Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mark Your Calendars: Monday, July 10th

Happened to come across this little FReeper tidbit, courtesy of the Daily Gothamist:
Protest the New York Times Revealing of U.S. Secrets, Monday, July 10, 5 p.m.
We have a sound permit, and we will be across the street from the New York Times. They are at 229 West 43rd Street.
The groups on board so far are Free Republic, Caucus for America, the Congress for Racial Equality, and Protest Warrior, NYC Chapter. We have reached out to several other groups as well, and are waiting to hear back from them.
Some high-visibility media people are interested in speaking at the protest. More information will be coming on this as we gather groups and speakers.
So hold the date! If you have been as sick about the Times's [sic] unconscionable blabbing of our classified information as the rest of those who care about the nation, now is your chance to do something to make your outrage heard.
Aside from pointing out that the supposedly "brilliant" Michelle Malkin (some FReeper had the noive to suggest her IQ was higher than mine! LOL!) making a major grammatical error, Bouldin gives this advice as a counterprotest:
Can we let this pass by without suitably mocking these people? I'm thinking huge posters emblazoned with "Valerie Plame" or just pictures of Turdblossom and Scooter.
Or just big signs featuring Bush's quotes about tracking terrorist finances? Or how about big ol' "Where's Osama?" signs? (you know, patterned along the lines of "Where's Waldo?")

Just throwing that out there, cuz you know, I got a lot of snarky New York readers...give me 500 liberals, and I can decimate that rally. It's a narrow street, and as a lifetime New Yorker, I know some things about that block that FReepers could never possibly know, being that it was the heart of Hell's Kitchen and well, I grew up on the street. Ought to be fun getting some of the old gang back together. I suggest dressing up in Revolutionary War outfits and marching on them.

The Fall of The American Republic

On this July 4 weekend, I'm troubled.

It's not like there's any great revelation to be found in this blogpost. No breaking news, no diatribe against the lastest "faux-controversy."

Just a general sense of unease.

When one looks back at American history since the Nixon administration, one is struck that, for the first time in our history, liberty has been narrowed. Think about this for a moment: our Forefathers and -mothers fought for all of us to enjoy the fruits of liberty: young, old, black, white, male, female, straight, gay.

We seem to have reached the pinnacle of our efforts just about the time that forces to destroy our freedoms took root. It was as much as to say that, "OK, if everyone gets to be free, then let's redefine freedom." And so the task of rewriting what it means to be free had arisen, to the point where, only today, do we get a clear picture of the effort.

Bush has been the worst, but Bush has only been the most recent. The Patriot Act, some parts of which have value in a post-9/11 society (although far fewer than one might think: there still is the small matter of crossing an ocean to attack us) stripped so many liberties of their bark that they may not stand much longer. But the party that has stood for security and "law and order" (read that as "Keeping the darkies down") has shown a disturbingly paranoid face to us that minorities have known for a long time. This, from the party of "family values" and "God bless America." Almost seems like they don't trust God as much as they'd like us to believe. Or themselves.

This process seems to begin with the Nixon administration: the "Enemies List", siccing the FBI and CIA (law of unintended consequences there, but that's a different post) on American citizens, having the IRS work as a political organ-- all of these became assaults on the Constitution. Fortunately, we had a Supreme Court that, while conservative, did not overlook the deep and troubling dangers of these attacks. Neither, for its part, did Congress, although that eventually changes as well.

Reagan, too, had a profoundly anti-liberty effect on the legal and political processes of this nation, the most glaring example to be found in the Oliver North hearings, and the trading of arms-for-hostages. But perhaps worse, although not nearly as widely known, was the October Surprise: Reagan's campaign made a secret deal with Iranians holding American citizens hostage not to release them until after the election of November 1980, in which Reagan challenged the incumbent President Jimmy Carter and won. Or even taking the very subtle act of repealing the Fairness Doctrine for his cronies in the media.

If a man could do that to people sitting in a jail in a foreign land, imagine the contempt he shows freedom at home.

And lest you think this is about Republican presidents only-- admittedly, more of them have been elected in the past 50 years than Dems-- it's not. Clinton was particularly hostile to the Fourth Amendment (the so-called "search and seizure" provisions, basically nullifying them if an arrest was for drug possession or dealing), such that there arose a rash of property seizures nationwide that didn't even require an arrest, much less a conviction.

