News Roundup for 12/31/08

Gonzales stands next to hooded protestor
Gonzales with his favorite hobby

-Now there's a stupid question-
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, disgraced former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales asked the interviewer, "What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?" He then goes on to call himself "one of the many casualties of the war on terror."

I'll bet if we waterboarded Gonzo, he might come up with an answer to that question himself. In fact, I can say with absolute, 100% certainty that he would. Waterboarding's great for that kind of thing. I could also get him to admit to shooting Lincoln and leading the Sack of Rome.

But, since we can't waterboard him, we'll have to rely on TP to refresh our memories:

-Politicized the DOJ
-Approved torture
-Lied about warrantless wiretapping
-Distorted pre-war intelligence

And, of course, that whole Valerie Plame thing. You know what Bobbie? I think I can answer your question myself -- you're freakin' literally evil. If you're a casualty in the War on Terror, then the good guys scored one when you went down.

One bright spot, Gonzo can't find a job anywhere. "Any law firm that does due diligence on me sees all the investigations and the possibility that I might be indicted and they say, ‘Not right now.'"

Golly, that must be rough. Let's all pretend to feel sorry for him. (Think Progress)

-Headline of the day-
"Ohio anti-bias worker sent racist, sexist e-mails."

According to the report, "An Ohio state employee whose job is to prevent discrimination repeatedly sent racist and sexist e-mails from his government account, an investigation found, but kept his job." A year earlier, he'd sent emails joking about giving jobs to women with big tits. What a hoot this guy is, huh?

Robert Habern, the department's equal employment opportunity contracts coordinator in the state's Lima office, was found to have sent emails with "jokes about men kissing and a woman's genitalia, as well as a racial joke and a caricature of President-elect Barack Obama" which were the source of the complaints this year.

Habern -- who, it can't be repeated enough, is employed to make sure that women and minorities aren't discriminated against -- was suspended without pay for 10 days in October for the latest emails. "Everything's all taken care of and squared away," Habern told the AP. "It's over with. I don't even want to bring it back up. It's done and over with."

Department officials defend keeping on Habern, saying the punishment for the most recent infraction was "pretty harsh."

If they aren't going to fire him, maybe they could transfer him to a different department. Does Ohio have a Division of Asshole Protection? Probably not, since this story proves they don't need one. Assholes in Ohio are very well protected, thank you very much. (Associated Press)

-Bonus HotD-
"Powell Aide Calls Bush 'Sarah Palin-Like President'."

This prompts on of those "chicken or egg" questions; is this more of an insult to Bush or Palin? Matthew Yglesias has a possible answer; Palin.

"I'm going to say 'more insulting to Palin,'" he writes. "Palin's something of a laughingstock, but Bush is a villain. I mean, he wrecked the world economy, he led to millions of Iraqis being forced to flee their homes, he's a total disaster and a disgrace. Palin gave bad answers in TV interviews. There's no real comparison."

Like Sarah wouldn't have done pretty much the same thing if she had the chance. If Bush can be a villain, I have no doubt that Palin could be a villainess. She just never got the chance. (Huffington Post)

Please for everyones review-Amy Everett


Wars and Rumors of Wars

A NeoCon Wet Dream Shaping Up

It seems that when things go bad they go really bad. Along with our present world economic meltdown there the pressure building in the powder keg of the Near and Middle East.

We obviously have a terrible situation in Gaza and the attacks in Mumbai India has brought India and Pakistan almost to the brink of war.

So there are some, like former Presidential hopeful John McCain, that predict war between India and Pakistan.

"The Indians are on the verge of some kind of attack on Pakistan," Senator McCain told The Daily Courier, a newspaper in Arizona.

Then there are others like Bushie NeoCon John Bolton that see an opportunity in Gaza.

“So while our focus obviously is on Gaza right now, this could turn out to be a much larger conflict, we’re looking at potentially a multi-front war here," said Bolton

Bolton is referring to his hope that the war widens into an attack on Iran.

This could turn out to be a NeoCon wet dream and maybe the legacy of George W. Bush will be a gift that keeps on well into 2009 and for many years to come.

2008 All Over Again

Last night, I wrote that I hate year-end lists. I knew this would somehow come back to bite me, but in my defense, I don't give myself a lot of space to explain myself in the roundups. What I meant was the typical news media lists, which almost always consist of pop culture fluff bound to be completely forgotten as early as the very next year. The other kind of list is the Roster of the Fallen. I hate these, too. Yes, it's sad that we lost people like Studs Terkel and Paul Newman, but their memories are polluted when we pretend that Paul Weyrich was a wonderful and loving lamb of God and that Charlton Heston was anything other than an actor with his emotional meter pegged at "histrionic" and his volume cranked up to eleven.

That said, here's my year end list of things during the presidential campaign that are actually noteworthy. Besides, it's pretty short. As year-end lists go, this one isn't much work for the reader.

Worst presidential candidate
A man so bad that you probably forgot he ran -- if you even knew he ran. No, I'm not talking about some third party lunatic, but a major party candidate. A former Governor of a fairly consequential state. I'm talking about Wisconsin's Tommy Thompson -- not to be confused with sleepy actor Fred Thompson.

Thompson put all his chips on Iowa, hoping to win that contest and launch himself to national prominence. But, as a former Bush administration official (Thompson headed Health and Human Services), Tommy already had one strike against him. Those strikes started piling up fast. First, in a speech to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Thompson congratulated Jews on being good at making money; "I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition, and I do not find anything wrong with that. I enjoy that."

According to that report, "The remark caused some murmurs and disbelief in the room, according to some who were present." He ended his speech, someone talked to him, and he returned to the podium to apologize. He did it poorly.

"I just want to clarify something because I didn't in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things," he said. "What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding businesspeople and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that."

Congrats on being Jewish stereotypes! That's just awesome...

Thompson further blundered when he answered in a debate that, yes, he it would be fine for an employer to fire someone for being gay. As governor, Thompson had signed a first-in-the-nation anti-discrimination law that included gays. He later retracted the answer and blamed it on "a dead hearing aid and an urgent need to use the bathroom."

In the end, not a single person voted for Thompson. He dropped out after a poor showing in the Iowa straw poll and never even made it to the caucuses.

Runner up: Alan "I'll draft myself to run" Keyes.

Worst political ad
"Obama wants to teach sex ed to kindergarden students." This McCain ad mischaracterized a vote for a common sense, anti-predator bill that would require schools teach the difference between "good touching" and "bad touching" to kids and tell kids who to report pedophiles to. The McCain ad included this quote; "Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family."

It was an awful, awful lie. Awful because, as TIME's Joe Klein put it, "[McCain] is responsible for one of the sleaziest ads I've ever seen in presidential politics." But double-awful because it's a bad lie -- why on Earth would anyone want to teach sex ed to kindergardners? Just to be evil, I guess. Otherwise, what the hell would be the point? All in all, this sucked on many different levels -- including its eventual ineffectiveness. Only gullible morons believed it.

