the bullet for us.

Go here

to see what you missed.

And don't skip the comments. They're worth the whole ticket itself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Anne Lamott has a blog!

(Via Academic Coach

And thanks! Best news of the week!)

Blood Libel Tales

I'm teaching the Prioress's Tale in Chaucer today, because, you know, I needed something to make my week even cheerier than it has been so far.

The Prioress's tale is the one about the evil Jews who snatch up the sweet little Christian boy who is doing nothing but singing hymns to the glory of Jesus -- well, Mary, but same difference, in Chaucer's day -- snatch up this sweet little boy, just seven years old and innocent as the driven snow, cut his throat to the "nekke boon" and cast him into a privy, there where they void their entrails. Wicked, wicked Jews!

All because they can't stand to hear God's true name praised!

Oh, well, yes, there was the bit in the hymn about how evil Jews were, and how they ought to blush red for the nasty sins they commit -- but hey. As my Born-Again Christian student pointed out, back a few semesters, if Jews did the crime, they ought to start doing the time. Shouldn't have betrayed the Savior if we didn't want to pay for it for all Eternity, right?

In any case, the Jews in the Ghetto get theirs, first tortured and then pulled to bits by wild horses, it does the Prioress's heart good to hear such a tale of justice, and Chaucer reminds us at the end about Hugh of Lincoln, right here in England, same tale, same result.

Hugh of Lincoln was a contemporary blood libel myth -- contemporary to Chaucer, I mean -- you can find data here

but basically, what happened was a boy was found murdered and the local officals hung it on the Jews, and held a tidy little pogrom, cause the English, they were so very tidy -- not like over in Europe, where, when the same thing happened,

the pogroms were much less tidy and much more vicious.

Chaucer would have known about those too. Given that the Black Death had just occurred, and that Western Europe had a rash of pogroms during the Black Death, he surely would have.

My Riverside Chaucer tries to read the Prioress's Tale as a simple miracle tale, straight up, and uneasily. It's hard for me not to read Chaucer as speaking with deep irony here: the child who is killed sings in a language he does not understand, and is killed for it; the Prioress, who is a stupid, ignorant woman, speaks from her ignorance, preaching a racist tale whose result she clearly does not comprehend -- she thinks she is preaching love. Can she not comprehend that the result will be death and hate? Does she truly think that "Evil shall have what evil will deserve" is Christ's message?

I say that, and I think of what I am reading on the Christian conservative blogs.

They do think that is their God's message. Death and hate is what they preach. Pogroms are what they want (cf this Iraqi war).

Have we learned anything since the 14th century?

Is it not the message of the Conservative movement that there is nothing to learn?

And here: look at this: also from the Wikipedia site.
(And you'll remember this:

Contemporary blood libel myths in the West:

The use of blood libel has been adopted by certain groups to promote their agendas, particularly on the far right of the political spectrum. In the United States, this is especially noticeable in the most extreme fringes of the anti-abortion movement, which has produced a litany of charges against doctors performing the procedure.
One claim stated that physicians in
China who perform abortions consider the fetus a delicacy and eat it. The story, reported from Hong Kong by Bruce Gilley, was investigated by Senator Jesse Helms, and gruesome artwork reminiscent of traditional depictions of blood libel was featured in several anti-abortion campaigns.[4]
The only use for human fetal tissue is in the medical research field, particularly stem cell research. [5] [6]

I remember sitting with a student, six or seven years ago in Idaho, who had written an anti-abortion paper, and having that student swear to me that the cosmetic industry used ground up human fetal tissue in the making of shampoo and face cream: that this was why "the government" would not overturn Roe v. Wade. Because it was too profitable. Nor could anything I said convince him otherwise. His preacher had told him so.

The beat goes on.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Why I Would Not Make A Good Pioneer

Because when the AC goes down, so do I.

Yep, it broke again. Came home to find the house at 90 degrees.

Cute sweaty guy came and fixed it, once again, in two minutes, but it took him two hours to get here this time, and he says it will break again tomorrow -- soon as the day heats up, he predicts. He says he needs to get a part. He told me the name of the part, but as I am a classics professor and not a parts professor I promptly forgot the name of the part. I do remember it is only available in Fayetteville, and so he will have to drive up the mountain to fetch it.

Luckily he was going there anyway.

But yikes. I cannot take not having cooo-ooold in the house. What a wimp I am.

Luckily the blogosphere continues to conspire to cheer me up.


Via No Fancy Name

Which I found, I think -- can't actually remember anymore -- Via Geeky Mom.

I find most of my good stuff via GM these days.

Or if not through GM than through PZ

Space/Time of One's Own

Geeky Mom posts over here about the need for a space of one's own:

And I bang my head against my desk in shared pain.

While the kid was gone, recently, and mr. delagar was spending eight or nine hours a day up in Fayetteville, studying German prior to taking his language qualifiers, I had -- imagine this -- the house to myself.

I had space and time to myself.

This is something I had not had since before the kid was born.

I woke up at six, I made coffee, I drank coffee, I listened to music, I wrote, I surfed blogs, I wrote some more, I wandered the house, I did a little laundry, I ate a bagel, I wrote some more, I drank more coffee, I wrote some more, for hours. I did some of the best writing I have done in years. I haven't been immersed in my writing like this since -- well, yes, since before the kid was born. I had forgotten writing could feel like this.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I love the kid. I love mr. delagar. They are the light of my life. I am not saying I don't want them around. Heavens no. Might be saying I'm a bit conflicted, sure. If you're not, I have a nice crisp certificate that I can send to you, suitable for framing, which should arrive in four to six weeks.)

The fact is, I need -- maybe all writers need, but clearly I need, and Geeky Mom appears to need -- space, and time, in which I can be left entirely and wholly alone, for as long as I need to be left alone, to work.

I had been trying, for the past seven years, to work in tiny bits of time, half hours here, forty minutes there, between pouring glasses of milk and making pots of soup there and scrubbing the kid's face now and finding mr. delagar's keys then. But good heavens. Who can find their way into a fictional universe, who can immerse themselves into writing, when at any moment someone is going to come wandering in and say, hey. Hey. HEY. Do you know where the remote is? Do you? Huh?

Or: I can't find Hank! Where's Hank! I need Hank!

(Hank: a small stuffed dog without which the kid cannot survive eleven and a half minutes.)

Try writing Middlemarch under those conditions.

So what is the solution?

Outside of that convent in Canada, I mean.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Serious Crisis

Serious Crisis here in NorthWest Arkansas:

Our AC went down last night.

This is bad news, as those of you who have lived in the south know. (It was 96 in the shade here yesterday.) I nearly crashed the household of my fellow liberal professor, except I knew she had parents visiting. So we rented a hotel room instead, much to the kid's delight. She loves hotels.

Then we called the guy today. I didn't think the guy would come out on a Sunday morning, not in Arkansas, the rustiest bit of the Bible Belt, but he* not only did, he came right then. And fixed it.

Apparently I am not the only one who knows that life is not worth living without a functioning air conditioner.

It is now 78 in here, down from 86 three hours ago.

I am slowly reconsidering my earlier decision re entering the convent in Canada.

*A cute sweaty guy, for those of you interested in such things.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wrinkle in Time

So I'm telling mr. delagar about the "Ripple in Time" thing, while we're hanging around Books A Million, which is the closest thing to a book store that Fort Smith actually has.

He gets this wistful look in his eyes.

"What?" I ask.

"I had the biggest boner for Meg Murry when I was a kid," he said.

"Well, who could blame you," I asked.

He looks over at me then, startled.

"What?" I said.

"Goddamn it," he said, astonished.


