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Saturday, May 01, 2004
Cafeteria Catholics

NPR's Barbara Bradley Haggerty did a little piece on Friday's Morning Edition that sought to compare JFK's "Catholic problem" with Kerry's "Catholic problem". The entire premise was that JFK had to distance himself from the church, but now Kerry is facing charges that he is not Catholic enough.

I was listening and found myself yelling at the radio when she labeled Kerry a "Cafeteria Catholic". (One who picks and chooses what he likes). This smear was based soley upon Kerry's pro-choice political stance. This left the distinct impression that those Catholics who oppose abortion are good, truly faithful Catholics who abide by all the Church's teachings.

This is obviously hogwash. The Pope has made it very clear that things such as the Death Penalty and Birth Control are also forbidden under Roman Catholic guidelines.

Are those American Catholics who do not agree with the Holy Father on these issues "Cafeteria Catholics", as well? If so, about 80% of all American Catholics would qualify.

But no.... only abortion matters. Why?

Because abortion is the only social policy common ground between Catholics and Evangelicals. That's why!

And we all know that the GOP is all about the Evangelical vote. So why not try to win a couple of Midwestern states by courting Catholics? Maybe some of my Catholic friends should check out what many Evangelicals really think of them.

... Atrios truly dismantles Bradley Haggerty's piece... and throws in a little speculation about the sources of her bias. It's a very solid post.
Friday, April 30, 2004
River is upset.
She runs a girl-blog out of Baghdad and has been astonishingly even-handed about the serious *ss f**king her country has taken in the last twelve months. I think she's about at the end of her rope.
Greeley hits it on the head.
We have a man in the Oval Office who is incapable of self examination. God has told him what to do:
"...The president's personality and religious faith -- in combination -- make it impossible for him to have serious second thoughts or even to admit any ambiguity. If a decision is ''right,'' then it is right no matter what. Many Americans, perhaps a slight majority, think this is ''strong'' leadership... A president who has no self-doubt, no ability to question his own mistakes, is a very dangerous man..."
Well, duh. I'm leaving the nutbag in Washington to his own devices this weekend as I go off to stalk the wily Walleye.(That's a fish, Mike. I know you Secret Service types don't get out much.)
What is that little cliche...
about ignorance of the law?
Officer: U.S. troops untrained in Geneva Convention

Associated Press

Washington — Six U.S. soldiers facing courts-martial in connection with mistreatment of detainees at an Iraqi prison did not receive in-depth training on the Geneva Conventions, which govern the handling of captives, a military spokeswoman said Friday.
Huh? I reprimand my four year old when he treats people poorly.... WTF is this article trying to suggest?

But the last line adds just a wee bit of sanity...
Some military officials privately said even without training U.S. soldiers should have known better.
Well.... duh! But why would these officials say this *privately*?

At least W and I agree that these abuses were disgusting. Even Junior gets one right now and then.
A Victim of Improper Breeding

Wild salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest have been declining for decades. Anybody who has witnessed a "run" understands that salmon are an incredible cog in the eco-system of the entire region.

That said, David turns up great info that debunks the logic of BushCo's recent move to count hatchery salmon when it comes to protecting salmon under the Endangered Species Act.

And more importantly, he points out that if such illogic is allowed to stand, the precedent to subvert the Endangered Species Act will be set. Which, of course, is a very, very bad thing.
The cable modem should be here....
within 10 days. I've had it with Verizon DSL. Buh-bye!

Verizon actually had the gall to call me and tell me that I'm 120 feet outside of their guaranteed range, so I should live with the problem or switch plans. The problem has nothing to do with distance issues. It is either network or modem related. But they don't want to try anymore, so they are brushing me off on a loophole.

Needless to say, I will be calling Verizon and telling them to go **** themselves as soon as the cable setup is running. It's tempting to cancel my phone service too. Unfortunately we live in a cell phone void where we only get marginal reception.

I'm soooooo tired of poor customer service....... I wonder what the Public Utilities Commission will think of this. Hopefully I'll at least get refund of some of my service bills.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Even Krugman, a very smart man who usually has lots of good suggestions
... is stumped
I don't have a plan for Iraq. I strongly suspect, however, that all the plans you hear now are irrelevant. If America's leaders hadn't made so many bad decisions, they might have had a chance to shape Iraq to their liking. But that window closed many months ago.
What a difference a year makes...
A year ago, Junior was landing on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln playing dress-up with a sock stuffed in his flight suit. He gave a victory speech in front of the immortal "Mission Accomplished" banner that should be broadcast as Kerry commercial.