Runner up: Barack Obama wants babies to be hit by trains.

Biggest political surprise
Sarah Palin. No one guessed that McCain would select the Mayor of Santa's Village to become his running mate. She re-energized the Republican base, but quickly was exposed as an intellectual lightweight, a political opportunist, and a complete demagogue. McCain got a quick bounce in the polls after the selection -- at one point leading Obama slightly -- but it all went to hell when McCain's response to the economic crisis was to run around like a chicken with his head cut off, while Palin toured the country trying to convince everyone that Barack Obama was a terrorist.

Despite her popularity among Republican diehards -- Pat Buchanan, for example, has an almost literal hardon for her -- she quickly alienated everyone but the conspiracy theorists and racists she attracted. Some on the right believe she's the best hope for the glorious rebirth of the GOP and lefties everywhere can be thankful for that.

Runner up: Obama chooses Clinton as Secretary of State. Seriously, you would've never guessed that just months earlier.

Biggest relief
George W. Bush will really go away soon.

Seriously, do I have to explain this one?

Runner up: Dick Cheney will really go away soon.

Dead president of the year
Ronald Reagan. During the Republican primaries, candidates went to ridiculous lengths to out-Reagan each other -- going so far as staging one of the debates at Reagan's grave.

This turned out to be a bad idea when the market crash could be traced back to the philosophy of deregulation and Ronald Reagan became the only president to die twice; first as a man, then as an economic theory.

Runner(s) up (tie): Kennedy, Lincoln.

That's it. There are many more of these I could write, but it's hard to boil these down to just blurbs and neither of us wants to sit here all day. So long, 2008. It'll be hard to miss you.




Hi, Everybody!

We have some news for everyone.

REGARDING THE SITE: TIBU2.com will launch on or before February 1st. We know that 1-1-2009 was bandied about, but we'd like the site to be the best it can possibly be prior to launch. A login page may precede the official launch, so you'll be able to set-up your password and perhaps a few other profile features, and any such eventuality will be announced.

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The Lies of 2008

And a Prediction for 2009--Expect a lot More Lies from the Government/Media Complex

"The problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained."

— Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve chairman, March 28, 2007

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong."
— Sen. John McCain, former Republican presidential candidate, Sept. 15, 2008

"We don't see any pressure on our liquidity, let alone a liquidity crisis."
Alan Schwartz, former CEO of Bear Stearns, March 12, 2008.

"I don't think the government ought to be involved in bailing out companies."
— President George W. Bush, July 15, 2008

Source: MSNBC

So these are just a few outrageous lies of the year 2008. I call them lies because these so called leaders knew outright that the economic problems were deep and severe.

How do I know this?

Well, because over the last year I had been warning anyone that was willing to read or listen that the economic problems were severe. I am just a simple man but I try never to make the mistake of believing the
of the New World Order. It was clear that you can't have a good economy without good paying jobs.

But it goes deeper even than this.

Over the last few decades it has been obvious to many simple folk, like myself, that the policies of globalization without any consideration for humane principles and governmental actions have had a devastating effect on nation state economies and world development. In developing countries, rapid growth has lead to environmental degradation along with dehumanizing policies such as sweat shop and child labor. In developed countries, especially in the United States, we have seen major economic declines leading to the decimation of the middle and the working classes of those countries.

But in 2009, Globalization will continue to be the policy of the ruling elite that controls much of the world. So expect the lies to continue and even greatly increase as the masses of people begin to suspect that the economic policies of the last decades have not been about trying to benefit them.

I am sure that it will become much clearer to the masses of people that the bubbles that collapsed throughout the last few decades were created to enrich and empower the already super rich and powerful while giving an appearance of economic prosperity to the little people. For this growing awareness, new and more creative lies will have to be created and implanted throughout the government/media complex.

So expect more lies from your leaders in 2009. I think that is a pretty safe prediction.


News Roundup for 12/30/08

Ridiculously giant SUV
Because gas will be cheap forever!

-Headline of the day-
"Truck and SUV Sales Up?"

I know what you're thinking and, yes, American consumers can be that stupid. CNN cites "low gas prices and fat incentives" as a reason for a recent increase in sales. Consumers, apparently, have the memory capacity of a goldfish, since the drop in sales was caused by the high price of gas.

What dropped the price of gas? Supply and demand -- people stopped buying stupid-huge trucks and SUVs and, as a result, stopped buying so much gas. So now that gas is cheap, everyone thinks they can afford these behemoths again, which will increase the demand for gas, which in turn will increase the price of gas, which will get people to stop buying trucks and SUVs. Then we'll do it all again because we're dumber than cold gravel and we think we need all-wheel drive to get to the Shopko down the street.

In a year, people will be driving their Hummers to rallies to protest gas prices and demand offshore drilling again.

I'd say this was some sort of merry-go-round, but merry-go-rounds are fun. (Donklephant, via reddit)

-Laziest. President. Ever.-
With Gaza going all to hell, you might wonder where George W. Bush is. If you guessed, "On vacation," you'd be right. With just three weeks left to his term, George has checked out to Crawford, because that brush isn't going to clear itself.

This vacation breaks the record for presidential vacations, previously set by some guy named George W. Bush. That record was set way back in March, when George spent his 879th day at his country mansion that he's somehow convinced everyone to refer to as a "ranch."

People who track this sort of thing tell us that President Absent (or would "Vacant" be a better choice?) has spent one third of his entire presidency either at a vacation spot or making his way to one.

You know what's weird about all this? Super-efficient George has still found plenty of time to really, really suck. Imagine how much worse off we'd be if he were a workaholic. We'd be fighting WWIII dressed in the skins of our vanquished enemies or something -- that is, if we actually managed to vanquish anyone.

Tell you what, Mr. President. Why don't you go and take all the time you want? In fact, take three weeks. I think we'd all be better off. (ABC News)

-The year in wingnuts-
How to be a right wing blogger; 1) get a blog, 2) lose your mind, 3) you're in business!

I usually hate year-end roundup lists, but Roy Edroso's The Top 10 Rightblogger Stories of 2008 reminds us of why the left seems to rule the internet -- because the only conservatives on the web seem to be insane Ann Coulter/Michelle Malkin types.

We're reminded that Fred Thompson was supposed to be a shoe-in, that hyper-kinetic Food Network star Rachel Ray loves her some terr'ist donuts, and that Michelle Obama wants to kill whitey. The idea that the recession is Obama's fault should be in here, but that'll easily last into next year and "top eleven" would be a screwy number.

My favorite rightie blog story that Edroso missed? Rich Lowry's creepily stalker-like Sarah Palin post at National Review.