"Goddamn it. I married Meg Murry. Didn't I?"

I grinned at him. "Heh."

"I can't believe this," he said.

"Lucky you," I pointed out, and strolled off to look at the science books.

What the Christians Are (Not) Readings

It's always fun to watch Fundavangelicals try to talk about books, especially books for kids. Once they get past the "They should read C.S. Lewis's Narnia series!" it's totally hopeless. But very funny.

(I did enjoy the one who advised parents that L'Engle's "Ripple in Time" was "Science Fiction from a Christian perspective," though. That was adorable.)

Here's the problem you're having, dudes. It's the same problem they're having making the movies in the age of the post-feminist backlash.

You want your kids to read books in which (1) no child ever does anything wrong (2) no misbehavior is ever perpetrated by anyone, adult or child (3) no moral ambiguity ever arises (4) parents are always shown to be perfect authorities who make no errors in judgment and (5) no signs of the modern world (that is, jokes about underwear, for instance) appear.

There is a name for books like these. Stupid and boring.

Also? Not realistic to the child's worldview. Why would these books interest a child? He would see that those characters have nothing to do with his existence. Why would he want to read them? We read to understand our lives -- well, not y'all, apparently. Why y'all read, I cannot fathom.

(Oh, wait. You don't read -- that's clear from your comments. Ripple in Time, indeed. Never mind.)

But those of us who read, read to understand the (actual) human community.

Therefore -- follow my leap in logic here -- it helps if the books have actually been written about actual members of the human community.

And not imaginary beasts you have made up, trying to convince your nine year old he or she should act in some imaginary (and wholly unlikely) fashion.

I'm just saying.

Yes, Indeed

What Zweifel says here:

As I said in this space two weeks ago, if Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about having sex with an intern, then George Bush needs to be impeached for the deliberate lies he and his cabal told to start a war that has now taken the lives of more than 1,700 young American men and women and countless Iraqi citizens, plus threatens to bankrupt the country.

The recent disclosures of secret memos of meetings involving British Prime Minister Tony Blair's staff have underlined just how cynical and deceitful the people entrusted to lead the United States were in fabricating intelligence to get this war under way. It has become clear that they never had any intention of letting the United Nations try to settle the dispute. It seems clear now that they had made up their minds nearly a year before that Saddam Hussein was to be forcibly deposed.
Yet Bush and his lieutenants kept telling the American people that war would be waged only as a last resort.

Lying presidents need to be impeached. That's what the Republicans in Congress told us only a few years ago.

So let's get on with it.


Found this via Atrios:

Listen, I'm pissed as hell at Rove. I am a democrat and have been forever. (I'm 54) ... my two kids who just happen to be in the US Army serving are also democrats. My son and daughter both joined as soon as they possibly could after 9/11.

So far they are both safe from harm (no thanks to Rove...).

My son and daughter both emailed me last night wanting to know just who in the hell the Rove guy is. They both want to plaster his face everywhere around the bases they are stationed. It seems that Rove didn't know that a good percentage of enlisted folk were Democrats. They like to say around the bases that republicans don't volunteer.

Kos adds:

"went into the Army a Republican, came out a Democrat. It really is a fiction that the military is heavily Republican. And Rove's statements are a slap in the face of every Democrat currently serving his or her country."

That has been my experience, of my students who have returned from Iraq -- the ones who actually fought there -- and mr. delagar's returning veterans too: that they are liberal democrats, I mean.

The two I know best were liberal democrats when they went in, as well.

In fact, I don't know any returning Iraqi vets on this campus that are Republicans.

This might be a selection process -- I don't hide my political views (heh, I don't, you should see my door, and in fact students travel from all over campus to see my door, it is famous) but on the other hand, my Republican students don't seem particular skeered of me and frequently come hang out to debate the issues with me, so.

Kid News

The kid is back.

She grew another inch. This is excellent news, because she's finally big enough that we can move her out of the car seat*, but on the other hand, what's up with that? Who told this kid she could go growing when my back was turned? She'll be thinking she can go off to college or something next.

She's also all tanned and she got a haircut and my word she's noisy.

I don't think she used to be this noisy.

Good thing she's going to be spending her days with my fellow liberal professor, huh?

*You know they're supposed to be in the car seat until they're eight or until they're 80 pounds or until they're big eough that when they're sitting with their backs against the back of the seat, their legs bend over the edge of the seat? I thought we'd never get there. We're not going to get to 80 pounds until she's about 12, it looks like, but we did finally get her tall enough.


Amanda over on Pandagon makes a point about women leads in movies:

I hadn't noticed this, since, as I may have mentioned, I ain't been going to movies much for the past seven years, what with the kid thing.

Also, of course, there's the problem with movies sucking these days.

It occurs to me that Amanda's observation (via Carina Chocano) may be part of the reason why movies are filled with such suckitude. One thing required for a movie to hold interest is, in fact, conflict. When one cannot have a female lead who is an actual character, because she is required to be an empty vessel, well, where does one find conflict?

In movies these days, often, apparently, by blowing shit up.

This bores me.

Not many people, I guess, but me.

(Tried to watch Cold Mountain on DVD last night -- can you tell?)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Too Far

You know what, I have to agree. This is too far.

From AmericaBlog:

Karl Rove, the White House chief political adviser, said last night in Manhattan only a few miles from Ground Zero that liberals didn't get 9/11. We didn't see the attacks as "savage." We didn't want to defeat our enemies. We simply wanted to give Osama bin Laden and the 19 hijackers "therapy."

Karl Rove can kiss my God damn ass.I sat in my Washington, DC apartment on September 11, less than 2 miles from the White House, and watched the Pentagon burn outside my window. I sat in my apartment, alone, wondering if I was going to die, if my country was at war, and what the fuck was happening to the world.

My liberal friends on the Hill had to evacuate while I was on the phone with them because there was a report that a plane was coming in. My friend liberal friend David was exposed to Anthrax. My liberal friend in California lost his friend in one of those airplanes. I interviewed the victims of September 11 and their families. I know the pain of September 11, and I don't need a God damn lecture from some White House operative about how I just didn't get it.How fucking dare Karl Rove and the White House go to New York City, stand within miles of the World Trade Center remains, where nearly 3,000 Americans and foreigners of all political persuasions are forever buried, and say that liberals don't think September 11 was any big deal.

It's bad enough to have Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and their ilk say that liberals hate America, and it's bad enough that Republicans pull this "liberals hate the military crap," but when the White House says that we don't "get" September 11, that we didn't think the murder of 3,000 innocents on that horrible day was "savage," that we simply wanted to give Osama bin Laden "therapy."

And then to have Bush's White House back this man -- which it's doing, apparently -- yeah. This is too far.

Yet MORE Persecution of Christians!

Who would have guessed it!

The whole deal at the Air Force Academy?

Yep! It's us intolerant Lefties out to persecute the Christians again!

Here's what Dobson's group had to say about it, specifically:

Focus on the Family, an evangelical ministry in Colorado Springs that had called criticism of the academy unjustified, said in a statement, "We fervently hope that this ridiculous bias of a few against the religion of a majority - Christianity - will now cease."

And over there on that nifty new blog where the Red State Folk are trying to act like they're not loons, they've got this to say:

If you've been paying attention, you are aware that the Air Force Academy was under investigation for the insidious influence of James Dobson and other Christians groups near the AFA's campus. According to a complaint made by a lutheran chaplain at the AFA, students were being intolerant of other faiths. The investigation cleared the Academy.The lefty secularists have lost a fight. Good!

