An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community.

Pam's House Blend version 2.0 launches

Sunday, November 26, 2006

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Come join folks at the new coffeehouse location!

There's still a bit of construction going on, but the fresh Blend will be posted there from now on.

Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls to  http://www.pamshouseblend.com.

Version Blend 1.0 is, as you can see, alive and well at its original location here, http://www.pamspaulding.com/weblog.

These are now the archives, which are searchable via the Google box here and at the new coffeehouse. The Best of the Blend links at the new pad point back to the files here.

Version 2.0 is no longer on Blogger (praise Jeebus), it is hosted by soapblox.net, which allows users to have diaries, a feature that I will roll out slowly as people get signed on.

Speaking of which, one small downside is that folks will have to register to comment, but folks do that all the time at my other haunt, Pandagon, without a lot of fuss. Please be kind as you toss tomatoes at the blogmistress for this inconvenience.

One of the nice new features at the new coffeehouse is a blogroll of the regular commenters. Without you all, it's not a community.


WND 2008 musings open thread

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just wanted to pass on some hilarity to chew on from the always entertaining WingNutDaily folks...

Whom would you like to be the Republican nominee for president in 2008?



This column by may explain exactly where these folks are coming from.
The GOP is in serious trouble. All conservatives I know are furious that the pro-amnesty Mel Martinez will be the new RNC Chair. A GOP county chair recently said to me, "If the GOP continues to move to the Left, conservatives will have no choice but to vote third party in 2008."

...The GOP is peddling liberal candidates (John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Condoleezza Rice), and trying to silence potential conservatives (like Tancredo).

Despite what they may say to secure the nomination, McCain, Giuliani, and Rice are all pro-affirmative action, pro-choice, pro-homosexual, pro-interventionist foreign policy, pro-NAFTA superhighway, pro-North American Union, and support the third-world invasion of America.

Although Mitt Romney has tried recently to sell himself as a conservative, he has a very long track record of liberal causes. One can almost be certain that he is a liberal in disguise.

...Although only a rumor among bloggers, there is the hope that Lou Dobbs may seek the Reform Party nomination. Dobbs, a great patriot, is a life-long conservative, anti-North American Union, anti-free trade, and opposes the third-world invasion of America. Dobbs also is very popular nationally, potentially could sweep the general election, and would be an outstanding president. If Lou Dobbs runs, you should expect to see many defections not only from the GOP, but also from the Democratic Party.
Ah, if only they would go third party. We'd all breathe a sigh of relief.

***

And how about this poll, lol? They don't have their hearts in it to even speculate.

Whom would you like to be the Democrat nominee for president in 2008?



Oregon may ok civil unions next year

Cheers to another state moving in the right direction. The bill under consideration creates a registry for same-sex couples, and grants guarantees of inheritance benefits, pensions, property rights when a partner dies, and the right to make medical decisions for a partner.

The likely change is boosted by the fact that both houses of the state legislature are now Democrat-controlled. (365gay):
The Democratically controlled Senate last year approved a civil unions bill only to see it die in the Republican dominated House.


The GOP leadership first gutted the legislation and then House Speaker Karen Minnis refused to allow it to come to a vote. In an interview at the time, Minnis said Oregonians decided the issue in 2004 when they joined with voters in 10 other states in passing gay marriage bans.

The measure had the support of Gov. Ted Kulongoski who has pledged to support the reintroduction of the legislation. ...House Majority Leader-elect Dave Hunt said he believes the majority of Oregonians support civil unions and that the legislation will be passed.

"We are not talking about bringing up divisive issues. We're trying to follow positions that we think are very much supported by a majority of Oregonians on education, health care, public safety and civil rights."
The vile Minnis, by the way, survived a grassroots campaign to unseat her.

Also:
* Oregon's Karen Minnis: one-woman bigot crew against civil unions


US Airways sucks *ss.

This is the height of incompetence. Last night, my brother dropped us off in Philly to catch the 10:35 flight to RDU. This airport was DEAD. Hardly anyone there. More workers than passengers.

They lost not just one checked bag, but two.

The likely problem, though it's no excuse since we arrived so early, is that we checked in at the US Airways terminal (B), but our flight ended up leaving from terminal F. We checked them in and hiked the long way to F, and still had more than an hour before the flight left -- plenty of time for any sleepy US Airways drone to get the bags to F.

