Thursday, May 31, 2007

"I Am the President!!"

The man is SO out of touch with reality, it's scary. Perhaps it's time for a 12-step program:

The White House sees terrorists as born, not created by history, bearing the mark of Cain, not the mark of circumstance. There is a scarlet "T" written on their foreheads at birth and the only answer is to destroy them. This kind of thinking, of course, relieves the thinker of any responsibility for the presence of the insurgent-terrorist-whatever in our innocent midst.

What's more, there is not much real give in the administration's policies. True, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other American diplomats met Memorial Day weekend with the Iranians in Baghdad (a good first move but limited, since the Iranians have most of the power because of our incredible stupidity in Iraq). But by all reports, President Bush is more convinced than ever of his righteousness.

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."
[emphasis added]

I know 5-year-olds who can't throw a better temper-tantrum. Some of them are smarter, too.

[cross-posted at Watching Those We Chose]

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blogger, News-Leader Tell Tabby Tale

Springfield blogger Larry Litle has a post on his displeasure with the reaction of some unnamed people have had to the passing of Jerry Falwell. He uses a large brush to paint broad strokes:

My issue is squarely on the shoulders of those on the left that (sic) have been celebrating his death. I have been hearing about the parties that have been thrown in honor of his death. The jokes have not stopped in two weeks. I find this behavior to be morbid and disgusting.

The kicker of the situation is the hypocrisy. The left wing preachers of tolerance are leading the bandwagon. If you hate someone enough to throw a party at their death, then are you living a tolerant life? I don't think so.
[emphasis mine]

Litle presents no evidence that any such parties have actually been thrown "in honor of [Falwell's] death." Litle merely says he's been "hearing" about them. Where have these parties taken place? What evidence does Litle have that this assertion even vaguely resembles reality?

Litle further asserts "left wing preachers of tolerance are leading the bandwagon." Who are these bandwagon leaders? For that matter, are they truly "preachers of tolerance?" Or is Litle merely lumping everyone on the left together? We don't know because Litle provides no support for his assertion.

A Google search for "Jerry Falwell death party" produced 1,140,000 hits, none stating a party had been or was being thrown to celebrate Falwell's death. Some contain statements clearly indicating the authors are not saddened by Falwell's death. A few even outright indicate happiness over the death. One would need to read a great deal more from these authors to determine if they are truly "preachers of tolerance." None of them are popular progressive bloggers. Your mileage may vary.

The closest thing I could find to fit Litle's assertion is an "anti-memorial" staged by members of San Francisco's gay and lesbian community. Not much of a party.

What I did find were many conservative blogs parroting Litle's assertions. One resembles Litle's post a great deal, right down to the lack of evidence:
I did a search of blogs and so-far, 99 out of 100 are praising his death.
And which 100 blogs did this author search? He doesn't tell us. The author doesn't include a single link to support this assertion. Could it be that these bloggers are merely parroting each other?

Ya' know, I keep hearing several Freepers like to beat up women and spit on them and go all crazy. Those right wing preachers of faith are leading the bandwagon. What? You want me to back this up? Provide an example? Uh, that'd be too much work, dude. I'd rather just repeat what I've "been hearing."

Without any sort of supporting evidence, repeating what one has "been hearing" is nothing more than peddling gossip.

Even the Springfield News-Leader got in on this gossip gabfest by reprinting Litle's post in Wednesday's (May 30th) edition. We know the News-Leader editorial board believes signed blogs have "a higher standard," implying signed blogs are more credible than unsigned ones. To quote the editorial board, "the best blogs in Springfield and Missouri have names attached to them."


What sort of high standard is set by spreading gossip? By making grand assertions with no supporting evidence? It doesn't matter whether the gossip monger signs his name or not. It's still just peddling gossip.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Six Month Rewind

Six months ago Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said:

his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.
To which President George Bush replied:
“We’ll be in Iraq until the job is complete, at the request of a sovereign government elected by the people.”

He said the United States — which now has about 140,000 troops in Iraq —will stay “to get the job done so long as the government wants us there.”
On May 8,
more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
Maliki said Iraqi forces would be ready to assume security command. Bush said our troops would stay as long as the Iraqi government wants us there.

June '07 begins Friday. A majority of the Iraqi government wants us to leave.

When will US troops begin withdrawing?

[cross-posted at The Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus]

Monday, May 28, 2007

Is This Heaven? No, it's Poland.