Yep. That's right. It's not that a Pentecostal chaplain was encroaching on the rights of cadets who had no power to object, or that a commander was forcing his cadets to swallow his own particular prejudices about which God and what religion was acceptable (not the Jewish God, and not the Catholic one, either, and heavens to Betsy not that Muslim fella!), and it surely isn't that religion per se was being forced on anyone -- oh no!

(Among the incidents highlighted in the report were fliers that advertised a screening of "The Passion of the Christ" at every seat in the dining hall, more than 250 people at the academy signing an annual Christmas message in the base newspaper that said that "Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the world" and an atheist student who was forbidden to organize a club for "Freethinkers." )

Pay no attention to these silly reports!

The point is, it is Christians (not atheists or Jews or anyone else) who are being persecuted here! Yes, persecuted!

Because if anyone -- ever! -- objects to ANYTHING a Christian does, EVER, then that Christian is being persecuted.

As much as though he and his wife and his sweet little twin toddlers were being devoured by hungry lions while the Romans threw ripe peaches and evil taunts at them. Just exactly that same way.

What don't you understand about this?

Education in America

Here you go:

A little bit of that thought control, nice and fresh.

What TBogg said


Childcare Blues

So I get a call last night and the Great God Tulane, who controls All Our Fates, has Lost.

Don't ask me what. Some sort of sports event. Those who know these things could tell me what I am sure. The important bit is that the grandparents are bringing the kid home a week early.

Not that I don't miss the kid, mind you. I miss the kid amazingly.

No: it is that I have no childcare for the kid and mr. delagar's summer school session does not, in fact, end until July 1. (You'll recall that mr. delagar is the kid's primary caregiver.)

My university has no childcare (but of course). His university has no childcare in the summer. While there are commercial childcare facilities in both of the cities our universities are located in (Fort Smith, Fayetteville) we did not apply to any of the decent ones because we assumed (foolishly) that we had childcare (grandparents) through next week.

My mother says, on the phone, "Well, we're staying through Friday. This gives you the weekend to figure something out."

Indeed it does.

And we do have a large walk-in closet. And I do know how to install a lock on the outside of the door. Unfortunately, as we do not live in either Florida or Texas*, I guess I'll have to come up with another option.**

*I'm kidding! I'm kidding! Apologies to all decent folk from Florida and Texas! I know you exist! I'm just way stressed right now!

**Actually I have come up with another option -- my fellow liberal professor, the one who just had a newborn, is going to take the kid for three of the days. And I'm so grateful. But still cranky.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Putting Parents in Charge

I really like how Tom Coburn's focus here is on putting parents back in charge of their adolescent daughters.

Because, as we all know, adolescent sons do not have sex.

Or perhaps Tom thinks parents just don't need to care if their sons have sex?

Of course we all know what the true answer is: Tom just doesn't care about controlling the sexual behavior of males.


It's in Your Genes

Not sure what to make of this.

It's about study published in the American Political Science Review which says it finds that our tendancy to be liberal or conservative (or, I assume, libertarian or whackaloon Nazi or whatnot) lies not in ourselves, Cassius, but in our genes.

It's another one of those twin studies. Clones again.

In the study, three political scientists - Dr. John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska, Dr. John R. Alford of Rice University and Dr. Carolyn L. Funk of Virginia Commonwealth - combed survey data from two large continuing studies including more than 8,000 sets of twins.
From an extensive battery of surveys on personality traits, religious beliefs and other psychological factors, the researchers selected 28 questions most relevant to political behavior. The questions asked people "to please indicate whether or not you agree with each topic," or are uncertain on issues like property taxes, capitalism, unions and X-rated movies. Most of the twins had a mixture of conservative and progressive views. But over all, they leaned slightly one way or the other.

The article goes on to say:

It is not that opinions on specific issues are written into a person's DNA. Rather, genes prime people to respond cautiously or openly to the mores of a social group.

So it's not that your genes make you believe that Rush is Right. They just predispose you to believe that. Everything else is up to you.

I'm still not inclined to buy this one.

For reasons of personal experience here.

Oh boy

The blogosphere is apparently involved in a giant conspiracy to cheer me up.

Not to mention:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I loves me some Rude Pundit.

Sometimes one can learn so much in a short press conference.

To wit:Did you know that George W. Bush thinks about Iraq every day? It's true. He does. He said so yesterday in a brief meeting with reporters regarding the U.S.-E.U. Summit. Asked why he felt the need to sharpen his focus on Iraq, the leader of the free world said, "I think about Iraq every day -- every single day -- because I understand we have troops in harm's way, and I understand how dangerous it is there."

Which is really cool, because that puts Iraq on the same level with other things Bush thinks about every day, like taking a shit or wondering if the cook's gonna make some fritters or his mother's breasts or those fuckin' reporters who ask all those got-damn questions or making sure Dick Cheney has raw meat or Jenna's ass or wondering if that sore on his cock is gonna heal soon or taking a piss or the absence of Jeff Gannon's warm hands or punching his father in the face or wondering whether Harry Reid or Dick Armey is a dirtier name or Condi's sweet tang or smudges on the furniture or sending the military into Canada to stop 'em from bein' so uppity or Laura taking a moaning shit or the lyrics to the Oscar Meyer weiner song or Karl, tender Karl and his wonderful kisses. Oh, yeah, and then, somewhere in there, Iraq: "And so, you know, I think about this every day, every single day, and will continue thinking about it." Oh, and maybe taking another piss.

They's so much more.

Including what orta be someone's new bumper stick: What Would Rambo Do?

More on the Air Force Academy

Here's more on what was up at the Air Force Academy. This is from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The substitution came after some Republican lawmakers protested that the original wording could interfere with cadets' legitimate expressions of their religious faith. The original wording also called for respectful treatment of the religious views of students at all higher-education institutions, but the substituted text focused on the Air Force Academy alone.

The battle over the measure's wording followed reports in recent months that academy chaplains had encouraged evangelical Protestant cadets to urge fellow students who were Jewish, Muslim, or members of other faiths to convert to Christianity. A July 2004 report commissioned by the academy had reported that an academy official told cadets that those not "born again will burn in the fires of hell" (The Chronicle, May 6, 2005).

See? What could possibly be wrong with that?

(Thanks to the intrepid reporter in the field who sent me the link!)

More Persecution of Christians

Over there at World View Magazine, Veith is just flabbergasted to find that anyone in in the House of Representatives would object to Fundagelicals pushing Jesus on Air Force cadets (i.e. forcing cadets to watch Mel's Passion, telling cadets who were not Christians that they were going straight to hell, penalizing Jews who attend synagogue on Saturday, cracking anti-Semitic "jokes" meant to make it clear that everyone needs to get on "Team Jesus.")

But of course he need not have worried. The Republicans declined to censure, and one fine Representative, John Hostettler (R-IN), (Ah! There's Indiana again! What a charming state!) commented, "Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians."

Be sure you read the comments, too, which include this fine bit:

Picture if you will, a country on a small blue planet. This country is at war with terrorists of the Islamic variety. It's future military leaders are being told the truth of Christ, by chaplains seeking to save their souls, in the event they should die in future battles. All is as it should be, or is it? What if, on this tiny blue planet, there were also agents of the evil one, who wants to see souls damned to Hell, working to thwart these efforts. Men in positions of power, using endless supplies of money from evil ventures like the abortion lobby, to remove all public reference to a Savior for the masses. Let's see how the battle progresses. Let's pay a visit to the tiny blue planet, 3rd from the sun, in this distant part of the Twilight Zone.

Yes, indeed.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Zach Update

Ol'Cranky has an update on Zach:

Hey, Look Here

Pete M. might be back!

Nothing new is up at his site yet

but here's hoping.

This Would be Funny

If I wasn't living in a slave state.