Keep it in your pants, Rich. (Village Voice)

A Ban in Search of a Reason for Being

In March 2007, Stephen Benjamin was discharged from the Navy. An Arabic language translator, Benjamin fell prey to Bill Clinton's absurd 1993 compromise policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Under that rule, gays are allowed to serve in the military, but only so long as it's a big secret. If you tell anyone about your sexual orientation, for any reason, you're out. In Benjamin's case, it was text messages -- intercepted by military censors -- that made it clear that he and a former roommate stationed in Iraq were gay. They were fired.

"My supervisors did not want to lose me," he wrote in the New York Times in June of that same year. "Most of my peers knew I was gay, and that didn’t bother them. I was always accepted as a member of the team. And my experience was not anomalous: polls of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan show an overwhelming majority are comfortable with gays. Many were aware of at least one gay person in their unit and had no problem with it."

Despite a "desperate shortage of linguists," the Navy thought it was more important that intercepted intelligence pile up untranslated than to let some gay guy translate them. This is supposed to serve our national interests, because allowing gays to serve would somehow harm "unit cohesion." Seems to me that breaking up units to preserve their "cohesion" is astonishingly ludicrous -- it's like arguing you have to get divorced to save your marriage.

So it's hard to act surprised when you learn it's been a disaster. A 2006 study by the University of California on the effectiveness of "don't ask, don't tell" found it didn't really do much except fire good people and cost big ol' pile of money. And, for the purpose of this post, we'll define "big ol' pile of money" as $363.8 million in the less than ten years it had been since it was instituted. This was a fuller accounting of the entire cost than a previous study by the Government Accountability Office, which found that "the federal government spent at least $95.4 million to recruit and $95.1 million to train replacements" between 1994 and 2003 to make up for the personnel lost under the policy. Some, like Benjamin, have proved hard to replace. You can't really train people to speak a language without a common root to your own. Learning Arabic -- like Chinese or Hindi -- takes the average English speaker about a decade to reach fluency. Seems to me we don't have that kind of time. Especially when you consider that there would be a very real danger of these recruits deciding not to re-enlist during this time.

And many of the replacements we're spending so much to train and recruit aren't anywhere near as good as the people we've fired. The latest Harper's Index tells us that the Bush administration has "loosened" 9 restrictions on Army recruits since 2003, allowing 245% more felons to be recruited between 2004 and 2007. Good thing they aren't gay, though. You can sure trust a felon with a fully automatic rifle more than you can a gay, right?

Some politicians see the stupidity, absurdity, and just plain idiocy of the policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

[Barack Obama, interviewed by The Advocate:]

[I]think there’s increasing recognition within the Armed Forces that ["don't ask, don't tell"] is a counterproductive strategy -- ya know, we’re spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn’t make us more safe, and what I want are members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are making decisions based on what strengthens our military and what is going to make us safer, not ideology.

Toward that end, Obama has said he'd work to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" within his first term. Yet, despite every logical reason why it should be done immediately, some are warning that we shouldn't get our hopes up. Yes, it's stupid. Yes, it's discriminatory. Yes, it's a waste of money that puts America's defense at risk no real reason and without benefit.

But it's not all that important.

[Roll Call, via Queerty:]

Key Democrats — even openly gay lawmakers — are quietly conceding to letting another two years go by before trying to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the controversial 1993 law banning openly gay people from serving in the military. Most fear that moving too quickly on such a divisive issue could backfire, and most would rather tread lightly, at least in the early months of President-elect Barack Obama's administration.


Democratic lawmakers regularly beg off questions about the contentious policy, arguing that other issues are far more important — such as winding down the war in Iraq or bolstering the economy. They also remember the political uproar when then-President Bill Clinton used the beginning of his presidency to try to overturn an outright ban on gays serving in the military. That effort tied his administration in knots in his first months in office, and Democrats fear a repeat performance.

But that "political uproar" was fifteen years ago. Why assume that everyone's stayed crazy? In July, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that three out of four people believed that gays should be able to serve openly in the military. When "don't ask, don't tell" was instituted in 1993, that number was 44%. The political landscape doesn't look anything like it did back then. In fact, even a majority of Republican voters disagree with the ban, with 64% saying it's a bad idea. I really don't see how caution is called for here; this seems safe as Nerf. "Don't ask, don't tell" is almost literally as unpopular as George W. Bush. Are they waiting for 100%?

After the loss of Proposition 8 in California, after choosing the awful and divisive Rick Warren to bless his first term, Obama needs to recognize that gays not only deserve a win, but need one. But the new Democratic-led congress seems committed to being just as lousy and useless as the last Democratic-led congress. Presidential leadership on the issue is going to be called for, since the reliably cowardly congressional leadership seems to want to brush the issue under the rug and hope everyone forgets about it.

There is no good reason to avoid dealing with the ban. It serves no legitimate purpose, it hurts our military readiness, it's expensive, it's discriminatory, it's backwards, and I could make a real good argument that it harms our culture by giving homophobia an institutional status. And, on top of everything else, getting rid of it is a gimme.

Yes, getting out of Iraq is extremely important. Yes, the economy should be a priority. During the election, Barack Obama said he could walk and chew gum at the same time, in response to John McCain's suggestion that the presidential campaign be suspended so they could deal with the market crash. I haven't seen any evidence that that's stopped being true. Barack Obama can still walk and chew gum; he can deal with these other issues while also dealing with this no-risk political task. In that big long list of difficult problems facing our nation, "don't ask, don't tell" isn't on it. It's a problem, but fixing it doesn't seem all that difficult.

Difficult is reading more stories like Stephen Benjamin's and knowing it puts our country at risk for no real reason.


Break America and Sell Off its Assets--As Predicted

For a few years now it has become quite apparent that allowing the infrastructure of the United States to fall into disrepair for empire wars and weapons would someday necessitate that something urgently would have to be done.

Well Ladies and Gents guess what?

America has to be sold off to pay for the upkeep of your country.

That's right. America is now broke, thanks to the Federal Reserve and the corporate power structure, so now it is time to allow the same people that "broke it" to come in and buy it all up at a very good price.

Source: Yahoo News

Cash-strapped states weigh selling roads, parks

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota is deep in the hole financially, but the state still owns a premier golf resort, a sprawling amateur sports complex, a big airport, a major zoo and land holdings the size of the Central American country of Belize.

Valuables like these are in for a closer look as 44 states cope with deficits.

Like families pawning the silver to get through a tight spot, states such as Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts and Illinois are thinking of selling or leasing toll roads, parks, lotteries and other assets to raise desperately needed cash.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has hinted that his January budget proposal will include proposals to privatize some of what the state owns or does. The Republican is looking for cash to help close a $5.27 billion deficit without raising taxes.

GOP lawmakers are pushing to privatize the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the state lottery. Both steps require a higher authority — federal legislation in the case of the airport, a voter-approved constitutional amendment for the lottery. But one lawmaker estimated an airport deal could bring in at least $2.5 billion, and the lottery $500 million.