When we arrived at RDU around midnight, we watched ominously as each person came and retrieved their bag, and we sat there bleary eyed tired as the bags stopped coming out. We filed a claim -- the attendant said the bags would arrive on the next flight and they would deliver the bags, so we went home.

It's 1PM, and several flights have come in from Philly and still no email or phone call, so Kate went online in an online chat for an impersonal. completely useless dialogue with the customer service rep, who she mistakenly thinks can actually look up the last location of the bags. "I am unable to look the bags up. Please visit the web site and call our phone number. Thank you for flying US Airways." As automated as the answers were, she's doubting that this was even a human being in the chat.

Braving voicemail hell, Kate calls the number and the process was efficient yet unhelpful. She didn't stay on hold long, but there was no possibility of interacting with a human being. The voice recognition software was ass. Eventually the bot on the other end said "We cannot locate your bags at this time. Thank you for flying US Airways."

I guess the small consolation is that the bags were lost coming home as opposed to on the way to Delaware.

If you read the fine print on a baggage claim, the airlines do whatever they can to avoid reimbursing you for their screwups. US Airways is no exception. You have to produce original receipts for anything over $100, and get the claim notarized. It can take months for a reimbursement. Not exactly a barrel of fun if you've arrived and have nothing, particularly with the restrictions regarding carry-on baggage these days.

Related:
* Your rights if your bags are delayed
* US Airways baggage delay policy


Christian Coalition president-elect steps aside over hate agenda

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues; that's not our base.'"
-- Rev. Joel Hunter, on what the Christian Coalition board said to him, concerned that Hunter would rather focus on poverty and the environment instead of homos and abortion.
Via a DKos diary, we hear about the latest in the downward spiral of the bible-beating organization. You know it's bad when new prez of the Christian Coalition thinks its mission is too far out on the fringe. (Houston Chronicle):
The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Northland Church, a nondenominational congregation in Longwood, Fla., said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization's agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage. He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

The resignation took place Tuesday during an organization board meeting. Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

...A statement issued by the coalition said Hunter resigned because of "differences in philosophy and vision." The board accepted his decision "unanimously," it states.
Hat tip to Paul, who said "Gee, I wonder if Porno Pete is looking for a job. Seems like the perfect position for him. - Sorry. I guess I shouldn't use the phrase "perfect position" in regard to him. Brings up some really off putting images... "


Roadkill sickness in Minnesota

Nothing like a helping of Roadside America, only I don't think healthy minds think about a healthy helping of man-on-deer sex when you're traveling through Duluth, MN.

Superior, Wisconsin resident Bryan James Hathaway has an inventive public defender. Fredric Anderson, argued that the charge of "sexual gratification with an animal" should be dismissed because the deer was dead, so it was no longer by law "an animal."
"The statute does not prohibit one from having sex with a carcass," Anderson wrote.

The Webster's dictionary defines "animal" as "any of a kingdom of living beings," Anderson said.

If you include carcasses in that definition, he said, "you really go down a slippery slope with absurd results."

Anderson argued: When does a turkey cease to be an animal? When it is dead?

When it is wrapped in plastic packaging in the freezer? When it is served, fully cooked?

A judge should decide what the Legislature intended "animal" to mean in the statute, he said. "And the only clear point to draw the line in that definition, I believe, is the point of death."
He continues the legal gymnastics by claiming that the statute, which is under the umbrella of "crimes against sexual morality," was meant to protect animals, so this case simply doesn't apply if the carcass is no longer an "animal."

BTW, if Hathaway goes to the pokey on this one, it won't be the first time he was caught with his pants down engaging in sick behavior.
In April 2005, Hathaway pleaded no contest to one felony charge of mistreatment of an animal for the shooting death of Bambrick, a 26-year-old horse, to have sex with the animal.
Add it to the list of these cases of unbelievable animal abuse occurring in our Great "Christian" NationTM.

