Friday, June 23, 2006

Ode to Australia

The Hammer just came down with an Ode to Australia. From what I understand, the place is beautiful. And the Aussies, well, let's just say they're tough. Have you ever watch Australian Rules Football? Ouch.

Three cheers to the Aussies. May their continued treck into the Second Round of the World Cup be victorious.

Argumentation 101

Posted by Jabawacefti

Arguments are fun. Or, they should be, if conducted in a fairly reasonable manner with a hint of sarcasm and good humor. But there's this fun new mechanism employed in argumentation that seems to me to reek of stupidity and ignorance: when you disagree with someone's position, you declare their future expectations as a "lie." For example, I found this in the Daily Kos, although I feel like I see it all the time now:

The Vice-President repeated this lie again today as Democrats pressed for some sort of exit strategy in Iraq:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Withdrawing American troops from Iraq would embolden terrorists and leave the United States and its allies vulnerable to new attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday. "The worst possible thing we could do is what the Democrats are suggesting," Cheney told CNN's John King in an interview at the vice president's residence. [...]
Neither an immediate nor phased withdrawal would confer any protection on the United States, Cheney said. "If we pull out, they'll follow us," he said of terrorists.

That's fine if you think that may or may not happen. But why does everything you disagree with have to be a lie, told with the intent to deceive?

Picture it this way. Let's say we're talking about raising the minimum wage:

JABS: Raising the minimum wage would be bad for employees.

Scott: No it wouldn't, they have to be innovative anyway, and this will just require more innovation. [I'm clearly rushing this to make a point.]

JABS: That's a lie, it would be bad for employees by making it less likely that the Company can compete and they'd have to fire the employees.

How annoying would that be?

Bastion! Say My Name!

Posted by Codemorse

"We haven't spoken to anyone else for thousands of we started talking to ourselves."
Truly a sad day. According to BBC News one of the world's oldest creatures, Harriet the tortoise, died earlier this morning.
I'm firmly convinced that "Harriet" was simply a convenient pseudonym. The tortoise's picture (above) clearly shows her to be, in fact, Morla the Ancient One. This can only mean that The Nothing is fast approaching. I look forward to Al Gore's documentary on the subject, and to being eaten by a freaky-looking wolf thing.

Just F@*#ing Stop It.

Posted by Codemorse

From the BBC:

Director Bryan Singer, who was behind the first two X-Men films, addressed speculation that, in his film, the Man of Steel is gay. "He's
pretty straight," said the director, "he's Superman." Kate Bosworth, who plays reporter Lois Lane in the film, dismissed the rumour. "I play his love interest so I think that's probably pretty ridiculous."

From ABC:

He's clearly into fitness, and splashy summer colors. The new film about the Man of Steel, "Superman Returns" — which comes out, er, on June 28 — is being advertised on Logo, the gay and lesbian cable TV channel. Now, the gay magazine, The Advocate, is asking "How Gay Is Superman?"

From OptusNet:

Superman is not gay and neither am I, says the handsome American actor who plays the superhero in the latest Hollywood blockbuster based on his adventures. Brandon Routh, 26, is in Australia for a brief promotional visit, talking up Superman Returns, which was shot in Sydney last year. Some American media have claimed Routh's portrayal of Superman was less macho than previous versions and that the actor was simply too pretty for the part.

There's a ton more of this poop out there. This is just the tip of the big gay-fearing iceberg.

I'm honestly at a loss. There's only one explanation for the sudden interest in the Man of Steel's sexuality, and that's Bryan Singer's homosexuality. Want proof that "Gay" is a filthy word? Just look at these articles, which turn a director's private love life into some sort of excuse to discuss an obviously heterosexual character's unlikely gayness.

Would it matter if Superman was gay? Not to me. But then, I'm one of those crazy folks who believe that your sexuality does not define you positively or negatively (unless said-sexuality involves you in the creepy dealings of NAMBLA and it's ilk). What does matter to me is the way in which these articles are presented and framed. Why should Routh have to "defend" himself from these sorts of accusations? And, for Kal-El's sake, why are we even entertaining the possibility of homosexuality in a character who has doggedly pursued (and married, in the comics) one woman?