Via Seeing the Forest:

We're using Napalm in Iraq -- and lying about it, of course.

I mean, of course we're lying about it.

What else have we fucking done about anything to do with this war but lie about it?

Haven't used it on civilians, apparently, but as the end of the article makes clear, that's hardly a safe bet.

Mike Moore, the Liberal Democrat defence spokes-man, said: "It is very serious that this type of weapon was used in Iraq, but this shows the US has not been completely open with the UK. We are supposed to have a special relationship.

"It has also taken two months for the minister to clear this up. This is welcome candour, but it will raise fresh questions about how open the Government wished to be... before the election."

The MK77 bombs, an evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea, carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that, like napalm, the gel sticks to structures and to its victims. The bombs lack stabilising fins, making them far from precise.

I'm sitting here wondering what planet this is.

Is this my country doing these things? Is this my America?

Supporting the Troops, SOP

This comes to me from my Veteran student, the one who came back from Iraq over a year ago. He says the vets in question are, in fact, disabled, and that the auto companies that repossessed the cars contacted the families of the wounded men, who told the companies that -- that the men were in Walter Reed, that they were recovering from combat wounds, and that these injuries were why they were not able to make their payments: and that the companies repossessed the vehicles anyway.

Cause, you know: it's the American Way.

Wounded troops may have had cars repossessed

By Rick MazeTimes staff writer

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is investigating a tip that some wounded combat veterans being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington had their cars repossessed for falling behind on payments.

The tip came from a volunteer group that is trying to help the four soldiers get back the cars, said Jeff Schrade, a spokesman for the committee.

In a statement, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said it appeared to him that the companies were not complying with financial protections available to military personnel. The repossessions were unacceptable and may be in violation of federal law, he said.

Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, deployed active-duty personnel, mobilized members of the National Guard and reserve and military families members are protected from foreclosure, eviction and civil action. Schrade said the law would shield troops from foreclosure on property or repossession of a privately owned automobile without a court order.

Friday Night

Friday night* we were standing in the Harp's studying our ice cream options and discussing an ethical dilemma which I can't get into here, as it concerns a student, and it occured to me that mr. delagar and I quote movies the way that, no doubt, fundavangelicals quote scripture, and for the same purpose.

He says to me, "You can't just do nothing."

And I says to him, quoting Lawrence of Arabia, "Why not? It's usually best."

And he accepted this as a valid rebuttal.

I mean, I won the entire argument with that quotation. Just 'cause it was a quotation from a really good movie.

Jeez. These secular humanists.

*Friday night is date night now that the kid is away visiting her grandparents. We went out to dinner, and to see the new Batman movie, which was watchable, though (for me) highly incoherent in the action sequences (I think you have to play computer games to follow action sequences in movies these days, which I don't), not to mention, what is it with the women's roles in these Superhero movies? First she doesn't want him because he's going to kill the bad guys, then she doesn't want him because he's not doing anything to fight the bad guys, then she doesn't want him because he's fighting bad guys. Okay, what? But don't mind me: except for Buffy, which is a special case, I have no affection for the Superhero genre as a whole. But mr. delagar, who does pop culture, loves them all, so along I go, and some of the bits are nice bits, and I did make him watch Buffy the Musical with me that time, so. And afterwards we bought ice cream at the Harp's and took it home and watched Bertie and Jeeves on DVD. I like that Hugh Laurie, even when he's playing a dope.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hats off

P.Z. comes clean:

Red-State Male

You probably won't be able to take much of this guy, too hateful and too tedious; but he's instructive.

He's a Red-State male stuck in a Blue-State, telling other Conservative Males how to date women (women who "think" they're liberals, as he puts -- they're not actually liberals, he knows that. Women don't actually know what they are, of course. Women just get confused by (I'm assuming male) professors and other authority figures; and once he marries one of them he'll set her straight, I guess, or whatever) --

Why would any woman date this troll?

He claims it's because women instinctively seek "high-status" males with tons of money, which he implies he is. Of course, later on in his "essay," he lets its slip that "if it were up to me I´d eat at Chipotle[ every night]," so, uh. Obviously his definition of "high-status" and mine must differ a bit.

(Here's a tip, Bernie. "High-status" doesn't mean having your very own brand-new Toyota Sierra. Really not. And Neiman-Marcus? That's, um, just a tip here, Bern: not the store all the cool rich kids buy their chicks clothes at.)

Anyway, he's out to tell all his conservative buds how to hang onto those whacky chicks long enough to coax them to back to the cave. Unfortunately, as you can tell if you can make it halfway through his tedious piece of writing, he himself has apparently not ever gotten one of them to last as far as the dessert course with with him.

So, well. Keep trying, Bern.

And here's a tip you might try.

I hear there are these women out there called Conservatives.

I don't know this for a fact, mind you. But Miss Ann Coulter assures me they exist. And she claims they're all just so hot they crackle.

Why aren't you dating them, if they're so lovely and rich and smarter than the average woman and fifty percent of the female population and all?


Friday, June 17, 2005

Follow the Money

Says Schlafly, and who can disagree with her?

Here in her column at her site The Eagle Forum she's making an argument (not one that hasn't been made a bazillion times by her ilk) that over here on university campuses we professors hate America so much that all we are teaching in the campus, anymore, apparently, is how evil Bush is -- or something.

(Her logic sort of collapses halfway through the essay.)

Here's one bit, though:

Repeated surveys report that Democratic professors outnumber Republican professors by about 10 to 1, but that ratio doesn't begin to reveal the outrageous leftist culture to which college students are subjected. Many professors are Marxists or other varieties of radicals who hate America.

Note the, uh, evidence of "outrageous" leftist culture?

Yeah, me too.

She has more "evidence" later.

The most frequent complaint I hear from college students is that professors inject their leftist political comments into their courses even when they have nothing to do with the subject. An anti-Bush tirade, for example, might stream forth without warning in math class.

Or, then again, it might not.

What college student (students?) told Schlafly this happened? What math professor did this? What did this "tirade" consist of? How many times has this happened? On what campuses? Can we investigate these allegations? Hmmm. No.

What do we call these sorts of claims, class?

But toward the end, ah, toward the end, this is where she really gets on my last nerve.

Meanwhile, tuition and fees were up 10.5 percent last year and 14 percent the year before. Over the last 25 years, tuition increases have annually exceeded the consumer price index by 3.5 percent.


The scandal that over 30 percent of university students do not graduate within six years is a direct consequence of the easy availability of government grants and loans. Why hurry if your easy-going campus lifestyle is heavily subsidized, even for taking remedial courses to learn what you failed to learn in high school?

There is no evidence that the taxpayers are getting more for our money, or that students are learning more, or even that additional revenues are spent on instruction. The average score on the Graduate Record Exam is lower today than in 1965.


The only way to put a lid on tuition prices is to eliminate the tremendous incentive caused by government subsidies. Follow the money

Okay. This is either pure ignorance -- possible, I suppose, but unlikely -- or a wilful attempt to mislead her audience.

Universities are not raising tuition in a gleeful attempt to sucker more money out of the public. I am almost positive Schlafly knows this. (I could be wrong. She could be so ignorant about the way higher education is funded that she does not know this.) Universities are raising tuition every damn year because the states are cutting our funding and the federal government is cutting our funding every damn year. And they are doing this -- why? Because folks like Schlafy have, every damn year, said O! O! Personal Responsibilty is a Good Thing! Make the Student pay for Her Own Education! Why Should the State Pay!

So the student is paying.

As a result?

The student is working full-time while the student goes to school. Because otherwise the student can't afford tuition! Which is now out-of-bounds for all but the richest of our students. Even with grants and loans! (Which I bet you anything Mrs. Schlafly knows.)