* A man in Tacoma, Washington accused of having sex with the family dog -- with the acts videotaped by wife.
* Michigan State Police troopers charged a Saginaw man after he was seen engaging in sexual acts with a dead dog.
* A man in Bainbridge, GA jumps a fence at a stockyard and porks a hog
* A Mesa, AZ fire battalion chief caught with his pants down in a barn assaulting a lamb
* A St. Gabriel, Louisiana seventeen-year-old was caught on tape committing unnatural acts with a horse.

Hat tip goes to Coturnix, who passed on this quaint bit of business in the comments of another thread.


Ashcroft's boobie-free portrait unveiled at Justice Department

Friday, November 24, 2006

This is what it looks like:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Caption: Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, left, talks with artist John Howard Sanden, right, after the unveiling ceremony of Ashcroft's official portrait at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. Ashcroft, a former governor of Missouri and a U.S. senator, served as President George W. Bush's attorney general from February 2001 to February 2005. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Actually, I was thinking that a variation on the photo below would have been a more appropriate portrait, since he was so fixated on the boobage of the Spirit of Justice statue that he had fabric draped strategically on it to hide them while he held office.



You can read the sappy, fawning transcript of the unveiling here, if you can stand it.

Ashcroft, you might recall, ended up with the AG post after he suffered the embarrassment of losing a race for the Senate back in 2000 when he was on the ballot against the popular -- but dead -- Mel Carnahan, who perished in a plane crash.

***

It's open thread time...


Anti-gay Minnesota lawmaker charged with domestic violence has a history of abuse at the office as well

Avidor at Dump Mark Olson has passed along more information about the sleazy Republican Minnesota representative, who was recently seen boo-hooing for the cameras after being charged with two counts of domestic assault for shoving his wife to the ground several times. He says that he will not resign. Hear the audio of him begging for forgiveness in front of the reporters.

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Well, why should he resign when he has stellar defenders like this citizen:
I know Mark Olson personally. You are being judgemental and critical without knowing the facts of his marriage or situation. I do know the facts. Raising teenagers and in particular teenagers that are not your own is a very difficult job. You all make me very sick. You sound very hateful and vengeful and I am disgusted. I hope you will all have to eat your words someday. Don’t judge others when you don’t walk in their shoes. Isn’t that what you homosexuals are asking of others…You don’t want others passing judgement on you so why do you do it to others, you hypocrites.
Cute.

It seems the Big Lake, Minnesota legislator also landed in the Star Tribune in 1997 for abusing an aide.

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This thug was later reprimanded by his caucus leader for "work style" in dealing with his staff. because he is a "perfectionist" and has "high expectations," and had to attend sessions on ways of "improving employee relations."

Bonus: Rep. Mark Olson On Marriage Equality. He bleats on and on about God and family and government and how marriage is between a man and a woman. Is there anything in the bible about beating your wife, Olsen?



Purple America

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Here's a the map showing the distribution of Red and Blue in the 2006 mid-term elections. Regions perceived as Red bastions are actually quite Purple.

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Chris Kromm makes these observations at Facing South:
Note in particular the battleground of the South. There are the strong "red" or Republican patches running through such areas as northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia; the Georgia and north Florida coast; and southeast Kentucky.

But even more striking are the deep shades of blue, such as most of Arkansas and Tennessee; a belt slashing through the piedmont of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina (the South's fastest-growing area); and Appalachian counties in the Virginias.

The concentrations of red in the South are on par with the swaths of scarlet one sees in the Midwest/Plains (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma) and the upper West.

It's amazing to see so many blogs in the Democratic Party camp writing off the South in an attempt to position themselves as "realistic," when the reality of fierce party competition in the South couldn't be more clear.
The Dakotas are pretty surprising. They really kicked the GOP out in a big way. Also note how Blue Tennessee is -- yet it voted 80% for its marriage amendment.

Again, the DNC is content to remain silent while states determine the civil rights of gays and lesbians at the ballot box -- as long as they vote Blue.


T-day open thread

What's for dinner? Doing anything special?



The favorite standbys for us this year in Delaware:

* Leg of lamb (marinated with lots of garlic, worchestershire sauce, black pepper, celery and carrots)
* turkey
* homemade mac and cheese
* collard greens
* green beans
* sweet potatoes
* Waldorf salad
* apple pie and pumpkin pie

Tagamet will probably be necessary.

