Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Victory Will Come When We Least Expect It?

So, flight suit Georgie again refuses to lay out a timetable for withdrawing troops from the Iraq quagmire. Not only did he fail to provide a timetable, but he also failed to provide benchmarks for troop drawdowns. In other words, we'll be in Iraq until Bushie and his bunch think it's time to leave.

Bush also said that troops would not be withdrawn based upon "artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington." This is simply too rich to pass up. So far, we have both former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld on record stating that they were not consulted prior to the Iraq War. Nor does there seem to have been any other input sought from actual military folks. So, we got into the war based on politicians in Washington, Big Dick Cheney and Bushie. Of course, these two, and the rest of the PNAC cabal, have never actually served in a war, preferring to be armchair generals in their own game of Risk.

Bushie also said something about winning, or victory (I heard the speech on CNN and am too lazy to look up the transcript), which really made me puzzled. I had thought that two years ago, when flight suit Georgie declared "mission accomplished" that had meant we had won. I guess not.

Friday, November 25, 2005

File Under Huh?

Brownie, ex FEMA head Mike Brown, is off to start his own disaster consulting business. One has to wonder at the chutzpah of the Bush cabal. First, this guy magnificently screws up the response to Hurricane Katrina (apparently he was too busy exchanging emails about his wardrobe), then somehow ends up getting a consulting contract with FEMA after he resigns. And now he is opening his own disaster preparedness consulting firm?

Seriously, what kind of expertise does Brownie bring to the table? Let's see... he was general counsel for the Arabian Horse Association. Wait, he was forced to resign from that position. Oh... I know, he was part of Team Bushie, aka the Gang That Couldn't Accept Responsibility, where he sucked up to Joe Allbaugh and then took over his job when Allbaugh left to further fleece the government from the private sector.

Perhaps Brown's advice will be about how governments need to do a better job of vetting disaster personnel to ensure that they have some experience in the field. Nah.. that just isn't the Bushie way.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

NPC Nationals 2005 (even more)

Me and Mr. O, Big Ronnie Coleman.

NPC Nationals 2005 (more)

Me and Jay Cutler. My fellow Massachusetts native and favorite bodybuilder.

NPC Nationals 2005

Me and Bob Cicherillo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Straight Up IDIOT

So now the blimp sized pill popper is calling decorated Marine veteran Congressman Murtha a "useful idiot". This is especially rich given that Limbaugh himself missed out on Vietnam because of a cyst on his ass. I guess fatty boy didn't get the memo that attacking Murtha was no longer in the GoOPer playbook. Probably too strung out on OxyContin and lard.

It's About Time

Apparently we are now rid of Bushie as he seems to be going to Disneyland.

Oh wait... the turkey referred to in the story/photo was the bird. Damn it!


Now the oppressed have their own website. And who are these oppressed millions? Why, the Christians, of course. Nevermind that they make up the vast majority of the country or that they hold almost all the positions of power in government and corporations, us evil non-Christians are oppressing them. How are we doing that you ask? Not all retail employees are saying "merry christmas" when the oppressed buy whatever bauble they feel will best glorify Jesus (I hear he really loves the Xbox).

Seriously, people... you're NOT oppressed. You control almost ever fucking lever of power in this country. If some retail slave fails to say "merry christmas" it does not make you oppressed. It means that corporations might actually believe there is something to be made of being welcoming to people of all religions. Heck, they'll even take atheist dollars.

Instead of worrying about a stupid little phrase why not focus your efforts on taking the commercialism out of christmas? Why not use all that power you have to practice the actual teachings of jesus, you know the ones about taking care of the poor and hungry, instead of buying everything in the store? Maybe if you spent more time reading your bible and less time getting worked up about "merry christmas" you'd actually understand Christian teachings a bit more and might actually become spiritually fulfilled.

Showdown in Hotlanta

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2005 NPC Nationals here in ATL. It was an exciting time as I got to meet (and get pics with) Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Bob Cicherillo, and the yoda of bodybuilding, Mr. Charles Glass. Hopefully I will have a link to the pics sometime later this week. It was an awesome experience to meet some of my idols.

But the ticket prices were crazy, as are all bodybuilding tickets. (I actually had a free ticket) The cheapest ticket for the finals was $50 and ranged up to $100. Friday's night prejudging was $25 for each the men's and women's or $45 for both. I can understand charging high prices for the sport's biggest shows (ie, Mr. O, Arnold Classic, Show of Strength). However, by pricing tickets so high for national amateur shows, many fans are kept from attending and the sport continues its marginalization.

