Saturday, November 25, 2006

More on the stupid term "Islamofascism"

I've ranted on here in the past about my irritation at and dismissal of the right-wing talking-point crowd using the stupid, uninformed and ironic term "Islamofascism". This article over at Counterpunch does a fine job of delineating just how dumb the use of that term is. Just like on the playground, when you are pointing a finger, you have three pointing back at yourself...

630 AM Getting Punked?

Last week, I was listening to 630 KHOW with Peter Boyles - I had turned off the iPod for a minute and decided to dial around and hear what Laura might be bleating about, but instead, she was on a I popped over to 630 AM and listened to Peter Boyles for a bit. He had a caller, that - get this - thought that taking ecstasy "turns any straight man gay". I have a hard time getting my head around the fact that there are people actually able to get through an entire day without a nurse or a parent assisting them, and at the same time, believe such nonsense. I missed the whole set-up and the beginning of the call, but I think he was some apologist for Haggard's behavior. I'll bet anything that that same idiot believes everything Rush or Hannity or Ingraham tells him.

I'm sure this guy is the one who keeps so many stupid urban legends alive, like the one about Marilyn Manson and having his rib removed, etc.

Maybe he still signs his name in crayon.

I'll bet he also thinks we found WMDs in Iraq. Like Santorum.

But, like watching a trainwreck, I couldn't turn away - I kept listening until I arrived at work. I was waiting for the guy to yell "bababooey" and hang up, but it never happened. It was like listening to a Phil Hendrie bit, except it wasn't.

Iraq Is Not Like Vietnam

I'm catching up on old Rude Guy podcasts, and heard him read this great letter, "Iraq is not like Vietnam". Here it is:

The United States of America invaded both countries with no provocation, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

We fought both wars to suppress "evil regimes" and "bring democracy" to the people, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

The citizens of both countries rose up in armed insurrection against our occupation, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

U.S. corporations profited enormously from our invasion and occupation, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Both countries sit near, or upon, huge oil deposits, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Our soldiers could not understand who they were fighting, or what they were doing there, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

An army trained to engage the enemy on Fields of Battle, was relegated to performing police actions against civilians, in streets and alleys, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

After years of being bogged down we were looking for any excuse at all to GET the heck out of there, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Finally, we just declared victory and left, leaving behind a civil war, but Iraq is not like Vietnam. (whoops, that''s a prophesy)

60% to 70% of Americans wanted us to "get out right now!", yet we stayed and stayed, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Toward the end of it all, tens of millions of Americans were clamoring for the impeachment of the president, but Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Methinks you do protest too much, when you tell me Iraq is not like Vietnam.

Rich Zubaty

The Rude Guy episode in which he read it is a good one. In addition to this piece, he also covers some of the crimes of the Bush family.

DIY Impeachment

As a result of one of my postings, someone had commented on it, and placed a link to DIY Impeachment. I wonder if the "liberal media" will cover this on Jan 15th...

If the Democrats truly won't do this without prodding, maybe this will prompt some action on the crimes of this administration.

Friday, November 24, 2006

French culture

Freedom fry-lovers, you should probably avert your eyes...

The things you can learn from podcasts. I listened to a recent Rick Steves podcast in which he talks about different things in French culture with the philosopher Bernhard-Henri Levy (I know him as the author of American Vertigo, although I have not read it yet). They highlighted a few differences in everyday culture between what sombunall French do and what sombunall Americans do, and I think I have some more insight into some of my habits. Although I'm about as French as French fries are, I obviously have a French last name, and so some family habits have probably carried some things down over the generations.

Things I practice:

1. I usually keep a firm wall between home life and work life. I usually like people I work with; I just choose to keep home and work apart - never the twain shall meet is my motto. I know many Americans find this off-putting when I practice this - especially when it comes to the infamous "holiday" party. I don't think I've attended an out-of-work office party in my entire career. It's just something that has never interested me. Luckily, Tiffany isn't very interested in attending them. To hear other men tell it, they are "forced" by their wives to go - something I doubt in most cases, but I'm sure happens in some.

2. The sacred lunch. As far as I'm concerned, lunch break is sacred. I just can't understand people who sometimes skip lunch because they are "too busy", or just as bad, wolf down something god-awful like a hot dog. That's asinine in my opinion. Choosing not to eat because you are too busy is like choosing not to breathe because you are too busy. Work is only fantasy, nutrition is real.