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering putting the Massachusetts Turnpike in private hands. That could bring in upfront money to help with a $1.4 billion deficit, while also saving on highway operating costs.

In New York, Democratic Gov. David Paterson appointed a commission to look into leasing state assets, including the Tappan Zee Bridge north of New York City, the lottery, golf courses, toll roads, parks and beaches. Recommendations are expected next month.

Such projects could be attractive to private investors and public pension funds looking for safe places to put their money in this scary economy, said Leonard Gilroy, a privatization expert with the market-oriented Reason Foundation in Los Angeles.

"Infrastructure is more attractive today than ever," Gilroy said. "It's tangible. It's a road. It's water. It's an airport. It's something that is — you know, you hear the term recession-proof...."


Three-Hour TIBU2 Talk-A-Thon Tonight!

Four people were signed on to listen in, and many more showed up. I was there- of course- and Ricky A. Pursley and the gentleman known as Iceberg Flats showed up as well. Ricky came in at about the twenty-minute mark, and Iceberg Flats came on in probably the last hour. The demise of ThisIsBy.Us was discussed- along with many several conspiracy theories, and- especially considering that it was a show with no format- a lot of information was exchanged and disseminated.
We had many anonymous users logging in and asking questions, and that part was good too- it added a bit of spice to the proceedings. All in all, not bad for a first time.

Here is the link to the mp3 archive of the show (2:58:00), 71.3MB download.

The next Talkshoe Event is planned for

01/12/2009 08:00 PM EST.

Thank you to Ricky and Iceberg and to everyone who was involved for their participation and kindness. I’ll talk to you next time.







News Roundup for 12/29/08

Famous airport restroom
How quickly they forget...

-Headline of the day-
"Sen. Craig restroom tanking as tourist destination."

Patrick Hogan, director of public affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission in Minneapolis-St. Paul says the airport there once had an offer to buy the stall where not-gay Sen. Larry Craig tried to have wild, not-gay, closeted, public restroom man sex in 2007 for $5,000. They turned down the offer, since the Commission doesn't "sell fixtures for novelty purposes."

They're probably never going to get an offer like that again, since the novelty's wearing off. "I think we'll all be glad when there's no special interest in that restroom," Hogan says. The way things are going, it may soon be safe to have wild, not-gay, closeted, public restroom man sex in there again. Closeted Republicans everywhere rejoice. (Associated Press)

-Bad news for Sarah Palin-
Russian professor Igor Panarin predicts that the United States will collapse in 2010. In what is basically a bullshit campaign on the behalf of Vladimir Putin, Panarin predicts that economic troubles will tear the US apart, with wealthier states like California and New York withholding tax dollars that would be spent in other states. This results in civil war and the end of the republic.

Panarin foresees the US being separated into six chunks; Atlantic America which would probably join the EU, The Texas Republic that'd go to Mexico, the Central North-American Republic that'd go to Canada, the California Republic that'd go to China, Hawaii which would either go to China or Japan, and Alaska -- which would go back to Russia. No word on what happens to places like Puerto Rico and American Samoa -- I guess Russia doesn't know about those.

Sarah Palin wouldn't just be able to see Russia from her house, she'd be able to see it from her bathtub -- since she'd be in Russia, boy-howdy-you-betcha. My advice, learn Russian better than you've mastered English, Comrade Palin. And work up a liking for beets, sour cream, and vodka -- those ingredients are in everything. (Gawker)

-Bonus HotD-
"Cheney: ‘I Don’t Have Any Idea’ Why People Don’t Like Me."

Asked about his low approval ratings in an interview with his home state paper, the Caspar Star-Tribune, Dick claimed that they were a big freakin' mystery, "I don’t have any idea. I don’t follow the polls," he said.

I think I can help out here. It's because you suck and you're a prick. People don't like that.

Mystery solved. (Think Progress)

Learning from Hoover

There's been some worry that Barack Obama would have to put aside his middle class tax cuts to help pay for an ambitious economic stimulus package. The budget deficit would be too big, the argument goes, and this will cause the economy to suffer. You wonder where all these deficit hawks have been for the last eight years. Bush spent money like a drunk in a strip club on his big pet project of rebuilding the middle east in the neocons' image, driving deficits up to historic levels. In return for this massive investment, we've got pretty much nothing. We might as well have piled up money on the capital mall and lit it on fire.

And now that the failures of the new Republican fiscal policy have destroyed our economy, we're being asked to return to those same policies to fix it. It was John McCain who proposed cutting spending (domestic spending, that is -- we'd still be shoveling money into Iraq) in response to the market downturn. In fact, he promised a balanced budget. You know who the last president was who decided to balance the federal budget in a recession? Herbert Hoover. It didn't work.

McCain, more concerned with attracting conservatives than dealing with reality, made a politically motivated choice to run on reducing spending and eliminating earmarks. Nothing could've been worse. "If we were as ignorant as we were in the 1930s, I think we could be facing a second Great Depression," economist Paul Krugman said in a interview on CBS's Face The Nation Sunday. "Really, the only reason that we're not headed for Great Depression II -- at least I don't think we are -- is that we think we learned a few things since then. So we're not trying to balance the federal budget in the face of a recession. But this is big stuff. This is the worst thing, you know, in two lifetimes." In other words, we've learned from Hoover's mistakes -- at least, some of us have.

All of which makes it no surprise that the Obama tax plan is set to go ahead as promised.

Los Angeles Times:

President-elect Barack Obama's top advisors said Sunday that they wouldn't back away from a promise to cut taxes on the middle class and raise them for the wealthiest Americans, as they made the case for a massive new stimulus package geared toward reviving the slumping economy.

Speaking on Sunday talk shows and in a newspaper opinion piece, Obama aides stepped up a drive to build a broad political consensus behind Obama's core economic proposals: a two-year spending package that could exceed $775 billion, coupled with tax policies weighted in favor of the middle class.

Appearing on NBC's
Meet the Press, David Axelrod, a senior advisor to Obama, said, "We have to act. Every economist from left to right agrees that we have to do something big in terms of job creation, but we want to do it in a way that will leave a lasting footprint."

In fact, the package will be job one -- Obama wants to sign a bill shortly after he takes office January 20th. The Reaganite supply-side economics will be reversed, with the top earners paying more, while everyone else pays less. Some have said this would hurt jobs, since employers are the ones who create jobs and wealth.

But they're not. Demand creates jobs and wealth -- in other words, consumers. Wealth moves up the economic ladder, not down. If there's no demand for a product or service, you could create all the jobs you wanted and you'd never make a dime. So much for the employer creating wealth.

See, the economy works by having people spend money. And the best way to get money moving is to get it to people who actually need it. No billionaire ever looked at his Bush tax cut and said, "Hey honey, we can finally afford that new refrigerator we've been needing now!"