Is it because said-woman is a strong, no-nonsense, independent type? Everyone knows that only gays like those pesky feminists. Or maybe it's because of Supes' blue tights. Everyone knows that real men don't wear tights. Just look at Errol Flynn. That pussy.

A gay man helming your film does not make that film gay. A gay actor playing a role does not make that character gay. Is Ian McKellan's Gandalf gay? Is Sean Hayes' Jack really straight?

Anyway, enough sarcasm. Stop it. Right now.

We Three Kings

Posted by Codemorse

The third party. A mythical beast, seen for brief spates under ill-boding moons, the third party continues to hold fascination for us.

But it's realistically impossible to create a true third party. And here's why:

COULTER: No. I would admire a politician, not as much as basically your run of the mill garden-variety Republican, but as far as Democrats go like Lieberman, who apparently does want to defend America and fight the war on terrorism. He is the one facing a primary fight.

CAVUTO: You know, there is talk about him maybe bolting to a third party. The seeds are there for a third party movement. Do you buy that?

I buy it. When this third party rears its rough head once more (on it's long, meandering slouch toward Jesus' hometown) it will wear new clothes. It will trumpet the triumph of itself as a revolutionary act, and it will be filled with people whose faces are already familiar. They will be beholden to the same interests that the Democrats and Republicans now serve - to the detriment of their constituents. They'll talk about remaking Washington in the image of the people, neglecting to mention that the people they're referring to are themselves. They'll be showered with donations. And gifts. And trips. And flattering awards. And, possibly, young asian boys. From "friends." Who want things.

The third party cannot exist in any form other than the one in which the Dems and Reps now exist - in a state of corpulent repose.

By all means, my beloved country - prove me wrong.

(As third party's go, this one's still the funniest/strangest/scariest in my neighborhood. Courtesy of Jabs.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Posted by Jabawacefti

Anyone who caught the U.S./Ghana game must be reeling right now. What in the world is up with the cards? And that penalty kick? Come on!!!

You wait four years to have the referees deciding these games. It's embarrassing and a shame. Where is the judgment here?

That being said, that was a pretty horrible play by Reyna, and there was some real poor finishing by the Americans. Don't know who I'll champion now. I guess I like Ghana, even if I thought the Americans were the better team today.

Racism: Conquered!

Posted by Codemorse


House Republican leaders on Wednesday postponed a vote on renewing the 1965 Voting Rights Act after GOP lawmakers complained it unfairly singles out nine Southern states for federal oversight....

....The four-decade-old law enfranchised millions of black voters by ending poll taxes and literacy tests during the height of the civil rights struggle. A vote on renewing it for another 25 years had been scheduled for Wednesday, with both Republican and Democratic leaders behind it.

The dramatic shift came after a private caucus meeting earlier Wednesday in which several Republicans also balked at extending provisions in the law that require ballots to be printed in more than one language in neighborhoods where there are large numbers of immigrants, said several participants.

"The speaker's had a standing rule that nothing would be voted on unless there's a majority of the majority," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Georgia, who led the objections. "It was pretty clear at the meeting that the majority of the majority wasn't there."

....Several Republicans, led by Westmoreland, had worked to allow an amendment that would ease a requirement that nine states win permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge to change their voting rules....The legislation was approved by the JudiciaryCommittee on a 33-1 vote. But despite leadership support, controversy has shadowed the legislation 40 years after it first prohibited policies that blocked blacks from voting.

Westmoreland says the formula for deciding which states are subject to such "pre-clearance" should be updated every four years and be based on voter turnout in the most recent three elections. "The pre-clearance portions of the Voting Rights Act should apply to all states, or no states," Westmoreland said. "Singling out certain states for special scrutiny no longer makes sense."

The amendment has powerful opponents. From Republican and Democratic leaders on down the House hierarchy, they argue that states with documented histories of discrimination may still practice it and have earned the extra scrutiny.