3. Coffee comes AFTER the meal. When I want coffee served after my meal, I sometimes forget to ask for it ahead of time. I'm expecting the server to come around asking about dessert so I can ask for coffee - and often the check arrives, so I have to skip the coffee.

In truth, I've never been to France, and had very few associations with the French, but sometimes you wonder about past lives or's uncanny how many of these things that Rick and Levy went over that I do...


I am only about 100 pages into this book, but I've already been filled with wonder and awe at so many points already, that I have to recommend this book.

This book is the antidote to some of the buzzkill books/DVDs I've read/seen in the past (End of Suburbia comes to mind). Instead of just fortelling the end of the universe as we (Americans and the West in general) know it, it offers solutions and a glimpse of a possible future.

Sure, when you step back and look at the big picture with an objective viewpoint, our current "way of life" is entirely ridiculous and unsustainable...but what can be done about it? Sure things like End of Suburbia will maybe wake a few up and that can only be a good thing, but again, what to DO about it? What are others doing about it?

This book answers a lot of those questions, and is very interesting and much more uplifting, without being pollyannish.

Google Dual Index 1.3

I've updated my Greasemonkey script Google Dual Index to version 1.3. I had to adjust the script to adapt to an apparent change in Google's page. I've also added the ability to put the index on the Blogsearch page as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pirates & Emperors

I was reading this during lunchtime at work, and someone asked what I was reading. I flipped it over to the front, and they said, "Oh, is it about aviation?" I had to fight back the inner monster that wanted to say something about the state of literacy today...but it might have been a left brain/right brain thing - seeing the picture and not reading the words. Anyway, I thought that was pretty amusing. I mean, the subtitle is in very large letters: "International Terrorism in the Real World", as well as Chomsky's name. I guess Chomsky isn't known by absolutely everybody, but still.

Speaking of Chomsky's fame: I cannot think of a more ironic example of Chomsky's Propaganda Model in the fact that he's virtually never on television, and virtually never referred to on television or in writing, except to dismiss him. If the media truly was "liberal", he'd invited on all the time!

Well, about the book itself: I wouldn't say this is Chomsky's best. It appears to have been updated a few times, and chapters tacked on to update it to the post-9/11 era, and includes the terrorism that the U.S. and Israel (and other clients) carried out - if you couldn't guess from the title, it deals mostly with America's state terrorism. There is virtually nothing wrong with the book per se, just that most of this stuff he has discussed elsewhere, and even some of the post-9/11 have shown up in smaller pamphlet form. On the positive side, it serves as a collection of many of the details of America's disregard for law and its hypocrisy when it comes to carrying out terrorism (it's hard to even realize it is terrorism if you live within these borders) while deriding terrorism that is carried out on a much smaller scale (if done by official enemies, and not us or by allies).

UCLA Tasering

So there was this tasering incident and even Olbermann covered it...I guess it's making the rounds because there is video.

I think most folks think police and security (or whatever paramilitary groups are calling themselves these days) are somehow super-human and above corruption, and this sort of thing is unusual. Listening to a podcast like Bad Cop, No Donut will quickly disabuse one of that notion.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I think the steroids are going to their heads. While I don't know that these people involved in this case are using, if one takes an honest look at just about any coverage of police, one can't help but notice how many look like dopers. I have no proof of course, I'm just saying. The idea that we had a sitting president calling for investigations into something as peripheral as baseball for steroid use is amazing when we have virtually none of our representatives calling for investigations into police for the same.

Infinite Jest

Okay, way back in the 1990s I slogged through this book, and parts definitely are rewarding - but I'll be darned if I can tell you what it's about. I later read Gravity's Rainbow, and often felt the same way about that text, although Infinite Jest was much more dense, much more convoluted and bizarre.

According to this article, the book is getting a re-release. Hopefully the book gets a wider audience - if only to get a glimpse of an incredible mind behind it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saddam's Co-conspirator?

This is a week from Bizarro World. It's announced just before the election that Saddam is going to be put to death...then the Democrats win big, if only because the Republicans are so blatantly corrupt.

Then Rumsfeld steps there any connection between this "stepping down" and the charges that folks are trying to file against him? Are the handlers trying to get him out of the spotlight beforehand?

Besides the current alleged crimes Counterpunch also has a great article pondering if Rumsfeld will also be implicated in the same crimes that Saddam was indicted on.

