Saturday, May 07, 2005

To Europe

I'll try to post from there, but who knows...


The New "Science"

Kansas is at it again:
The hearings in Topeka, scheduled to last several days, are focusing on two proposals. The first recommends that students continue to be taught the theory of evolution because it is key to understanding biology. The other proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations.


Wrong Clothing = No Communion

This is simply appalling:
Archbishop Harry Flynn has told gay-rights supporters they can't receive Holy Communion while wearing rainbow-colored sashes because it is seen as a protest against Catholic teaching and unacceptable to the Vatican.

Flynn's decision, conveyed in a letter this week to the Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, reverses his four-year policy of not interfering with sash-wearers receiving Communion at the Cathedral of St. Paul.


Make Him an Expert Witness

It's time that Gonzales be subjected to all those things that he continues to claim are "not torture," so that he can know what he's talking about:

Many of the accounts detailing abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay by American military and civilian personnel don't meet the definition of torture, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said.

Gonzales, who grew up in Houston, said Congress requires proving that intentional infliction of severe physical and mental pain or suffering occurred to have a prosecutable case of torture.

"Congress intended a very high bar here in order to be prosecuted for engaging in torture," he said Friday during a visit to Houston. "There may be conduct that you may find offensive that falls far short of torture."


Friday, May 06, 2005

Retro-Catblogging, Plus Gratuitous Sheep!


Scalia v. Courts

I confess. I am sick to death of Scalia's bullshit.

The notion that any written document exists outside of interpretation defies all common sense, and to view the Constitution in this manner is dangerous madness:
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday said the public - not the courts - should make decisions on controversial issues such as abortion, the death penalty and gay rights.

He said too many courts are interpreting the Constitution as a document that evolves with society, but that he believes it should be interpreted as it was written.

"The Constitution is not a living organism. It is a legal document ... and like all legal documents it doesn't change," Scalia told about 1,000 people during a 30-minute speech at the George Bush Presidential Library Center at Texas A&M University.

Scalia said if the American people want to ban or uphold issues like abortion, the death penalty or gay rights, they need to convince their fellow citizens to do so and not leave it up to judges.

So much for rule of majority and protection of the minority.


Newsflash: Most People Still Not Insane

But at least one lawmaker is:
A state lawmaker is getting little interest in a bill that would make it illegal to end a pregnancy based on the projected sexual orientation of a fetus.

The bill was introduced in the Maine House earlier this year by Rep. Brian Duprey. The Republican is a staunch opponent of abortion and gay rights. But, he has been unable to find cosponsors of the measure and the legislation is languishing in committee with little chance it will ever come to a vote.

Duprey says that even though he voted against the state's new civil rights protections for gays and lesbians he wants to ensure that if at some time in the future it is proven sexuality is genetically determined gay fetuses are protected.


John Kerry Should Shut the F*** Up

I supported him in the election, but this is just pathetic:
U.S. Sen. John Kerry, visiting Louisiana for a forum on children's health care, criticized the Massachusetts Democratic Party for its expected approval of a statement in the party platform in support of same-sex marriage.

"I think it's a mistake," Kerry said. "I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."


Beating Plowshares into Swords

Isn't it time to stop the madness?
Defence expenditure in the US will equal that of the rest of the world combined within 12 months, making it "increasingly pressing" for European contractors to develop a "closer association" with the US, corporate finance group PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Homophobia Runs Rampant

This is just about the stupidest thing I've heard all day:
To the dismay of gay-rights activists, the Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.

The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.

"Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years," said Leland Traiman, director of a clinic in Alameda, California, that seeks gay sperm donors.



For a quarter century, the man who is now Spokane's mayor has used positions of public trust – as a sheriff's deputy, Boy Scout leader and powerful politician – to develop sexual relationships with boys and young men.

One man, Robert J. Galliher, claims in a court deposition that Jim West molested him in the mid-1970s when he was a boy and West was a Spokane County sheriff's deputy and Boy Scout leader.