Now, there's Bush, who has raped the Constitution in so many ways, it's hard to begin to trace them all. The First Amendment is currently under assault, but was also attacked when in 2003, the FCC changed ownership regulations to permit even more consolidation of TV and radio stations. Curiously, the Second Amendment has remained fairly unassaulted, but make no mistake about it: Al Qaeda is in this country buying guns. It won't be long now before the right wing has a "revelation" about gun control, far more severe than anything any Democrat has proposed. The Third Amendment is a ticking time bomb, as the Bush administration made it clear in the Patriot Act that American soldiers in a time of national emergency, may be forced onto private citizens for quarters, food and clothing if they are fighting a domestic invasion. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments died at Guantanamo Bay, as did the Sixth. All it will take (as the Clintonian unintended consequences of abuse of the Fourth Amendment show) is some whisper campaign by a neighbor, and you can bet your ass that some American will be (if not already is) sitting in a jail, awaiting a trial that may never come.

And to see the death of the Seventh Amendment, one must merely look to this week's Supreme Court decision tearing Bush a new one for daring to insist that enemy combatants have to stand a jury trial and not a military tribunal. Moreover, what was Bush's reaction? Not "the Supreme Court has heard us and issued a fair judgement", as was the case when he stole the 2000 election. No, it was, "Well, let's rewrite the law and make it possible for us to ram people into secret trials."

Talk about cruel and unusual punishments, which by the way, means the Eighth Amendment is toast as well now.

Since abortion is also under attack and Bush has made it known he does not agree with the "Roe v. Wade" ruling, we can consider the right to privacy under attack as well, hence the Ninth Amendment.

The Tenth Amendment says that anything not specified in the Constitution shall devolve to the states.

For now.

What troubles me most about this is, despite Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon (*ahem* check out the sidebar), the Roman Republic was declining into empire long before that action was taken. How did it decline?

You're seeing it happen, live and in color.

And THAT'S what has me uneasy. God Bless, but God HELP, America.

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Leading By Example

Offered without comment:
Jun 30, 2:01 AM EDT
Utah Highway Patrol Chief Cited for DUI

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The commander of the Utah Highway Patrol's drunken driving unit has been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol after crashing his cruiser into a concrete barrier, authorities said Thursday.
Lt. Fred Swain veered off the shoulder of a highway in Draper early last Friday, overcorrected and hit the barrier that separates the lanes, Lt. Doug McCleve said.

Swain said he fell asleep at the wheel, but officers suspected he had been drinking, said Draper police Sgt. Scott Peck. Swain initially refused to submit to a breathalyzer test until two patrol captains talked to him, Peck said.
The test showed that Swain's blood-alcohol level was nearly 0.12 percent, Peck said. Utah's legal limit is 0.08 percent.
OK, one comment: don't drink and drive this weekend...especially if you're FUCKING IN CHARGE OF THE GODDAM DUI PATROL!!!!!

Nobody Asked Me, But...

¶ Having Karl Rove lecture about the lessons learned from an honest and principled President like Teddy Roosevelt is a little like being ticketed by a drunk cop for DWI.

¶ Watching prime time television in June is like watching my paint dry.

¶ This summer looks like it will be the shortest on record, at least for me.

¶ The flooding in upstate New York, where I own a chalet, looks suspiciously like New Orleans after Katrina. They are unable to get food or medicine in to some of the towns, which are strewn along the banks of tributaries to the Delaware and Susquehana Rivers. Ten years ago, there was another "flood of the century"-- good thing this is a new century, huh, or they'd have two-- and it took a week for the area to re-open fully.

¶ I expect a worse response from FEMA than the Gulf Coast region got. And that's going to take an effort on their part, to underdo that response.

¶ I think Argentina or Germany will win the World Cup.

¶ I think the under/over for all three games of the Mets-Yankees Subway Series this weekend should be one hundred runs.

¶ I think the whole Star Jones/Barbara Walters "controversy" ought to be decided in a wrestling ring, except no one would bother to watch it. Which is why it bugs me that people care at all about it. I've seen it two days running on the Today Show and suspect Jones and Walters had this worked out ahead of time to promote her new career, talk show host on CNN.

¶ The Times/Wall Street Journal controversy smacks of deliberate misdirection, and if I had the chance, I'd shoot Karl Rove with a few milligrams of Pentothal and make him tell me the truth in front of witnesses.