"This carefully crafted legislation should remain clean and unamended," Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, who worked on the original bill, which he called "the keystone of our national civil rights statutes."

By his own estimation, Westmoreland says the amendment stands little chance of being adopted.

Some of you may know Rep. Westmoreland as the guy trying to get the Ten Commandments displayed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. If you're a fan of the Colbert Report, you may also recognize him as the man who was unable to name more than three of those Commandments during an interview.

"Singling out certain states for special scrutiny no longer makes sense." Because, y'know, we've conquered racism. And because, y'know, the South doesn't treat blacks like they used to.

Unless you live in the Carolinas, like a certain friend of mine. And unless you live in a neighborhood where a black man won't enter the house of an unattended white woman, for fear of physical harm. Or you live in Alabama, with some distant relatives of mine, where having a black kid swim in the pool with you makes the water "dirty."

Yes, thank God the racist South has passed.

Knowledge Is A Weapon

Posted by Codemorse

When the school day ends at Cook County's temporary juvenile detention center, hundreds of students must leave essential education tools behind: their textbooks. Such centers commonly prohibit the unsupervised use of hardcover books and basic school supplies like pencils out of concern the youths could use the items for violence.

Child welfare advocates, however, say the rules can create a prison-like atmosphere that discourages rehabilitation. "Any facility ought to be safe and secure enough for kids to have books," said Betsy Clarke, president of the Juvenile Justice Initiative....

...."Teachers consistently said they do not assign homework because staff do not allow the youths to bring books or even pages to come back up the unit," the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative concluded after reviewing practices at the facility in December.

Jerry Robinson, superintendent of the detention center, said the assessment was unfair because access to education tools is restricted, but not banned. "They have the ability to get a pencil," Robinson said. "They can write letters. We just control it so (the pencil) is not kept in the room."

....The detention center is home to Chicago area youths between the ages of 10 and 17 who have been accused of committing crimes ranging from theft to murder. On any given day, between 450 and 500 youths in grades 4-12 are held. Most are adolescent males who've gotten caught up in gangs, guns and drugs. The average stay is 14 to 28 days but can last up to three months or longer.

....Detention officials in other big cities like New York and Los Angeles also restrict textbook use in juvenile centers. "What they could do is stick it in their pillow case and use it as a weapon," said Larry Rubin, director of the agency that oversees incarcerated youths in Los Angeles. "You could really hit somebody pretty hard with it."

It occurs to me that you could also hit someone pretty hard with your skull. Shall we confiscate their skulls during cell hours?

In seriousness, there are very understandable reasons for not wanting juvenile offenders to have access to potential weapons. It's just sort of ironic that books fall under that heading. Why don't these folks simply cut out the hard covers like we used to do in high school? Turn the books into makeshift soft covers? Or arrange for lucrative partnerships with text book companies to produce non-lethal text books for the cell block set?

C'mon, people. There's money to be made here. Surely, if education and rehabilitation doesn't get you all tingly, then making cold hard cash off the juvies does?

The Importance Of The Court Jester

Posted by Codemorse

From the Daily Show:

But I want to talk to you a little bit today about an issue that is - and I'm going to be a kneejerk reactionary reflexive, uh, idiot on this one. The Senate voted not to raise the minimum wage which, for the last nine years, has been five dollars and fifteen cents an hour. So, if you're working 40 hours a week, you're making 200 large.

They did vote themselves a pay raise, but they didn't vote to raise the minimum wage. I believe they were going to raise it to 7 dollars and 25 cents. So, if you're working 40 hours a week, you're making 280 large. Or maybe 300 large.

I just want to say, good. i'm glad they didn't do it because, you know, the lower strata of American society has had a free ride for too long. And if you were to give them $7.25 an hour you know it'd just go up their nose and out their hose - you know what I'm talking about?

You don't want to give them walking around money. So kudos to Congress, for literally taking a giant shit on the poorest people in this country. Because they deserve it. Don't they deserve it?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

We're Not Perfect? Oh, Mon Dieu!!