***

Kate and I were just laughing at a report this AM on CNN by Soledad O'Brien. There was a story about wild turkeys standing on a train platform caught on a webcam, and she made segue to the next segment and said "Speaking of turkeys..."

...and the cut to the next shot was of Bush with his usual sh*t-eating grin, walking down the White House steps.

Later in the shot they showed him with the turkey that he "pardoned" this year.


REUTERS/Larry Downing

***

And I cannot leave out this article I just came across:

'Kramer' apologizes, hires crisis expert. Really pathetic; actually the worst aspect of this is that his new specialty publicist, Howard Rubenstein, as part of his crisis management, gives as a piece of advice for Richards to get on the horn to self-aggrandizing and continued presumed leader of the black community by the MSM -- Jesse f*cking Jackson. At least Jackson called it out for what it was.
Jackson, reached by phone, said Richards called "expressing his remorse and his confusion."

"He's embarrassed. He got caught on tape. That's a big part of his anxiety now," said Jackson.
Damn. Richards is pissed because someone had the camera. Isn't that special?

***

Chat away about anything and everything...


Army recruiters selectively ignore gay ban - and sign up gang members

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

CBS4 in Denver, in an undercover investigation, found recruiters perfectly eager to enlist people who walked up and disclosed that they were gay.
The recruiters told people showing interest in being a soldier to keep their homosexuality to themselves.

Military policy states that if a potential service member discloses that he or she is gay, they are supposed to be immediately disqualified.

"We encountered one recruiter who said 'I'll pretend I didn't hear that. Is that right?" CBS4 asked the head of Army recruiting in Denver.

"Well, if what you say is correct, that is not right." Lt. Col. Reginald Cox answered. "We don't condone that behavior at all."
The video of the full report is here. If this is going on, there's no point in having DADT on the books, no?

>Hat tip to Steve Ralls of SLDN's The Frontlines, who said "We applaud recruiters for wanting access to the best and brightest, regardless of sexual orientation, but the best way to get there is for those same recruiters to speak out in favor of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."."

In an even more ridiculous development, in another report by the station, they looked at the military's use of 'moral waivers' to beef up its ranks. The waivers are written permission bypass certain rules, such as drug use or membership in a gang -- the applicant merely has to state that it's "in the past."

It's hit-or-miss whether the military will slip you in if you're a homo, but it appears gang membership is definitely not a disqualifier when there aren't enough warm bodies.
A CBS4 employee also went in with a hidden camera and this time suggested he was a gang member.

"Does it matter that I was in a gang or anything like that?" he asked the recruiter.

At first, he was told the Army doesn't accept enlistees who were gang members, but then the senior officer stepped in.

"You may have had some gang activity in the past and everything, ok, and that in itself does not disqualify you," he said.


The Rotting Cryptkeeper to picket funerals of teens killed in bus accident

The lowest of the low. I'm trying to figure out the fag connection to the accident in Huntsville (after all, we're to blame for everything in Fred Phelps's universe), but really, it's kind of hard to get into the minds of the freaks of hate at the Westboro Baptist Church. The Phelps machine plans to make its presence known at the funerals of Christine Collier, Nicole Ford, and Tanesha Hill.

WBC to picket the funerals of school children killed in Huntsville, Alabama, when their school bus from Lee High School plunged 30 feet off a highway overpass -in religious protest and warning: cc God is not mocked!" Gal. 6:7. God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates Alabama and America because they have gone the way of ancient Sodom and have become The Land of the Sodomite Damned,

"They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." Jer. 23:17.

"Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly." Jer. 23:19-20.

"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer." Prov. 1:26-28.

God has cursed Alabama and America: 'There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." Isa. 48:22.
Tom Moss of the Social Justice Commitee, Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville plans a counter protest, according to Blender Ken, who emailed me this.
I'm of two minds about this. On one hand, I believe that there should be a public outcry against Phelps' hateful homophobic agenda, and a clear message that Huntsville rejects him and his attempt to capitalize on personal tragedy.

On the other hand, I recognize that he is looking for media minutes, and the more counter-protestors there are, the more press Phelps and his hate group will get. He may bring 15 people to picket the funeral. We could organize a counter-protest of many times that number, but that would add to the circus and the stress for families and friends of the deceased.

