Tuesday, March 21, 2006

South Dakota...we dislike women AND judges

Besides the recent draconian abortion ban, here's another reason not to move to South Dakota, if any other reason were needed.

My favorite part of this proposed amendment is this...

"No immunity shall extend to any judge of this State for any deliberate violation of law, fraud or conspiracy, intentional violation of due process of law, deliberate disregard of material facts..." (Emphasis added.)

Just what does it mean to "disregard material facts"? That might mean a judge who issues an unpopular ruling can be penalized, because everyone knows that [insert issue name here] is just wrong, and the only way a judge could rule in favor of it was if he ignored the facts of the case. Very handy.

I'd like to suggest that South Dakota enact another amendment, one that outlaws deliberate fucking assholery on the part of the legislature.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Why don't they just call it GOP News?

Check out this Fox News interview with Dick Durbin.

The interviewer makes barely an effort to appear unbiased. This is my favorite part:

Chris Wallace: Senator, I want to follow up on this, because I'm a little bit surprised. You're saying that President Bush, who is the commander in chief in a time of war — you're not ruling out the possibility that he has broken the law, committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and could be subject to impeachment.

Why didn't he just say, "Senator, you're saying that a man who loves puppies and Valentine's Day, who donates excessively to charity and is oh-so-sweet to his wife could possibly have done anything wrong?"

Durbin, to his credit, refuses to be drawn, and for once I don't think it was just political double-speak. Of course he can't rule out impeachment; he needs to know more about Bush's wiretapping activities.
Asking a U.S. senator if a president will be impeached if the Democrats gain control of Congress is like asking the D.A. for an indictment before an arrest has been made. It's just not something you can do.

How can anyone think Fox News is anything but a Republican mouthpiece?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And we wonder why...

...the world fears us. The United States struck a blow for less UN oversight of human rights issues worldwide. Some favorite quotes:

After voting against the new body, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said his government is concerned that the UN members did not go far enough in ensuring that the council will have credibility.

Uh-huh. I'd say the biggest credibility gap lies with the US, author of such abuse-aramas as Guantanemo Bay and Abu-Graib. At least places like Uganda admit they torture people.

Mr. Bolton said the United States wanted council members elected by a two-thirds vote rather than a majority, and wanted a more efficient mechanism for booting violators off the council.

This from a guy who has yet to be approved by the Senate even by a majority vote, much less two-thirds. He'd better watch out the Senate doesn't boot him off the UN.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Folder Torture

The part of my office in which I work is pretty quiet, and there aren’t many people in the immediate area, so any noise can be quickly traced to its source. Just keep that in mind as I tell this.

I was trying to fit some labels I had designed into the spines of three-ring binders, and having a hell of a time not bending or tearing the labels. Just before I got to the level of frustration that equals hostage-taking, I asked the folks in the copy center how they do it. They told me they use the thin metal rail from a hanging file folder to guide the label into the binder sleeve. With this information, I returned to my desk, got out a spare hanging file and some scissors, and proceeded to cut the rail free.


That was the alarming sound of the scissors against the folder. It was unbelievably loud, as if some giant, prehistoric bird of prey was roosting in my cubicle and crying out its defiance. Before heads starting popping up over cubicle walls to see this great avian, I started nonchalantly checking my email, as if I hadn’t heard anything amiss. When the coast was clear, I returned to my cutting, this time working slowing and gently.


The sound was more prolonged but no quieter. I made as if I was absorbed in my email again, and when things had settled down, I adopted another tactic. I snipped gently at the folder to start the cut, then tore away the rest of the paper with my hands.


I realized that, no matter what I did, that file folder was determined to raise its great voice, so I gave up on subtlety and had at it, quorking my way along until the job was done. The little metal rail was perfect for guiding the labels into the binder spines, by the way, so torturing this file folder was not without benefit.

Friday, March 10, 2006

My Second Biggest Laugh of the Day

Donald Rumsfeld, speaking before the Senate Appropriations Committee about Iraq:

"But the country is not in a civil war at the present time by most experts' calculation."

Umm...Don, if you have to bring in experts to evaluate if a nation is in a state of civil war, chances are, it is.

My biggest laugh of the day came whilst listening to Radio Times on WHYY. Tom Ferrick was discussing Pennsylvania politics, and he remarked that, in the governor's race, deeply conservative voters were going to have a terrible choice: They must choose between a black man from western Pennsylvania and Jew from Philadelphia. Tee-hee!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Problem with Fear...

...is that, when used politically, it can turn on its wielder.

The Bush administration has spent the better part of five years telling the American people to fear all things Muslim, and now it wants us to turn our ports over to...Muslims. Hmm. So Muslims are too dangerous to let on our planes and in our buildings, but they'll do a super job running our ports?

Also, may I say it's about time Congress remembered that it, too, is mentioned in the Constitution? In fact, I believe the Constitution sets forth the makeup and powers of Congress way before it gets to the president. Let's check the document.

::riffles through files::

Here we are. Article I, Section 1:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

The noble document doesn't get to the president until Article II. That means that Congress has duties and powers all its own, and not just those delegated by the White House. Let's hope they remember that. I didn't send 19 reps and two senators to Washington to run Bush's errands, and I think most Pennsylvanians feel the same.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Now this is moxie!

This woman struck a blow for the elderly, but next time she might want to get herself a getaway driver.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Oooh! I hate them so much!

This really frosts my cookies. Earlier this year the state of Maryland passed a law (over its governor's veto) that would force the Wal-Mart's of the world to stop sucking off the public teat, but such a thing doesn't seem likely in Pennsylvania, and it's a shame.

We're told by conservatives that the "free market" is preferable to government interference, and that everything would be just fine and dandy if we'd just cut people off welfare and let private industry handle things. Uh-huh. Evidently it's OK when the private industry is the recipient of said welfare. That's what the corporate fucks call "externalizing costs", which is a eupemistic way of saying they're letting the taxpayers absorb the price of their greed. That's like when companies move from cities to lower-taxed suburban office parks, leaving the commuting costs to their employees and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

Oh, and by the way, there is no such thing as a "free market." Markets are constructions of humanity, not laws of nature like gravity. People create markets, and can damn well make sure they operate to the benefit of the many and not the few. If you have any doubt about this, just remember that it was government action that created the modern housing market, with guaranteed mortgage programs through the FHA. The government also enabled the construction of all those cozy suburban developments through investment in roads, utilities, and all of the other necessities of life. Free market...are you kidding?