Beyond that, bodybuilding has done a poor job of bringing in new fans. There is little or no effort to expose bodybuilding to a larger audience. How often do you see bodybuilding competitions on ESPN? How many people even know who the reigning Mr. Olympia is?

Bodybuilding, as a sport, promotes a healthy lifestyle, discipline, nutrition, etc. And our society has started (on some levels) to embrace a more healthy outlook. Bodybuilding should be exploiting America's growing gym culture. Now, there are those who would say that the gargantuan size of elite bodybuilders like Coleman, Cutler et al turn off the viewing public. And there is some merit to that argument. But the new judging guidelines will hopefully bring about a more aesthetic look in the coming years. In addition, bodybuilding does so little to market itself as entertainment. There are dozens of interesting, provocative and endearing bodybuilders out there who the American viewing public could easily identify with and root for.

The past few years have seen an explosion of other once marginal or regional sports (NASCAR, arena football, ultimate fighting). All of them have succeeded because they knew how to market their stars and their stories. Bodybuilding could rise up too if only there was some plan to make attending shows affordable, televising events on cable (not pay per view) and showing off their stars.

Friday, November 18, 2005

When Wingnuts Attack

Twelve of the GOP's finest Congressmen came out swinging at Congressman Murtha after he called for withdrawing US troops from Iraq. The list, as well as their statements, can be found here. This all got me to thinking- how many of the twelve had actually served in the military? Turns out only five of the twelve, with just one actually seeing combat. A couple of the other four had military service during the same time period as the Vietnam War, but not combat service.

Why is this important? Because these bozos are trying to make the ridiculous argument that John Murtha is the same as uber lefty Michael Moore. This is despite that fact the Murtha is probably one of the most hawkish Democrats in Congress. Oh, and he served in both Vietnam and Korea, and was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. (Murtha has a total of 38 years of military service in the Marine Corps and Reserves.)

Needless to say, Murtha has far more experience as a combat veteran than the twelve GoOPers combined. But then again, the American people chose a Vietnam evader (Bush was busy playing volleyball with "ambitious secretaries" in Alabama) and his five Vietnam deferments sidekick (Cheney claimed to have had "other priorities") over a decorated Vietnam War veteran. Ugh.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More Sully Nonsense

Today Sully is siding with Instacracker (what a shock!) in the debate between Kevin Drum and the lobotomized perfesser at a third rate law school. Toward the end of the piece linked to, Sully explains to us that he is very angry with Bush, but that he supports him as commander in chief. Oh, and that he found the Senate vote yesterday "repellent."

One has to assume that he is referring to the amendment that called for an Iraq timetable.
Here is what candidate Shrub had to say about that issue (6/05/99)-
"I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.

Now, Shrubby says (6/24/2005)-
"It doesn't make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you're you're conceding too much to the enemy.

Amazing how Sully parrots Bush's 2005 line while completely ignoring what was said back in 1999. For Andrew Sullivan loving Bushie means never having to say you made a mistake by supporting the war.

But back to the point. Good old Sully says that he never got the impression that before the war nukes were at the heart of Bush's argument. Huh?? What fucking planet was Andy living on? Does he not recall the aluminum tubes? Or how about the mushroom cloud invoked by Condi Rice?

Andrew also admonishes to "leave all the mind reading out of it." I'm sorry Andy, old chum, but it's not mind reading we are doing or advocating. We are asking for a full and honest accounting of the lies and the distortions made by your Preznit and his ventriloquist (Big Dick) in their run up to the Iraq holiday. You can tut-tut all you want about how the intelligence was faulty or whatever other means you have to avoid facing the truth of the matter. Bushie and his boys selectively used those portions of intelligence reports that supported their own desire to attack Iraq. They withheld those portions that cast doubt on Saddam's threat to the US. Even more, they lied to the American people and led them to believe that somehow Iraq and Saddam were related to 9-11.

This is not about fixating on the past. It is about being honest with the American people and the world. It is about restoring faith in government. It is about teaching our children that lying is wrong (remember, with Clinton the GoOPers told us it wasn't the sex, it was the lying). It is about holding this administration and its enablers accountable. It's too bad that poor Andy can't seem to understand that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

But Can They Cook?

As a matter of fact, I can cook. So here is something new- a recipe.