Here's something that has been done successfully in other cities: collect pledges for a good cause for each minute that Phelps and his group demonstrate. The longer Phelps is there, the more money gets donated to local gay and lesbian groups. In this case, I think it would be appropriate to split donations between the fund for the students' families, and Aids Action Coalition.


Porno Pete cites me at his pad

Autumn and Jeremy emailed me to let me know that our favorite homosexual investigator, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, quotes me in one of his latest columns, 'Gay' Agenda...What 'Gay' Agenda?
When it comes to chutzpah, homosexual activists have it in spades. They work their lavender tushes off revolutionizing the age-old Judeo-Christian definitions of marriage and family; fight for "gay/straight" clubs in middle- and high schools, and homosexuality-affirming lessons for all students–even toddlers; lobby for open homosexuality in the armed forces; oppose marriage-preference adoption laws based on the absurd proposition that a child having two "gay daddies" is no worse off than one having a mother and a father; make outrageous claims that esteemed historical figures like Abe Lincoln were "gay"; and radically reinterpret the Bible to change homosexuality from an abomination to a "gift from God."

Then they turn around and ridicule the idea that there is a "gay agenda."

Here’s an entry from lesbian blogger Pam Spaulding:
"The Homosexual Agenda is an elusive document. We've been looking around for a copy for quite some time; the distribution plan is so secret that it's almost like we need a queer Indiana Jones to hunt the master copy down. The various anti-gay forces are certain that we all have a copy and are coordinating a attack to achieve world domination."
Pam Spaulding
Memo to Pam: you don't have to risk being chased by a giant boulder in the Amazon to find a copy of that elusive agenda; just click this link for the 1972 Gay Rights Platform. Note the last two demands under "States" in the 1972 document: "Repeal all laws governing the age of sexual consent" and "Repeal all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit."
Because he is much more invested in research on the Homosexual Agenda (after all, it's his full-time job), he kindly pointed us to what he believes are the master sources and plans for our domination of society. Sigh.
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"In recent weeks, homosexual activists have sought to ‘out’ various high-level GOP staffers and leaders as homosexuals, to highlight their hypocrisy in working for a socially conservative party. Now we in the pro-family movement are calling for full disclosure for a different reason: because homosexual GOP staff and pro-'gay' policies in the party are undermining the wholesome values Republicans say they support.”
-- undercover homosexual agenda investigator Peter LaBarbera, on the secret (and successful) plan by gays to destroy the GOP
Also:
* Letter from Peter LaBarbera


Daddy D to pontificate on Larry King

Since his movement is losing steam, it looks like James Dobson has to hit the airwaves again and bash the homos to fill the Focus on the Anus coffers on Wed.

Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman James C. Dobson, Ph.D., is scheduled to appear on Wednesday's edition of Larry King Live, airing from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST on CNN.

Dobson will be King's guest for the entire hour, and is expected to make his first televised comments about the results of the Nov. 7 election -- and what's next for the social conservative movement. He also hopes to talk to King about the growing threat of radical Islam to the United States -- and the necessity for the federal government to continue to take that threat seriously, regardless of the political power balance in Congress.


Today's fundie fun in the mailbag

From time to time I receive mail from fundies who clearly can't stop themselves from reading the Blend. They get so agitated that they bang out ignorant drivel like this on the keyboard.
Subject: re: you
From: "P. BELL"
Date: Wed, November 22, 2006 3:39 am
To: pam [at] pamspaulding.com

Why should you get the same privledges as we married couples do? I am not here to judge you. Love the person, hate the sin. But about you and Bush? I pray that law will be passed so you will NEVER be recognized in the US. Your beef will him is because he actually wants us to be more like we were when we first started this country-Chrisitian roots and all. I am not talking about the nutso Chrisitians out there who make a fool of themselves to be seen, I am talking about the people who really have a relationship with God, living the truth.

Did you know that homosexuality is specifically mentioned in the bible? Listed as ABNORMAL, DISCUSTING, and an ABOMANATION. You were not created to be this way, and so when you SLANDER a person who is againist you, mock their beliefs, and try to screw up this nation even more than it is for my children's future, than you will deal with me.
These letters are so similar that I believe there must be some "Anti-Gay Fundie Letter Generator" out there. Oh wait, doesn't Dapper Don Wildmon have one? It's called his Action Alert.