And you thought you'd heard the last of Jerry Falwell:

Poland to probe if Teletubbies are gay
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's conservative government took its drive to curb what it sees as homosexual propaganda to the small screen on Monday, taking aim at Tinky Winky and the other Teletubbies.

Ewa Sowinska, government-appointed children rights watchdog, told a local magazine published on Monday she was concerned the popular BBC children's show promoted homosexuality.

She said she would ask psychologists to advise if this was the case.

In comments reminiscent of criticism by the late U.S. evangelist Jerry Falwell, she was quoted as saying: "I noticed (Tinky Winky) has a lady's purse, but I didn't realize he's a boy."

"At first I thought the purse would be a burden for this Teletubby ... Later I learned that this may have a homosexual undertone."

Poland's rightist government has upset human rights groups and drawn criticism within the European Union by apparent discrimination against homosexuals.

Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych has proposed laws sacking teachers who promote "homosexual lifestyle" and banning "homo-agitation" in schools.

But in a sign that the government wants to distance itself from Sowinska's comments, Parliamentary Speaker Ludwig Dorn said he had warned her against making public comments "that may turn her department into a laughing stock."

The 10-year-old Teletubbies, which features four rotund, brightly colored characters loved by children around the world, became a target of religious conservatives after Falwell suggested Tinky Winky could be homosexual.
The hate of bigot Jerry Falwell lives on, even if he doesn't.

Things to Make You Go....Hmmmmmmmm

What's the matter with the Springfield News-Leader? OK, too broad a question. Let me be specific: Why is the writing so bad? Here are some examples from the May 28, 2007 edition:

Sarah Overstreet's column about Chuck Wooten:

At a long table, not even a desk, former state representative Chuck Wooten sits, the phone near his elbow ringing constantly.

A Bible and a book of funeral services for many religious faiths are an arm's length away.

Nearby on a coat rack is Wooten's suit jacket, which he will put on in 30 minutes to walk to the committal shelter to help with a funeral.

Sometimes, he reads from both the Bible and the book of funeral services, at a family's request.

"A lot of the funeral directors know me, and a lot of times they'll call out here ... they'll ask me to say a few words and I will," says Wooten, now cemetery program representative for the cemetery. His job is to advocate for the cemetery with legislators, the Veterans Affairs department and anyone else who will listen.
Uh, what cemetery would that be, Sarah? Obviously, you are referring to a veterans cemetery. Springfield has two. Three paragraphs later (the EIGHTH graf of the story) Sarah finally tells us which of the two veterans' cemeteries in Springfield she means:
If it weren't for Wooten, who was a Republican state representative from Springfield at the time when state leaders began talking about how quickly our veterans cemeteries would be full, our Missouri Veterans Cemetery wouldn't rest on 58 acres of gentle, rolling hills of grass with young trees lining its paved roads, surrounded by mature trees that lay in the countryside around it long before it was even an fleeting idea in someone's mind.
The cemetery should have been fully identified upon first reference. Bad writing, compounded further by this:
Wooten introduced legislation to push the impetus for a cemetery here, among other Missouri sites. He thought it was on track. Then, one night as Wooten was in the capital about 10 p.m., then-Rep. Jim Montgomery, D-Cabool, stopped by to have a talk. "Chuck, I'm pulling Springfield out of the bill." Montgomery wanted a cemetery in Cabool.
Wooten took to the mattresses, marshaling everyone he could to lobby citizens, veterans and state leaders to choose Springfield as one of the sites for five proposed vet burial grounds.
"Wooten took to the mattresses?" What in blazes does that mean? I'm not a native Ozarkian, so perhaps this is some colloquialism I've yet to hear. But I doubt it.

I hope Sarah forgot to delete a word in the following quote:
"It's so beautiful that a lot of weekends I'll just come down out and drive through it," he says.
"Come down out and drive?" Another Ozark colloquialism? Or just poor editing? With Sarah, probably the latter.