"[T]he Obama administration... inherits an economy with great potential for the medium and long terms. Investments in an array of areas -- including energy, education, infrastructure and health care -- offer the potential of extraordinarily high social returns while allowing our country to address some long-standing national challenges and put our economy on a solid footing for years to come," wrote Lawrence Summers -- former Treasury head under Clinton and Obama's incoming director of the White House National Economic Council -- in the Washington Post.

Summers says that Obama aims to create 3 million new jobs with his stimulus package. "The Obama plan represents not new public works but, rather, investments that will work for the American public. Investments to build the classrooms, laboratories and libraries our children need to meet 21st-century educational challenges," he writes. "Investments to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil by spurring renewable energy initiatives (many of which are on hold because of the credit crunch). Investments to put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and public transit systems. Investments to modernize our health-care system, which is necessary to improve care in the short term and key to driving down costs across the board."

"If only because of all the money that the Obama administration is going to spend, I expect to see some pickup late 2009," Paul Krugman agrees. "But I think we're going to be in trouble for several years. This is going to be a tough, long-term slog." This isn't a problem that's going to be dealt with by minor tweaks to economic policy, it's a problem that will have to be dealt with by rebuilding America. The supply-side fantasy will have to be abandoned and hard-headed realism will have to be put in its place.

Even Republicans see the stimulus package as pretty much inevitable. "Regardless of whether I support it or not, a stimulus package is coming," says Senator Bob Corker. "There's too much momentum right now to envision that something isn't going to happen. We can only hope that whatever does happen is something that advances the country's interests." That "something that advances the country's interests" seems to be an end to Republican ideology and waking up from the dream about "self-regulating markets."

In any case, we can be glad we didn't elect Herbert Hoover again.



Discernment-Amy Everett

Web spun tangle me into repetition
Of days slow
Days fast
Purpose driven for a different road
Different game
Logic lies
Tells me different this time
But different is exactly the same
I try to find the signs
But they are never changing
Pretend I am in a different dream
Just different dreamscape
I seem to be the black widow
Maybe some are the crows
I am inside you
Etched inside my bones
But I am not surprised the end is always the same
I suspend and I disfigure the thoughts of time
The wheel she has me spinning in
To my grave she says…
I am on my knee
I can give you a ring
Shattered design
Has become my mirror
I live to kill first
Before I become their victim
I know this all to well….
Never changing
I swallow the ocean for her tranquility
Keep her with me
Black widow, sucking your marrow
I will not pretend I will make you suffer
I take you in…
As you never loved me like you should…
I sing this song to you
I scream this song to you…
But what can I say?
Shaking hands with the mortician
Make me a princess today
Black silk dress
Black lips
Games over
He says


Bill Hicks

But we always kill the good guys, you ever notice that?
And let the demons run amok.
Jesus - murdered.
Martin Luther King - murdered.
Malcolm X - murdered.
Gandhi - murdered.
John Lennon - murdered.
Reagan…. wounded.


News Roundup for 12/24/08

Dick Cheney
Big fan of 9/11

-Headline of the day-
"Dick Cheney Calls 9/11 the 'Highest Moment' of the Last Eight Years."

Asked by FOX News' Chris Wallace what the "highest moment" was for the Bush administration, the Big Dick answered, "Well, I think the most important, the most compelling, was 9/11 itself, and what that entailed, what we had to deal with."

Two points here. First, 9/11 sucked -- a lot. It was the most destructive and deadly attack on the United States of America in history. No contest.

Second, it happened on your guys' watch -- meaning you sucked. A lot. The only real triumph for the Bush administration was that they managed to turn a catastrophic failure into some sort of PR campaign.

Dick Cheney, ladies and gentleman, what bullshit looks like when it wears a suit. (Alternet, with video)

-When is a bigot not a bigot?-
When he's a poor little victim.

Some people try to emulate Jesus, some wonder what Jesus would do in any situation, and some people think they are Jesus. Barack Obama's poor choice of pastors to hang around with continues to cause problems as Pastor Rick Warren -- like Jeremiah Wright before him -- refuses to shut the hell up and let everything blow over.

In a video posted at his church's website, Warren denies ever "equating gay partnership with incest and pedophilia" -- which, of course, he has. Having totally denied making false accusations, attacks, outright lies, and hateful slander, and really a lot of hate speech, Warren then accused his critics of "false accusations, attacks, outright lies, and hateful slander, and really a lot of hate speech."

When are these guys ever going to learn that video exists?

Anyway, Warren then decided that anyone who dared question him must logically hate Jesus. "It's what I would call 'Christophobia,'" Warren said. "People who are afraid of any Christian."

On her MSNBC show, host Rachel Maddow responded, "Might those people possibly just be Pastor Rick-o-phobes?"

She shoots, she scores. It's got nothing to do with Christianity, it's about what an unbelievable prick this particular Christian is. You ain't Jesus, pastor, and recognizing that you're an amazing dumbass does not reflect on Jesus at all. It's all about you.

Message to Team Obama; the next time the boss says, "There's this pastor I want bring in here..." stop him. Stage an intervention. This is apparently his one blind spot. Save him from himself and point him toward someone... oh, how to put it?

Not crazy.

Thanks in advance. (Raw Story, also with video)

-Bonus HotD-
"Bidens serve meatloaf to homeless."

Meanwhile, the Cheneys eat the homeless. (Politico)

How to Meditate

A New Years Resolution to Change Your Life

So, how do we get started? Well the actual process is quite simple, but we must realize that meditation is a spiritual exercise and like any exercise it involves preparation. A person shouldn’t begin running until he or she stretches properly or an injury might occur. In the same way, we shouldn’t begin meditating until we have made the proper preparations. Just as there are spiritual beings seeking to help us, there are also evil entities that seek to harm. They feed on negative energy, and do all they can to encourage pain and suffering. So, it is important that we don’t unnecessarily open ourselves to these dark forces.

We should then begin our practice with a prayer. If you don’t believe in God or are unsure about the existence of God, then you need only to focus on love and light or the highest energy that you can imagine. This will offer the same protection because God doesn’t care what you name him as long as your heart is open to your higher power. In your thoughts, extend that loving energy to yourself and to all other beings. Think about it benefiting all life. Obviously if you believe in God, then you should pray in the same way but now thinking of God as your Lord and protector. Also, you may want to use whatever prayers you have learned according to our religious tradition. The important aspect is that we draw upon a higher power to protect us as we are opening ourselves up during meditation.

Also, Many of us may want to direct our minds to God or our higher energy by reading a great spiritual work like the Bible, the Koran, the Uphanishads, the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita, etc,. We don’t have to read long passages or spend a lot of time studying, rather it should be something that uplifts and encourages us. What is important is that we are focusing our minds on the highest spiritual concepts that we can understand. Like prayer, this will help direct us and protect us by focusing our attention.