At this point, I don't even bother answering these barely literate numnuts; it simply encourages additional correspondence because they are so attention-needy.


Soulforce Greensboro DADT sit-in activists receive minor charges

Blender and local activist Matt Hill Comer of Right to Serve passed on great news to report, a follow-up on the organization of and participation in a Don't Ask, Don't Tell sit-in recently at an Army Recruiting Center in Greensboro.
The nine Soulforce Right to Serve Campaign activists arrested during a sit-in after four youth attempted to enlist in the Army as proud, able-bodied, openly gay Americans on September 21, 2006, at the Army Recruiting Center in Greensboro attended their scheduled court appearance this morning in Guilford County District Court. The eight youth and one adult supporter were charged with Class 2 misdemeanor trespassing and were originally scheduled to appear on October 23, 2006, but the matter was then postponed for a month.

Soulforce activists Jessica Arvidson, Alex Barbato, Matt Hill Comer, Cris Elkins, Jacquelyn Hernandez, Danielle Hoffman, Leslie Hughes, Alex Nini, and Caitlin Stroud each signed statements agreeing to not break any laws and not to return to the Army Recruiting Center for 90 days. District Attorney Doug Henderson has agreed to drop all charges after 90 days if the nine activists uphold their court agreement. The nine activists were represented by Greensboro attorney, Samuel Johnson. The Honorable Susan Bray was the presiding judge.

"We are extremely happy and grateful that Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson has been willing to recognize the right of citizens to challenge the actions of its government in non-violence and civil disobedience," said Soulforce City Organizer Matt Hill Comer, "We thank District Attorney Henderson for recognizing the commitment these youth and supporters made in honoring the great American tradition of change through non-violent, civil disobedience, as set by four brave and committed NC A&T State University students right here in our own City of Greensboro more than forty years ago."


Today's Unintentional Comedy

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

...brought to you today from the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Former President George H.W. Bush took on Arab critics of his son Tuesday during a testy exchange at a leadership conference in the capital of this U.S. ally.

"My son is an honest man," Bush told members of the audience harshly criticized the current U.S. leader's foreign policy.
...can't... breathe... must... stop... belly laughs...
"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman in the audience bluntly told Bush after his speech.

Bush, 82, appeared stunned as others in the audience whooped and whistled in approval.

A college student told Bush his belief that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies and said globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world. Bush was having none of it.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," Bush said. "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school."
...Gawd, you're killin' me!... Make it stop!...
"This son is not going to back away," Bush said, his voice quivering. "He's not going to change his view because some poll says this or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something. You can't be president of the United States and conduct yourself if you're going to cut and run. This is going to work out in Iraq. I understand the anxiety. It's not easy."
Like, say, changing his view on Don Rumsfeld staying onboard through the end of the Cheneyburton Maladministration?
"He is working hard for peace. It takes a lot of guts to get up and tell a father about his son in those terms when I just told you the thing that matters in my heart is my family," he said. "How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?"
Mr. Bush, the United States is the greatest country in the world, that's why people want to come here. That's also why we hate your son so much - he's screwing up a good thing.


In Delaware

Kate and I are in Newark, Delaware for the holiday and it was an interesting flight in, to put it mildly.

The first sign of trouble was that we pulled out of the gate, made it to the runway and then the pilot said that the paperwork from maintenance on one of the emergency exit doors wasn't signed off, so we had to taxi back to the gate and get it inspected and approved.

After that delay, we back out of the gate and the pilot says that there will be no beverage service because there's going to be a lot of turbulence during the flight and everybody, including the flight attendants, have to stay buckled in for the duration.

OK, so we finally take off and hit turbulence almost immediately. We were bucking and swaying the whole way. Believe it or not, both of us went to sleep.

The next level of fun began about 20 minutes before we were to land in Philly. The pilot comes on and says
"Some of you may be smelling a burning odor. We think it is one of the electrical units under your seats overheating that is used to power your electronic devices like iPods or laptops. We've been cleared for priority landing in Philadelphia. You may see a lot of fire trucks on the ground when we land; there's no need to be alarmed."
I burst out in uncontrollable laughter at this (as does the woman next to me), Kate stares at me, clearly disturbed at the latest development. I simply found the whole thing absurd.