As a result?

Students are taking five to six years (and yes, sometimes longer) to graduate.

And, as a result? Yes, they are doing badly on their GRE exams. Hmm. Why might that be, Mrs. Schlafly? Because I'm spending my class time dissing Bush? Or because my students are spending sixty hours a week working at Wal-Mart and the local pizza joint to make ends meet because you and your ilk decided it wasn't the FUCKING AMERICAN WAY to provide them with a decent education and a decent living wage?

Follow the money.

Yeah, let's do that.

New Site

Called Religious Right Watch:

(Via Infinite Stitch:

Thursday, June 16, 2005


You want to talk about leaving reality behind?

Here's a blog for you!

Yes! Abortionists EAT BABIES!

Prominent pro-life advocate Jill Stanek writes of a ghastly abortion story and the ensuing big media failure to report it accurately. Krishna Rajanna, whose Kansas City clinic has finally been shut down, operated a house of horrors that one investigator called the most “vile, disgusting crime scene” he had ever encountered. One employee at the clinic reported seeing Rajanna “microwave one of the aborted fetuses and stir it into his lunch.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

So Good For America

Here's why Free Market Capitalism Doesn't Work.

Over here in WV, a Wal-Mart that's been having a bit of trouble making lots of money has deciding to do what businesses that are having trouble making lots of money will do (read your Marx) when they can: cut labor costs.

That is, they'll do that unless labor has a way to stop them.

And, when there are no unions, and no labor laws, there is no way to stop them.

Wal-Mart officials in Cross Lanes told employees on Tuesday they have to start working practically any shift, any day they’re asked, even if they’ve built up years of seniority and can’t arrange child care.

Store management said the policy change is needed to keep enough staff at the busiest hours, but some employees said it appears to be an attempt to force out longer-term, higher-paid workers.

The workers, and the union, and pretty much everyone except the Wal-Mart officials, agree what's going on here is the Wal-Mart store is trying to drive out the higher-paid floor employees -- to make them quit by making their jobs impossible.

Wal-Mart Officials just say, very innocently, that they're only trying to make a profit here. Hey, what's the problem?

Want to figure out what the problem is? I aim you once again at Marx.

Or just read this:

This is something that is done throughout Wal-Mart stores,” Fogelman said. “The reality of retail is that our busiest times are evenings and weekends, so it only makes sense that we have higher staffing levels at those times.”

Union critics of the retailing giant, who have fought a long and unsuccessful battle to gain a foothold there, said it sounds like a new policy for the company and added that it will set a bad precedent for other retailers.

“This is a chilling new direction for Wal-Mart,” said Chris Kofinis, communications adviser for Wake Up Wal-Mart, a promotional campaign funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers union. “It shows that when you work at Wal-Mart, you can neither afford a decent standard of life or even have a life.”

Kofinis said researchers at Wake Up Wal-Mart had not heard of open-availability rules at Wal-Marts before. The tremendous influence Wal-Mart wields among retailers means that others may have to start considering following suit, he said.

“At a union employer, this kind of work scheduling would not be possible,” Kofinis said.

Wearing Shoes

Every woman on the planet should read this post:

And every parent raising a daughter in particular should read it.

Friedman the Ijit

We all knew Friedman was an idiot -- but this big of an idiot?


Another one that can think:

Though lots of what he's saying is scary.

For instance:

The increase in bi-polar disorder is a particularly significant development. In the discussion after Christian's lecture, I asked him about the relationship between this form of mental illness and capitalism as a system. It is clear that capitalism, with its ceaseless boom and bust cycles, is itself, fundamentally and irreducibly, bi-polar. Capitalism is characterized by a lurching between hyped-up mania (the irrational exuberance of 'bubble thinking') and depressive come-down. (The term 'economic depression' is no accident). To a degree unprecedented in any other social system (and capitalism is very precisely NOT a social 'structure' in the way that the despotic state or the primitive socius are), capitalism both feeds on and reproduces the moods of populations. Without delirium and confidence, capital could not function. As it happened, Christian confirmed that he had in fact been working with people who had been 'psychologically smashed' by capitalism, many of whom, it turned out, had in fact developed bipolar disorder. It could hardly be denied that there is an isomorphic relationship between the social and individual disorders of capitalism.

Check out the graphics on this post though -- very pretty.

How to Talk to Conservatives

And yes, we have to.

Over there at Christian Conservative recently, Michael made a sincere effort to get his people to hear the liberal voice. How well it worked, I can't say. [I had some hope at first that actual communication was occuring, but it seemed there was a rapid retreat into "those guys don't have G-d in their hearts, so they MUST be wrong, we'll just call them evil and stop up our ears"-- but I might be wrong. Maybe someone/some folks learned something.]

Anyway, the idea -- the effort -- was, nonetheless, a right one. As the Rogerian model points out, we won't progress, as a society, so long as we continue to divide ourselves. We have to seek common ground.

This site

suggests ways liberals can speak so that conservatives might hear.

And, may I add, since they're in so much trouble right now? Maybe they might be ready to listen.

One might hope.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


You've surely seen this story already -- it's all over the Lefty blogs -- the Levitican Christian Loudmouth declaring that Gay folk ought to be labeled (yes, you know, just like Hitler labeled folks like Jews and gays and Jehovah's Witnesses and gypsies and anyone else that wasn't a white folk like him) to Warn Good Christians -- uh, why, wasn't exactly clear, from the story. Maybe she thought teh gay was catching?

Anyway, the more I think about this, and about other things happening over there on the Right lately, like Assrocket and his wild comments about Byrd, and that whole wild spin on breastfeeding a few days back, the more I'm starting to think something's up. It's not exactly sane, the stuff they're saying these days.

Well, yeah, I know. When was it? But at least it was sort of in the ballpark of sanity before. In the range of sensible. Now it's move into tinfoil hat whackaloon raving.

I have a theory.

Okay, a couple theories.

(1) Did you notice that several of the Rightie blogs spoke in favor of medical mj? That's all I'm going to say about that one.

(2) Bush's approval ratings. Oh, my, are those puppies low. That's gotta sting.

(3) Sublimation*. They can't talk about the stuff that matters, because all the stuff that matters is really, really bad news -- the Iraqi war is a disaster, that Downing street memo thing, Bush is tanking so hard even O'Reilly is gagging -- so they just keep spitting out the first stupid thing that enters their heads. Unfortunately, because they are, after all, really thinking about the things that matter (like the rest of us) what comes out is, in fact, really stupid.

(4) Transference. They're really furious at themselves for the mess they got our country into. But they don't want to hate themselves -- hey, who does? So they're going to hate someone else. In this case, gay folk. In other cases, feminists. Or Leftists. Or Iraqis. Hey, they could care less. So long as they don't have to blame, oh, you know, Bush. Or their own damn selves. Because, now, who was it voted for him? Twice? So these things they're saying that look irrational? Oddly enough, it's because they are irrational. And I don't suppose there's any hope that enough of them will wake up any time soon and notice that.

Those are my theories, anyway.

*Apologies to actual psychologists/therapists/psychology folk out there -- I know I'm not using these terms in their correct technical sense. You know how we literature folk are.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bait & Switch

Here we have Thomas Sowell pulling yet another bait and switch.

Sowell, in case you aren't familiar with his career, likes to argue that there aren't any poor people in America -- just people working, at the moment, for substandard wages.

But that's just now, he cries, waving his hands.

Only 20% of those people will stay at that level for more than a decade! he cries.

So see! No poor people here! What are you liberal whackaloons yapping about? 80% of the people who start out working for minimum wage/loser jobs quit and move on! So what's the PROBLEM?