Since a lack of credibility on anything is the single-most defining characteristic of BushCo, it shouldn't be forgotten that the reason given for the jet landing was lie. (The ship was NOT out of helicopter range. Just ask the news crews and White House Staff that flew out *before* W arrived) Nor should we forget the little detail that this huge carrier circled for hours so that the wind wouldn't muss the President's hair and the backdrop to his little speech would be open sea rather than the San Diego skyline.

So with all this in mind, I dug up a little ditty from last year that reflected the premature giddy exuberance of all the neo-cons and profiteers.

***click here***

It still makes me smile, but now it just doesn't seem as funny. Damn, now that I'm thinking about it, it's actually quite depressing.
Their Agenda Never Sleeps

Call me cynical, but when I read shit like this, I can not help but believe that we live in a world gone mad.
The Bush administration has stripped information on a range of women's issues from government Web sites, apparently in pursuit of a political agenda, researchers reported on Wednesday.
A council report said the missing information fell into four categories: women's health; their economic status; objective scientific data; and information aimed at protecting women and girls and helping them advance.

The deletions and alterations appear to hew to a political agenda, rather than providing the nonpartisan, unbiased data that has been the tradition of U.S. government reports, the council said.

Its report cited a fact sheet from the Centers of Disease Control that focused on the advantages of using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted disease; it was revised in December 2002 to say evidence on condoms' effectiveness in curbing these diseases was inconclusive.

The National Cancer Institute's Web site was changed in 2002 to say studies linking abortion and breast cancer were inconsistent; after an outcry from scientists, the institute later amended that to say abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk.
At the Labor Department's Women's Bureau Web site, the report said 25 key publications on subjects ranging from pay equity to child care to issues relating to black and Latina women and women business owners had been deleted with no explanation.
Why would they do this? Could it possibly be that if the missing data were publicized, a few crucial percentage points of soccer moms would tell BushCo to take a hike? Nah.... couldn't be.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Please pray for my 4 year old!

According to Pastor John Hagee, Satan has been making a serious attempt to steal my child's soul. It is so comforting to know that folks who care, like Pastor Hagee, not only have a direct line to God, but they have an open line to the White House, as well.

***WARNING! The following is NOT parody! I have reprinted it in its glorious entirety. (emphasis has been added)***

Dear Partners,

You know that recently I have taken on the Harry Potter phenomenon and have revealed how Harry and his friends are leading our children into witchcraft and sorcery. But now I have a far more urgent message that I need to share with you.

Perhaps, like me, you have become concerned about the little yellow cartoon character named SpongeBob Squarepants. On the surface, this show may seem innocent enough, but after talking with leading occult experts and people who actually work in the cartoon industry, I need to share what my ministry has uncovered.

Consider, first of all, that your children are watching a sponge that can walk, talk, and breathe. But we know this is impossible. Sponges (according to several leading botanists we interviewed) are actually one of the lowest forms of animal life. I mean, these things can't even tie their own shoelaces. Most sponges do not even appear yellow in their natural habitat. So what is a yellow sponge doing teaching your children about frying hamburgers, dancing the two-step (also a no-no!), and driving a car?

Given the moral decay of our nation today, it is easy to see, however, why most parents have abdicated their parenting responsibilities to SpongeBob. Satan has twisted their minds and is battling for the souls of their progeny.

A recent review of some thirty random SpongeBob episodes also revealed the following morally decadent messages:

  • In one episode, SpongeBob pulls down his squarepants and reveals his square buttocks.
  • An underage SpongeBob is shown driving a car while receiving morally questionable guidance from a dumb Starfish named Patrick.
  • SpongeBob frequently lies and cheats to get out of trouble.
  • Many of the sea creatures shown in these episodes are not wearing pants of any kind (square, or otherwise).
  • The show promotes a belief in Neptune, god of the sea: a clear message to children that they should be polytheists.
  • SpongeBob talks in a high, falsetto voice (do I need to say more about the homosexual threat to America?).
  • All of these sea creatures are depicted as single and available for reproduction.
  • None of these shows depicts an underwater church or house of worship.
  • None of these shows make any clear reference to Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World; and this includes the sea and all that is in it.

As part of our undercover expose, John Hagee Ministries is now offering a video tape titled: Pulling Down SpongeBob's Squarepants: Exposing Satan's Yellow Bellied Plan. I am pleased to offer this 45-minute tape for $29.95 (plus S&H) We hope that parents might watch this video with their children and talk to them about the evils of this animated show.