Here's another story from the May 28 edition, "Water feature to be built at Smith Park." Springfield has a Smith Park, located at 1536 E. Division Street. According to the Springfield-Greene County Park Board web site, the park has:
1 lighted softball field, 2 lighted tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, restrooms, horseshoes, drinking fountain, children's & adolescent's play equipment, open play area, picnic tables & grills, open shelters
So reading the above headline one might believe a "water feature" will soon be added to that list. One would be confused, then, reading the first graf of the story:
The Board of Aldermen agreed 4-2 this past week to spend up to $115,000 to pay for a new water feature for the Howard Smith Community Park.
"Board of Aldermen?" Springfield has a city council, not aldermen. The News-Leader did not include a dateline, nor does it ever identify the community to which the story refers. My best guess is Branson because of the second graf:
The water feature will be similar to those at Silver Dollar City and Celebration City, but on a smaller scale with 6 sprayers on a 30-foot-by20-foot concrete pad.
Is this really acceptable to the News-Leader? I'd be happy to identify the reporter who wrote this, but said reporter is not identified. Maybe "Larry Little's" (sic) friend Tony Messenger will convince the News-Leader's news room to quit printing/posting stories anonymously. Can't wait for THAT editorial.

Here's one from last Tuesday's (May 22, 2007) edition, filed in the "newspapers in education" section: Tips on saving money.

Allow me to quote the whole article:
Did you Know?
Did I know what? That article has kept me awake all week wondering what I'm supposed to know. And when will the News-Leader tell me?

Perhaps "they" don't want me to know, so "they" are keeping it a secret.

Paranoid? Me?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

3,454 and Counting

This Memorial Day, remember the dead, and the politicians who killed them.

Since last Memorial Day, roughly one thousand more Americans have died in this inhumane, horrible, foolish war.

In the period from Memorial Day 2006 through Saturday, 980 soldiers and Marines died in Iraq, compared to 807 deaths in the previous year. And with the Baghdad security operation now 3 1/2 months old, even President Bush has predicted a difficult summer for U.S. forces.

"It could be a bloody — it could be a very difficult August," he said last week.
A "very difficult AUGUST?" What about June? July? Evidently, Bush thinks it's going to get worse.

At least 103 American troops have died in the first 26 days of May, an average of 3.96 deaths a day. At that pace, 123 troops will have died by the end of the month, nearly double the 69 who died in May 2006. And it will be the highest monthly total since 137 soldiers died in November 2004, when U.S. troops were fighting insurgents in Fallujah.

And now, according to the New York Times, terrorists trained in Iraq are starting to take their fight to other parts of the world.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reid Surrenders

Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Congressional Democrats relented today on their insistence that a war spending measure sought by President Bush also set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The decision to back down, described by senior lawmakers and aides, was a wrenching reversal for some Democrats, who saw their election triumph as a call to force an end to the war.”
“We don’t have a veto-proof Congress,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic majority leader, said the new bill was still being assembled, but he acknowledged the political reality facing Democrats. “The president has made it very clear that he is not going to sign timelines,” said Mr. Hoyer. “We can’t pass timelines over his veto.”
So what? The American people want the troops home. NOW. The American people want timelines. NOW. Let aWol keep vetoing the bill. It's HIS FRICKING WAR! Let him OWN IT!!! If aWol refuses to accept the will of the American people, you know...the people he and Congress WORK FOR...then aWol is not supporting the troops. Democrats should continue to pass appropriation bills with timelines. Over and over and over, if necessary. aWol would take the political heat, not Democrats. Why is that so difficult to understand?

At least Russ Feingold contines to get it:
“Under the President’s Iraq policies, our military has been over-burdened, our national security has been jeopardized, and thousands of Americans have been killed or injured. Despite these realities, and the support of a majority of Americans for ending the President’s open-ended mission in Iraq, congressional leaders now propose a supplemental appropriations bill that does nothing to end this disastrous war. I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history. There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.”
Emphasis mine. And Paul Krugman states the case more eloquently than I--"Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty":
Since the beginning, the administration has refused to put funding for the war in its regular budgets. Instead, it keeps saying, in effect: “Whoops! Whaddya know, we’re running out of money. Give us another $87 billion.” ...

What I haven’t seen sufficiently emphasized, however, is the disdain this practice shows for the welfare of the troops, whom the administration puts in harm’s way without first ensuring that they’ll have the necessary resources.

As long as a G.O.P.-controlled Congress could be counted on to rubber-stamp the administration’s requests, you could say that this wasn’t a real problem, ... just part of its usual reliance on fiscal smoke and mirrors. But this time Mr. Bush decided to surge additional troops into Iraq after an election in which the public overwhelmingly rejected his war — and then dared Congress to deny him the necessary funds. As I said, it’s an act of hostage-taking.