Posted by Jabawacefti [I can't do all at small-like, as The Great Codemorse]

Seems some more liberals are also catching on to the self-critique that often is a part of any thriving intellectual enterprise:

Just as with the true believers on the right, the overarching fault of too many of the left's true believers is a combination of rampant self-righteousness and a lack of respect for other positions that may happen to differ with yours. Differ greatly, or differ slightly.

Branded Bloggings

Posted by Codemorse

Starting today, you'll notice the little words "Posted by Codemorse" at the top of all my bloggings. It's been pointed out by more than a few readers that until they finish reading an article they have no idea whether it was Jabs or myself who wrote it.

That doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but apparently, it's a big deal to some. It's understandable. Seeing that I've written a particular post allows you to roll your eyes and skip it entirely without having to taint yourself with progressive musings.

Jabs may adopt this as well, depending on whether or not he feels like it. Never let it be said that this site does not respond to the will of the people!

Born In East L.A.

Posted by Codemorse

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.

Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics. In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three.

The government's steady retreat from workplace enforcement in the 20 years since it became illegal to hire undocumented workers is the result of fierce political pressure from business lobbies, immigrant rights groups and members of Congress, according to law enforcement veterans. Punishing employers also was de-emphasized as the government recognized that it lacks the tools to do the job well, and as the Department of Homeland Security shifted resources to combat terrorism.

Besides showing that immigration essentially exists as a wedge issue to exploit during election cycles, this article makes it pretty clear what needs to be done to help correct the problems of illegal immigration. Namely, hold businesses actually and consequentially accountable for the hiring and hiding of illegals.

The idea that illegal immigrants "do the jobs Americans don't want to do" is deeply insulting to me. In my short life I've worked construction, landscaping and maintenence, and the pride one feels at the end of a day is no different than that of any other professional. It's the pride of a job well done.

What makes stupid comments like the above possible is the simple fact that businesses are now able to get away with paying much, much less to have immigrants do these sorts of jobs. That's why Americans don't want to work landscaping. Because it pays dick.

And who's fault is that? Why, it's our businesses. It's fashionable for liberals like me to blame corporations for all the country's troubles but the fact is, a spade's a spade. As the article points out, any real policing of hiring procedures or of documentation, or of pretty much anything has ground to a halt up until this year. Funding has been slashed. Oversight abandoned.

And yet, now these politicians would have you believe that they care whether immigrants sneak into this country. It's fundamentally disingenuous of these people - who regularly look the other way as Maria makes up their hotel room, Pablo busses their tables, and Sun Lee does their dry cleaning - to turn around and claim to care. They've helped to create this problem. They've helped dismantle the infrastructure created to deal with this stuff.

Notice that I'm not saying "The Republicans are to blame!" That's because they aren't. Our government is to blame. Both sides of the aisle have grown fat and lazy on the backs of immigrant labor. Until businesses are honestly and rigorously held accountable for the employment of illegal aliens, the problem will continue to worsen. Because when has this country ever turned down cheap, questionable labor voluntarily?

Favorite Fake Fotos

Posted by Codemorse

(Image courtesy of

The Gay Cure: Hug Men. A Lot.

Posted by Codemorse

From Agape Press:

Christian psychotherapist Richard Cohen, board president of the ex-homosexual education and outreach organization known as Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), is addressing criticism leveled against certain therapy techniques he uses on clients with homosexual desires.

Cohen, a former homosexual and the author of the book Coming Out Straight (Oakhill Press, 2005), insists that no one is born with homosexual desires. He claims his reparative therapy group, the International Healing Foundation (IHF), has helped many men and women with unwanted homosexual desires achieve their goal of changing their sexual orientation and becoming heterosexual....

Cohen's methods have raised some questions, however; and he has lately taken sharp criticism over a May 23 appearance on Cable News Network (CNN), in which he demonstrated a technique that involves cuddling a male client in his lap. Another of the unusual therapy techniques depicted involved a client hitting a pillow with a tennis racket while shouting the name of a parent or other individual who elicits painful childhood memories.

Here's the Paula Zahn appearance that this article references. So much pain for these people. My heart, blackened and wizened as it may be, goes out to them.