In addition, for those of you who watch my regular telecast and can actually read, we are offering a companion volume ($15.95, 456 pages) titled: Squarepants for Parents: An Insider's Guide to the Most Satanic Show on Television. This is an in-depth book, detailing the thousands of magical, occult and pagan practices my ministry uncovered in this little program. The chapters and topics include:
  • Patrick and Sandy: What kind of relationship do they really have?
  • The Sexual Practices of an Everyday Sponge: Asexual reproduction and your child.
  • What's Really Cookin' at the Crusty Crab?
  • Mrs. Puff and the Absent Husband.
  • Why Squidward Plays More Than the Clarinet.
  • Beyond the Cutting Room Door: Where the Character Voices Really Come From.
  • Why the Pineapple House Built on Sand Will Not Last.

I urge you to talk to your pastor and your children about this show before it is too late. Satan has already claimed the hearts and minds of millions through Harry Potter, and now the Lord of Darkness is coming into your home through an animated sponge.

Please join me in this crusade to squeeze the life-giving water of Jesus into this little sponge, that he might be born again.

As always, your continued contributions and support are appreciated. We are praying for you.
In Christ,

Oh my God!!!!! I've turned my boy into a falsetto singing homosexual! The shame, the shame......
All for a Beer and a Hot Dog

Funny stuff to lighten up your day.

I found my ex-wife's wedding dress in the attic when I moved. She took the $4000 engagement ring but left the dress. I was actually going to have a dress burning party when the divorce became final, but....

Ronnie Raygun U

World O'Crap has a great post on the plan to open a university named after the unindicted coconspirator who legally sold weapons to Iraq and illegally did the same for Iran.
Cool! A university which focuses on Reagan's economic and diplomatic principles! You could take such classes as:

  • Economics 101: Greed is Good
  • Economics 102: Screw the Poor
  • Economics 333: Avoiding Taxes Through Wealth
  • Diplomacy 205: Other Nations are Evil
  • Diplomacy 301: Speaking Softly And Carrying a George Lucas Movie
I can't decide which is funnier... the post or simply the idea that Reagan is so revered by the right that the wing-nuts will completely rewrite his biography before he even dies. (Which will happen just before the election... just my own pet theory of an October suprise.)

What would the school mascot be?
My Second choice.

Wes Clarke was my second choice to win the Democratic nomination. And with this op-ed he reaffirms my impression that he is truly a man of character and intellect.

Before too long, the GOP will end up accusing every Democrat who ever served under the US flag of being a traitor. These attack dogs should be ashamed of themselves.
When John Kerry released his military records to the public last week, Americans learned a lot about Mr. Kerry's exceptional service in Vietnam. They also learned a lot about the Republican attack machine.

The evaluations were uniformly glowing. One commander wrote that Mr. Kerry ranked among "the top few" in three categories: initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. Another commander wrote, "In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, Lt. j.g. Kerry was unsurpassed." The citation for Mr. Kerry's Bronze Star praises his "calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire."

In the United States military, there's no ideology — there are no labels, Republican or Democrat — when superiors evaluate a man or woman's service to country. Mr. Kerry's commander for a brief time, Grant Hibbard, now a Republican, gave Mr. Kerry top marks 36 years ago.

Now the standards are those of politics, not the military. Despite his positive evaluations, Mr. Hibbard recently questioned whether Mr. Kerry deserved one of his three Purple Hearts.
This Hibbard fellow said he had received worse injuries from a rose bush. What a hypocritical jerk.
I don't want to wait.

Look a these faces and remember the names.

I hate waiting for history to pass judgement. But I am completely convinced that in a generation these gentlemen's surnames will be uttered with the same contempt as those associated with Watergate.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
I'm Flattered

Blog-Tracking May Gain Ground Among U.S. Intelligence Officials
Monday, April 26, 2004

I've long held that W is a coward. His actual actions on 9/11 have been swept down the memory hole by the media, but I remember a his little impromptu speech given a few hours after the attacks. He was petrified. He was shaky. He acted like he really wanted someone else to be giving the first words of comfort to the nation. It was not his finest hour.

Josh Marshall's post about Junior's use of surrogates and lieutenants brought that terrible day back to mind. Josh's post is about BushCo's attempt to smear John Kerry's war record:
What's the signature pattern of the president's life?

When he faces a challenge or a tough scrape, he lets his family and friends bail him out, do his fighting for him. You see it again and again through failed businesses, legal scrapes, the whole matter of ducking service in Vietnam and then getting help cleaning up subsequent unfortunateness while he was serving in the Texas Air National Guard.

...George W. Bush has faced three opponents (McCain, Gore and Kerry) since he came onto the national political stage ... He's had his lieutenants attack the service of each one.