Juicy Turkey Burgers (I know you think that isn't possible)
1 pound ground turkey breast (99% lean)
2 whole eggs
Seasoned bread crumbs
Shredded cheddar cheese (2% milk)

Beat two whole eggs. Add in turkey until fully mixed. Blend in bread crumbs until combination is not runny. Mix in a bit of cheese. Makes four patties.
Be careful with these under a broiler. The cheese may get burned.

Another Bush Crony is a Crook

Ok, so that probably does not come as a surprise to anyone following the foibles of the current administration. Nor should it come as a shock that this particular screw up is related to the media. Not content to pay Armstrong Williams and others to shill for them on the OpEd pages and airwaves of America, the Bushies thought it would be a fantastic idea to push the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a bit closer to a Faux News approach (apparently us latte drinking liberals don't tune into Faux or Limbaugh and miss out on Dear Leader's daily brainwash).

According to the report from the Inspector General, the former head of the CPB Board (Ken Tomlinson) violated the law and the corporation's own rules. Tomlinson himself pushed CPB to pick up a weekly show of the Wall Street Journal and its conservative editors, which violated the firewall provision that prevents the board from influencing programming decisions. CPB, under Tomlinson, also had contracted with an outside conservative media consultant to monitor what Tomlinson believed to be bias on Bill Moyer's show. Oh, and there was someone still on the White House payroll working for CPB. And (they keep coming) this person and Tomlinson worked with Karl Rove to kill a legislative proposal to fill half the seats on the CPB Board with people who actually have experience in local radio and tv. (These and more info on Tomlinson can be found at Media Matters)

The IG further found that Tomlinson had instituted a political litmus test for the new president of CPB, and that the person ultimately hired was suggested by someone within the White House. Although Tomlinson has stepped down from his post at CPB, he remains the head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (American government overseas broadcasts) where he is under investigation by the State Department's Inspector General for "misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees."

Is it just me or does the list of phenomenal fuck ups of the Bush administration just keep growing? As Michael Dukakis said, a fish rots from the head down.

Crazy Baptists

The Georgia Baptist Convention voted to sever ties with Mercer University (a Baptist college) because they "no longer share common values." In other words, those heathens at Mercer had the audacity to let the homos have a student group. How dare they allow young adults to freely express themselves at a Baptist institution!

I think this bit from the story perfectly captures the issue-

David W. Key, director of Baptist studies at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, said that Tuesday's action had been in the making for years. He said the convention is run by fundamentalists who cannot reconcile their belief in scriptural infallibility with the mission of a university.

"That's the purpose of higher education, to open minds," Key said. "That runs counter to a fundamentalist's theology."

Welcome to modern America, a country of closing minds, where we are increasingly in danger of turning our back on science and learning and everything else the Enlightenment brought about. And what for? To satisfy some simplistic notion of Old Testament Christianity. To bring us back to a time of witch trials, and Johnathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of Angry God. God help us!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Red State Values?

Here in Georgia, we have the case of a 37 year old woman who not only has been having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old boy for the past two years, but is now married to him. To "protect the sanctity of marriage", GA voters last year passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But maybe they should have been more worried about women trying to marry little boys, instead of two consenting adults who just happen to be of the same gender who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other.

Sully With His Head Up His Arse

As usual, Sully sticks to the Bushie/GoOPer talking points on Iraq (version whatever the hell number we're up to now). Now, Democrats who question the war and the lies that led up to it are to be labelled "unserious" unless they offer "positive pro-active arguments for winning this war." Maybe Andrew missed the part of the memo about the correct label- unpatriotic- or maybe this is his way of being less strident. Either way, it's still a load of bollocks.

Since when does it become the responsibility of people who opposed the war, or those who would have opposed it if given accurate information, to offer up suggestions as to how to win. Maybe I'm crazy, but shouldn't the morons who got us into this war be the the ones offering solutions? And by solutions I mean something more than recycling speeches about the war on terror.

I've yet to see Andrew, someone who still cannot seem to accept that Bushie lied to him, offer up any solutions to winning the war. Yet, day after day, he parrots the latest Bushie talking point on the Iraq War. Maybe Sully deserves the label of unserious.

I Knew It!

Finally, we have some proof that Alito is pro-life. The Washington Times digs up an old job application from 1985, where Alito wrote that, "the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion."