Uh...gee, Thomas. What could be the problem?

Says Sowell:

What useful purpose is served by stigmatizing work that someone is going to have to do anyway?

Is emptying bed pans in a hospital menial work? What would happen if bed pans didn't get emptied? Let people stop emptying bed pans for a month and there would be bigger problems than if sociologists stopped working for a year.

Having someone who can come into a home to clean and cook and do minor chores around the house can be a godsend to someone who is an invalid or who is suffering the infirmities of age -- and who does not want to be put into an institution. Someone who can be trusted to take care of small children is likewise a treasure.

Many people who do these kinds of jobs do not have the education, skills or experience to do more complex kinds of work. Yet they can make a real contribution to society while earning money that keeps them off welfare.

Okay. First: us lefties do not criticize this labor because it is "menial." Nor do we, as Sowell is implying, sneer at the people who are doing the work.

We criticize the job because it does not pay those who are doing it a living wage. See, we think that if a job is important enough for someone to do it -- like taking care of my children, or dealing with my great-grandmother in the nursing home -- then we ought to pay the person who is doing it enough that he or she can actually survive, decently, on what he or she is paid for the job.

I know that seems bizarre. But, oddly, it's what we want from work, we liberals.

Sowell then pulls his classic bait and switch:

You don't get promoted from such jobs. You use the experience, initiative, and discipline that you develop in such work to move on to something else that may be wholly different. People who start out flipping hamburgers at McDonald's seldom stay there for a full year, much less for life.
Dead-end jobs are the kinds of jobs I have had all my life. But, even though I started out delivering groceries in Harlem, I don't deliver groceries there any more. I moved on to other jobs -- most of which have not had any promotions ladders.

Uh, no, Mr. Sowell. Dead-end jobs are not the kinds you have had all your life. You might have had them as a kid. You don't have one now.

That's point one.

Point two is, people who are emptying bed-pans, working in day care centers, or -- here in Arkansas, charmingly enough -- teaching elementary school, these people are not, in fact, in the same category as a teen-age kid flipping burgers at McDonalds after-school to earn tuition money for college. (In fact, you might look behind that counter, Mr. Sowell, next time you go to McDonalds: damn few high school kids are doing those jobs anymore. They've all been snapped up by desperate single mothers and laid-off factory workers, at least here in Arkansas; and I saw the same thing driving through LA.) People doing those jobs, Mr. Sowell, are, in fact, in that 20% you dismiss out of hand, as invisible. As not there. As not worth discussing.

Because, well -- I don't know why.

Why would Sowell think that many people living in unrelenting, hopeless poverty to be just no big deal?

Maybe because it destroys his comforting little mythology?


P.Z. Myers kicks the piss out of the creationists again.

I can't help it -- it's just so much fun to watch.

Monday. Ick.

My tiny migraine has grown into a huge thumping evil demon of a migraine, and also I have to teach Chaucer in about twenty minutes -- the Reeve's Tale, which, discounting the amusement of the North-England accent of the two students, is not all that much fun. We're starting the Wyf tomorrow, so things should get better.

Anyway, I'm grumpy and in pain.

But I spent the weekend writing and in pain and reading Stephen Levitt's Freakonomics, which I highly recommend, if you haven't dipped into it already. Despite the fact that it kept making me get up and walk around the room and go but-but-but, it's a fine piece of work. Also funny. I like smart, funny, and provocative.

Crooked Timber already has a good post up on him, so I'll just link you to that

and mention that hey, way cool, Steve has a blog!

And I'm thinking of using his book in my ENGL 1213 class next semester. (We have to use a book-length piece of work of some sort. I have been using Ursula Le Guin's Dispossessed, because it's complex and has ideas my students have never run into and I can use it to teach about literature, but this might be more fun. Might make them walk around going but-but-but. Heh.)

Oh -- and one thing I found out from Levitt's book? We've given the kid a name that will be a high-end baby name in 2015.

Yep. Ahead of the curve. That's us.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Rude Pundit

The Rude Pundit is so rude.

But so funny.

Here's Why I Love P.Z.

That blog is just so smart.

I can't help it. Smart makes me happy.

Make sure you read the comments. Even the comments are smart over at PPharyngula -- well, except when the trolls try to argue back. But even then it's fun, because the smart folks get to shoot the trolls down.

Dennis Prager ought to read Pharngula twice a day. Then he could come talk to me about how educated people this and educated people that. Get his head out of his Bible and talk to some educated people once in a while, why doesn't he?

More on Zach

Go here for a blogs that are organizing protests:


And here:

See Here Now?

This is what I like.

A guy who can think.

In Case Any of You Think You're Having a Bad Week

This 16 year old named Zack, in Memphis, had the incredible guts to come out to his parents, despite the fact that they were Levitican Christians, apparently, last week.

This week, they have clapped him in a Christian Reform School Slash Boot Camp, where the aim is to either "fix" him (because, after all, he must be broken -- this despite the fact that no one except fundie Christians and fundie Islams and fundie Jews thinks being gay is an illness or evil anymore) or -- get this -- kill him.

"I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery.”

Hey, that's some healthy therapy for you.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Levitican/Fundie Christians are some sick, sick, sick bastards.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Although I Don't Actually Like Memes...

I found this one over at Ol'Cranky's and it looked like fun.

You copy it into your blog, and then you bold all the stuff that is currently true about yourself.