...The president wants to challenge John Kerry's military service. So he gets Karen [Hughes] to do it for him....

But here's some free advice for Kerry.

Don't get mixed up on the details. Take this directly to the president. Tell him to turn over a new leaf in life and stop being a coward. If the president wants to attack or question your war record or what you did after the war, tell him to do it himself.

I honestly wonder if they have part time high school students writing headlines at various newspapers. Here are two that just caught my eye this morning:

Israel prepares to celebrate anniversary, Palestinian teenager killed

Human Sacrifice?

Sharon has no plans yet to kill Arafat, deputy says


I would think a basic grasp of the English language would be required before one is employed by a major newspaper.
Some people are just too damn smart...
Spintronics as a field is about 15 years old, established when IBM invented a sensor that could detect the spin of an electron. IBM took advantage of the spin of electrons to create disk-drive heads that could read data stored in much smaller areas on a disk drive. Those ``giant magnetoresistive'' heads debuted in 1997 and they improved the storage capacity of disk drives by 100 to 1,000 times.
There are days it is reasurring to see that people can continue down the path of discovery and innovation regardless of the madness of politics and war. Perhaps this is one of the greatest benefits of living in our time.

And please note that this work is public/private effort being done at a research university. Sometimes our tax dollars do amazing things. (Now if only we could be assured that the industry that profits from these discoveries pays their fair share back in... sigh...)
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Snowmobiles or Oil Fields?

As you know one of the major criticisms of BushCo's handling of security policy prior to September 11, 2001 was that it focused almost exclusively on rogue states rather than on the idea that a "movement" organizations such as Al Qaida were a threat. Of course, to hear the revisionist historians working for the administration and Fox News, we are told that Osama was always the highest priority. (LIE!)

The administration also claims that they were not planning the invasion of Iraq prior to a simple contingency plan attached to the Afghan battle strategy. (LIE!)

But now we come to an interesting juxtaposition with a *third* event. In 2001 Dick Cheney met with his super secret energy task force. Most of the folks pursuing the meeting minutes between Unkle Dick and Ken Lay (among others) were environmental and "open government" activists. But what if the real secret of the Energy Task Force was that it was advocating the invasion of Iraq and the seizure of the oil fields?

Until now, I would have dismissed this as tin-foil-hat territory, but Josh Marshall has dug out a very damning tidbit from a February New Yorker article. (emphasis added)
Additional evidence that Cheney played an early planning role is contained in a previously undisclosed National Security Council document, dated February 3, 2001. The top-secret document, written by a high-level N.S.C. official, concerned Cheney newly formed Energy Task Force. It directed the N.S.C. staff to cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the melding of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: the review of operational policies towards rogue states, such as Iraq, and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.
And all this time we thought Cheney wanted to shade the fact that BushCo was going to allow snowmobiles back into Yellowstone.

Gee, I guess he *really did* have something to hide.
Who is behind Roachblog? is compiled and composed by two brothers who reside 1500 miles apart.

9Driver is a retired US Naval Officer who is currently a Captain for a major airline. He is the father of 3 and married. He has resided in Minneapolis for 16 years and is an avid fisherman who stalks the lakes of northern Wisconsin. 9Driver cut his political teeth as a volunteer for the tragic 2002 campaign of the late great Paul Wellstone. He sings with his local church choir and gives his time to the many extracurricular activities of his sons.

Def is a chef by trade but his 20 year career path has included a stint a professional opera singer, a disc jockey, an executive assistant to a phone company VP among other endeavors. He is married and a father. Currently he resides in rural New England, but over the past 15 years has spent time in Tacoma, WA; Kearney, NE; Detroit, MI; Hyde Park, NY, and Minneapolis, MN. Def was a phone bank volunteer for Paul Wellstone's 1996 Senate Campaign and also led Pierce County for Dean in 2003 prior to his move to the East. He is also a fisherman, but a lousy one.
Not a Clash of Civilizations?

In a NYT's editorial, Richard Clarke hits the ball out of the park, again.
One lesson is that even though we are the world's only remaining superpower — as we were before Sept. 11, 2001 — we are seriously threatened by an ideological war within Islam. It is a civil war in which a radical Islamist faction is striking out at the West and at moderate Muslims. Once we recognize that the struggle within Islam — not a "clash of civilizations" between East and West — is the phenomenon with which we must grapple, we can begin to develop a strategy and tactics for doing so. It is a battle not only of bombs and bullets, but chiefly of ideas. It is a war that we are losing, as more and more of the Islamic world develops antipathy toward the United States and some even develop a respect for the jihadist movement.
It's too bad that using your brain is reason to be forced out of the current administration.
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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