Actually, it’s even worse than that. According to reports, the final version of the funding bill ... won’t even set a hard deadline for withdrawal..., only an “advisory,” nonbinding date. Yet Mr. Bush plans to veto the bill all the same — and will then accuse Congress of failing to support the troops.

The whole situation brings to mind what Abraham Lincoln said ... in 1860, about secessionists who blamed the critics of slavery for the looming civil war: “A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, ‘Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!’ ”

So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats? ... Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.
Democrats won control of both Houses of Congress with a mandate to change things. The Republican-controlled Congress did nothing against aWol's wishes. The Dems should make the changes. It's their patriotic duty.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., co-founder of the liberal Out of Iraq Caucus, said she will vote against the new measure and predicted that many of colleagues will join her.

"Every time we negotiate, it (the bill) becomes weaker," said Woolsey, D-Calif. "This is a Republican bill, so it better be Republican votes that pass it."
Woolsey's right, no one should vote for this thing. It's a Republican bill, let them pass it.

I'm with Blue Girl.
If this passes the House, there will be an electoral bloodbath in November of 2008, and the carcasses of Republican and Democrat alike will litter the landscape.
Damn straight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

AbuG Sings Gabriel

Deciding to follow in John "Let the Eagle Soar" Ashcroft's footsteps, Al Gonzales takes his first song from Peter Gabriel:

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
-anything at all

Strange is your language and I have no decoder
Why don't you make your inentions clear
With eyes to the sun and your mouth to the soda
Saying, "Tell me the truth, you got nothing to fear
Stop staring at me like a bird of prey
I'm all mixed up, I got nothing to say
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
i got no memory of anything
absolutely anything at all
I don't remember
"I Don't Remember" by Peter Gabriel © 1980

Meaningless Political Acts

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) have called on the Senate to hold a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, hoping it will prompt Gonzales to resign. The White House quickly derided the vote, calling it “nothing more than a meaningless political act.” And aWol knows a thing or two about Meaningless Political Acts:

He's made them in Jackson Square, New Orleans;

in "Iraq" with a fake turkey;

and onboard an aircraft carrier.

At least six Senate Republicans have now called on Gonzales to resign. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) on Sunday said he believes support for the no confidence vote is “very substantial,” and that if Gonzales “sees that coming, that he would prefer to avoid that kind of an historical black mark.”

Safe Food? What a Crazy Idea!

How ironic the Bush administration’s dual-sided approach to security is: you have a White house, on one hand, hell-bent on illegally wiretapping citizens' phone lines and throwing others into prison in the name of "national security," while, on the other hand, adopting an extremely lax approach to enforcing worker and food security standards.

This week another meat company is recalling 129,000 pounds of beef products in 15 states (including Missouri) because of yet another possible E. coli contamination. And U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced the Food Safety Act of 2007:

Spurred by deadly outbreaks of E. coli and other food-borne pathogens, a group of U.S. lawmakers is pushing to put all food safety oversight under a single federal agency.


Currently, 12 federal agencies and 35 laws govern food safety, often with overlapping jurisdictions and different priorities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration play the biggest roles in making sure the food Americans eat is safe. The USDA oversees meat and poultry, while the FDA is responsible for eggs and produce. (Interactive: How science can help keep our food safe )

The lines are not always clear-cut. For example, cheese pizzas fall under the FDA, while pepperoni pizzas fall under the Department of Agriculture.

In January, the Government Accountability Office added federal oversight of food safety to its list of "high risk" programs in need of "broad-based transformation." The GAO urged Congress to consider "a fundamental re-examination of the system ... before public health and safety is compromised."

Critics point to the FDA, in particular, as needing reform. The FDA oversees 80 percent of the food supply but receives only 20 percent of the funding.

"I call it 'Katrina on your plate.' You've got an agency, the FDA, that's understaffed, under-funded, without leadership, and it's not doing its job. And it's causing a real life suffering and death for people," said Andrew Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit watchdog group in Washington.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate. And it's about time.

Only one major safety rule has been enacted by OSHA since George W. Bush took office, and only after it was ordered by a federal court. The FDA has inspected only 20,662 food shipments out of the more than 8.9 million delivered to American ports. That's less than one percent inspected. Since 200 the number of food shipments has more than doubled.

This critical negligence is the result of the Bush administration's belief that new safety standards and regulations should be limited while old ones be rolled back to prevent the imposition of additional, cumbersome costs on businesses. Slash funds from essential oversight programs in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich.