¶ I think children are our future, if we can just get them to adulthood without losing our minds. Personally, I want mine to put me in a home that serves the good cat food.

¶ I plan on taking at least one trip to the Caribbean this year, but I might take another one. I have a friend who's hit some rough times, and he lost his dive buddy. It's a sacrifice, going to a tropical island in September, but somebody has to do it. The things I do for my friends...

¶ It's nearly Fourth of July. I've got a doozy of a post in the mental hopper that is my id, just waiting to be unleashed.

¶ I'm very worried about this country.

And with that, I bid you a fond Friday. Please drive or fly safely if you are travelling this weekend, and I'll either see you on the flip side, or tomorrow, as the case may be.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blair + Bush At The Gay Bar

A mixed music video for "At The Gay Bar" by Electric Six.

Swing Dancin'

I've got my hands on a survery conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research on behalf of USAction and USAction Education Fund, of swing voters in swing districts in swing states. Some interesting information surfaces within. The survey focuses on independent voters: that is, voters who are truly registered as independent, or Democrats or Republicans who have demonstrated a willingness to vote for the other party. Some highlights of the survey:

» Swing voters are angry - 73 percent of these voters feel the country is off the right track, and 66% disapprove of the way George Bush is handling the Presidency (49% strongly disapprove). By a 2:1 margin, independents feel the economy stinks (in Ohio, it's nearly 4:1).

» Democrats come out far ahead in independent's eyes - In an attempt to winnow out party biases, in swing districts, voters were given choices between the incumbent and a presumed challenger (e.g. in Pennsylvania, voters were asked about Rick Santorum and Bob Casey Jr specifically). Democrats were preferred 45% to 28% over Republicans, with 25% undecided (in the aforementioned race, voters preferred Casey 53-31). It should be noted that, in 2004, these voters overwhelmingly chose Bush over Kerry.

» Not surprisingly, "values" comes into play - but not "family values." Voters are angry because the government "seems to put the needs of corporate interests ahead of the needs of average families" (73% agreed with that statement.) 74% agreed that "government should do more [for] working and middle class families" so that they do not get left behind economically. Clinton's values initiatives seem to have been received warmly by these folks.

» Clean energy, health care, and education were high priorities - All demographics-- age group, regions, and income groups-- agreed by almost 2:1 that eliminating the recently-passed tax cuts for corporations and individuals making over $200,000 a year and spending that money on alternative energy development, education and affordable health care is an important need.

» The deficit matters. Government accountability matters - 70% of these voters say that Americans rely too much on government, but of that 70%, nearly all of them say they pay too much in taxes that gets wasted by the government's inefficiency. So it's not so much the victims that are being blamed, as the people spending the money.

What does all this mean? It means, if Democrats are going to mine the center for votes in the upcoming election, they have to be concerned about the needs of middle and working class families. Period. Stop arguing over things like "moral values," and start focusing on real values that matter to people: how to put food on the table, how can my kids compete in the world ahead of them, and how can we afford fuel our future.

Progressive economic issues, in other words. Looking forward, and helping people feel comfortable that they can bridge the yawning gap between the security we've known and the tough times ahead. Pay down the deficit. Improve opportunity for all.

But there's more to this than convincing the sliver-thin margin of independent swing voters of our plans. We have to energize our base the way the Republicans did in 2004. We all point to how thin Bush's win was, but he received 6 million MORE votes in 2004 than in 2000 (Kerry received 3 million more than Gore). That speaks to me of a motivated, energized base that rallied around their candidate. This year, that base may very well stay home, but it might not. We have to make sure that we get enough liberals concerned (hell...I'll settle for angry) enough to get out and make their voices heard.

We have to speak to fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction, yes, but we also have to make it clear that our priorities are straight, that the spending that is going to be cut isn't going to harm the average American. That the taxes we will ahve to raise will be on the richest Americans, the Paris Hiltons, even the Warren Buffetts.

We have to make it clear that we will get out of Iraq, maybe not right away, but we'll damn sure not drag our feet until the Iraqis have stood up. That might take centuries, and we can't afford that. And with the newly-freed troops, we have to make sure that the country knows we will find Osama, and bring him to justice: kill him if necessary, but try him if possible.

Finally, we have to reform Washington so that people can learn to trust the government again.