Posted by Codemorse

Here, for your edification and edu-tainment, are two takes on the "liberal media." Up first is Jonah Goldberg, well-known conservative columnist and commentator:

In the 1980s, there was a famous magazine called the New Republic. It was often brilliant, occasionally very influential, almost uniformly enjoyable to read, and one of its greatest strengths, and weaknesses, was its penchant for counterintuitiveness. The liberal Washington establishment would say X, and the New Republic would declare, with an élan that passed for liberal tough-mindedness, "Not X—but, not for the reason those stupid conservatives think!" The Beltway establishment loved it. Like the smartest kids at the Harvard Crimson, TNR treated Washington players like they were campus celebrities. And, in turn, TNR became—or further became—the club team of the Mainstream Media. With a few years of seasoning at TNR, you were ready to become a reporter for the Post Style section or a correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, hopefully keeping just enough of that brashly insouciant counterintuitiveness to add some edginess to their staid pages. (Poo-pooers of liberal media bias might ask why proudly liberal magazines are such useful stepping stones to jobs in "objective" journalism, while conservative ones are not.)

And here's Elbert Ventura:

Taking Goldberg's unsupported contention at face value, there's a simple answer. Journalists who pay their dues at staunchly liberal mags practice exactly that: journalism. Their politics, like the editorial policy, may be liberal, but they nonetheless aim for the basic ideals of accuracy, intellectual honesty, skepticism, and fairness to which journalists aspire. When they move on from those magazines, newspaper editors feel confident that they're hiring intelligent, fair-minded reporters as opposed to shrill, knee-jerk dogmatists.

Point! Counterpoint!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sans Andrea's "Fault?"

Co-blogger and all-arond Big Brain, Jabs, has already written briefly and effectively on Andrea Yates. CNN reports that this nut is still pursuing the insanity defense.

Personally, I don't care what they do with Ms. Yates, so long as she's kept away from children. I'd like to believe that even a person as deeply psychotic as she can be redeemed and rehabilitated, but when you're faced with a crime as horrific as hers, it's difficult to maintain anything resembling a charitable perspective.

Using "Catholic Birth Control" In Iraq?


Senate Democrats offered an amendment Monday that would demand that a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq begin this year....The amendment would:

Begin the "phased redeployment" or pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq in 2006. Require the administration to submit a plan by the end of 2006 for continued phased redeployment beyond 2006. Transform the role of troops left in the country to a "limited mission" of training and logistical support for Iraqi security forces, protection of U.S. personnel and facilities, and targeted counterterrorism operations.

President Bush, speaking at a Senate Republican fundraising dinner, said that he welcomed the debate but vowed that there would be "no early withdrawal" from Iraq "so long as we run the Congress and occupy the White House."

"I want to remind you of the consequences if those who want to withdraw from Iraq happen to prevail in the debate," he said. "An early withdrawal would be a defeat for the United States of America. An early withdrawal would embolden the terrorists. Talk about a deadline before we've done the job sends chills throughout the spines of Iraqi citizens, who are wondering whether or not the United States has the capacity to keep its word."

"An early withdrawal would embolden al Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden. An early withdrawal before we've completed the mission would say to the United States military, 'Your sacrifices have gone in vain.' "

Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is the ranking member on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, said Monday during a news conference that the amendment would not establish a "timetable" for withdrawal, but would signal to the Iraqis that the U.S. deployment is not open-ended.

"Our amendment does not address the speed or the pace of the phased redeployment that we call for. In other words, our amendment does not establish a timetable for redeployment," Levin said. "It does urge that a phased redeployment begin this year, partly as a way of moving away from an open-ended commitment and a way of avoiding Iraqi dependency on a U.S. security blanket."

Two solid, opposing opinions. Where do you stand? Should we withdraw? Should we have a plan to withdraw? Should we "stick it out" indefinately?

What's interesting to me is how conservative the Dems sound on this issue, and how "liberal" the Republicans sound. It seems as though no price is too high for Bush and Co. when it comes to Iraq. Conversely, it seems that the war's cost is pretty much always on the minds of the Dems.