Also before we begin our practice, we should avoid eating a large meal. This may lead to sleepiness and interfere with our breathing. Obviously, we shouldn’t engage in meditation if we are under the influence of alcohol or mind altering drugs. In order to meditate, we need to be able to concentrate and focus. Drugs will interfere with the functioning of our minds and will not be conducive to the practice of awareness and mindfulness. Also, engaging in exhausting exercise before we practice can interfere with our practice since this can be quite draining mentally and physically. In fact, vigorous exercise can have drug like effects on the mind and body since both have an effect on body chemistry. Thus, we should avoid anything that can interfere with the optimal functioning of our minds before we meditate.

When you choose to meditate is up to you. However, the length of the meditation shouldn’t be over 15 or 20 minutes in any practice session. Long sessions aren‘t needed, and can lead a person to become confused and disorientated especially in the beginning. Certain groups practice many hours of meditation daily, but they are usually instructed by a spiritual teacher. Our practice should help us operate in the world and cooperate with others. If we are meditating too long without the proper guidance then we could be using meditation as a crutch or an escape with harmful consequences. Meditation properly practiced will help us face challenges in our lives, not run away from them. Our focus should be on growth and that includes the physical, mental, and spiritual.

Rather than creating a long session, choose to practice twice a day. If you can only achieve a few moments of concentration, then that is great. The important point is that you are actually doing it. If your mind becomes flooded with thoughts and feelings then that is fine. Just let them go and continue as long as you are comfortable. As you practice meditation, you will gain more focus but there is no reason to judge or worry about your progress. Remember we have all of eternity in which to grow, and meditation practiced correctly will help us with our impatient attitudes. If at any time during meditation you become uncomfortable, then end the practice. There is no need to force anything, and it is precisely the opposite approach that will reap the greatest rewards.

An important aspect of our practice will involve the way we sit. Although meditation can be practiced standing or lying down or even walking, traditionally most people have found that sitting during meditation is easier and more comfortable. Also, it helps us avoid falling asleep or becoming distracted. The point here is to keep your spine straight. As the Bhagavad gita tells us, “Hold you your body, head, and neck firmly in a straight line.” This is necessary since it is widely known that powerful energy travels through our body as we meditate. If our posture is not relatively straight, then this energy can somehow be misdirected or unable to flow naturally up our spine and throughout our body. The ancients have referred to this force as Kundalinni, and it has various effects on our body and nervous system.

The choice of the way you sit and what you sit on is totally up to you. You must be mindful of keeping your back and neck straight, but beyond that you can choose to sit in a way that is comfortable. Some of us may choose to sit in the traditional Yoga style with legs folded; some may choose to sit on a straight back chair letting their hands rest on their lap or at their side; and others may choose to use a variation of the Yoga style sitting cross legged on the floor with their backs against the wall for support. However we choose to sit, we will want to have it comfortable but not so comfortable that it contributes to drowsiness.

Another key element of our practice will involve the way in which we breathe. Meditation is focusing, and breathing properly will not only help us relax but it will also help us achieve and maintain focus. When we breathe while meditating, we should inhale from our nose and exhale out of our mouths. The air is cleaner when drawn through our nose, and spiritual masters from the east and west have recommended that we start our breath from there. If your nose is clogged up then you can pour a little water down your nostrils to clear the passages. If you have continual problems with keeping your breathing passages open then perhaps you may need to investigate your diet or look at other causes such as smoking or environmental aggravations. We should breath deeply from our stomach up to our lungs. We should not strain ourselves or engage in exaggerated breathing. Our breathing should be done steadily (neither too slow or too fast) and comfortably.

As we breath, we will seek to focus our minds. As previously mentioned, the heart of meditation is focus. In our Western culture, we have been trained to concentrate on the material and have generally neglected the spiritual. We are preoccupied with jobs, hobbies, sports, television, etc. and there is little or no time devoted to our spiritual life. Sure many of us do attend church, but even that can offer distractions and mixed messages that can confuse and mislead. But, meditation is simply closing down distractions and concentrating our awareness.

It is this practice of mindfulness that will eventually open the doors to our spiritual life. By focusing our attention, we will align the physical and mental to the spiritual which results in a transformation of consciousness. For many of us it will literally feel as if we are awaking from a sleep, and we will wonder why we hadn’t seen life previously in this way We may even feel some frustration with others since we will wonder why they can’t see things the way we do. But that is part of our growing, and over time we will learn to accept and respect life at whatever level we find it. We will arrive at compassion, and that awareness will draw us to helpfulness and away from judgmental condemnations.

There are many different methods of meditation used by various spiritual disciplines. The key ingredient will always be focus or concentration. For example, You may choose to focus on your breath by counting each breath up to a certain number like 4 and then begin the counting over again. Your attention should be on the breath as you inhale and exhale. Or, you may choose to think of certain aphorisms which are a word or a few words that will help you focus your mind on the highest spiritual concepts. You may want to think of words or short phrases from your favorite prayer. You can breathe in and think “Love” and breath out and think “Let Go”. On your next breath, you can think “Oneness” as you inhale and think “Thy Will Be Done” as you exhale. You can continue with different aphorisms for a total of 4 breaths and then repeat the process over again.

It is recommended that you try using a combination of both methods of meditation. This is especially helpful if you are easily distracted and find it hard to concentrate. Start by repeating aphorisms on the inhalation and exhalation of the first three breaths and then on the next four breaths count each breath(1,2,3,4). When you have reached the fourth breath, start the process over again beginning with the aphorisms and ending with the counting of breaths. This process will continue until the end of the session. The variation of using aphorisms and counting can help break up the monotony and boredom that you might automatically feel when you first begin meditating. But whatever method of meditation you use, it is important that you are comfortable with the process.

During meditation, you will experience thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that will distract you from your focus. Your body may experience aches and pains as you relax and your mind may wander in different directions. Sometimes certain emotions will come to us and they may make us uncomfortable. Try not to focus on these distractions. As you have these various thoughts and feelings, don’t try to repress them but try not to pay attention to them. If you need to scratch an itch, then go ahead and do it and begin the meditation again. Do your best to keep your mind focused on your breathing and or aphorisms. As stated previously, If you ever begin to feel overwhelmed or too uncomfortable then end the meditation. The length of meditation is not that important. If you are only able to focus for a few moments then that is all right.

It will take many years and perhaps many life times before our concentration is perfected in meditation. But even a few moments spent in contemplation is better than years and years spent seeking only selfish gratification. Sure meditation involves commitment and discipline and it is an unknown country to which we are called. But, material existence has left us stressed and empty. Our selfish grasping and vanity has left us with nothing but a dead heart. Now is the time to awaken. There is no time like the present and indeed it is the only time we have. The past is dead and the future is unknown, but we have now to begin. Few will have immediate insights, yet we will all have insights if we continue to meditate.

We are called to oneness and the truth This is our heritage. Our suffering is the result of our perception of separation. As long as we are ignorant of our spiritual existence then our suffering will continue. Meditation will help us home. It will expand our consciousness and open our hearts to the truth. Granted, we will probably awaken from the illusion of our selfish existence slowly. But, meditation is an open road to the awareness of our true being . How long we are on the road does not matter as long as we are on the road. May your journey be filled with love, peace, and joy.