Anyway, we bounce our way down through more turbulance into a smooth landing. I don't see the fire engines, though the pilot mentions them again (perhaps you could see them from the other side of the plane), and we de-plane without incident.

We're settled in at my brother and sister-in-law's house and we're having a good time.


No use for Holy Joe



First it was this: Lieberman won't rule out GOP caucusing. Senator Holy Joe Lieberman, the self-proclaimed "Independent Democrat" (he referred to this countless times on a recent Meet the Press; it should have been a drinking game) pontificated that he would make a change if the Dems made him feel "uncomfortable" with his up-the-Chimpster's-posterior positions.

Today it's this development: Lieberman hires former Christian Coalition spokesman as new communications director.
Two weeks after winning reelection as an independent due to losing Connecticut's Democratic primary, Joe Lieberman has hired a former spokesman for the Christian Coalition as his new communications director, RAW STORY has learned. The new hiree also formerly served as a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a legislative director for the conservative Heritage Foundation, and as communications director to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Fifty-two year old political pundit and activist Marshall Wittmann is very popular with Washington journalists because he often "gives good quote," according to a Washington Post profile from earlier this year.

...At his blog, Bull Moose, Wittmann has accused liberal and Democratic critics in the blogosphere of comprising "a left wing Cult of Bush Hatred."

H/t, Laurel, Ms. Julien
.


Tazers: 50,000V crap shoot with death

By now you've seen the video of the UCLA campus police tazering a young man who refused to show ID when asked. He sat down and went limp in the tradition of many who've practiced civil disobedience before him. For this protest, the UCLA campus police repeatedly shocked him with a Tazer, an allegedly non-lethal form of submission of an unruly arrestee.

The cops in question brought out the Nuremberg defense -- we were only following orders. Now, courtesy of AMERICABlog, we find that they weren't kidding (emphasis mine):
301.24 PAIN COMPLIANCE TECHNIQUES
Pain compliance techniques may be very effective in controlling a passive or actively resisting individual. Officers may only apply those pain compliance techniques for which the officer has received Departmentally approved training and only when the officer reasonably believes that the use of such a technique appears necessary to further a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Officers utilizing any pain compliance technique should consider the totality of the circumstance including, but not limited to:

(a) The potential for injury to the officer(s) or others if the technique is not used,
(b) The potential risk of serious injury to the individual being controlled,
(c) The degree to which the pain compliance technique may be controlled in application according to the level of resistance,
(d) The nature of the offense involved,
(e) The level of resistance of the individual(s) involved,
(f) The need for prompt resolution of the situation,
(g) If time permits (e.g. passive demonstrators), other reasonable alternatives.

The application of any pain compliance technique shall be discontinued once the officer determines that full compliance has been achieved.
OK, first off, this tazer issue is one that's near and dear to us in Stumptown. We've had a high profile case of a 42-year-old schizophrenic man named James Chassee Jr. One of my friends, Don DuPay, is a former Portland police officer who ran for county sheriff last election, made elimination of tazers one of his campaign platforms, and with only $420 and no name recognition to run against the incumbent's $60,000 war chest, he garnered about half as many votes. We don't like tazers out here in Little Beirut.

The problem, you see, is that the tazer is a crap shoot with 50,000V behind it. If you have a heart defect, a pacemaker, poor health, or are wacked out on amphetamines, a tazer can very likely kill you. Aside from that, it is also incredibly painful -- I know, my cousins are cops and I asked them to tazer me so I could know what it feels like. Lesson learned: don't ask anyone to tazer you unless you love pain and have a change of underwear.

What I fail to see is how a student offering passive civil disobedience deserves to be tazered. He wasn't a danger to the officers (point a above), there's no way they could have known whether or not the tazer would kill him and certain that it would hurt him (b), there's little control over tazer-applied pain (c), the kid wasn't behaving violently or harming property (d), he didn't resist arrest at all (e), there was no big rush to get the library closed (f), and there were two of them who could've easily carried him away (g).

This is the natural result of our emphasis on violence and torture. It is too easy for the tactics that we use on evil terrorists to slip down into the realm of disagreeable students. Tazers should be outlawed!