There's no "right" or "wrong" answer to a conundrum like this. Especially when you're dealing with something as fundamentally unpredictable as the establishment of a democratic government.

I do think that, given this administration's track record, asking for essentially-unlimited patience from the American people is a bit unrealistic on Bush's part.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Christian, Speak Thy Faith


She knew her speech as valedictorian of Foothill High School would be cut short, but Brittany McComb was determined to tell her fellow graduates what was on her mind and in her heart. But before she could get to the word in her speech that meant the most to her -- Christ -- her microphone went dead.

Clark County School District officials and an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that cutting McComb's mic was the right call. Graduation ceremonies are school-sponsored events, a stance supported by federal court rulings, and as such may include religious references but not proselytizing, they said.

They said McComb's speech amounted to proselytizing and that her commentary could have been perceived as school-sponsored. Before she delivered her commencement speech, McComb met with Foothill administrators, who edited her remarks. It's standard district practice to have graduation speeches vetted before they are read publicly.

"I went through four years of school at Foothill and they taught me logic and they taught me freedom of speech," McComb said. "God's the biggest part of my life. Just like other valedictorians thank their parents, I wanted to thank my lord and savior." In the 750-word unedited version of McComb's speech, she made two references to the lord, nine mentions of God and one mention of Christ.

In the version approved by school officials, six of those words were omitted along with two biblical references. Also deleted from her speech was a reference to God's love being so great that he gave his only son to suffer an excruciated death in order to cover everyone's shortcomings and forge a path to heaven.

District legal counsel Bill Hoffman said the regulation allows students to talk about religion, but speeches can't cross into the realm of preaching. "We review the speeches and tell them they may not proselytize," Hoffman said. "We encourage people to talk about religion and the impact on their lives. But when that discussion crosses over to become proselytizing, then we to tell students they can't do that."

Interesting that we never learn what the word was that caused the school to cut this girl's mic.

There's a certain point at which the desire to separate church and state needs to yield to simple desires, like thanking your God on your Graduation day. I find the notion that this could be attributed as school-sponsored speech to be eye-rollingly laughable. This girl's worked her ass off. She's been selected as Valedictorian, presumably, because she earned the best grades. Surely that entitles her to a few minutes of free, personal expression?

What sort of inbred, cousin-humping, backwoods ninny do you need to be to confuse the farewell speech of a teenage girl with the opinion of the school?

If You're Feeling Smart

There is a must-read interview with Paul Berman (very, very, very, smart guy).

Conspiracy Theory

Props to Codemorse for posting some of the "Conservative" websites on the right. The ideological diversity is much welcomed. Nevertheless, has anyone tried linking to the Conservative websites? Probably not, which is likely why no one has noted yet that they simply do not work, save the Andrew Sullivan website.

Why the suppression of the Conservative views? Are our views less worthy of airing than those of the "left"? Do we not bleed ... yada, yada, yada ...

The gauntlet has been thrown. Fix the sites, or I shall taunt you a second time!

PSA For Monday, Yay!

Posting will be light for me today, as I'm working on something truly fun for you all.

I'm hoping it'll lure a few more peepers to our hallowed halls, and generally give all you good, faithful folks out there the giggles on a regular basis. Not that you giggle. At least, in public.

Lawn Noam

Noam Chomsky, speaking at West Point?

To hear some self-described liberals talk about it, you'd think that this country had already ceded entirely to sinister and Orwellian masters. I'm guilty of some of this myself, but I'm also (or so I like to delude myself) an optomist.

Reading news like this makes me smile. Because, once again, the very institution that most liberals fear most has chosen to engage and consider some pretty contro-damn-versial thought.

At least, it's controversial to hear some self-described cons tell it. Personally, I think that if you've actually read any Chomsky it's fairly obvious that controversial isn't the right word. Thought-provoking, infuriating and blindingly intelligent, sure. Controversial? Only if you're the type of person who'd rather ban the act of flag-burning than ever have to suffer the eye-bleeding horror that is a symbolic act.

But then, if you were that sort of person, you'd have already clicked away from here by now.