Bad Meme sinking: crap you probably don't want to know about me
01. I miss somebody right now. (The kid is with her grandparents. She'll be there until the end of June. It's very nice and quiet here, but what do I do without the kid?)
02. I don’t watch much TV these days.
03. I love olives
04. I own lots of books.
06. I wear glasses or contact lenses.
07. I love to play video games.
08. I’ve tried marijuana. (Ooops. Don't tell the Chancellor.)
09. I’ve watched porn movies.
10. I have been in a threesome.
11. I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship.
12. I believe honesty is usually the best policy.
15. I curse sometimes. (Heh -- SOMETIMES?)
16. I have changed a lot mentally over the last year.
17. I have a hobby.
19. I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me.
20. I’m TOTALLY smart.
21. I’ve never broken someone’s bones.
22. I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal. (Yeah, about sixteen, and you're not getting them, either.)
23. I hate the rain.
24. I’m paranoid at times.
25. I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free.
26. I need money right now.
27. I love sushi.
28. I talk really, really fast.
29. I have fresh breath in the morning.
30. I have long hair. (Sort of.)
31. I have lost money in Las Vegas.
32. I have at least one brother and/or one sister.
33. I was born in a country outside of the U.S.
34. I shave my legs (females) or face (males) on a regular basis.
36. I have worn fake hair/fingernails/eyelashes in the past.
37. I couldn’t survive without Caller I.D.
38. I like the way that I look.
39. I have lied to a good friend in the last 6 months. (Well, I mean, who hasn't? Does this look good on me? Ooo, yeah, baby. S-e-xy! No serious lies, though.)
40. I know how to cornrow.
41. I am usually pessimistic.
42. I have a lot of mood swings.
43. I think prostitution should be legalized.
44. I think Britney Spears is pretty.
45. Slept with a Suitemate.
46. I have a hidden talent.
47. I’m always hyper no matter how much sugar I have.
48. I have a lot of friends.
49. I am currently single.
50. I have pecked someone of the same sex. (Does this mean smooched or kissed on the cheek or what? I have no idea what this means.)
51. I enjoy talking on the phone.
52. I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants.
53. I love to shop. (For books.)
54. I would rather shop than eat. (Uh...are those my only choices?)
55. I would classify myself as ghetto.
56. I’m bourgie and have worn a sweater tied around my shoulders.
57. I’m obsessed with my Xanga or Livejournal.
58. I don’t hate anyone. I dislike them.
59. I’m a pretty good dancer
60. I don’t think Mike Tyson raped Desiree Washington. (I have no idea who this is.)
61. I’m completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother.
62. I have a cell phone.
63. I believe in G-d.
64. I watch MTV on a daily basis.
65. I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months.
66. I love drama. (In movies and on stage, where it belongs).
67. I have never been in a real relationship before.
68. I’ve rejected someone before. (Christ. Who hasn't?)
69. I currently have a crush/like someone. (Someone fictional counts, right?)
70. I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.
71. I want to have children in the future.
72. I have changed a diaper before.
73. I’ve called the cops on a friend before.
74. I bite my nails.
75. I am a member of the Tom Green fan club.
76. I’m not allergic to anything.
77. I have a lot to learn. (Who doesn't?)
78. I have been with someone at least 10 years older or younger.
79. I plan on seeing Ice Cube’s newest “Friday” movie.
80. I am shy around the opposite sex.
81. I’m online 24/7, even as an away message.
82. I have at least 5 away messages saved.
83. I have tried alcohol or drugs before.
84. I have made a move on a friend’s significant other or crush in the past.
85. I own the “South Park” movie.
86. I have avoided assignments at work school to be on Xanga or Livejournal.
87. When I was a kid I played “the birds and the bees” with a neighbor or chum.
88. I enjoy some country music. (Not the sappy crap, though. Steve Earle!)
89. I would die for my best friends.
90. I think that Pizza Hut has the best pizza. (Ick.)
91. I watch soap operas whenever I can
92. I’m obsessive, anal retentive, and often a perfectionist.
93. I have used my sexuality to advance my career.
94. I love Michael Jackson, scandals and all.
95. I know all the words to Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story”.
96. Halloween is awesome because you get free candy.
97. I watch Spongebob Squarepants and I like it.
98. I have dated a close friend’s ex.
99. I like surveys/memes.
100. I am happy at this moment (Eh, about 90%. I miss the kid and I've got a tiny migraine at this VERY moment, but I'm writing really well right now, I've got two excellent classes, I just got another raise, I love my job, I love mr. delagar, who's the perfect guy for me, the kid is such a fine kid it's like we ordered her on spec or something, it's true there's the whole hideous Bushco thing and the Levitican Christian nighmare that won't go away, and the nerve-wracking issue of pharmacists who have started refusing to give women birth control pills and what that might mean for the future of women's rights in this country, not to mention the Iraqi War and how it's going to kill off my students and maybe my nephews, also the scary way the divide between the really rich and the really poor keeps deepening, and shit I'm down to 86%, I think I might shut up.)
101. I’m obsessed with guys. Nah. I mean, you're okay and all. And when I see one of you who's really pretty, I notice, don't worry. But obsessed? I'm afraid what I'm obsessed with is words and literature and books and blogs. Sorry.
102. I am bisexual. No. But I like books about bisexuals. What do suppose that means?
103. Democrat. Oh, yeah.
104. Conservative Republican.
105. I am punk rockish.
106. I am preppy.
107. I go for older guys/girls, not younger
108. I study for tests most of the time. I don't NOW, of course, because I don't have to take them anymore, but when I was taking them, I studied FOR EVERY SINGLE TEST I EVER TOOK AND I STUDIED OBSESSIVELY. You damn straight. And I got the highest score in the class or I knew the reason why. (Over-achiever? Me? Why do you ask?)
109. I tie my shoelaces differently from anyone I’ve ever met.
110. I can work on a car.
111. I love my job.
112. I am comfortable with who I am right now.
113. I have more than just my ears pierced.
114. I walk barefoot wherever I can.
115. I have jumped off a bridge.
116. I love sea turtles. Sure. They're pretty. this mean sexually?
117. I spend ridiculous amounts of money on makeup.
118. I believe in prophetic dreams.
119. I plan on achieving a major goal/dream.
120. I am proficient on a musical instrument.
121. I worked at McDonald’s restaurant.
122. I hate office jobs.
123. I love sci-fi movies.
124. I’ve never been in love.
125. I think water rules.
126. I am going to college out of state.
127. I am adopted.
128. I like sausage. (is it me, or is this a loaded question??)
129. I am a pyro.
130. I love the Red Sox.
131. I have thrown up from crying too much.
132. I have been intentionally hurt by people that I loved.
133. I love kisses.
134. I fall for the worst people and have been hurt every time.
135. I adore bright colors.
136. I love Dear Abby.
137. I can’t live without black eyeliner.
138. I think school is awesome.
139. I think pigtails serve a purpose.
140. I don’t know why the hell I just did this stupid thing.
141. I usually like covers better than originals.
142. I don’t like multi-textured ice cream
143. I think John Cusack is adorable.
144. I f**king hate chain theme restaurants like Applebees and TGIFridays.
145. I watch Food Network way too much.
146. I love coaching youth sports.
147. I can pick up things with my toes
148. I can’t whistle.
149. I can move my tounge in waves, much like a snakes’ slither.
150. I have ridden/owned a horse.
151. I still have every journal I’ve ever written in.
152. I can't stick to a diet. (Diets are evil and I have refused to do them since I wised up when I was nineteen. See this month's issue of Scientific American or Alas a Blog if you want more confirmation. How do you stay so skinny, people ask me, a question that shocks the bejeesus out of me every time I hear it, since my family programmed me to believe I was an utter cow. I'm not skinny, first off -- I'm a normal sized woman. This is the size women are meant to be. It ain't skinny. It just looks skinny next to women* who have spent their lives dieting and gaining weight and dieting and gaining weight back, and ending up, after every diet, about ten pounds heavier than they were before the diet, where was I? Oh. No. I don't "stick to diets." I just live like a human being. What a concept, huh?)
153. My step-dad is a psycho-bastard. (No step-dad)
154. I have been known to buy "herbal supplements" I know can not have the effect they promise and try to will myself into having a placebo effect.

*And it looks fat next to my anorexic students -- the ones who are living on diet pills and diet Mnt Dew, and wondering why they can't read their Milton assignment.

This Too

More on Impeach Bush Now

(Via P.Z. Myers over at Pharyngula:

Something Good

There is an excellent article about David Hockney in this month's Harper's.

Just brilliant, about what he's painting now -- which if you've been keeping up with his stuff is really good -- and also what he's been thinking about art. I love to read about what artists think about what they're doing, as well as see what they're doing, so I love the article. Not to mention it gets into Chinese/Dutch cross-cultural influence, you know how I love that stuff.

It's not online, you'll have to buy it, but since it's got like six Hockney repros in it, who wouldn't want to?

(If you don't know Hockney, you want to:


Rebecca Hagelin dances as rapidly as she can here to keep her nimble little mind away from the point -- we Liberals, she claims, we NOW members, we Feminists, we just can't take men who pray, fathers who believe in Jesus.

She's so confused about what our problem might be.

What's wrong with a daddy on his knees, praying to his Lord?

Yeah. Cause that's what troubles us about the Promise-Keepers, that they might make guys pray or something.

The Promise-Keepers descended on Arkansas yesterday -- were given a public stadium to descend into, funded with State money, in other words, at the University of Arkansas, because, you know, in Arkansas there is no separate of Church and State and Jesus is the State -- where was I? Oh, yeah, anyway, Rebecca, the problem is not that Daddy might pray.


The problem is those other things you talk about: gender traditionalism, and how nice it is that these "Evangelical" dads are "stricter" with their kids. (You don't mention that they're stricter with their wives too. Must have slipped your mind.)