While OSHA officials point to figures showing declines in both fatality and injury rates since 2001, critics dispute the numbers. Labor and health experts say those numbers severely undercount the actual numbers because the Bush administration has decreased the categories of recognized injuries, and because the majority of the most dangerous jobs are now done by undocumented immigrants.

Many have warned of the distinct possibility of terrorists successfully smuggling biological or chemical weapons in to the U.S. through the laxly inspected ports. But the increasing outbreaks of illnesses present a serious health crisis. And it is not beyond the realm of possibility that terrorists could take advantage of lax food inspection to attack the U.S.

"Security president?" Hardly.

British Troops Going Home, Why Not U.S.?

The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that White House officials have briefed President Bush to expect an announcement on British troop withdrawals when Gordon Brown becomes prime minister.

The President recently discussed with a senior White House adviser how to handle the fallout from the expected loss of Washington's main ally in Iraq, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

Details of the talks came as a close ally of Mr Brown called for a quicker withdrawal of British troops. Nigel Griffiths, a former minister, said: "We should get out of Iraq as soon as is practicable. We should consult the Iraqi government - but they cannot have a veto. This cannot be delayed."

Mr Griffiths, who resigned as deputy leader of the Commons this year over the decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapons system, spoke out as reports suggested that Mr Brown would use an early trip to Iraq to reassess Britain's role and accelerate the withdrawal. Revelation of the US fears will reinforce expectations in Westminster that Mr Brown will make a decisive break with Mr Blair's support for the war.
The paper also reports that officials in the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the State Department in Washington have expressed fears about Brown, believing he will not be as strong an ally as Tony Blair.
Nor is Mr Brown seen as a reliable ally in resisting Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear weapons. "If they decided to strike Iran's military facilities and Brown didn't allow the use of British bases, this is an issue that could divide the alliance," a source with security connections said.
Meanwhile, the outgoing defence attaché at the British Embassy in Baghdad says the U.S. surge isn't working.
Speaking on the record last week to a public audience at Chatham House, the London-based foreign-policy research institute, he said: "The evidence does not suggest that the surge is actually working, if reduction in casualties is a criterion. The figures in April were not encouraging."

In unusually candid comments, Mr Campbell also disclosed that American commanders had decided that the criteria for the "success" of the troop surge would be nothing more than a reduction in violence to the level prior to last year's al-Qaeda bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, which destroyed its golden dome.

The destruction of the shrine, one of the most important Shia sites in the world, led to a dramatic escalation in sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia factions, peaking at 3,500 deaths in September last year. Casualty figures had been running at 800 a month before that, a level that few would regard as anything approaching peace.
According the Bush administration, "success" in Iraq now means reducing the number of murders to fewer than 800 per month.

How many more Americans must die to achieve that "success?"

[cross-posted at The Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Beagle Blogging

Hellllooooooo! I want in, please!

Mill City Museum

During a recent trip to Scandanavia Minneapolis Mrs. Doc Larry and I visited the Mill City Museum, which "chronicles the flour milling industry that dominated world flour production for roughly a half-century and fueled the growth of Minneapolis...."

Built within the ruins of a National Historic Landmark, the Washburn A Mill, the museum will provide a multi-sensory, interactive journey. The story of flour milling - and its impact on Minneapolis, the nation and the world - comes to life in this one-of-a-kind museum.

The old mill has exploded once, burned twice and now been transformed into a museum within the ruins.

Mill City Museum is built into the historic ruins of the Washburn A Mill, which opened in 1874 and at peak production ground enough flour every day to make 12 million loaves of bread. In 1878, the mill exploded, claiming 18 lives and destroying one-third of Minneapolis’ milling capacity. It caught fire in 1928 and was nearly destroyed again by fire in 1991.

The best exhibit is an interactive one called Flour Tower, an eight-story multi-media experience built into a former grain storage tower.
A media show in an eight-story elevator ride features the stories of employees who worked in the mill from the 1940s through the mid-1960s when it closed; historic film and photographs; and the dramatic use of lighting, sound and special effects. The ride provides a memorable trip back in time - and an appreciation for the powerful, noisy process of transforming grain into flour.

At the end, guests head to the Rooftop Observation Deck for sweeping views of the Mississippi River. . .

St. Anthony Falls, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the Museum’s stunning new neighbor. . .

the Guthrie Theater.

Upon returning to the main floor, guests are treated to delightful aromas and samples of goods freshly baked every day in the Baking Lab. Mmmmmmm...warm bread.