A second man, Michael G. Grant Jr., also accuses West of sexual abuse during the same era, including an incident at Camp Cowles, a Boy Scout camp on Diamond Lake.


Murder: Okay!

Well thank goodness that we have found ourselves innocent in the killing of unarmed, injured people.

What a surprise:
A Marine corporal who was videotaped shooting an apparently injured and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque last year will not face a court-martial, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.

A review of the evidence showed the Marine's actions were "consistent with the established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict," Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, said in a statement.


Rape of the Land, Recommenced

Vile machinations:
Governors are being given 18 months to change the Bush administration's plan to open up to 58.5 million acres of remote national forestland to road building, timbering and other commercial activity.

In one of its biggest environmental decisions, the administration will let governors petition for more or fewer restrictions against developing nearly a third of the 191 million acres of national forests, according to briefing documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The U.S. Forest Service planned to announce the new "roadless" rule later Thursday. It replaces one that former President Clinton had put in place little more than a week before leaving office in January 2001. Clinton's regulation blocked road construction as a way to prevent logging, mining and other industry activities in the backcountry.

The Forest Service, which will review and have final say over the petitions, calls the new process voluntary. "If a governor does not want to propose changes ... then no petition need be submitted," the agency says in the documents.

As much as 34.3 million acres could be immediately opened to road construction if governors submit no petitions or they are rejected, the Forest Service estimates.

Let the rejections begin!


Dems Take a Stand!

Hey, national party! Take a lesson from this:
The Massachusetts Democratic Party plans to endorse same-sex marriage next
week, just days before the first anniversary of legal gay weddings in
Massachusetts, the party's chairman said on Wednesday.

The party's 3,000 delegates will gather at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell on
May 14 to add the endorsement to its platform, state chairman Philip Johnston
told The Boston Globe.


Sweet Retribution

Some good news to start your day:
Villagers in New Paltz have delivered a stinging rebuke to the lone member of council who opposed same-sex marriage when mayor Jason West announced last year he would perform weddings for gay couples.

In village elections this week, Trustee Robert Hebel was not only rejected in his bid to return to council but he got fewer than 100 of the 700 votes cast, coming in third in a three person race.

Ah, Schadenfreude!


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Guinea Pigs

Culture of life, indeed:
Federally funded researchers tested AIDS drugs on foster kids, usually without providing an independent advocate, a protection afforded in federal law and required by some states.


We've Always Been Right

Now, we're also the majority:
A majority of Americans do not think it was worth going to war in Iraq with support at the lowest level since the United States launched the invasion in 2003, according to a CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll released on Tuesday.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said it was not worth going to war compared to 41 percent who thought it was. In a February poll, 48 percent said the war was worth it and half said it was not.

A poll in April 2003, shortly after the war began, found that 73 percent of Americans held the view that the war was worth fighting.

It's a shame it took so long. And even more of a shame that it will take even longer to affect what the government is doing over there.


Colorado Avoids Homophobic Constitution

I have to admit, this rather surprises me:
Republicans Tuesday failed to get a constitutional ban on gay marriage on the November ballot after opponents called it an attempt to write discrimination into the state Constitution.


Brazil Chooses Sanity

I am sick and tired of the United States wielding its wealth in the name of bullshit morality that ends up killing people, and it's good to see Brazil opting out of this sick game:
Aids campaigners have welcomed a decision by Brazil to turn down US funds because of a clause in the agreement condemning prostitution.

The US development agency, USAid, had offered Brazil around $40m (£21m).

But Brazil's top Aids official, Pedro Chequer, said the US' conservative approach to treating the disease would not help.

Correspondents say references to prostitution are likely to become a condition for all US Aids funding.

Washington says it is important not to promote prostitution, and does not want any of its funds to be spent on treating prostitutes.

Thanks to TheaLogie for the heads-up on this story.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Ain't That America

World War II: Widespread rationing and "Victory Gardens."