It's all so surreal. I mean, it was surreal in the first place that someone allegedly helping to enable Saddam commit the crimes that he was charged with was presiding over a war directed against that same former ally, and helping to bring him to justice. Read that again, and let it sink in. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the Counterpunch article and Google a bit on Rummy and Saddam. Again, that Colbert quote comes to mind: "reality has a liberal bias". I know Republicans like to always remind us that, this is now, that was then...what can we do about it, yadda yadda. Well, apparently, we can still blame Saddam for things that happened in the 80's. Interesting how that hypocrisy thing works...

And this captioned photo has to be the funniest thing I've seen in ages.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Brainless: Ann vs. Laura

So I'm reading Brainless, which is about Ann Coulter.

But now I'm not sure who is more brainless: Laura Ingraham or Ann Coulter. Coulter may have knowingly tried to commit voter fraud, but now Ingraham has encouraged people to jam a voter hotline the Democrats set up - which if not found to be a "joke", is illegal and people have been sentenced to jail for phone jamming in the past.

Way to go, genius.

Voting in 2006

So I got to the polling place before it opened at 7am...waited a few minutes, then I hear this: "Well, there is good news, and bad news. Good news is that we are ready to go at 7. The bad news is that the PCs aren't ready." - and out loud, I said, something like, "Oh, greeeeeat". No one else seemed to have heard the man who had said that or realize the implications.

Then 7 rolls around. The same man tells that the PCs are not working for entire county of Denver, but that, don't worry, we are ready with provisional ballots. Well, I bailed on that - it's my understanding that provisional ballots occupy a rather grey area. So now I'm at home, waiting to go in again in a few to see if the PCs are up. Not that electronic votes cannot be stolen - as anyone who's been paying attention knows, there are plenty of concerns over Diebold, etc., but it's my understanding that provisional ballots aren't even counted until eligibility has been determined, and I seriously doubt they are counted before elections are called for candidates.

I think next time I'll either do early voting or absentee ballots. I may have to try to determine the way of voting that is statistically least likely to be stolen and use that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Tom Delay's Superstition

Here's something about Tom Delay I just fail to understand - quite a while ago, he complained that people treat Christianity like a second-rate superstition. Does he know what he said and what he is implying?

Does he want us to treat it like a first-rate superstition? I can get on board with that, I guess.

DenverLibPlus 0.3 - Approved!

The DenverLibPlus extension has been approved on and you can get DenverLibPlus 0.3 here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The God Delusion

I really liked Dawkins' book. I have to confess I've had The Selfish Gene on my "to-read" list for years, but still have not read it. I remember making a note to read it after many mentions of it on Usenet, etc., and it definitely had a place on the list after seeing it on my AI professor's bookshelf. I need to bump that up on the list and read it very soon.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, and I really enjoy hearing Dawkins come out and say things that have ALWAYS annoyed me. Things he directly attacks are:

1. The privileging of religion. This has annoyed me since day one. We are supposed to tip-toe around people's superstitions? Why? We tip-toe around virtually nothing else. We don't say things like, "well, you're a Democrat, that's your faith and I cannot talk about it". I've always suspected that this is permitted and encouraged because religion is a house of cards which quickly falls apart when the beliefs of any religion are taken to task and have to "stand and deliver". It's not childish as some "reviewers" of his book have claimed (the quotes are there because I doubt many of these people have even read it).

In addition to skeptics supposedly having to tip-toe around people's superstitions, they also have other privileges: tax breaks, for example. Another one: the idea that something that is otherwise a scheduled drug can be permitted, if it's for religious purposes? What the hell is that about?

2. Naming children of parents who have a certain belief system "Catholic", "Baptist", "Muslim" etc. Again, kudos on pointing out a very real problem. Children are too young to have made a choice about their beliefs and labeling them as such is atrocious. I know, I know, it's "just words", but words guide one's thinking and no one would call children "Republicans" or "Democrats", etc.

3. Subjecting children to their parents' indoctrination - this is a very tough one in free societies. Somehow, we have to balance freedom against terrible beliefs. The idea that children are chattel that have to be subjected to this is prevalent right now, and there is simply no way anything else would fly. It's only when it comes to "cults" (religions that don't have large enough numbers, in other words) that society condones protecting children from religious indoctrination. Since I still have a lot of libertarian sympathies, I cannot really condone government intervention, even though I find the poisoning of young minds just terrible. One can only hope that with education, these practices will wither away, but we know more than ever, and in America anyway, religious fervor is on the rise. In the 21st century. So I don't know what the answer is to this problem.