UPDATE: I managed to get Anna Greenberg and Guy Molyneux on the phone this afternoon, and found out some more good news: according to a survey released by the Pew research firm yesterday, Republicans are the least motivated voting group in 2006, by a margin of some 15 points, and mirrored almostly perfect the voting enthusiasm shown in 1994 when the Gingrich revolt occured. In fact, independet voters were more motivated than Republicans and traditionally, independent voters are the hardest to get to the polls since by definition, people who identify themselves with a political party have a basic motivation and identification with the political process.

The states in which this survey was conducted are:
Pennsylvania, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

The districts:
AZ 1, 8
CA 11, 50
CO 3, 4, 7
CT 2, 4, 5
FL 8, 9, 22
GA 8, 12
IA 1, 3
IL 6, 8
IN 2, 7, 8, 9
KS 3
KY 2, 3, 4
LA 3, 7
MN 2, 6
NC 8, 11
ND (at large)
NH 1, 2
NJ 7
NM 1
NV 2, 3
NY 1, 19, 20, 29
OH 1, 5, 6, 13, 15, 18
PA 6, 7, 8, 10
SC 5
SD (at large)
TN 4
TX 17, 22
UT 2
VA 2
VT (at large)
WA 2, 8
WI 8

Poll Presentation Here
Press Release Here

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some Funny Bush Videos

Courtesy of the Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken:

George Bush: Jedi Master


tags technorati :

BREAKING NEWS: Churches Permit Sinners To Attend!

What a doosh!:
Thomas to new "heretic[ ]" head of Episcopal Church: "[I]f homosexual practice is not sin," church should admit "unrepentant prostitutes, murderers, liars, thieves and atheists"

From Thomas's June 22 column:

The new leader of the Episcopal Church in America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, says she does not believe homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.


Bishop Schori, a former oceanographer for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says, "The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings and that's certainly the great message of Jesus -- to include the unincluded."


Maybe the question for Bishop Schori and her fellow heretics should be: if homosexual practice is not sin, what is? And how do we know? Or is it a matter of "thus saith the opinion polls" and lobbying groups, rather than "thus saith the Lord"? With the bishop's "doctrine" of inclusion, why exclude anyone? How about applying the religious equivalent of "open borders" and let everyone into the church, including unrepentant prostitutes, murderers, liars, thieves and atheists. If the Episcopal Church denies what is clearly taught in scripture about important matters like sexual behavior, why expect its leaders to have any convictions about anything, including directions to Heaven? How can anyone be sure, if the guidebook is so full of errors?

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'm assuming Cal Thomas is a church-going man, and that in so doing, he's clearly achieved moral perfection. I mean, his platform for comparison must be his personal knowledge of church, and in such a church as his, sinners must not be allowed in. Ignoring the question "Well, why the fuck waste a perfectly good weekend morning if you already don't sin?", one is tempted to ask Mr. Thomas where he would draw the line? Adultery? Theft, even of a candy from a candy store? Lying? Appearing on Fox News?

OK, maybe that one isn't technically quite a sin. Yet...

Mr. Thomas, what about Revelation 22:17? "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Does that not demand that sinners be welcome in any church?

But, as always, there's a bigger issue here: is homosexual behavior a "sin"? That's a tough question and there are no easy answers. Any sex outside of marriage is a sin, according to Jesus. We don't allow gays to marry. Therefore, homosexual sex, by humanistic definitions, is a sin, despite the fact that nowhere in the Bible is it said that two men can't have sex (which was a common practice in the days of the Bible, and still is today).

Clearly, we've interpreted the Word to mean that two men (or two women, although somehow that gets lost in the mix, for some weird reason *koffkoff... playboychannel...koffkoff*) shall not be together sexually. My personal opinion is that this is nonsense, that Jesus would applaud love between any two people, no matter how that love is expressed (except the codicil about sex with minor children, of course).

But let's allow Mr. Thomas his antediluvian opinion for a second. Let's allow that homosexuality is a sin in his opinion. Matthew 18 has an answer for him, and shows this whine to be just that: cheap whine, and not the Cana whine of greater vintage.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
Mr. Thomas, the rest of us forgive you your transgression against Christ. Find it in your heart to forgive, as well.