Touched By an Angel?

Merry Christmas to all You Crazy TIBU2 Freaks!

An Atheist Christmas

Ah, Christmas time. The carols and the trees and Santa and the Kentucky Fried Chicken and the belly dancers. The holly and the booze and the Christmas cakes and strippers. What does Christmas mean to you? That depends on where you happen to be.

In Japan, Christmas has more in common with St. Valentine's Day, with cakes instead of candy. There's still Santa and trees and rampant consumerism, but it's more about love of another than love of humanity. The television media runs stories about "romantic miracles" and restaurants and hotels clean up on what is basically national date night. It also marks the beginning of year-end celebrations, which is basically a month-long drunk.

Kentucky Fried Chicken has convinced everyone that the traditional western Christmas dinner is -- big surprise -- KFC and you actually have to order your Genuine Christmas Chicken Dinner beforehand. They make a killing. By the way, I'm entirely serious about this. It's true.

But real Christmas weirdness comes to us from Turkey. I wrote about this a couple years ago and it sounds awesome. Turkish Daily News reported at the time that "Turkey has for decades been having the weirdest New Year's Eve celebrations on earth. Symbols of Christmas are infused into 'crazy parties' of heavy drinking, gambling, belly dancing and even strip shows." In Turkey, they wrap Christmas and New Years Eve up together and kill two birds with one stone. Kids get gifts from Santa Claus, then everyone goes out, gets hammered, and watches belly dancers. This is a holiday I can get behind and support.

What's interesting here is that neither of these countries have a lot of Christians -- Turkey is 99% Muslim and in Japan, only 0.5% of people are Christian. In these places, Christmas is a secular holiday with Christian roots -- and those roots are pretty much ignored. The same thing has happened with many holidays in the US. Halloween and St. Valentine's day aren't spent in prayer. St. Patrick's day is about Ireland, drinking, and green clothes -- not the commemoration of a Saint.

Maybe this is what the "War on Christmas" crowd are worried about. That Christmas would be more about the Grinch and Rudolph than about Jesus and wise men. But our modern observation of Christmas only dates back to Victorian England, helped along by Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol -- a book that doesn't have much to do with Jesus either. Think back to other traditional Christmas favorites -- The Nutcracker's actually a nightmarish story about some sort of freakish rat-monster. No Jesus there.

So the "secularization" of Christmas is hardly anything new. And, as much as the "War on Christmas" types freak out, they can't really change history -- they'd like to, but they can't. They aren't worried about anyone getting rid of Christmas at all. In fact, they aren't extremely worried about the secularization of the holiday. What they're worried about is the continued secularization of America and the decline of Christian influence. By 2030, there will be no majority religion in the United States. While I doubt Christmas is going anywhere, I'd be willing to bet that it'll start looking more like the secular holiday it's become in Japan or Turkey. America will start looking more secular as well.

In fact, there's been kind of a media narrative starting that people are turning to religion for comfort in the economic downturn. Except, they're not. A recent Gallup poll found that people aren't suddenly finding religion.

Despite some news reports to the contrary, a review of almost 300,000 interviews conducted by Gallup so far in 2008 shows no evidence that church attendance in America has been increasing late this year as a result of bad economic times. In September, October, November, and so far in December, about 42% of Americans reported that they attended church weekly or almost every week, exactly the same as the percentage who reported attending earlier in the year.

A recent story in the
New York Times, written by Paul Vitello, was headlined "Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches," and reported that evangelical churches in particular had enjoyed a "burst of new interest" since September, but also that "a recent spot check of some large Roman Catholic parishes and mainline Protestant churches around the nation indicated attendance increases there, too." Producers for NBC's "Today" show picked up this New York Times story, and it became the basis for a similarly themed feature broadcast on that show on Dec. 16.

Yet, when someone actually bothered to check this story, Gallup found that "there has been no sign of any increase this fall."

Less than half of Americans attend church regularly and that's not changing. The media meme of a super-religious electorate is a myth. In fact, despite the media's hyping of the power of "values voters" and the importance of religion in political life, a separate Gallup poll found that most respondents don't see America that way.

Two-thirds of U.S. adults today perceive that the influence of religion in American life is waning, while just 27% believe it is rising. This represents a sharp decline in the image of religion compared with only three years ago, when 50% thought its influence was on an upswing, and marks one of the weakest readings on the influence of religion in Gallup's five-decade history of asking the question.

In census numbers, the fastest growing religious group in the United States is No Religion/Atheist/Agnostic, nearly doubling in size from 1990-2001, from 8% to 14%.

Still, as a member of this group myself, I celebrate Christmas. I've got the tree and the lights and the gifts and the whole shebang. But my attitude toward Christmas is more like those Japanese and Turkish revelers. I do it because it's fun, not because it's religious; just as I do with Halloween and St. Valentine's Day.

The "War on Christmas" types will tell you that people like me are out to destroy Christmas. I'm not. But I'd argue that my Christmas has more in common with traditional yuletide celebrations than theirs. I celebrate Dickens' Christmas -- peace on Earth, help the less fortunate, that sort of thing. It's ironic that the "War on Christmas" types are right wingers who aren't big fans of all that peace and love and helping the poor stuff. Those who think they're "defending" the holiday aren't actually very Christmasy, in my book. Bill O'Reilly has much more in common with Ebenezer Scrooge than with Bob Cratchit.

Christmas isn't going anywhere, but it won't remain unchanged forever. History does not stop because we wish it would. As America becomes less Christian, Christmas will continue to become more secular. For myself, I'm all for it.

Now bring on the chicken and belly dancers.


It's All Philosophy Maybe ...-Amy Everett

In a state of puddles
drip, drip,dripping
Never quite drowning
Never really knowing
Placid sunshine through clouds rot
Seep , cracking in my seat
Playground creak
As I step through cement wet around my feet
Walk forward
Suspend time
Purple glass
Santa mask
Behind locked hallways
my corridors
You think you see me
I have you fooled
Nursery rhythms and transformers
Screams and terror
I believe you can't see it all
Behind scarred pupils
Erect from combustion
Lights gleaming
I am dancing
In this cage of hope she keeps me drunk in
The blood and sweat of time
Emotions pour like
Puddles, drip, drip, ripping me apart one by one
Maybe she will steal all of my pretty personalities away
oh, my Sybil creates more
I am not crazy ...No...
They put themselves on me
I carry them
Yet I lie here alone with there travesties
mistook them for Royalties
Tears flood the sanctuary
Creating what always seems to be,
Broken arms
of clocks that can't tell time
Wasted a hundred million days of shame
I laugh
Was I not pretty enough
Is that why they stare?
Shallow hallways
I am safe
They think they know
But they don't
Eyes shut , and open all at the same time
Better keep your distance
Movies weren't meant for black and white....
So Aphrodite was she such a whore?
Or did they just push down doors....
Dripping, dripping ....Puddles .......
On brown Iris floors......