This could be parsed a number of ways. It could be claimed that Alito does not believe the Constitution explicitly protects abortion. That will not fly because Roe is not based on an explicit right to abortion, but rather to a right to privacy and the penumbra of rights not enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Perhaps it could also be claimed, as I have seen already, that this was prior to Casey and therefore Alito may not tear down Roe. This, too, ought not to fly. Other anti-abortion folks see no reason to let legal precedents interfere with their mission. And Alito, who says he "believes strongly" in that position is no different.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Irony and Hypocrisy Watch

Look at this bit of nonsense from the FDA- warning labels on condoms. (I am not even sure where manufacturers could put it without the print being so small as to require a magnifying glass to read.) The wackos on the right don't think this warning goes far enough. And, to be honest, there is no mention that condom use does not protect people from HPV.

But wouldn't a better remedy be to teach these facts as part of a comprehensive sex education curriculum? Oh wait... I forgot, the right wing wackos oppose sex ed that is anything but just say no. Oops... and they have also opposed vaccination for HPV. So, instead of prevention and education we get some tiny words on a condom packet, which of course people will be eager to read in that moment of passion. Way to go geniuses!
hat tip: Oliver Willis


I'm not sure how else to describe the US Senate's action to bar detainees at Gitmo from filing writs of habeas corpus in US courts. No matter how much those who voted for the measure label the detainees as enemy combatants, absent some sort of judicial determination of such, they are nothing more than suspected enemy combatants. And to fall back on the notion that the military tribunal system will provide fair and adequate hearings is delusional.

To prohibit habeas corpus is to leave adjudication of detainees solely to the executive branch. This is the same executive branch that has given us prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, black site prisons overseas, and is currently lobbying to allow torture of detainees. And now we are going to strip the judiciary of its power of habeas corpus?

This is not about enemy combatants. It is about unbridled executive power. It is about American values and how we conduct ourselves in the world. The Bush administration, and its supporters in Congress, are changing American values and norms to the point where we are no better, morally and ethically, than our "enemies." And, as a nice little side effect, the President gets unlimited power.

Welcome to the new Amerika- where fear fuels fascism and ignorance rules the day.

Moronica for Morons

Indiana still cannot get its time correct. Part of the problem is that the state is covered by both the eastern and central time zones. And for that we can't make fun. But... and here's the good part- most of Indiana does not recognize daylight savings time.

So, for those of you keeping track- Kansas does not accept evolution and Indiana does not accept daylight savings time. Moronica, what a country!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why Does the GOP Hate American Troops?

For the first time in 55 years Congress will not hold a joint meeting of the Veteran's Affairs Committee. Traditionally, the joint hearing was a time for veteran's groups to give testimony about veteran's issues. This action comes on the heels of the Bush Department of Defense reneging on $15,000 re-enlistment bonuses for National Guardsmen and women.

Yet, Bush and his lackeys continue to feed, and the wackos on the right keep eating up, the bullshit about supporting the troops. But then we should be not be too surprised that people who believed that a Vietnam War evader would make a better commander in chief than a decorated Vietnam War veteran. Morons.

And This Proves What Exactly?

Now the White House is going to send out some neat new talking points to the GoOPers in Congress. The brand spanking new Iraq spin is full of quotes from Democrats making claims about Saddam's WMDs. Now, I wonder where on earth Democrats in Congress got their information about Iraq WMDs? Hmm.. could it be from the Bush administration?

So what Dem quotes about WMD really tell us is that they were naive enough to believe that the White House would not lie over such a grave matter in an effort to win support for a war of choice. What a quaint notion- expecting honesty from the Bushies. That is like expecting milk from a bull.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Is This What God Wants?

The evangelicals and other miscellaneous religious crackpots are always saying how god wants this and god wants that, and that he punishes us with hurricanes and other disasters. So does the result in Dover, PA, where the slate of evolutionists took control of the school board mean that god hates "intelligent" design? After all, the ID supporters prayed long and hard for a victory. So, either god didn't hear them or he wants us to use our brains and not our beliefs in science classes.

For My Fellow Peach Staters

And, I suppose, anyone else who wants to be sure so called "religious" right leaders do not run our country. Stop Ralph Reed is a site dedicated to defeating Ralph "I love me some gambling $$" Reed. In case anyone does not know, the former head of the "Christian" Coalition is under investigation for ties to GOP moneyman/launderer/influence peddler Jack Abramoff. Poor Ralph claims not to know that the money his firm received to lobby against gambling was actually coming from a competing tribe of gamblers. In other events, Reed also claimed not to know that the earth revolves around the sun.