In the Lord's name we pray. Amen. For you atheists, a high five will suffice. ;-)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Cup Update

Brazil 3 Ghana 0

To no one's surprise, Brazil continues to roll through the opposing sides in the run up to the real competition in the later rounds of the elimination tourney. Ghana played tough but were no match for Ronaldo (in the 5th minute) and Adriano (in stoppage time in the first half). Ze Roberto added an icing on the cake goal in the 84th minute after Ghana lost Asamoah Gyan to a red card for diving.

France 3 Spain 1

In a bit of a shocker, France woke up finally from eight years of sleep, and put away a tough determined Spanish side. Spain opened the scoring in the 28th minute on a penalty kick by David Villa, as Pablo was shoved to the ground in the box. Frank Ribery took a pass from Patrick Viera and turn it around the keeper, Iker Casillas, for the equalizer in the 43rd minute. It stayed that way for forty minutes of match time, until Patrick Viera knocked in the rebound of a Zinedine Zineda free kick. Zineda put the game away in the 92nd minute with a break into the penalty area and a swift kick past Casillas. France advance to meet Brazil!

So the next round shapes up this way: Germany to meet Argentina (and I predict the winner of this game will win the tourney), Italy meet Ukraine, England takes on Portugal, and France is served up to Brazil for dinner.

Patriarchal Balance

Men Strike Back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How many men does it take to open a beer?
None. It should be opened when she brings it

Why do women have smaller feet than men?
It's one of those "evolutionary things" that allows them to stand closer to the kitchen sink.

How do you know when a woman is about to say something smart?
When she starts a sentence with "A man once told me..."

Why do men fart more than women?
Because women can't shut up long enough to
build up the required pressure.

If your dog is barking at the back door and your wife is yelling at the front door, who do you let in first?
The dog, of course. He'll shut up once you let him in.

I married a Miss Right.
I just didn't know her first name was Always.

Scientists have discovered a food that diminishes a woman's sex drive by 90%.
It's called a Wedding Cake.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

In the beginning, God created the earth and rested.
Then God created Man and rested.
Then God created Woman.
Since then, neither God nor Man has rested.

A man is not complete until he is married.
Then he is finished.

I Wonder If My Business Insurance Covers This?

Transvestite crime gangs pester Magazine Street owners

Robyn Lewis, owner of Dark Charm fashion and accessories for women, represents the first line of defense for the Magazine Street shop owners. She is the first to see them come strutting in their pumps down St. Andrew Street, the bewigged pack of thieves who have plagued the Lower Garden District since May.
Like an SOS flare, Lewis grabs her emergency phone list and starts calling.

“They’re coming,” she warns Eric Ogle a salesman at Vegas, a block down Magazine Street. Ogle, who was terrorized by the brazen crew two months earlier, alerts neighboring Winky’s where manager Kendra Bonga braces for the onslaught.
It's bad enough to suffer through hurricanes and flooding, but...
[T]he last thing the Magazine Street shop owners expected to threaten their survival was a crime ring of transvestites.

“They’re fearless,” said Ogle. “Once they see something they like they won’t stop until they have it. They don’t care, they’ll go to jail. It’s really gotten bad. You know it’s ridiculous when everyone on the block knows who they are.”

The transvestites first appeared in March when they raided Magazine Street like a marauding army of kleptomaniacal showgirls, said Davis, using clockwork precision and brute force to satisfy high-end boutique needs.

They first hit Vegas March 31 while Ogle was working.

“They come in groups of three or four. One tries to distract you while the others get the stuff and run out the door. It’s very simple,” Ogle said.
Does all this sound very familiar to you, too?
(Sketch opens with a pan across Bolton. Voice of reporter.)
Voice Over: This is a frightened city. Over these houses, over these streets hangs a pall of fear. Fear of a new kind of violence which is terrorizing the city. Yes, gangs of old ladies attacking defenceless fit young men.

(Film of old ladies beating up two young men; then several grannies walking aggressively along street, pushing passers-by aside.)

First Young Man: Well they come up to you, like, and push you - shove you off the pavement, like. There's usually four or five of them.

Second Young Man: Yeah, this used to be a nice neighbourhood before the old ladies started moving in. Nowadays some of us daren't even go down to the shops. '

Third Young Man: Well Mr Johnson's son Kevin, he don't go out any more. He comes back from wrestling and locks himself in his room.

(Film of grannies harassing an attractive girl.)

Voice Over: What are they in it for, these old hoodlums, these layabouts in lace?

First Granny: (voice over) Well it's something to do isn't it?