One other treat, an exhibit of vintage radio and television ads for products like Malt-O-Meal Hot Wheat Cereal ("Good stuff, Maynard"), Pillsbury ("Nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven"), and Betty Crocker ("bake someone happy").

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Friday Thought

I keep reading statements that creating laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation is evidence of religious persecution. The argument seems to be that adding "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to categories like race and religion is an effort to legally enshrine homosexuality as morally legitimate. Such efforts "stigmatize anti-homosexuality religious principle."

I know plenty of people who've changed their religion but none who've changed their sexual orientation. So either gay-ness is legitimately protectable or religion isn't. Pick one.

What Blue Girl, Red State Said

Guns changed everything.

This has been another edition of What Blue Girl, Red State said.

This Could Be Interesting

CBS plans to air several new series in the fall. One is especially intriguing.

CBS has ordered 13 one-hour episodes of a new reality show where kids build a community from scratch in an abandoned ghost town, sources said.

"Kid Nation," from Emmy-winning "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" producer Tom Forman, placed 40 "over-achieving" kids ages 8 to 15 in the abandoned town of Bonanza City, New Mexico. For 40 days, the group elected leaders, passed laws, established a local economy and performed chores to build a functioning society.

Sources close to the deal emphasized the show is not "Lord of the Flies" or "'Survivor' with kids." There are no eliminations, but participants can go home if they choose. The kids do not have to find food and shelter, but did live in "primitive conditions," without modern comforts, and are responsible for cooking their own meals.

Each episode will conclude with a warm, "Extreme Makeover"-style moment, where a member of the group is rewarded for his or her work by the show's host -- the only on-camera adult in the series.

"Nation" wrapped production last week. CBS had no comment, but sources said the network kept news of the production tightly under wraps to prevent competitor copycats, and to surprise advertisers at its upfront presentation Wednesday.

Kids trying "to build a functioning society." Sounds like the Bush administration's efforts in Iraq. Bet these 8 to 15 year olds did a better job.

Monday, May 14, 2007

OK, Bloggers. Time to Lend a Hand

Fellow Springfield Blogger and weather dude Sniderman needs your help for a worthy cause. He's asking for donations for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, in which he will participate this weekend. I gave him $25. One of you (at least) needs to match that. And if another Springfield Blogger tops it, I'll make a second donation.

Have I EVER asked for money before today? Reach into those wallets and pull out a fiver (or more) for Sniderman.

If Only The Students Had Been Armed

Imagine the outcome of this:

MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) -- Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Some parents said they were upset by the staff's poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.

After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.

"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation "involved poor judgment."

The situation involved "poor judgment." Gee, ya think?! And what a lovely Mother's Day present the teachers delivered to those ELEMENTARY school moms.

I'm sure certain wingnuts will believe this was a good "learning situation" that ought to be used in all schools.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


That's Mrs. DocLarry's pet name for our recovering-from-surgery Baxter. The boy came through it just fine, if quite hungry. He had to fast for 12 hours prior to surgery and simply could not understand why Mrs. DocLarry wouldn't give him "special breakfast," which consists of wet dog food with his daily pills. Upon arriving home after the event Baxter drank an entire bowl of water and ate about half the dry food put out for him. Then it was off to check that no one had taken over his back yard, followed by forced posing for pictures.

One skin tag was inside his right ear and that spot has bled some since coming home. Doctor Tedd says it's OK and it hasn't been a great deal of blood, so I'll trust my vet on this. Baxter doesn't seem to be in pain but is a bit annoyed by the stitches. Nine more days until those come out. I hope I survive.

arrows point to a few of the areas now skin tag-less

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

MSU's New Mascot?

OK, the color's all wrong and the smile too goofy. Still, he looks happy to see you. It seems 3M is selling these cute self-adhesive hooks in Asia. The company also has a frog, a cat and a monkey, each with it's own appropriate command on the package. The above package commands us to "Hug Me." The frog command, "Kiss Me," adds another layer of eeeewwwwww.

[mortar board tip to watertiger]

Been Away, Now I'm Back

Had to make a trip up north to the parental units and on to the City of Lakes and Scandinavians. Details of all that, and pictures, in future posts. Still processing portions of the trip.

For now, I need to worry about the boy going under the knife today at Dr. Tedd's. It's minor surgery to remove some skin tags, but it's still surgery. Updates will follow.