Pot Meet Kettle

According to one of the moronic Kansas Board of Education members who voted in favor of "intelligent" design, "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today." Apparently he even said it with a straight face, completely unaware of how dogmatic he and his fellow "Christians" are. But in the spirit of making education less dogmatic, I offer the following changes that Kansas could also implement-
(1) end the dogmatism of gravity by teaching kids that objects fall to the earth because Jesus just wants it that way
(2) stop the tyranny of mathematics and its insistence that 2+2=4
(3) put and end to the dogma of grammar, the Designer made no mention of proper use of commas, semi-colons or prepositions in the Bible; just let kids write any way they want- run on sentences don't matter so long as they give grace to Jesus.

See the slippery slope on which we tread? It seems we're ushering in a new era of relativism. In other words, so long as it relates to Jesus it's all good.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

But Will They Vote Differently?

Slow wage growth is becoming a major problem in the US. Recent data show wages failing to keep up with inflation. This is especially true for unskilled workers. These are folks who usually possess just a high school diploma. Interestingly enough, there is a strong negative correlation between educational attainment and voting for Bush (and, by assumption, other GOP candidates). So, the same people who vote for Bush and other Republicans get to bear the brunt of their policies.

Part of me thinks this is just desserts. But what about the unskilled workers who do not support the GOP? Is it fair to them, and to the rest of the country?

Perhaps a better question is the one posed in the title of this post- will they (ie, red state unskilled workers) vote differently. It reamins to be seen whether or not slow wage growth, increasing bankruptcies and other financial hardships will be enough of a shock to red-staters for them to secede from the GOP. At some point, these folks have to answer the question of what is more important- their's and the country's financial well-being or continuing to be bamboozled by the rhetoric of anti-abortion, anti-gay plutocrats?

And, please, let's not get started on the rhetoric versus results argument. How long would the GOP need to be in power to end abortion and gay rights and all those other pesky liberal social policies? The fact is that the moneyed GOP has USED the religious rubes (or, as one republican strategist called them- wackos) to continue their hold on power by feeding them red meat rhetoric sufficient to distract the rubes from what the GOP was really up to.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Isn't Zero Even Less

I can't help but be both amused and angered by the Iraq Holiday apologists contortions over the death count. Today Andrew Sullivan lets us know that the average number of deaths per month is the lowest military death rate of any war in US history. Gee thanks, Andrew. I am sure that makes the families of the over 2000 soldiers killed in Bushies little war of choice feel oh so much better.

Of course, Andrew's point is utter bullshit. Those other wars were, by and large, not wars of choice (we can all debate Vietnam and Korea). So to compare the rate of deaths in the Iraq Holiday with those of World Wars I and II, Civil War and Revolutionary War is patently ridiculous, facially absurd and intellectually dishonest. But, to expect anything more from the Shrub's amen corner is equally absurd.

How Low Can the Bushies Go?

There clearly is no low to which the Bush fascists will not stoop. Now, their IRS goons are threatening the tax status of a Pasadena church where the former rector was so brazen as to speak out against the Iraq Holiday from the pulpit.

I'm sure you're asking yourself how this is different from the scores of right wing preachers and their just us sunday? And what about all of those handy dandy voter guides circulating through Southern Baptist and other fundamentalist churches over the past twenty years? Where the hell has the IRS been?

Oh wait.. I forgot.. the IRS, along with the rest of the federal government, did not become this politicized until Herr Bush and Fuhrer Cheney came to power. And we all know that only conservative right wing religious bigots are real Christians. The Bushies are merely enforcing the fatwahs of Falwell, Robertson et al to rid the world of all but their madrasas.
hat tip:americablog

Sunday, November 06, 2005

McCain Suck Up Watch

This might be a regular feature, as we head towards 2008 and John "I'm a Maverick" McCain looks to suck up to the same right wingers who screwed him in 2000. This time McCain is meeting with that beloved homophobe and all around religious nutjob Jerry Falwell. You might remember Falwell as the man who had this to say three days after 9-11, "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve... The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

Thanks John McCain for showing us just how much courage matters to you. It takes a great deal of courage to cozy up to the hateful right wing of your party. Asshole.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

All the Kool Kids Have Maps

Go here and add yourself. You can even post a pic if you'd like. It would be cool, for me at least, to know who and where my readers are. (I can already see where y'all are coming from with Haloscan, but Frappr! gives you the ability to see that same info.)