Luckily, s.z. over at World'O'Crap has just done a lengthy and well-put together review on these "strict" daddies, so I'm able to simply refer you to her post:

Head on over there, and you can see, Miss Rebecca, exactly what we're objecting to in the Evangelical slash Promise-Keeper tradition. It ain't the Praying. And it ain't the Jesus either.

It is, in some respects, saps like you, who keep on believing that so long as people stick the word God on it it's all good.

Speak Up Now

"The invasion and occupation of Iraq has caused the deaths of over 1,600 U.S. military personnel, as well as untold suffering and tens of thousands of civilian dead in Iraq," said David Cobb, the Green Party's 2004 candidate for President of the United States. "The Downing Street Memo confirms what we already knew -- that a conspiracy to deceive the American people led us into the war, and that this conspiracy constitutes 'high crimes and misdemeanors' according to the U.S. Constitution."

(Via DED Space:

Democracy? We don't need no stinking Democracy.

Bush wants to re-up the Patriot Act, some bits of which are due to expire soon.

Some of us out are have real problems with that act, always have had real problems with that act -- and, in that regard, the House thought it might be a good idea to hold hearings, discussing those concerns before renewing it. (Unlike when it was passed, when, as you know, it was passed without many of our Representatives even reading it, apparently.)

What was the reaction to the House Republicans to these hearings?

(1) They refused to let witnesses speak that they did not want to hear from (because, as you know, dissent is, after all, treason).

(2) They shut the microphones of the Democrats off.

(3) They walked out.

No doubt waving their blue fingers in the air as they went.

Democracy? Well, you know. That's for Iraqis.

(Via Atrios:

Friday, June 10, 2005

What DED Space Said

I am tired of seeing women scream at and hit their babies in public. If we had half the uproar over that as we do over breast-feeding, we might be able to do something about this country's epidemic of child abuse and subsequent violence.


Love your babies in public? That's disgusting.

Smack them in public? That's being a good parent.

Welcome to America.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Makes My Head Hurt

All sorts of Anti-Breast-Feeding posts on the Winger blogs -- like this one

And women objecting to Walters' comment, as here

but it's the comments that are really making me weary.

I thought -- or I had hoped, I guess -- that by now we would be past this.

But all these comments, and women are making them as well as men, are saying all the same stupid things I heard when I was nursing the kid, five years ago:

"You wouldn't take defecate in public, so why would you do that in public?" (Conservatives are reluctant to name the act of nursing. It's just so, well, specific.)

Oh, yes. Shitting and feeding a child. They're exactly the same thing.

"Why can't you go sit in the woman's room if you have to do that?"

Right. And why don't you go eat your lunch in the men's room? Bet your ham sandwich will taste lovely basted in the smell of shit.

"Can't you, ah, you know, pump before hand? And then use a bottle? Considerate women do that."

Good for them. (1) Bottles don't stay sterile. (2) Not all women are good at pumping. (3) Not all babies take bottles. (4) Why the hell should I? Because the sight of a baby sucking at an actual nipple offends you? That makes you an idiot, not right.

"Women should just stay home if they're nursing."

I love this one. I nursed my child for two and a half years. I should STAY HOME if I'm nursing? Well, yes. I suppose Conservative Christian wives would.

"Isn't that child a little old to be nursing?"

I love this one too. It shows how ignorant the commenter is. Babies, apparently, should, like puppies, be weaned at six weeks. What fucktards.

"It's just disgusting. I don't want to look at that."

Uh. Okay. Don't. Your head is on this thing? Called a neck? It turns? Check it out, son.

"Liberals want to force all of us to live by their rules..."

I don't even get this one. It was on VoxDay's site. (A) How does me nursing my child force him to, well, do anything? And (B) Wow, you want to talk about projection.

"People don't have a right to breast-feed in public. And I don't like watching it. It makes me uncomfortable. So, since it makes me uncomfortable, they should stop." (I'm paraphrasing this one, and combining several different comments.)

Okay. Let's substitute "pray" for "breastfeed" here. How would you feel about that one, Right-Wing Christian? Because, you know what? Watching a bunch of you sit down at the mall and pray -- which you keep doing around here -- does, in fact, make me uncomfortable. I have to start wondering, at that point, how soon it will be before you and yours rise up and start marching me and mine off to the camps. (No, seriously. This is actually a thing I actually do have to worry about. The last pogroms weren't that long ago.) So I do get a little itchy when Leviticans start holding their hands in the air and calling on the blood of LORD JESUS to cast the demons out of the sinners in the area, yeah, I do.

But do I go whining about it? Nah. You know what I do? I take a deep breath and remind myself that I live in a free society and that part of the price I pay for living in a free society is that I have to live among people that, from time to time, bug the living shit out of me.

Like that dope in Indiana a while back. Mr. American Fries. Ai. That boy.


If someone is so appallingly upset by the sight of a woman feeding her child that he just can't bear it, first of all, he's a titty baby, and he should grow up; second, you know what? He should move to another chair, so he doesn't have to look. Third, he should thank his lucky stars that he lives here, in America, where people like him, and that woman with the baby, and yep, me, the eee-eee-vil liberal, are all free to make our own choices about how we want to live our lives.

I'm just saying.

Being Unique in the Conservative Christian World

I think what bothers me about Dobson’s essay here

is what bothers me about all the Christian Conservative/ Levitican Christian attempts to support or “prove” that men and women “really are” different*.

They do it by trying to prove that all men are exactly alike, and all women are exactly alike.

In order for Mr. Dobson’s thesis to be true, every man has to be exactly like Mr. Dobson (Good Heavens, please no) and every woman has to be exactly like his wife.

In order for Mr. Dobson’s thesis to hold true, every man must be a white fundamentalist Christian male who lives in North America and holds a full-time job, and has a wife who likes the house at 85 degrees and is obsessed about remembering anniversaries.

And every woman has to be a full-time homemaker who knows that “[c]ompetition is so fierce in the workplace today, and the stresses of pleasing a boss and surviving professionally are so severe, that the home needs to be a haven to which a man can return."

And we all have to be Fundamentalist Christians who buy the story that God created woman out of man’s rib – that this isn’t a myth, that it actually happened – and that Eve was given to Adam to be his help-meet and that, even though God designed woman to be man’s life-long companion, he messed up and designed her so badly that men and women don’t even like houses at the same temperature, or live the same number of years, or want the same sorts of things out of life. (Hmm. Not a very smart God you have there, James.)

And we all have to be the sort of reader who won’t notice, much less blink at, these contradictions.

Or the one, at the very end, where, after Dobson has told us that all men and all women are exactly like this – men are different from women, yes, that’s true, but all men are just like all other men and all women are just like all other women—right after he’s spent an entire essay telling us that, he says we should celebrate our “uniqueness!”

Right. So long as we act exactly like James Dobson, and his wife, we can be as unique as we want to be.

That’s the world the Conservative Christians want for us.

*Oh, and by the way? No liberal is saying men and women are exactly alike. No liberal has ever said that. Liberals believe men and women should be treated equally under the law, and should be given equal access to the goods of society. Liberals believe -- hey, get this, James -- that women, like men, are human beings, and should be treated like human beings. But exactly alike? What gave you the impression that the party of diversity was interested in making people exactly alike? That would be your side of the aisle, bud. The "liberals believe men and women are exactly alike" is a typical winger strawman, and can we please shut up about it?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


That idiot Voxday (I know, I know, penalty points for wordiness) says breastfeeding is just like shitting and should not be done is public.

What a wanker.

Check out the comments, if you can stand it. His readers are as clueless as he is.