Second Granny: (voice over) It's good fun.

Third Granny: (voice over) It's like you know, well, innit, eh?

Voice Over: Favourite targets for the old ladies are telephone kiosks.

(Film of grannies carrying off a telephone kiosk; then painting slogans on a wall.)

Policeman: (coming up to them) Well come on, come on, off with you. Clear out, come on get out of it. (they clear off, he turns to camera) We have a lot of trouble with these oldies. Pension day's the worst - they go mad. As soon as they get their hands on their money they blow it all on milk, bread, tea, tin of meat for the cat.

(Cut to cinema.)

Cinema Manager: Yes, well of course they come here for the two o'clock matinee, all the old bags out in there, especially if it's something like 'The Sound of Music'. We get seats ripped up, hearing aids broken, all that sort of thing.

(A policeman hustles two grannies out of the cinema. Cut to reporter walking along street.)

Reporter: The whole problem of these senile delinquents lies in their complete rejection of the values of contemporary society. They've seen their children grow up and become accountants, stockbrokers and even sociologists, and they begin to wonder if it is all really...(disappears downwards rapidly) arggh!

( Shot of two grannies replacing manhole cover. Cut to young couple.)

Fourth Young Man: Oh well we sometimes feel we're to blame in some way for what our gran's become. I mean she used to be happy here until she, she started on the crochet.

Reporter: (off-screen) Crochet?

Fourth Young Man: Yeah. Now she can't do without it. Twenty balls of wool a day, sometimes. If she can't get the wool she gets violent. What can we do about it?

(Film of grannies on motorbikes roaring down streets and through a shop. One has 'Hell's Grannies' on her jacket.)

Voice Over: But this is not just an old ladies' town. There are other equally dangerous gangs - such as the baby snatchers.

(Film of five men in baby outfits carrying off a young man from outside a shop. Cut to distraught wife.)

Wife: I just left my husband out here while I went in to do some shopping and I came back and he was gone. He was only forty-seven.

, ,

More Boobs

Brit? Hullo? I'm waiting for that scan! In the meantime, let's embarass some of your friends, shall we?

Snark Time

Summary: On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume derided The New York Times' justification for revealing a Bush administration program that monitors international financial transactions. Responding to the notion that it is "a matter of public interest," Hume said: "Well, that can apply to almost anything. ... That applies to ball scores. And you know, I mean, women with their breasts exposed are a matter of public interest to some people."
True, Brit, but you know something: Women are allowed to do that, which makes it not news. The Bush administration may not be allowed to snoop into people's bank accounts, which makes it news. And therein lies the rub (no pun intended).

So I propose to experiment with Brit's theory. I'm going to do two posts: one featuring lots of large naked women's breasts (in fairness, I'll post some men's as well). And another featuring Brit Hume's financial information, at least whatever I can garner.

And let's see which one gets more hits. I'm guessing the boobs will win out (sorry, Brit, maybe if you took steroids and pumped a little iron), but clearly both are of compelling interest to my readers.

So, Brit? If you'd like to send my a PDF of your checkbook, we can get started. Unless you just want to admit you're being a boob about this.


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More Evidence That Gay Is Not A Choice

Another nail in that coffin was published yesterday:
Study: Older brothers influence sexual orientation

Newsday Staff Writer

June 26, 2006, 5:47 PM EDT

Men with more biological older brothers are more likely to be gay, according to new research by a Canadian scientist that supports the hypothesis that sexual orientation is primarily influenced by biological rather than social or environmental factors.

Multiple studies have suggested that the number of older brothers may influence a man's sexual orientation. Some estimates attached to this "fraternal birth order" effect have even suggested that for each older brother, a boy's chance of being gay rises by one-third. But the analyses had been largely unable to separate out potential social influences such as family dynamics.
I'm the fourth of four brothers, therefore simple math tells me I'm 100% gay.