Ethics for Dummies?

So, Bush is making his staff attend ethics briefings. I have to presume that they will be reading exclusively from Machiavelli's The Prince. (end of snark)

Seriously.. wasn't this the same person who claimed to be restoring dignity to the White House? Call me crazy, but I sort of assumed that dignity would encompass such things as honesty, morality and ethics. We already know that the Bushies have lied, do lie and will continue to lie. And that they certainly have skewed morals- tax cuts for the rich and service cuts for the poor; torture and violation of international norms for detainees.

More recently, we've learned that ethics are also in short supply with Shrub and Co. So, what's left of restoring dignity? Maybe dignity means that the Cokehead's only blow in the White House is the white powdery stuff?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Why Electing Judges is an Awful Idea

The wrangling for an impartial judge in the DeLay Case highlights one of the many problems with elected judges. Elections make judges just one more political actor, rather than an impartial decision-maker. Subjecting judges to the election process forces them to play the game of politics, which is a far cry from the judicial ideal.

Over the past ten years, judicial elections have gotten more and more political. The same sort of unashamedly misleading rhetoric of other political campaigns has taken root in the judicial elections across the country. Signed opinions make it all too easy for political operatives to find words or phrases that, when taken out of context of the entire opinion, make for great sixty second spots.

And, as shown in the whole DeLay judge fight, judges themselves become more political. They align themselves with a political party, donate to its candidates, and sometimes share campaign operative with other political candidates. This should be troubling to anyone who believes that justice ought to be blind.

We can never fully insulate judges from politics. But we can, and must, do everything within our means to keep them as apolitical as possible. A system of justice based on equality of individuals demands it.

Irony Watch

Classic quote from this NYT article on the "Intelligent" Design case in Dover, PA:

"We're developing all this expertise in intelligent design," Mr. Thompson said. "We hope to use it."

Well, I am developing all this expertise on human flight. Someday I hope to use it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Even Some Red Staters Get It

Bush's approval rating in NC down to 41%. I know this has been asked before (namely by digby), but what would Shrubby have to do to lose the support of these morons? The best I could come up with is Shrubby applying for French citizenship. I mean, you can be gay and in the closet and still do well in the GOP (see, Ken Mehlman). You can break the law and do well in the GOP (see, Tom Delay et. al.).

Hmm.. there may be one other way. Bush could convert to Islam. Better yet he could be a Muslim Frenchman. Double whammy!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Do Parental Consent Laws Decrease Risky Teen Sex?

Marginal Revolution points to a colloquium paper arguing that parental consent laws serve to lower the incidence of risky sex for White and Hispanic teens. The authors, Klick and Stratmann, use gonorrhea infection rates as a proxy for risky sex. They claim, as have others, that abortion serves an insurance function and as that is lessened (via parental consent), teens respond by having less sex or less risky sex (ie, increased condom usage).

While the argument does make some intuitive sense, there is a key assumption underlying their analysis. That is, teens are aware of parental consent laws in their state. Nowhere in their design is any variable measuring knowledge or understanding of the applicable law. Nor is there any attempt to use a proxy for knowledge. While I am not suggesting that such data exist or could be teased out of some proxy, it does seriously undermine the validity of their conclusions. Could it be that some other unobservable variable is driving lower gonorrhea rates in those years? For example, we know that teen pregnancy rates vary year to year (though they do seem to follow a somewhat linear trajectory) so why should we not also assume that STD rates might also vary?

In addition, Klick and Stratmann code the state law variable 1 for full year of consent, 0 for no consent and a number between corresponding to partial year consent law. From my quick reading of their paper and model, it seems unclear that there is a way to control for year to year spillover effects. For example, what if state A has a stringent parental consent law in year X which gets eliminated in year Z. Are teens responding to what they perceive the law to be? Again, this is a knowledge of law problem. Can we really assume that teens are aware?

This paper does little to convince me that parental consent laws will affect the incidence of risky sex among teens. Of course, this leaves out the whole issue of whether parental consent laws are harmful in other ways (ie, family dynamics).

Just Wow

This show left me in tears last night. If you have not seen Random 1 yet, you don't know what you're missing. Two guys, with the help of three others, go out and help random people.