Bodhi Bits

Whenever you are unsure about something or have a feeling that something you are going to say or do might be wrong. Ask yourself first if your words or actions are going to be helpful. Think what will be the consequences (long and short term) and who will be effected by this.
Perhaps it would also be good to look at your life in these terms. Ask yourself, has my life been helpful to others and to my own spiritual development?
The answer you get when looking at your behaviors and your life may set you on a better course.

News Roundup for 12/23/08

Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity
Two people who are now illegal in Brighton, MI

-Headline of the day-
"Michigan City Bans 'Being Annoying in Public'."

I'm torn. An ordinance passed by the Brighton City Council tickets those who "by word of mouth, sign or motions" annoy people. As one of the highly annoyable in this world, my first reaction is to rejoice. But, as one of the highly annoyable in this world, I recognize that annoyance isn't exactly a universal, concrete thing. In my world, this law would cover about 90% of TV advertising and 100% of radio ads. As much as 20%-30% of people wouldn't be allowed to leave their houses. Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Two and a Half Men would be forced off the air and those greeting cards that play synthesized Christmas carols would be pulled from the shelves.

But then there's that whole Freedom of Speech thing -- it turns out that annoying speech is still actually speech. It's just annoying."[T]he idea of 'annoying speech' is so incredibly subjective that it can mean any speech," writes Austin Wilkes, "thus giving the executive (police) the complete and total fiat of determining what speech is acceptable for the community."

That sounds bad.

Still, if it keeps that high school kid from yelling "SHUT UP! NO, REALLY. SHE DID NOT! SHUT. UP." into her cell phone every five minutes on the bus, it just might be worth it. And dare to imagine a world where no one ever asks you, "Workin' hard or hardly workin'?"

Like I say, I'm torn. (United Liberty)

-Hoaxing the Gray Lady-
That bastion of journalism, the New York Times, printed a letter from the Mayor of Paris -- Bertrand Delanoe -- expressing outrage at the prospect of Caroline Kennedy being appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's soon to be vacated senate seat. Calling the possible appointment "appalling" and "not very democratic," the letter found it's way on to the paper's letters page.

Of course, Delanoe didn't actually write the letter. The first clue should've been that there would be no reason for the Mayor of Paris to give a damn one way or another. "We have already expressed our regrets to Mr. Delanoe's office and we are now doing the same to you, our readers," the paper said in a printed statement.

Asked for comment, Delanoe told the New York Times, "I fart in your general direction" and "I wave my privates at your Aunties." (Associated Press)

-Bonus HotD-
"Pooping Robot Dolls Are the Hot Toys of 2008."

Really? Then why is this the first time I've ever heard of them? According to the report, "Dolls like 'Baby Alive' come with special 'green beans' and 'bananas' that can be fed to the doll, 'digested' and 'defecated.' To enhance the fun, Baby Alive occasionally poops prematurely creating a lifelike mess for you to clean up. Awesome right? Then there is the 'Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Gotta Go Doll' with over 60 realistic phrases and fun sounds. It comes complete with a magic toilet that must be flushed after each use."

Sounds great. How long do I have to wait for a doll that realistically pukes all over the back seat after getting car sick? Because that's just so adorable... (Gizmodo)


News Roundup for 12/22/08

Pet the Purple Squirrel
'Sod off, wanker!'

-Headline of the day-
"Ink clue over 'purple' squirrel."

The headline kind of gives everything away, but what are you gonna do? Kids at a Hampshire, UK school may or may not be doing drugs, but the purple squirrel they've been seeing is real. I'm leaning toward believing the kids aren't doing drugs, since "Pete the Purple Squirrel" isn't a very imaginative name.

Turns out the squirrel -- an ordinary, everyday gray squirrel -- got into some discarded ink cartridges from the school's printers. "I'm wondering whether one of the cartridges has, one of two things, either leaked into some water into which the squirrel has bathed or fallen, which seems the least likely," said wildlife expert Chris Packham. "I know it sounds absurd but there is no reason why it wouldn't have chewed up an old printer cartridge, perhaps got this on to its paw or its mouth and groomed it into its fur."

Or maybe this squirrel is a squirrel with an attitude -- he did it on purpose because he's a punk. Squirrels, as anyone can tell you, are naturally anarchists, so it's really not much of a stretch. Monkeys, lemurs, squirrels -- I challenge you to come up with an arboreal mammal that isn't trouble.

They really have no respect for authority. (BBC)

-Also from across the pond...-
...Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has some advice for UK PM Gordon Brown; don't be like Hitler. You know, in the "advice that you'll never regret giving" category, that would rate pretty high. You might even make it the guiding principle of your life -- a sort of anti-what-would-Jesus-do question. Ask yourself, "What would Hitler do?" then do something else. How could you possibly go wrong?

So, in dealing with the economic problems that face the UK, Williams urges Brown not to be like Hitler, saying the German Chancellor's movement "worked quite consistently once you accepted that quite a lot of people that you might have thought mattered as human beings actually didn't."

Of course, this philosophy has a flaw. Some dumbass is always going to cite Godwin's Law. It has to happen. (Agence France-Press)

-Carbon sequestration and gay pizza-
Speaking on the subject of homosexuality, Pope Benedict XVI likened "saving" gays to saving the rainforest. "[The Church] should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," His Popishness said. "The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

Why would Popin' Fresh make that comparison? Mostly because he's a crazy old wizard. It's the only explanation. Benny needs to ask himself "What would Hitler do?" more often.

Another wizard made an even stupider comparison recently -- and, yes, it turns out that's possible. "Just because I like pizza it doesn’t mean I should marry it," said fellow wizard Rick Warren. "Biologically, I am predisposed to enjoy the immaculate melding of mozzarella cheese, red sauce and thick crust baked to tasty perfection."

He didn't stop there. Once the crazy train leaves the station, I guess it's hard to put on the brakes. "But that doesn’t mean I should enter into a lifelong commitment with Sicilian or plain, nor bed it down, nor bring children into the world and have them have to explain to their classmates why their mom’s crust is not as crisp as it once was," the crazy wizard went on. "Does any child deserve to have their friends tossing Monday 2 for 1 coupons in his face? Not in my world they don’t. Yet, to say that I am against pizza-eaters or gays is absurd. Our Saddleback Church offers more weight-watchers meetings to overeaters than any other evangelical megachurch on the west coast."

What the hell are you talking about? Is that supposed to make any sense at all? Are we still talking in insane metaphors here or are we talking about actual weight-watchers meetings? And what are the coupons a metaphor for? Holy crap, but this guy's one crazy-assed wizard.

Seriously Barack, what the hell do you see in this moron? (Pam's House Blend, Steve Young on Politics)