Dammit. I guess now I have to auction off all my "straight stuff". What am I bid for a seventeen-year old product of my genetic material? And no, I don't mean a used Kleenex...
The new study, reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a statistically significant correlation even when biological brothers were reared separately but saw no effect when older brothers were not biologically related to their younger sibling. Similarly, study author Anthony Bogaert of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, found that the length of time a boy was raised with his biological siblings had no effect on his sexual orientation, suggesting that the social influence of an older brother is irrelevant.
Thus eliminating behavioral influences, since an adopted younger brother had no correlation to an increase in chances, and a family where the siblings were separated still showed this bump up in chance.
"These data, by elimination, strengthen the notion that the common denominator between biological brothers, the mother, provides a prenatal environment that fosters homosexuality in her younger sons," said Michigan State University neuroscientist S. Marc Breedlove and two colleagues in an accompanying editorial.
(emphasis added) I've largely stayed out of this debate, because frankly, I'm not sure it makes much difference to my stance on gays: they're here, they're queer, get over it. So-called "degaying" programs, which equate innate sexual behavior with offensive habits such as smoking, are denigrating, since to tell someone to change their sexuality is on a par with telling someone they're breathing too much air or shouldn't be eating. To me, if it's such an integral part of someone's psyche, does it matter whether it's genetic or behavioral? Not to me, altho I respect that to others it might be.

The bigger argument to be made in terms of gays is how we treat people in general. I'm neither for nor opposed to gay marriage, for example, because I believe the institution of marriage needs to be carefully looked at: any structure that fails at least 50% of the time is in deep trouble, and going back to the nuclear family of the 50's by throwing up roadblocks to divorce will not solve that problem, anymore than sentencing a pot smoker to jail time will guarantee that pot smoker would give up his drug of choice. The best you can hope for is to delay it, and maybe a few people will work within that frame. But not most, to be sure.

Anyway, the gay marriage issue is a tiny facet of how America treats homosexuals in the first place. If I told you that you could be fired for falling in love with someone, you'd raise flags all over the place, screaming about privacy rights or discrimination.

Yet, the Supreme Court has ruled that precisely, gay men and lesbians can be fired for not other reason than having a homosexual lover. This is not grounds for discrimination. And it ought to be. Economic equality is first and foremost the grounds that we should be battling this particular civil rights conflict.

Marriage? In 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when asked about Southern miscengenation laws, said, "I would rather be the white man's brother, than his brother-in-law." Within four years, miscegenation was declared unconsitutional.

He got it. First, equal footing. Then we talk about the perks of being a fully integrated citizen.

Monday, June 26, 2006

World Cup Update

Sunday 25 June

England 1 Ecuador 0

Beckham bent it. A free kick that just slid inside the right post past keeper Christian Moras was the difference in this game, which saw England play just well enough to not lose. England to face the winner of Netherland-Portugal on Friday.

Portugal 1 Netherlands 0

Maniche scored off a marvelous individual effort in traffic to give Portugal a 1-0 lead. The Russian referee, Valentin Ivanov lost control of this game in the first half. This game became damn nasty. After four red cards, two to each team, with a brawl nearly tearing the game apart in the 73rd minute, and a record tying sixteen yellow cards were handed out during the game, Portugal won a nasty ugly game in a semi-upset. Portugal had beaten Netherlands in the EuroCup 2004 semifinals.
Monday 26 June

Italy 1 Australia 0

Playing ten men to eleven after a red card to Marco Materazzi in the 50th minute, Italy held Australia scoreless into stoppage time at the end of the second half before scoring on a Totti penalty kick in the 94th minute.

Ukraine 3 Switzerland 0

The teams exchanged shots off the crossbar in the first half, but neither was able to beat the goalkeeper inb regulation time despite very exciting and aggressive (and clean! only one yellow card in regulation!) play from both sides. The game went into penalty kicks and Ukraine hit three against a keeper who had scored three clean sheets in the preliminary round, thus advancing to face Italy on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

Idiot's Delight

Weekly Public Wacko #1
We've been down this road before, Congressman King:
King seeks federal probe of NY Times


June 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Citing national security concerns, Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called on U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday to begin a criminal investigation of The New York Times for publishing a report on a secret government program begun after Sept. 11 to monitor banking transactions for terrorist links.

The Seaford Republican, who last year said members of the news media should "be shot" for their coverage after government sources exposed the identity of a covert CIA agent, said the newspaper likely violated the Espionage Act of 1917 and at least one other federal law that regulates the disclosure of classified information.
Anyone recall the Pentagon Papers? To refresh your memories, in 1971, Daniel Elssberg, a Department of Defense employee, leaked to the Times a secret study commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara detailing the history of the United States' political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945 to 1971, with a focus on the internal planning and policy decisions within the U.S. Government.