Last night (and the episode repeats Wed, Thu and Sat) they got a prosthetic leg for a homeless man (legs run about $22,000). Bruce had been without his leg since a child, when it was run over by a riding lawnmower. The prosthesis that he had was old and sticky. It prevented him from being able to work in his field (construction) and he was homeless. Now, Bruce has a new leg and is on the road to a construction job.

In a world full of hate and greed, Random 1 reminds us that there are good people in the world. There are still those who put others first and see the value in each person, no matter what their life circumstance. America needs more people like John and Andre.

Poor Andie

There is nothing quite so sad as a former Bush admirer holding onto his love. And, Sully clearly has some issues letting go. Sure, he endorsed Kerry last year, but in his heart of hearts, he still was quite enamored with the Cokehead from Crawford.

Lately, poor Andie has resorted to a bit of revisionist history and logical origami. His latest drivel about how WMD was not the only reason given for invading Iraq is simply wrong. It was the centerpiece of Bushie's deceit (didn't Andy see Colin Powell's performance at the UN). Sure, they trotted out some other touchy-feely reasons- human rights, women's rights- but the key to getting the American people to sign onto the notion that invading Iraq was an adjunct to the War on Terror was Saddam's supposed WMD program.

To claim anything else, as Sullivan does, is to be blind to the reality of this administration's many deceits. But, then, maybe love is blind.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Damn.. I Always Miss the Good Stuff

Apparently, the Senate Democrats finally had their testicles descend. Hooray for Harry Reid and Carl Levin for exposing the bullshit of Frist, Roberts et al in their coverup of Bushies great big lie to the American people (also known as the Iraq War). Hopefully this signals a new willingness of Senate Dems to fight against the GOP and their brain-dead supporters (ie, Faux News viewers, listeners of the Fat Pill Addict, etc.).

Could it be that we will actually see a filibuster over the nomination of Alito? Will the GOP invoke the nukular (Bush-talk) option and throw out hundreds of years or Senate rules?

The Democrats in the Senate should ignore the chattering classes warnings about over-playing their hand. Let's look at reality for a moment. Bushie's approval rating is in the neighborhood of Nixon's post-Watergate numbers. The Vice President's COS just got indicted. The American people say the country is on the wrong track. By a huge margin, people thought the Republicans in the Senate were wrong on Terri Schiavo. Most people say the Iraq War was a mistake. Most believe the administration did not tell the truth. The list goes on and on and on. From just about every point imaginable, the American people are rejecting Bushie and the Congressional GOP.

So, please tell me why on earth Democrats should back down now? The GOP will trot out its taking points and they will be dutifully "reported" by Faux and the rest of the MSM. But the Dems need to expose the lies inherent in the GOP's arguments. Let's look at some of them.

(1) Scooter Libby was indicted for speaking to reporters and it is nothing major.
Reality Libby was indicted for participating in an orchestrated effort to silence a critic of the administration by outing a known covert CIA operative. (Just read the indictment) Libby is the first sitting White House staffer to be indicted in over 100 years.

(2) Prosecutor Fitzgerald has a political axe to grind.
Reality Fitzgerald is a REPUBLICAN US Attorney. He was appointed by Bush. And was selected by Bushie's DOJ to look into the leaking of Valeria Plame's identity.

(3) Alito is a not a judicial activist.
Reality Bullshit. Conservatives define judicial activists as those who use their own views to interpret the Constitution (ie, legislate from the bench). Unless Alito has some sort of direct connection to Jefferson, Madison et al, Alito must allow his own views to influence his rulings. The reality is that Alito is just as activist as any other judge, but his activism comports with the Radical Right's desire for a theocracy.

(4) Alito is not anti-Roe
Reality Even his mother says he would overturn Roe v. Wade. Nuff said.

So, I say, let the filibuster begin. Let the GOoPers in the Senate invoke their beloved nuclear option. And then let them explain to the majority of Americans who support abortion rights why they saw the need to throw out over one hundred years of Senate rules in order to place an anti-choice theocrat on the nation's highest court. If I could have just one holiday wish, this would be it.

I recall what happened when Clinton over-reached and the country turned on Congressional Dems in 1994. The combination of ramming through an anti-choice theocrat and the Iraq War lies are the perfect tonic to wake middle America up from its stupor. Heck, it may even be simple enough for the Faux News (we distort, you decide) lemmings to understand.

There is blood in the water. If Democrats fail to attack now, then they no longer deserve to represent one half of America's people.