4. The idea of "belief in belief" - that some people contest people attacking religious dogma over their belief that it gives condolence, etc. Again, Dawkins slices and dices up this notion until it looks, well, stupid.

5. Most importantly, he questions the idea that no one but theologians can discuss religious matters and science is to stay out.. That's just silly, and he even questions whether theology is a legitimate field of study in the first place - good point. And, back to point 1 - Creationists feel they can constantly question science which *IS* a legitimate field of inquiry and then cry foul when scientists have the gall to question dogma - that really is presumptuous, and as a society, we must put an end to that - especially if religion is trying to poke its nose into matters beyond its alleged field of inquiry, or worse yet, trying to influence governments and education (as we are seeing in America for sure) and force their beliefs on others - something they have a long history of doing.

6. And lastly, there is the whammy that virtually everyone is an atheist when it comes to ALL religions but the one they chose (either actively or by an accident of birth which is the way most "choose" their religion). For example, Christians would find it silly if they ran into someone that believes in Zeus - they surely don't believe in Zeus.

In conclusion, go read this book. :) I'd like to also add that Dawkins also had a two-part special on BBC's Channel 4 called "The Root of All Evil?" - check it out.

Time to Impeach?

Almost a year ago now, I bought a few stickers from One of these stickers says "Impeach 'em all!" and it seems to be gaining relevancy by the day. A few weeks ago, Newsweek found that 51% of people support impeaching the president.

Right after the first Downing street memo, I wanted our representatives to open investigations into the crimes of this administration, but justice and public awareness both seem to move at glacial paces, so I should have been patient - the only problem is that outrage upon outrage has been piled on since and debacle upon debacle has been pointed out and the public reaction seems to be "ho-hum, we are fighting terrorism".

If the Democrats regain power this fall and they don't begin an investigation into impeaching Bush, they will certainly live up to the stereotype of the Democratic part - that stereotype being Republican-lite and spineless to boot when it comes to speaking truth to power.

It's now crystal clear that the desire to impeach Bush is no longer a "fringe" thing. What's also interesting is that the Wikipedia entry on the impeach Bush movement also says that some of the voices calling for impeachment are on the right.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quick hitts - I'm scared

The most recent episode from Quick Hitts podcast is a very good one, IMHO, and I concur - I too, am scared. I know liberals have been comparing Republicans to Hitler since at least Reagan, but I'm starting to think these comparisons are no longer that unreasonable.

In general, I find this pocast a good one, and even though I often disagree with him, I think he often has something interesting and well thought out to say. Another good one (being a former big-L Libertarian myself) was the big-L vs. little-L libertarian episode.

More Unbelievable Republican Bungling

So while Republicans are still talking about what Kerry said, and not the things that BushCo has actually done, we learn on Friday that "patriotric" Republicans apparently pressured the government to release documents about Iraq so they could spin their bullshit war...and subsequently put up for public consumption instructions for putting together a nuclear weapon. Way to go, geniuses.

Can we stop pretending these guys give a rats ass about this country?

Let's revisit: John Kerry actually was in the military. W, Cheney and Rush are all chickenhawk draft dodgers. Somehow, Bush is the "war hero" and Kerry is the French-looking flip-flopper military-hating guy? I'm sorry, but I have to say it - anyone that believes that is an idiot.

These guys have got to go. I just hope they aren't able to steal elections this fall.

Richard Dawkins

I think Richard Dawkins is getting so much exposure lately that he almost risks overexposure. In addition to having a top-selling book, I've heard him on Penn Jillette's podcast, he was on Daily Show, and this week South Park did/is doing a (two part?) episode with him as a character.

It's nice to see people in the spotlight who aren't cowering when it comes to challenging doctrinal nonsense, and instead are constantly piping up and saying exactly what they think about religion. I can only hope this continues - Penn was on the Daily Show this week as well, and he is equally outspoken about religion.

In addition to this, Sam Harris is firing his volleys as well, and the movie "The God Who Wasn't There" came out blasting away at religious dogma (if you read his book carefully, I don't think he completely discounts all possibility of the supernatural) as well. Maybe all this is signaling that a rise of secular reason and an eventual withering away of doctrine is possible.

He also made a very timely piece on big old hypocrite (is anyone surprised when a Christian turns out to be one gigantic hypocrite?) Ted Haggard. Pretty funny that he threatens Dawkins with having him thrown in jail - now it looks like Haggard himself may have the possibility of jail.

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