The Times duly published excerpts of the report, which revealed, among other things, that the government had deliberately expanded its role in the war by conducting air strikes over Laos, raids along the coast of North Vietnam, and offensive actions taken by U.S. Marines well before the American public was told that such actions were necessary. All of this had happened while president Lyndon Johnson had been promising not to expand the war. The document increased the credibility gap for the U.S. government, and was seen as hurting the efforts by the Nixon administration to fight the war.

Nixon, naturally, was rather miffed by the publication of these articles and directed Attorney General John Mitchell to prosecute an injunction against the Times to keep them from publishing these articles, which was issued but then appealed quickly. The case moved quickly through the appellate process in less than twelve days. On June 26, 1971, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, and within four days, handed down a decision that the injunction was prior restraint, and that the government had not met the standard for proving the need for prior restraint.

However, the minority opinions in this case seemed to indicate that national security could be a "grave and irreparable" danger justifying prior restraint. The majority (6-3) correctly decided that the First Amendment rights delineated in the Constitution trumped any transient political or security concerns.

Mr. King, you're in grave danger of losing your seat this Fall. It's apparent fro your past lunacies that, well, you need a long vacation.

This isn't changing anyone's minds, except perhaps your Republican overlords.

, ,

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Here's Looking At You, Kid....

He'll always have W. 103rd

Newsday Staff Writer

June 25, 2006

Two hundred New Yorkers flooded an Upper West Side block yesterday as actress Lauren Bacall uncovered a plaque commemorating her late husband, Humphrey Bogart.

Bacall's visit to the block capped off a yearlong effort by a local video store owner, Gary Dennis, to honor Bogart at the site of his childhood home, 245 W. 103rd St., a brownstone where he lived from his birth in 1899 until 1923. Their son, Stephen Bogart, 57, unveiled a sign yesterday that officially renames that stretch of city block Humphrey Bogart Place.
You learn something new every day. I always assumed Bogie was a Hollywood kid, since while he had this tough guy image, he also always came across kinda too SoCal for a true Manhattanite.

Now I know it's because he was a Columbia kid...

But it only serves to prove the axiom that only the greatest come from Manhattan.

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Mardi Gras In New York

I have two confessions to make about this story: 1) I've never been to this, despite several invites from 2) Two friends of mine, who have been quasi-Grand Marshals at this parade several times over the years.
Mermaid Parade takes over Coney Island
By Matt Windman

June 23, 2006

Only one of the city's annual parades offers the opportunity to march alongside bare-breasted sea creatures with big wigs and plastic fins, children costumed as Disney characters and drag queens posing as cans of tuna fish.

Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, which takes place Saturday afternoon and is considered to be the largest arts parade in America, is also the neighborhood's biggest economic draw, according to director Dick Zigun, who founded the event in 1983 as part of the nonprofit organization Coney Island USA.

"This is the event that started to turn around the image of Coney Island in the '80s," Zigun said. "We created a holiday to give spirit back to Coney Island, to celebrate American amusement-park culture."
The parade is an homage to the old Mardi Gras parade held on the boardwalk from 1903 through 1954. Yes. You heard that right: New York City had its own Mardi Gras Parade in the winter, with the horn-blowing and the drinking...well, maybe that part's not so hard to believe...and the debaucheries.

Dick Zigun, the founder, is a bit of a character, one of those "Only In New York" stories. He holds an MFA from Yale, and has been spokesman for Coney Island and the Coney Island Amusement Park for nearly 25 years. When he came to New York, he couldn't find an affordable apartment in Manhattan, so he did what millions of starving artists and actors did: he moved to the outer boroughs, specifically Coney Island. There, he decided to give up his dream of producing plays in the rarefied artsy atmosphere of SoHo and concentrated on bringing the arts to Coney Island, an area that had long past seen its heyday as an amusement attraction.

It would not be inaccurate to say that Zigun revived the area almost singlehandedly. While he had help, gobs and gobs of help, most New Yorkers viewed Coney Island as a place where the ever-nebulous "they" went to enjoy themselves, "they" being anything from inner city ghetto kids from Bed-Stuy to local Russian mafia types. This image is fading slowly, and the amusement park is but a shell of what it once was, the island haven for millions of New Yorkers, pre-automobile era. Replacing it is a baseball stadium, a refurbished aqarium, and Dick Dizgun's events.

Hats off, sir, on another great parade!

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