War on Terror: Well, this...
The burger war is growing. Literally. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, which lost its crown as the home of the world's biggest burger earlier this year, is now offering a new burger that weighs a whopping 15 pounds.

Dubbed the Beer Barrel Belly Buster, the burger comes with 10.5 pounds of ground beef, 25 slices of cheese, a head of lettuce, three tomatoes, two onions, a cup-and-a-half each of mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, mustard and banana peppers — and a bun.
I think I just lost my appetite...


Victory Over Idiocy in Florida

The government should, of course, never have intervened in this case in the first place, but I'm glad it didn't turn into a dragged-out nightmare, as it easily could have:

Florida dropped its fight on Tuesday to prevent a 13-year-old girl in state care from having an abortion in a case that marked the state's second recent foray into controversial personal rights issues.

Weeks after it unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the bitter dispute over the fate of a brain-damaged woman, Terri Schiavo, the state's Department of Children & Families said it would not appeal a ruling from a Palm Beach state court allowing the teenager to have an abortion.

"There will be no further appeals and we will respectfully comply with the court's decision," DCF District Manager Marilyn Munoz said in a written statement.

It was not immediately known if the girl, who is 14 weeks pregnant, had had the abortion.

The case stirred concerns among civil libertarians who argued the child had a constitutional right to decide to have an abortion under state law and condemned the Florida government's attempts to interfere in personal rights.

"You've got to be blind not to see a pattern here," said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. "The pattern is the state's hostility to the exercise of personal freedom ... when that personal freedom is not consistent with the prevailing ideology of the state government."



From Americablog:

Given all the bad polling and press the White House has been getting, you knew this was going to happen.

Cheney gave a speech yesterday warning of the dangers we face from Al Qaeda according to Reuters:

Al Qaeda is still "very active" recruiting and seeking to attack the United States, although it has been hurt since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday.

"The enemy that appeared on 9/11 is wounded and off-balance, and on the run -- yet still very active, still seeking recruits, and still trying to find ways to hit us," said Cheney, who reviews intelligence on threats daily.

"As months and years pass, they are hoping that our country will grow complacent, and get lazy, and forget our responsibilities," he said in a speech to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, according to a text released in Washington.


Monday, May 02, 2005

That Word Does Not Mean What She Thinks It Means

Someone should remind Rice that "deterring" a nuclear attack is not a defense unless the other party operates along the lines we think reasonable, and North Korea has not been doing that for a while:

Talking tough, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice informed North Korea on Monday the United States is able to defend itself and its allies against nuclear and missile threats.

Responding to reports that North Korea launched a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, Rice said, "I don't think there should be any doubt about our ability to deter whatever the North Koreans are up to."


Once Again, the Left Is Proven to Be Correct

Haven't we been saying this all along?
The strains imposed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made it far more difficult for the U.S. military to beat back new acts of aggression, launch a pre-emptive strike or prevent conflict in another part of the world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in a classified analysis presented to Congress today.

In a sober assessment of the Pentagon's ability to deal with global threats, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers concluded that the American military is at greater risk this year than last year of being unable to properly execute the missions for which it must prepare around the globe.


Well, At Least One President Around Here Is Responsible

From the Associated Press:
Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. vetoed a measure Sunday that would have outlawed same-sex marriage on the Indian reservation that reaches into New Mexico, Arizona and Utah....

Shirley said in a prepared statement released on Sunday that he strongly supports and encourages family stability and the need for Navajo husbands and wives to love and support each other and their children. However, the proposed measure said nothing about domestic violence, sexual assault and gangs on the Navajo Nation. Problems Shirley said were rampant. The law focused on a problem that doesn't exist and would only generate disharmony and disunity among the Navajo people, he said. The measure also goes against the Navajo teaching of nondiscrimination and doing no psychological or physical harm to others, according to Shirley.


Sunday, May 01, 2005


for the lack of blogging, but the house is finally liveable, and I've been spending my time moving all of our possessions from storage to home (and changing all the locks so none of it happens to go missing).

In fact, this is the first post from my own home in about three months! Hurray!